House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Child PovertyOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, this question gives me a chance to reiterate the commitment that this government has to children and to child poverty.

I would remind the hon. member that we invest $5 billion a year through the Canada child tax benefit and another $2 billion a year through the national child benefit. We invest $9 billion in programs like Cap C and prenatal nutrition, in Inuit and aboriginal community child care programs.

Not only do we have a commitment to continue that investment but through the Speech from the Throne there will be significant additional investments in children.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, 1.4 million children are living in poverty. That is the Liberal legacy, 1.4 million poor kids.

The minister knows perfectly well that the child tax benefit is being clawed back from 64% of the poorest families in this country. Where is the clapping? Where is the cheering?

Why will the government not set targets and timetables to eliminate child poverty come hell or high water?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let me try to explain what indeed is happening with the national child benefit. In fact, the federal government gives assistance to poor families through $1.7 billion, soon to be $2 billion in income support. That allows the provinces to take moneys and build a platform of services to support of our children in low income families.

The big challenge that we have is giving opportunities to low income families, many of whom are on social assistance. Rather than facing the moral dilemma of leaving behind the services that their children receive through that program to take work to get into the economy and make a contribution and provide food for their families—

Child PovertyOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. John's West.

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister, the minister responsible for the millennium partnership program.

The Liberal minister of tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador has charged that Newfoundland is getting shortchanged in this program. In fact to date we have received less than 1% of approved funding. It appears that projects are being approved in one province, while similar projects are being rejected in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Liberal minister stated “This is absolutely ridiculous, uncalled for and discriminatory”.

Will the minister give the assurance to the House and the people of Newfoundland that Newfoundland applications are not being discriminated against?

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can give that assurance.

They are being looked at on their merits. We have already approved projects with support of almost $1.5 million. I have conveyed this information to the Newfoundland minister who has gone back to the drawing board to check further into the basis for his allegations.

I also want to say that we are striving for an overall balance over the total length of the program. I should say that this is not a per capita program. It is application driven and we respond to applications.

I believe that over the life of the program Newfoundland will be found—

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. John's West.

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer and I would like to ask one more question.

The final phase of applications for the millennium partnership program has been announced. Will the minister also give his commitment that all applications submitted from Newfoundland and Labrador will be given a fair assessment and that applications already rejected, such as the excellent ones from the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and the Grand Concourse Authority, will be reviewed to make absolutely certain that no discrimination was involved?

Millennium Partnership ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I assure my hon. friend that none of the applications from Newfoundland, or anywhere else in our country, have been dealt with on the basis of discriminatory practices.

We look at all applications in light of the criteria in a fair and equitable way, and we will continue to do so with respect to Newfoundland applications.

As far as my hon. friend's other comments are concerned, I will take them as a representation.

HealthOral Question Period

November 19th, 1999 / 11:30 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, Premier Klein recognizes that the Canada Health Act system is failing Canadians, particularly poor and middle class Canadians. Now the Premier of Ontario has written to the Prime Minister saying “Provincial governments have not cut health care funding; the federal government has”.

My question is for the health minister. If the health minister truly believes that putting more money into the health care system will fix the system, will he restore the $21 billion the government has taken out of health care?

HealthOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to having a high quality health care system for all Canadians, and I wish Reformers had the same commitment. Otherwise they would not complain about the $11.5 billion we have committed to help make sure we have that kind of health care system.

HealthOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about a Liberal quality health care system. Some 188,000 people are on a waiting list. People in Quebec are having to go down to the United States to get cancer treatments. Emergency departments in Quebec are so full they are telling people “Don't come to our emergency department”. That is Liberal health care.

How can the government possibly penalize the provinces for trying to save publicly funded health care when all it gives is 10% of the total cost of federal spending for health care today? If that is the case, will the government restore the $21 billion—

HealthOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

HealthOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the management of the health care system in each province is under the control and direction of the provinces. They have to take some responsibility for that management. We are providing additional funding of $11.5 billion.

It is interesting to hear the hon. member on behalf of the Reform Party calling for even more public spending. We appreciate that support for what we are doing for health care across the country, and we will take his comments as a very sincere representation.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when we questioned the government about its inability to reduce poverty in Canada, the learned Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs explained that Quebec's referendum debate was responsible for the increase in the number of poor children in the country.

So we come back to this issue today. My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Does the government agree with this somewhat short-sighted analysis by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, according to which the number of poor children in Canada has increased since 1993 because a referendum was held in Quebec in 1995?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs indicated very clearly that political instability was hurting the country's economy.

When the country's economy dips, it is naturally hard on the poor and everyone else. If the member opposite does not understand this, I am sure he is the only one here who does not.

Child PovertyOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have my doubts, although they are not about the House leader, who has put his foot in it. I find myself obliged to tell him that the poorest place in Canada is Newfoundland and the maritimes.

To my knowledge, the last constitutional referendum in Newfoundland took place in 1948. Is he telling us that the effects have lasted 50 years?

Child PovertyOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad that the member asked about Newfoundland. In fact, in the last two years, it is one of the provinces, if not the province, with the highest rate of economic growth in Canada.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we continue to receive hundreds of paystubs from Canadians who are fed up with having to spend half of their income to finance the government's tax and spend habit.

People like Adam Grabowski, a teacher from Hamiota, Manitoba, sent a paystub showing that income tax took 49% of his pay or 54.7% when CPP and employment insurance premiums are included. He wants to know why the government thinks it knows better how to spend the money than he does on his family.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to cut taxes. In the last budget it cut $16.5 billion. For a typical family of four with a $65,000 income that is a 10% reduction in federal taxes.

The government is committed to cutting taxes. In the economic update the Minister of Finance invited comments on where Canada will go in the future with our surpluses. Canadians will participate in that debate. Our government is committed to more tax reductions.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is the new Liberal math. I wonder if the member really believes that there has been a 10% tax cut when everybody has seen their tax burden increase.

Why are the disposable incomes of people shrinking if in fact the tax burden has gone down? The member is talking about a so-called reduction which has been overwhelmed by bracket creep and the Canada pension plan increase.

Why do people like Adam Grabowski have to continue working harder and making sacrifices when the government refuses to provide real tax relief?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is calling for tax cuts, which we have already begun doing and will do a lot more of.

His colleague from British Columbia just called for $21 billion to be spent by the government on health care. Why do members of that party not get their act together? They do not seem to understand that there is a balance between these things.

We are pursuing a fair balance and we will continue both with respect to tax cuts and investing in key priorities like health care. In the meantime the Reform Party ought to go back behind the curtains and get its act together.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on RDI the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development stated that the government would be forced to do something to avoid the dirty tricks that, according to him, occurred during the last Quebec referendum.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Are we to understand from these words that the government has made its decision to act, and all that remains to be determined is the details on how a future Quebec referendum will be managed?

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we do have an answer on this, as the hon. member suggests.

Of course, we do, I hope, all recognize the supreme court decision on this which indicated that, if there were a referendum, there must be a clear answer to an unambiguous question and of course also subsequent negotiations if the first two criteria were met.

Quite simply, we must repeat what has been said on a number of occasions in the past. The hon. member has even referred to this himself.

Intergovernmental AffairsOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State said he had spoken of this with the Prime Minister himself, and had reached the conclusion that action had to be taken.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister confirm what the Secretary of State has said: that the decision has indeed been reached to introduce a federal bill relating to a future referendum in Quebec?