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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

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the unholy alliance continues with the Harris government in the province of Ontario. The hard core reality is that Canada has the second most expensive health care system in the OECD countries. As report after report have said, the issue is not one of funding, it is one of management.

The gall of the hon. member, to stand in his place and to suggest that we on this side are responsible when it was he and his party just one year ago that, by way of amendment put forward by the leader of the third party, was asking for additional cuts to transfer payments.

ZaireOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

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

Early this week, we learned that the Liberal government has finally listened to reason and announced a six month moratorium

on removals to Algeria; a moratorium that the Bloc Quebecois has long been calling for.

In recent weeks, the media have been reporting daily on the extremely serious situation in Zaire. Now that it has finally seen the light in the case of Algeria, what is the government waiting for to announce a moratorium on removals to Zaire?

ZaireOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Beaches—Woodbine Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Lib.

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the Advisory Committee on Country Conditions for Removals monitors countries and decides and recommends to the government what action to take on different countries.

It recommended that there be some assistance with Algeria. That is why we requested that all removals to Algeria be suspended for a six-month period until CIC officials are in a position to assess more accurately the dangers.

Rwanda, Burundi and Afghanistan are three other countries which are covered in addition to Algeria. At this time Zaire is not a part of this list but it is being monitored very closely and the government will make a decision at the appropriate time.

ZaireOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, in many respects, the situation in Zaire is worse than that in Burundi, Rwanda and Afghanistan. The government seems to be unaware that there is a civil war in Zaire and that even mercenaries that plagued Bosnia are apparently there.

How can the parliamentary secretary justify her government's failure to act and the continuation of removals to Zaire?

ZaireOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Beaches—Woodbine Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I have explained many times that the advisory committee is monitoring the situation. A decision will be made at the appropriate time if it is deemed to be necessary. At this time it is not but the situation is being monitored very closely.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, we had a major announcement today about 10 hospital closures in Ontario. That is a fairly significant matter with respect to health care.

The health minister seems utterly indifferent to that fact and seems unable to see any connection between that and a reduction of $1.2 billion in transfers from the federal government to Ontario.

Does the federal health minister accept any responsibility at all for the hospital closures that are occurring in Ontario today?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite cannot have it both ways. One day he stands up and says to the Government of Canada "you do not have any role to play with regard to the delivery of health care in this country, it is a provincial responsibility". Now he stands in his place and says to the Government of Canada "now you have a role to play in terms of the management of hospitals within provincial jurisdiction".

The hon. member has to realize, and perhaps an early course or a quick course in constitutional law would allow him to understand, that this a provincial jurisdiction, a management decision which the province of Ontario had to make and it made that decision.

The question is does the Reform Party support Michael Harris in his closures of hospitals in the province of Ontario.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, all members in the House know that the federal government has a responsibility with respect to funding of health care and the broad framework. It is the funding aspect that we are talking about.

We are wondering where this minister was in the prebudget discussions when the government decided to subsidize crown corporations and businesses to the tune of $7 billion a year and decided at the same time to cut health care by almost $4 billion.

Where was the minister when that decision was made? Why did he not stick up for health care in that circumstance, as he obvious did not?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite just does not get it. Does he support the Conservative Government of Ontario? In view of the fact that he has not taken a position, I can only assume that he does support the closure of hospitals in the province of Ontario. That is a decision that the Conservative government in the province of Ontario had to make, and it made the decision. I charge that the leader of the third party supports the decisions of Michael Harris in the province of Ontario.

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

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

Bill C-82, which amends the Bank Act, does not address the issue of globalization of markets and financial institutions. The government has formed the Baillie committee to look at these particular issues, but the committee will not be tabling its report until September 1998. Yet next month, on April 10, the World Trade Organization begins negotiations on this vital issue in Geneva.

What position will the government take in these negotiations, which begin in a few days, because in principle it does not expect the conclusions of the Baillie committee until 1998?

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we have taken some measures recently by introducing the legislation. We announced in a press release that we will be allowing foreign branching in Canada. That is something we have been pressured to do by various countries, including Britain and the United States.

We have answered that question by issuing a press release that we would be bringing legislation before the public within this year.

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I put my question to the Minister of Finance, a senior minister, so that I would get a real answer. Because when we ask the secretary of state questions, he skates around, is so forthcoming that the financial community quakes in its boots. It is dreadful.

So I direct my question to the Minister of Finance, because billions of dollars are involved. The deregulation of financial institutions is involved. Can he table in this House, as quickly as possible in order to reassure the financial sector, the position the Canadian government intends to take in Geneva next April 10?

Financial InstitutionsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, when the position that the Government of Canada is taking in Geneva is made public, we will be happy to table it in the House.

MexicoOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

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

In 1994 Canada contributed to a $50 billion U.S. international bailout package for Mexico. My constituents in Guelph-Wellington were concerned about Mexico's ability to repay Canada.

As vice-chair of the Canada-Mexico Parliamentary Friendship Association, my question for the minister is this. Has Mexico repaid Canada and did the rescue package work?

MexicoOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to respond to the hon. member who has taken a great interest in this in her capacity as vice-chair of the Canada-Mexico parliamentary association.

As she knows, Canada contributed a currency swap facility of up to $1.5 billion as part of the overall international assistance package for Mexico in which the United States and the IMF obviously took a major role.

I am delighted to say that Canada was able to help Mexico when it ran into trouble with the peso in 1994. Our help has paid off. Inflation is down and the Mexican economy is growing again.

I am also delighted to say that Mexico has been able to repay the United States three years ahead of schedule. It is ahead of its repayment schedule to the IMF. And quite some time ago Mexico repaid Canada in full.

This is good news for Mexico, good news for Canada and good news for the world.

PensionsOral Question Period

March 6th, 1997 / 2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance claims that Canada pension plan premiums are not a tax on Canadians. His own department has disagreed with him again.

Another finance study dated March 13, 1996 called CPP premiums a payroll tax and said that they will reduce jobs. That is the third finance study at least that we have uncovered that contradicts its own minister.

Will the minister admit that his CPP tax hikes in fact are killing jobs, not creating them as he has hinted, and how many?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the advice that I have from the department dated approximately the same date, within about a month of the date that the member said, is that if the federal and provincial governments move quickly, which we have done, and take the steps that we did to improve the

overall financing and management of the fund, very clearly this, which was not a tax, would not be seen as a tax but as what it really is, a contribution to people's pensions.

The basic question that Reform members have to answer is this. Is it their intention to abandon current seniors and those who are about to retire? Is it their intention to renege on the $500 billion liability in the Canada pension plan? If it is not, how do they justify the 13 per cent increase in Canada pension plan contributions that will result from their plan?

How do they think, in that weird little mind where they do their own arithmetic, 13 per cent is lower than 9.9 per cent?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister said that if the government moved quickly on this thing it would not be seen as a tax. Any Canadian who gets their T-4 in the mail this week is going to have a really hard time saying they do not see this as a tax when they see CPP premiums go up by 70 per cent. It is just ridiculous.

The minister's non-answers in the House day after day on this topic point to a very serious problem with this government, the issue of trust. The minister continues to ignore his own department and denies again and again that these payroll taxes are killing jobs.

Again, how many jobs will be killed by the CPP premium hike? How could Canadians trust this government with anything, let alone their cash?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member refers to trust. One should talk about the obligations that a political party has to lay all the facts on the table when engaged in an important debate.

In the world of the super RRSP that Reform recommends, who will protect Canadians who are seriously injured and disabled and no longer able to work? There is $2 billion in the Canada pension plan to provide that money, none of it to be found in the super RRSP.

In the world of the super RRSP who will protect the person who has all of their money invested in the RRSP when the market suffers a major downturn just when they are about to retire?

In the world of the super RRSP who will protect the single parent or the mother who has to take maternity leave or the mother who decides to take some time off?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

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

We learned recently that last year, on at least three occasions, Canadian customs officer stopped individuals trying to bring into the country hundreds of syringes containing bovine somatotropin.

In view of the fact that a Health Canada inspector has acknowledged how easy it is for dairy farmers to get this hormone, what action is the government contemplating to prevent it from entering Canada in large quantities and eventually finding its way into the dairy supply system and onto our plates?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. gentleman will know, the responsibility for conducting the necessary scientific reviews in terms of health and safety matters rests with the department of health. The department of health is conducting its work and has been since about 1990. No decision has been taken, meaning that no notice of compliance has been issued. Accordingly, the laws of Canada stand in terms of preventing the importation and sale of rBST in Canada.

The responsibility for watching the border in terms of illegal importations or potentially illegal importations of course rests with Canada customs. They duly exercise their responsibilities and carry out their duties at the border to make sure that products which are not legal in Canada are not allowed into Canada.

We will always do our very best to enforce the law and maintain the health and safety of Canadians.

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is very optimistic, but this is not what is happening in the field.

Will the Minister of Agriculture commit to holding a public debate on the use of bovine somatotropin before it is allowed, should the study conducted by his department result in the licensing of this hormone?

Bovine SomatotropinOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member has suggested is an interesting idea. In fact, a variation of that idea was put forward a couple of years ago by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. The type of investigation, the type of debate, that the hon. gentleman has suggested was conducted before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food at least two years ago. The results of all of that are a matter of public record.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The minister is to lead an agri-food trade mission in the Asia-Pacific region.

Could the minister tell us what the objectives of his mission are and what its impact on Quebec farmers and the agri-food industry in this province will be?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, 1997 is Canada's year for Asia-Pacific and my agri-food trade mission to Japan and Indonesia is part of our ongoing Team Canada effort to build on our export success in that region of the world. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing economic zone on the face of the earth and we have to be there vigorously and persistently to get our share of the trade action. That is what this mission is all about. It probably involves the largest ever Canadian agri-food trade delegation from the private sector and the provinces.

In 1996 we set an all time record of $18.8 billion worth of export sales in agri-food, and this mission will make that total higher.