August 11, 1988

PC

William (Bill) Gottselig

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Gottselig (Moose Jaw):

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise on behalf of a number of constituents to present a petition which has been certified correct under Standing

August 11, 1988

Order 106. The petition concerns the funding for schizophrenia, and it is the wish and the prayer of my constituents that the funding be commensurate with the seriousness of this illness.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   RESEARCH INTO PREVENTION AND CURE OF SCHIZOPHRENIA
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LIB

Fernand Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. Fernand Robichaud (Westmorland-Kent):

Mr. Speaker, it is my duty to present a petition. The petitioners are from the communities of Port Elgin, Bayfield, Cape Tormen-tine, and Murray Corners. It relates to the recent decision by the Department of Employment and Immigration to increase the qualifying period for unemployment insurance, from 10 to 16 weeks.

They say that this decision does not take into account the high unemployment rate and the seasonally short-term nature of employment in the rural areas of the region. They ask that this Parliament to bring justice to the situation by keeping in place the 10-week eligibility period for southeast New Brunswick.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR RETENTION OF TEN-WEEK QUALIFYING PERIOD FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
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NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Orlikow (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions under the provisions of Standing Order 106. The first one is from residents of Winnipeg, Manitoba and of Kamloops, British Columbia who say that the trade agreement negotiated by the Mulroney Government threatens the very fabric of Canadian political and economical sovereignty by removing the power of the Canadian Government to control foreign ownership effectively, to develop Canadian energy resources in the best interests of Canadians, or to equalize opportunities between the regions.

Therefore they humbly pray and call upon Parliament to dissolve and allow the people of Canada the opportunity to accept or reject the proposed free trade agreement during a national general election.

The second one is signed by a substantial number of residents of Winnipeg. They say that the Conservative Government has no mandate from the Canadian people to conclude a free trade agreement with the United States. Therefore they humbly pray and call upon Parliament to dissolve and allow the people of Canada the opportunity to accept or reject the proposed free trade agreement during a national general election.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA-U.S. FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
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NDP

Margaret Anne Mitchell

New Democratic Party

Ms. Margaret Mitchell (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition from quite a number of people who are objecting to the Canada-U.S. trade agreement, because the Conservative Government had no mandate from the Canadian people to negotiate this deal. They feel that the Mulroney Government threatens the very fabric of Canadian political and economic sovereignty with this deal by removing the power of Government to control foreign ownership effectively, to develop Canadian energy resources in the best interests of Canadians, and to equalize opportunities between the regions.

Petitions

For many other reasons they object to this trade agreement and call for its rescission.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA-U.S. FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
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NDP

Simon Leendert de Jong

New Democratic Party

Mr. Simon de Jong (Regina East):

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to introduce a petition that has been certified as correct under Standing Order 106. The petition contains well over 1,600 signatures of construction workers who have been working on the upgrader in Regina.

The petitioners point out the inequity in our tax system, especially as it pertains to construction workers. Construction workers have many unavoidable expenses and yet many of these expenses are not tax exempt. The petitioners also point out that in the construction field it is feast and famine, yet there is no forward and backward averaging.

Therefore the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon Parliament to create true equity in the tax system by reducing the tax levies to construction workers, by paying interest on taxes to be refunded to construction workers, and by reintroducing forward and backward averaging.

The petitioners are from many parts of Canada, and it is a great pleasure for me to introduce their petition to Parliament today.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   ALLEGED INEQUITY IN TAX SYSTEM
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NDP

Jack Harris

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East):

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of Canadians from the Province of Alberta, from the cities of Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Leduc, Fort McMurray, Wetaskiwin, and Lethbridge.

The petitioners are concerned that the Government had no mandate from the Canadian people to conclude a free trade agreement with the United States, and that the proposed trade agreement will deny Canada the policy freedoms to determine its own economic future and will undermine our ability to build a society distinct from that of the U.S.

The petitioners pray that Parliament be dissolved and the people of Canada be given the opportunity to accept or reject the proposed trade agreement during a national general election.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA-U.S. FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
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NDP

Abram Ernest Epp

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ernie Epp (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure and an honour for me to present a petition on behalf of persons concerned about schizophrenia. They declare that schizophrenia is a major illness in Canada affecting about 1 per cent of the population, causing severe mental anguish and suffering to the patients and their relatives, and costing Canadian society more than $3 billion annually in direct health care and other support costs.

August 11, 1988

Order Paper Questions

They note that recent research findings, including those obtained in Canada, have shown the illness to be a biochemical brain disorder in part caused by a genetic malfunction, and they hope that a cure might be found or a method of prevention discovered. They also note that research effort in Canada dedicated to schizophrenia is very limited.

They call upon the Parliament of Canada to ensure that research efforts related to schizophrenia in the future will be commensurate with the seriousness of the ailment. The petition is signed by persons from all over Ontario, namely, northern Ontario, the Ottawa Valley, and southern Ontario.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   RESEARCH INTO PREVENTION AND CURE OF SCHIZOPHRENIA
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NDP

Abram Ernest Epp

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ernie Epp (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is from people who are concerned about the trade agreement before the House. They note that the Conservative Government had no mandate from the Canadian people to conclude this free trade agreement with the United States. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) promised in the course of the bilateral trade negotiations that Canadian sovereignty would not be compromised, but in fact it threatens the very fabric of Canadian political and economic sovereignty by removing the power of the Canadian Government to control foreign ownership effectively, to develop Canadian energy resources in the best interests of Canadians, and to equalize opportunities between the regions.

In recognition of these dangers, the petitioners call upon Parliament to dissolve and to allow the people of Canada the opportunity to reject the proposed free trade agreement during a national general election.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA-U.S. FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
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NDP

Iain Francis Angus (N.D.P. Caucus Chair)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Iain Angus (Thunder Bay-Atikokan):

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and privilege to table a petition that has been certified correct as to form and content pursuant to Standing Order 106. The petition is signed by a number of residents from the Province of Manitoba who express their concern about the Canada-U.S. trade deal. They point out that the proposed trade agreement would deny Canada the policy freedom to determine its own economic future and would undermine our ability to build a society distinct from that of the U.S.

They call upon Parliament to dissolve and to allow the people of Canada the opportunity to accept or reject the proposed trade agreement during a national general election.

[ Translation]

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA-U.S. FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
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QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

PC

Richard Grisé (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Richard Grise (Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

The Speaker:

Shall the questions stand?

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   TAX COURT OF CANADA ACT
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
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GOVERNMENT ORDERS

CANADA CHILD CARE ACT

PC

Arthur Jacob (Jake) Epp (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Jake Epp (Minister of National Health and Welfare) moved

that Bill C-144, an Act to authorize payments by Canada toward the provision of child care services, and to amend the Canada Assistance Plan in consequence thereof, be read the second time and referred to a legislative committee.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to commence debate on the Canada Child Care Act, legislation necessary to implement agreements with the provinces on the expansion of child care services across the country. As Members are aware, this represents a major element of the national strategy on child care which I announced last December. Before I get into the detailed substance of the Bill, I want to talk briefly about our Government's approach to social issues and how the child care strategy relates to this approach.

As a national Government, we are committed to improving opportunities and the quality of life of all Canadians. After all, that is the reason we have a social support system to help people experiencing difficulties, to ensure a basic equity in Canadian society, and to assist people to realize their fullest potential. For any Government addressing social issues and problems it is always difficult. The problems are often complex. The issues are interrelated and opinions on the appropriate way to proceed are usually very divided and quite firmly held. In a country as diverse as Canada, individual lifestyles and values vary considerably even in the same community, and community values may be quite different from one end of the country to the other.

In contributing to the resolution of a social issue, government must always find the proper balance between direct intervention and a laissez-faire approach. If direct intervention seems to be the right answer, government must still ensure that it encourages participation of individuals involved in order that it does not take over the problem or force people to adopt a single solution to that issue. The Government believes very strongly in achieving a balanced approach. We believe that a caring social policy perspective means developing an environment in which people are encouraged to help themselves and in which differing personal and community values are respected. A caring social policy requires thoughtful planning and expertise in its development and a great deal of flexibility in its implementation. That is not new to the child care policy. That, in fact, has been the hallmark of every social policy issue initiative that has been presented in this House throughout the past.

August 11, 1988

Those who feel there are easy answers or those who feel there is only one answer deny not only the present reality but our history. It means working closely with individuals and groups most affected by the issue, recognizing that they can make important contributions to both policy development and the operation of resulting programs. I do not believe any Government is in a position to solve all problems and should never attempt to dictate a single solution to a problem that affects people in different ways.

Another important aspect of our approach to social policy is to focus as much as possible on the future direction of society rather than root our solutions in the past. A good example of this approach is the seniors initiative which my colleague, the Minister of State for Seniors (Mr. Hees), and I announced earlier this year. The initiative concentrates on enhancing health and social services for seniors in a manner designed to maintain both independence and choice for this increasingly significant age group within Canadian society. For example, through the seniors independence program will be funding projects aimed at improving the quality of life and dependence of seniors. Priority is being given to projects involving community groups of seniors and to research activities directed to those diseases most affecting the ability of seniors to function independently.

As in other social policy areas, we believe an effective approach is to put the people most concerned with a problem in charge of developing solutions that work rather than impose solutions from outside the community or from social planners in Ottawa. Where the Government can act to increase the independence of the elderly, such as in the area of more economic self-sufficiency, we have acted as a Government. We have extended the spousal allowance benefits, implemented pension reform, and increased the flexibility of the Canada Pension Plan so that Canadians can make choices with respect to their retirement planning.

Consistent with our focus on the future, we are also assisting Canadians to plan much earlier for financial independence in their retirement years. This has included improving the portability of pensions in the federal sector and encouraging pre-retirement savings through higher RRSP contribution levels and more equitable contribution rights. We have also taken steps to ensure that men and women retiring under similar circumstances have equal pensions. We have also provided for the splitting of pension credits earned during marriages in which divorce occurs.

We have also taken the same approach with respect to health care. Until recently, the sole focus or primary focus of our health care system was to deal with injury and disease, to take an unwell person and make him or her well again. While this will always remain a priority, important new challenges to prevent and where this is not possible to enhance the ability of Canadians to cope better with disease, disabilities and stresses of modern living has become the focus of the health care policy

Canada Child Care Act

of our Government. By promoting more healthy lifestyle choices, we can reduce dependence upon the health care system as well as improve personal quality of life at the same time.

This health promotion strategy also encourages self help and mutual aid practices since it is the community that provides the emotional and practical support to help people make the right choices and to live independently. Over the last few years we have seen the great success of groups addressing alcohol and drug abuse issues. Need I remind Hon. Members who said just a few months ago that there was no drug crisis that they are now seeing the wisdom of the forethought of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) when he made the announcement of a drugs strategy.

We involved ourselves much more deeply in impaired driving programs. We are finding that teens are taking those programs to heart and are now leading in the development of those programs and in the education of their peers. I need only to mention to the House our strategy on smoking as further evidence of this involvement.

While the Government has instituted national public awareness campaigns and tougher legislation in these areas, community based concern and action have really been responsible for the significant change in public attitude across Canada. One of the more difficult challenges we have responded to is, as I have already mentioned, drug and substance abuse.

Drug dependency claims many victims and can have an absolutely devastating impact on young people, their families, and entire communities. Public awareness can help limit the demand for illicit substances and can bring a hidden activity more into the open, but solving the drug abuse problem requires a deliberate, encompassing and co-ordinated strategy at the local, national, and international levels, including support of innovative community based research and self help.

Like substance abuse, child sexual abuse is a hidden social problem. It has a serious and long-lasting impact on our children, children who in most cases are unable to defend themselves. We are trying to bring the problem into the open, to sensitize communities to the issue, and to soften the impact of the judicial process on children who have been caught up in court proceedings. At the same time, we have severely increased penalties under the Criminal Code for people who abuse the trust that children place in them. However, penalties only deal with the problem after the fact. Improved community awareness and action will ensure that our children are better protected.

Under the pressures of modern life, the Canadian family is undergoing unprecedented changes. There are more single parent families than ever before, more families in which both parents work full time in order to meet their economic obligations, and unfortunately we also see more family breakdown in society.

August 11, 1988

Canada Child Care Act

As more women participate in the paid labour force or raise children on their own, the need for adequate child care services has become an increasingly pressing. Before I get into the substance of the Bill, I should make the point that the Government is using its data bases to bring responsibility to men especially those who have not taken the responsibility of child support. In some provinces as high as 85 per cent of court orders are either in arrears, are being partially paid, or are not being paid at all. There are many issues to be dealt with as we try to provide policies to improve the society in which we live.

Over the past four years the Government has made a substantial commitment to policies and programs which help Canadian families to deal with these realities. New divorce legislation, better means of enforcing custody and support orders, and a harmonization of federal and provincial efforts in the area of family law are some of the initiatives that have been taken. Programs to deal more effectively with family violence, including the increasing prevalence of abuse of the elderly, are also being worked on in conjunction and cooperation with the provinces.

The national strategy on child care which I was proud to announce on behalf of the Government seven months ago was designed to increase the number of quality subsidized child care spaces that meet the standards parents demand for the care of their children. As I said earlier, the development of an effective, workable social policy is always a difficult endeavour. As is the case with the development of other social programs, individuals have very definite ideas about the extent of the child care problem and about the most effective way to respond. As with other policies, this Government has attempted to bring sensitivity, understanding, and flexibility to bear on developing what I believe to be a very caring national strategy.

While our goal is to increase the affordability, availability, and quality of child care services, we realized that we had to respect the rights of parents to choose the kind of care they thought best for their children. We also had to respect the existing programs and services which provincial governments had developed in response to their own past needs and circumstances. We have also had the advantage of two major task force reports and extensive consultations with interest groups and individual Canadians across Canada. The result, our national strategy on child care, reflects a proper balance of choice, quality and quantity.

While it is a very expensive program-$6.4 billion is the federal commitment alone over the next seven years-it does not place an undue burden on either federal or provincial taxpayers. These are important considerations in developing a policy that is not only workable today but also does not create new problems or burdens for future generations. In fact, in the development of social policy, governments of the past used a similar approach.

As Hon. Members will recall, our strategy consists of four primary components: enhanced tax assistance for families with young children, a new child care initiatives fund, an initiative to stimulate accredited day care for Indian children, and a new federal-provincial cost-sharing program. The first two components are already in place and operating. The Indian

day care initiative is in development, and authority to put the cost-sharing element in place is provided by the legislation we are discussing today.

The details of the components of the strategy have been made public before. Members have had several opportunities to discuss and debate them over the last few months. However, let me reiterate one important point. The supplement to the Child Tax Credit, $100 this year and $200 in subsequent years, is a targeted credit like the child tax credit itself. It goes to low and middle income families where parents remain at home to care for their children or use less formal child care. This tax measure makes up by far the greatest part of the new tax assistance we are making available in the national strategy on child care.

Additionally, it should be remembered that the child tax credit is additional to the increases made in former budgets by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Wilson). Members should also recall the early prepayment of the enhanced child credit when looking at the entire record of child care. As well, the enhanced child care expense deduction is for those families of whatever income who are using receipted child care arrangements. Under our strategy the deduction more accurately reflects the total cost of child care, thereby reducing the financial burden of child care services. These tax initiatives will be effective this tax year.

The $100 million child care initiatives fund has been designed to support innovative research and demonstration projects to improve and expand child care services. We all know there are many needs which are not now being met by current child care services in systems. Parents who work irregular hours or on shifts, parents in remote or rural areas of Canada, parents of children with special needs, all have requirements for child care services of a different nature than that which the mainstream delivery system provides. The fund will help us develop ways of meeting these kinds of needs so that the quality of services may be improved and all Canadians may have better access to the services they need. This fund has already been established, looks to the future as well as to the present, and involves parents, community groups, and nonprofit organizations in the effort.

The complicated part of the legislation is the new costsharing Bill before us, the Canada Child Care Act, Bill C-144. It is the means through which the federal Government is going to work with the provinces to double the number of child care spaces across Canada over the next seven years. It follows the tradition of consultation that this Government established in working with other levels of government, rather than dictate to them in their own areas of jurisdiction. I can say quite bluntly that when I had my first meeting with social affairs Ministers of the provinces almost four years ago, they clearly stated to me that they felt the federal Government had no role in child care, that it was solely within provincial jurisdiction.

August 11, 1988

I think it is important for the House and the country to understand the jurisdictional arguments in any social policy development. While I know that Members opposite in their political rhetoric or editorial writers might feel that those are not major considerations, some of us have had enough experience in social policy to know that if we cannot consult and do not work with the provinces on social policy those policies are doomed to failure.

I remind Members as they begin debate not to forget the history of social policy programs. If they were to be effective, they had to be flexible and involve provincial co-operation. I do not say 100 per cent unanimity or consensus, but we need to have provincial co-operation. If people do not believe in flexibility, may I remind my colleagues opposite of 1966. Pensions come under provincial jurisdiction. Canadians wanted a national pension plan. Today we call it the Canada Pension Plan. In Quebec we call it the Quebec Pension Plan. Even at that time we got a national plan with a distinct component for Quebec. It was said at that time that we needed a national plan but that to get it we had to have flexibility. We had to understand the regions. We had to be respectful of that. If that was valid in 1966, and today the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan have become a major component in pension and retirement planning, then is it not surely valid today, in 1988?

The other point I make to Members opposite, and regrettably I have had too much experience in opposition-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA CHILD CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Cyril Keeper

New Democratic Party

Mr. Keeper:

And you are going to get some more.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA CHILD CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Arthur Jacob (Jake) Epp (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Epp (Provencher):

I hear the NDP from Manitoba again. I ask them to look at the record in Manitoba and I wish them luck.

Their argument has been: "This is not enough, put in more". What they propose is something Canadians do not want. What they propose is a universal plan. They simply take a statistical model and say there are x number of children under a certain age, and because the NDP has so decided, every parent wants their child in this form of child care. Not true.

In addition, there is the cost factor, in their case $11 billion.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA CHILD CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

The Hon. Member for Vancouver East rises on a point of order?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA CHILD CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Margaret Anne Mitchell

New Democratic Party

Ms. Mitchell:

Mr. Speaker, since we are listening to a Minister of the Crown, I wonder if he would please make sure his facts are correct.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA CHILD CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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August 11, 1988