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House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cpp.

Topics

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the following term is parliamentary. May I use the term demagoguery in this House?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Sure.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

No, you may not.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, in that case I am at a loss for words that can express what I think of the Prime Minister. But I can tell you that everyone in Canada agrees with the need to reduce our consumption of cigarettes.

However, there are various ways to achieve that objective. Some are more acceptable than others, and some are less effective.

Does the Prime Minister of Canada realize that a young person who goes to the Du Maurier tennis open is far more likely to buy a tennis racket than a package of cigarettes when he goes home?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I suppose Du Maurier is spending money to help Spalding. Come on. A tobacco company spends money on advertising because it get results.

Like everybody else, we want to keep the Grand Prix and other events in Canada, but we are not stricter than other countries. France has similar rules, and Grand Prix events are still being held there; we see the same in Australia, where a race will be held on the weekend. They have passed some very strict laws, but the Grand Prix will be held next Sunday.

We want to keep the competition. In fact, the companies will have the right to do on-site sponsorship. Furthermore, the bill gives them another two years to adjust to the new rules. However, we decided that we would take steps in Canada to prevent tobacco advertising from affecting young people of 13, 14 and 15, and we will continue to do so. The tobacco companies can advertise on the site but no advertising may be directed to young people of 13, 14 or 15.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, in France they have companies like Renault and Ligier, and despite the stringent legislation in Australia, they have made an exception for the Australian Grand Prix. That is why the Grand Prix will be held. The Prime Minister is barking up the wrong tree with the wrong strategy.

Does the Prime Minister admit that, in wishing to attack tobacco consumption, he is placing a number of festivals and sporting events in real danger, particularly in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, through you to the hon. member opposite, the former president of the Grand Prix organizing committee in Quebec said the following: "I find the blackmail efforts that are presently occurring surrounding the Grand Prix very embarrassing. I know what I have been talking about, since I was the president of the 1991 Grand Prix organizing committee".

I can well understand the need for the members of the Bloc Quebecois to huff and puff on both sides of the issue, but I want to inform the hon. member that children, les enfants du Québec, are a lot more important than any of those events that the hon. member has made reference to.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, the children of Quebec are so important that I devoted 35 years of my life to educating, not coercing, them.

Since the Prime Minister refuses to understand, I shall be very clear. Clause 31 of the bill has three paragraphs: (a) and (c), which say the same thing, and (b), which contradicts the other two. Can the Prime Minister make a commitment in this House to do everything in his power to ensure that paragraph (b) is deleted from clause 31, so that people like me, who love the Grand Prix, can watch it on weekends?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the hon. member has spent 35 years in the teaching profession. I hope the hon. member would continue in that role of teaching young people in the province of Quebec the hazards of smoking

It should be noted that the National Cancer Institute of Canada said this about advertising: "There is substantial evidence that young people are aware of and respond to cigarette advertising".

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said: "Image based advertising is particularly effective with young people in that the information conveyed by imagery is likely to be more significant to young people than information conveyed by any other means of advertising".

I want to say to the hon. member that members of the Bloc Quebecois can throw that aside and accuse the government of being unreasonable, but the hon. member knows full well that this government has been prudent and has been reasonable. We have provided an implementation period for all those involved. Notwithstanding that, we are different from the province of Quebec because we are not banning sponsorship-

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal government brought in medicare in 1965 it promised to pay 50 per cent of the approved cost. That was a condition on which provinces like Alberta and Ontario joined the plan.

Thirty-two years later federal funding of medicare has dropped to 16 per cent. This Prime Minister, who claims to be a defender of medicare, has cut health care by 40 per cent since coming to power.

The Prime Minister can cry crocodile tears about the Montfort hospital. He can blame Mike Harris. He can pretend it is a national unity issue. But he is the one who is primarily responsible for hospital closures across the country.

How can the Prime Minister continue to blame others for hospital closures and waiting lines when he is the one who has cut health care funding by 40 per cent?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as usual, the leader of the third party has the wrong figure. We

have not cut transfer payments by 40 per cent. The Minister of Finance can reply to that in detail.

We just had to put the finances of the nation in good order. This is the same leader of a party who was telling us that we were not going fast enough. Remember when we said to the Canadian people we would do that in three years, go to 3 per cent. He wanted to go to 0 per cent in three years. We took three years. Now we have the lowest interest level that we have known in 35 years. All the provincial governments are benefiting from the fact that they pay less on their debts because of the action of this government to put the finances of this country in good order.

By the way, perhaps the leader of the third party should report on the success of his campaign in Alberta against Ralph Klein.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the government had some choices to make in the federal budget. They chose to cut health by 40 per cent since 1993. The Prime Minister can find $2 billion a year in subsidies for CMHC. He can find $850 million to $1 billion in subsidies for the CBC. He can find $300 million in subsidies for Via Rail. He can find over $2 billion in subsidies for corporations like Bombardier and others that receive corporate subsidies. But the Prime Minister cuts health care by almost $4 billion a year.

Are crown corporation subsidies and business subsidies a higher priority with the Prime Minister's government than the health care of Canadians?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, there is such a thing in politics as the flip-flopper of all time. This is the same member who in March 1995 stood in his place and condemned the Minister of Finance who gave notice, gave predictable funding to the provinces with the cash floor for the purposes of health care, thereby providing $25.1 billion.

The leader of that party in March 1995, in an amendment to a non-confidence motion, condemned the government for its failure to eliminate the deficit quickly and decisively within one year.

This is the flip-flopper of all time. He says one thing on Monday and another thing on Friday.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, in Reform Party proposals, our fresh start, we proposed cutting in virtually everything else in order to increase federal health care funding by over $4 billion a year. There are some ministers in this House who are experts on cutting health care. They are the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health.

Look at their record. Here is what they have cut in health care: Newfoundland, $85 million; little P.E.I., $20 million; slashing health care expenditures in New Brunswick by $103 million; Quebec, $1.2 billion; Ontario $1.3 billion.

How can the government possibly maintain that it is the defender of medicare when the Prime Minister and the finance minister have hacked, gouged and slashed health care by almost $4 billion a year?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, at the time we took office, transfers to the provinces had been declining for nearly a decade. When we took office we put in place a series of cuts in our own spending that allowed us in the last budget to commit to the provinces that not only were the transfer cuts at an end but that the transfers were now put on a formula that would allow them to increase in the years ahead.

The leader of the Reform Party used words like gouge, scrape and cut. Let me quote from "A Fresh Start for Canadians", Reform's most recent program. The Reform Party has said: "On top of the existing reductions in transfers, the Reform Party, on taking office, will immediately cut three and a half billion dollars from the Canadian health and social transfer". What do you call that?

U.S. Helms-Burton LawOral Question Period

March 5th, 1997 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Yesterday, in Washington, the Minister of Foreign Affairs met for the first time with the new U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. One purpose of the minister's visit was to make preparations for the next meeting between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States.

Could the minister report on the discussions he had with his American counterpart concerning the Helms-Burton law?

U.S. Helms-Burton LawOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we had a good exchange on a number of topics. We reached agreement on numerous matters involving co-operation, such as on Haiti, the expansion of NATO, and other issues.

But we certainly had an opportunity to express once again our opposition to the Helms-Burton law and we will continue to lobby against this legislation.

U.S. Helms-Burton LawOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, for months now, the government has talked, expressed its point of view and taken various steps, but it has done little of a concrete nature.

I will address my supplementary to the Minister for International Trade. Late last week, in order to comply with the U.S. anti-Cuban legislation, Wal-Mart withdrew Cuban-made pyjamas from its Canadian shelves.

Does the minister agree that the credibility of the government's action is seriously compromised and that the only way to restore it is to rigorously enforce Canadian law?

U.S. Helms-Burton LawOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the matter concerning Wal-Mart, it is being looked at by justice officials. We expect that Canadian companies will abide by Canadian law. That was the intention of our amendments under the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has indicated, we are continuing in our opposition to the Helms-Burton law and its extraterritorial application of American law. We believe it is fundamentally wrong in terms of international trading law.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, hospital closures are hanging like an albatross around the Liberal government's neck.

I would like to go into health minister's backyard real close. In Nova Scotia over the past year hospital bed closures have totalled 25 per cent. It is interesting to note that waiting lists in the province of Nova Scotia in the same period have climbed 25 per cent. They are longer.

Will the health minister simply stand up and admit that his government's policies of cutting health care transfers by 40 per cent are directly responsible for the increasing waiting lists in his home province?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as many reputable organizations have said with regard to health care spending, no less than the National Forum, Canada has the second most expensive system of the OECD countries.

The hon. member, in his selective memory with reference to the facts, forgets to inform the House that under this government and this Minister of Finance in this fiscal year alone we are providing to the provinces in terms of equalization payments in excess of $8.6 billion. In addition, the interest reductions we have been able to do on our fiscal side provide an additional $1.6 billion for the provinces.

The issue is not one of funding. The issue in provinces across the country has to do with the management of the health care system.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is the second time we have heard it is just a management problem that is at heart here.

What did the Liberals do with the money that should be going to the hospitals? The first thing is the health minister tried to divert funds in his own province. The second thing he has done is he gave $33,000 to the Cape Breton Yacht Association.

Reform would simply take those funds and put them into the hospitals, which is quite a contrast, I should think.

Will the health minister simply stand and admit that his government policies are responsible for longer waiting lines in his own province?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, what an interesting day it is. The hon. member on October 17, 1995 said: "Medicare is bad for everyone". On November 23 he changed his mind. He said that medicare was important to all Canadians. Then in March 1996 the very distinguished, the eloquent, the very colourful leader of that party said: "There is going to have to be continued reductions in social transfers".

I know the Bloc Quebecois is huffing and puffing, but I did not think the Reform Party would be puffing and huffing too.