June 29, 1984

PC

John William Bosley

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John Bosley (Don Valley West):

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of State (Fitness and Amateur Sport) my question is for the President of the Treasury Board. Yesterday Cabinet confirmed additional funds for the sports pool. Will the Minister confirm that the figures presented to

June 29, 1984

the Cabinet indicated that the pool has lost in the order of $20 million to date? Will he give the House a guarantee that, whatever happens in the negotiations with the provinces, no more public money will be put into the sinkhole of the sports pool and that the House of Commons can expect that the sports pool will be closed before the House resumes sitting in the fall?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   CANADA SPORTS POOL CORPORATION
Sub-subtopic:   SIZE OF FINANCIAL LOSSES
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LIB

Herbert Eser (Herb) Gray (President of the Treasury Board)

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (President of the Treasury Board):

Mr. Speaker, I can say that we will follow what Parliament has said in passing a law about the sports pool. My hon. friend should be concerned about efforts made to subvert a decision of this Parliament to set up this particular operation, the objectives of which are to fund the Olympics and other worthy causes. That is what my hon. friend should be concerned about.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   CANADA SPORTS POOL CORPORATION
Sub-subtopic:   SIZE OF FINANCIAL LOSSES
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PC

John William Bosley

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bosley:

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Government ought to be very grateful that there are provinces which are prepared to assist in funding the Olympics.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   CANADA SPORTS POOL CORPORATION
Sub-subtopic:   SIZE OF FINANCIAL LOSSES
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REQUEST THAT FUNDING OF CORPORATION BE HALTED

PC

John William Bosley

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John Bosley (Don Valley West):

We embark on a new era tomorrow. It appears that the Liberals are proposing to hold off closing the sports pool until the new Prime Minister is sworn in tomorrow so that he can take the credit. Why will the President of the Treasury Board, who, it appears, will continue in a position of authority over public money, not tell the House of Commons today that $20 million so far, and potentially $50 million by the time we return in the fall, is a terrible waste of public money and should be stopped right now?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST THAT FUNDING OF CORPORATION BE HALTED
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST THAT FUNDING OF CORPORATION BE HALTED
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LIB

Herbert Eser (Herb) Gray (President of the Treasury Board)

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (President of the Treasury Board):

Mr. Speaker, if my hon. friend thinks that supporting the Calgary Olympics is a waste of money, that is his opinion. If my hon. friend thinks that helping medical research and sports is a waste of money, that is his opinion. However, I do not think that opinion is shared by Canadians. I will make sure that his representation, for whatever it is worth, and it is not much, is brought to the attention of the future Prime Minister.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST THAT FUNDING OF CORPORATION BE HALTED
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THE ECONOMY

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Hon. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. It is with regard to the alarming report that came down yesterday which indicated that 26 per cent of Canadian families live in poverty and 100,000 of those families live on an income of $5,000 or less. Just a minute ago the Minister tried to suggest that the responsibility for this rests entirely with the social programs of the provinces. What nonsense.

Oral Questions

Two years ago his Government brought in a Budget which reduced by 20 per cent the tax rate on all those earning more than $130,000 a year. Last year he himself brought in a Budget which increased federal sales taxes which impinge most directly on the poor. Could he explain to the people of Canada, and most specifically to the poor, why his Government continues to do most for those who need it least, and least for those who need it most? Is this the new Liberalism?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILIES LIVING BELOW POVERTY LEVEL
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Hon. Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member has been very selective in his comments on the effects of Government policies and budgets. I informed him that a few weeks ago, for instance, Parliament passed legislation under which the Government agreed to increase by $50 its monthly payments to the elderly who live alone. This will bring all Canadians 65 years old or over above the poverty line. It is an exceptional achievement, which compares very favourably with what has been done by other countries, because practically, we shall have eliminated poverty among the aged in Canada.

The Hon. Member knows perfectly well that in recent years, the percentage of Canadian families living in poverty in Canada has been reduced by more than half. This was possible thanks to a host of measures initiated and promoted by the Government of Canada and adopted by Parliament. I may remind him once again that the levels of payments for families living in poverty or on welfare are determined by the provincial governments, and the federal Government pays 50 per cent of whatever the provincial governments are prepared to give. The Hon. Member may have a centralist view of Canada's political structure. However, we live under a federal system, which means certain areas are the responsibility of the Government and the Parliament of Canada, and others fall under provincial jurisdiction, and we are trying to work together with the provinces, with all parties discharging their share of the responsibility. However, if the Hon. Member considers the economic situation in recent years, he will realize that this Government and the Liberal Party of Canada have done a great deal to help those who are most in need in this country, and that is our policy.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILIES LIVING BELOW POVERTY LEVEL
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REQUEST FOR INCOME TAX REFORM

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Hon. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa):

Mr. Speaker, the facts are as follows. With the policies the Liberals have brought us, the majority of Canada's elderly will continue to remain at a certain poverty level. That is a fact. Unfortunately, the Minister failed to answer the question about our tax system here in Canada. It is the most unjust tax system in the world! It is the most unjust system of any democratic society.

Since he has tried to suggest, by talking about the slight amount they have done for a part of the elderly poor, that that

June 29, 1984

Oral Questions

is all they have to do, why does he not bring in some tax reform so that upper income Canadians will pay their share? He could do a lot more, not only for the elderly poor but for the rest of the poor in the country, if his colleagues in the Cabinet and the rest of upper income Canadians paid their share of taxes. Why does he not do that?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR INCOME TAX REFORM
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Hon. Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member's statements are absolutely unfounded. Let him compare Canada's tax system with systems in most other industrialized countries and he will realize that our tax system is very fair, in comparison.

I would urge the Hon. Member to do his homework, and if he does not want to do his homework, he should get a better research service. He will find that the information he is getting is not accurate and does not reflect the real situation.

Once again, what the Hon. Member is saying with respect to the aged is totally inaccurate. Thanks to the measures we have taken, the elderly in Canada now have the assurance that they will be protected against poverty. There is no longer any reason why Canadians over 65 and living alone should be living below the poverty line, and that is thanks to the latest measures adopted by this Parliament.

As far as tax reform is concerned, the Hon. Member knows perfectly well that we tabled a broad range of budget measures designed to stimulate the economy, create jobs and provide for a fair distribution of the tax burden in this country. More specifically, we now have before Parliament a major piece of legislation which concerns an amendment to the Income Tax Act, legislation which the Opposition is reluctant to adopt. I suggest we start by adopting the reform proposals that are actually before the House before talking about reforms next week or in two years' time.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR INCOME TAX REFORM
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FUNDING ALLOCATED TO SOCIAL HOUSING

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Hon. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa):

Mr. Speaker, I can certainly understand why John Turner has kept the Minister in the Cabinet. If the Minister would take the time to read them, I would like to send him a number of comparative studies of tax systems in countries in western Europe. I wish he would read them. He will hear more about that in the days ahead.

Since the Minister refuses to do anything about our unfair tax system, will he understand that the major cost burden for the poor, apart from food, which is very important, is housing? Would he explain why the important part of the housing program, namely, social housing in general, and the co-operative housing sector in particular, has not been increased by the Government but decreased in terms of its budgetary allocation? Why does the Government not announce today, on this last sitting of the House before the summer, and perhaps before an election, a major increase in funds allocated for

social housing which could meet a human need and also provide jobs that are badly needed?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FUNDING ALLOCATED TO SOCIAL HOUSING
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Hon. Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member looks at one single program in the housing area. I invite him to look at the entire spectrum of our housing measures.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FUNDING ALLOCATED TO SOCIAL HOUSING
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

The housing that affects the poor. That is what I asked.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FUNDING ALLOCATED TO SOCIAL HOUSING
Permalink
LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

He will find that the Minister responsible for housing has taken steps to ensure that those who really are in need are getting help and support. It is not as much as we would like to do. Obviously we would like to be able to do more and we will try to do more but, contrary to the NDP, we realize that there is only so much money available.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FUNDING ALLOCATED TO SOCIAL HOUSING
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

Why did you give it all to the rich, then? Why did you give it to the rich?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FUNDING ALLOCATED TO SOCIAL HOUSING
Permalink
LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

That is typical of the Hon. Member. He prefers to shout than listen. I listened politely to his question-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FUNDING ALLOCATED TO SOCIAL HOUSING
Permalink

June 29, 1984