November 18, 1987

PC

Bill Attewell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Attewell (Don Valley East):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of State for Senior Citizens. May I say in passing that it is my experience from travelling with the Human Rights Committee that the seniors of this country are very confident that the Minister will apply the same dedication and sensitivity to them as he has given to veterans.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SENIOR CITIZENS
Sub-subtopic:   PROGRAM TO MEET NEEDS OF SENIORS
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

November 18, 1987

Oral Questions

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SENIOR CITIZENS
Sub-subtopic:   PROGRAM TO MEET NEEDS OF SENIORS
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PC

Bill Attewell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Attewell:

Approximately 10 per cent to 12 per cent of the population of Canada is now over 65. By the year 2020, that group will jump to almost 25 per cent.

It is time that we made some long range plans for these demographic changes, not just in health care but in the whole question of improving self worth and living meaningful lives.

Does the Minister agree that there is a sense of urgency to this issue? Is he taking steps to develop plans to meet the needs of seniors?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SENIOR CITIZENS
Sub-subtopic:   PROGRAM TO MEET NEEDS OF SENIORS
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Minister of State (Seniors))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. George Hees (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Senior Citizens)):

Mr. Speaker, I have been conferring extensively with seniors and seniors' organizations to find out their ideas regarding useful measures which could best be included in a program for seniors. I expect to be announcing such a program in the very near future.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SENIOR CITIZENS
Sub-subtopic:   PROGRAM TO MEET NEEDS OF SENIORS
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SENIOR CITIZENS
Sub-subtopic:   PROGRAM TO MEET NEEDS OF SENIORS
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NATIONAL DEFENCE

LIB

Douglas Cockburn Frith

Liberal

Hon. Douglas C. Frith (Sudbury):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Associate Defence Minister. I preface it by stating that the Liberal Party remains opposed to the acquisition of nuclear powered submarines for many reasons other than purely economics. However, with respect to economics, will the Minister explain to the House the discrepancy between the estimates his Department gave in June of this year of $5 billion for the acquisition of submarines and the report by the Centre for Arms Control which states in their opinion that these costs are at least in the neighbourhood of $10 billion?

The Minister's own Department has changed the original $5 billion numbers upward to what is now estimated to be between $7.5 billion and $8 billion. Consultants to the British Navy estimate the cost of the program at $11.25 billion. Would the Minister explain the discrepancies between all of the numbers, and which numbers is the Department now using?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Sub-subtopic:   ACQUISITION OF NUCLEAR POWERED SUBMARINES- ESTIMATED COSTS
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PC

Paul Wyatt Dick (Associate Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Paul Dick (Associate Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, I would be very happy to try to explain to the House and to the hon. gentleman. If he followed the democratic procedures followed in this country and in the United Kingdom, he would find that in the estimates of defence expenditures put before the British Parliament is listed the cost of the Trafalgar Class submarine. We used those same figures last December, this June, and again recently when the discussion came up.

The difference, translated into Canadian dollars, has been the exchange rate differences as the dollar has been going down and the pound has been going up. That is the only difference that has been going on.

There is an additional expenditure of which we estimated about $2 billion for the infrastructure. We have been consistent on that all the way through.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Sub-subtopic:   ACQUISITION OF NUCLEAR POWERED SUBMARINES- ESTIMATED COSTS
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REQUEST FOR TABLING OF DEPARTMENTAL ESTIMATES

LIB

Douglas Cockburn Frith

Liberal

Hon. Douglas C. Frith (Sudbury):

Mr. Speaker, they have been using different sets of numbers, and I think they are attempting to confuse the Canadian public's mind. The numbers the Minister is using do not include the cost of training, setting up facilities on both coasts, Pacific and Atlantic, nor the cost of the recycling of the fuel which will be used in a nuclear powered reactor. Would the Minister table in the House of Commons the estimates that the Department is now using to acquire 10 to 12 nuclear powered submarines, the same estimates which are now being used as the Government debates the five year capital project plan within the Cabinet committee system?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR TABLING OF DEPARTMENTAL ESTIMATES
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PC

Paul Wyatt Dick (Associate Minister of National Defence)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Paul Dick (Associate Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Hon. Member that we are using the same figures in debating the annual review at the Cabinet level as we have been using publicly because those are the accurate figures for the construction and implementation of a submarine program. The fact that seven years later we may happen to recycle some fuel hardly is a cost which can be applied to the construction program. That is seven years later.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR TABLING OF DEPARTMENTAL ESTIMATES
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I want to advise the House that there will be a question from the Hon. Member for Winnipeg-Birds Hill, followed by a single question from the Hon. Member for Fundy-Royal, and that will close off Question Period.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR TABLING OF DEPARTMENTAL ESTIMATES
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EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

NDP

William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg-Birds Hill):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Secretary of State for External Affairs. It concerns his impending visit to Central America. The Minister will know that many Canadians welcome the fact that the Minister has chosen to go to Central America, and we wish him well on that visit.

Many of the same people who welcome that visit are also concerned that the Minister chose, prior to his visit, to make a decision to resume aid to Guatemala, given the fact that they feel the situation there has not improved to the degree which would warrant such a resumption. Why did the Minister feel he should take this kind of action prior to his fact finding mission? Would it not have been better to have waited to visit Central America and to have arrived at a judgment after his

November 18, 1987

visit rather than prejudging the situation and making that decision last week?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   GUATEMALA-RESUMPTION OF CANADIAN AID
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PC

Charles Joseph Clark (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, there are two reasons. First, it is our view that there has been an improvement in the human rights situation there, not the improvement we would like to see but an improvement nonetheless. Second, I think the Hon. Member will agree with me, and has agreed in the past, as his Party has with the analysis of the Government of Canada that the fundamental problems in Central America are problems of poverty and inequality. They are not problems of ideology.

If the fundamental problems are problems of poverty and economic development, then it makes sense for countries like Canada to follow aid and development programs which will lead to the resolution of those basic problems. It is a demonstration of Canada acting as we speak, which is something we on this side of the House try to do.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   GUATEMALA-RESUMPTION OF CANADIAN AID
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MINISTER'S IMPENDING VISIT TO CENTRAL AMERICA

NDP

William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg-Birds Hill):

Mr. Speaker, I hope the Minister would also agree that questions of poverty and inequality cannot be separated in many cases from the quality of the regimes which are in place in these various countries, and from the responsibility of countries like Canada to put pressure on such Governments. So I repeat the question, to a degree, and further ask the Minister whether or not he intends upon his return to make a statement in Parliament so that we might have an opportunity to hear his views and to respond to whatever the Minister has decided as a result of his visit to Central America?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MINISTER'S IMPENDING VISIT TO CENTRAL AMERICA
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PC

Charles Joseph Clark (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member will know that it has been my practice quite regularly to make statements to the House. In fact my predecessors in the Liberal Government, to my knowledge, in four years made no statements to Parliament on foreign policy. I have made several because it is the belief of this Government that it is important to try to involve the whole of Parliament and, indeed, the whole of the country in foreign policy matters. So I will report either directly to the House or to the standing committee.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MINISTER'S IMPENDING VISIT TO CENTRAL AMERICA
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CANADA POST CORPORATION

PC

Robert Alfred Corbett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bob Corbett (Fundy-Royal):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister responsible for Canada Post. Across the country there have recently been a number of rural post office closures. In some cases, such as Bloomfield Station in my constituency and Head of St. Margarets Bay in

Privilege-Mr. Mazankowski

Halifax West, Canada Post has closed the post office without providing alternate retail service to the community.

In view of the unfairness of this policy, would the Minister consider meeting with Canada Post officials in an effort to restructure the rural services policy to prevent closures from occurring before alternate retail service outlets are found?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   CANADA POST CORPORATION
Sub-subtopic:   CLOSURE OF RURAL POST OFFICES-PROVISION OF ALTERNATE SERVICES
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November 18, 1987