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House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, by rejecting the MAI, France and other OECD nations have clearly acknowledged that we must not enshrine the interests of powerful corporations above the rights of working people, governments and the environment. By rejecting the MAI these nations rejected the NAFTA approach to investment.

By signing the NAFTA the Liberals made Canada the guinea pig for this flawed model. The result is the Ethyl case and those that will follow where foreign corporations are able to extract compensation if their profits are limited by legislation, no matter how legitimate that legislation may be.

After looking closely at the MAI and the Ethyl case, other countries are now scratching their heads as to why Canada ever agreed to sacrifice its sovereignty in this way.

Instead of looking for other venues in which to push the MAI such as the WTO or FTAA, the government should be rethinking the MAI and NAFTA and putting an end to our role as guinea pig for such unacceptable provisions.

L'Islet Association Of Unemployed PeopleStatements By Members

November 3rd, 1998 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, enough is enough.

On August 27, 1997, the Secretary of State for Agriculture asked the Minister of Human Resources Development to change the parent region of the L'Islet regional county municipality by integrating it into Quebec's eastern region, because of the difference in benefits for EI recipients.

At the time, the secretary of state said that the current unemployment rate in his riding was closer to the 17.9% rate for Quebec's eastern region than to the 8.1% global rate Statistics Canada assigned to the whole Chaudière—Appalaches region.

One year later, the L'Islet association of unemployed people is condemning the about-face of their member of Parliament and the human resources development minister's refusal to correct the injustice done to them.

The Bloc Quebecois feels that the unemployed in L'Islet deserve more respect and assures them of its support.

Election Campaign In QuebecStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the weekend saw the Bloc Quebecois adding to the stakes in Quebec's upcoming election.

The member for Rimouski—Mitis insisted that there would indeed be a referendum during the next term of office, if Lucien Bouchard were re-elected.

She even set a deadline, saying that Mr. Bouchard would probably hold the referendum in 2001. Quebeckers now know what is riding on their vote November 30.

If they want to avoid another referendum, Quebeckers must vote for a stronger Quebec led by the provincial Liberal party.

Trans-Canada HighwayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of New Brunswick reneged on a contract with the Government of Canada and Quebec now finds itself paying the price, and a high one at that.

The Trans-Canada Highway through New Brunswick is the main link between the Magdalen Islands and the rest of Quebec. New Brunswick has announced that a toll booth would be set up on the section of the highway running between Moncton and Petitcodiac.

This section of the highway should be funded equally by the federal and the provincial governments. The provincial government has refused. Instead of paying its share, it will set up toll booths. If we end up with toll booths, it will be because the Government of Canada did not hold New Brunswick to the agreement.

On behalf of the people of Quebec, I call on the Minister of Transport to require New Brunswick to respect its obligations.

Reform Party Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, imagine my surprise when I received a franked letter last week in my constituency office from the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

My surprise stemmed from the fact the hon. member was using his postage privileges, paid for by the Canadian taxpayer, to inform me of the “evils” of the Liberal government. The information, clearly marked with the Reform Party logo, asked me to send my opinions to the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

I would like to take this opportunity to send my opinions directly to the Reform Party leader and his member: first, talk to me when Stornoway has been turned into a bingo hall; second, talk to me when Reform stops representing special interests like the gun lobby; and, third, cease sending misinformed propaganda to my door.

I am sure those on the opposition benches have heard my message loudly and clearly.

Federal-Provincial ConferencesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the federal Liberals' claims, since 1994 the Parti Quebecois government has been an active and faithful participant in federal-provincial meetings, far more so than the 1990-94 Liberal government.

The Bourassa and Johnson governments, in fact, attended only 53% of these meetings, while the Parizeau and Bouchard governments have attended 83%.

The empty chair policy is but a myth; the government of Quebec staunchly defends the interests of Quebec and its traditional demands. The specialist in non-presence is Jean Charest, he who is incapable of committing to the Calgary Declaration.

Along with his federal Liberal ally, Jean Charest, who is passing himself off as the saviour of Quebec, has nothing but hot air to offer the people of Quebec. This coming November 30, all of Quebec will let him know that this is unacceptable.

Government AppointmentsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us deal with some facts. The Liberal government's record of patronage and backroom deals just got a whole lot worse.

Former Liberal MP Ron Fewchuk was appointed president of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation in 1997. When he arrived he was not wanted. They would not even give him the keys to the front door. No doubt this appointment was an agreement for giving up his seat in the riding redistribution.

Fewchuk has now been fired after a disastrous year in his new position. As a parting gift from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans he has thrown in another generous severance package. This is Fewchuk's second golden handshake in 18 months.

Who will pay for it? Will it be the Canadian taxpayer? Will it be the fishermen who finance the marketing board? Either way, it is unconscionable.

The Liberal ship of patronage appointments is adrift at sea. How much money will have to be wasted on Ron Fewchuk and others like him before the government gets the message.

Presence In GalleryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw to the members' attention the presence in the gallery of Mr. Benalia Boulahouadjeb, Minister of Agriculture for the Peoples Democratic Republic of Algeria.

Presence In GalleryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In GalleryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Cathy McGregor, Minister of the Environment of British Columbia.

Presence In GalleryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, every time Canadian workers get their paycheques they see the Prime Minister has skimmed something off the top. For three out of four workers the Liberals skim 2.7% off their paycheques for employment insurance alone. The chief actuary of the employment insurance plan says that those workers' premiums should not be higher than 1.9% which is enough for a safe and reliable plan.

Why is the Prime Minister taking 2.7% off those paycheques for EI when he ought to be taking only 1.9%?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we reduced employee contributions from what they were supposed to be in January 1994 from $3.30 to $2.70. The Reform Party said in its fresh start platform that we should cut EI premiums by 28% for employers only. It is on page 11. As usual, there is no caring at all about the employees, just about the employers.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister appears to be confused but that should not be not unusual. We see from the papers that the Prime Minister is suffering from a peculiar delusion. He thinks he is a baseball player of some sort who is in a batting slump. At least now he is using his baseball bat for recreational purposes. The question still remains why is the Prime Minister taking most workers for 2.7% on unemployment insurance instead—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is another strikeout by the Leader of the Opposition. I just explained that we have taken care of employee contributions. We reduced them from $3.30 to $2.70 and we did it in every one of the five budgets of this government. We did this while the Reform Party was proposing that we reduce them just for employers. I am happy we did not listen to the Reform Party. We thought about the employees. That is always the concern of the people on this side of the House.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is another swing and a miss from the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is taking 2.7% off of most workers' paycheques when he should only be allowed to take 1.9%. That costs the average worker about $350 a year and it costs the average small business about $500 per worker per year. To get it straight I will ask the Prime Minister again. Why is he taking 2.7% when he should only be taking 1.9%?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have explained to the people, and I am happy to explain again, that we have reduced premiums since becoming the government. We have done it in a very responsible way. If we had listened to the Reform Party we would have reduced only employer premiums. I am happy we are not listening to the Reform Party.

We have been doing it in a rational way. This fund is sometimes in surplus and sometimes in deficit. That is why we have to manage it carefully. The Liberal way is always to be careful.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, arrogance is not a mistake and it is not a slump. It is a character flaw. When the Prime Minister says he wants to confiscate $350 in premiums from workers and $500 from employers, that is a calculated decision, it is arrogance. It is not a mistake and it is not a slump. If the minister really wants so desperately to redeem his reputation, why does he not allow people to keep their money?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at what the Reform Party has suggested. It has said that income taxes should be cut by $9 billion and that the debt should be cut by $9 billion. That is $18 billion. Now Reformers want another $7 billion reduction in EI. That is $25 billion.

The hon. member talks about confiscation. I will tell him what confiscation is. It is confiscation of Canada's health care programs if we follow through with that. It is confiscation of our research and development policy. It is confiscation of equalization. It is confiscation of everything Canadians hold dear. That is what they would do.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that is coming from the Dr. Kevorkian of Canadian health care, $7 billion in cuts from that minister.

Recently the finance minister has been arguing that we should forgive billions of dollars of foreign debt and at the same time he is getting set to confiscate billions of dollars from Canadian workers.

I wonder if the minister can tell us why he has so much compassion for foreign governments and so little compassion for Canadian workers and small businesses.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what the Reform Party is arguing against is the very policy it advocated for four years in terms of EI. The real question is why the policy flip-flop. The next thing Reformers will advocate is that the Leader of the Opposition should not live at Stornoway.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that the federal government apparently intends to wait until December to announce the 1999 employment insurance contribution rate and that this rate will be either frozen or slightly lower than that of last year.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that a freeze or a slight reduction is illegal and this is why he might be tempted to postpone it as long as possible, particularly since he has not yet changed the law?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the past points the way to the future. Every year since we formed the government, we have reduced the premiums at budget time. We are looking at the problem at the moment.

We have made a lot of progress. As I was saying earlier, the employment insurance fund has been in a deficit position at times in the past and in a surplus position at others, and happily this is the case at the moment. This is why we have reduced employee premiums over the past five years from $3.30 to $2.70.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the past points the way to the future, we can expect the Prime Minister to be again digging in the pockets of workers and businesses in order to reduce the deficit and to put money into government pockets.