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House of Commons Hansard #137 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

PensionsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, what is wrong is that the Reform Party is wrong about the CPP. We have changed the rules of the CPP.

I have to remind the Reform Party that the CPP is a federal-provincial policy.

It is not just a federal program. To change the CPP requires two-thirds majority of the provinces with two-thirds of the population. We have gone out as a government and got that two-thirds majority. We have the support of the majority of the provinces.

In the Reform Party's proposal for reform, does it have the support of any of the provinces? It has the support of none of the provinces, let alone a two-thirds majority. It does not have the support of any.

We have, also, the support of the Canadian people. The Canadian people want a secure, publicly funded pension program and we have the support of the Canadian people.

PensionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that this junior minister talks about having the support of all the provinces on it.

In 1965 Mr. Kroeker stated that the Pearson government simply lured the provinces into the CPP by offering them loans from the fund at amazingly low bargain basement interest rates. No wonder they are keen on the project.

Thirty years later in the 1990s this government is doing exactly the same thing with the provincial governments. Using the CPP as a cash cow for governments was a lousy idea in 1965 and it is a lousy idea now, 30 years later.

Why did the Prime Minister and those in charge of dealing with the provinces right now on this deal lure the provinces into a sweetheart deal at the expense of the Canadian taxpayers who will have to belly up and pay that cash?

The Liberals learned nothing since 1965. Which way will it be, sweetheart deals for the provinces or the best deal for Canadian taxpayers in their retirement?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, what we have in the CPP now is the best deal for the Canadian people.

Compared with the Reform Party's absolutely ridiculous proposal with rates of return that are absolutely beyond belief, our proposal is a reasonable proposal. It is a proposal backed by the Canadian people and it is backed by the provinces. It is not a proposal that any of the provinces do not want. It is a proposal that the Canadian people want.

PensionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian young people want to know that there will be a sustainable

plan for them. They would like to earn three times as much through privately funding their own RRSP rather than any CPP plan.

Thirty-two years ago these Liberal politicians called John Kroeker crazy for predicting that CPP was unsustainable without constant payroll tax increases.

In the next 6 years from now alone, premiums will have gone up over 70 per cent and Canadians will be paying a full 10 per cent of their paycheques toward a pension plan that still is not sustainable.

The minister thinks people in the galleries here and across the country are really pleased about this plan of mismanagement of their own money.

Is it not true that the government is hiding the fact that premiums will have to go up again before the Canadian public gets any benefit which these people have promised?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member said that younger Canadians want to know there is a secure pension plan. This Canada pension plan is that secure pension plan.

What would the Reform Party offer instead? The Reform Party's finance critic said about their own proposals on pension: "I'm kind of reluctant to get into the numbers". Why would he be reluctant to get into the numbers? It is because their numbers do not add up.

Why do they not add up? What would their contribution rate be? Would it be 10 per cent? Would it be 15 per cent? They do not say. How would they honour the commitment to today's seniors, $18 billion a year and growing? Would they honour those commitments?

If they are going to honour those commitments, where would they find the money? Would they simply renege on those commitments? What do they plan for Canadians who have contributed?

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

To explain why his government is going to such lengths to unreasonably restrict the sponsorship activities of the tobacco industry, the Prime Minister keeps referring to the health issue. There are other more efficient ways to protect the health of the public. What the Bloc Quebecois is against is a ban on sponsorships, because it will be irretrievably detrimental to various sports and cultural events.

Is the Prime Minister aware that the official opposition has supported 80 per cent of the bill, that the Bloc has even moved more proactive measures to fight smoking among young people and that if the Prime Minister were to agree to sit down with the opposition and event organizers, a solution could be found? Is he aware of that?

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is precisely for the reasons that the hon. member has referred to that we on this side of the House have accepted the very reasoned amendment which has been put forward by the chair of the Standing Committee on Health, that we have a period of time for the purposes of implementation keeping in mind, as I said previously, that in no way are we at the present time banning sponsorship or banning sponsorship promotion. After the implementation period is over there will still be the opportunity to promote one's product. So we are just restricting the promotion as well as the sponsorship.

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the minister acknowledge that by trying so hard to save his head before the next election, he is not helping to improve the health of our fellow citizens, but is contributing to the demise of the tourist industry in Montreal, which will only make the people in Montreal and throughout the province of Quebec even poorer?

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

I have great respect for the honourable member opposite and I want to share with you, Mr. Speaker, and the hon. member the words of a prominent Quebecer: "Sponsorship is subliminal publicity. People associate cultural products to tobacco brands. It is a very powerful way to push consumption of the product, in particular among youth".

I know the hon. member does not wish to believe me, but perhaps the hon. member will believe the minister of health of the province of Quebec.

PensionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, first the unsustainability of CPP was blamed on too many baby-boomers, then not enough people having children, then full indexing and disability benefits. Next it will be an act of God.

Now they want to simply continue the status quo, only with double the tax revenue.

The minister says that our numbers do not add up, but what does not add up is Canadians paying $3,200 a year for a $9,000 pension 30 years from now. That does not add up. Canadians deserve better than paying more to get less.

Why will the government not dispel the fears of Canadians that CPP will not be there for them and offer individualized tax sheltered accounts for their mandatory CPP tax deductions?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the CPP will be there for Canadians.

Why do Reformers not tell Canadians what their rates will be if they put their plan forth? Why do they not tell Canadians that the pension plan will not be there for the 50 year-olds and over and the present pensioners with their plan? Why do they not tell Canadians that it is going to cost them twice as much for their plan than it is for CPP and it will not secure their future for them?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians of all age groups want and need to know that they can count on a decent standard of living upon retirement. There is no question of that. However, Canadians have been deceived in the past by successive Liberal-Tory governments about the sustainability of the CPP.

First the rate was 3.6 per cent. Now it is 5.6 per cent. Soon it will be 9.9 per cent. The minister talks about rates. Where is it going to stop? No one seems to know.

The government has proven that it cannot be trusted on the GST promise. What would lead Canadians to believe that it can keep a promise on the CPP?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, was there a question?

The Reform Party misses the point. This reform of the CPP is supported by a majority of the provinces. This is a federal-provincial initiative. The Reform Party has no province supporting its suggestions whatsoever. We are going to secure a firm public pension plan for lower and middle income Canadians, for all Canadians.

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

When the official opposition comes to the defence of sponsorship of sports and cultural events, when it defends the importance of keeping the thousands of jobs that depend on it, the only remark the Prime Minister can muster is that the official opposition is being politically opportunistic.

If the Prime Minister defines opportunism as an attempt to save sporting and cultural events, how does he describe the behaviour of his own government, which continues to pocket billions of dollars in taxes on tobacco? Is that is not what one would call opportunism?

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the member did not reveal how much smoking costs the Quebec economy. In 1991, taxpayers paid $4 billion because of smoking. This is in addition to the costs involved for all those who die of smoking related cancer or heart conditions.

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, would it not be opportunism to talk about improving health on the one hand and to protect the revenues Canada Post makes from continuing to allow the tobacco companies to advertise by mail on the other?

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about productivity. We are talking about jobs. Every year, 12,000 people die in Quebec, unfortunately, from smoking. We are taking action because we agree with Louise Beaudouin, the Quebec minister of culture, who said, and I quote: "I agree that Quebecers' health comes first and foremost" in Le Soleil last year.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, what hypocrisy. After slashing health care funding to the provinces by 40 per cent, the Prime Minister is meddling in Ontario's affairs when that province is closing a hospital. It is like a business partner that pulls out of the business and still wants to run the thing.

Will the Prime Minister stop interfering in the personal affairs of Ontario when he is directly responsible for the crisis?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is rather obvious that the Reform Party does not wish to stand in its place and support francophones outside the province of Quebec.

I want to tell the House and the hon. member that the Prime Minister of Canada has every right as a Canadian citizen to voice his opinion, whether in this House or outside. When it comes to defending francophones there is none better than the right hon. Prime Minister of Canada.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is interesting because I went to the hospital this morning and asked the chief executive officer what he thought of the Liberal government's cuts. His comment to me: "If there weren't Liberal government cuts we wouldn't be in the position we are in today".

Where does the problem lie? Listen to this. The government gives $221,500 to the Society for Canoe Championships. It then

gives $734,766 to the Majestic Fur Association. Reform would give that money to health care.

Why does the government look after its buddies rather than looking after health care and the hospitals?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this is a great day. We have a representative of the Reform Party standing in the House in an unholy alliance with Michael Harris, the premier of the province of Ontario.

Canadians will not swallow this unholy alliance with the Conservatives in the province of Ontario. The Mike Harris tax break is going to cost in excess of $5 billion on an annual basis. That is what the province of Ontario is doing with the money.

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

March 4th, 1997 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour.

Last weekend, his own supporters drew the labour minister's attention to the catastrophic effects this quasi-ban on tobacco sponsorships will have on Montreal's economy. Content with blindly defending his government's position on the matter, he added insult to injury by stating that, once they were through with tobacco, the Minister of Health would probably address alcohol.

Are we to understand from the irresponsible remarks made by the minister that his government is set to take the absurdity of its policies one step further by threatening to ban beer sponsorship of sports events? Does the minister mean to say that someone, somewhere in the federal government is preparing to shut down the Molson Centre or to prevent Labatts from sponsoring the Expos?

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Léonard Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Labour and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the opposition would have us believe the apocalypse is upon us.

More seriously, I would like to quote someone who, we must agree, is an authority on the organization of the Montreal Grand Prix, Jacques Duval. He sent me a letter by fax yesterday, in which he states clearly the following: "Contrary to what you may think of someone who has been involved with auto racing for many years, I fully support the government policy on the tobacco control legislation.

He concludes by saying: "Media attitude in this issue is deplorable, and the remarks of some journalists are far from objective. I urge you not to yield to a campaign that is starting to look more and more like intimidation".

I think there is no lack of support for the government's action, and we are here to-

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh!

Tobacco ActOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

An hon. member

Answer.