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House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Human RightsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the budget for a moment; I hate to come in the way of this love-in between the Liberals and Conservatives but let me ask a question of the finance minister. This budget ignored Kyoto, it ignored women and it ignored home care, all so the Liberals can aggressively pay down the debt because they have given up on the idea of investing in Canada and helping Canadians.

No family would pay down the mortgage faster when they have a sick grandmother, a kid going to school and the roof caving in, so why is this Liberal government listening to Bay Street and aggressively pursuing artificial debt targets instead of listening to Canadians?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I might give the hon. member the same advice that I gave her leader yesterday. A basic course in economics 101 might be helpful here. On the debt, obviously if we are able to reduce it in a reasonable and sensible way, we hold down interest rates and we save billions of dollars a year in interest charges that we do not have to pay. That means we shift money into health, into education, into communities and into children, making this country stronger and better and improving our quality of life.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I do not think we need any veracity from a government whose veracity makes George Bush look like an expert on weapons of mass destruction.

If this was a hell or high water target it would cost as much as $200 billion, but there are no hell or high water targets for cutting pollution or fixing health care or funding child care. No, those get rhetoric. Those get Liberal budgets that quadruple-count numbers. Is $200 billion the upper limit of this silly goal? Yes, but the lower limit is $30 billion--

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is just plainly wrong. In fact, assuming we have an ordinary rate of growth and the ordinary application of the contingency reserve, we will indeed meet our debt targets within exactly 10 years without any $200 billion bogus, phony story invented by the NDP simply to confuse and mislead Canadians.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the budget yesterday proved once again that the Prime Minister's supposed new deal for cities was really just a campaign gimmick. The Prime Minister promised time and time again during his campaign for the Liberal leadership that he was going to put gas taxes into roads.

Every year Canadians send $7 billion in gas taxes to Ottawa and we are getting next to nothing at all back. What happened to the Prime Minister's promise of putting gas taxes into roads? Why did he fail to comply with his one campaign commitment?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said the first step would be rebating the GST. We have done that. That is $100 million this year, $580 million next yea and $605 million the year after that. That is $7 billion over 10 years.

We then said we would accelerate infrastructure. We did that in the budget yesterday. Then we said we would sit down with the provinces and negotiate the rearrangements with respect to the fuel tax. We are ready to have that conversation whenever the premiers are prepared to come to the table, because we believe it is time for a new deal for cities and communities in this country, and I am glad--

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

This government is ripping off Canadians, ripping off provinces, and ripping off taxpayers. As for $7 billion over 10 years, every single year the federal government takes in $7 billion and it is bragging about spreading $7 billion on projects over 10 years. It describes infrastructure as things like putting a canoe museum in the former prime minister's riding, hardly the idea of idea of infrastructure that gas taxes are supposed to be for.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why did he fail on and betray his campaign promise to put gas taxes into roads? He failed to keep his word.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, apart from the histrionics of the hon. gentleman across the floor, I am glad to have the endorsement for our approach to municipalities from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. They have called it major progress toward the goals that they wish to achieve.

This government will make sure they are listened to. This government will work in partnership with them and the provinces to deliver on that new deal for cities because it is the way of the future. It is important for this country to have that partnership even if the official opposition stands against it.

Correctional Service of CanadaOral Question Period

March 24th, 2004 / 2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, over a month ago I implored the Minister of Public Safety to launch a full review into the Drumheller Institution in my riding. Despite a litany of incidents including murder, violent assaults and nine escapes that warranted such an investigation, the minister failed to respond to my request. In fact, she has not even acknowledged the letter.

Last night another inmate was murdered in the Drumheller Institution, a federal penitentiary. My question is for the Minister of Public Safety. Perhaps she could stand in this House and explain to this House and to the victims' families why our request again has been ignored.

Correctional Service of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

In fact, Mr. Speaker, far from ignoring the hon. member's request, I am in receipt of his letter. We investigate each one of these incidents very seriously.

Let me say that what happened at the Drumheller Institution is indeed a tragedy, which is why the RCMP and the Correctional Service of Canada are investigating the incident. We will get to the bottom of what happened there.

Correctional Service of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, these tragedies are far too common in Drumheller and in all federal penitentiaries.

I made this request to the minister because we were genuinely concerned about the safety of the inmates and correctional officers. We were concerned that maximum risk offenders were being put in this medium minimum institution and wrongly classified. Yesterday's incident demonstrates that those concerns were obviously well-founded.

Will the minister of public safety now launch that investigation before she has another murder to investigate?

Correctional Service of CanadaOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, no one in the House denies that what happened yesterday at the Drumheller Institution was a tragedy. As the hon. member is undoubtedly aware, there is a complex system that we go through in assessing risk factors in relation to how prisoners are classified in relation to whether they are medium security, maximum security, or whatever.

I agree with the hon. member that this was a tragedy. We need to get to the bottom of what happened, which is why the RCMP and Corrections Canada are investigating it.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government has made it a habit not to keep its promises. Before the 1997 and 2000 elections, the Liberal Party had promised the unemployed that it would remedy the situation of the raid on the employment insurance fund.

But what is there in the budget to compensate for the theft of $45 million? Not one cent. After such a budget, can anyone say that this government cares about the unemployed?

While the shirtless, the Sans-chemise, are out on the street, the heartless are across from us in this House.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, it is clear that, under this administration, the jobless rate has dropped. The unemployment rate in Quebec is currently 8.1%.

So, the government has created jobs. At the same time, the government is enabling Quebec and the regions to help other people who have lost their—

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, one has to be really heartless to let people in our regions suffer from a crisis for which they are not even responsible. The aid package proposed by the Bloc Quebecois includes special measures for workers hit by the softwood lumber crisis.

How can the government explain to those suffering that it does not have any money for them after raiding the EI fund year after year, to the tune of $45 billion?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I say again, on the contrary.

The government has announced aid of almost $246 million for workers, communities and companies affected by the softwood lumber crisis. This amount includes $71 million to extend employment insurance benefits and $110 million to create national adjustment funds, and there is an additional $450 million to help all workers in the forestry sector.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, since taking office, the Prime Minister has promised to do more for Canada's military, but I guess actions speak louder than words.

When faced with the opportunity to help deserving veterans' widows with the VIP, the Prime Minister has turned a blind eye.

When will the Prime Minister follow-through on his promises and help these brave women and give them the VIP?

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, a bit of history might be useful here.

In 1990 the Conservative government introduced legislation which cut off widows after one year after their husbands died. In the last session, this government improved that program so that now those widows have the program for the rest of their lifetime. We clearly made a substantial improvement over what had previously been done which benefited 10,000 widows.

My department is looking into other groups which might wish to have access to this program.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, this government lost more than $100 million in the sponsorship scandal, then $160 million from DND, and has put over a billion dollars in that boondoggle useless gun registry.

Yet, at the same time, it says that it cannot afford to give much needed help to Canadian war widows whose hero husbands died before 1990.

I want to know and the Prime Minister should be telling us, why does his government always have the money for waste, but never the money for war widows.

Veterans AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I explained, the government took the Conservative legislation in 1990 and made substantial improvements which benefited 10,000 additional widows that were not previously eligible.

There are other groups in society who would benefit from that program. My department is looking in a more general fashion at this program as we speak.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.

Eastern Ontario needs more effective economic development. We were pleased to see our region mentioned in the budget with regard to a strengthening of the Community Futures Development Corporation.

Can the minister give us some idea of plans for strengthening the CFDC?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi LiberalMinister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

Since assuming this portfolio, we were pleasantly surprised by the high degree of acceptance that all community futures programs had throughout Canada. In fact, rural Canada supports all community futures very much.

I might add that with the recommendations made yesterday by the Minister of Finance, finding innovative ways in which to bring diversity to our economy in rural Canada will be added to enhance the community futures program.