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House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was referendum.

Topics

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have done what we promised, namely to harmonize the goods and services tax with the provincial governments' sales tax. This tax was a replacement for the tax on manufactured goods.

It was a matter of replacing one tax by another, and now here we are with an economy that is working well. We receive these taxes and are enabled as a result to reduce others. For instance, last week we were able to invest $35 billion, in connection with an agreement with the provincial governments on—

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Peace River.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like this government is becoming just like the Conservative government before it, in being hooked on the GST. That is what is happening.

The capital tax discourages innovation and investment and the finance minister knows that it is a bad tax for Canada. His predecessor also knew it was a bad tax, but he chose to keep it going even though it was supposed to be a temporary tax to reduce the deficit.

Will the Minister of Finance do the right thing and axe the capital tax?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Oak Ridges Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in case the member has been asleep, I remind him that tomorrow at four o'clock in here a budget will be delivered by the Minister of Finance.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Canadian Alliance Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank him for that information. I guess if I am sleepy, he is dopey.

The former minister of finance increased spending on the federal bureaucracy, excluding defence, by $7.4 billion. On the other hand, health care and other transfers were only increased by $4.5 billion.

Why is this government spending more money on bureaucracy than it is on health care?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Oak Ridges Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I realize the members on the other side are more used to being in Alice in Wonderland than they are in reality.

That is the party which on any given day asks us to raise taxes and says to spend more money, $3 billion, and on another day says to cut by $4 billion.

The reality is that, as the Prime Minister indicated today, we are reducing taxes. We are investing in Canadians. The record speaks for itself.

IraqOral Question Period

February 17th, 2003 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, 10 million people throughout the world, including 170,000 in Quebec, demonstrated to say no to war, yes to peace, yes to diplomacy and yes to the peaceful disarmament of Iraq.

Unfortunately, while citizens took to the streets to indicate their opposition to conflict, the Bush administration continued down its warpath. Colin Powell declared that the United States is ready to act with a coalition of the willing.

Will the Prime Minister finally listen to the public and clearly say that Canada will not take part in this coalition of the willing?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada's position has been firmly established. I explained it clearly on Thursday in Chicago. The United Nations must continue to do the work that is required under these circumstances.

I do believe a new resolution will be submitted to the Security Council this week or next. We will see what decision the Security Council makes. We will make up our mind once the Security Council's opinion is known and not before we have all the facts.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are a few things we know. For instance, we know that the United States, through Ms. Rice, has said, “enough is enough”, and that it will move forward with or without the UN, with other countries that are willing.

Again, will the Prime Minister tell the U.S. clearly that we will never take part in such a coalition of the willing for the purpose of waging an illegitimate, illegal, and immoral war?

That is what I want an answer to.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, resolution 1441 is the legal document that is currently before the Security Council. The inspectors are doing their work. Mr. Blix submitted a report last week and said the situation had improved.

We hope that diplomacy and the inspectors will continue to work. We, as Canadians, encourage everyone to respect the United Nations parameters, which have served the world so well until now.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Canada would be making its own decision.

If the Canadian government wants to affirm its independence, is it prepared to tell our neighbour not to count on us as willing allies in an illegitimate war outside the framework of the United Nations?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Prime Minister carried a message from Canada to Chicago last Thursday. He made it clear that not just Canada, but the United States and the world as a whole, are well served by remaining within the framework of resolution 1441, or in another words on the path chosen by the Security Council, which this government continues to support.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in reaction to the outpouring of public opinion in Italy, a spokesperson for the Italian government, which is very close to President Bush, has said that there is no longer any question of intervening in Iraq without the unequivocal support of the United Nations.

Is Canada going to take a clear stand on Iraq instead of trying to keep all doors open? The responses given so far leave all the doors still open. Is the government not making itself an object of international ridicule and weakening its influence?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in examining the facts, it is very much my impression that the Prime Minister of Italy is the one coming around to our Prime Minister's position, and not the opposite.

This is the outcome of this government's untiring efforts, which have consistently promoted one approach since the beginning of this crisis.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister now has the benefit of the Blix report. He has the benefit of hearing from millions of Canadians and people all around the world standing for peace on Saturday.

I wonder if the Prime Minister could finally tell the House what exactly is the Canadian position. Will the Prime Minister tell the House today that Canada will not support a UN sponsored resolution authorizing a war on Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are not like the members of the NDP who say they will never ever follow their responsibilities as citizens of the world. There might be circumstances, if there was a request of the UN, that Canada will have to intervene somewhere. If we were asked we would, but at this moment we have been asked neither by the UN nor by the United States to participate in an offensive in Iraq. We do not want to reply to hypothetical questions. Our course still is and remains the rules of the UN.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, this is not a hypothetical question in the usual procedural sense. Canadians have a right to know whether the Prime Minister is willing to support a U.S. sponsored resolution at the Security Council calling for a war on Iraq before Mr. Blix or anyone else is satisfied that the weapons inspection process has been completed. Is that the position of the government or is it not?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP does not even know if there will be a resolution proposed by the United States. I cannot reply about a resolution that does not exist yet. Perhaps we should see the resolution before we make a decision. That in my judgment would be what we are supposed to do.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question which is for the Prime Minister is about the so-called blind trusts for ministers.

The ethics counsellor has revealed that the former Minister of Finance, the member for LaSalle—Émard, was allowed to receive regular updates about major new ventures by Canada Steamship Lines. That is a company in which the then minister has an ownership position and which is regularly affected by the laws, regulations and policies of the government.

How is that a blind trust? Why did the Prime Minister give the member for LaSalle—Émard these giant loopholes?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was no giant loophole. I was not aware of any of these so-called accusations that are being made at this time. I always defended the Minister of Finance at that time. He was an honourable citizen serving us well. He is not a cabinet minister at the moment. He left the cabinet some time ago. Not being in cabinet, there is nothing I can say at the moment because he is not my responsibility as a cabinet minister any more.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

The Minister of Natural Resources has substantial holdings currently in a blind trust. Does he have an agreement that allows him to meet regularly with his trustee and/or company officials to discuss new business ventures?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that question is completely out of order. This has nothing to do with the responsibilities of the Minister of Natural Resources. I know that the Minister of Natural Resources has always conducted himself in a very honourable way, always following the guidelines.

In fact, perhaps I could pay him a special tribute because he wanted to make sure that he followed all the guidelines. I offered that he come to cabinet in 1993 and he asked to stay out until all his papers and interests were in order. He should be complimented for that.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, General Ross, the head of international security policy for the Canadian military, reportedly offered his resignation because of the government's decision to send troops back to Afghanistan. The government should always ask military leaders whether a mission is manageable, but the head of the army learned of the decision to send troops into Afghanistan only minutes before the minister announced his decision.

Why did the government leave our top military leaders out of the loop when it came to a decision to send our troops into harm's way?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I know from firsthand experience and also by his reputation that General Ross is a fine soldier. However, the hon. member's allegation is entirely false because it was the military itself that developed the proposal that we adopted. It developed that some weeks before the announcement and presented it to me. That was what the government indeed announced. It could hardly be the case that the military was out of the loop when it created the proposal.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the question was why the military leaders were only informed just minutes before the decision was announced in the House. Decisions that risk the lives of Canadian troops should never be made for partisan political reasons and should be made only with the advice of military experts. When it comes to the decision to send our troops to Afghanistan, the government is treating them like a political football instead of properly consulting military leaders.

Why has the government made such an important decision to send our troops into harm's way with only minutes of notice to our top military leadership?