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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

SudanOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I see the minister does not have confidence in the UN's report.

This morning's National Post reports that the Desmarais family has major interests in Sudan.

Do the close ties between that family and the government, the Liberal Party, and the Prime Minister in particular, not explain Canada's complacency with respect to the brutal regime in place in Sudan?

SudanOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

No, Mr. Speaker, what the National Post report this morning indicated was that a French company held interests in the oil extraction activities in Sudan.

To repeat what I have already said to the hon. member, Mr. Harker is heading a fact-finding commission on what is happening in Sudan. If his report should indicate that there is a connection between the profits generated by oil extraction activities in Sudan and human rights abuses, then Canada would consider the appropriateness of sanctions.

BankingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Last year about this time the big banks were saying that the sky would fall if they were not allowed to merge. The sky did not fall. Instead we have had the raining of pennies from heaven, loonies, toonies and gold, and a record of $9 billion in profit in the last year. Now those CEOs want to lay off some 15,000 people in the next three years.

Will the minister refer the issues of job losses and branch closures to the appropriate parliamentary committee for review and action?

BankingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that committees are indeed masters in their own house. Committees do not need references from me or from anyone else. If a finance committee or any other committee wants to look into this or any other matter, it can certainly do so.

BankingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, talk about evading a question. The compensation package for the top 24 executives of the five big banks is over a quarter of a billion dollars this year. That is equivalent to the annual pay of some 12,000 bank tellers, mostly women.

In light of that, could the minister assure us that the upcoming legislation on financial services will contain provisions for protecting jobs and allowing communities to veto a bank closure where the closure is not in the interest of the community?

BankingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, because he has followed this issue closely, in the government statement on the whole question of financial services reform we set out very progressive legislation on the way in which bank closures would be handled and on the way in which the entire system, consumers and all stakeholders, should be protected.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are seeing the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs start to backpedal in the debate launched this week by the Prime Minister.

It is now apparent that he does indeed admit that the question is a matter for the National Assembly and that any decision as to whether it is clear and whether or not there is a large enough majority after a vote to force Canada to negotiate will be based on this question.

That having been said, while the minister is beginning to backpedal, will he tell us what is left for his government to do, with statements such as the one he has made? Would it not be better for him to state—

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is a bit embarrassing for me to have to quote myself but, since I first began writing to Mr. Bouchard, that is what I have been saying.

I urge the member to reread what I wrote because it has always been the position of the Government of Canada that a provincial government could ask whatever question it wanted, but that the question and the response would have to be evaluated in terms of clarity by the Government of Canada and that it would be useful for us to know in advance what we are dealing with.

I will close with something the Progressive Conservative Premier of Prince Edward Island said. “The rules must be defined fairly clearly with respect to the clarity of the question”.

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, in fact, Mr. Binns, the Premier of Prince Edward Island, cited the supreme court. But the minister should ask Mr. Binns what he thinks of the government's strategy this week.

I come back to my question, because I was a bit short of time earlier. The minister is downplaying the urgency of the situation. Can the minister tell us whether, at the meeting in Hull this weekend, he will suggest that there is time to take stock of what exactly will happen in Quebec? Is it not time to wrap up the debate?

ReferendumsOral Question Period

11:30 a.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 want to quote what Progressive Conservative premier Pat Binns said anyway. “The rules must be defined fairly clearly with respect to the clarity of the question. I do not think that a simple majority is enough for Quebec to leave the country”.

It would be a good thing for the federal Progressive Conservative leader to make the same statement and denounce the completely irresponsible statement made by the Premier of Quebec to the effect that he could force Quebec and all of Canada into a unilateral secession. That is what we would expect of a leader who has his eye on governing this country.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is so far removed from the tax burden he has caused Canadians that he just cannot relate to the financial harm he is causing them.

Brian from Winnipeg has barely $2,000 left from a $4,100 paycheque when the finance minister takes his 50% tax share of Brian's work.

Why does the finance minister not just come home to Canada, where there are hard working, taxpaying Canadians, recognize the harm he is causing with his tax policies and give Canadians like Brian a tax break? Why does he not just do that?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when one talks to Canadians and they look at their paycheques, one of the things they see on there is the Canada pension plan premium.

I have talked to Canadians on all three coasts who have said that the Canada pension plan is an essential part of their retirement. They want to keep it. It is universal. It provides massive risk taking on behalf of all Canadians. It protects them.

Most Canadians want to know, and I am sure that Brian wants to know, why the Reform Party wants to destroy the Canada pension plan.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is the furthest thing from the truth.

“So much for hard work” says Jerry, a power line worker from Manitoba. His pay stub shows 64 hours of overtime. He should be rolling in dough. Let me quote Jerry: “Any extra money I earn would be taxed at exorbitant rates. Why bother to work hard when I am working for nothing? It is a pretty sad commentary on a country when I cannot afford to work because of taxes”.

What does the minister have to say to Jerry and the millions of Canadians like him who just want to keep a little of their hard earned money in their own pockets, not the government's?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would say to Jerry the same thing that I have said to Brian and Doreen.

One of the reasons the Reform Party finds itself forced to change speakers every time it wants to ask a question is so that it does not have to defend its policies of no unemployment insurance cuts for employees, increased taxes until the year 2000 and the destruction of the Canada pension plan.

Doreen, Brian and Jerry all want to know why it is that the Reform Party has a high tax policy.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, General Baril said that the effects of repeated budget cuts and the high operational level to which its forces have been subjected in recent years are being felt.

How does the minister intend to provide financial support to the army's operational level while also supporting Canada's foreign policy on human security?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle Québec

Liberal

Robert Bertrand LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the minister has said many times, the Canadian military is facing major funding challenges.

The Speech from the Throne stated that the government will continue to ensure that the Canadian forces have the capacity to support Canada's role in building a more secure world and will further develop the capacity of Canadians to help ensure peace and security in foreign lands.

We are looking at creative and innovative ways to ensure the way ahead. Hard decisions and choices are being made to ensure that we can reinvest in the future in key areas, in our people and in the equipment they need to do their jobs.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, before pumping more money into improving the quality of life of Canadian troops, should the minister not clearly redefine the role and priorities of his department?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, again, we must emphasize the support of the Bloc Quebecois to a united Canada with well provided for armed forces. It is interesting to see this change of policy. The Bloc is giving up its separatist policy to support Canadian federalism and Canada. My thanks to the Bloc Quebecois for this new and improved position.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, many people do not realize that over half of the price of gasoline is taxes. For example, Calgarians send $300 million to Ottawa every year in gasoline taxes, but none of it comes back to pay for roads. The Liberal government simply takes the money and offloads the costs for transportation to others.

Why is the government across the way so willing to scoop the tax at the gasoline pumps but give nothing back in return?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I can understand how members of the Reform Party believe that those matters on which the Government of Canada spends money is nothing because that is their perspective on the social fabric of the country. But Canadians do not think that health care is nothing. Canadians do not think that education is nothing. Canadians do not think that protecting the environment is nothing. They do not think that protecting our coastline is nothing.

Canadians understand what the Reform Party does not, that tax dollars go to provide services for Canadians. That is what government is all about.

TradeOral Question Period

November 26th, 1999 / 11:35 a.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Reform Calgary East, AB

You are off the hook, Paul—

TradeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TradeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am sure the hon. member meant to say Mr. Speaker instead of Paul, and I know he would want to do that in future.

TradeOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Reform Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the 1993 version of the red book the Liberal government promised to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement to specifically exempt bulk water exports. Unfortunately, this is one of the promises the government has failed to keep. Exempting water from our international trade agreement is the best way for Canada to protect its waters.

Why has the government abandoned seeking exemptions for our water in international agreements?