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House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Air TransportationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, many things have changed in the last year or so. First, the position of Canadian Airlines has become very vulnerable. It was the chief executive officer of that airline who talked about the inevitability of having one national flag carrier but with strong regional carriers to provide competition.

This is one of the many complex issues we have to look at in the coming weeks and I know the hon. member would like to pursue that line of questioning tomorrow when I go before the committee.

Information HighwayOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry. The minister has stated a number of times his goal of making Canada the most connected country in the world with respect to the information highway. Adults in small and rural communities who have missed out on training programs are feeling even more left out of the new information highway.

How can the minister ensure that Durham as well as other rural areas across the country are being plugged into the information technology of the 21st century?

Information HighwayOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, raising the needs of rural communities across this country is a vitally important aspect of the connecting Canadian strategy. I think of organizations like the Bowmanville Centre for Individual Studies in the riding of Durham, as well as others across the country where we have already connected over 4,000 rural and remote communities through public access Internet sites in those communities.

On top of that, as of March 30 we had connected the last of Canada's schools. Every school in this country is now connected to the information highway. We are the first country in the world to have accomplished this. We will be putting 250,000—

Information HighwayOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Medicine Hat.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the bond rating agencies who judge the nation's finances are giving the throne speech a big thumbs down. That is what they are telling the provinces. Likewise, they know that the government's phoney tax cuts are actually tax hikes. Now Alberta, Ontario and Quebec are so concerned about the government's high debt-high tax policy that they are seeking an extraordinary meeting with the finance minister next month.

Why does it take the provinces to bring this to the finance minister's attention, a problem that everyone recognizes except the finance minister and the government?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I know the finance minister is very much looking forward to a meeting with his counterparts from each of the provinces. He sent them an invitation over a month ago.

I and members on this side would put on the line our record in terms of proper fiscal management, having brought our nation's finances into order. At the same time as we have cut taxes in each and every budget, we have made strategic investments in the things that are going to make us strong in the 21st century.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's record is a criminal record. The people who are being robbed blind are the Canadian taxpayers.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I know that the hon. member is coming to his question now.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, everybody wants to see lower taxes in Canada: the provinces, the bond rating companies and certainly the public.

When is the government going to quit playing let's pretend and actually start to lower taxes?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, in the first budget we cut taxes for Canadians with disabilities. We cut taxes for the voluntary sector. We cut taxes for families with children. In the last two budgets we cut $16.5 billion in personal income taxes. This year Canadians are paying $5.25 billion less in EI premiums.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I just attended an Ottawa luncheon where the minister responsible for homelessness helped to launch a new “just add water” food product for food banks. Food banks deserve all the help they can get, but we cannot build homes just by adding water.

The minister said at the luncheon that she dreams about a day when homelessness will not exist. Feeling sorry will not help. Nice words will not help. When is the government going to end homelessness by simply building good social housing?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Moncton New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, since my trip finished on August 10 my staff have not had a weekend or an evening off. We are considering every report that we receive. People have told us what needs to be done. My report will be presented to my caucus members. This caucus takes homelessness and children very seriously.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think the homeless and people in need of housing are fed up with waiting. We have heard not one peep and not one unit of housing has been built since this tour.

What is the minister's solution? Why is Canada the only industrialized country without a national housing strategy? Is the solution to just add water and forget the housing?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask hon. members not to use props in the House.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is investing $1.9 billion in social housing on an annual basis.

We continue working with the provinces. We are investing $300 million in the RRAP. Last year, in our public-private partnership program, we built 2,100 new units of affordable social housing. We are continuing to work with that program and this year another 3,000 units will be built.

I am working with my colleague who is the co-ordinator for the homeless. Just last year in Toronto we spent over $13 million on the homeless. Maybe the hon. member should look at that.

HealthOral Question Period

October 25th, 1999 / 2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Harvey Progressive Conservative Chicoutimi, QC

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

Instead of the GST being scrapped, what has been scrapped in Canada, in Quebec in particular, is the health system.

I would like the minister to confirm that the principle of accessibility to which all Canadians have a right is being respected, when tens of thousands of people are either on waiting lists or being forced to go out of the country for care.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, yes, we firmly believe in the principles of the Canada Health Act. Some months ago, all provincial premiers reiterated their commitment to those principles.

It is our intention to ensure that everyone respects these principles. We recently increased transfer payments to the provinces in the health field in order to ensure they would be in a position to delivery quality services to everyone.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Harvey Progressive Conservative Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to know whether the minister feels surgeons are wrong in saying that waiting lists are growing by the day and that they are being made martyrs of those lists.

This morning in Chicoutimi, 2,857 people were on surgical waiting lists. It is not all to transfer funds, national legislation must be enforced. The Canadian Health Act exists and must be enforced.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we must respect its principles and we must administer the system in such a way that services are available.

Yes, we are having problems within the health care system, but Mrs. Marois and the other ministers of health are working at this time on finding solutions to those problems.

East TimorOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, for thousands of East Timorese displaced after the independence vote, the situation in East Timor is still serious. Humanitarian organizations are having trouble responding to the needs of the Timorese, who are homeless and suffering from malnutrition.

Will the minister tell the House what action is now being contemplated to respond to the humanitarian crisis in East Timor?

East TimorOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada's response to the humanitarian crisis in East Timor has been speedy and effective.

Today I am pleased to announce an additional $1.5 million to the money that was announced some time ago with respect to assistance in East Timor. This brings Canada's contribution to $2.9 million since the crisis in East Timor started.

Canada's contribution will, among other things, assist the victims of violence and provide them with the very much needed food and shelter.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is doing a lousy job in reducing taxes, according to an internal poll of Canadians from the finance minister's own department. The poll came out after the government's alleged tax relief program came into effect.

Why is there no plan for real tax relief when Canadians are saying that the government has done a lousy job in reducing their taxes?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I think we better look at what Reform is really asking for. Its budget plans have called for $52 billion in tax cuts and debt relief in its third year.

Last session, we asked the Reform Party time and time again what it was going to cut to pay for it. I would like to suggest that maybe in this session of parliament it will come clean with Canadians and tell us what it is going to cut. Is it going to be health care? Is it going to be equalization payments? Is it going to be education? Is it going to be aid to western farmers?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The minister maintains that the parental leave announced by her government will actually meet women's needs.

Does the minister not understand that the 700 hour minimum to qualify for EI benefits is much too high for most claimants and that it must be lowered to 300 hours if the minister truly wants to see more women benefit from parental leave?