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House of Commons Hansard #162 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let it be understood by the hon. member opposite and those who support that political party there is no question provincial governments have jurisdiction in the field of health. It is also clear under the provisions of the Constitution that the Government of Canada has responsibility and jurisdiction when it comes to the field of health.

I cannot understand why the Bloc Quebecois does not want to support senior citizens when it comes to pharma care or home care. I say to the Bloc and I say to the people of Quebec that we should work together for senior citizens in Quebec and across the country.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in just a few days the Prime Minister will call an election and run on his record. The record is broken, broken, broken.

Let us talk about his record on patronage. His former campaign manager becomes lieutenant-governor for Saskatchewan; failed Liberal candidates, immigration boards; Liberal Party officials, airport authorities; Liberal fund raisers, they just shoehorn them in wherever they can fit them. Even the girlfriend of a former Liberal prime minister cashes in on this shameless system of Liberal rewards, and it is all at taxpayers' expense.

Since pork and payoff are the true record of the government, could the Prime Minister tell us how many appointments and contracts are being handed out this month to Liberal Party faithful?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the same number as usual. We are just running the government.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

When there are openings we fill them with competent people. It so happens there are some Liberals who are competent, and others too. If we were to choose only from Reform supporters we would have very few to choose from.

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have heard of people talking about family values. This is the first time I have heard about Liberal values being the patronage trough.

Let us talk for a second about the Senate. There have been 20 appointments over three and a half years, which is better than with Brian Mulroney.

During the last campaign the Prime Minister talked about patronage when he said:

The people of Canada will see a big difference with the Liberals in power.

If they did, the only difference I can see is that the appointees are now Liberal instead of Tory and there is more of them. Maybe that is the difference.

In 1984 then Prime Minister Trudeau made 172 appointments in his final month in office and he went on to lose the election. How many appointments has the Prime Minister made in April? Is he trying to set a new record?

Government Of CanadaOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was a big change in appointments to the Senate. For the first time ever there have been more women named senators than men since we have been the government.

We on this side of the House supported the possibility of having elected senators. But what happened? Reformers voted against that. They wanted to have elected senators and we were for that, but they campaigned against changing the Constitution in a way that would have permitted the election of senators. Now we appoint senators and for the first time in the history of Canada we have named two women senators for each man during this last period.

Young Canada WorksOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday my colleague, the member for Lac-Saint-Jean, pointed out how upset the Bloc Quebecois was at Heritage Canada's ideological and propagandist slant in its treatment of young people seeking employment under the Young Canada Works program.

The Deputy Prime Minister even had the nerve to reply to the official opposition that "when you work for Heritage Canada, it is obvious that you must also belong to Canada".

My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Given the attitude of the Deputy Prime Minister, would the Prime Minister tell the

House whether a Quebecer who has the required qualifications and who is a sovereignist may work for Heritage Canada, yes or no?

Young Canada WorksOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Restigouche—Chaleur New Brunswick

Liberal

Guy Arseneault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised again today that this question is being asked. I am an Acadian from New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province in Canada, a fact of which I am very proud. I am proud to be a Canadian, and I am proud that Young Canada Works, a national program, is there to provide work for young people.

I personally think we should say yes, and not no, to Canada, and if it takes young people to help us recognize our country, we say yes to Canada.

Young Canada WorksOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the parliamentary secretary was looking at the wrong page when he answered.

I would remind this government and the Prime Minister that freedom of expression and association is specifically mentioned in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is dangerous to see the Prime Minister and his government departing so easily from established rights.

I ask the Prime Minister whether we are to understand from the government's reply that it is confirming that a sovereignist from Quebec could not work for the federal government because of his or her political opinions?

Young Canada WorksOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon member in this very public forum that, when the Parti Quebecois was elected to office in Quebec, it forced representatives of Quebec abroad to resign, unless they bowed down and practically swore an oath to the cause of independence. Nothing like this ever goes on in the federal government.

Auto PactOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, the late Right Hon. Paul Martin Sr. signed the auto pact 32 years ago. Since then it has generated hundreds of thousands of jobs in southwestern Ontario and contributed immeasurably to the national economy.

Constituents of mine are concerned that the auto pact is under attack from Japanese auto makers. Will the Minister for International Trade confirm to the House and to the constituents in Windsor that the government will protect the auto pact and the future jobs it will create?

Auto PactOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, a year ago the tariff on auto parts used in manufacturing was lifted. That benefited all Canadian auto manufacturers.

Canadian manufacturers, the big three and the Japanese auto makers are all an important part of the economy. We have no plans to lift the tariff on vehicles. We are however undergoing a regular comprehensive review of the auto pact and are consulting all stakeholders.

I must say the auto pact has been an enormous success to Canada in terms of job creation. It is the biggest single component of the trade surplus of the country. Certainly the big three auto manufacturers are a very key part of that.

We want to maintain that industry's strength. We want to maintain those jobs.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked why the Liberal government allowed prisoners the right to vote in the upcoming election and the government responded: "We will look at it".

This brilliant response shows Canadians where the government has been coming from all along. "Conditional sentences, we will look at it; victims rights, we will look at it; early release for Clifford Olson, we will look at it; Young Offenders Act, we will look at it," and nothing gets done.

Four recent cases of rape or attempted murder were given conditional sentences, no time in prison. Is the Liberal government prepared to do more than just look at it and exclude serious offenders from conditional sentences now?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Prince Albert—Churchill River Saskatchewan

Liberal

Gordon Kirkby LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. As a result of working together the federal and provincial governments have determined that the use of the conditional sentence, properly applied by the courts, will improve the safety of our citizens over time.

A problem that has been in place is that many violent and dangerous offenders are put in jail. The jails are often full of people who are not a danger to society. As a result of conditional sentences, those who are not a risk to society can be released to serve their sentence in the community, leaving more room in our correctional facilities for dangerous offenders who should be in jail.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I take it that the answer was no and dangerous offenders are actually rapists and attempted murderers.

A corrections investigator observed in prison:

Drug trafficking, loan sharking and brew making are on the rise.

The recommendation he made to the Liberals to fix the problem was:

-that immediate action be taken to ensure that offender pay scales reasonably reflect the cost of living within institutions.

A pay raise, they say, for brew making and drug trafficking.

My question is obvious. Why would the government consider a pay raise for prisoners after what it said about victims rights, that we could not afford them, that we could not afford the implementation of them? Why is that?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vaudreuil Québec

Liberal

Nick Discepola LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member's allegations are totally unfounded. The government is not considering giving any pay raise to any prisoner.

They are paid the scale that has been established for a long time for work done in the prisons. I do not know where the member is coming from, as usual.

Food InspectionOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

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

Since the Liberal government took office, it has increasingly made the Quebec and Canadian agri-food industry pay for food inspection costs. The Liberal government is imposing all sorts of fees, but forgets that farmers are always the ones stuck with the bill, and that consumers ultimately have to pay for it.

How can farmers remain competitive if the 1996-97 estimates for the agriculture department provide for cost recovery measures in at least 42 areas for the next three years?

Food InspectionOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Essex—Kent Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I believe we have been very consistent in looking at agriculture and agricultural policies. We have put priorities within our spending in agriculture. We have made certain that research is the number one priority with agriculture. We are making sure that our producers are well treated and have markets.

The excursions by the Prime Minister and the minister of agriculture have increased our markets so that we are almost at $20 billion in exports today. Our agricultural market is being defended and worked upon very readily by all policies we are bringing down.

There is no question that it has been a very high priority and that we will continue that priority.

ElectionOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan just issued a householder claiming that the Reform Party has been urging the government for three months to have an election. He should have been paying attention because the Reform has been asking why we are having an election.

Surely the Prime Minister does not think he can win based on the conditional sentences bill or his section 745 lack of action or his refusal to do anything with the Young Offenders Act. Is he calling an election because Aline Chrétien told him to do it now? If he is, could he please give me her phone number so I can call and ask her why we are doing this?

ElectionOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not know if that relates to the administrative responsibility of anyone.

Italian Canadian CommunityOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. It has to do with a promise he mad to the Italian Canadian community prior to the last election when the Liberals were in opposition. At that time a promise was made to the Italian Canadian community that an apology would be forthcoming in the House of Commons with respect to the treatment of Italian Canadians during the second world war, along with a variety of other things that would be part of an overall package.

I want to ask the Prime Minister why that promise was not kept. What is the position of the Liberal government in respect of that promise today?

Italian Canadian CommunityOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party's position on this issue is quite clear. My predecessor, the hon. member for Mount Royal, made a statement in the House in 1994 which said very clearly that while things had happened in the past history of the country, that if history could be repeated, they would never happen again.

It is time for us to move on to form a new future. In doing so, we have created a Canada where the charter of rights and freedoms guarantees that this can never happen in the future.

We have created the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. We have met with many communities to hear their history and their stories.

Seniors BenefitOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Some Canadians have expressed concern that the new seniors benefit will be based on family income. They believe that this provision will unfairly discriminate against married senior couples and favour single seniors who co-habit.

Can the minister assure Canadians that the new seniors benefit will in no way discriminate against married senior couples?

Seniors BenefitOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right. This is a concern. It is completely wrong, however, to describe senior couples as being disadvantaged under the seniors benefit as compared to single seniors. The base benefit for couples will be twice as great as for singles at the same income level.

Since the GIS has always been targeted to income levels, it is equally appropriate to combine the incomes of higher income couples to determine their levels of benefits. In addition, we use the family income in many instances for targeted benefits and that is what we will do in this case.