May 16, 1978

PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

A supplementary to the Minister of Finance, who ignores the fact it was he who triggered the fall in the dollar initially: it would never have fallen so low but for his inept handling. Since the inflation levels now prevalent will be aggravated by the fall in the dollar, and since the governor of the Bank of Canada indicated today that it was "mone>

incomes that are causing the problem" and that "we are paying ourselves too much money", would the minister tell us whether he agrees with the governor that the efforts of wage earners seeking to keep up with inflation will in turn cause more inflation?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONTRIBUTORY EFFECT ON INFLATION
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LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Chretien:

Mr. Speaker, I have recognized many times that Canadians ir. the last little while have been very responsible on that score. The level of compensation in this country is now more competitive, the dollar is at a more realistic level

Oral Questions

and the economy is gaining greatly. This was evident last month when we saw the biggest ever surplus in our monthly trade balance.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONTRIBUTORY EFFECT ON INFLATION
Permalink
PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

Speaking about the competitive balance, particularly between Canadians and Americans, it is generally agreed that the excessive tax rate in Canada is one reason Canadians are tending to demand higher wages. Would the minister tell us, since the Bryce report is suggesting the phasing out of corporate income tax, whether the government plans any review of personal income taxes to ascertain whether there is some way in which they can be lowered?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONTRIBUTORY EFFECT ON INFLATION
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Chretien:

The Prime Minister said earlier we would study the recommendations in the report tabled yesterday. I do not accept the suggestion that the level of taxes is unfair in Canada. The corporate tax rate, for example, is comparable to the American level. As to personal income tax, as I have said on other occasions in this House, we enjoy social services in Canada which are much better than the Americans offer to their citizens.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONTRIBUTORY EFFECT ON INFLATION
Permalink

STATISTICS CANADA

PC

James Aloysius McGrath

Progressive Conservative

Mr. James A. McGrath (St. John's East):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce. Can the minister explain why it is that Statistics Canada, notwithstanding the fact that the sample of the consumer price index was made prior to the bringing down of the budget, showed the advantage to the CPI of the reduction of the sales tax even though it became effective after the sample was taken? Perhaps he would assure the House that there has been no interference by himself or by any member of the government with Statistics Canada or the consumer price index.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   STATISTICS CANADA
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTING OF CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
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LIB

John (Jack) Henry Horner (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. Jack H. Horner (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House there has been no interference with the sampling or with the index. I should also like to tell the hon. member that if the sales tax comes off for half a month, that half month is taken into consideration in computing the index for the whole month.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   STATISTICS CANADA
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTING OF CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Permalink
PC

James Aloysius McGrath

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McGrath:

Mr. Speaker, as usual, the minister is uninformed. If that were the case, we would obviously have a far different consumer price index from this one which reports an over-all reduction for the entire month when it should not reflect any reduction at all.

Will the minister give us an assurance that the government will ask Statistics Canada to change the method of calculating the consumer price index so that it will show a more accurate measurement of the cost of living of low income earners, the fastest growing group in the country?

May 16, 1978

Oral Questions

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   STATISTICS CANADA
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTING OF CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Permalink
LIB

John (Jack) Henry Horner (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Horner:

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the preamble completely. I might inform the House, also, that Statistics Canada is working on a new formula for the consumer price index which I hope to be able to announce. I might say, also, that we were asked to devise a new formula for the consumer price index by the Premier of Ontario and by the Premier of Alberta at the first ministers' conference, and this was agreed upon by all first ministers at that conference.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   STATISTICS CANADA
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTING OF CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Permalink
PC

James Aloysius McGrath

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McGrath:

May I ask the minister if it is the intention of the government to ask Statistics Canada not to proceed with its plan to change the base rate in the consumer price index from the 1971 dollar to the 1974 dollar, which again, of course, will give the false impression that this government has inflation under control?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   STATISTICS CANADA
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTING OF CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Permalink
LIB

John (Jack) Henry Horner (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Horner:

I think that today Statistics Canada is using a formula devised in 1969. We intend to update that.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   STATISTICS CANADA
Sub-subtopic:   REPORTING OF CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
Permalink

HEALTH AND WELFARE

LIB

Simma Holt

Liberal

Mrs. Simma Holt (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Health and Welfare. In view of the fact that the head of the health protection branch who precipitated the arbitrary and total ban of cycla-mate in the summer of 1970, claiming that cyclamate was carcinogenic, this action causing severe damage to Canadian independent business, and since the same spokesman stated just last week that the great preponderance of world evidence indicates that cyclamate does not produce cancer, would the minister reconsider the competence of that person and the authenticity of his alleged science which led to the current precipitous ban of saccharin, using the identical claim, and even the same words, relative to the cyclamate ban eight years ago?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER URGED TO RECONSIDER BAN ON SACCHARIN
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER URGED TO RECONSIDER BAN ON SACCHARIN
Permalink
LIB

Monique Bégin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Hon. Monique Begin (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, I know that moving saccharin from grocery store shelves to pharmacies has created some hardship, which we are trying to eliminate as soon as possible by bringing in new artificial sweeteners which are not damaging. I know that it also reopened the whole question of cyclamates, but I should like to confirm to my colleague, as well as to other members of the House, that we review and update scientific knowledge on that subject regularly.

The cyclamates which were used together with saccharin in previous artificial sweeteners and which were thought at that time to be a possible cause of cancer have now been identified as a separate element which does not cause cancer. I think it is unfair to make the assumption she made in the preamble to her question. The state of knowledge in the area is being constantly perfected and, as the government, we must act on

what we know and as everyone would agree we must take a calculated risk in order to protect the health of Canadians.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER URGED TO RECONSIDER BAN ON SACCHARIN
Permalink

FINANCE

PC

William Heward Grafftey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Heward Grafftey (Brome-Missisquoi):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the right hon. Prime Minister: it relates specifically to the sales tax matter in general and the province of Quebec in particular. When this matter first came up and our party supported the proposition put forward by the Quebec minister of finance, we were accused of encouraging separatism.

The question I put to the right hon. Prime Minister today is: Why is his government, with one policy for Quebec and another policy for the rest of Canada in reality, encouraging the two solitudes and not only encouraging but practising separatism?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL METHOD OF DEALING WITH QUEBEC SALES TAX CUTS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL METHOD OF DEALING WITH QUEBEC SALES TAX CUTS
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, in the preamble to his question the hon. member suggests that his party wanted us to follow Mr. Parizeau and give the money to Mr. Parizeau, the finance minister of the province of Quebec. Today we have been hearing a series of questions from the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands saying we should give the money to the poor people. Obviously, within a matter of a week the Tory party has flip-flopped. First they want to go to Parizeau and now they want to go to the poor.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL METHOD OF DEALING WITH QUEBEC SALES TAX CUTS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   FEDERAL METHOD OF DEALING WITH QUEBEC SALES TAX CUTS
Permalink

May 16, 1978