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House of Commons Hansard #147 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the minister understands the reality and the great urgency involved, and particularly the fact that there are major faults in his system.

Need we remind the minister that we again had proof of this yesterday, when a certain Daniel Nault, a Hell's Angels sympathizer, was acquitted, thanks to the Criminal Code the minister refuses to amend, although he had been arrested with a working bomb in the trunk of his car.

I am asking the Minister of Justice whether he does not acknowledge that this is striking proof that the Criminal Code as it stands is not strong enough to stop the motorcycle gang wars?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, may I express my disappointment at the tone and the approach taken by the Bloc Quebecois in relation to a matter which should engage our serious and non-partisan attention.

There are people in communities in Quebec, in Ontario and across the country who are worried about their personal safety by reason of organized crime, motorcycle gangs and bombs exploding in the streets. In that atmosphere the answer is not to exchange partisan barbs in some political exchange. Rather the approach

should be to work constructively to see what can be done to improve the situation, and that is what I intend to do tomorrow morning in Quebec City.

The fact that these crimes are being committed may have something to do with the need for improvements in the criminal law. It also has something to do with the ability of the police to work in a co-ordinated fashion with the municipal and provincial governments, using powers within their jurisdictions, with the allocations of resources by municipal and provincial governments.

The member should not pretend that this difficult situation will be resolved simply by changing words in the federal statute.

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder what tone I am supposed to take in addressing this House. Since yesterday, because no action was taken, there have been two more deaths in a bomb explosion in Quebec. I think the minister needs to wake up and smell the coffee, and do something as soon as possible.

He also needs to keep in mind that there are at least 15 biker clubhouses in Quebec, 15 fortresses, and the gangs continue to wreak havoc.

The Minister is going to Quebec City, and not to see the sights. The mayors are waiting for an answer to their questions. In order to settle the problem of these fortified biker clubhouses once and for all, and to do away with all the nasty business they are involved in, is the minister prepared-and this is a serious matter-to announce tomorrow to Minister Perreault and all the mayors who are waiting for some action, that, as soon as possible, he will propose to the Canadian Parliament legislation that will ban motorcycle gangs once and for all?

Organized CrimeOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has no monopoly on concern. The members on this side of the House, the members of the government caucus, are just as concerned about the safety of communities in the country as are the hon. member and his colleagues.

If the hon. member thinks that the bombings taking place are going to be stopped because we change words in the Criminal Code of Canada, he is sadly deluded. What will make the difference is good, solid, co-ordinated police work with sufficient resources and municipal, provincial and federal governments working together constructively to do the job.

That is not achieved with narrow partisan political speeches. That is not achieved by pointing fingers and becoming flushed. That is achieved with good, solid, hard work, and that is exactly what the government is going to do.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the last two federal elections the leader of the federal party that ended up forming the government campaigned on the promise of jobs, jobs, jobs.

When Mr. Mulroney left office, the total number of unemployed was 1.5 million and the four years this government has been in office there are still 1.5 million unemployed.

My question for the Prime Minister is this. Why is his government's job creation record no better than Brian Mulroney's? Why has the Prime Minister, like Mulroney, failed to deliver on jobs, jobs, jobs?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the last four years of the Mulroney administration about 150,000 new jobs were created. In less than four years 725,000 new jobs have been created in the economy. That is because we have managed the situation.

I know that the member is a former voter for Mulroney before he had the Reform Party obviously, unless he voted Liberal. That would be a big surprise but I am waiting for that judgment.

We have restored the finances of the nation. The low interest rates of today are the best in 35 years. People are using them because the housing market is increasing very quickly. People are buying cars and so on. However, we had to cure the mess that had been created by the Conservatives in the previous nine years first. Now the country is in much better shape and more than 725,000 jobs have been created.

As everybody knows, we will continue working because we are always preoccupied that whenever somebody wants to work we want to make sure that they can find a job. It is not easy but our record is much better than that of the Conservative Party.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

The bottom line is, Mr. Speaker, 1.5 million unemployed when Mulroney left office, 1.5 million unemployed today.

The Prime Minister just does not get it. Taxes, taxes, taxes are what are killing jobs, jobs, jobs. Seventy-one tax increases by the federal Tories, 37 tax increases by this government. The government now collects more taxes than any other government in Canadian history, including wartime. And there is a connection between those high levels of taxation and the record of unemployment, the worst record of unemployment since the depression.

Instead of trying to justify high unemployment, exactly like Brian Mulroney used to stand in this House and do, why does the

Prime Minister not actually do something for the 1.5 million unemployed and start by lowering taxes?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have done a lot to create jobs. Look at the record, 725,000 jobs have been created.

More than that, 825,000 jobs have been created but both the federal and the provincial public sectors had to reduce the number of jobs by 100,000 to put the finances of the federal government and the provinces in good order.

We are doing better than any other nation of the G-7 at this moment. We have created more jobs than Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain together. However, it is not enough. We will be working on that.

I do not think the recipe proposed by the Reform Party is being taken very seriously because we have to finish the job of reducing the deficit and not try to buy votes with tax cuts for the rich like the Conservative Party and the Reform Party want to do.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, Brian Mulroney always had an explanation for his dismal job record. Our interest rate was lower than Liechtenstein's, our growth rate is better than Antarctica, we have a better job record than somebody in the G-7.

What do we hear from this Prime Minister? Exactly the same thing. Our job record is better than somebody in the G-7. But there are still 1.5 million unemployed, two or three million under employed and one out of four workers afraid of losing their jobs.

Instead of trying to justify high unemployment records exactly like Mulroney, why will the Prime Minister not do something different and start by addressing the high tax levels in the country?

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have not increased taxes.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

EmploymentOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

We have had growth and therefore we have more revenue. He does not know the difference between the level of taxation and the level of revenue. We have not increased taxes at all. Oh yes, I am sorry, we have taxed the banks by $200 million more.

We have plugged loopholes for some people who were not paying their fair share in the insurance business because they were abusing the system. But we have not increased taxes. We have a good, solid administration. Revenues have increased substantially. Because we had good growth and low inflation, 725,000 new taxpayers are now working who were not working when we formed the government.

CopyrightOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is getting ready to break another of its election promises: to renew copyright legislation.

With the election deadline, the government is ensuring that Bill C-32 will die on the Order Paper by unduly delaying its legislative progress, and this will end up hurting authors, composers and performers.

My question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Since the minister has said that the difficulties between herself and her colleague in industry were resolved, could she explain why she is running the risk of aborting Bill C-32 by postponing its third reading?

CopyrightOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well what he is saying is false.

CopyrightOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, I remind the Minister of Canadian Heritage that, if the bill is not passed before the election is called, her government will have to bear the responsibility of depriving creators and performers of their rights.

Will the minister ensure Bill C-32 gets to third reading before the Easter break?

CopyrightOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am shocked and surprised that the member would try to misrepresent the position of the government. The member was in the House last Thursday when we agreed collectively to extend the hours of the House so that we could complete report stage in one day, a report stage which I might add was supported by every single member of the government.

I can assure the member on behalf of the entire government that third reading will take place in a few days.

TaxationOral Question Period

March 19th, 1997 / 2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, on page 50 of the budget plan the finance ministers says the only way you can judge the impact of taxes is to measure them relative to the economy. Let us do that. I think that is a good idea.

Since the government came to office personal income taxes have gone up 15 per cent relative to the size of the economy. That contradicts what the Prime Minister just said. That means more money out of the pockets of every single man, woman and child in

the country to feed a government who spends that money on things life golf carts, sock factories and of course the Hotel D' Shawinigan. We are talking billions of dollars.

Why will the finance minister not admit that he is socking it to Canadian taxpayers?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when the government took office, revenues as a percentage of the economy were substantially higher than they are now. The conclusion of that is very clear, our take as a percentage of the economy has come down.

There are areas where we have absolutely changed the tax act. Tariffs are down substantially. Close to $600 million is being put back into the hands of Canadians. On the other hand, and again if I could quote the Prime Minister: "Yes, there are areas where we have increased taxes," areas where the hon. member has objected to increasing taxes.

We have eliminated the tax advantages for family trusts. Reform opposed it. We took measures to combat the underground economy. Reform opposed it. We eliminated the preferential rate for large corporations. Reform opposed it. We increased the capital tax on financial institutions. Reform opposed it.

I could go on for a long time, but let me tell you those loopholes-

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Medicine Hat.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it looks like I struck a nerve. You will notice that the finance minister did not try to answer my assertion directly. I said that according to the government's own statistics, personal income taxes have gone up as a percentage of the economy by 15 per cent.

Does the Minister of Finance deny that the government has raised personal income taxes so they have gone up 15 per cent relative to the size of the economy?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it only stands to reason that if 750,000 more people are working, it is quite possible that more people are paying taxes.

It only stands to reason that when loopholes are closed, and the $100,000 capital gains tax exemption is eliminated, more people are paying taxes.

One really is entitled to a higher level of debate from an opposition party. Its members fail to understand that an economy that is growing will give the government more revenues. That is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, for several months now, the Minister of Finance has stubbornly refused to compensate Quebec for harmonizing the GST, although according to the calculations done by Quebec's Minister of Finance Quebec is entitled to $2 billion in compensation for having harmonized its sales tax. This estimate, it goes without saying, is very different from the one arrived at by the Minister of Finance, and that is why it is becoming increasingly clear that the solution to this problem will be political rather than bureaucratic in nature.

Does the Minister of Finance realize that his compensation formula, the McKenna formula, that compensates a province if, and only if, it is losing more than 5 per cent of its revenues, is an arbitrary formula and that Quebec is actually entitled to demand compensation similar to that received by the three maritime provinces?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member must know that the formula by which only those provinces having lost more than 5 per cent of their revenues are compensated is perfectly normal. Five per cent includes normal fluctuations in a province's revenue from a tax source, in this case the sales tax.

The reality is that Quebec has not lost more than 5 per cent. Furthermore, if we look at the figures for the years since 1990, Quebec has made money by harmonizing and there is no compensation for a province that has not lost money. Nor is there any compensation for Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the minister wants to talk about reality, here it is: there was a 20 per cent drop in QST revenues following harmonization in Quebec. Because of harmonization, we have had to compensate by hiking the income tax rate of SMBs by 66 per cent and payroll taxes by 23 per cent. That is reality.

It is so real that the premiers of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario are demanding that the federal government give in to Quebec's arguments and pay $2 billion in compensation for the Government of Quebec's losses. If that is not a consensus, we would like to know what the Minister of Finance is waiting for. These three provinces represent 85 per cent of the population.

I put my question to him. What is he waiting for to give Quebec what it is owed in all fairness for harmonizing the GST, because equity and only equity is what this is all about?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, it is very clear that Quebec is not entitled to compensation because Quebec has not lost any money.

I must point out that Quebec's former Minister of Finance himself, Mr. Bourbeau, indicated very clearly that Quebec did not deserve to be paid in this case because it had not lost any money.

That having been said, Mr. Bourbeau also pointed out that in other areas, such as technology and partnership for example, Quebec has received more than 60 to 70 per cent of all money, that Quebec, with 25 per cent of the population, receives 31 per cent of transfer payments, and more than 45 per cent of equalization payments.

It must be said that, when it comes to federal transfer payments to the provinces, Quebec is receiving its fair share.