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House of Commons Hansard #157 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was businesses.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development keeps saying there is nothing wrong with Liberal EI reforms. In my national tour on EI I am hearing a different story from Canadians. In P.E.I. alone 4,000 islanders are now waiting six weeks to have their claims processed. Does the minister believe this situation is acceptable? Does he still believe there is nothing wrong with Liberal EI reforms? If not, what is the minister going to do to correct the situation?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what I keep saying is that this reform has been such an important one for Canadians that we as a government will monitor very closely its impact and we will make the right changes when they need to be made, as we did not too long ago with the small weeks to address the concerns of my Atlantic colleagues.

A number of problems have been raised. We used to talk about the gappers. There used to be 7,500 gappers. That was the big problem the NDP kept talking about. We are now down to under 2,000 gappers because we have been working at it. We are solving the problems one after the other—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I trust the new minister from New Brunswick will be more sensitive than her colleague to the fate of the unemployed.

In my travels across the country, I met a young unemployed New Brunswicker who confided in me about his despair. He had accumulated 22 weeks of work, but this is not enough for a first-time worker to be eligible for benefits. The young man is no longer able to meet his payments. He is feeling suicidal.

What does the new minister from New Brunswick intend to do to put an end to this discrimination being suffered by unemployed young people?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, at the present time we have an hours-based system. The hon. member is well aware that there are many seasonal workers who benefit from the new system because they work a high number of hours over a short time. That is because, in the past, people were covered for only 30 or so hours per week and if they got up to 60, the rest were not covered.

There are a number of situations where people are benefiting considerably by the new program. The program was necessary, and we continue to monitor labour market developments, to keep right on top of them. I will be extremely open to any suggestions the hon. member may wish to make to us after he has toured the rest of the country.

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, with just over 400 days to go, the year 2000 is quickly approaching. If the government has not properly prepared there could be serious problems in the delivery of essential services that Canadians expect from their government.

Will the President of the Treasury Board assure this House today that the federal government will be well prepared for the coming of the new millennium?

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the Treasury Board is sparing no effort to be ready for January 1, 2000. At present, on government-wide critical systems, the government is 70% ready.

However, we will not leave anything to chance. We are continuing our efforts and we are hoping that in the next few months we will be able to complete work on all the critical systems in the government so that Canadian voters will be well served.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, tonight this House will vote on restoring $2 billion of the $7 billion the Liberals have slashed from health care.

The Prime Minister has an opportunity to declare a ceasefire on his attack on health care by calling off the whips for tonight's vote.

Will the Prime Minister cease attempts to prevent Liberal members from voting the will of their constituents on tonight's vote to put $2 billion back into health care?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve.

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, while Quebec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms prohibits discrimination based on social condition and the legislation of seven other provinces tends in the same direction, the Canadian Human Rights Act is completely silently on the topic.

Will the Minister of Justice undertake to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act so as to prohibit discrimination based on social condition?

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is probably aware, we are about to begin a broad review of the existing provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act and I have every reason to believe that the ground of social condition will be one which many will suggest should be added to Canadian Human Rights Act. I look forward to that discussion and the hon. member's participation in that discussion when it happens.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government continues to ignore the crisis in the Shamattawa First Nation. Four out of every five youths in the community are addicted to solvents.

Last Friday the chief had another fruitless meeting with Indian affairs. At the same time there was yet another solvent related death in Shamattawa. A teenage boy, high on solvents, shot his 14 year old brother. This brings the death toll in the tiny community to at least 22 solvent related deaths since 1992.

In light of this latest tragedy, will the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development overrule her department's refusal to grant Shamattawa the healing centre and solvent treatment beds it so desperately needs?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed there was a terrible tragedy in the Shamattawa First Nation last week and our sincerest sympathies and condolences go to the family of Charles Redhead and to all community members in that first nation.

Indeed there is an issue before us in that community. I want to recognize and thank the Minister of Health for the support that he has shown that community in providing solvent abuse professionals and mental health professionals.

We have to work together to deal with this chronic problem in Shamattawa and we will do so.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the merchant navy men stopped their first hunger strike because they were led to believe there were going to be negotiations and discussions with the Minister of Veterans Affairs. These discussions did not take place.

If the minister thinks what he is doing is right, why does he not have the courage to sit down with these men in a room, look them in the eye and tell them that he will look at compensation?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was wrong when she said that every other country does this. No other country engages in retroactive legislation. I just want to correct the books on that.

With respect to the merchant navy veterans, I have met with them twice, my parliamentary secretary has met with them twice, and I will meet with them again as necessary.

Natural DisasterOral Question Period

November 23rd, 1998 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sheila Finestone Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the world has watched in horror at the circumstances in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador caused by hurricane Mitch. No clean water, mud up to their knees and now thousands of land mines are adding to the situation of horrible disease.

What is being done to help the people in these countries with respect to the land mines which are maiming and killing them?

Natural DisasterOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to acknowledge the important work that has been done by CIDA and the defence department in the overall rescue effort.

Since then we have recognized the critical impact of the mines being dislodged by the flood waters. As a result the Minister for International Co-operation and myself announced on Friday $3.7 million in aid to work with the OAS on mine rehabilitation and to deal with the severe problems in Central America now and in the coming months.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister said a few moments ago that we should look at the Liberal record on health. Let us do that specifically.

When the Liberals took office there was $18.4 billion in transfer payments for the provinces. It was going down to $11.1 billion, but they pulled the ripcord and stopped it at $12.5 billion.

The minister says that is an increase in funding for the provinces. Could he tell me what $18.4 billion decreased to $12.5 billion becomes? Only in Liberal math is that an increase.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first, since we have taken office the tax points allocated to the provinces have increased substantially in value.

Second, in the budget last year we increased the transfers by $7 billion over the next five years.

At the same time equalization for seven provinces to provide fundamental services has been increased.

In every single budget we have increased research and development funding for medical services. Last year it virtually doubled.

We have put in place transition funds.

This government, which is the government that brought in the Canada Health Act, stands behind the Canada Health Act.

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post is now in the process of renewing its retail postal outlet franchise agreements across Canada.

The goal is to recover $8 million annually. I need hardly point out that the negotiations amount to a thinly veiled threat to sign or be shut down.

When will the minister decide to step in, so that this kind of gun-to-the-head negotiation does not result in the bankruptcy of thousands of Canada Post outlets, as well as a major deterioration in Canadian postal service?

Canada PostOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. member that I have already stepped in and imposed a moratorium on Canada Post until December 1, precisely so that it may sit down with franchise operators and negotiate a solution.

We will be following the progress of negotiations, and I will have an announcement to make on December 1.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in Alberta today a debate about the unthinkable continues, and that is authorization for a private hospital under Canada's health care system.

In a book launched today about corporate control over Canada's health care system, author Colleen Fuller states “When the present Minister of Health was installed, Liberal rhetoric about a private hospital violating the CHA died down until finally the federal protector of medicare was comfortable with the corporation's for profit investment in health care”.

Does the silence of the minister today mean he has been silenced by the Minister of Industry?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member has not read my correspondence with the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons to which I wrote not once, but on two different occasions to express our commitment to the Canada Health Act, our concern about the privatization of services, and our request, which the college ultimately acceded to, to put off the consideration of the private hospital's application for a licence until after the debate on Bill 37 in the Alberta Legislature.

That debate is now going on and the Liberal Party in that province is making its position clear, as we do here, that privatized medicine is not acceptable.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, before I get to my question, I want to recognize the hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, the latest addition to the cabinet from New Brunswick. It is nice to see her.

I want to ask the Minister of Health if there is any possible way that the funding of $1.1 billion for compensation to hepatitis C victims from 1986 to 1990, which has been agreed on, can be moved along through co-operation with the provinces. Many of these people are hurting badly.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are increasingly optimistic that the claim can be resolved quickly. I inquired last week whether we could fast track the payments to the emergency claimants and I am told that the lawyers think they are close enough to an agreement with the parties on the overall claim that it might be reached before we would get payment to those in emergency need.

I am hopeful that progress is being made and I hope to be able to report to the member and the House soon that those claims have been resolved.