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House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Reform Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, arm's length, my foot. The EDC signs cheques faster than the HRDC minister after she has had her fifth cup of coffee. If $1 billion for Amtrak were not enough, how about an additional $145 million for good measure? There is plenty more where that comes from and your privacy is guaranteed.

The government continues to write blank cheques for Amtrak. Why?

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the EDC has existed for 56 years. It has helped Canadians export more than $300 billion of goods and services around the world. There is no blank cheque there.

Everything EDC is doing in its corporate account is at the commercial interest rate and EDC has made money, $118 million last year. The EDC is well run and well managed and it helps Canadian exporters.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Export Development CorporationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I have appealed to members two or three times in this Oral Question Period. If hon. members do not wish to take part in Oral Question Period, please just wait in the lobbies until we are finished. This yelling cannot go on. It cannot.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

March 30th, 2000 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, we realize that the higher gasoline price provides the federal government with more tax revenue, when it is already collecting over $5 billion annually, not counting the income tax paid by the major oil companies.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Can he who is using the provinces as the excuse for his inaction tell us what concrete action he plans to take in order to help consumers?

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we are all very pleased that OPEC has already announced increased production. It is obvious that taxes are a matter for the provinces and for the federal government, because there is more than one level of government, but only one taxpayer.

There has been co-operation between the federal and provincial governments in a number of areas, for example the infrastructure program, the child tax benefit, taxation of revenue rather than taxation of tax. That is what federal-provincial co-operation—

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Témiscamingue.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is not shy about bulldozing the provinces when it suits it to do so, but when it can act by itself in its own area of jurisdiction by lowering the tax and dealing with the matter of competition, it does nothing.

Why this double standard?

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member wants to discuss the matter of a lower gas tax, perhaps he would like to talk to Mr. Landry about it.

Second, we must also point to the outstanding report by the Liberal caucus, headed by the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge. The report stated that New Brunswick lowered the price by two cents a litre in 1992 and that this cut was not—

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Red Deer.

HealthOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago the Minister of Health committed a drive-by smearing in Alberta. Now the Prime Minister is retaliating against Ontario with a propaganda campaign.

How could the government be so arrogant to say it wants solutions for health care when it keeps picking fights with the provinces?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is in the usual dream world of the Reform Party.

The federal government ads simply establish the truth in response to the misleading advertising of the Ontario government. Why does the hon. member not admit that? Those are the facts.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member cannot even get our name right.

The health minister claims that there is no money for the ailing health care system. Perhaps he should talk to the finance minister who says there is money if the provinces submit to Liberal harassment.

We have a mismanaged HRDC department. We have a health care system in shambles. What does the government do? It places a gun to the heads of the provinces.

Why does the health minister not simply go to the HRDC minister and ask for a grant?

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, listening to that question I can understand why Canadians are not clear whether the new C-C-R-A-P group is a party or a movement.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

HealthOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

CelaneseOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, Celanese in Drummondville is closing its doors tomorrow. Of the 310 employees who will lose their job, 55 are over 55 years of age. For them active measures are not a solution.

How can the Minister of Human Resources Development simply sit back and do nothing for these workers, who find themselves without a job, without a support program and who have contributed all their life to the employment insurance fund but have not taken a cent from it? What is she going to do for them?

CelaneseOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am aware that the Celanese plant is closing, but I want to convey that we are not crossing our arms.

I want to remind the hon. member that we have now devolved our active measures program in the value of $2.9 billion over the next five years to the Government of Quebec. It now has the resources to assist in this regard.

With particular reference to older workers, we are working with the provinces and are investing $30 million to develop pilot projects, province by province. I would ask the hon. member to talk to his counterparts in Quebec and ensure that there are opportunities through them to help these employees.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if you have ever heard of the black hole. Perhaps it is here today.

In any case, in New Brunswick seasonal workers have periods of time between their EI benefits and the time their season begins for work.

I would like to ask the minister today if there are any special measures to help these people who find themselves in the black hole when they have no income for their families during that period of time.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I have had the pleasure of travelling to Miramichi and the Acadian Peninsula with the hon. member.

I have talked to seasonal workers who find themselves in difficult circumstances because they are attached to the seasonal sector.

The member knows, as does the House, that in 1997 we signed a labour market agreement with New Brunswick.

To date we have invested through that province $253 million to help get people, including seasonal workers, back to work. Over the next two years that province will receive $80 million per year for such undertakings.

The unemployment rate in New Brunswick has dropped from 12.1% to 9.7%. It is clear that the Government of New Brunswick has the necessary means to undertake active labour measures as well as targeted measures to address labour market difficulties in that province.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, with the provincial health ministers meeting with our federal minister, the provinces want one question answered, and that is, why in priorities would this government spend more on cash for grants and contributions than it spends on cash for health care? Why would it do that?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is really off base. Last year we put $11.5 billion into health care; in this year's budget, $2.5 billion. There are billions and billions of dollars of equalization and adjustments under the cap on CAP to resolve that problem.

The hon. member is really off base in what he is saying. We are putting very substantial funding into the health care system through the provinces, but then why do provinces like Ontario not spend the money on health care when we give it to them?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me quote from an unbiased health care activist: “The total transfers, cash and tax points together, are still less in real terms per capita than seven years ago when this government took office”.

Who was that? The Deputy Prime Minister's wife.

Why do they not tell—

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I am not sure what the administrative responsibility is. The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has proven that he and his party are not even in the 20th century. They are back in the 19th century. Spouses are not extensions of their spouses. They have independent careers, and if my wife is speaking on behalf of the Health Care Association, then that is something she is doing on behalf of her organization. We should be willing to accept that in the 21st century.

The hon. member ought to go off to sensitivity training before he gets to his feet—