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House of Commons Hansard #201 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I made it very clear that I agree with what the industry minister has said. What I do not agree with is what the Reform Party has said, that we should take another $16 billion out of spending which would gut health care, that we should take $16 billion out of spending which would gut education, that we should eliminate equalization in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, that we should simply eliminate the middle class in this country.

That is the Reform Party's position in terms of our basic social programs and we sure as heck do not agree with that.

Bill C-54Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the more we look at Bill C-54, the more we find it is an excuse to invade a provincial jurisdiction, namely civil law, and the more we find it is confusing and does not adequately protect the public.

When will the Minister of Industry do the responsible thing, suspend consideration of the bill and go back to the negotiating table with Quebec and the other provinces to harmonize these laws?

Bill C-54Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the confusion is on the other side, because all Canadians want private information to be protected, and that is what we will do.

This bill truly complements the only existing provincial act, that is the legislation adopted in Quebec under the former government of Daniel Johnson, which we support.

Revenue CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

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

The PSAC rotating strikes are occurring during the tax filing season. These strikes are costing Canadian taxpayers generally and small businesses specifically millions of dollars, money needed to operate their businesses.

Can the Minister of National Revenue tell us how the disruptions will impact on Revenue Canada's ability to service Canada's small business sector?

Revenue CanadaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned about our ability to deliver service to Canadians and to small businesses.

While efforts are provided to maximize service to Canadians we continue to expect disruptions because of the ongoing PSAC strikes.

I have to report to the House that we are 1.2 million tax returns behind our normal processing. In addition, we are seeking legal action to stop the illegal activity. It also has cost Revenue Canada $10 million for this strike. Canadians want us to resolve this issue and we will. I hope Reform and the opposition will support the government.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister seems to continue to take this don't worry, be happy approach to Canada's falling standard of living, notwithstanding what the Conference Board of Canada says or the industry department or the government's own pollster or the Alliance of Manufacturers and Exporters. Let us look at the evidence. The Dow Jones hit 10,000 points. It grew by 30% last year, while the Toronto Stock Exchange shrunk by 3%.

Why are Canadians who are investing their money for their retirement getting poorer, while their American friends to the south are getting wealthier?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member would like us to look at the facts, so let us look at the facts.

This morning the announcement was that retail sales in Canada rebounded strongly in January, gaining 1.7%. Our nominal exports were up 2.1% in January. Our employment, as members know, is up 13,000, an increase of 51,000 a month over the last eight months. The help wanted index increased in February, its third consecutive month of solid growth. Those are the facts.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the facts according to the Alliance of Manufacturers and Exporters are that this finance minister is simply off base when he says Canadians should not worry about falling living standards. They pegged our productivity as having gone from fifth to seventh in the G-7 last year. The ultimate indication of economic growth is the stock exchange, which in the United States has increased by 30% and is stagnant in Canada.

While the finance committee says this government should let Canadians invest more of their RRSPs abroad, the finance minister says no. Why is he continuing with a policy of making Canadians poorer when others are getting wealthier?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's facts are simply wrong.

Our productivity has improved in the 1990s over the 1980s. Of course we want our productivity to improve more. Of course we must invest in research and development. We must continue to eliminate debt. We must continue to get taxes so that it will increase. The fact is that the 1990s are better than the 1980s and we are going to make sure that the next century is a great deal better than the 1990s. That is what we are about.

Back To Work LegislationOral Question Period

March 22nd, 1999 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is a number of goofy aspects about the back to work legislation the government wants to ram through today. For one thing, the corrections officers mentioned in the bill are not even on strike. Second, the proposed legislation does not tell us what their settlement is to be.

My question for the President of the Treasury Board is how do we order somebody back to work who is not even out on strike? How are we supposed to debate and vote on a pig in a poke, on a wage settlement that we have never seen?

Back To Work LegislationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in fact the correctional officers do not have the right to strike because they are all designated workers. If some of them went on strike and there was a riot in a prison, this would obviously be unacceptable to Canadians. However, through a quirk and a loophole, 500 or 600 of them have the right to strike. Obviously since they have the right to strike and since they have indicated that they intend to use it, we have to close the loophole. That is why they are included in the law.

Grain IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has completely flubbed negotiations with the result last week of a total tie-up in the grain industry all the way from the west coast to the prairie farm gate. There were ships waiting to be loaded in Vancouver. Every day they sat empty. Already hard-pressed farmers are being assessed tens of thousands of dollars in demurrage and damages. The job action is the government's fault but it is the farmers who are feeling the pain.

Will the agriculture minister commit to paper losses being sustained by farmers due to Ottawa's total mismanagement of these negotiations?

Grain IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the way to prevent further losses for the farmers is for members of the New Democratic Party to support the government in getting the workers back to work. That is exactly what my counterpart the minister of agriculture in Saskatchewan asked last week. We look forward to their support in getting people back to work so we can move the food.

Building ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, section 2 of the Inquiries Act allows cabinet to order a public inquiry into issues of good government and conduct. Surely the Prime Minister will realize that his good government and conduct are discredited when he helped a convicted criminal and admitted thief get $2.3 million in taxpayers dollars.

I challenge the government. Will it stop hiding, show some integrity and appoint an independent inquiry so Canadians can get some answers?

Building ContractsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this has been looked into on the floor of the House of Commons. The questions and answers confirm that the insinuations of the hon. member are without foundation.

If the member is talking about Mr. Duhaime, I am advised at least from reading the press that his convictions are not related to his commercial activities. Besides that, the Government of Quebec, no friend of the Prime Minister and no friend of this government, has said that the grant in question under the transitional jobs fund is perfectly proper.

The hon. member should recognize that, or is he accusing the Quebec provincial government of doing something improper?

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1993 the Liberal red book promised an independent ethics counsellor. If parliament had an independent ethics commissioner today, we could ask him to investigate the Prime Minister's hotel support plan.

Conveniently the Prime Minister created an ethics counsellor who reports in secret to him and him alone.

Why will the government not live up to its six year old promise and establish an independent ethics counsellor who reports to parliament?

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that it was his own party when it was in government that refused to have the institution of an independent counsellor who acts in a different measure than the one we have now.

On the point about the ethics counsellor reporting to the Prime Minister, it is quite clear to all of us that the Prime Minister has never shrugged off responsibility by assigning it to someone else. He has been quite clear about that. We have a fine institute and a fine individual holding the position of the ethics counsellor. I am sure all members of the House have confidence in him.

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development.

It will be a big loss for Canada when Dr. Shirley Neuman, a leading Canadian scholar in Canadian literature and publishing, leaves her position as Dean of Arts at the University of British Columbia to accept a similar appointment at the University of Michigan.

What is the government doing to restore funding to research in the social sciences and humanities, a true pillar of Canadian identity?

Research And DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalSecretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, I understand that this situation has occurred, but I also recognize, as does my colleague, the importance of social sciences and humanities research in Canada.

There were important investments in last year's budget, followed by more investments in this year's budget. I want to emphasize that the budget has been applauded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council as well as the and Social Sciences Federation of Canada.

This government recognizes the importance of all research. We have invested heavily and shall continue to do so. We want to provide Canadians with a range of tools so they can be competitive.

Youth Criminal Justice ActOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's propaganda about the new youth criminal justice act talks about adult sentences for young persons age 14 and over. What it does not want to talk about is section 745.1 which mandates that 14 and 15 year olds sentenced as adults for murder are eligible for parole at five to seven years when anybody over 18 must serve 10 to 25 years.

Does the minister actually want Canadians to believe that a murderer who gets parole after as little as five years is really getting an adult sentence?

Youth Criminal Justice ActOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, again, I am not going to get into a detailed discussion of sections of the new criminal justice act here. We make no apology for the fact that 14 and 15 year olds can now receive adult sentences. They will be presumed to receive adult sentences in relation to five presumptive categories.

The parole provisions that exist in the Criminal Code will continue to exist.

Mirabel AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an attempt to sort out the mess the federal government made of Mirabel, the Government of Quebec has just introduced a series of tax measures to turn the airport into an international free trade zone.

However, federal personal and corporate taxes will continue to apply.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. When will the federal government do its share to get the airport area up and running again by offering the same tax benefits as Quebec is offering for the Mirabel international free trade zone?

Mirabel AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalSecretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague, the Minister of National Revenue, said recently, we have already been working for quite some time now with the Mirabel area for the very purpose of creating certain areas with tax benefits, and I am told that things are going rather well.

As for economic development, we have read the conclusions of the Tardif report and also support ADM's intervention and development strategy.

I also wish to say that this government has invested $1.4 billion in the greater Mirabel area over the last 15 years. As well, it has recently worked with Corporation Espace 2002. There are also other projects soon to be announced.

This government is committed to developing the Mirabel area and will maintain that commitment.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Nisga'a people have spent the last 20 years negotiating a land claims treaty with the federal government. Now that the fulfilment of a 100 year dream is near, the feds are stalling. As usual, the Liberals are weighing the political pros and cons instead of sticking to their commitments.

We say that the time has come to right the wrongs of the past. I ask the minister, will the federal government keep the promise it made in good faith negotiations with the Nisga'a people and move immediately on this historic agreement?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, on several occasions this government has made it absolutely clear that we are committed to writing modern treaties in British Columbia.

The Nisga'a agreement is the first in British Columbia and we are strongly supportive of it. We are working now with our partners in the province and with the Nisga'a to write the complex legislation that must be prepared and brought to this House and we will do so when we are ready.