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House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Please do not use our names in the House.

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, as members know, Canada is now the most trade intensive country in the G7. One in three jobs is devoted to export sales of goods and services. In manufacturing alone,60 per cent of output is exported. One Canadian export expert described this dramatic shift as the most abrupt in Canadian history and one of the most significant since World War II.

This information is well understood in Burlington, Ontario. Our economy is leading the way in the emerging innovative economy. Whether it is environment, water, robotics or information technologies, Burlington business is competitive in the global marketplace.

I am proud of my record working with Zenon, CRS, Geomatics and many other Burlington companies to help them succeed and to bring jobs to our community.

Armenian GenocideStatements By Members

April 24th, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, 82 years ago today, on April 24, 1915, the religious and intellectual leaders of the Armenian community in Constantinople were taken from their beds and imprisoned, tortured and killed.

Armenians in the Turkish army were all killed. Men over 15 years of age were gathered in cities, towns and villages, roped together, marched to uninhabited locations and killed. After a few days the women and children and remaining men were marched from Anatolia to the Syrian Desert where they were left to die. On the way they were attacked by Turkish mobs.

As a result of these atrocities over 1.5 million Armenians were massacred. We must never forget these crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Turkish authorities in 1915.

I call on my fellow members of Parliament to honour the victims of the Armenian genocide. If the killing of 1.5 million Armenians is not a genocide, then I do not know what a genocide is anymore.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse NDP Mackenzie, SK

Mr. Speaker, this government leaves the impression of being on the side of farmers when it discusses the need for supply management of dairy products.

Recently the agriculture minister agreed to a scheduled phase out of the consumer subsidy, but now he assures dairy farmers that the $12 million agreed upon to delay the price pass through until February is off because he was "unable to persuade his cabinet colleagues". We could blame the minister. Once again he has failed in a commitment made to farmers. But is the problem not really greater than the minister himself?

It was the Liberals who were going to protect supply management, then they signed it away in NAFTA. It was the Liberals who were going to keep the Canadian Wheat Board, but negotiated it away at the World Trade Organization talks. It was the Liberals who were going to keep the Crow benefit, but they eliminated it 18 months after gaining government.

It is true that the minister has a fatal character flaw: his word means nothing. But hey, he is only a Liberal.

Member For Simcoe CentreStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, with an election call likely hours away, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for having had the privilege of serving in this 35th Parliament and to say a few thank yous.

First to you, Mr. Speaker, and your deputies, I want to say how much your patience and understanding has meant to a rookie MP. To my leader and Reform colleagues, my thanks and best wishes in this coming election to those seeking another term. And thank you to my staff who have served me so well.

While I have always enjoyed the love, understanding and support of my family, it has been of great comfort to me during this term. To my wife Rosemary, daughter Sandra, son Brian, son-in-law Bradd, and grandchildren Jessica and Nicholas, my thanks for that love and understanding.

In leaving, it is my hope that I have contributed in some way to a better Canada for future generations. While we have different game plans, I am certain this is a goal we all share. I wish the best for those who will be privileged to serve in the next Parliament.

Minister Of FinanceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we have learned this morning in Le Soleil about the federal finance minister is more disturbing than anything we could have imagined. According to this newspaper, the trust which is managing the minister's assets has established no less that seven branches in Barbados, for a total of 13 branches in various tax havens.

On several occasions, the Bloc Quebecois urged the finance minister to stem the growing use of tax havens. We even made recommendations to him that would have made these tax havens less attractive.

It is with sadness that the Bloc Quebecois realizes that the Liberal finance minister would much rather cut billions in social programs and take money out of the unemployment insurance fund than eliminate tax loopholes that are very useful to him.

That is the perfect example of a finance minister who says: "Do as I say, not as I do".

Member For Renfrew-Nipissing-PembrokeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Len Hopkins Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, from the time I was 14 years old I wanted to be a member of Parliament. This goal in life was achieved on November 8, 1965 when the voters of Renfrew North first elected me to the House of Commons.

I thank my wife and family for all they have done for me over the years. Today I want to thank all the people I have represented consecutively through nine parliaments, from the Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson down to the present; seven prime ministers in nearly 32 years as an MP. I am very grateful to all my constituents and to all those people who have worked hard on my behalf.

I love public life because it is a calling and not just a job. I love my country because it is a valued and caring institution. My thanks go out to the wonderful friends I have made over the years.

It is not what you do in life that matters, it is your purpose in life that counts. I will be working toward a continuing unified Canada as long as I live.

Member For Renfrew-Nipissing-PembrokeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I will call you Lenny for the first time but I speak for all colleagues because after 32 years of service to your country you have made us very proud and you have done a great service to this great country and I thank you very much.

Member For NepeanStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I too rise in the House today with a profound sense of privilege, regret and anticipation, for in a short time my role as the MP for Nepean will come to a conclusion.

I feel privileged to have had the honour to serve the people of Nepean in this House since 1988. It is to the Nepean constituents that I have always felt the greatest responsibility and obligation. They have been my first priority as a member of Parliament.

I feel privileged to have been instrumental in moving many issues forward in this House, issues affecting women, children and health as examples. I believe I have succeeded in speaking out for the rights and freedoms of individuals. I feel privileged to have been member of a government that also upholds these ideals.

That is why I feel regret to be leaving the seat of our democracy. I wish farewell to you, my colleagues, on both sides of this House. It has been an honour to serve in Parliament along with you. While our viewpoints may have differed, I have always respected your dedication to your constituents and to the elements of democracy.

And so to my constituents, my caucus colleagues and especially to the Prime Minister and members on the other side of the House, I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve as the member of Parliament for Nepean.

Member For Moose Jaw-Lake CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Allan Kerpan Reform Moose Jaw—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, over the past three and half years it has been an honour for me to represent the wonderful people of my riding. I will have the dubious pleasure of being the last member of Parliament for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre.

I want to thank all the people in my riding for their support, thoughts and input. I will never forget you.

With the calling of the election I will turn my attention to my new riding of Blackstrap. I am looking forward to the challenge of meeting the current Liberal member for Saskatoon-Dundurn in what I am calling the showdown for Saskatoon.

There is no doubt that this government has a lot to answer for in the province of Saskatchewan. Its lack of action on many issues and its heavy handed approach on many others are something we will bring before the people in the next 40 days or so. It is time to pay the piper.

We have been fortunate in this country that at least every four years or so we as Canadians can and must evaluate the record of our politicians. It is high noon. The streets are quiet. Let the showdown begin.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I always thought it was the opposition in a Parliament which had a shadow cabinet, not the party in power.

On a more serious note, yesterday, the auditor general had much to say about how the government fiddles its financial statements, but the Liberals turned a deaf ear. They preferred not to hear his comments. It is understandable that, with the elections approaching, the government would want to avoid hearing anything that might cast light on the way the Liberals have managed the public funds. As they say on the Hill, and how appropriate it is: "When the going gets tough, the Liberals go into hiding".

By skipping a meeting with the auditor general on the government's accounting practices, what are the Liberals trying to hide, to cover up? What are the Liberals trying to hide, when we see that the auditor general told them yesterday that their accounting practices were dubious?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the government has nothing to hide from the auditor general. The auditor general looked over our books and he gave us a clear statement that they were in good shape. The hon. member should be well aware that there was no reservation by the auditor general on the accounts.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a statement like that is surprising, when we know that the Liberals did not want to hear it yesterday. It is a bit surprising when one knows that what the auditor general would have said, if he had the chance, is: "I fear that the credibility of the government's financial statements and of the budget is questionable". That is pretty clear.

The Liberals did the same thing last year. They are repeating the same dubious accounting practice of cooking the books, fiddling with the deficit, in order to look better on the eve of an election. That is what they are trying to do.

If they are repeating the same offence and continuing to thumb their collective noses at the recommendations of the auditor general, are we to conclude that the government has now acquired the habit of playing with the figures to its heart's content, ignoring the most elementary principles of accounting?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that he should read the auditor general's statements. Take a look at them.

The auditor general gave us a clean opinion on his audit statement of the government accounts.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I have read the French version, and I have read the English version; they both said the same thing. It could have been debated yesterday with our honourable colleague, if he had deigned to show up at the Public Accounts Committee, which he did not.

And the Liberals are going to seek another mandate by saying that they have managed our taxes well, while the auditor general says the opposite, that the Liberals have been manipulating the figures in order to make their financial statements look better, adding expenditures that will not even be made until after the election onto the deficit of previous years.

Let us take the example of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, which is used to hide $800 million this year. What confidence and what credibility can we have in a government which treats comments made by the auditor general in a totally flippant and irresponsible manner?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member that this government is not spending today and paying for it tomorrow. It is setting up a reserve fund and that innovation fund is going to be paid out over the next little while. We have made that commitment and acknowledged that at the time we made it.

This government has not followed the example of the previous governments where we found out some years later that we had a deficit of $42 billion instead of $32 billion. We are not making commitments and then paying for them later. We are making commitments now and we are recognizing those commitments.

The auditor general has stated specifically that our books were in good order for last year.

I would ask the member about this building which he is sitting in. When was it expensed? It was expensed in the budgets of 1917 and 1918 when it was built and we have used it for the last 80 years. We are doing the same thing with the innovation fund. We are setting it up. We have made that commitment. It is there and it will be used over the next few years.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance.

When he left the room where the Standing Committee on Public Accounts that was supposed to be sitting late in the afternoon yesterday, the auditor general described the GST harmonization formula which, as we know, gave $1 billion to the maritimes, as a political decision. This squares exactly with what we have been saying about that formula since it was announced. It we fully apply the McKenna formula to Quebec, Ottawa owes Quebec $2 billion, which the Quebec government has been asking for, as was demonstrated in black and white in the last provincial budget.

Why is the government persisting in not treating Quebec the same way as it is treating the maritimes?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we are treating the Quebec government exactly the same way under those regulations as we are treating every other province. If the Quebec government had lost funds on the harmonization of the GST and the QST we would have compensated it. It did not lose funds.

As I said yesterday in the House, the Quebec government accounts show clearly that the numbers went from $5.1 billion to $5.4 billion to around $6 billion. That represents an increase every year since harmonization. It has not cost Quebec any funds at all. The Quebec accounts show that.

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, Mr. McKenna was at the Château Champlain, in Montreal, at 12.30 p.m. today, no doubt in order to praise the merits of his province in the taxation area and thus rob us of our businesses and our jobs.

Does the government find it normal that the premier of a province should use some of the money paid by Quebecers to come and draw Quebec's businesses away, businesses that Montreal needs so badly to counter poverty?

Goods And Services TaxOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question should be addressed to the premier of the province he has indicated. It is not the policies of the Government of Canada he has complained about but the policies of the province of New Brunswick. If he has problems with the provincial politics I suggest he bring those up in provincial parliaments.

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, don't you just hate getting junk mail? I got some this morning from the Liberals. Although they would not answer our questions yesterday I think they are trying to give us some hints about what they are planning for the upcoming election.

For example, on the cover of their pre-election brochure they feature six young children. I wonder if this means the government plans to reannounce its national day care program, the one it promised it would bring about last time but failed to deliver. Maybe these kids are some of the hundreds of thousands from families that have been driven from the middle to the low income bracket because of this government. Maybe they are supposed to represent the $20,000 per head of debt that men, women and children bear because of Liberal-Tory overspending.

Which one of these policies is the government planning to run on? Which policy will the Liberals bring before the Canadian people in the upcoming election?

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as we have found over the years, the selective reading habits of the Reform Party did not permit the hon. member to take a look at what is probably one of the most significant initiatives taken on behalf of children in the last decade, the announcement of a major investment in a child benefit that will ensure that every child in a low income family will receive a guaranteed benefit from the Government of Canada.

It provides a basic income flow for poor children in this country. It will put income into the hands of their parents so their parents can make the best choices about their education, their nutrition, and so on. That is the Liberal way of doing things, giving choice to people to help their children. That is the real issue.

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, by the government's own account, over a million children live in poverty in this country. There is no national day care program after the government promised it.

I am looking through the Liberal list of achievements page to see where it says that the Liberals fulfilled their promise on the GST, but it is strangely absent. I am looking for the section on national unity, but I cannot find it. Could that be because the government came within 50,000 votes of losing the country?

What about health care? It speaks about $300 million in a new health care initiative, but it does not mention, for some reason, that it has cut $7.5 billion.

Is the government planning to hoodwink Canadians once again, just like it did in 1993, or is my brochure missing some pages?

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I find it exceedingly bizarre that the hon. member, while he seems to be poring over the literature of the government with a microscope, totally ignores the literature of his own party.

The last so-called Reform budget was going to totally decimate the entire pension plan of Canadians. It was going to reduce payments to the disabled, children and low income families. It was going to totally and completely rewrite the social structure to give tax breaks to high income earners and higher taxes to the low income earners.

I would suggest the hon. member change his reading habits.

Liberal PartyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party is the only party that has a plan to save the Canada pension plan.

The chairman of the committee on the government side who comes from Winnipeg said that in 15 years the Canada pension plan will be in trouble because of the government's initiative. Is it any wonder when Liberal MPs secured their own MP pension that they are not concerned about Canadians' pensions?

The government cannot run away from its record. Look at the GST promise, the day care promise, the NAFTA promise. There have been 37 tax increases. The country has the worst jobless record since the great depression. Look at Somalia, Airbus, the Krever and the Pearson scandals.

After that pathetic record of incompetence and duplicity why should Canadians trust the government for another four years?