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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

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we have been working along with our partners in the provinces on the issue of child poverty.

We are already committed to having $850 million added to the Canada child tax credit as of July 1, 1998. As a government we are committed to having another $850 million added during the course of this mandate. That is very important to alleviating child poverty.

We in this place believe that every child in the land needs to have a good start in life. That is why my colleague in the department of health has great programs like CAPC, for which financing has been restored and even enhanced.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, with the government's high tax policies the best way to start a small business in Canada is to start a big one and wait.

High taxes, especially payroll taxes, continue to deny Canadians real employment growth. Will the Minister of Finance offer meaningful tax relief to small businesses to get governments off their backs and to get employment growth back on track?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow at 4.30 p.m. the budget will be presented to the House. I invite my hon. colleague to be here tomorrow so he can hear quite clearly what is in the budget.

As we saw in the prebudget consultation the government is listening to Canadians. I am sure he will see in the budget what will be a reflection of Canadian priorities.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, that answer does not work for Canadians and it does not put Canadians back to work.

My second question is about tax relief for low income Canadians. Our party has been putting this issue on the table for 18 months but the finance minister refuses to commit to any specific relief.

Will the finance minister finally listen to us and increase the basic personal exemption from $6,500 to $10,000 and take two million Canadians off the tax rolls, or does the minister believe that Canadians making less than $10,000 should be paying federal income tax?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member mentioned, last week the Conservative Party released a prebudget submission in which it urged that we cut taxes before we balance the budget. That goes to show the kind of priority that party places on balanced finances.

It is hardly surprising from a party which left Canada to dig out from under a $42 billion deficit, hardly surprising.

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the solicitor general. While statistics show that crime is down, the fear of crime is up among Canadians.

The parole board has been often criticized when releasing offenders into the very communities in which they were sentenced.

What has been done at the National Parole Board to improve public safety?

National Parole BoardOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government has made a number of changes to the National Parole Board. Most important, all appointments are made on the basis of merit and not political affiliation.

As a result of these changes all vacancies are publicly advertised. We receive many applications. They are reviewed by senior managers at the parole board against objective criteria. Interviews are held.

Because most offenders return to the communities they left, it is very important that we have a controlled and gradual release or reintegration program. The first step in that exercise is a sound hiring policy in the National Parole Board.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, earlier the Deputy Prime Minister said that the opposition did not care about young Canadians. It is no mistake that there are more young Canadians on this side of the House than there are on that side of the House in a government which is giving young Canadians an additional $100 billion in debt, a $600 billion debt, 17% youth unemployment and $25,000 in average student debt. Now the government is assessing the investment of Canadians in their own education as a taxable benefit.

Will the minister of revenue tell us whether or not it is the policy of the government that Canadians whose companies invest in their training should actually be penalized through the tax system?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member.

I wish to inform the House of a press release put out by the hon. member which was totally irresponsible and very immature. He says millions of Canadians may face retroactive tax on training and education.

This is patently false and the hon. member should stand and apologize to the House and to Canadians.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

Whereas the federal government is the primary supplier of blood products, whereas the provinces already pay the costs of health care for victims of Hepatitis C; and in light of the huge cuts by the federal government to provincial health transfer payments, is the federal government prepared, in negotiating the damages to be paid to victims of Hepatitis C, to take into account the large amounts the provinces are already contributing to health care for victims of Hepatitis C?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the best I can do is reiterate what the Minister of Health said on the issue last week in the House.

He said that no one would be happier than he with a compensation package for hepatitis C victims. He said that victims were best served with a package of compensation that involved both levels of government, and he said that he was prepared to wait a little longer to see if we could get that agreement.

Pay EquityOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board has acknowledged the findings of the advisory committee on senior level retention and compensation in the Public Service of Canada. He says that the government values top quality executives in the public service.

Why is it that the government will accept the findings of the advisory committee but refuses to accept the ruling of the human rights commission on pay equity?

Is it because the government does not value the work of female employees, or does it just not care about low and middle income workers?

Pay EquityOral 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 simple truth is that the commission has not made a ruling.

What is important now is that we have made an offer of $1.3 billion for pay equity. The union has refused to put it to a vote by its members. For the common good, I once again ask the member to put pressure on the syndicates and the unions so they will put this offer to their members.

EducationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious to everyone in the House that the mysterious millennium fund is nothing more than an ego fund for the Prime Minister. It should be more properly called the “me lend my name” fund. Students want an education fund that addresses the issues of all students today, not the ego of their Prime Minister.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. While students of the next millennium might benefit, what do students of this millennium have to look forward to?

EducationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we have said time and again that student debt is a major problem. We have been working hard at it. Tomorrow our budget might be interesting.

I find the millennium fund absolutely extraordinary. I was in London last weekend at the G-7 meeting. I listened to the debate on how to celebrate the millennium. They are building a very expensive dome that will cost millions of pounds while this Prime Minister is choosing to invest in the great brains of our young. That is what he is doing and that is a good thing.

CensusOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the recent release of the 1996 census report has raised serious concerns among our newest Canadians. They, finally having become Canadian citizens, are still being asked their race and ethnic origin.

I have a question for the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism. Why does the government collect this data and how is it used?

CensusOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, the issue of the census is set up to find the demographics of the country.

A census is the way of defining the demographics of the country. Canada is not a homogeneous country. It is a country that is made up of people from every corner of the world. Canada is also a country that believes strongly in its social programs and equality and knowing our census—

CensusOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands.

RailwaysOral Question Period

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

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday almost 400 Saskatchewan reeves, mayors and municipal counsellors at a transportation meeting in Saskatoon voted unanimously to ask the government to delay rail line abandonments until Mr. Justice Estey had completed his review of the system. If piecemeal fragmentation continues, there will be nothing left worth shortlining. Mr. Estey's work will be essentially academic.

Will the minister show some leadership and table legislation—we will support it—to address the concerns of these producers?

RailwaysOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are very well aware of the concerns of farmers in Saskatchewan as well as others across the country.

In discussions I have had with the railways, I have alerted them to the need to be very sensitive about the way they go about the abandonment process. There is no organized or systematic plot going on, to use the hon. member's words, to abandon these lines before Justice Estey reports.

I think the hon. member should work with his commission. I think in the end we will see that the results will be good for all concerned.

Diseased SheepOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, since January 1997, over 3,000 sheep have been slaughtered in Quebec because they were found to have scrapie, which fortunately is not transmittable to humans.

Does the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food intend to investigate why this disease was not detected by inspectors until recently, and will he report back to the House?

Diseased SheepOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, first I inform my colleague that there has been no scientific guaranteed proof that there is a connection between the disease he is referring to and humans.

To be on the safe side, when sheep are found in a flock in Canada, even if there is one sheep found in the flock of many, we destroy the complete flock. We have the best control of that disease of any country in the world and we will continue that for the protection of Canadians and their health.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Rick Laliberte NDP Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the environment minister states that the harmonization accord signed last month will improve co-operation with the provinces and will increase Canada's environmental protection standards. Contrary to the minister's assurances, Canadians are witnessing a loss of environmental protection across the country. The federal cuts have continued beyond program review, including the protection of atmospheric sciences.

Will the environment minister explain to the citizens of Canada which departments will be stopping hazardous waste dumping in Ontario sewers?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the federal government and my department have a great concern about hazardous wastes and whether they are crossing borders or being dumped anywhere in the country.

We watch all cases very carefully to make sure that anybody that is perhaps not complying with standards is made aware of what the federal regulations and rules are. We will assure all members of this House that we are following through with our supervision, inspections and maintenance of standards.

YouthOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, in question period today the Minister of Human Resources Development said the number one problem facing young people was staying in school or getting an education. If the government thinks that is the issue, I want to know whether or not it will reinstate the very successful stay in school program that was launched in 1990 to help prevent young people from dropping out of high school.