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House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government says it would like to use several billions of dollars from the EI fund to make general tax cuts and stimulate the economy.

My question is for the Acting Prime Minister. Does he not realize that using the EI fund to lower the taxes paid by the rich, a cut which would be funded primarily by workers earning $39,000 and less annually, is the most unfair, most illegal and most immoral course he could choose?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear that when we turned the corner with respect to the deficit reduction, what did we do? We started to reduce taxes for those most in need at the bottom end. All the Bloc is talking about is trying to bring us back to where we were left by the Tories who tried to bury this country.

This government through its policies ensured that Canada has a bright future and we will stick with our policies.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister wants to protect the economy of Quebec and of Canada against the risks of recession, why does he not immediately lower EI premiums, which would be an effective, fair, morally acceptable and, above all, legal way of creating jobs?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we will certainly take that as representation from the hon. member. We are in the middle of a debate among Canadians. We have repeatedly talked about our priorities, our health care, tax reduction, debt elimination and continued cuts to EI premiums. The premier of Saskatchewan seems to agree that Canadians require a debate. We have the best interests of Canadians at heart and we will continue to do what we have done in the past, ensure this country has a bright future.

Apec SummitOral Question Period

October 5th, 1998 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the solicitor general. For weeks now the government has been giving assurances that the RCMP commission will get to the bottom of the Spray-PEC inquiry.

Why then did the solicitor general say that the Prime Minister will not be attending the inquiry because he would only become the focus of it but instead the solicitor general will act as cover for the Prime Minister? Why did the solicitor general say “I'm the cover” for the Prime Minister on this issue?

Apec SummitOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member is getting his information but I never said such a thing.

Apec SummitOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the solicitor general has been saying do not prejudge the outcome but wait for the inquiry. Why did he then ignore his own advice?

Is the solicitor general denying that he said last Thursday: “This inquiry will reveal that four or five Mounties used excessive force and overreacted”? Does the minister deny saying I wanted to go to the World Series, to New York, but I can't because “I'm the cover” for the Prime Minister?

Apec SummitOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have no idea where the hon. member is getting his information but none of it is true.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, as members know, the crash of a search and rescue helicopter cost six Canadian Armed Forces members their lives last Friday. This is a tragedy.

Knowing that an investigation is under way, I offer the Minister of National Defence an opportunity to tell us when the House will be informed of the investigation results and of the contents of Master Corporal David Gaetz's journal. What sort of assistance is being given to the families and what will be done to prevent future such catastrophes?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the investigation is underway and I cannot say how long that investigation will take. As soon as we can get the results, the better.

As for the diary kept by the engineer, Mr. Gaetz, apparently the family is in possession of it. If the family members can make that available, that could be quite helpful. If they can make it public that would add to the body of information that could be useful in this.

Meanwhile, there is assistance being provided to the families. There are people in touch with them on a daily basis. We want to support them in their time of grieving.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party has learned that Boeing has made an offer to loan the government search and rescue helicopters until the time the new ones arrive. Will this government be accepting this generous offer?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, we have other assets involved in search and rescue and if we need something more, such as taking up this offer, we are happy to have a look at that.

I will certainly be discussing with the chief of air staff our operational requirements with respect to continuing search and rescue in Canada, which we are committed to doing.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP in British Columbia is facing a financial crisis.

According to an internal document written by Assistant Commissioner Johnston, all coastal patrol vessels are to remain tied up at the docks, all aircraft are to be grounded and only those transfers absolutely essential for the delivery of minimum police services will be approved.

Is this the Liberals' idea of fighting crime in B.C.? What are the people of B.C. supposed to do? Hope that all the crimes occur outside police stations?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP has assured me that the actions being taken in British Columbia are ones that will not affect essential services. We are looking at ways particularly in the area of contract policing of making it more efficient. That is essentially what is happening in British Columbia.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about essential services. The memo further states that all policing overtime and standby is now suspended but it is critical for smaller communities where understaffed detachments have been providing 24-hour coverage by being on standby. What about undercover drug investigations and stakeouts?

Criminals do not operate on a 37.5 hour work week. How can the solicitor general guarantee safe homes in B.C. when instead of criminals, his government is taking the police off the streets?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said we are right now in an exercise of making sure the contract policing in British Columbia is as effective and efficient as possible. I have every confidence in the RCMP that it is operationally responsible and is doing its job.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, a draft of a report prepared by Statistics Canada and commissioned by the Minister of Human Resources Development confirms that the unemployed who are not getting benefits are primarily young people, women and independent workers.

How can the Minister of Human Resources Development sit idly by and let down those he is supposed to protect, while everyone is discussing how to spend the EI surplus?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I will soon receive the report from Statistics Canada. The hon. member referred to a draft of that report. We will have to check the accuracy of that draft.

I personally requested that report, precisely to find out why the number of employment insurance claimants has dropped.

We are monitoring the situation very closely. We had to introduce a very important reform, and I am confident this reform serves the interests of Canadians well.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I repeatedly asked the minister to do something about the excessive number of people who do not qualify for his employment insurance plan. I raised that issue on March 10 and October 2, 1997, and on February 26, April 27 and September 28 of this year. Each time, the minister replied that he did not understand the problem and that he was waiting for an explanation from Statistics Canada.

Is the Minister of Human Resources Development not failing to fulfil his most pressing duty by refusing to act to protect young people, women and independent workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, this is unbelievable. The hon. member does not even know how the employment insurance system works.

That system was never intended for independent workers. In its present form, the system is not supposed to include independent workers, and the hon. member is fully aware of that.

It is true that, if those not currently covered by the employment insurance system were not meant to be covered in the first place, such as the chronically unemployed, these people are no longer covered after a while. But that was understood from the start. This is what we have to look at.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government should get its story straight on the economy. A month ago we had the finance minister saying do not worry, it is okay, he has a steady hand on the tiller. Now it is every man for himself and we have the sorry spectacle of the finance minister pushing women and children out of the way as he runs to the EI lifeboat.

Instead of threatening Canadians, why does he not just obey the law and return the EI funds to workers and employers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government obeys the law. As we said earlier, we are in the middle of a debate. Part of that debate is hearing from Canadians and talking about Canadian priorities.

Certainly Canadians want to see reinvestment in health care. They want to see personal income tax reduction. Canadians may want to see continued cuts to EI. We have cut $7 billion from EI over the years. No one is saying we will not continue to cut EI. We are engaged in a debate and I welcome the hon. member's intervention in that debate.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the only debate going on is in the member's head. This is absolutely incredible. The finance minister is supposed to be a sound money manager, Mr. Fiscal Prudence, but now in order to balance the budget, he has to rely on raiding the EI fund.

How did the minister manage to bungle the economy so badly that he has to rely on workers and employers to bail him out? How did that happen?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about bungling the economy. Getting rid of a $42 billion deficit; leading the G-7 in job creation over the next couple of years; continuing to keep inflation in check; interest rates at the lowest level in 20 years. If that is what he calls bungling the economy, let's go Canada into the next century.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development recognizes the problem of the drop in participation in the employment insurance plan, but he continues to refuse to acknowledge that his government is responsible for excluding most of the unemployed youth from it.

When is the minister going to re-establish eligibility criteria that will enable young people to once again receive benefits?