This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #151 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

11:20 a.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I guess we should also look at the bigger picture. The unemployment rate announced this morning was 8.1%. The job grouth pace for the first 10 months is outpacing the first 10 months of last year. We have numbers that are improving. Canadians are back to work and they are full time jobs.

While the hon. member wants to continue to talk about this issue to advance his own political perspective, we are working for Canadians.

Health CareOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health admits that needs are great throughout the country and is beginning to understand that it is high time he gave the provinces back the money he cut in the health sector, particularly now that his colleague, the Minister of Finance, has a surplus that has reached $8 billion only five months into the fiscal year.

Would the minister confirm that the scenario he has in mind is one in which the federal government would place conditions on funding to the provinces, telling them how it is to be spent?

Health CareOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have said repeatedly that, in working with the provinces, we were going to respect their jurisdictions and priorities.

I would add that, with respect to the Canada social transfer, the principal transfer payment to the provinces, the province receiving the most per capita is Quebec.

Health CareOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Health CareOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

We are very glad to have a fair federation that tries to help provinces in difficulty. However, one of the reasons Quebec finds itself in that situation is the political uncertainty hanging over it—

Health CareOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Health CareOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

—an uncertainty we hope Quebeckers will very soon leave behind.

Health CareOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that the proceedings are being televised, one might wonder whether the minister is not delivering a paid political announcement.

The minister's answer is far from reassuring. He talks about partnership. He says he will respect provincial jurisdiction, but we know what the government is up to. It wants the provinces to do what it says, and no questions asked. A look at Quebec's unemployment rates today will show that Quebec is far from being badly governed.

What right does the federal government have to impose its priorities in the health sector, when its cuts have been so deep as to make its funding insignificant?

Health CareOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is not insignificant that Quebec's transfer payment is 9% higher per capita than that received by the average province.

I hope that this can be turned around and that, one day, we will receive less than the average. That will prove that we have left behind a situation that is a huge drain on our economy, a situation of political uncertainty that we do not need, because most of us in Quebec want to remain in Canada.

Health CareOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1994 the federal government's transfer payments were the equivalent of $678 per capita. Four years later, the figure is only $386. When it comes to being the great protector of health care, we have seen better.

My question is for the Minister of Health. What credibility can there be when a minister wants to impose conditions on any additional funding for health care, when all that anyone wants is for transfer payments to be restored to the level they were at before he started slashing them?

Health CareOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for giving me the opportunity to provide the current figures. In both cash and tax points, each Quebecker receives $925.40 through the Canada social transfer. The average per capita across Canada is $848.70, so each Quebecker in fact is getting 9% more than the average.

Health CareOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week the minister told us that a Liberal caucus committee was looking into various options which would allow the federal government to re-invest in health. I find that far from reassuring.

In this area, as in many others, this government's main concern is not what is best for patients, but what gives it the most visibility. How can it justify putting the effort to get the maple leaf onto as many cheques as possible ahead of those who are sick?

Health CareOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will be hard put to find a more decentralized federation than Canada, particularly in this area. If she looks at other federations, she will see how much the other federal governments intervene in the health field, compared to Canada.

Our goal is to ensure that Canadians have quality health care in every part of Canada. I would also like to say that, since the hon. member is speaking of situations that worry her, what we find worrisome is the situation in Quebec, where the PQ government has cut health expenditures by 1% between 1994-95 and 1998-99, while the other provinces have raised them by 8.6%.

Yet the federal government has done everything it can to help the Government of Quebec.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today the Nisga'a begin voting on their historic agreement. The Liberal Party of British Columbia and Reform Party members have done everything within their power to scuttle this agreement.

We have seen impressive leadership from the Nisga'a themselves and from the Premier of British Columbia, but the Prime Minister's silence has been deafening, his absence conspicuous.

Does the Prime Minister have any intention of providing leadership in building, understanding and support for this—

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. the leader of the government in the House.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite wrong when she makes such allegations. She knows perfectly well the commitment of the federal government, of the Prime Minister, of the entire cabinet and of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development who is herself in British Columbia discussing these very important issues.

We all want the Nisga'a people to be able to go through this process over the next couple of days and to come up with the answer that will be theirs. Hopefully we as Canadians will all be behind them as they march through this journey.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Nisga'a agreement was signed on August 4. The Prime Minister chose to be absent. We have scarcely heard a word since from the Prime Minister.

Surely the Prime Minister recognizes that the misinformation of the B.C. Liberals and the Reformers deserves and demands to be countered. Can we count on the Prime Minister to provide the leadership that is very much needed?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I will compare the commitment of the Prime Minister, his attendance, his presence and his overall workload to the hon. member across the way and three or four of her colleagues at once.

He has done more as a former minister of Indian affairs and as a Prime Minister in his commitment through the bills that are now before the House of Commons, and everything we have done, than the hon. member across the way will ever do in three lifetimes.

AgricultureOral Question Period

November 6th, 1998 / 11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said on February 9, 1993 in the House:

GRIP and NISA, which are long term safety net programs, are being tried and are being worked with. So far in many areas they have been insufficient. They have been a disappointment to the farmers and the industry.

The minister said then that GRIP and NISA were not enough. Is the minister now saying that NISA without GRIP is going to be enough to get farmers through this crisis in agriculture?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I had a meeting with all the provincial governments and farm leaders on Wednesday of this week. The message was very clear. I will be taking the message to my cabinet colleagues that the NISA program, the crop insurance program, in an alteration of what the member's government put in which was GRIP which is gone except in one province, that we recognize we have some tools there for assistance and farm income and we need to review that. We are reviewing it. We will work the best we can with our partners in the industry in this respect.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the reason GRIP is gone is that this Liberal government did away with it in 1995. Rather than doing away with it, the Liberals could have modified the program to have it become trade friendly but they did not. Once again they gave agriculture short shrift.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has a proposal. In my estimation it basically is GRIP the sequel. Is the minister willing to support the CFA's proposal in principle now so that we will be able to have something in place by the end of this year?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I gave my commitment the other day to work with the provincial governments and the industry to do all we possibly can to turn every stone possible.

I suggest that the member check Hansard . When I made those comments in standing committee, I said that GRIP was not the program. He is right. The provinces verified that because with the exception of one province the program that his government put in place is gone at the wishes of the provinces. I was proven to be correct.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, what we hear from this agriculture minister is all talk and no action.

In the 1993 red book the Liberals promised to reduce input costs to make farming more profitable. Yet the agriculture minister continues to take $138 million out in cost recovery taxes.

Will the agriculture minister finally keep his 1993 promise and quit bleeding our farmers with unfair taxes today?

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and his party keep talking about lowering taxes. They do not seem to realize that we have lowered taxes. Those members should also realize that the problem is that we have a number of farmers who are not able to pay any taxes at all. How would they wish to address that?

We are working to address this to strengthen their industry and to strengthen their safety net. The other thing I would like to remind the hon. member is that in the third quarter of 1998, farm input prices went down.

AgricultureOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Cliff Breitkreuz Reform Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that this Liberal government has not lowered taxes; it has raised taxes by billions.

Canadian farmers are trapped in a net farm income crunch. Unfair trade practices and foreign subsidies are bringing farmers to their knees.

On Wednesday on CTV news, the minister of agriculture stated “You cannot plan for this type of thing”. That quote came from the minister after most commodity prices have been dropping like loonies.

What does the minister mean you cannot plan? Most people plan. Farmers plan. The minister is a farmer—