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House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mai.

Topics

EducationStatements By Members

February 23rd, 1998 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a growing dismay with the high cost of post-secondary education. Some in this House seem to consider post-secondary education to be an entitlement, free and paid for completely by the taxpayer. Access to post-secondary education has always been a reward for hard work and achievement at the secondary level.

Funding for post-secondary education must remain a partnership which includes the federal and provincial governments, parents, businesses, alumni and students. Although current tuition may seem high, the payoff over a lifetime is more than adequate compensation. The call for full funding is unrealistic. It would place a real burden on existing taxpayers, three-quarters of whom have not had the privilege of attending university. Also, the success rate for students who contribute to their own education is higher than for those who do not.

I call on all Canadians including students to recognize the limitations of our resources. Federal assistance for students under the Canada student loans program has amounted to billions over the years. We have also pledged to further enhance our funding for university and college students across Canada, but within reasonable parameters, leaving students some responsibility for the process.

The SenateStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister was asked if he was aware that most Canadians do not support the Senate. The Prime Minister said he is willing to reform the Senate when the provinces are ready.

Since 1989 Albertans have been ready to elect senators. Since 1990 British Columbians have been ready. Last week an MPP proposed a bill that could make Ontario ready to elect senators. Before and after she was appointed by the Prime Minister, Senator Carstairs indicated that Manitobans are ready.

Canadians are ready. When will the Prime Minister of Canada be ready?

Fight Against PovertyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois supports the social contract against poverty suggested by the Comité de ralliement gaspésien et madelinot.

Like them, we contend that justice, equity, dignity and solidarity are the values on which we want to build society. We can see that isolation and growing poverty undermine the quality of life and health of many in our communities. We are appalled by the scandalous situation caused and perpetuated by the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

In light of the marginalization experienced by some groups and many individuals, we reaffirm that, in order to fight poverty, we must create sustainable jobs with decent wages, make the tax system fair and equitable, support community life and take appropriate safety measures.

The Bloc Quebecois wants to speak here in Ottawa for those who are ready to sign this contract.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the time has come for the Minister of Finance to examine subsidies to greenhouse gas producing industries.

Existing tax subsidies to the oil sands industry could total hundreds of millions of dollars over time. This industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases.

Instead of tax subsidies we need a national atmospheric fund to help conserve energy, to level the playing field for renewable energy and to introduce new forms of energy innovation.

Canada is now committed to the Kyoto agreement and must address the issue of perverse subsidies favouring the production of greenhouse gases which impact on the climate.

The ConstitutionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Reform Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Constitution is not cast in bronze. It is not chiselled in granite. It is penned on fragile pulp and has the permanency of our national will.

Canada's Constitution was not taken from foreign lands but crafted by the citizens of our great country.

Our constitutional light shone most brightly when Guy Bertrand exercised its provisions.

Guy Bertrand believed his rights were diminished by a referendum to separate and took his concerns successfully to a Quebec court. The Liberals, embarrassed by this action, finally carried the issue to the supreme court.

Canadians must be thankful that we have such an instrument of privilege as the Constitution and the charter of rights. Canadians also must be thankful that we have citizens of integrity and determination such as Guy Bertrand.

Canadian CensusStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week Statistics Canada published the 1996 census data pertaining to the ethnic and racial composition of our great country. According to these data 11% of Canadians are visible minorities.

As a Canadian woman who is black, I salute our federal government for its courage and foresight in ensuring we have hard data about the composition of our society. This information will assist the government in developing good public policy and programs. This ensures equality of all citizens and equitable access for all in every sphere of activity.

As any astute business person will tell you, do your market study if you want your company's product or services to do well in the marketplace. Study your consumers.

Unlike the Reform Party and the Bloquistes, our government does not believe that ignorance is power. Liberals firmly believe that knowledge is power.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is a growing concern in rural Canada about the low farm commodity prices. This concern is especially prevalent in western Canada where forecasters are predicting weaker grain prices for 1998 and 1999.

One of Canada's chartered banks has already said that we could expect our export of wheat and coarse grains to decline as well. One market analyst said farmers need higher prices in order to make a go of it.

Farm gate prices which are already low are likely to worsen before they improve.

This worrisome trend is even more stark when related to rising input costs, including the cost of machinery, fertilizer, trucking costs and higher freight rates. In the west freight rates on grain have doubled and tripled since the Crow benefit was done away with by the Liberals.

Grain farmers are increasingly worried about their security and indeed about the future of the family farm.

Members of our caucus urge the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Minister of Transport and the government in general to take note before it is too late.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, three weeks ago, the federal government and the provinces signed an environmental harmonization agreement in areas such as assessment, inspections and environmental standards. Quebec did not sign, because the Bouchard government decided to go its own way, in environment as in many other areas.

Under Lucien Bouchard, the former federal environment minister, Quebec is managing the environment so badly that it has been failed for the second year in a row by the Regroupement québécois des groupes écologistes.

“The Bouchard government sees the environment as an obstacle to economic growth. This government has failed to keep its major public promises with respect to the environment. The Bouchard government should stop following the lead of environmental Neanderthals like the Republican right in the United States and the Harris government”, said the ecologists.

Instead of funding Pro-Démocratie, the Bouchard government should practice democracy in all areas, including that of the environment. It should cooperate with the federal government and the other provinces instead of spending its time.—

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Markham.

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, the current agreement on interprovincial trade does not work. A recent Canadian Chamber of Commerce statement indicated that all levels of government have been given a failing grade. Overall the report card review graded Canada a dismal D .

The federal government has failed to show leadership in improving trade between the provinces of this country. It persistently encourages trade relations with other countries but fails to improve trade between Canadian provinces.

This is costing Canadian jobs. Why can this government not recognize that one of the strongest incentives to reducing interprovincial trade barriers is the enormous untapped potential that would boost economic growth?

Knocking down the remaining barriers would create another 200,000 jobs. When is this government going to take real leadership and ensure that parties comply? Governments need to renew their commitment and get the process moving again on all fronts.

I remind this government that economic union and national unity are inseparable. The stronger the economic ties this government can nurture, the stronger Canada's national fabric.

Government StaffStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Liberal Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay tribute to the men and women who are employed in both political and bureaucratic offices at the federal level.

Over the past several months I have listened to my Reform colleagues make unfounded accusations and untrue statements about various staff members. These statements are typically unfair and totally unacceptable.

We on this side of the House want to praise the hard work and dedication which our staff members show week in and week out. Our staff members should feel a sense of pride, knowing that without their commitment our federal government would be a lot less effective.

Personally I have no time for the pettiness and callous disregard some of my Reform colleagues have shown toward these individuals. On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I say hats off to our staff members. They work long hours and show tremendous dedication to their work. It is greatly appreciated.

Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, with the conclusion of the Nagano winter Olympics, let us reflect on the true Olympic spirit. Let us spotlight the gigantic efforts of the athletes.

For me, one of the greatest examples of bravery and sportsmanship was the superhuman effort of Elvis Stojko. His silver medal is a beacon of hope to a six-year old figure skater in her first competition and an encouragement to a 106-year old facing another day.

All our Olympians exhibit what it takes to persevere and succeed. Let us not forget their families' sacrifices and support or their coaches' skill and patience. The athletes are like soldiers in the front lines sustained by unheralded communities. Olympic competition involves Canadians from all regions and walks of life.

We are grateful to all the athletes for their leadership. We say to the Olympians, their families, their coaches and communities, thank you.

Don CherryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, Don Cherry's disparaging remarks about Quebeckers on the CBC speak volumes about that gentleman's narrow-mindedness.

His contemptuous and unwarranted comments far exceeded the leeway allowed a sports commentator on a government-funded broadcasting station. His venom unfortunately spilled over onto the Lillehammer gold medal winner, Jean-Luc Brassard, whom he dismissed as some unknown.

If a francophone commentator had made equally insulting remarks about anglophones from this country on Radio-Canada, the crown corporation would have fired him on the spot.

I trust that that is how Don Cherry will be dealt with, for nobody can enjoy the benefits of working for a crown corporation and expect to get away with insulting an entire people. A disdainful attitude such as that of Don Cherry has no place on the air, and must be vigorously condemned by both the government and the crown corporation.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, health care in this country has been devastated by this government's slash and burn policy toward the transfer payments to the provinces.

Recently the federal health minister stated that more cash is not necessarily the cure for what ails the system.

In my province of New Brunswick we have seen another round of health care horror stories. Surgery waiting lists are growing. Doctors are leaving and patients are frightened, worried and stressed out.

A doctor in Saint John recently sent me a letter in which he outlined dangerous waiting times for surgical procedures in New Brunswick. A patient has to wait over six months for the removal of a brain tumour, four months for the repair of an abdominal problem. Patients also wait routinely one year for gall bladder and hernia repairs.

Doctors and health care services need more money now. Patients are suffering. The federal government must stop downloading on to the provinces. I urge the minister to listen to Canadians and restore health care funding.

DrugsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, no country is immune from the ravages of the problem of illicit drugs, whether it be heroin from the golden triangle, cocaine from South America or cannabis from around the globe. It could also be the new strains of drugs being consumed by the youth of today.

One of the major tasks facing governments is protecting their citizens from drug related crime. Too often chronic drug users resort to crime to sustain their habits. Reducing the number of dependent drug users through treatment can substantially reduce the level of suburban crime and violence.

We must also address the problems of those who are affected by drug abuse and institute programs to assist them in overcoming their addictions.

International fora continue to be used as a platform for accusations of lack of action between producer and consumer countries. It is important to recognize that the social, health and legal problems caused by illegal drugs affect all countries regardless of the degree of involvement.

It is time for all nations, regardless of the group into which they fall, to work together to address this problem as a unified team. We need to say no to drugs.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign the Prime Minister promised that for every dollar of new government spending he would spend a dollar on debt reduction and tax relief. This is the 50:50 promise.

In the past few weeks the Prime Minister has promised at least $2 billion in new spending, $100 million for new TV shows, some $800 million toward the millennium fund, $100 million for the Canada Council, and so on.

If the government plans to keep this 50:50 promise and it is already committed to spending another $2 billion in new spending, where is the $2 billion for tax relief and debt reduction?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I advise my hon. friend to be patient. The budget will be delivered tomorrow afternoon. I predict it will be an excellent budget. I hope the leader of the Reform Party will join in the approval which I predict will be given by Canadians generally for the budget to be delivered tomorrow afternoon.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, any budget surplus belongs to the Canadian taxpayers, not to the government, not to the ministers and not to the Prime Minister.

There should have been a $3 billion surplus this year and there was going to be a $3 billion surplus, but then the Prime Minister and his colleagues decided to spend it before it ever got to the budget. There is going to be a cut from that surplus that will not leave anything for debt reduction or tax relief.

Why has the government robbed Canadians of a surplus that was rightfully theirs?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the hon. member's question. In his first question he complained about money likely to be spent for education of young Canadians. Why do he and the Reform Party oppose helping young Canadians get a better education? What do they have against young Canadians?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what this government has given young Canadians is a $583 billion mortgage.

The Prime Minister promises that tax cuts and debt reduction will occur some day, but that day is always down the road. There is always a little loophole to allow him to get out of it. But spending, that is another story. Spending is now. Spending is concrete.

In the budget it is more spending that will get the screaming headlines and debt reduction and tax relief that will get the footnotes.

Does the government not know that tax relief delayed is tax relief denied?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, why does the Leader of the Opposition forget that tax relief from this government has already begun? In the last budget there were lower taxes for post-secondary students and their families. There were tax reductions for disabled Canadians. There have been reductions in employment insurance premiums.

If the hon. member were serious about tax reductions he would be on his feet now giving credit to the government for what we have already done in this area of concern.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, they talk about the finance minister's dream. There they are dreaming.

On February 11 the finance minister confirmed that for the first eight months Canada had a financial surplus of $11.3 billion and a public account surplus of $1.4 billion. That was not even two weeks ago, yet now the cupboard is bare. The surplus has been blown on new spending programs.

Why did the Liberals have to blow this year's surplus on spending when they promised half of every single billion dollars would go to debt and tax relief?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is right in what she says the Minister of Finance said about the surplus, why does she not get up and praise the minister for this achievement, the first one in 30 years?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, they should have kept a balanced budget 30 years ago. Then we would not have got in this mess of $600 billion.

When something happens to $3 million, when it gets stolen from a bank vault it is called robbery and good citizens are supposed to dial 911. But what do you do and who do you call when $3 billion gets snookered out of the government vault thanks to the Prime Minister and his cabinet? We had a multibillion dollar surplus this year but it has already been spent even the day before the budget. Why is the Prime Minister treating the taxpayers' surplus as his own personal cash to do with as he pleases?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, after Canadians consider the unfounded allegations in the hon. member's question, they will want to dial 911 to have something done about the official opposition.