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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agency.

Topics

Greek CommunityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday I attended two very important events in Montreal's Greek community.

The first commemorated October 28, 1940, known as OXI day, when the Greek government of the time stood up to the forces trying to divide and conquer Europe, and the second marked the liberation of Thessalonica on October 26, 1912.

The Prime Minister sent the Greek community a message, which I will read: “Canadians of Greek origin have every reason to be proud of their important contributions, past and present, to Canada's growth and prosperity”.

I am very proud that Canada has maintained the continuing tradition of recognizing contributions of Canadians of other origins.

Part of Canada's uniqueness besides its diversity is its tradition of democratic principles and rights, the same rights which were hard fought by the resistance forces in Greece in 1940. Tomorrow I join half a million Greeks across Canada in celebrating our continued fight to protect both our democratic—

Greek CommunityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Dartmouth.

National PostStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, this morning Canadians awoke to a new national newspaper, the National Post . My party and I believe that our democracy can only survive with strong, diverse and independent voices commenting on the news of the day, but we will not get them from the National Post .

Diverse opinions in papers require journalists who are allowed to express a wide variety of reasoned arguments. Conrad Black said this morning on TV that he wanted diverse opinions. At the same time he is suing the communications workers union and two of its organizers for questioning the editorial integrity of the Calgary Herald during a recent organizing drive.

What Mr. Black is really saying to Canadians is that many opinions are good as long as he agrees with them. Mr. Black's behaviour showed why it is important for the government to bring forward measures now to promote real diversity in the Canadian media, not stand by while the views of Conrad Black gain any more weight.

Erminie Joy CohenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great Canadian from my riding who was recently honoured by the Jewish National Fund.

Senator Erminie Joy Cohen represents the beautiful city of Saint John in the upper house of Canada's parliament. She is truly an excellent example of the work that our Progressive Conservative senators do both in their communities and on the national level.

In recognition of her contributions to Canada in the areas of equality, family violence, poverty, human rights, health and Canadian unity, the Jewish National Fund bestowed a tremendous award upon her this past Sunday night.

In honour of Senator Cohen, 28,000 trees will be planted in the Negev Desert in Israel as part of the Jubilee Forest Project. In tribute to Senator Cohen and her home province, the forest will be called the New Brunswick Forest.

I would like to join the Jewish National Fund, the people of Saint John and all Canadians in congratulating Senator Erminie Cohen for her outstanding contributions to her faith—

Erminie Joy CohenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for London West.

Women's History MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, October is Women's History Month in Canada.

In 1970 the historic Royal Commission on the Status of Women presented its report to parliament, which included 167 recommendations on how to foster equality between men and women. At the time only one woman sat in the House of Commons. Today I am proud to be part of a House with 62 women members or 21%, the largest number of women MPs in our history.

Despite the gains that women have made in Canada, world wide over the last 23 years there has only been a 2% increase in female representation in respective houses of parliament.

If we are to strive to attain an equitable future, it is my position and the position of my colleagues in the House that we work together, men and women, in partnership to get better activities and representation for the benefit of all our citizens.

Wye Plantation AccordStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois would like to congratulate the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on reaching the Wye Plantation accord.

This accord, fostered by American mediation, sets the stage for true reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and for a long lasting peace in the Middle East.

The efforts of Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu to reach an agreement are being repaid by public opinion, which today, clearly expresses its approval of the results at this new stage of the peace process. They are the precursors of the new successes that cannot fail but crown the even more difficult negotiations facing the two nations.

The Bloc Quebecois looks forward to the emergence of a Palestinian state on May 4, 1999, but wants Israel to live in security too. The people of Quebec wish the representatives of the Palestinian and Israeli people success as they enter into the home stretch toward peace.

GasolineStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, we can fool some of the people some of the time but things are so bad in the Liberal caucus that the backbenchers cannot be fooled any longer.

Scrambling to save face at next week's conference on climate change, the environment minister announced last minute plans to reduce sulphur levels in gasoline by 90%. She claims consumers will pay a mere one cent per litre for this clean air plan. The Liberal chair of the gas pricing committee, however, pegs the increase at a whopping 15 cents per litre. That is not even close.

The sulphur tax is a carbon tax by any other name. When the Prime Minister assured Canadians last year that there would be no carbon tax, his backbenchers believed him. Canadians wanted to believe him. They have all been deceived again. Taxpayers will pay dearly for the Liberal's desperate attempt to meet its Kyoto commitment.

The government prefers to keep up international appearances rather than its promises to the people of Canada. Canadians are not fooled—

GasolineStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for South Shore.

Christmas Tree IndustryStatements By Members

October 27th, 1998 / 2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the use of real Christmas trees and foliage in the Parliament Buildings during the holiday season.

Mr. Speaker, I have not had the opportunity to speak to you at length on this subject and it is your prerogative to decide on the matter.

The Christmas tree industry is worth more than $100 million to Canada and every acre of Christmas trees provides oxygen for approximately 15 people. This industry helps support 3,000 farm families in Nova Scotia alone and is environmentally friendly and sustainable.

It is an embarrassment to see the greenery that decorates these halls during Christmas. It is inexcusable that this travesty continues. Real trees and foliage can and should grace these halls. If we want Canadians to embrace sustainable and environmentally friendly products, surely as the Speaker and representative of parliament, you could—

Christmas Tree IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I will keep that in mind.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last night the Prime Minister lumbered through a half hour speech without starting a new national crisis. No reference to baseball bats or the constitution; it was good. There was no mention either of the Prime Minister's plan to take money from the employment insurance fund to spend on pet Liberal projects. Does this mean that the government has seen the light and has cancelled its plans to raid the employment insurance fund?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is a debate going on at this time.

The Minister of Finance made a statement on that not long ago to the House of Commons and to the nation in consultations with Canadians about what should be part of the next budget. The Minister of Human Resources Development has replied to all the questions that have been asked by the opposition on the subject of EI. When the budget comes down we will know.

We are in a good position because of the administration and we have managed to deal with a very difficult problem. For the first time in generations we are dealing with a surplus.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last night the Prime Minister talked about weathering the coming economic storm, but that would be easier for most Canadians if payroll taxes were lower. Right now the average worker pays $350 a year too much for employment insurance and the average small business pays $500 more per employee, per year than it should.

With the economy slowing down, why does the Prime Minister think that workers and small businesses can do without this money?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the member that when we started on January 1, 1994 the premiums were supposed to be $3.30. We have reduced them to $2.70 in the last four budgets. We have been reducing them. If the Leader of the Opposition were to look objectively at the situation of payroll taxes, Canada probably has the lowest level of payroll taxes of any of the G-7 countries.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, to weather the coming economic storm that the Prime Minister himself is predicting, workers need an employment insurance fund they can count on and they need more dollars in their own pockets today. Both of those objectives are damaged by a government raid on the employment insurance fund.

My question again is why does the Prime Minister not call off the heist and cancel the government's plans to raid the employment insurance fund?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, there are some major problems on the international scene, particularly in Asia. As I said, because of the discipline of the Canadian people and the management of this government, we are in a position today to be able to decide what to do with a surplus. Of course we want to make sure that these moneys are used to create jobs in Canada and give the type of economic and social progress that is needed in Canada at this time.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has absolutely no excuse for skimming money from workers' insurance plans that belong to them. Thanks to the finance minister's tax increases over the past five years this government is collecting billions of dollars more than it needs to pay the bills.

Why is the Prime Minister overtaxing workers $350 each on their insurance premiums?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me read from the 1995 Reform Party taxpayers budget: The Reform Party recommends the establishment of a permanent reserve fund for UI. Funds from this reserve would be applied against the deficit. That is the Reform Party's policy.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is 1998. We were going to borrow that money, not confiscate it.

In three weeks the finance minister is planning to meet with the employment insurance commission. I think we already know what he is planning to tell it, and that is not to cut EI taxes. He will tell the commission that he plans to change the law so that he can help himself to billions of dollars of workers' insurance premiums. He only has until mid November. He and the Prime Minister have talked about having a debate on this. Where is the debate, in this House or just in his head?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us understand that in 1995 the Reform Party was not recommending that any of the EI surplus be applied to reductions. Reformers were saying that all of the EI surplus must go against the deficit. We did not follow their advice. We reduced premiums in 1995. We reduced them in 1996. We reduced them in 1997. That is what we have done.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to question the Prime Minister today. We are looking forward to having him clarify statements he made in a long interview published last weekend in La Presse .

Since he claims that, through his efforts, all of Quebec's traditional demands have been met, can the Prime Minister tell us why none of the political parties or leaders in Quebec has signed the 1982 Constitution, his life's achievement?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have said and I repeat that we have made strides in Canada these past few years, in spite of the Bloc Quebecois and the PQ.

When a resolution recognizing the distinctiveness of the language, culture and civil law in Quebec was brought before this House, the Bloc Quebecois voted against it. When legislation was passed in this House to give a veto—one of Quebec's traditional demands—to the regions, including Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois voted against it.

As the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs pointed out yesterday, the list of improvements we have initiated is quite impressive and there is more to come—

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, still, this does not explain why Robert Bourassa, Daniel Johnson, Jean Charest and Claude Ryan all refused to sign the 1982 Constitution. But I think that is something the Prime Minister does not understand.

In the same interview, the Prime Minister indicated he preferred the small-steps strategy of dealing with issues on a case-by-case basis, to avoid creating false hopes, as he put it. Could the Prime Minister tell us what he means by “false hopes”?