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House of Commons Hansard #177 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nafta.

Topics

King Of Jordan's FuneralOral Question Period

February 9th, 1999 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has the unfortunate habit of not admitting that he is capable of making a mistake. Yesterday, the Bloc Quebecois gave him the benefit of the doubt, but the facts are overwhelming.

In an attempt to cover up his error in judgment, the Prime Minister cited scheduling problems as an excuse for his failure to attend the King of Jordan's funeral. This was another error in judgment, because the facts are there for examination.

What explanation can the Prime Minister give us today for the fact that he preferred skiing to fulfilling his official responsibilities?

King Of Jordan's FuneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member must know that the Department of National Defence informed me and my office that it could not make the necessary arrangements to get me to the funeral in time.

We had done all the planning and a PMO team was already on site but, because there were less than 24 hours between the death and the funeral, it was unfortunately impossible for the Canadian armed forces to get me there.

King Of Jordan's FuneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United States showed more consideration and foresight in planning for a precipitous departure, and there were even three former presidents in the delegation accompanying President Clinton.

I ask the Prime Minister whether he does not think his first error in judgment was to head off skiing last Thursday, instead of remaining in Ottawa, when the entire world knew that the king was near death?

King Of Jordan's FuneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if I had had a Boeing 747, as President Clinton does, I could have made the trip non-stop.

The Prime Minister of Canada does not have a jet at his disposal for travelling around the world. The hon. member should perhaps move that a Bombardier aircraft, a Global Express, be bought for that purpose. If the opposition asks me to buy one, I would be pleased to study the proposal.

King Of Jordan's FuneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been trying for the past couple of days to rationalize his error in judgement in failing to attend King Hussein's funeral because he could not get there in time.

How could the Prime Minister give such a lame excuse, when the Liberal members of the Canadian delegation had been on standby in Ottawa since Friday, ready to leave for Jordan on short notice?

King Of Jordan's FuneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we had been preparing for a possible state funeral since last week and expected to receive adequate notice so that I could attend.

However, since the funeral was held on less than 24 hours' notice, it was impossible for the Canadian Armed Forces to take me where I wanted to go, in spite of the fact that I had made arrangements to attend the funeral.

King Of Jordan's FuneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was so prepared to go that the opposition was notified at 8 a.m. and the Prime Minister at 10 a.m., Ottawa time.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the only thing we know for sure in this whole affair is that the decision not to travel to Jordan had been made before he even left for Vancouver?

King Of Jordan's FuneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's assertion is totally wrong, because I have been in constant communication with my office throughout the weekend and I was planning to go.

What was not planned was for the funeral to be held within 24 hours of King Hussein's death.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was too busy skiing to attend the funeral of King Hussein. Now we have learned that the Prime Minister is too busy to meet a delegation of Canada's homeless who will be in Ottawa tomorrow, too busy to think about the plight of hundreds of thousands of Canada's homeless.

What sport will the Prime Minister use as an excuse this time?

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member likes to make personal attacks.

I did make time while on holiday to attend the funeral of the Inuit who were killed by the avalanche in New Quebec. Also, the same day that an attempt was made on my life, I took a plane to attend Premier Rabin's funeral.

I had made all the arrangements to attend King Hussein's funeral, but the Canadian Armed Forces said they could not get me there. Regarding the delegations, our ministers are there to receive people. There is a well-established procedure and they follow it.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The leader of the New Democratic Party.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, for the Prime Minister winter is fun: skiing, skating, snowboarding, whatever. However for Canada's homeless winter is hell: huddling in doorways, sleeping on open grates, lining up at soup kitchens.

These are not imaginary homeless people. These are real men, women and children. Will the Prime Minister reconsider? Will he go to see for himself so the government will finally provide some relief to the human horror—

HomelessnessOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

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 is the minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

He made a statement a few days ago and, in the past few weeks, new money has been allocated to deal with this problem. I wish the hon. member would take the time to look at the facts before making totally unfounded accusations as she does all the time.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned this morning that peace negotiations on Kosovo are in jeopardy.

Did the Prime Minister consult the Minister of National Defence before making his announcement in Switzerland, as to whether or not Canada could send to Kosovo troops that are well trained and well equipped?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when I was in Davos, I indicated that Canada would be prepared to participate, should this be necessary.

I did not make a commitment. I said we would be prepared to consider participating in Kosovo, as we have done in the part of the former Yugoslavia that is experiencing problems. NATO has not yet made a decision. Negotiations are currently taking place in Rambouillet, close to Paris, and we will await the outcome of these negotiations before making a decision.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an answer to my question about Kosovo yesterday the Minister of National Defence said that Canada had not been formally asked for ground troops.

Has Canada been informally asked for ground troops for Kosovo? If so, who and when?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I indicated yesterday that preliminary plans were being developed by the NATO military command with the possibility of there being a peacekeeping force in Kosovo if it should be agreed upon in the peace agreement talks now going on in Rambouillet, France. If that becomes the case then Canada certainly would consider what possible role it could take part in.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, under this finance minister Canadians are paying more and getting less, and that is a fact. Since 1993 Canadians have seen their taxes rise by $38 billion.

This year the finance minister will take $38 billion more out of their pockets than five years ago. At the same time savings accounts for Canadians have diminished by $38 billion.

How can this finance minister bill himself as a tax cutter when he is ripping $38 billion out of people's personal savings and their pocketbooks every year?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that government revenues from personal income taxes have increased. It has done so because over the course of the last 12 months there have been 526,000 new jobs created. That why it has happened. Over the course of the last year there have been over 200,000 new jobs created for young Canadians, 44,000 in the last month. The Canadian economy is clicking on all cylinders and it is because the Canadian private sector is operating in a climate of—

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Medicine Hat.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, notice how the finance minister did not answer the question. He kind of ran away from the question.

Why in the world is this finance minister running around billing himself as a tax cutter when Canadians' taxes continue to go ever upward, $38 billion higher than they were five years ago? There have been 38 tax hikes since this minister came to power. How does he square the two? How does he tell Canadians he is a tax cutter when all we get are cuts to health care? How does he do it?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raised the spectre of cuts to health care.

I would ask him to do two things. First, I would ask him to wait for the budget next Tuesday.

Second, I would ask him to answer the question that was put to him yesterday. Where is he going to find the $7 billion to $16 billion in cuts his party is advocating as a result of its tax package? How will it justify this and when will it tell Canadians it wants to cut pensions, equalization and health care? It wants to slash the fabric of the country. That is its agenda.

Social Union AgreementOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said yesterday that it was the Quebec government that refused to include the notion of distinct society in the social union agreement which, as we know, Quebec did not sign.

Instead of overreacting as he has since the beginning and threatening to impose that agreement on Quebec against its will, should the minister not check with the Prime Minister to see if he agrees with him that Quebec should be deprived of its fair share, as the minister has been threatening in the past few days?

Social Union AgreementOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the chances of finding ourselves in a disagreement such as the one referred to by the hon. member and by the Quebec premier yesterday are greatly reduced, since the Government of Canada has pledged to comply with the framework agreement on social union, which will significantly increase our ability to work in partnership for the benefit of all Canadians.