February 17, 1993

LIB

Sheila Maureen Copps

Liberal

Ms. Copps:

He was wrong to accuse unemployed workers of spending their winters in Florida.

I would therefore like to ask the minister a straight question: Does he consider these new changes to be major or minor?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
Permalink
PC

Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Employment and Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, no measure the government takes is ever taken lightly. It is always a serious matter because at the end of the day Canadian taxpayers will always have to foot the bill one way or another.

I hope the hon. member is prepared to support the measures we have taken and the measures we are about to take this afternoon to amend the legislation because they will benefit people who are subject to harassment, either sexual or otherwise. The purpose of these measures is to ensure that this legislation is implemented fairly and squarely for the benefit of Canadians and that contrary to what the Liberals would allow, unless they change their position, a person who quits voluntarily, without just cause, will not receive unemployment insurance benefits paid for by other taxpayers.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
Permalink
NDP

Audrey Marlene McLaughlin

New Democratic Party

Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Minister of Employment and Immigration has indicated that he will be bringing in new proposals on unemployment insurance, but it seems to me Canadians have made it very clear that they want a denunciation of the Draconian measures the minister has formally proposed. In fact members of his own caucus have not agreed with these. The Canadian Human Rights Commissioner has expressed concerns about women and other vulnerable groups in our society and how they might be affected.

Rather than trying to just eliminate terminator one to bring in terminator two, will the Prime Minister simply withdraw the changes to UI and bring in a real job plan to address unemployment? That is the issue in Canada, the rate of unemployment.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
Permalink
PC

Martin Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I think all members of the House are waiting with bated breath for the announcement of deficit reduction programs that my hon. friend is going to announce. I want to make sure that I do not miss that.

What is being done in the House today is perfectly consistent with appropriate parliamentary procedure where the members of caucus, members of the Liberal Party and members of the NDP put forward their points of view and the minister seeks as reasonably as he can to accommodate those.

February 17, 1993

Oral Questions

However there will be no change in the fundamental principle that I have enunciated from the very beginning in respect of the nature of this bill. It is what the minister has just stated, namely that someone who leaves his or her job without reason, without justification and without provocation ought not to expect that ordinary workers and men and women in Canada would continue to pay unemployment insurance benefits for them.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
Permalink
NDP

Audrey Marlene McLaughlin

New Democratic Party

Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary for the minister. Canadians will not be satisfied with minor changes. This bill is unacceptable and it is flawed. The problems this bill will create are quite obvious.

That is why I would like to put this question to the minister. As the minister is aware, people who quit their jobs without just cause are now penalized by a waiting period of up to three months.

Can the minister give the House the assurance that the bill he will table today will not include the same Draconian measures under another name?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
Permalink
PC

Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Employment and Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, I repeat. If we accept the NDP's proposal the only alternative is to increase unemployment insurance premiums and slow down economic recovery in this country by increasing the deficit.

Canadians, whether they are employed or unfortunately unemployed, know that we must take steps to control the deficit. The underlying principle of the government's proposal is that although a person who quits his job without just cause has the right to do so, and I respect that decision, that person should not expect other workers, other Canadian taxpayers to pay him unemployment insurance benefits.

Perhaps, as has already been suggested, there should be another social program for these people, but definitely not the Unemployment Insurance Program.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
Permalink
NDP

Audrey Marlene McLaughlin

New Democratic Party

Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):

I have a supplementary question for the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker. The minister is simply saying he is going to bring in basically the same measures and force people on to

social assistance at provincial and territorial expense. That is hardly dealing with the basic problem.

If the government wants to save money under the unemployment insurance system I would suggest that the Prime Minister bring forward a plan to get Canadians back to work. When does the Prime Minister propose to bring in such a plan to put Canadians back to work and address unemployment instead of attacking the unemployed?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
Permalink
PC

Martin Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Brian Mulroney (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, the employment rates have improved quite appreciably. The news has been good on the employment front in the last number of months.

There have been some 161,000 full-time new jobs created in the last five or six months, particularly some

57,000 in December. Manufacturing sales are up. Our exports are up. More important, our unit costs compared with the United States in the first six months of this year are down by 5.2 per cent ensuring the competitive nature of what is taking place. Our industries are on a better footing. We have much better opportunities for selling abroad, thereby creating jobs at home.

If my hon. friend looks at the numbers available I think she will see there is reason for even the NDP to take some encouragement in what is taking place. The last thing I think she would want us to do would be to follow the example of the Ontario government which put forward a billion dollar job creation program and created 675 jobs.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
Permalink

HEALTH CARE

LIB

Rey D. Pagtakhan

Liberal

Mr. Rey Pagtakhan (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of health. In 11 days the minister in a secret deal will hand over to a private corporation the administration of non-insured health services for our First Nations people, ignoring their advice, their treaty rights to quality health care and their right to self-government.

Will the minister explain to Canadians why he has refused to take the advice of our First Nations' people and why was the whole tendering process conducted behind a curtain of secrecy?

February 17, 1993

Oral Questions

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH CARE
Permalink
PC

Benoît Bouchard (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Benoit Bouchard (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, first I have to say that the member is wrong. We have consulted about what has been implemented following the report by the Auditor General in 1987 on the lack of adequate management and control of the non-insured health benefits for aboriginal people.

We implemented a national program directive and administrative procedure coupled with implementation of an health information claims processing system under contract with Ontario Blue Cross. It is already being done in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Quebec and moving in Manitoba and phased in in other provinces.

Everything has been done normally. There is more resistance in Manitoba. We have had consultations and we will again. However, we will proceed.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH CARE
Permalink
LIB

Ethel Dorothy Blondin-Andrew

Liberal

Mrs. Ethel Blondin-Andrew (Western Arctic):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the same minister. He may have listened but I do not think the people were consulted. The contract for non-insured native health services was given to Blue Cross by selected tender. I am sure that was not the advice given. First Nations were not even offered a chance to bid.

In the last round of constitutional discussions the minister and his government claimed to have endorsed the inherent right to self-government. Can the minister explain how this new health policy furthers the cause of self-government?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH CARE
Permalink
PC

Benoît Bouchard (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Benoit Bouchard (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, I believe the government is always committed to self-government. That operation is not basically directed to applying that principle or not. This operation has been necessary because once again there was a lack of control in the way payments were made and information was given. Therefore, based on tenders provided, when Ontario Blue Cross won the contract we decided to move.

The aboriginal peoples have been involved. In Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec it is working normally. I believe that it should work normally in Manitoba where I admit we have more problems today. We are continuing to work with the leadership in the province.

My colleague will understand that to provide a better administration of what represents $100 million for aboriginal people, the best way is the one we are presently using. We intend to continue to do that with the collaboration of the aboriginal people.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH CARE
Permalink

INDIAN AFFAIRS

LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise a question with the Prime Minister. Five years ago a federally funded report warned of an epidemic of child sexual abuse breaking out on the reserves in Manitoba. That report was ignored.

Today, sadly, on the Sandy Bay reserve there are over 50 cases of child sexual abuse pending. There is a continuing pattern of suicide among young people and the breakdown of families continues at an atrocious rate. The minister still refuses to respond to the pleas for help.

I want to appeal to the Prime Minister this afternoon to instruct the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to pay attention to these calls for help for better counselling, better treatment and better housing conditions so that we can break this vicious cycle of poverty affecting this native community and native communities right across Canada.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Permalink
PC

Benoît Bouchard (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Benoit Bouchard (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, I have been informed of the problem raised by my colleague. I know the department of Indian affairs has been sensitive to the problem.

However, my hon. colleague knows that in the Department of National Health and Welfare the government recently decided to put up $160 million in order to deal with the social problems in Indian communities particularly. Some of our targets relate particularly to family violence, child abuse and sexual abuse.

We are now working with the leadership of the aboriginal people and in that case I would like to assure my colleague that we will act very quickly.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Permalink
LIB

Guy H. Arseneault

Liberal

Mr. Guy H. Arseneault (Restigouche -Chaleur):

Mr. Speaker, recent events at Big Cove, at Davis Inlet and at numerous other communities across the country illustrate that aboriginal Canadians are crying out for our help, yet this cry is falling on deaf ears.

February 17, 1993

In the case of Big Cove the federal government has yet to take any action on a coroner's inquest recommendation calling on the federal government to develop community-based mental health programs.

Will the Prime Minister give the residents of Big Cove his assurance today that he will personally take this file under his consideration and that the tragic crisis facing this community and others will receive his government's immediate action?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Permalink
PC

Benoît Bouchard (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Benoit Bouchard (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, it is very sad what happened in Big Cove yesterday. I am sure the whole House will join with me when I offer our condolences to the tribe or the band itself.

Two proposals were submitted by the band in January that were not given to the federal level, my own level. They were turned down by officials at the maritimes office. I called the chief last night and said I would personally look after the proposals made.

This afternoon I can say I have instructed the official on the two proposals turned down last month and they were accepted this morning.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Permalink
NDP

Howard Douglas McCurdy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard McCurdy (Windsor-St. Clair):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

A Mexican government-supported development bank is openly supporting an operation to buy up U.S. companies and move them to Mexico in order to make big profits using cheap labour. Canada will be next.

Are members of the government going to sit on their collective butts while a Mexican government gang of carpetbaggers comes into this country to take jobs and move them down to Mexico, or will this government take action to protect Canadian jobs under NAFTA?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Permalink
PC

Michael Holcombe Wilson (Minister for International Trade; Minister of Industry, Science and Technology)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Michael Wilson (Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and Minister for International TVade):

Mr. Speaker, possibly my friend should cool his rhetoric before he gets the facts.

The fact is that the Mexican government is not going to be involved in that bank.

Oral Questions

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Permalink

February 17, 1993