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House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Please put your question now.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister, if it is true that this clause is protected by this time frame, to put it in writing and say so-

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lévis.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I would rather the bill not be mentioned at all, but, after questions were raised a few days ago, I reviewed all the questions. Since none dealt directly with the bill, I allowed them.

I would also ask that, in their answers, the ministers not refer to the bill or any of its parts. If answers could remain general in nature, it would be best, much better than referring directly to clauses after saying they would not be mentioned and then mentioning them again.

That is my decision. The hon. member for Lévis.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

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

I find it ironic that, on the one hand, the minister claims to want to protect the health of young people in Quebec and Canada, while, on the other hand, the primary effect of his anti-tobacco policy will be to jeopardize the future of events such as the film festival, which gives young creators a chance to make themselves known, show what they can do and get their career off the ground.

Does the minister recognize that his policies banning the sponsorship of cultural events may well result in denying young artists important opportunities to launch their career?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the preamble of the hon. member's question is absolute nonsense. The hon. member knows that the full intent and purpose of that legislation are health related.

The hon. member also knows, as do all the groups in his province and elsewhere to which he has referred, that sponsorship is not being banned, that sponsorship promotion is not being banned and that after the implementation period there will be no banning of promotion and no banning of sponsorship promotion.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us approach the issue from a different angle. The government is attacking sporting and cultural events in Quebec, while continuing to support tobacco research in Ontario.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

How can the minister claim his sole focus is health, when his government is still subsidizing, through Agriculture Canada, experimental research on tobacco growing?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman should know that in 1996-97 the funding for research was down some 90 per cent compared with the level it was at in the mid-1980s. That research, which involves about one and a half person-years, is focused on agronomic matters which have absolutely nothing to do with the promotion of tobacco production. Our emphasis is on diversification and assisting farmers in finding ways to get out of tobacco production.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, for a month the Prime Minister has been in denial about his government's role in cutting health care. But yesterday in question period he finally admitted that the Liberals had cut health care, and cut it they have, with a $1.2 billion cut in federal transfers to Ontario alone.

The effects of these Liberal cuts are being felt today in Toronto with the announced closings of 10 hospitals, including the Wellesley and the Women's College hospitals. Ten hospitals are gone in Toronto, a dozen closed in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Pembroke, London and Ottawa, and behind it all, the Liberal Government of Canada.

How does the health minister propose to repair the damage that federal cuts to health care are doing in Ontario?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when a government is faced with a deficit the size of ours it has to cut. It cannot ignore 20 to 25 per cent of its spending which is transfers to the provinces.

The leader of the Reform Party referred to the $1.2 billion reduction in those transfers to Ontario. What he did not mention was the $500 million reduction in interest cost to that province as a result of the actions that the government has taken. Nor did he make a reference to the $4.5 billion tax cut that will reduce Ontario's revenues, three and a half times larger than the reduction in transfers.

In other words, he should understand that if hospitals are being closed in Ontario it is as a result of a political choice. Tax cuts are being made. I will not dispute them, but they are not the result of a reduction in transfers from the government.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, where was the health minister in all of this? This health minister clawed and scratched to get a couple of million dollars transferred from another riding to his riding but where was he when there was a $4 billion cut in health care?

There was a budget discussion in cabinet before the budget came down and a choice was made to subsidize businesses and corporations to the tune of $7 billion while cutting health care by almost $4 billion.

Why did the government choose to cut health care by almost $4 billion but continued to fund crown corporations and subsidize businesses to the tune of $7 billion? Where are the priorities of the Liberal Party?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, provinces across the country are cutting in a number of social areas. The fact that it is happening in Ontario is not the result of the reductions in transfers. It is the result of a political decision taken by that government.

At the same time the province of Alberta is declaring surpluses and cutting taxes. He cannot say that it is reductions in federal transfers when Alberta is cutting taxes and declaring surpluses.

The province of Saskatchewan began cutting and closing hospitals before this government took office. The statements of the Reform Party are nonsense and they do not bear any kind of examination.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government cannot avoid the fact that it had a choice and it chose not to cut subsidies to crown corporations and businesses and it chose to cut health care.

Thanks to the Liberal government, hospitals across the country are closing. Thanks to the Liberal government, waiting lists are longer. Over 170,000 Canadians are on waiting lists, and 45 per cent of them say they are waiting in pain. That is what the government's choice to cut health care and to continue to subsidize corporations and businesses through handouts has meant to Canadians.

When the government had a choice between corporate handouts and hospital closures, why did the government choose hospital closures?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Reform Party has not read two documents. The first document is the series of budgets brought down by this government. Subsidies to businesses have been cut by 70 per cent. Crown corporations have been privatized. The Canadian National Railway has been privatized. Air navigation has been privatized. The funding to crown corporations has been cut.

The Reform Party does not seem to understand that when we chose the priorities we put the money back into health care in this budget. We put the money into research and development. We put the money into education.

As well, there is a second document which Reform has obviously not had a chance to take a look at. It happens to be its own fresh start.

Where does the leader of the Reform Party get the nerve to stand up in this House, having recommended over the last three years that old age pensions be cut further, that health care be cut further, that the basic social fabric of the country be cut further and then say that the first thing Reformers would do on taking office is cut the Canadian health and social transfer by a further $3.5 billion. That is what they said. Now stand up and justify it.

Hostage From Quebec In NigerOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

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

Yesterday, we learned that Serge L'Archer, a Quebec volunteer with the Canadian Centre for International Studies and Co-operation, was captured on Friday, in Niger, by Toubou rebels. When the incident occurred, Mr. L'Archer was with four local people at an oasis in the Sahara located 1,200 kilometres from Niamey, the capital of Niger.

Can the minister reassure this House and tell us, without any doubt, that Mr. L'Archer is safe?

Hostage From Quebec In NigerOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, officials from my department and from the Canadian International Development Agency had a telephone conversation with

Mr. L'Archer. I personally had an opportunity yesterday to talk to Mr. L'Archer's sister. I telephoned her, at her house, to inform her of the communication between her brother and departmental officials.

It goes without saying that the Canadian government is demanding that those who are detaining this Canadian volunteer release him immediately, so that he can continue the good deeds and the humanitarian work that he is doing, as are all those who do this kind of work for the good of humanity.

Hostage From Quebec In NigerOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to point out that we did not get any information about whether Mr. L'Archer is safe.

Therefore, as a supplementary, I ask the minister whether he can tell us why Toubou rebels are holding Mr. L'Archer hostage and what demands have been made for his release.

Hostage From Quebec In NigerOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, at this point we do not know why Mr. L'Archer is being held hostage.

Of course, there has been some speculation in the media. For example, some newspapers wrote that the rebels seized Mr. L'Archer to use him as a bargaining tool in their negotiations with the country's authorities. These are merely allegations reported by the media. The hon. member probably read these reports but, at this point, the Canadian government still has not met personally with Mr. L'Archer, who is being detained as an hostage. We managed to talk to him once and we are doing our best to reach him again.

Again, the Canadian government is demanding that those who are holding Mr. L'Archer hostage release him as soon as possible, so that he can continue his humanitarian work.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if we could table our parliamentary document to show what the fresh start really says about health care-$4 billion back into it, by the way.

The new hospital closings in Ontario are being announced today. Yet the Liberal government continues to give, for example, $323,000 to the Canadian wine development program and $300,000 to friends at the Shawinigan Industrial Centre. It is straightforward. That money should be going back into hospitals.

Why does the Liberal government continue to waste health care dollars by subsidizing business and its corporate buddies instead of putting money into hospitals?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in September 1993 the leader of the third party said that his party supported user fees or deductibles and would eliminate universality when it comes to health care.

On March 5, 1996 the leader of the third party was asked point blank his position on transfer payments. He said: "There's going to have to be continued reductions in social transfers".

We have just seen the fresh start that has been referred to by the Minister of Finance. In it another $3.5 billion cut is being advocated by the members of the third party. I wish they would stop the hypocrisy.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I would much prefer that we stay away from words like hypocrisy because it triggers reactions that we might not want to have. I would ask members to refrain from using that word and being very judicious in their comments.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the health minister voted for the Liberal cuts he voted for the closure of the hospital in Sudbury. He voted for the closure of the Wellesley. He also voted for a closure of the hospital in Thunder Bay.

Why does the health minister not stand up in the House of Commons and publicly admit that the cuts he voted for are closing hospitals across the land and they are in fact a Liberal legacy?