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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gas.

Topics

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in four years. What he did not say is that he has not made the people earning $250,000 and up wait; they have had a $2,000 tax saving for the past two years.

What answer does the Minister of Finance have to give a family that is having trouble making ends meet, one that is becoming poorer because of the federal tax and the minister's sneaky little tricks aimed at winning votes? Is he saying they have to wait four years? Is he asking this family to tell their grocery store to wait four years before it will see any money, to just put it on their tab? Is that what he means?

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our sneaky little tricks have seen us with 5% more revenue than predicted.

In Quebec, Mr. Landry's revenue has also exceeded his predictions by about 5%. Is this also due to sneaky little tricks?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Shipping tons and tons of Toronto garbage to Kirkland Lake is lunacy. It is madness. It threatens the safety of drinking water for local residents and for millions of residents downstream.

I urge the Prime Minister to think of the Ottawa River in terms of water for drinking, not just water for rafting. When will his government announce the details of a full federal environmental assessment of the Adams mine proposal?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Kitchener Centre Ontario

Liberal

Karen Redman LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has been petitioned to conduct an environmental assessment. As a matter of fact, our hon. colleague from Timiskaming—Cochrane has kept this issue on the front burner.

The minister has asked the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to advise him if the project triggers a federal environment assessment. Once the agency has made its investigation, the minister will decide on the proper course of action.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, let me say it is bloody well about time the government began to address the question. I have to say that based on the Liberal record on the environment Canadians know that the Liberal walk rarely measures up to the Liberal talk.

I want to ask the federal government today a concrete and specific question. Will it assure that the scope of the environmental assessment will be comprehensive and, if the safety of the water is at risk, will it stop the dump?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Kitchener Centre Ontario

Liberal

Karen Redman LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, what has the government done in the last seven years? The government has consistently taken strong action on the environment.

We have enacted the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to protect Canadians from toxins. We have negotiated strong national standards for the provinces for clean air and clean water. We are negotiating a tough new agreement with the United States to reduce smog in cities like Toronto, Windsor and Halifax. We have invested $850 million over the last seven years to reduce the risk of climate change in Canada. We are encouraging clean air technologies like the Ballard fuel cells.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

He said in Hansard yesterday respecting tax cuts on fuel “We would only act in conjunction with the provinces”. Is that still his position? If so, has he yet called the provinces to initiate discussions on their joint action, or is he waiting for them to call him?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said earlier in the House and as the Prime Minister has said, we are looking at several options.

That being said, yes, we have been in contact with a number of the provinces. Officials have as well. Given the quote from Mr. Palladini by the Prime Minister, it is pretty clear that a number of provinces do not feel that cutting fuel taxes is the way to go.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, let me ask a question about another crisis in the country.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans would know that Mr. Rae has said the two sides in the fishing dispute are too far apart for mediation. Will the minister demonstrate clear leadership and personally go back to Burnt Church to attempt to resolve this issue?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to thank the hon. Bob Rae for his tremendous efforts in trying to bring the two parties together. I am disappointed that Mr. Rae was unable to bring resolution to this matter as we all had hoped.

Today I issued a variation order to close the lobster fishery in the Miramichi. Because conservation is threatened, we want to make sure we protect the lobster. I would urge the Burnt Church community to abide by that order and pull all the traps so that we protect the lobster fishery for all Canadians and for future generations.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, while gas prices continue to go through the roof, the Canadian loonie remains locked in the basement. It is now trading at barely 67 cents U.S. Two years ago the finance minister said that was because of record low commodity prices which are now trading at record high levels.

Is the finance minister at all concerned that his high tax, high debt policies are leading to continued diminishment in our standard of living and buying power as Canadians?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know if he looked back over the last 18 months that the Euro has lost close to 25% against the U.S. dollar. The British pound has lost close to 15%. The Australian dollar has lost close to 10% and New Zealand currency has lost substantially. In fact the only currency in the last year and a half that has gained against the U.S. dollar is the Canadian dollar.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, under the Liberal government the Canadian dollar has gained all the way from over 70 cents U.S. to 67 cents U.S. I guess that is the new Liberal math.

As the Canadian dollar continues to be weak against the U.S. dollar, it penalizes our consumers, including gas consumers. Oil prices are priced in U.S. currency. If we were to have a 75 cent dollar, Canadian gas consumers would save three cents per litre at the pump.

Why does the finance minister continue a high debt, high tax, low dollar policy that penalizes Canadian gas consumers?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we announced that we are paying the debt down by $12 billion. That is $18 billion over three years. That is an average of $6 billion a year. That is what members of the Reform Party huffed and puffed and said they wanted. They wanted it; we delivered it. They look pretty silly.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

September 21st, 2000 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, for some time now, the government has been telling us about Liberal compassion.

Where is that Liberal compassion when the Minister of Finance boasts about having billions in surpluses, while he is cutting seasonal workers off? They will not be getting EI benefits this winter and next spring.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, there are many ways that the government helps Canadian workers. We help them get the tools and the training they need to participate in the new economy. We help them in their pursuit of lifelong learning. Indeed we help them through the employment insurance program. As I have said on a number of occasions in the House, we monitor that program on a regular basis. If there is evidence that changes need to be made, there will be.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only is last year's surplus four times larger than the Minister of Finance had anticipated, but the 2000-2001 surplus could exceed $20 billion.

How can the Prime Minister explain to the people who marched on the streets of Baie-Comeau and Chicoutimi this week that his government will continue to cut employment insurance, when his government has billions of dollars in surpluses?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let us look at some of the facts. Since 1993 when this government was elected, the unemployment level in the province of Quebec has been reduced by 4.5%. Since that time almost 400,000 Quebecers are working today that were not working. Finally, in the past year the rate of job creation in the province of Quebec has reached 3.2% which is higher than the national average. These statistics are worth celebrating and we will continue to do more.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister has completely lost control of the crisis in Burnt Church. Worse, his inaction has led to violence and confrontation.

Today the minister said “We have told them they have 24 hours to remove their traps”. Canadians simply do not believe that 24 hours means 24 hours to the minister.

Why does he not enforce the law and get those traps out of the water today?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member knows that we have been enforcing the law. As I said yesterday, we pulled up 2,700 traps, arrested individuals and seized vessels.

It is incumbent on every responsible government to take every means possible to try to get a peaceful and co-operative agreement to avoid conflict. That is exactly what we are doing. Yes, I have shown restraint because we want a peaceful resolution. We want a resolution that reduces conflict. Every effort has been made to do that. In the final analysis, the rule of law will prevail.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians, or anyone for that matter, just do not believe when the minister makes a threat or an ultimatum in the name of peace that it is ever going to happen. He waited for others to suggest that Bob Rae go in and mediate. He hoped that Bob could do what he himself would not do. Plan b just walked away.

We know that there is only one commercial fishery, lobsters, in Miramichi Bay and that fishery is only in the spring. Why has the minister allowed any traps there now, let alone 24 hours from now?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, right from the beginning of this year we have had a federal representative who met with first nations bands and worked with them individually on their needs. Unfortunately, Burnt Church was not willing to sit at the negotiating table.

I have personally been to the Miramichi. I met with the chief and the band council members. Then my deputy minister went down and met with them. Then Bob Rae, from a list provided from Burnt Church, went down and tried to negotiate a deal.

Yesterday Bob Rae said that they had agreed to a substantial reduction in the traps that were in the Miramichi. Progress was being made. Unfortunately, that did not happen. For conservation purposes, today I closed the lobster fishery in the Miramichi.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, high fuel prices are certainly not hurting the federal government. Not only is it collecting more GST, and more tax on oil company profits, but it is also continuing to enjoy the sizeable revenues from the excise tax.

I therefore ask the Minister of Finance whether the federal government should not temporarily lift its 10 cent a litre excise tax, given the supposedly unexpected surpluses the minister announced yesterday?

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, lowering the excise tax would require co-operation between the two levels of government. It must be pointed out that the provinces are taking in much more in excise taxes percentage-wise than we are. In Quebec, it is somewhere around 15 cents.

So the question is which option to go for. And that is something we are looking at.

Gasoline PricingOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, just so that the minister is clear on this, the excise tax is a federal tax. In the provinces, it is a fuel tax.

If the Minister of Industry really wants to put a stop once and for all to the part of gasoline price hikes attributable to a lack of competition, would he be prepared to amend the Competition Act so that three major refiner marketers do not single-handedly control 75% of the market in Canada and hold us hostage to gasoline price hikes?