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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

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have not just been talking about it. We have been working on it. We have been making every effort to ensure that all the possibilities that could be explored for a settlement were explored.

I am very pleased to report that as of Friday the security council has decided to double the amount of money that would go into a humanitarian program for Iraq to ensure that there would be a proper set up of oil for food. That is an issue Canada took a particularly strong role in promoting.

PensionsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the proposed seniors benefit was announced nearly two years ago but the government still has not tabled its legislation. Under the seniors benefit some seniors will face clawbacks and taxes on their retirement savings of as much as 75%.

I ask the minister, will tomorrow's budget assure Canadians that this huge tax grab on their retirement savings will be scrapped?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I invite the hon. member to be here in the House tomorrow at 4.30 p.m. so that she can see what is in the budget.

PensionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been waiting two years and all the member can give them is a glib response like that.

How can Canadians plan their retirement savings without knowing how this government intends to tax their savings? In fact we understand from the minister's leaky department that he will not even be introducing seniors legislation until the fall.

Why will he not clear things up for Canadians now?

PensionsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first let us make it clear that this government believes the creation of the seniors benefit is critical if we still believe in Canada. It is important to provide pension support for low income senior women and men. This government believes that. Sadly the Reform Party does not.

Oil IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

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

A study of competitiveness in the oil industry, commissioned by Industry Canada among others, was released in Toronto last Wednesday. Based exclusively on the large oil companies, this study completely ignores independent distributors, who represent 20% of the market in Quebec alone.

Given that this study is incomplete and biased, will the minister agree to have an independent group of experts conduct an impartial study of operating costs related to retail gas sales?

Oil IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, a study was done a long time ago. I think it has been available to the public for six months now. A number of questions were raised regarding the study's methodology, and I will consider them.

Oil IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is for the Minister of National Revenue.

Given that the Government of Quebec already treats the large oil companies and many independents equally with respect to road tax, unlike the federal government when it comes to excise tax, will the Minister of National Revenue agree to follow Quebec's example and allow independent distributors to charge excise tax as well?

Oil IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the hon. member that all corporations fully comply with the excise tax. Independents will also apply on the same basis. I will take his representations and look at the matter.

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, media reports indicate that yesterday the secretary-general of the United Nations brokered a deal with Saddam Hussein.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell Canadians whether or not the Canadian government finds the deal acceptable?

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said in answer to the previous questions, we are very encouraged by it but we want to assure ourselves along with the other members who are taking a strong interest that the deal meets the kind of conditions that were set out by the security council.

The secretary-general will not be back to brief the security council until tomorrow afternoon. Certainly it is very encouraging. I think we must also be sure that we have the kind of deal that will work.

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, how can the minister be so far out of the loop that he does not have any information? Will he find out about the deal from CNN? Whom does this minister have to check with before he can decide whether or not the deal is acceptable to Canadians?

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the unfortunate problem with Reform Party members is that they make their policy based on what they see in the media. They have no ideas of their own. They do not take the time to read things carefully. They have no sense of how to go about making sure that the proper decision is made.

I do not make my decisions by what I see on CNN. I wish members of the Reform Party would grow up and start looking at things carefully as well.

EducationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, many stakeholders in Quebec, from university presidents to student federations, from the Government of Quebec to Quebec's Liberal Party, have opposed the planned millennium scholarship fund.

They are unanimously agreed that this money would be better spent on existing education budgets, rather than on creating new mechanisms.

For the good of students and education in Quebec, would the minister demonstrate good faith on this issue and allow Quebec, as is only right, to opt out with full compensation?

EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, student loans are an important issue in Canada. Tomorrow's budget will contain, I hope, important improvements to the student loans system.

The Government of Quebec, which has chosen to opt out of the Canadian program, will be fully compensated for all the improvements we will be making to the permanent structure for student loans, except that the millennium fund is coming out of this year's money. It is a dividend we are able to give this year and is not part of the permanent structure of government funding—

EducationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned when Canadians are killed while vacationing overseas.

Could the secretary of state for the Caribbean region inform the House on the developments in the case of Richard Gravelle, an Edmontonian who was murdered in the Bahamas on February 13?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton Southeast Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately my colleague, the hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, is correct.

I am certain that all of us in the House would join in expressing sympathy for the profound misfortune of the Gravelle family from Edmonton. The Bahamian ministry of tourism has already provided consular assistance to the Gravelle family.

The preliminary for the two people charged with the murder will begin on May 2.

QuebecOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday while responding to the separatist government in Quebec, the President of the Treasury Board stated that the time when federalists were timid had passed.

The Minister of Intergovernmental Affair previously stated that if Canada is divisible so is Quebec. Yet the government urged the supreme court not to consider the question of partition. The government continues to give Quebeckers mixed messages.

Which minister and which position represent the Prime Minister and the government?

QuebecOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, a huge amount of legal issues would be at stake in the negotiation of secession. This is one.

We asked the court what it thinks is the fundamental one, the first one, if the actual secession has legal support, yes or no. We are awaiting the answer which we will respect in either case.

QuebecOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is a lot more involved than just the legal issue.

Three years ago the country was almost lost because the government refused to inform Quebeckers about the consequences of a yes vote. Today it refuses to inform Quebeckers of the efforts of the other provinces to keep the country together.

When will the government start talking and communicating with Quebeckers about the Calgary declaration terms for discussion?

QuebecOral Question Period

2:40 p.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 must inform my hon. colleague that according to all the information we have, including polls, the Calgary declaration is strongly supported in Quebec.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

February 23rd, 1998 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

Tomorrow when the finance minister presents his budget 1.5 million Canadian children will be living in poverty. The minister said in London yesterday that the government was preparing plans to address growing social inequality.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister confirm that tomorrow's budget will not ignore the 1.5 Canadian children living in poverty?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has long experience in the House. He knows that I cannot talk about what will be in the budget, if anything will be in the budget or not be in the budget.

I can confirm that we as a government and as members of Parliament are concerned about the plight of children living in poverty. I look forward to measures being taken over coming months to help deal with that.

As far as talking about what is in the budget and confirming what is in the budget, he knows as well as I do that this cannot be done by me or anybody on this side today.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, back in 1989 the House unanimously passed a resolution to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Instead there are 538,000 more children living in poverty.

In recognition of what the Deputy Prime Minister has just said, would he not think it a good idea for the government to set a target to reduce child poverty by the year 2000 by at least a third?