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House of Commons Hansard #81 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

National UnityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, national unity needs leadership.

The Conservative leader is demonstrating his leadership by making the leap to provincial politics. The Prime Minister should also demonstrate his leadership for Canada.

What does the Prime Minister intend to do to get the federalist parties in this House to work together to build this country's future?

Will he urge the Prime Minister to convene such a meeting among federalist leaders before the Easter recess?

National UnityOral Question Period

2:25 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, Canadian unity is progressing nicely. Support for it is increasing, while support for the Bloc is in free fall. Things are going well.

We now have the opportunity to have a leader in Quebec who is popular for various reasons, including the fact that he can be both a Quebecker and a Canadian. My door is always open to the leader of the NDP. All suggestions on national unity are welcome.

HealthOral Question Period

March 26th, 1998 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, Justice Krever recommended that all victims of tainted blood be compensated. Now we in this House know that the government will exclude the victims outside the timeframe of 1986 to 1990.

I ask the government, does the Deputy Prime Minister support a compensation package that will exclude 40,000 Canadians, innocent Canadians of a tainted—

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member probably heard me respond earlier to a question that was similar in nature.

The member's question is based on reports in the press today, reports that are not substantiated by the meetings that are currently being held by the Minister of Health and his counterparts. I might add that all of these men and women are at the table in an effort to resolve an outstanding issue of a tragic period in Canadian blood agency history.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am going to hold the government to its very words in this House today in regard to this issue. Previous members on this side of the House have asked the same question and have had the same nonsense from the government. It knows today what is in that package.

I ask the minister, will the government stand true to its words today in this House and if that package does not include those innocent victims, will the government make sure that that happens?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite might gain some comfort in the knowledge that all the people he thinks he speaks for are the ones that are being dealt with today by the Minister of Health and his counterparts at the provincial level.

Under no circumstances would we engage in the kind of politics we are seeing today, which is pitting the emotions of one group of victims against another. It is shameful.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, our whole nation is grieving over the deaths of Connie and Ty Jacobs on the Tsuu T'ina reserve in Alberta.

Alberta has called for a public inquiry into that tragic shooting which might shed some light on how to improve the RCMP conditions there. That inquiry only looks into the shooting itself. Grassroots aboriginals know that this was just a symptom of much larger, more serious problems.

Will the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development appoint a judge to look into the economic, social and democratic problems on the Tsuu T'ina reserve?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I have said all along that the lives of aboriginal people in this country are dramatically different from the lives many of us have. They are not as good.

Over the last five years the largest public inquiry into the very root causes of the issues that the hon. member makes reference to, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, has been completed. On January 7 this government provided a significant and historic response to that piece of research and focused on building plans—

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton North.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the royal commission is not solving the problems there, right now today, which they are facing. There are terrible inequities on that reserve. As we saw on TV last night, there are haves and have-nots on that reserve. That is exactly the issue that Bruce Starlight, from that very same reserve, brought forward to the minister's attention and the very chief who got that information back and is now suing him.

This is not being solved and I am going to ask the minister one more time: Will she appoint a judge to look into the economic, social and democratic disasters that are happening on the Tsuu T'ina Reserve today?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, again I would point out that the work of the royal commission encouraged us and advised us to look at these very issues.

If the hon. member would take time to look at the response of this government to those very issues she will see that we are committed to building a strong relationship with the aboriginal peoples from coast to coast to coast, to building and supporting transparent and accountable First Nations government and Inuit government.

Members will see that we are committed to building modern fiscal relationships, all with the intention of ensuring that we build healthy, secure—

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, Part III of the finance minister's estimates confirms an additional cut of $430 million in transfers to the provinces. The government has managed, however, to find $2.5 billion for its millennium “flub”.

How can the minister explain to the public that he does not have the money for transfers to the provinces that are used for hospitals and universities, but that his cup overflows when it comes to new programs carrying the mark of the maple leaf?

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, at the same time as we had to cut some of the transfer payments, the value of tax points went up by $700 million, there was an increase in equalization payments, and the drop in interest rates produced big savings for the Province of Quebec.

It should also be pointed out that, while our cuts were in the order of 2.5%, the Quebec government imposed cuts that were twice as high on its municipalities.

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. The government says to the provinces “We have no money. We are therefore cutting $430 million from your payments”. It then turns around and tells the public “We could care less about the problems our cuts are causing in the health sector. We prefer to create millennium scholarships. They are much more visible”.

Does the minister not realize that, in the meantime, there are real people suffering, while the federal government wages its war of visibility against the provinces?

Millennium ScholarshipsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I wonder why the hon. member and his party are against a good education for the young people of Quebec and the rest of the country.

Department Of Fisheries And OceansOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister says if you want to unload oil in Cornwall, Ontario, it is going to cost you $1.85 a tonne in taxes. But 60 miles down the river in Montreal it is only 44 cents. It is the same oil, four times the tax.

Two years ago the minister's own independent inquiry of experts told him that this practice was discriminatory. They said that the tax should be the same everywhere.

Why is the fisheries minister ignoring his own experts and continuing this discrimination against Ontario businesses and consumers?

Department Of Fisheries And OceansOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as I explained yesterday we have a series of regional response organizations in Canada. These are private sector organizations which make contracts with the various shippers of oil. We insist upon having this system so we have the maximum protection of the environment.

What I hear from the official opposition time after time is that they do not care about that protection and they do not care about the private sector relationship.

Department Of Fisheries And OceansOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is not listening to his own experts and is kowtowing to different oil companies simply because he does not have the courage to stand up to them.

In a February 12 letter to the minister, the Liberal member for Scarborough—Rouge River said “it is economically and politically unwise to maintain a fee in Ontario which is four times higher than that of fees established in Quebec. This creates an economic disadvantage for Ontario industry”.

If the minister will not listen to the experts will he listen to his backbenchers? Why is the minister taxing Ontario at four times the rate of Quebec?

Department Of Fisheries And OceansOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, time after time I have to point out to this hon. member that a private contract between companies is not a tax of the Government of Canada. He tends to suggest that we in the government should take over private relationships, smother the system that we have in place and of course substitute our decision.

What I will tell him is that we have in place a regionalized system. The differences in price are related to the different volumes that are carried and the different requirements for the response equipment that is necessary to have on hand. It is an insurance policy. To get the insurance one has to buy in.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the budget confirms that the accumulated surplus in the employment insurance fund will be close to $20 billion next year.

The only argument used by the government to justify this outrageous surplus is that it must save money for the next recession, again at the expense of the unemployed.

With so much money available, how can the government refuse to shore up the transitional job creation fund and provide a decent income to the unemployed?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, when we came to office, employment insurance contributions stood at $3.07 and were going up to $3.30. We have already reduced these contributions five times, and they now stand at $2.70.

Thanks to our initiatives, Canadians have saved $7.1 billion since we took office.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of playing an old tape, I will ask a brand new question to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Given the $20 billion surplus in the employment insurance fund, what is the minister waiting for to implement a true groundfish strategy and provide tools to the 22,000 fishers and plant workers who are waiting? There are $20 billion in the fund, but the minister is still waiting.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the response assistance for displaced fisheries will be put forward, as has been said many times in this House, in due course once decisions are made by the government.

The issue that we are facing is that the plan will expire in August. We are trying to put in place other measures which we believe will be helpful, first, by removing people from the industry so we do not continually have this problem, but also of course to assist them in the interim.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has been promising for months to amend the young offenders legislation. Many of the provinces have already indicated exasperation over the delay.

Last June the minister informed Canadians that young offender legislation was her top priority. Eight months. Some priority.

When can we expect the long overdue fulfilment of her promise? The minister often uses the word “timely”. Canadians deserve and expect better than that.