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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with the hon. member. If one is forced to pay into something one should have a reasonable expectation of collecting what was promised.

The example I used before was of people with mandatory fire insurance on their homes. They have to pay into it. They have no choice. Yet if their houses burn down there is less than a 40% chance of being able to collect. They would think they had been cheated, that they had been robbed. That is fundamentally wrong.

The hon. member pointed out some kind of geographical discrimination in a sense. There are other inequities in the program which are just as glaring. For instance, an unemployed woman has less than a 25% chance of being able to collect employment insurance because women are more likely to be in part time work, and part time workers are disproportionately affected.

A youth under 25 years of age, and the young people listening today should be aware of this, has less than a 15% chance of collecting any benefits, even though it is mandatory to pay into the program. The hon. member is right. It ceases to become an insurance program. It is really another tax on the paycheque.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Mancini NDP Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, in listening to the government talk about projected GDP and since we are on fiscal matters, would my colleague be prepared to comment on the way we measure the wealth of the country in terms of taxation?

For example, we do not ever talk about the real cost of production. We do not talk about environmental degradation when we talk about growth. We do not talk about the effect on poor families when we talk about social housing. I think there are questionable ways in terms of how the government measures growth.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I agree that the GDP is a flawed instrument to use in trying to measure the growth of the country. If there is a hurricane or a tornado the GDP blossoms in the area. That does not mean it was good for Canadians. It just means that a bunch of economic activity had to take place. We can tie GDP to disasters, for heaven's sake.

To say that Canadians are not productive because of the ratio of workers to GDP is a complete misnomer. Productivity is not the issue. Canadian workers are some of the most productive in the world. Productivity as a ratio to GDP and employment is a flawed way of viewing our economic well-being. It is misleading and I would say intellectually dishonest.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on Bill C-24 which deals with some tweaking and fiddling the Liberal government is planning to do with regard to the GST and the HST.

As is typical with the government opposite these changes were actually announced in 1997. Finally it is getting around to exempting a few items from the GST. It is interesting that in the last few months, just before it brought in the bill, it added a few other items that will now be taxed at an increasing level which were not taxed before.

Overall the particular bill points out a credibility shortfall on the other side. It was mentioned by the previous speaker. The actions on the particular bill and on the GST by the Liberal government have eroded public confidence in elected officials.

Let me refer to some comments made by the current Prime Minister regarding the GST years ago. The bill before us is a fine tuning or a tweaking of certain aspects of how the GST and the HST are applied. It is amazing so many years after these election promises by the current Prime Minister and his government that we are still doing this dance with the GST.

In 1990 the current Prime Minister said that he was opposed to the GST, had always been opposed to it and will always be opposed to it. In 1992 the thinking was, according to the Deputy Prime Minister, that they wanted to get rid of the GST. On January 23, 1992, they said that there was no doubt they would replace it. Also the Prime Minister said that we would know they have replaced the GST when we see their budget. All the way through I have many quotes from the Prime Minister who said that it would be gone in two years, just before the election in 1993.

Here we are some seven years later and we are still looking at the GST. We had an election promise in the red book. Canadians were led to assume that they would not have the GST. They voted often on that basis. Many people may have voted a different way but had promises and guarantees from the leader of that party that the GST would be gone.

When that is the platform, when that is the promise, it is not unreasonable for Canadians to have the expectation that when the government comes in with a majority it will implement one of the key pillars of its platform. We can understand that may not be in the first year or the second year. Maybe there has to be some time to consider how to phase it in. For goodness' sake, we are seven years past those promises and there has not been one real movement dealing with the GST. We expected to see some results from that election promise.

It is not surprising that Canadians feel overburdened by taxes from the government. It throws lots of optics around some small tax relief. On the other hand it is taking more and more out of our pockets.

The GST is a good example. I met with the mayor of the city of Calgary who told me that out of all the services Calgary gets from the federal government and all the money it sends to Ottawa there is a net outflow every year to Ottawa from Calgary of $4 billion.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The member has 16 minutes remaining when the debate continues later.

Organization Of American StatesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the 30th General Assembly of the Organization of American States will take place in Windsor, Ontario, from June 4 to June 6. The OAS is the premier political forum for multilateral dialogue and decision making in the Americas. Foreign ministers from 34 states will take part in the session.

Canada will be hosting the general assembly for the first time. This reflects the new pluralism in our foreign policy and our recognition of common policy interests with our Central and South American neighbours in such diverse areas as corporate social responsibility and control of the illicit drug trade.

JusticeStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, marriage breakdown is often a difficult and sad occasion and even more so when children are involved. Listen to the story of a non-custodial father who lives in my riding.

A few years ago his former wife took their two children and moved to the east coast. Subsequently he was laid off from his job and it took three full years for the courts to acknowledge the change in his employment status. In this case the court system pushed this father to the edge of financial ruin and dropped him into the abyss of deep emotional anguish, often aggravated by the fact that his wife repeatedly denied any access to his children.

For many, the emotional trauma brought on by inefficient, expensive and sometimes unfair court orders proves too much to bear. Darrin White from Prince George, B.C., committed suicide in March after a court gave him limited access to his children and ordered him to pay his estranged wife twice his take home pay in child support and alimony each month.

All legislators at all levels of government, all family law practitioners and all family court systems realize their decisions have human consequences. Too often, however, the court system fails to deal adequately and quickly with changing home situations.

Women Of DistinctionStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to honour the eight recipients of this year's Women of Distinction awards in Guelph—Wellington.

Manusha Janakiram, Barb Topolsek, Krista Adlington, Gwen Revington, Martha Jakowlew, Sue Richards, Dr. Ruth Tatham and Kim Iezzi are some of the exceptional women who call Guelph—Wellington home. As students, educators, businesswomen, artists and community workers, these women have all contributed to their community in a distinct and lasting manner.

I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to these eight women for their hard work and dedication ensuring that Guelph—Wellington remains the greatest community in the world.

Team Canada AtlanticStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the House the recent Atlantic Canadian trade mission to New England. Our Prime Minister has joined the Atlantic premiers and more than 50 Atlantic companies, all part of Team Canada Atlantic as they give New England a chance to catch the rising Atlantic Canadian wave.

The Atlantic Liberal caucus recently produced “Catching Tomorrow's Wave” which called on the federal government to take the lead in economic development in our region. Our Prime Minister boasts of the extraordinary work that the Atlantic region has done to make itself a great place to invest.

The people of Atlantic Canada expect their government to provide leadership. That is exactly what our Prime Minister is doing. He is helping foster a dynamic relationship between Atlantic Canada and New England for the 21st century.

Adventure In CitizenshipStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, each year Rotary Clubs throughout Canada sponsor over 200 young Canadians to take part in the Adventure in Citizenship program.

Since 1951 over 10,000 students have come to Ottawa to explore the governmental process and institutions at the federal level. Designed to develop potential leaders, the program explores our nation's identity, shared values, freedoms and history of tolerance and compromise.

This year Chelsea Zylstra from my riding of Cambridge is taking part in this important learning experience.

I join all members in welcoming these future leaders from all ten provinces and the three territories. I wish them success as they learn about the common bonds that unite all Canadians.

Airline IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport thinks he can protect Canadians from Air Canada if he is provided with more regulatory powers. I hate to disillusion the minister but there is a better way.

The Canadian airline industry is in its current predicament because previous government regulations did not provide healthy competition. Last fall the competition commissioner stated that the best way to protect the Canadian travelling public was by fostering competition.

While the minister wants to cast himself as the white knight doing battle with a dominant Air Canada, the solution is much simpler. Ensure that Canadians have a choice. If the minister is truly concerned about the Canadian consumer, he will take the necessary steps to foster competition in the airline industry and give Canadians the power to regulate the industry themselves by exercising their right to choose.

Public Service Alliance Of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, Nycole Turmel was elected president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada to replace Darryl Bean, who is leaving the position after over 15 years of devoted service to his members.

With the support of a large majority of delegates to the triennial congress of the Alliance, Ms. Turmel is not only the first women to hold the position, but the first francophone as well. Before her election as president, Ms. Turmel had been the vice-president of the Alliance for nine years.

I would like today to congratulate Ms. Turmel on her election to the presidency of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and wish her every success in her new duties.

Premier Of NewfoundlandStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, Premier Brian Tobin of Newfoundland shamelessly broke the provincial consensus on health care by saying that he had no objection to Ottawa's having a say on the management of the health care system in the provinces. Captain Canada even tried to catch two other maritime premiers in his net.

Facing serious shortages of resources in health care, the provinces have for months been asking the federal government to return its transfer payments to 1995 levels. Ottawa claims that it is keeping this money so it can have its say in health care.

But we know, perfectly well why Brian Tobin is behaving this way. Captain Canada is working on a double play. On the one hand he is playing the role of courtier and indefatigable ally of the Prime Minister of Canada and on the other as the increasingly unsteady pretender to the throne of Prime Minister, he is trying to weaken the position of the provinces on the health issue in an effort to prepare the place he hopes to occupy soon.

We are not fooled by Captain Canada's double play. Mark my words.

ForestryStatements By Members

May 9th, 2000 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Réginald Bélair Liberal Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, forestry has been the mainstay in the lives of a vast number of residents in the Timmins—James Bay riding. The forest industry has created close to 4,000 jobs in the riding and has helped establish dynamic communities like Kapuskasing, Smooth Rock Falls, Hearst and Timmins.

This week we are celebrating National Forest Week. It is a time to reflect on the vital role forests play in our daily lives, as well as their significant benefits. We are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Forestry Association, a federation which has been dedicated to the wise use and conservation of our forests.

As Canadians we must continue to be persistent in preserving the health and vitality of our forests since they are equally important to the health of the local, national and global environments.

We have a duty to protect that wealth, so that our forests can continue to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of future generations.

St. John's West ByelectionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the current byelection in St. John's West gives Newfoundlanders the opportunity to strengthen the new voice in parliament, the Canadian Alliance. This new and exciting movement is positively changing the face of politics in Canada. Concerned citizens in St. John's and Placentia have told me they are voting for change. They are sick and tired of the games that the Liberals and Tories play.

The Liberals are trying to resurrect their candidate's floundering campaign by pumping millions of dollars of public money into St. John's for the election.

They have seen it all before when John Crosbie ruled the roost for the Conservatives. They are demanding a change. They are all voting for Frank Hall, the Canadian Alliance candidate, to send a message to Ottawa. He will be joining 57 dedicated members of Canada's official opposition, Canada's government in waiting.

Newfoundlanders are going to start a saltwater wave that will sweep from the east coast across Canada and will remove the old parties and tired old politics.

Congratulations, Newfoundland. You are leading the way with Canadian Alliance.

EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Christine Stewart Liberal Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge today the presence in Ottawa of the Environmental Audit Committee, the newest scrutiny committee of the British House of Commons. Its purpose is to assess the contribution of all government activity to progress on sustainable development and to audit the government's performance against relevant targets such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The committee has come to Canada to discuss our unique system of departmental strategies and to meet with the office of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

I had the chance to meet with these MPs last evening. I welcome them here in Canada and hope that this is just the beginning of a fruitful dialogue between our respective governments.

The members of parliament here today are Chairman John Horam, Helen Brinton, Neil Gerrard, Dominic Grieve, Jon Owen Jones, Paul Keetch, Tim Loughton, Christine Russell, Malcolm Savage, Jonathan Shaw, Simon Thomas, and Mrs. Joan Walley. Welcome all.

HiberniaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, this year alone Newfoundland and Labrador will take in more than $20 million in royalties from the long awaited Hibernia oil and gas project, a full $8 million more than what was originally projected.

With that kind of news one would think the people of Newfoundland and Labrador would be overjoyed. But they know that this Liberal government and the previous Conservative government adopted policies that increase rather than help to eliminate regional disparities across the country.

Equalization is supposed to help the seven have not provinces catch up, not keep them down. But today, because the government claws back 70%, each royalty dollar is worth a mere 30 cents.

That is why the federal NDP supports amending the equalization program to increase the amount of money that have not provinces are allowed to keep.

Under this government, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be resource rich but royalty poor.

Forest BiodiversityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate Nathalie Perron and Marc Plante, who are both residents of my region, for being recognized under the Forest Stewardship Recognition Program of Wildlife Habitat Canada.

That program seeks to recognize the concrete actions taken by people to support forest stewardship and the conservation of forest biodiversity.

In a world whose fauna and flora are increasingly threatened, it is important to change our forestry operations, to make the best decisions and to use proven ways to manage and conserve forests.

Nathalie and Marc were rewarded for organizing two forestry-wildlife forums held in Jonquière, in 1997 and 1999. These two events allowed participants to review the latest information on the impact of forestry operations on wildlife and its habitat, in addition to promoting innovative practices to protect forest biodiversity.

Bravo and congratulations to Nathalie and Marc. Continue your excellent work for sustainable development.

Cantonniers De MagogStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hockey team les Cantonniers de Magog, following their spectacular victory at the Air Canada Cup tournament, held in Montreal in late April.

This is a first national Midget AAA title for the team. These young players deserve recognition for showing discipline, determination and remarkable talent throughout the season. Their efforts paid off, since they are now the best midget hockey team in Canada.

I wish to mention the work of coach Mario Durocher, who led his team like a true leader, and of all the others who contributed to the success of les Cantonniers.

Congratulations to les Cantonniers. The residents of Brome—Missisquoi are very proud of you.

ManitobaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to draw the attention of hon. members to Manitoba's 130th birthday on Friday, May 12. As Manitoba celebrates its first birthday of the millennium, it is an appropriate occasion to reflect on our beautiful province and our people.

Manitobans are people of tremendous perseverance who do not give up in the face of adversity. Throughout our history Manitobans have come together to build, to share and to dream of a better future for our children. We have witnessed and overcome many challenges of our time, such as the Great Depression, floods, storms and drought. On Manitoba Day it is especially important that we salute all Manitobans for their strength, determination and hard work that has given us our greatest successes and our greatest achievements.

The people of Manitoba can congratulate themselves for living in a province of economic prosperity, social diversity and cultural richness.

Happy birthday, Manitoba.

YouthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, as part of the celebrations marking international youth week the Government of Canada is supporting a number of diverse locally sponsored events to acknowledge the many contributions our young men and women make to the country.

I especially wish to share with the House that under the aboriginal human resources development strategy, the government is contributing nearly $1 million to assist aboriginal youth in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in their efforts to fulfill their educational potential and gain access to meaningful employment. As well the youth employment strategy earmarks another $25 million annually to first nations and Inuit organizations across the country to deliver a host of youth initiatives. These programs give youth valuable work experience and skills training through summer employment, science and technology camps, community service, entrepreneurship and internships.

In collaboration with our provincial, territorial and aboriginal partners—

YouthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Portage—Lisgar.

Operation DecodeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday a constituent was told he would end up dead, like murdered RCMP decode agent John McKay.

In 1998 I requested an independent judicial investigation into operation decode. The RCMP operation involving liquor and tobacco smuggling resulted in a highly paid dead RCMP agent, internal leaks from D Division to the target's lawyer, death threats, missing evidence, and conflicting testimony of RCMP officers in court. The most astounding action was when the RCMP stayed an arrest warrant against the Americans supplying the contraband because one of the witnesses was dead and they could not find their paid agent.

No wonder other countries claim Canada is a safe haven for criminals. How many more people will have to die before the government takes action and orders an independent investigation into operation decode?

Public Service Alliance Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House today to the election of Nycole Turmel as the first woman president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Ms. Turmel, a native of Quebec, was elected on the first ballot with a very comfortable majority. As well as being the first female president in the 34 years of PSAC's existence, she is the second francophone to hold the position. The 140,000-member Public Service Alliance of Canada is the main federal public service union.

Nycole Turmel has been active in her union since 1979 and on its executive since 1991. She distinguished herself through her extensive knowledge of the issues she was involved in defending.

I had the good fortune to come to know her and to work along with her on the pay equity issue, which culminated in a great victory for 200,000 federal public servants. This energetic and warm woman has announced that her presidency will be open, transparent and accountable.

I wish to express my personal sincere congratulations, as well as those of the Bloc Quebecois, and our best wishes for success.

AcoaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton North Alberta

Reform

Deborah Grey ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the veterans affairs minister's worst fears have been realized. ACOA has already become the Atlantic Canada overblown agency.

Let us look at who got some cash: the Royal Bank, Canada Packers, Bombardier, Irving Pulp and Paper, CP hotels, IBM, General Dynamics Corp. and McCain Foods. These are not exactly small fries.

Why is taxpayer money being used to subsidize these massively profitable corporations?