March 29, 1993

LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Chretien (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that there was a subcommittee of this House that produced a report last October indicating the need to move in that field quickly? Five members of that committee were members of his own party. They presented a unanimous report to the House of Commons. Why is the government not listening to the House of Commons rather than just dismissing some very important problems in Canada?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SOCIAL PROGRAMS
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PC

Harvie Andre (Minister of State (Without Portfolio); Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Harvie Andre (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons):

Not at all. We take reports of committees of this House of Commons very seriously. An example is the unanimous report of the House to get rid of the MST and replace it with a GST.

Another example is the unanimous report of a committee of this House, including Liberals and the NDP, to go ahead with the EH-101 helicopter contract. In terms of the report the hon. member was talking about, we do concede that primarily as a result of the referendum campaign this was put aside in view of other priorities, but it is the intention of the government to table a response to this report very soon.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SOCIAL PROGRAMS
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NATIONAL DEFENCE

LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance.

In his financial statement last December the government made a number of major defence cuts which severely limited our capacity to provide full-time professional peacekeeping forces. As a result 50 per cent of our peacekeepers are now reservists who have had to have a rush training.

March 29, 1993

Oral Questions

Now the Minister of Finance says he refuses to cut helicopters but he is going to make other defence cuts, once again clearly endangering the capacity of this country to provide full, effective and efficient peacekeeping sources. In fact, we do not have a defence policy.

I ask the Minister of Finance if this government will table a new relevant defence policy before it brings forth a budget so that we will have a defence policy made for defence priorities and not simply by the Minister of Finance?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Harvie Andre (Minister of State (Without Portfolio); Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Harvie Andre (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons):

Mr. Speaker, to begin with, as I understand the position of the Liberal Party the EH-101 should not be proceeded with and instead we should update the ancient Sea Kings and Labradors.

The EH-101 calls for an expenditure of $350 million a year for 13 years. Updating the Sea Kings and Labradors would require about the same annual expenditure each year for the next six or seven years, after which we would end up with 40-year old helicopters nowhere near the equivalent of the EH-lOls and unable to go out in really bad weather for search and rescue.

In terms of reservists the hon. member should take some time to meet some of our reservists because our reservists are first class, well trained and are not put into positions where they are in danger for lack of training. We have had a total force concept in place for a number of years and it is working rather well.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

Mr. Speaker, it may come as information and I am sure it does to the hon. minister that in fact the United States marine corps and air force and the Japanese defence force are now flying updated Sea Kings with adequate and efficient capabilities to provide for search, rescue and anti-submarine warfare at one-tenth the cost of the EH-101 helicopters. It is about time this government began to understand the real priorities of this country.

I come back to the Minister of National Defence. Six months ago after extensive hearings the committee reported that there should be a major program of defence conversion. I want to quote from that committee: "The aim is to foster a leading edge, civilian as well as military, high technology in areas such as surveillance monitoring, verification, sovereignty protection and peacekeeping". That report was endorsed by Conservative members of the committee.

I ask the Deputy Prime Minister: Why did the Minister of National Defence speaking on behalf of the government reject this report in her statement on Friday? Why does this government not listen to a committee of the House of Commons including its own members?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Harvie Andre (Minister of State (Without Portfolio); Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Harvie Andre (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons):

Mr. Speaker, there was no rejection of the report. As I indicated, the report has not been responded to yet by the government.

In terms of conversion, as I indicated in response to the hon. member's leader, the Liberal Party has not even identified the problem, let alone the solution.

When it comes to the question of whether government should decide what industries should be pursued, we happen to believe the private sector can make those decisions better than government. We do not think there is any evidence anywhere in the world to show that governments do a good job of selecting winners as opposed to the private sector.

The hon. member might define what peacekeeping technologies are other than spy satellites. We are already involved in the satellite business to a high degree. How much more does he want?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):

It's in the report, Harvie. Read the report.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Harvie Andre (Minister of State (Without Portfolio); Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Andre:

The report has been read.

If the member is talking about environmental industries, he should check the record. He will see that the Canadian private sector is responding very vigorously to the opportunities in the environmental sector.

What the world has learned, but apparently not the hon. member, is that the private sector makes better decisions on priorities than governments.

March 29, 1993

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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DAYCARE

NDP

Audrey Marlene McLaughlin

New Democratic Party

Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. Today Statistics Canada published figures showing there is a real crisis in daycare in this country. More than half our children urgently need quality daycare. Parents can find none at an affordable price. Nevertheless this government remains adamant about not wanting to establish a national program that would provide quality, affordable day care and it remains intent on spending $5.8 billion on helicopters. Why not spend this money on our children? Do it, and do it now.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Finance; Vice-President)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, to listen to the hon. member one would draw the conclusion that the government is not spending any money on children and does not consider children as a priority.

For the record and for all hon. members, perhaps it is timely to put on the record the kind of support that the federal government is providing to support children. Income support programs for 1993 in the form of a child tax-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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NDP

Howard Douglas McCurdy

New Democratic Party

Mr. McCurdy:

You cut it out in B.C. and Ontario.

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Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Finance; Vice-President)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

Mr. Speaker, they ask the question and if they do not want the answer-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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NDP
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Finance; Vice-President)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

I will get to that. In terms of income support the child tax benefit provides $5.1 billion; social assistance, $1.5 billion; CPP child benefits, $280 million; GST credit, $750 million; the employment support program, UI maternity and parental care, $1.4 billion; child care expense deductions, $300 million; child care under the CAP training program, $400 million, for a grand total of $9.3 billion per year. That is the amount for this year.

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Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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NDP

Audrey Marlene McLaughlin

New Democratic Party

Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this government backed down on its promise in 1984 and 1988 to bring in a national child care program. The only conclusion Canadians can make is that this government agrees with the Conservative MP for Fraser

Oral Questions

Valley West who said essentially: "I see day care centres as little more than temporary orphanages".

I want to ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he is in agreement with that and if he feels that having over 600,000 children in unlicensed child care facilities is building a future for this country.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister build a real legacy for Canadian children and make sure that in the next budget his government brings in a national child care program?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Finance; Vice-President)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance):

Even the hon. member acknowledges the fact that we have a serious fiscal problem. It is encouraging to note that the leader in the province of Ontario is starting to recognize that fact.

Notwithstanding that, we have tried to appropriate a fair amount of money toward support of children, toward the support of maintaining the social safety net.

If the hon. member is suggesting that $9.3 billion which is directed to aid in support for children is an insignificant amount, then she and I are on different wavelengths.

While the hon. member suggests that she can spend $130 billion over the next five years and still bring the deficit down by $11 billion, I cannot follow her mathematics in that regard.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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NDP

Audrey Marlene McLaughlin

New Democratic Party

Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):

Well, Mr. Speaker, I cannot follow this government's logic.

This government says yes to cold war helicopters, yes to not taxing the wealthy's private trusts, yes to a business lunch deduction that costs Canadian taxpayers $1 billion but it says no to the children of Canada. By not putting in real programs it says no to making sure that Canadians get back to work.

Why give the rich a free lunch while there are children with no lunch? Will the Deputy Prime Minister look seriously at addressing the needs of children in this country and at the need for a national child care program so that their parents can participate in training, education and the work force?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Finance; Vice-President)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, this government is not turning its back on children. It has improved the

March 29, 1993

Oral Questions

programs for children step by step. A $9.3 billion program in support of children is certainly not an insignificant amount.

In terms of creating opportunities for job creation and new economic activity and growth, the hon. member is criticizing the small business sector. We have provided a number of initiatives and a number of incentives to help the small business sector. We have provided a number of incentives and initiatives to advance infrastructure and improvements in our infrastructure system. We have advanced a number of initiatives in terms of skills upgrading. All of this is in the name of providing an investment in people, in plant and equipment, and in an invigorated economy.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   DAYCARE
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March 29, 1993