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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at what we have done. In fact, there are targeted tax decreases for students, for families, for poor families, for caregivers. Then there are general tax decreases. We increased the threshold by $500 for an individual or $1,000 for a family. We eliminated the 3% surtax for 13 million Canadian taxpayers.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, one day the Prime Minister says no new money ever for health cash transfers. The next day he retracts it. It does not matter so much to Canadians who is lying. What matters to Canadians—

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saint John.

The BudgetOral Question Period

February 26th, 1998 / 2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, health care is a very important issue in this country. You cannot go to college and get your degree if you do not have your health. You cannot go to work and pay your taxes if you do not have your health.

The medical society in Canada is begging for more money from this government. The Liberal finance ministers from Newfoundland and New Brunswick are saying there is no more money in this budget for health care. P.E.I. is saying the same thing.

When will the Minister of Finance stop the cutting and start the healing because he has devastated the health care system?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this may come as news to the hon. member, but the health care system in Canada was never in greater jeopardy than when her party presided over this House. We faced a deficit so huge that it threatened to engulf all of our social programs.

For that member to stand in this House and to tell us that we are not acting to preserve it strains the credulity. We are the party that understands how to preserve health care in Canada.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that seven provinces will be receiving less in cash transfers for health care and education according to the finance minister's own staff.

Every maritime government has spoken out against this except for one. That is the Prime Minister's gofer in Nova Scotia, Premier Russell MacLellan. Will the finance minister commit today to ensure that the provincial CHST floors are established on a provincial level or does the minister believe that just because Nova Scotians have a weak premier they should have a weak health care system?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all there are very few political leaders in this country who have defended medicare and who have fought for the social fabric in this country as hard as Russell MacLellan has for Nova Scotia.

The Minister of Health referred to the Conservative program to eliminate cash transfers and go to all the tax points and what affect that would have on the ability to preserve the health care in this country. What the Atlantic members ought to know is if that was done, given the relative value of tax points across the country, the area that would suffer the most is Atlantic Canada. How can—

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been concerns that FEDNOR, which is Canada's economic development agency in northern Ontario, could cease to exist as of next year. This government listened and renewed its commitment to northern Ontario in last Tuesday's historic budget.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry inform the House on the steps which will be taken to place FEDNOR on stable and secure funding into the next millennium?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate the Minister of Finance for reaching a balanced budget. This allows agencies like FEDNOR to continue their good work in northern Ontario.

The budgeting for FEDNOR will continue. It will assist small business to improved access to finances, increase access to information about doing business and provide jobs for northern Ontario. This is another excellent initiative by this government.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata Independent York South—Weston, ON

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

While the books are now balanced, it has not been done without considerable pain. What message does the finance minister have for the 1.5 million unemployed Canadians? Can he indicate where his job creation plan is and can he advise the House what his unemployment target is for this year?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the entire budget is in fact directed to creating jobs in this country. Whether it be the youth at risk program of the Minister of Human Resources Development which will take care of those students who have left high school and who are looking for job experience, or whether it be the very real relationship between education and job creation, it is the responsibility of a government to equip its citizens to succeed. That is what we have done in this budget.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata Independent York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, can the finance minister please indicate to the House what his target is for unemployment this year? What does he expect the unemployment rate to be at the end of this fiscal year, or the next fiscal year?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear. Over the last year this country created 372,000 jobs and over a million in the last four years. There is no reason why we cannot maintain this momentum.

The hon. member asked what our target is. It is that every Canadian in this country who wants to work can get a job.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the investigation into the breach of privacy surrounding the letter of Bruce Starlight to the Minister of Indian Affairs is now over and the mole is still there, still undetected, still unprincipled, still unworthy and still reading the minister's private mail.

What is the minister doing to rout out this despicable individual hiding in her department?

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, this House knows I took the circumstances around Mr. Starlight's letter very, very seriously.

On January 14, I asked the RCMP if it would review the department for the leak. It said that was the responsibility of the department. It was important enough for me to ask someone from outside the department to come in and do a thorough review.

The investigator has completed his report and he has provided the information. As I promised, I presented the results of that report today. We are taking action on the results.

Indian AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The member for Rimouski—Métis.

Private CopyingOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The stubbornness of the Minister of Industry, who refuses to enact the clauses of Bill C-32 on private copying, is denying millions of dollars in income to creators.

The Prime Minister already undertook to ensure passage of Bill C-32. Will the minister agree in this House to put an end to the quarrel taking place on the backs of creators by ensuring that the provisions on private copying are enacted immediately?

Private CopyingOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, there is no quarrel. I spoke to the Minister of Industry on this two days ago.

He assured me that he was not holding things up. Second, he said he would look after the matter in the very near future.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister expressed concern about the drop in the number of participants in the employment insurance program and is even considering extending it to self-employed workers.

That is a good idea, but what will that mean for those who no longer qualify because of the changes introduced by this government?

Premiums dropped by 6.6% between 1996 and 1997. Six unemployed workers out of ten no longer qualify for benefits. We need action now. Will the minister stop hibernating and review the employment insurance plan to provide assistance to all unemployed workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I did review the first annual assessment report on the significant reform we initiated with respect to employment insurance.

I think there are early signs that Canadians are adapting to these changes. In fact, there are regions where workers managed to find a few extra weeks of work over the year to maintain their benefit levels. I think that is the kind of incentive we must support as a society.

I have already acknowledged in this House I am concerned about the number of participants in this plan and, as I said, I will address this question again in the next few months.

The BudgetOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister will leave a sad legacy in defence of our health care system. He caved in to the tobacco giants. He caved in to the liquor giants and once again he has caved in to the finance minister. He is quietly and obediently sitting on his hands, allowing the finance minister to take a wrecking ball to our health care system.

My question is obvious. Who is the real health minister, hapless Allan or heartless Paul?

The BudgetOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I know we are coming toward the end, but I wish questions were not phrased in that way. We can address each other with respect and with dignity. I wish the hon. member would keep that in mind.

I will permit the hon. Minister of Health to answer it, if he so wishes.

The BudgetOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will respond notwithstanding the way the member put the question.

Let me make clear to the hon. member that we have no apologies to make for the budget and the investment we have made in health.

If the hon. member would look at the budget, if he knew what he was talking about, he would see $214 million worth of caregiver tax credit. We believe we should support people who are helping others at home. He would see some $42 million a year for the next five years on an AIDS strategy. He would see $60 million for a new blood system. He would see that we are spending $150 million over the next two years for transition into a new health system.