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House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Environment WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is Environment Week and time to reflect on environmental issues, such as climate change, the loss of biological diversity, population growth, pollution, water supply and quality, the sustainability of natural resources, food safety and genetic engineering to name a few.

Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the United Nations, recently said:

Unsustainable practices are woven deeply into the fabric of modern life and myths have taken hold suggesting there is little alternative to short-sighted and wasteful patterns of consumption and development.

One myth is the belief that there is a trade-off between the environment and the economy. Actually they are two sides of the same coin. We therefore have to learn how to integrate economic, environmental and social goals for the benefit of generations to come.

Environment WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, following and acknowledging the last speaker, it is Environment Week, and I draw to the House's attention the situation in Ontario and the crisis we are facing with air pollution.

It causes 1,800 early deaths in Ontario annually. Thousands more suffer from respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis. According to the Ontario Medical Association, smog and poor air quality costs the Ontario economy alone an estimated $9.9 billion in health care and related expenses each year. That is almost 10 times more than what the government is committing to spend on cleaning up the environment, on things like climate change and air pollution.

I call on the government on behalf of all Canadians to take real effective action to combat the air pollution problems we have.

Dr. Stanley VollantStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois and all members of the House, I wish to congratulate Dr. Stanley Vollant on his recent appointment as president of the Quebec Medical Association. Dr. Vollant is the first aboriginal to hold this prestigious position.

The Quebec Medical Association represents some 6,000 of the 17,000 doctors in Quebec and offers its members various training seminars, as well as useful advice on a wide range of topics.

Originally from Betsiamites, on Quebec's North Shore, Dr. Vollant was headed for a brilliant career in law when he finally decided on medicine. Whatever Dr. Vollant's career choices, it was clear that what he wanted to do was to look after the well-being of his community.

The Bloc Quebecois congratulates Dr. Vollant and wishes him much success in his new position.

Atlantic SalmonStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Greenland, after a three year suspension, is preparing to catch 200 tonnes of Atlantic salmon, yet the number of salmon returning to Canadian rivers has dropped to 350,000 from more than 1.5 million in the 1970s.

It is clear that any Greenland fishery is wrong-headed. Salmon return to their native rivers to spawn after spending one to four years at sea and the 550 rivers on the east coast will be without salmon if careless and unsustainable fisheries are allowed to occur.

On the west coast we recognize that salmon belong to country to which they return to spawn, not to anyone on the high seas.

Is the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans prepared to make sure that similar protection is afforded to Atlantic salmon that we already give to salmon on the west coast?

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

June 7th, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, all this week Canadians have been left wondering what issues are really important to the government and what issues really require urgent action. There are many problems that do require urgent action, but I can say for Canadians that raising the Prime Minister's personal pension by 82%, far beyond what any MP is receiving, is not one of those pressing public needs.

How can the Prime Minister justify to hardworking Canadians, many of whom are struggling to save for the future, that he is now ramming through parliament a personal pension increase of 82%? How can he justify that?

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as is typical of the opposition member, he does not check his facts. What he said is not true at all. The article is based on false information. I have a pension, like any other member of parliament, as a member of parliament and as the Prime Minister. The new pension will apply only if I remain Prime Minister for another five years.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

That is exactly the type of incentive we are worried about, Mr. Speaker. We cannot afford five more years of that.

He can try to joke about it but the fact is our senior citizens are looking on in envy as the Prime Minister looks at ramming through this personal pension increase of up to 82%. Seniors cannot even dream about that. Maybe the problem is that he is just not aware of what seniors face in terms of hardship.

Does the Prime Minister know what a low income senior with no other income receives in terms of a monthly cheque from this—

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I just said that was not true. He is not interested in the truth at all.

I just said that a commission looked at the salaries of members of parliament and the Prime Minister and concluded that the Prime Minister of Canada should make as much as a chief justice of Canada. I do not know how long I will stay because this morning the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicated that he was ready to take over.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, as a leader, I know the feeling of other people wanting a position. However, I also know what hardworking Canadians are facing.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation calls this sweet pension deal of the Prime Minister's “the most sweet parting gift a Prime Minister has ever given himself”. That is quite a legacy.

How does he justify this huge increase in his own personal pension to hardworking Canadians?

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, he did not hear me. I have said, and I will say it again for the third time, what he is saying is not true. He is still quoting something that is not true. Of course I am not leaving. I want everybody in the House to join me in making sure the Leader of the Opposition does not lose his job.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says the story is not true. I would be very interested in hearing from him what the percentage increase for his pension is.

Senior citizens are saying that his pension is just too rich. Firefighters are saying that it is just too rich. The nurses are also saying that it is just too rich.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why did he not campaign on this new pension in the last election? Is this not what we would really call a hidden agenda?

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how many of the poor in Canada drive a Ferrari. I cannot afford to have one.

The salaries of members of parliament were frozen for eight years with no increase at all. The legislation calls for a 20% increase. The commission said that the Prime Minister of Canada should not make less than the chief justice of Canada, not me.

It is a job and I am trying to do it the best I can.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I notice that the Prime Minister is not talking about the pension, which is what we are talking about.

Firefighters, by the way, came to the Hill asking for a change in their pension because many of them have to retire when they are 55 due to their hazardous working conditions. Do members know what the Prime Minister said? He said no. He ignored them.

How can the Prime Minister justify his new pension when he totally ignored the firefighters? Could he tell me that?

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is a wondrous thing to see the Alliance finally beginning to wake up. The whole issue of the firefighters was brought to the government's attention by members of this caucus.

We have had extensive meetings with committees of the firefighters. We are looking very seriously at their situation as a result of the members of this caucus. The Alliance was no where to be seen.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the changes made to the employment insurance program following passage of Bill C-2, are clearly insufficient.

These changes leave too many of the unemployed still out in the cold. Lobby groups of the unemployed, the unions, even some Liberal MPs, acknowledge that something has to be done. But the government will not budge.

If the government has not already forgotten its election promises, can the Prime Minister commit to providing some help for the unemployed before the end of this session?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we had promised changes and we have introduced them. We did so with the very first bill we brought in when we came back.

The unemployed have lost six months because of the blocking tactics used by the Bloc Quebecois in connection with the employment insurance legislation before the last election.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is totally false. The government was the one that did not want to debate the matter, failed to introduce the bill, and preferred to call an election.

The election promises made went far beyond what was included in Bill C-2. The bill was passed. We are talking about something else. The situation is clear: the unemployed need help, but the political will to help is lacking.

Why is the government not in as much of a hurry to do something for the unemployed as it was to do something for the billionaires with their family trusts and to raise MPs' salaries? Why this double standard?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell the House of Commons very clearly that, when we wanted to bring in the bill this past fall, it was the hon. member for Rimouski—Neigette—et-la Mitis who refused, three times in a row, to make the consent unanimous, whereas all members of the other parties were in agreement for us to proceed with the bill.

The ones that blocked the legislation were the Bloc.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's statement is completely false.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

The day before unemployed workers were to hold demonstrations in Shawinigan during the election campaign, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport were sent by the Liberal Party and the Prime Minister to promise these workers that the law would be changed in the spring of 2001.

Now that the session is drawing to an end and the minister has the time and money needed, is she prepared to keep the promises made by her two colleagues and implement the committee's unanimous recommendations before the end of this session?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the government is prepared to make adjustments to employment insurance based on conversations with Canadians and the information that we received from reports, including our annual monitoring and assessment reports. Bill C-2 is a clear example of this approach.

What is not clear is how the Bloc matches its rhetoric with its voting pattern here in the House. When it is given the option to change the employment insurance program in support of seasonal workers and families, it chooses to vote against it.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign, the Liberal Party bent over backward to meet with union leaders.

But yesterday, these same Liberals were absent from the Standing Committee on Finance when it heard from union leaders.

Does the minister realize that the fickle attitude of her colleagues was summed up perfectly by Félix Leclerc “La veille des élections, il t'appelait son fiston, le lendemain comme de raison, il avait oublié ton nom”?