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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

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has offered to meet with them. He is the minister responsible for this problem in the government. He sent a note and he organized a meeting with one member. He was willing to meet with a delegation of the protesters. Apparently they are not available this afternoon to meet with him.

We are very preoccupied with this problem. It is a very difficult problem involving the provincial, municipal and federal governments. The minister made a statement yesterday showing all the activities that the government has has taken to move forward.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister knows perfectly well that he was asked 35 days ago for this meeting today. His minister offered to meet with those protesters after they left town.

Instead of meeting with them and listening to their desperation, instead of responding to their pleas, the Prime Minister brings in the riot squad.

Will the Prime Minister admit he was wrong? Will he accept the challenge of the homeless, to meet with them on their terms? Has the Prime Minister got the decency and the guts to do that?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, we all know today is Wednesday and sometimes we run over a little in our words. It is not a question of any of us having courage in this House. I will permit the hon. Prime Minister to answer the question.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the New Democratic Party likes to use extravagant words in the House of Commons, as she is doing now.

I would have appreciated last week if she had had the good sense of respecting the tradition of the New Democratic Party and stood in the House to defend the charter of rights.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gilles Bernier Progressive Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, in 1990 the current finance minister chaired a task force on the homeless. He promised a Liberal government would hold a national conference on the homeless and provide more money for social housing.

Nine years later, like so many other broken Liberal promises, all the task force recommendations have been forgotten.

Given that the number of homeless Canadians has skyrocketed since this government took office in 1993, will the Prime Minister commit today to new measures to reverse this serious problem?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let me continue to read the list I started yesterday of the things the government is doing in housing for the homeless.

Over $12 million from RRAP will be targeted to upgrade an estimated 1,450 units for those at risk of becoming homeless.

The Government of Canada and the city of Calgary are currently planning the use of the additional 1998-99 RRAP funds and loan insurance to support the development of rooming houses for the homeless and low income Canadians. CMHC will be hosting a national housing research commitee discussion group on the homeless—

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Tobique—Mactaquac.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gilles Bernier Progressive Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, what the minister is talking about is not enough for the Canadian homeless. I know the Prime Minister always likes to speak to his homeless friends.

Why did the Prime Minister not speak to the homeless people this morning who travelled to Ottawa to meet with him today, although it is a great day for skiing?

Did the Prime Minister discuss homelessness with the premiers last week? If not, when will he meet with other levels of government to devise a comprehensive plan to solve this serious problem?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, last year I announced the extension of RRAP. The government put in $250 million. Last December the government put another $50 million in the program to help the homeless.

Some of the provinces are participating, some are not. If they would participate we would have more money to do more.

Maybe the hon. member should speak to some of his Conservative friends like Mike Harris in Ontario who are not participating.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, last night the Prime Minister was quoted on this sad situation with the king: “The army told me they could not take me there so I could not go”.

I am asking the Prime Minister to prove that, to file the logs here in the House from the plane that was waiting for him in Vancouver to prove his story now.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was a statement issued by the Department of National Defence which confirmed what I said yesterday.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I flew to Jordan on exactly the same type of plane the Prime Minister could have taken. It was 12 hours from the moment that plane took off from Ottawa until we were on the tarmac in Jordan, and 4 hours from the time I was notified until that plane took off.

I have the logs of that plane. We need now the logs of the plane the Prime Minister could have taken.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to give him the log of a plane I did not take.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, for months, we have been warning the government that its cuts to health care would have disastrous effects everywhere. It paid no attention, and now we can see the results.

The same is true for employment insurance. We repeatedly warned the government that it was creating a real social drama with its so-called reforms.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development finally get the message and improve his system to quickly repair the damage his reform caused as happened in health care?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as members know, we undertook a major reform of employment insurance and, each year, for the next five years, I will be tabling a report in the House measuring the real impact of our employment insurance reform.>

However, what I note is that the employment insurance reform and the other programs of the Government of Canada have led to the creation of 87,000 new jobs in January alone.

The youth employment strategy led to the creation of 44,000 of these jobs for young people. Perhaps the Bloc should pay closer attention to the situation in Quebec where, unfortunately, while 87,000 jobs were being created in Canada, 1,000 jobs were lost in Quebec.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in addition to scrapping the employment insurance plan, the Minister of Human Resources Development is allowing the Minister of Finance to siphon off the plan's surplus in order to lower taxes for the wealthy.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development get on with his job, assume his responsibilities and stand up to the Minister of Finance in defence of the unemployed? He is paid to do this, not write books.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we created the youth employment strategy, which the Prime Minister himself announced in December, and which will operate on a permanent basis. We note that last year there were 150,000 new jobs for young people, the best performance in 20 years. We have a standing Canadian job creation fund in the country's finances.

I can tell you I am proud to be part of a government that wants to help people escape unemployment and find a job, unlike the members on the other side.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, under this government Canadians truly are paying more and getting a lot less.

This year the average taxpayer will pay $1,800 more in taxes than they paid when this government came to power. That is a lot of groceries. On the other hand, the government has ensured that Canadian taxpayers will get $1,150 less in health care than they did in 1993.

How can the government deny for a second that Canadians really are paying more and getting a lot less?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, in every budget since we have taken office it has been our priority to try to reduce taxes.

We have done this in a consistent and responsible manner. In the last budget we reduced taxes for 13 million Canadians and completely eliminated taxes for 400,000 of the poorest taxpayers.

We will continue in the forthcoming budget this responsible and balanced course.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, is that really the minister's story, that taxes are going down in Canada? We know that $38 billion more every year now comes out of taxpayer pockets and goes to this government, $1,800 per taxpayer.

Where does this minister get off spinning a yarn like that? How can he deny for a second that Canadians are paying a whole lot more and getting a lot less from this government?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, our growth is evidenced by what has happened in terms of jobs. Last year Canada created 449,000 brand new jobs. In January of this year there were 87,400 brand new jobs.

There are 1.5 million more Canadians who are working today than there were five years ago since we took office. This is the type of growth we are proud of.

Farm Safety Net Income ProgramOral Question Period

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

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the national safety net advisory committee is proposing a series of concrete measures to ensure that the $900 million in the farm safety net income program announced by the minister will all be spent, and spent in a way that best helps our producers.

Does the minister intend to implement all the committee's recommendations so that Quebec producers benefit, or does he not?

Farm Safety Net Income ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, in coming up with the criteria and defining how up to $9 million of federal support will be given to those producers who need it, we listened to the advice of many people. We listened to the advice of the safety net advisory committee, the provinces and colleagues on both sides of the House. We will do our best to make that fair and equitable across the country.

Farm Safety Net Income ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, since Quebec has already taken steps to help its producers, particularly in the pork sector, can the minister assure us that Quebec will not be penalized in any way in the implementation of the farm safety net income program?

Farm Safety Net Income ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I can give the hon. member full assurance that they will be treated equitably, the same as any other farmer in Canada.