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House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first off, when companies such as Imperial Oil, Esso, or any company earns profits, we take our share and return it to Canadians. That is one thing.

Second, we know full well that Mr. Landry, the Quebec minister, shares the opinion that there is no point in lowering the tax on gasoline, as it would disappear into the pockets of the oil companies.

This is why we lowered personal income tax for the middle and low income groups and this is why we put $1.3 billion into the pockets of Canada's taxpayers, in order to help them with heating oil costs.

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Minister of Finance claim that truckers, farmers and taxi drivers are going to benefit from lower personal income tax? They are penniless, in the red because of the price of gasoline.

How is he going to explain to taxi drivers, truckers and farmers that he has given the amount they should have had to Canada's richest taxpayers, by cutting the income tax of his millionaire friends significantly? What will he say to them?

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, for early January, we gave $2 billion to low income Canadians. That is immediate.

Second, we asked the provinces if they wanted to share in a tax cut with us, to co-operate with us. However, the PQ minister, Bernard Landry, refused outright. Let the hon. member talk to his head office.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government was elected because it promised a national plan for pharmacare. It did not promise a national plan for stockbrokers.

Why has the Prime Minister chosen big breaks for stockbrokers and no breaks for Canadian families struggling to pay their medical bills?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on September 11 we met with all the premiers. We made an agreement where the federal government will invest $21.5 billion over the next five years in health care. In the debate we had with them we agreed that this money was to serve among other things to have a better system for pharmacare for the citizens of all the provinces.

The NDP government in B.C., the NDP government in Saskatchewan and the NDP government in Manitoba signed on to the agreement. They were among those who wanted to do pharmacare through a federal-provincial agreement rather than have unilateral action by the federal government.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, seven years later and there is not one ounce of leadership from the federal Liberal government on pharmacare. The government was elected because it promised a national plan for home care. It did not promise corporate tax cuts for high rollers.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. Why did he choose tax breaks for high rollers and no breaks for Canadians struggling to take care of their loved ones, struggling to take care of the sick and the elderly in their own homes?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should have taken the time to read the budget but she was a bit too upset listening to the budget. Next year a single parent with one child earning $25,000 will see the net federal tax benefit rise by $800 to $2,200. The member only has to read what is in the budget. I would like to quote Roy Romanow, the premier of Saskatchewan, who said “This budget is headed in the proper direction and is in the best interests of Saskatchewan and Canadians”. I could go on and on like that.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

October 19th, 2000 / 2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. It relates to the secret deal at Downsview.

The Prime Minister will know that crown corporations established by this parliament are subject to the access to information law. Crown corporations established as Downsview was are not subject to the access to information law. Is that the reason the Prime Minister set up Downsview in a way that has been criticized by the auditor general? Did he set it up deliberately to avoid scrutiny by the access to information law?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will tell the leader of the Conservative Party that this was done under a law passed by this parliament. The Canada lands organization has been set by this government. It has to produce an annual report to the House of Commons. In the case of the Downsview land that belongs to national defence, all of it is reported through the estimates of the Minister of National Defence for the participation of the Department of National Defence. The annual report will be tabled in due course in the House of Commons.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is talking about the Canada lands corporation which is required to report. The Downsview corporation is not. It is protected by the way the government set it up. The Prime Minister can change that. He and the governor in council have the power under the access to information law to designate crown corporations that would be subject to the law.

My question is simple. Will the Prime Minister right now today give us a commitment that he will later this day have an order in council processed that would make the Downsview corporation subject to the access to information law so these secrets will be in the public domain so the public will know what is going on?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada lands is under an act of parliament and it reports to the Parliament of Canada. It will follow the instructions of the House of Commons. Its operation has to be managed in this fashion. When the annual report is ready it will be tabled according to the requirements of the House of Commons.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, three years ago the auditor general investigated the abuse of expenses at the Canada Labour Relations Board and that caused the chairman to be fired. In the eight years up to that audit, the board spent an average of $200,000 a year in travel, but last year that soared to almost $1 million. That is on top of the airplane tickets that were paid out of another budget.

My question is for the Minister of Labour. Why is she continuing to let this board waste money on itself because it seems to be treating Canadian taxpayers like a bottomless pit of cash?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that there is a new chair of the Canada Industrial Relations Board in place. New members have been put on that board from the employer and employee side. The board is doing very well and the chair of the board is best placed to respond to these issues.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the best place to respond is right here in the House. That new chair is no better than the old chair, because it is the old board members who still have not been fired or turfed off the job who are spending the $1 million. It is not the new board members, it is the old ones who are still hanging around, cleaning up the files and cleaning up the desks. The auditor general said that they are taking an inordinate amount of time to do it.

This board has gone bananas. It is out of control. I ask the minister right now, will she fire and terminate the old board members now before they suck all the money out of the Canadian taxpayers?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Moncton New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, we did keep some part time members because of the backlog. We wanted to make sure that the people who were waiting to come before our board would come before the board as soon as possible.

I would like to inform the hon. member and the Canadian public that two former members of the board have now finished their work.

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have supported the Bloc Quebecois motion, thus approving the claims made during the march of women. Unfortunately, that support did not translate into concrete measures in yesterday's mini-budget.

How can the Minister of Finance not provide anything for daycare services, social housing, employment insurance and old age security, considering that they are part of the demands he claimed to support earlier this week?

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that, in budget 2000, indexation was reintroduced, increasing all the benefits to which she is referring. At the same time, we increased by $100 the national child tax benefit, which will bring the increase to $300 by July 1.

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister claims that he is helping people facing an increase in heating oil costs. I checked and I found that, while older people will see their heating bills go up by $500 or $600 this winter, the minister will only give them a measly $125.

How can he claim to be helping them? Should he not have made it a priority to allocate more money to help these vulnerable people?

Economic PolicyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have some difficulty understanding why Bloc Quebecois members are asking these questions, when they will not ask the same questions to my counterpart, the Quebec Minister of Finance.

For example, our tax on diesel fuel is 4 cents, while in Quebec it is 15.5 cents.

Health CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Reform Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian taxpayers are paying for more than two dozen public servants to go on cruises.

While this government is spending our money on cruises, we continue to pay more taxes than ever before. This is the second time such a thing has happened.

Why did the minister wait for this to hit the headlines before looking into it?

Health CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I made our position clear yesterday. We have been given an explanation by the people concerned, who say that they did not use public funds for that purpose. We have begun an investigation nonetheless. I am going to disclose the facts. If public funds were used for the purposes described by the hon. member, I am going to call for the money to be paid back.

Health CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Reform Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is classed as a professional retreat and this is the second time it has happened this year.

The audit only took place after the story was released in the press, which leads us to believe that it is a constant theme, that many of these ministers have no idea what is happening in their departments.

Just who is it that the taxpayers are treating here, the clients or the staff?

Health CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, first, I have just told the House the man said that he did not use public funds. We will get an audit and Health Canada will report the results of that.

On the subject of audits at Health Canada, the member should be reminded that last year when we released audits from all Health Canada MSB programs for first nations and Inuit health, it was found that over the last two years less than 2% of the total programs audited required further follow up, representing .08% of the total value of first nations' health spending. That is a record that I will defend any day of the week.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister took refuge behind the auditor general's report and said that no politicians or public servants had benefited in any way from the cases under investigation in the Department of Human Resources Development.

Today, does the Prime Minister have anything to say to the House or to the assistant to the auditor general, who took the trouble to point out that the auditor general had never said anything in his report that the Prime Minister could hide behind and that, what is more, there had been frequent political interference in the Department of Human Resources Development under the former minister, who is now the Minister for International Trade? What does he have to say?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I spoke with the auditor general about his report. I asked the auditor general if he thought money had been lost. He said “No, the department knows where the money is”. I asked the auditor general if he thought money had been stolen. He said “There is no malfeasance. This is not about money being absconded”. I asked the auditor general if he felt the administration was outside the management control framework. He said “Yes”. I said “That is what we found in our internal audit”.

That is why we have implemented a very comprehensive plan to deal with it and why the auditor general has given us an unqualified endorsement of that plan.