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House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was system.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everybody should know that to change the law we have to come to the House of Commons. If we decide to change the law, we cannot change the law by the back door; we have to come to the House of Commons. I learned that in April 1963 when I became a member of parliament.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1963 he did not have the APEC problem either. This on his fingers right now.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister—

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton North.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is evident now that the solicitor general, the chairman of the commission and the RCMP are all saying that they think the RCMP may have gone too far in APEC. Who will decide if the Prime Minister went too far?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was a very good situation in 1963. We did not have the Reform Party in Canada.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

We have learned too that when there is an inquiry under a law of parliament we let the inquiry do its job. The inquiry will look at all aspects.

I am not worried at all, but I am worried about the opposition being so inept in opposing the government.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess it takes inept to know inept.

This commission is not even operating right now and the Prime Minister knows that. Even if it is called back into procedure, the government and the Prime Minister know that they only have the option of checking into behaviour and actions of the RCMP and not of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister knows that it will not subpoena him or the documents that his people are deliberately hiding. When will we get a full judicial inquiry into this matter?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

We are impugning motive. I would like hon. member to withdraw the word deliberately.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Excuse me, Mr. Speaker. I will withdraw that word.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that at that time my task was to chair a meeting of 17 leaders of the world, the President of the United States, the President of China, the Prime Minister of Japan and so on, and that it was in the midst of a financial crisis in the Pacific area.

At that time I did not have time to discuss anything with the police. Anybody with common sense would know that.

Social UnionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister told us he was prepared to consider changes to the Constitution if the Quebec government behaved and if all provinces reached a consensus.

There are examples of strong consensus that we can give this consensus-seeking gentleman: in Saskatoon, last summer, all the premiers agreed that there should be a provision to opt out of any new federal program with full compensation.

Since there is consensus on the social union, what is the Prime Minister waiting for to take action?

Social UnionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the discussions now being held on this topic are the result of an initiative I myself took at the first ministers' meeting last December, together with the premier of Saskatchewan.

We said that everyone had to work together to develop a social union program in Canada that would respect everyone's jurisdictions. We received the provincial governments' proposals a few months ago and the Minister of Justice, who is leading the negotiations, met with her colleagues a few weeks ago.

We are not responding to a request on which all provinces agree. It was an initiative—

Social UnionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The Leader of the Bloc Quebecois has the floor.

Social UnionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that you cut the Prime Minister off because what he actually told the premiers was that, if they wanted to run Canada, all they had to do was get themselves elected Prime Minister. Such arrogance!

After statements such as this, how can we believe that the Prime Minister wants to sort anything out? Why does he bother to string people along before referendums are held, if all he intends to do later is sit back and do the exact opposite? That is what he has always done.

Social UnionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, today the Premier of Quebec decided to call an election and I can see that it is making the Bloc Quebecois very nervous.

Social UnionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he needs a consensus to act.

In Saskatoon, the premiers agreed that the federal government should refund the $6.3 billion in cuts to the social transfers.

My question is for the Prime Minister. If he is serious, why does he not act?

Social UnionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in order to eliminate the $42 billion deficit, Canadians had to make sacrifices, and the government watched to make sure these sacrifices were fair.

For example, we did not touch the equalization payments. George Matthews, an economist who has worked very closely with the Bloc, has calculated that an additional $4.5 billion still goes into the Quebec government's coffers year in and year out. This is what Canadian solidarity is all about.

HealthOral Question Period

October 28th, 1998 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says he needs a consensus before he will take action.

All of Canada is asking him to take a portion of the budget surpluses and return it to the provinces for use in the health sector, because that is the priority everywhere.

If he is serious, why is he doing nothing?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the day before yesterday in Toronto I gave a speech in which I again repeated that the government's priority in the next budget would be the health sector.

Obviously, however, the Bloc Quebecois is not interested in the real world. But, if any major consensus has come out of Quebec in the last two referendums, it is that Quebeckers want to remain in Canada.

PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, at a conference this morning the human resources minister told a story about a panhandler reluctant to accept money from a young father in case his child needed the money tomorrow. Pitting the needs of a desperate, poor man against the needs of children is moral bankruptcy. That is precisely what the minister's story illustrates.

Can the minister not understand that this approach will never solve the problem of growing poverty in the country?

PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry the leader of the NDP was wrongly briefed about an anecdote I used this morning at a very important conference on children.

I was expressing that in Canada and in the government Canadians want their children to come first. Indeed an assistant of mine rolled a stroller by a hotel and a panhandler seeing the child said “I don't want that money because it would be better used on the child”.

PovertyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, 500,000 more children have been driven into poverty by the government and this minister is proud of that record.

The Liberals' child tax benefit program excludes many of the poorest children in the country. He knows that because he designed it that way.

What would it take to persuade the minister to fix the program so that all poor children benefit?