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House of Commons Hansard #178 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

February 10th, 1999 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Reform Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the reality in this country is that the government has hiked taxes 37 times. Even after the budget next week with a $2 billion proposed tax cut, taxes are still the biggest component in any family's budget load.

Why is the government continuing to tax Canadians more and giving them less in services?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we have continuously cut taxes. We made major tax cuts in the last budget, $7 billion over three years. The minister has indicated that our forthcoming budget will have tax cuts as well.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Reform Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister talked about 400,000 taxpayers being eliminated from the tax rolls. We do not want to hear about the people who have moved out of the country or have died. We are talking about the 14 million people who have to stay here and pay these exorbitant taxes. The reality of living in Canada is that we are paying more and getting less.

What we would like to know is why can the government not understand that people want the government to cut taxes, not health care.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I think we have to know where the Reform Party is coming from. This is the party that over the three years in its prebudget submission proposed $54 billion of new fiscal measures.

What has it done? It is predicting there will be growth in our economy for each of those years of 5.5%. It is absolutely no wonder that it wants to unite with the Tory party which has won the governor general's prize for fiction for its budgets.

Aboriginal Living Off ReserveOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

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

In October 1998, the federal government announced that the labour force agreements signed with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Native Women's Association were expiring. These two groups represent an off-reserve aboriginal population of more than 800,000, who will now be excluded from the training program.

How can the Minister of Human Resources Development justify the fact that he has yet to meet with officials of these two organizations to discuss renewing and restoring funding to these programs in the next federal budget?

Aboriginal Living Off ReserveOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the responsibility for labour and manpower issues, we have signed a new agreement with the Government of Quebec.

The Canadian government does not have sole jurisdiction over aboriginals living off reserve. That concerns us. I have met with a number of aboriginal leaders and it is extremely important that we make sure the best possible services are provided to these aboriginal people living off reserve, so that they can join the labour force.

It is one of our concerns, but we do not hold all the cards. The Quebec government has been holding some of them since this historic agreement was signed.

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

There are fewer than 215 working days until the year 2000. I know the minister has given us his assurance in the House regarding the government's preparedness for the Y2K on the operability of the government's computer systems, but what concrete third party proof can he give the House that the government's payment systems will be fully operable when the clock strikes January 1, 2000?

Year 2000Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the international group, the Gardner Group, is universally known and has been assessing the various countries. It has for the last few months repeatedly been saying that Canada is now the second country in the world, behind the United States, in terms of preparedness.

Also for January we now have the latest report for the level of preparedness of departments for their government-wide mission critical systems and the departments are on average at 84% of preparedness. They give us assurances that they will be ready for the year 2000.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary keeps telling us the government has cut taxes. Has he heard anything about the CPP $10 billion tax increase he stood up and voted for? Does he know about the impact of bracket creep which every year takes a billion additional dollars out of the pockets of hardworking Canadian taxpayers?

How can the minister stand in his place and tell us he has cut taxes when in fact as we speak the government is raising taxes on Canadians through bracket creep and the CPP?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I could not be prouder of the measures our government took in concert with the provinces in order to ensure the continuity and ongoing viability of the Canada pension plan.

I look at the Reform Party proposal to hold the line on all existing programs, including seniors pensions. As if there are not going to be more and more seniors in Canada who require more and more support over the next three years. I would not be cutting seniors pensions the way the Reform Party is. We have preserved them.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party would take every low income senior off the tax rolls who should not be paying taxes today but is because of bracket creep. We would take every low income Canadian off the tax rolls who should not be paying taxes but is because of bracket creep.

How can the minister continue to stand in his place and justify a tax system which taxes people without their even knowing it through this pernicious tax grab called bracket creep?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we have continuously reduced taxes and we have said there will be more forthcoming.

In terms of the $54 billion in new tax measures that the Reform Party has proposed for the next three years, it has not come clean on exactly which programs it would cut. This is irresponsibility of the worst order, but unfortunately that is what we have come to expect from the Reform Party.

DevcoOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Mancini NDP Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it has been over 10 days since the Minister of Natural Resources made his drive-by announcement killing over 1,100 jobs in Cape Breton.

Today a delegation of labour leaders, representatives of Devco workers, is meeting with representatives of all parties with a simple question for the minister: Why did he reject their reasonable proposal for the future of Devco given that the corporation had previously approved the plan?

Will the minister now agree to have the union proposal reviewed and costed by an unbiased third party in consultation with the union?

DevcoOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the union proposition was put to me informally when I met with the union on January 11. I was provided with a written description of what it had in mind.

I subsequently had that proposal very carefully analysed. The information revealed that under any of the various scenarios, which I am sure were put forward with the best of intentions, but under any of the various scenarios proposed by the unions, Devco unfortunately would continue to be a losing proposition because the arrangement was simply not economical.

DevcoOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The government's recent announcement regarding Devco is devastating the Cape Breton economy as we speak. In 10 days real estate is down 20%. It also leaves hundreds of workers with 25 years and more of service ineligible for pensions.

To restore at least some trust, will the minister tell union leaders in Ottawa today that he will agree to set up a labour-management committee to deal with this crisis?

DevcoOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, when I was in Sydney for the announcement I indicated that the management of the corporation would indeed want to review the human resources package that was included as part of our announcement with union representatives. Some of those discussions have already been held. Obviously, if there are ways to tailor that package in a way that is more beneficial to the employees within the financial parameters that have been set out, every creative idea would be considered. Some of those discussions have already started.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, on February 3 the chair of the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, Justice Ted Hughes, wrote to the solicitor general urging the federal government to pay the legal fees for the students. He has called on the government to approve the funding in order to ensure a fair hearing in the hope of finally levelling the playing field and improving the quality of the proceedings. This request follows a similar one from the original panel.

In the interests of justice, will the solicitor general approve this reasonable request immediately and bring some integrity and credibility to the APEC hearings?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I did receive a very detailed letter from Mr. Hughes. I and my officials are reviewing this letter and will respond to Mr. Hughes.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, delay, deny and distract. Cameron Ward, a lawyer representing six of the complainants at the APEC inquiry said yesterday “The value of this hearing will rest in part on whether the Prime Minister actually testifies”.

In light of the fact that security at the APEC summit cost $13 million and the inquiry itself is costing additional millions to the taxpayers, does the Prime Minister not want Canadians to know the truth about this matter? In the interests of fairness, will he speak from the heart? Will he testify at the APEC hearing?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is entirely between the Prime Minister and the commission.

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue.

A leaked document reveals that a number of Canadian environmental organizations are acting as a front for huge American corporate and family trusts. Millions of dollars are funnelled into Canada every year.

Today we find that the Sierra Legal Defence Fund and the David Suzuki Foundation among others are counting on this money to finance a smear campaign and manipulate share prices of Canadian based Redfern Resources to scare off investors and kill a mining project in northern B.C.

Why is the minister extending charitable status to these organizations? When is he going to commit to removing it for these environmental terrorists?

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member may know, a study was recently done, the Broadbent study, which looked at the whole area of the voluntary sector. We as a government are very interested in looking at that.

Our department is following the jurisprudence at the time to determine that those charities which are registered fully follow the law and the courts in support of the decisions we have made in terms of registration of charities.

This is an area we are very interested in looking at. Certainly we have to modernize and update our legislation. We welcome the report that has come forward and look forward to looking at it.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

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

In 1998, Technology Partnerships Canada invested $166 million in the aeronautical sector. That is about half of what it invested 10 years ago, and only $10 million more than the royalties reimbursed by the companies.

When will the minister acknowledge loud and clear that today's jobs are the result of yesterday's investments in this sector, and that the present underfunding of Technology Partnerships Canada represents a serious threat for the jobs of tomorrow? What will be in the budget?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the facts the hon. member is presenting. I agree that it would be important for us to increase the funding available to the Technology Partnerships Canada program, but the government always has to set priorities. I am sure that next Tuesday the Minister of Finance will be presenting a budget that will balance the various priorities very well.

Publishing IndustryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to cultural protection and specifically Bill C-55, this government seems to have a split-run policy. When the Americans are playing the bullies, the minister plays the great nationalist. At the same time, the government likes secret meetings and now proposes an amendment that cabinet and not parliament determine the future of Bill C-55. Canadians want some clarity on this issue.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage now commit to make Bill C-55 the law of the land, call the Americans' bluff and stop setting our cultural policy behind closed doors?