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House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was moved.

Topics

AgricultureStatements By Members

September 25th, 2000 / 2:10 p.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Reform Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the election must be getting close. The Liberal ads are getting bigger and better.

The minister of agriculture stubbornly refuses to admit that all his multi-million promises to Canadian farmers are not worth the paper his press releases are printed on. Farmers wait months for responses to their requests for assistance after spending hundreds of dollars getting them prepared by professional accountants.

I suggest to the minister that his programs are too complex for the people who need help. As it is, 58% of the claims in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, two of the hardest hit areas, are rejected. Ninety per cent of claims for 1999 remain unprocessed. I suggest to the minister that his programs are too complex for the people he has running them.

On Friday the minister stated that the full commitment of $600 million had been disbursed for 1998. That is not so. In fact that is the total including the 40% provincial contribution; a couple of dollars short. Of the promised 1.7 billion federal dollars only 41% has gone out to the few farmers who have been able to fight through the government red tape.

Clearly it would be enlightening to have all Canadians check the facts on this government.

PharmaceuticalsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, drug prices are the fastest growing costs in our health care system. We now spend more on drugs than we do on the salaries of doctor.

In 1993 the Liberals promised to reduce drug prices. Instead they broke those promises and left the pharmaceutical companies with a 20 year patent protection on their products even though a generic company can often produce the same product for a fraction of the cost.

This situation has turned into the greatest corporate rip-off in Canadian history worth billions per year in unnecessary costs to our health care system and putting billions into the pockets of drug companies, the Liberal Party's corporate friends and sponsors.

What was a problem in 1993 is now an emergency. We hear of seniors who must choose between paying their rent and paying for their drugs. We hear of seniors who cut their daily medication in half to make their prescription last longer.

Incredibly we are now hearing of people being forced to move from province to province, shopping for the best deal, the best coverage to meet their health care costs. So much for national standards and so much for a national pharmacare plan. It is another Liberal broken promise, this time one that costs more than just money. It costs—

PharmaceuticalsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

We will now proceed to oral questions.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am excited today. There is a whiff of democracy in the air because some Liberal MPs are beginning to speak out against the practice of the Prime Minister of not letting them vote for their constituents.

Will the Prime Minister inhale this fragrance of freedom, send a signal, and stand to say that he will not punish his MPs in any way if in 24 hours they vote for the Canadian Alliance motion to lower taxes? Will he keep them free from punishment?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the last seven years there were a lot more free votes on this side of House than on the other side.

I would like to say that while the hon. Leader of the Opposition was with the Government of Alberta he was asked for a free vote on same sex benefits at that time as was permitted in Ontario. He said this was Alberta and it was not on the agenda. His answer was no.

A few months ago there was a request for a free vote on Bill C-11. Some MLAs of the Conservative Party wanted a free vote. He went there to make sure that there was not to be any.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely wrong. A very hon. premier just resigned today and I truly respect that man. He was right when he said that we needed a new generation of leaders. The reason for that is obvious with that response.

Will the Prime Minister, who disagrees with his finance minister on the high marginal rates of taxes and who now disagrees with his MPs, do one of two things? Will he either resign because he has no support over there or call an election based on his record of being the highest taxing leader in the G-7 countries?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago he was for an early election. Over the weekend he was not for an early election. Now he is for an early election again. This gentleman flip-flops so much that we are having fun on this side.

I tell him that Canadians know the person I am, a politician who has served Canada for more than 37 years. I will never be afraid to go in front of the Canadian people with my record and the record of the Liberal government.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is an exciting record. In the olympics of high taxation Canadians deserve the gold medal for having to carry the heaviest weight of taxes of any of the G-7 countries.

Will the Prime Minister do something about the fact that for people to move from low income to middle income it is the greatest and most difficult leap of any of the G-7 nations because of the high marginal rates? Will he lower these rates?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the last budget the Minister of Finance reduced the rate for middle income earners in Canada. We did that in the last budget.

We have reduced taxes for three years since we balanced the books. We balanced the books. We had a $42 billion deficit. Now we have a surplus. We have started to reduce the national debt. We have started to reduce the income tax for people. We have invested in health and in universities.

I am telling the House that Canadian people are quite satisfied with the performance of this government.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, since he will not answer the question on whether he will protect his MPs if they vote for the people, and since he will not do anything about marginal rates, will he answer a question related to his own advisory committee on science and technology which said that brain drain was continuing in the country?

Young people, entrepreneurial people, hard working people continue to leave. A year ago he said let them leave if they want to leave. Is that still his answer today?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have acted in a very responsible fashion. Of course some people from Canada will go abroad for opportunities and some will come from abroad to Canada.

When we created the chairs of excellence program we were praised because thousands of the best brains would stay in Canada or would come here because this government is looking at the future. We are very proud of our record on that program.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in the court of public opinion I find the Prime Minister in contempt of the people for not answering these questions. I have no further questions for this unco-operative witness.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

I will ask the Minister of National Revenue if he has run the econometric models to show that we can lower taxes and still maintain the surplus needed to take care of the debt and social welfare—

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I had presumed that the hon. Leader of the Opposition had finished his question because I could not hear it. We deserve to hear both the question and the answer in question period.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think I can answer the hon. member. We did not just make promises, we have begun to cut taxes.

Everyone knows that the program we put forward will cut personal income taxes of the people of Canada in the next few years by an average of 23%. For example, people with two children earning $60,000 a year will have their income tax cut by 35.6%. This is what the government is doing, we are reducing taxes. At the same time, we are reducing the debt and we have invested a lot in health care. I see the Minister of Health smiling, he was very happy to—

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's budget surpluses were predictable. If nothing is done, this money will be invested according to the whim of the Minister of Finance without any discussion or his making his intentions known.

Does the Prime Minister not see a need for his government to present a mini budget in order to deal with emergencies such as employment insurance, the price of gasoline and especially reductions in income tax?

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a tax reduction program. The Minister of Finance has said himself that the additional resources we have received will enable him, at the appropriate time, to lower taxes more quickly than expected. This is good management. Fortunately, we had revenues higher than we expected, because the economy is doing much better than foreseen, and everyone should be pleased at this, including the leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that we said last year there would be $11.5 billion in surpluses, and the Minister of Finance was expecting $3 billion. I am convinced that he knew as well as we did. The problem is that he does not want this debate. The government is making promises without substance.

Does the Prime Minister not see the need for a mini budget so that we have more than just election promises with no guarantee that they will be kept when the time comes?

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since July there have been reductions in taxes that will total $4 billion over the year and that will benefit taxpayers. Perhaps we could speed up the process even more.

Exactly two weeks ago, we decided to inject $21 billion over five years, that is, more than $4 billion annually, into health services in Canada. The hon. members were totally in agreement. That means that, of the $12 billion announced, $8 billion has been already allocated. That is two thirds.

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should look at the next five years, not the past year. The forecasts of his Minister of Finance apply to the next five years.

In the first four months of the current fiscal year, the federal government has accumulated an $11 billion surplus, compared to last year. By the end of the year, the surplus will exceed $21 billion, while the Minister of Finance anticipated a $4 billion surplus.

Does the Prime Minister realize that if a mini budget is not tabled in the coming days regarding the allocation of these new surpluses, the Minister of Finance will do as he did in previous years and will allocate all the unexpected surpluses, the hidden surpluses, to debt reduction, without any debate on current major and urgent social issues?

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that, under the law, when there is a budget surplus at the end of a year, that surplus is used to lower the country's debt.

The hon. member should be pleased that a government which faced a $42 billion deficit when it took office was able, over the past three years, to pay more than $20 billion off the national debt. That had not happened in 50 years.

The hon. member should be pleased, because future generations will benefit from this reduction of the national debt. He should congratulate the government.

Budget SurplusesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, a government that forces people to take to the streets to fight for their rights because of the drastic cuts made to their employment insurance benefits does not deserve any congratulations.

Will the Prime Minister admit that, in the coming months, any surplus that was not anticipated by the Minister of Finance in the last budget will be allocated to the debt, even though there are urgent needs relating to unemployment, gasoline prices and excess taxes? The money that the Minister of Finance has in his pockets is money that is no longer in the taxpayers' pockets.

Will the Prime Minister ask that a mini budget be tabled by his Minister of Finance, who keeps hiding the real figures from us?