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House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The Minister of Human Resources Development.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Liberal Papineau—Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would also point out to the member for Roberval that 78% of workers are covered by the employment insurance system, contrary to what he is trying to insinuate once again in this House in order to upset the workers who are still covered by the system.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know there are things that cannot be said here, but I would simply give the minister a warning. For the last time, I ask him to stop repeating what he has just said.

It is clearly stated on page 47 of the study you commissioned—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to remind the hon. member that remarks must always be addressed to the Chair.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, would you kindly advise the minister once and for all to read his own studies. The figures provided on page 47 are wrong.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, 78% of workers who have lost their job or left it for a valid reason are covered by the Canada employment insurance system.

The point the Bloc keeps trying to make is that people who have never contributed to the employment insurance system, young people who are newly arrived in the labour market and those who have left their jobs without a valid reason are not covered by the system. These are the people they are talking about. Seventy-eight per cent of workers are covered; that is the real figure.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health claims that he opposes the American style two tier health care system. Yet we have details of a federal-provincial agreement that this government has entered into with Alberta to expand opportunities for private sector involvement in medicare.

Which is it? Does the government support increasing privatization of health care or does it not?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party of Canada introduced medicare in this country. The Liberal Party of Canada is responsible for medicare. This is a government that is committed to its principles, committed to the best and most responsive public health care system in the world. That is our philosophy. That is our commitment. That is exactly what we intend to do.

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about what is actually happening to health care in this country. The minister claims that he views privatization as a threat. Yet this government entered into a deadly pact that will kill our public health care system, a pact that is a virtual road map to privatization.

To protect the integrity of medicare, will the health minister agree today to renegotiate that deadly pact?

Health CareOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member does not know what she is talking about. I am the Minister of Health who wrote to the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Alberta to express our opposition to the privatization of hospitals in Alberta.

There are two ways to kill medicare. You can do what the Reform Party wants to do and repeal the Canada Health Act, or you can do what the NDP wants to do and bankrupt the country by refusing to make the tough decisions to prioritize and invest where investment is needed.

This government knows how to do it. We will reinvest in health care. We will ensure the future of medicare in this country.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, lawyers representing the RCMP at the complaints commission will ask the federal court to quash the commission's hearings. This further compromises the credibility of the commission which never had the mandate to investigate political interference in the first place.

I have a question for the solicitor general. Who are the government lawyers taking their instructions from? What is the purpose of continuing this charade? When are we to have a judicial independent inquiry that gets at the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I refer to a news release issued yesterday by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association which reads:

We continue to believe that the Commission can bring to light all the evidence about the RCMP's conduct during the APEC conference at UBC last year, and the federal government's role in that conduct. We want our complaints heard.

TransportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport. In an absurd move the Nova Scotia government made a deal to force its public-private partnership through on the Trans-Canada Highway under which the Nova Scotia government signed over control of the speed limit, the weight restrictions and the policing on the Trans-Canada Highway to a company whose major shareholder is Hercules Holdings in the Cayman Islands.

This company has more control over the Trans-Canada Highway in Nova Scotia than the minister of transportation for the province of Nova Scotia.

Will the minister make his announcement yesterday retroactive to the highways of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick regarding restrictions on toll proposals for the Trans-Canada Highway?

TransportOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised the hon. member is asking this question today. We had two hours in committee yesterday. I told him that what the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments had done with respect to the tolls on sections of the highways in those provinces was perfectly legitimate and within the powers of the provinces to put into effect. They did not violate any federal-provincial agreements.

I also said that we would look at all future federal-provincial cost sharing to take into account private-public partnerships as to whether or not federal funds should be allotted to such highways where tolls are levied.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, now that the Prime Minister has been introduced to his paystub even he might notice that the CPP payroll taxes will take still another hike on January 1. That will destroy thousands more jobs, jobs Canadians desperately need.

Will the finance minister save those jobs by returning the EI overpayment that he has been scheming to keep?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I ask hon. members to be very judicious in their choice of words. I will let the hon. minister answer the question.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the underlying basis of the hon. member's question is that she is advocating Reform's traditional position that the Canada pension plan be destroyed. That will not happen.

The fact of the matter is that the federal government, together with the provincial government, put in place a plan that will make sure the Canada pension plan is there for young Canadians as it was for their parents.

We will continue to do that because it is upon the confidence of the Canada pension plan that Canadian entrepreneurs will start business and that Canadians will have confidence in their future.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is clearly blinded by his own prejudices about our position which he continually misrepresents. I said nothing about Canada pension plan premiums. I am talking about the overpayment that workers are making into EI and that the minister is trying to get his hands on and keep.

Will the minister offset the job destruction of the CPP payroll tax by returning the moneys that are clearly being overpaid into the EI fund?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as far as the EI premiums are concerned, I have already answered that question some five times. Obviously what the member is driving at, because she repeated it again in the preamble to her supplementary, has to do with the CPP premiums.

The fundamental fact is that economist after economist across the country has said that it is the confidence in the Canada pension plan that will create jobs because Canadians will know that it will be there for them. The Reform Party simply refuses to understand the true reality of the Canadian economy.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, an owner of six restaurant franchises in my riding, Claude Rioux, wrote me as follows: “I am completely against using the money in the EI fund to pay for anything but employment insurance. The government must lower premiums, or it will continue to hurt job creation”.

If the Minister of Human Resources Development does not like a few home truths from the Bloc Quebecois, what does he have to say to this employer in my riding who is dead set against his policies?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I certainly thank Mr. Rioux for sharing his point of view with us. I can assure him that what he thinks is important in the present debate and that we will bear it in mind.

Obviously, no decision has yet been taken. There are decisions ahead of us; that is the role of government. I know that opposition members do not have to worry about running the country. It is an extremely difficult thing to do, and there are difficult choices to be made.

We could be irresponsible and do any old thing. There are difficult decisions ahead of us and we will make them in the best interests of Canadians.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the President of Treasury Board smilingly told journalists that they were getting to the heart of the matter when they said that the EI plan was becoming a tax on jobs.

Is the Minister of Human Resources Development aware that his portfolio is being taken over by all his colleagues, people who do not even know how the system operates?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

That is absolutely not the case, Mr. Speaker.

Another thing one knows as a member of government is that one must be a team player. We know what a team is. We are a team and that is the advantage of working as a team. Bloc Quebecois members would perhaps like to know how to work as a team. We could show them.

This side of the House will be governing in the best interest of workers. We are going to continue to introduce measures to help young people enter the job market.

Getting Canadians into the job market remains a priority of this government.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

November 5th, 1998 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1993 two Canadian soldiers were killed while on duty in Bosnia. According to access to information documents their commanding officer, General MacInnis, allowed their bodies to lie in a basement unattended for three days before being prepared to come back to Canada.

Given General MacInnis' disrespect for his soldiers, can the minister explain why this general is now teaching ethics and leadership to the next generation of senior officers at the Canadian forces college in Toronto?