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House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, obviously the Reform member was not listening to my speech. We are a very compassionate government. We have dealt with all of these programs in a most compassionate way.

The deficit has to be reduced first. Once it is reduced then we can start on the debt. Until we get the annual operating budget in order, there is no way we can start on the annual debt.

He is quite correct in stating that if interest rates rise and if inflation rises, it would certainly hurt our ability to reduce our indebtedness, both through the annual operating deficit and the debt.

We are quite confident that we have our house in order. Interest rates are down and inflation is under control. Obviously, we are at the mercy of international markets. We hope that what he says will not happen. I really see it as being hypothetical.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member for her fine approach to the budget and the informative speech which she gave.

I wonder if she could elaborate a little on measures for the disabled which are in the budget.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for giving me the opportunity to speak on persons with disabilities as I did not have time to do it in my speech. The proposed measures in the budget will allocate $230 million over three years to assist the disabled.

The list of expenses eligible for the medical expense credit will be broadened. We will eliminate the $5,000 limit on the deduction for attendant care expenses for disabled earners. Audiologists will be allowed to certify eligibility for the disability tax credit.

The definition of a preferred beneficiary of a trust will be broadened to include adults who are dependent on others because of mental or physical infirmity. The customs tariff will be changed to provide duty free entry for goods designed for use in this area. I could go on and on.

HockeyStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Liberal Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, on last Wednesday we fought the annual page-MP hockey challenge. I wish to announce that the MPs have dropped their protest and assault charges against the pages. The MP team concedes that the winners of the game are the pages. The score was pages 7 andMPs 6.

We congratulate the pages and we thank them for organizing a fun evening. We also thank the fans who provided the moral support and entertainment between periods.

I would not want to end this statement before recognizing a key figure in the page victory, the referee, our hon. colleague, the government whip.

HealthStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, where are the priorities of the federal government? Since 1994 the Liberals chose to hack, gut and gouge health care to the tune of $3.6 billion. The effects of this slash and burn policy have been devastating.

In Quesnel and district there are only 44 hospital beds for a population of 25,000 and the sick and suffering are being cared for in the hallways. Unfortunately the Liberals do not seem to care.

While people were hurting they chose to give $221,500 to the Society for Canoe Championships. While people were hurting they chose to give $734,766 to the Majestic Fur Association. While people were hurting they chose to give thousands of dollars to build golf courses, ski hills and club houses.

Canadians believe health care and human life are more important than new golf courses and canoe championships. That is why Reform will reinvest $4 billion into health care and education. We will show compassion to the suffering and we will make the needs of the sick and hurting our top priority.

St. John's HarbourStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Hickey Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Brian Tobin, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, brought down his 1997 budget yesterday. In addition to developing the provinces rich base of natural resources, the budget allots$1.5 million for the clean up of the St. John's harbour, one of North America's oldest seaports.

Its proud and rich heritage will be celebrated this year during the Cabot 500 celebration when thousands of tourists from around the world will visit the city as Cabot's replica sailing ship, the Matthew , makes its historic landing on June 24.

The harbour clean up is slated to begin as quickly as possible. It is something I have been working toward since I first took office. I commend Premier Brian Tobin's efforts to take this vital step toward addressing a growing environmental concern surrounding the future of the St. John's harbour.

Member For Beaver RiverStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination. The offhand comments about gender equality in the House of Commons made last night at a Reform fund raiser is an example of the type of misinformation and lack of sensitivity that can lead to discrimination, racial or otherwise.

As a legislator and as a woman I take offence at the Reform member for Beaver River joking about gender equality in the House of Commons, that it would spell trouble at certain times of the month. She said: "What would happen if we were all PMSed the same week"? I personally had a hot flash when I read this report and it was not hormonally induced.

Women definitely have a place in the House. We work hard and effectively every day of the month for the betterment of our legislature, our constituencies and society.

I now know what Reform women say. I shudder to think what Reform men think.

Somalia InquiryStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard that the Liberal government has decided to substitute a Senate committee for the Somalia commission of inquiry headed by Mr. Justice Létourneau.

The public will not be fooled. The government is clearly doing everything it can to try to patch up its defence minister's mistakes. In fact, the Senate committee will be both judge and judged. Think of all the attempts to cover up the truth that have been made under the Conservatives and the Liberals.

We will recall that documents were falsified, and others shredded or otherwise destroyed. We also recall the "search day", the big scramble for lost documents. A real farce.

What we want, and all Canadians want, is the truth. Again, the Liberal government, by refusing to extend the mandate of the Létourneau commission, is undermining whatever little credibility it has left.

Member For Beaver RiverStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Georgette Sheridan Liberal Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for Beaver River for bringing gender equity to a sexist remark. I would have thought that as one who describes herself as a woman, the member would avoid using cheap sexist jokes to score a few points in her bid for re-election.

Women in all professions have long struggled against the misconception that they are biologically incapable of performing well in traditionally male dominated occupations, accused of being victims of their hormones or too emotional for serious jobs.

Here we have the House leader for the Reform Party perpetuating this myth with her crude remarks about PMS making women unfit for the House of Commons.

My Reform Party colleagues find this wildly amusing. I hope they find their dismal electoral results equally funny.

Elvis StojkoStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Okanagan Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to earlier news reports Elvis is very much alive and has not left the building.

Last night in Lausanne, Switzerland, Canadian figure skating champion Elvis Stojko reclaimed his world championship title, his third in four years. Elvis was in fourth place after the short program earlier this week, but last night he delivered a masterful performance that included the first quad-triple combination to be landed in world championship competition.

Elvis is indeed god of the quad. His performance included not only the quad but eight other triple jumps and a virtually flawless performance that led to his come from behind victory against stiff competition from the reigning U.S. champ and strong Russian contingent.

On behalf of the constituents of Okanagan Centre, all members of the House and all Canadians, I congratulate Elvis.

Quebec SovereigntyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United States would adapt with little disruption to having a sovereign Quebec as a neighbour. This is one of the findings of a study carried out by David Jones, who was until just recently a senior policy adviser at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa.

In his analysis, Mr. Jones also claims that the U.S. anxiety about Quebec's sovereignty is an exaggeration and a thing of the past. For example, a sovereign Quebec would pose no threat to American security, since it would be a democratic state with a sound economy. Moreover, a sovereign Quebec would become the fifth or sixth trade partner of the U.S.; politically, socially and economically, it would look like Austria, Belgium or the Czech Republic.

According to this expert on Canadian affairs, it is time the U.S. got used to the idea of Quebec becoming sovereign. Should it happen, the U.S. government should make its own assessment of the will expressed by Quebecers instead of relying on advice from Ottawa. This certainly bodes well for the future.

Member For Beaver RiverStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

John English Liberal Kitchener, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday evening the member for Beaver River attacked the Prime Minister's efforts to promote gender equality in the House. Women, she declared, are biologically disqualified from achieving political equality in the country. She cheapened the role of our Liberal female candidates by calling them "poor girls at a grade eight sock hop waiting to be asked to dance".

Liberal candidate, Elinor Kaplan, is no poor grade eight girl at a sock hop. She was dancing in public life long before the member for Beaver River learned to creep. In the 1970s Elinor Kaplan founded the North York Business Association. In the 1980s she chaired the Management Board of Cabinet in Ontario. In the 1990s she was deputy house leader and chief opposition whip in the Ontario legislature.

In 1997 she will become a member of the House of Commons, one of dozens of new female members of Parliament who benefit from our Prime Minister's efforts to achieve a full role for women in Canadian public life.

Member For Beaver RiverStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have been a member of the House for almost nine years and seldom have I heard something as offensive as the comments by the member for Beaver River.

This Reform Party member referred to women candidates appointed by the Prime Minister as "poor girls". This member also likened these candidates to "girls at a grade eight sock hop" hoping "if I just stand here he will come and ask me to dance". This is insulting and offensive not only to women candidates but to every woman in Canada.

My colleague from Saskatoon-Humboldt has distinguished herself as an MP. Before her appointment as a candidate in 1993 she served her community as a lawyer, a business woman and mother, hardly a woman waiting for a date.

The member for Beaver River also wondered what would happen if all women MPs PMSed the same week. She might think that is funny, but the extremism so often exemplified by the Reform Party is no laughing matter.

Somalia InquiryStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the independent inquiry into the Somalia affair was gagged by the Liberal government because it was getting too close to the truth for the key players.

To save face and gain votes before the upcoming election, Liberals and Tories have now come up with a public relations scam they hope will cut off public criticism over the mockery they have made of the public inquiry.

The special Senate committee review of the Somalia mission is nothing more than an election ploy. It is simply a waste of taxpayers' money.

The Senate review of the Somalia affair is hardly independent. How will we get to the truth when Liberal and Tory politicians will

be judged by Liberal and Tory senators? What we are now witnessing is a whitewash of a cover-up.

The public knows about the cover-up. It wants the truth. Canadians will not be fooled by a dog and pony show being led by the Liberals first in the House and now in the Senate.

Mirabel AirportStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberal member for Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle shamelessly accused, in this House, the Quebec government of blocking the development of Mirabel airport.

The fact is that the two airports serving Montreal are federal facilities, that ADM was created by the federal government, and that all the bad decisions which have undermined Montreal's potential in the air transportation sector were taken by the federal government itself. The Viau ruling made on February 12 confirms that the federal government is ultimately responsible for the decision regarding the future of Dorval and Mirabel airports.

If, like me, the hon. member for Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle does believe in developing Mirabel airport, he should join with Bloc Quebecois members in asking that public hearings be held soon, in order to find the best possible solution to this issue, after 30 years of bad decisions made unilaterally by the federal government, particularly under the Liberals.

Mirabel AirportStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. The hon. member for Waterloo has the floor.

Member For Beaver RiverStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am a Liberal and I oppose racism, sexism and discrimination.

The member for Beaver River apparently favours discrimination against women when she stated that gender equality in the Commons would spell trouble at certain times of the month. This statement is worthy of contempt but it is in keeping with the extremist, racist and sexist comments made by some members of the Reform Party.

As the ranking female leader of the Reform Party, the member for Beaver River does a disservice to Canadians by pandering to sexist stereotypes.

Member For Beaver RiverStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was appalled to read the comments attributed to the member for Beaver River in the newspapers today.

Referring to women MPs and candidates, the member for Beaver River said that gender equality in the House of Commons would spell trouble at certain times of the month.

"What would happen if we all PMSed the same week", she was quoted as saying. These are totally unacceptable comments, not befitting a member of Parliament, especially the House leader of the Reform Party.

No wonder women are shying away from the Reform Party. I am sure that women voters will remember her comments at in next election.

We in the Liberal Party believe in gender equality and will take all necessary measures to achieve it, including appointing qualified women as Liberal candidates. I congratulate the Prime Minister for his initiative.

The sad part is that the Reform male MPs are laughing about the whole matter.

Keith BrimacombeStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Keith Brimacombe, director of the Centre for Metallurgical Process Engineering at the University of British Columbia, is the 1997 winner of the Canada gold medal for science and engineering.

We all acknowledge that our participation in the world economy and our very high standard of living are directly proportional to success in scientific research. Without the contribution of people like Dr. Brimacombe, we would not have the high quality, safe materials that we have to produce our vehicles, airplanes, bridges and buildings.

We would like to add our congratulations to Dr. Brimacombe. His gold medal is well deserved. We would like to thank him for his efforts over the years. His leadership in research and training is of immense value and is appreciated by all Canadians.

Dawson City NuggetsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Audrey McLaughlin NDP Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, in 1905 the Dawson City Nuggets hockey team travelled by dog sled,

by train, by boat and by foot to challenge the Ottawa Silver Seven for the Stanley Cup. The team lost those games and today a shameful banner commemorating that Senators victory flies high in the Corel Centre.

As part of the centennial celebrations marking the discovery of gold in the Klondike the Nuggets are back. They are back to revenge those losses.

A new team of Nuggets has retraced the steps of that first team of trekkers. They have travelled by dog sled, train and boat, and on Sunday the Nuggets take on the Ottawa Senators alumni at 2 p.m. at the Corel Centre.

They have been accompanied on the trip by "Dangerous" Don Reddick, author of The Silver Seven book on the original game; Diamond Tooth Gertie; and Earl ``Wrong Way'' McRae.

This team not only has true grit. It has true heart. The profits of the trip will go to the Heart Institute and Special Olympics.

I congratulate the Ottawa Senators for all of their assistance but say that we will show no mercy on Sunday.

Dawson City NuggetsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

And the Nuggets are with us in the gallery.

Dawson City NuggetsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canadian UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, by refusing to reply to the Bloc Quebecois' questions, the Minister of Canadian Heritage confirmed that the government, through Option Canada, paid out money that was spent during the referendum campaign without ever being included, however, in the referendum expenses of the no committee.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. The mandate of Option Canada, this phantom organization to promote Canadian unity, is the promotion of national unity by all means, legal, political and other.

I have no trouble understanding what the words "political" and "legal" mean, but I would like the Deputy Prime Minister to explain to me what means other than legal and political ones are at our disposal?

Canadian UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we are speaking today about the means available to people. We know that on September 12 Quebec Treasury Board President, Pauline Maurois, announced that Quebec's unionized workers were going to be receiving an additional $1 million from the government by 1998.

Going into the referendum campaign, the chief negotiator for the yes side promised unions a $1 million increase, but today he hits them with special legislation forcing them to accept a 6 per cent cut.

So, if the topic is morality and legality, we have to ask ourselves: Who is telling the truth about the unionized workers in Quebec?

Canadian UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite discouraging to see how the Deputy Prime Minister performs in the House.

What goes on within the Government of Quebec is the Government of Quebec's business. If, today, the Government of Quebec is unable to respect its agreement to increase salaries by 1 per cent, it is because of her government, which slashed provincial transfer payments. Let us not confuse matters.

I return to my topic, which she finds very upsetting. Peter White, the president of the Council for Canadian Unity, told The Gazette that Option Canada had been set up specifically to collect funds for provincial and federal Liberals for the referendum campaign.

In response to this statement, the Labour Minister could think of nothing better to say than that Peter White had already said so many idiotic things in his life that one more would not make any difference.

So who can we believe, the chief organizer of the Liberal Party of Canada, who should know what the money paid to Option Canada was used for, or the president of the Council for Canadian Unity, to whom Option Canada reported?