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House of Commons Hansard #223 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I cannot hear what the obscure backbenchers are saying. Would you be so kind as to call them to order?

I am not asking them to come up with an idea, because that could be hard for them. However, all I am asking them is to pay attention a bit.

The Government of Quebec has pumped $159 million into the Palais des congrès to attract business tourists. We also know that the industry where the most jobs will be created in the coming years is the tourist industry.

What did the federal government do and what did it not do? It refused to support the initiative of the Quebec government and to inject the $69 million that we were entitled to expect. Did a member of parliament representing Quebec, a member of the Liberal caucus who represents Quebec voters, get involved in this issue where Quebec's interests were being trampled on? Certainly not. They all kept silent, as they all do when the time comes to defend Quebec's interests.

Fortunately, there is the Bloc Quebecois. We will continue to defend Quebec's interests and we will continue to ask the federal government to inject $69 million, its share in the Palais des congrès project.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Henri, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I hear my Bloc Quebecois colleague complain about the fact that the Canadian government is interfering in the area of health care while five minutes earlier he was asking the same government to get involved in his riding, I get totally confused. He wants us to help him in his riding. He wants us to invest in 200 non profit agencies in his riding, and five minutes later he accuses us of interfering in all of Quebec's affairs. I am totally confused.

He says we are not going to invest in the Palais des congrès, but if we do, he will say we are interfering in Quebec's affairs. It does not make any sense.

Sometimes I wonder if the members of the Bloc Quebecois realize what they are asking us; they want us to get involved, but when we do, they say we are interfering in areas where we have no business.

Students in Quebec have trouble repaying their loans. We want to help them because their own government is not. Bloc members say “Give us the money. We will manage it”. Why are they not doing it? They do it after we offer.

It is always the same thing. Bloc members are constantly saying that the Canadian government, which tries to help every province, is interfering, but then they ask us to get involved.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the member is being pretty honest when he says he does not understand. It seems obvious to me.

First, I want to remind him that Quebec sends $31 billion in taxes every year to the federal government. The member for Verdun—Saint-Henri has to be particularly out of touch with reality to say that Quebec does not help students. The Government of Quebec is the most generous government. It has been administering a loan and scholarship program since 1966.

If the federal government wants to make money available to help students pay their debts, it ought to do so through the Quebec Department of Education because, under the Constitution, education is a provincial jurisdiction.

I am asking the member to rise in his place, if he has the courage, to tell us who, within the student community, agrees with the proposed formula. The student community is calling unanimously upon the federal government to make the millennium scholarship money available through the Government of Quebec.

Second, there are 200 community organizations in Hochelaga—Maisonneuve looking after our well-being. These organizations need money. It makes no sense at all that the youth strategy be managed by the federal government. It is ill conceived. It does not meet the needs of these community groups. It would be much more logical, in the context of the transfer of powers with regard to manpower training, if those funds were distributed by the Government of Quebec.

I hope the member will agree with my remarks because there is a consensus. If the member is listening to what the stakeholders in Quebec have to say, he will know that the Bloc Quebecois is saying the things those people want to hear.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Henri, QC

Mr. Speaker, imagine, the Bloc member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve is calling for the youth strategy to be transferred to Quebec. Job training has already been transferred, and all the papers have reported on the fiasco there has been in Quebec with that. Now he is asking for transfer of the Youth Strategy to Quebec. Frankly, I think the member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve does not really realize what he is saying.

Another thing, there are as many volunteer organizations in my riding of Verdun—Saint Henri as in his riding. Also, I am very proud of the fact that the Government of Canada is interfering in my Quebec riding. I am pleased to tell my colleague that, if the Youth Strategy, this wonderful program providing employment for students in the summer, is transferred, as far as job training is concerned, the not for profit organizations in my riding are anxious to get their hands on some funding for job training in Quebec.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I knew we could count on the Liberal Party to stick it to Quebec, to always be there when it is time to run Quebec down. I know that the hon. member is one of a long line that has always done so.

In fact, all stakeholders in the workforce, the Conseil du patronat, the unions, the bodies concerned with job training, have expressed the wish that the Government of Quebec play the lead role in training, since it is normal for things to be that way.

Is it true that, during the first year of implementation of these programs, there were adjustments that needed to be done, things to be re-examined? Of course we are aware of that, but what I am saying is that if the hon. member for Verdun—Saint-Henri thinks it is a fiasco that manpower training programs were transferred to Quebec, it is because he is prepared to deny the interests of Quebec. It is unworthy of a member of parliament from Quebec to hold such a view.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it has been an interesting morning listening to the debate. I am sure that it is a healthy debate, but my blood pressure rises once in a while according to the statements and arguments I have heard.

We know we are debating Bill C-71, the budget implementation act. This omnibus bill will implement programs from the 1999 budget. The first part of the bill includes an increase in the CHST for the purpose of health care funding.

Let us make no mistake. A shell game is being played. In 1993 when the Liberals took office the CHST was $18.8 billion. The measures in the most recent budget restore it to $14.5 billion, which is still $4.3 billion per year less than when the Liberals took office.

We see the pattern where the government guts health care and then a few years later tries to create the illusion that it is the defender of health care by throwing money back into the pot. At the end of the day we are getting less health care than when the Liberals took office.

These tactics have been used for years by federal governments that think the public is easily fooled by the shell game. The public is more aware than the Liberals think it is. The public is not being fooled. It knows the Liberals are removing $3 from the system for every $1 they put back in.

When the 1999 budget came down it amounted to a Liberal apology for their reckless gutting of the health care system. The government tried to regain some support by putting money back into the system, but Canadians realize that they have never paid so much for so little as they have under this government. There were 188,000 Canadians on waiting lists for health care services who would not accept this Liberal apology.

When I look at my own community I see a tremendous number of people going to the U.S. for easily accessed CT scans and health care services, I wonder what the government is thinking.

Nurses are on strike. Nurses are demanding that they get some more help. They are overloaded. Nurses are going to the U.S. When we look at the nurses going to the U.S., they are not the 40 and 50 year old nurses who are established. They are the younger trained nurses, the brain drain, the people who are leaving the country.

It is the same for doctors. They are leaving for the U.S., not just because of better pay but because of less taxes and more opportunities to practise their expertise. If it were not for South African doctors emigrating to Canada, we would be in a terrible mess as far as the health care system is concerned.

The 1999 budget shows that the Liberal Party is still not interested in listening to Canadians. Instead of providing tax relief, the government chooses to spend. The budget announced $8.5 billion in cumulative new spending initiatives over the next three fiscal years. The budget did not contain any significant debt or tax relief measures that would increase disposable income or create investment opportunities for entrepreneurs. This is despite mounting pressure from Canadians to lower taxes.

In the past few weeks we have been faced with the spectacle of large firms operating in Canada threatening to pick up and move south because they are no longer willing to contend with the high taxes and the high cost of doing business under the Liberal government.

The voices of these CEOs join the chorus of thousands of Canadians who have been trying to tell the government the same thing for years. However, the Liberals are ignoring the message just like the Conservatives did in 1993, and we remember what the results were.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Do you put your tax cuts on your VISA or MasterCard?

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Portage—Lisgar, MB

I see my hon. friends across the way are listening and I appreciate that. That is the only way we will get a few things done.

We noted yesterday on television the Premier of Ontario beginning an election based on the jobs he created. I was always under the impression that it was all due to the Liberal government. All of a sudden we hear a premier saying that because of his reductions and fiscal responsibility there are 585,000 new jobs.

Actually the events of the past few weeks have shown Canadians how confused the Liberals are on the issue of tax cuts and productivity. In fact they are all over the map. Some cabinet ministers suggest the country needs deep tax cuts to compete with the U.S. Some even seem to recognize that high Canadian taxes are driving away investment in Canada and are making it difficult to build businesses.

At least some of these cabinet ministers seem to understand that a policy shift is required, but the Prime Minister has been quick to reign them in. I suppose he does not want Canadians to get the idea that they actually deserve tax breaks. If they are given a little finger, the Prime Minister is afraid they might sudden ask for a hand. Then we would have a real problem because it would come out of the pockets of taxpayers and into the community for investment.

The Prime Minister has been quick to squelch any break out of common sense. Canadians want less taxes and smaller government, and he is giving them the opposite. Instead of the tax cuts that everybody wants, we get increased taxes and less health care under a Liberal government.

For good measure the budget also perpetuates discrimination against single income families in the tax code by requiring them to pay more tax than their dual income counterparts.

It has been pointed out that the government overspends its budget every year. Last year it went $3 billion over budget. This year it is about $7.6 billion. It does this to ensure there is not enough left in the coffers to start giving Canadians tax relief. It is a sneaky strategy, but the government has proven that it is quite willing to cook the books a little in order to maintain its strategy.

The government's legacy will be its lack of foresight and its stubborn refusal to listen to people who know how to make the country better and more productive. Whether they are everyday Canadians or industry experts, this is evidenced by the government's refusal to target money where it would be most beneficial.

Our treasury board critic uncovered some startling examples of misspent money by the government. They include thousands of dollars spent on golf balls for a government department and hundreds of thousands of dollars on silverware and china for bureaucrats. I included these examples in my most recent householder, and my constituents could not believe that their tax dollars were being wasted like that.

It is painfully obvious that the government cannot keep a lid on the out of control spending of its departments. The government spends money on wasteful things and keeps money away from the areas where it could benefit the economy. There is no better example than the agriculture sector. Everyone is familiar with the—

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The member has 11 minutes left and will have the floor when we return. We will now proceed to Statements by Members.

Granville Island Public MarketStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lou Sekora Liberal Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to recognize the 20th anniversary of a truly unique Vancouver landmark. Granville Island Public Market opened on June 12, 1979. Over the years the market and Granville Island have become a must-see attraction for visitors. The market is recognized as one of the most successful in North America.

Given that the market and Granville Island are seen to be synonymous, we are taking this opportunity to celebrate the success of this rejuvenated industrial area in the heart of the city. I am proud that the Government of Canada, through the CMHC, has contributed significantly to the development of sustainable communities such as Granville Island.

Cornelius W. WiebeStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow an extraordinary citizen in my riding will be awarded the Order of Canada in a special ceremony. Dr. Cornelius W. Wiebe will be given this honour at his home in Winkler by the governor general. Dr. Wiebe, now 106 years old, was born in a log home in 1893 near Winkler, Manitoba.

He began studying medicine in 1920. Soon after graduation he brought his family to the community of Winkler where he practised medicine for more than half a century. He extended his community service by sitting on the local school board and spending a term as a member of the provincial legislature. His insights into medicine, politics and agriculture were always highly respected and appreciated.

The community today has many health facilities made possible through Dr. Wiebe's initiatives: the Winkler Bethel Hospital, the Winkler Clinic, the Eden Mental Health Centre and the Valley Rehab Centre. It is an honour for—

Cornelius W. WiebeStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for London—Fanshawe.

Speech And Hearing Awareness MonthStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that May is speech and hearing awareness month.

This is an opportunity to promote public understanding and to educate Canadians about the challenges faced by the deaf and hard of hearing. An estimated one in ten Canadians is deaf or has some degree of hearing loss. Those most likely to be afflicted are seniors. We need to recognize the importance of improving the situation for those with hearing related communication disorders.

Speech and Hearing Awareness month is recognized by voluntary and professional organizations which provide ongoing services to deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

Please join me in congratulating all organizations, service agencies, professionals and volunteers who help improve the quality of life for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Red CrossStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that Saturday, May 8 is World Red Cross-Red Crescent Day. This day celebrates the humanitarian work of millions of Red Cross-Red Crescent staff and volunteers worldwide.

Among the countless number of victims of conflict and disaster worldwide helped by the Red Cross were the people in Central America devastated by hurricane Mitch and now the refugees from Kosovo.

In honour of the millennium, the international family of the Red Cross is celebrating the theme “Power of Humanity”, the guiding principle for all the Red Cross' work: “The rehabilitation of people suffering the consequences of war, violence, natural disaster and malnutrition”.

I would ask all members to please join me in recognizing the Canadian Red Cross for its great work and in wishing them a very successful World Red Cross-Red Crescent Day.

The Late Allan WrightStatements By Members

May 6th, 1999 / 2 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to pay tribute to a constituent Allan Wright who passed away January 29 in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

In 1944, Lieutenant Wright became one of Canada's most decorated soldiers, being awarded the Canadian Military Medal and the Distinguished Service Cross medal from the U.S. government for the heroic acts he performed while stationed in Europe during World War II. The U.S. medal is second only to the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honour. He was decorated by both the American and Canadian governments, commissioned in the field and wounded in action.

Like many World War II veterans, Lieutenant Wright lived with the effects of his wounds for his entire life. Allan or Phooey, as he was fondly known in Grand Prairie, was one of five brothers who fought on behalf of Canada. His brother Kelly was killed in action.

On behalf of Peace River constituents, I salute Allan for the sacrifices he made for this great country and for the accomplishments that he achieved. He is truly a Canadian hero.

ReservistsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, reservists have always played an important role in the Canadian forces. They have represented our country with distinction at sea, on land and in the air. Reservists are committed Canadians who do their military service in their communities, both small and large, urban and rural.

The names of some of the units, like the Fort Garry Horse of Winnipeg, are written on the pages of history books. Other names, like the 2nd Irish of Sudbury and Her Majesty's ship Montcalm of Quebec City, might be known only locally but we know them today.

The names and locations might be different, but reserve units across Canada share the same mission. They have served close to home during the Manitoba flood in 1997 and the ice storm of 1998, and they have served abroad in places like Bosnia, the Golan Heights and Cyprus.

May 5 has been designated Reserve Force Uniform Day and all members of the primary reserve, cadet instructors cadre and Canadian rangers—

ReservistsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

Sainte-Ursule Secondary SchoolStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw attention to the remarkable performance by four musical groups from the Sainte-Ursule secondary school in Trois-Rivières at the Heritage Festival of Music in New York in mid April.

The only delegation from Quebec, in fact from Canada, to this competition, which brought together 90 groups from the United States, Sainte-Ursule school picked up two gold medals, one in the harmony category and the other in the stage band category and won a silver medal in the jazz vocal class.

To top it all off, this delegation won a special award for the vibrancy, enthusiasm and public spiritedness of these young people from my riding.

I congratulate them on proudly and worthily representing Quebec in this top-level competition and would draw particular attention to the work of the music director, David Labrecque.

Fishing IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 3, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec reached an agreement on the joint implementation of an early retirement program for workers in Quebec affected by the decreased activity in the Atlantic groundfish fishing industry.

We will recall that it is a joint program, with the Government of Canada paying 70% of its cost, and the Government of Quebec, 30%.

This type of program bears witness to our government's commitment to working in partnership with the Government of Quebec in an area as important as the quality of life of the fishers affected by the decline of this industry.

We have here another example of the benefits of Canadian federalism and its flexibility, especially when there is co-operation.

Pierre PetelStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that we learned the passing of one of the fathers of Radio-Canada, Pierre Petel, who died at the age of 79, after a long illness.

Born in the Montreal neighbourhood of Hochelaga, Pierre Petel studied at the school of furniture designing. He was a student of Paul-Émile Borduas and a fellow of painter Jean-Paul Riopelle. He was one of the first francophone filmmakers at the National Film Board, where he worked from 1945 to 1950.

At the very beginning of national television, in September 1952, Pierre Petel was the author and producer of Radio-Canada's first teleplay, Le Seigneur de Brinqueville . Mr. Petel's death is particularly sad since we are celebrating the NFB's 60th anniversary this week.

I extend my most sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of this Radio-Canada giant, and I say thank you Pierre Petel for your lifelong work.

British Parliamentary ElectionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the winds of change are blowing strongly across Britain today.

For the first time in nearly 300 years, parliamentary elections are being held in Scotland and Wales. These legislatures will bring government closure to the people they serve. For centuries the Scottish, Welsh and Irish have felt alienated by the decision made in far off Westminster.

I commend Prime Minister Tony Blair for recognizing the need for institutional and governmental reform and acting upon it. Blair has recognized that the upper house must be accountable to the electorate and that decisions on health, education and social services are best made by local forms of government where the voices of the electors are heard most clearly.

Congratulations to Scotland, Wales and Great Britain. There are lessons for our Prime Minister to be learned from Mr. Blair. Our Prime Minister says we do not need change because our system is based on Britains. Well, Mr. Prime Minister, the times they are a changin'.

United AlternativeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, as Reformers prepare to judge the united alternative at the end of the month, they should look at its success rate for broadening support.

In 1992 the Reform Party reported that it had 132,000 members. Today it only has 65,000, half that number.

With that kind of negative growth, Reformers will not need to vote themselves out of existence, they can just wait until their support totally withers away and drops off.

One Reform MP was quoted as saying this about the united alternative, “The sooner we can put this behind us, and defeat this ridiculous notion and get on with our real business, we'll be better off”.

I could not disagree more. The more time Reform spends on the united alternative, the fewer Reformers there are. And the fewer Reformers there are, the better Canada is.

Sexual Assault Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual assault is a uniquely gendered crime. Overwhelmingly it is women who experience this violence. In Canada two out of three women have been sexually assaulted, one every six minutes.

Sexual assault is a serious crime and must be stopped. It has serious economic and political costs for women. The ability to live our lives free from gender based violence, free to walk down the streets is every women's right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Women cannot help but wonder that if two-thirds of corporate executives or lawyers were victims of assault we would be declaring a state of emergency. Instead we have the federal violence prevention strategy that leaves action to other levels of government or community groups with no commitment of resources.

Women want the government to know that failing to take serious action to prevent sexual assault amounts to tolerance of gender inequality. Canadian women are tired of platitudes from this government. They want action and they want it now.

KosovoStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the report released on Friday by the organization Doctors without Borders on the situation in Kosovo implacably concluded, “It is a planned process to extinguish a people. Albanians from Kosovo are not only deported, but also systematically stripped of documents establishing their identity, civil status and title to property. By forcing them out of their homes, the Serbian forces are clearly telling them that they are no longer from Kosovo, never were and are never to come back”.

This timely report tells us that this is an action “whose details, players and objectives are necessarily part of a pre-established plan”.

The report adds that “more than half of the individual accounts heard refer to murders committed under various conditions, thus reflecting an extremely high level of violence”.

It is high time all the Milosevics of this world learn that they cannot do what they want without triggering a reaction from the international community.

Multiple Sclerosis MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, May is Multiple Sclerosis Month. Yesterday it was my pleasure to work with members of the MS Society and members of the Speaker's staff in pinning red carnations on our colleagues here in the House. It was a wonderful sight.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, your staff and all of my colleagues for their generous support of the MS Society. We raised a lot of money that will be useful in doing research and extending help to those who are afflicted by this disease of the central nervous system.

Sunday is Mother's Day and the end of the annual carnation week campaign. I encourage all Canadians to buy carnations this weekend because so many women are affected by this illness. I will be in the Burlington Mall helping a terrific team. It will be a wonderful opportunity to make additional funds for the MS Society.