February 16, 1994

LIB

Paul Zed

Liberal

Mr. Paul Zed (Fundy-Royal)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address the issue of suggested changes to the registered retirement savings plan and possible new taxes on employee benefit plans.

I have received numerous letters and inquiries from constituents in New Brunswick who are concerned about any reduction in the amount of allowable contributions to their RRSPs. These concerns are from small business owners and professionals who rely on their RRSPs as they do not enjoy the luxury of large corporate retirement savings plans.

To reduce or alter this plan would be a serious blow to these Canadians who are already enduring difficult economic conditions. The government must send a signal that it is prepared to help small business owners and other self-employed Canadians to prepare for their retirements.

By maintaining the amount Canadians are allowed to contribute to their RRSPs the government will ensure these Canadians have the opportunity to save adequately for their retirements. This is especially important at a time when the Canada pension program is under increasing strain.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
BQ

Laurent Lavigne

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Laurent Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Jean-Luc Brassard from my riding on his brilliant victory this morning in the free-style skiing finals at the Lillehammer Olympic Games. Mr. Brassard won the first Canadian gold medal. That is a glorious event for this young Quebecer who, on many occasions, has been an honour to Quebec and to Canada in several international competitions. The people of Beauharnois-Salaberry are very proud of the outstanding performances of this talented athlete. His spirit and his determination will continue to inspire all young Quebec and Canadian athletes.

On behalf of my constituents and on behalf of Quebec and Canada, I would like to reiterate my most sincere congratulations to Jean-Luc and wish him good luck for the rest of his stay at the Olympic village.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Winter Olympics
Permalink
REF

Paul Forseth

Reform

Mr. Paul E. Forseth (New Westminster-Burnaby)

Mr. Speaker, when governments propose to eliminate tax loopholes they talk about soaking the rich. When the so-called loopholes are then closed it is more likely the not so rich get the bite.

The finance minister wants to make the tax system more equitable. Advice from his people says abolish deductions for the business lunch. It might take money from modestly paid travelling salesmen while devastating the often marginalized food service industry.

Lowering the cap on RRSPs might deprive rich people of some tax savings, but it would hit hard the lower and middle class self-employed who have no company pension or union contract plan.

Government bureaucrats can identify some loopholes, but before they get too enthusiastic they should take a good look at who exactly gets bitten.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Taxation
Permalink
LIB

Karen Kraft Sloan

Liberal

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York-Simcoe)

Mr. Speaker, last week I met with a group of individuals in Newmarket in my riding of York-Simcoe. These individuals represent a diverse economic and community interest and various political ideologies in all parts of the riding. They express different concerns and solutions to the financial and economic challenges we face as a nation.

However, in spite of this they successfully reached a consensus. This group of individuals concluded that Canadians are willing to pay taxes for services which are delivered in an effective and efficient way. They want value for their dollar.

I urge the government, in its ambitious agenda for review and renewal, to assess the cost effectiveness of all programs and services the government delivers. It is imperative now more than ever to assure Canadians that their hard earned tax dollars are being spent wisely.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Government Expenditures
Permalink
LIB

Pat O'Brien

Liberal

Mr. Pat O'Brien (London-Middlesex)

Mr. Speaker, it is essential that the Canadian government continue to call for the Mexican government to guarantee respect for human rights of all its citizens, in particular for the people who were brutally mistreated in the recent uprising in the Chiapas region.

The constituents of London-Middlesex were gravely concerned with reports of torture and summary executions of guerrilla combatants by government troops, and they condemn the indiscriminate bombing by the military.

I join with my constituents in urging the Canadian government to call on the Mexican government to respect the presence of human rights organizations, to allow the bishops of the area to mediate in the conflict and to act on the natives' call for land reform.

Canada has a responsibility to ensure that the human rights of the citizens of our new trading partner are respected. This can only be guaranteed through continued monitoring by the international community.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Human Rights
Permalink
LIB

Roseanne Skoke

Liberal

Ms. Roseanne Skoke (Central Nova)

Mr. Speaker, life begins at the moment of conception and continues until natural death.

Respect for life and the dignity of human suffering together with the recognition of the moral, ethical and spiritual values is well founded in both natural law and Canadian law.

The Criminal Code of Canada forbids aiding, counselling or assisting suicide. This law does not merely exist to regulate our behaviour. Rather, it articulates and symbolizes our values and beliefs as a nation.

In recognition of all the heroic individuals who silently suffer the physical pain and endure the emotional torments of this life from day unto day until natural death, I demand that the existing laws of the Criminal Code respecting assisted suicide be strictly enforced to ensure that our nation's values and moral conscience with respect to life not be fettered, for not to do so will create a greater injustice to mankind than any human pain or suffering could possibly inflict.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
Permalink
BQ

Stéphane Bergeron

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères)

Mr. Speaker, it is with pride and great pleasure that I rise today in this House on my own behalf and on behalf on my colleague from Saint-Jean to stress the dazzling performance by skaters Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler who won the bronze medal in the pairs figure skating category yesterday at the Lillehammer Olympic Games.

Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler were bronze medallists at the Albertville Olympic Games, have been the Canadian champions for several years and hold the world champions title. Their impressive record is due to their exceptionally hard work and determination.

After giving this wonderful performance and winning this beautiful medal, Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler are now putting an end to their successful career at the amateur level. These two champions, who train at the Haute Performance Centre in Boucherville, will now enter a professional career that promises to be as successful.

To these two champions who thrilled Quebec and Canada and who so often filled us with pride, and earned our admiration, I say congratulations and good luck on behalf of Quebec and Canada.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Winter Olympics
Permalink
REF

Philip Mayfield

Reform

Mr. Philip Mayfield (Cariboo-Chilcotin)

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of Cariboo-Chilcotin I would like to congratulate the athletes representing Canada at the winter Olympics at Lillehammer, Norway and wish them great success.

It is unfortunate, however, that a world class athlete from Quesnel, British Columbia, was not given the opportunity to participate in this prestigious sporting event because of a tough new qualification policy.

Tony Fiala has dedicated his whole life to preparing for competition. In the 1991-92 season he scored first overall in Canada and second overall in the North American biathlon. Canada's qualifications standards are not based on an overall record which would place him at the top but by a two occasion showing with a standard much higher than that required by most other countries fielding competitors.

Tony Fiala may not be winning any medals at Lillehammer, Norway, but to the people of Quesnel and throughout British Columbia, Tony Fiala is a winner all the way.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Winter Olympics
Permalink
LIB

Albina Guarnieri

Liberal

Ms. Albina Guarnieri (Mississauga East)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance may well have to revise his budget forecast to take account of the bounty of precious metals that Canadians are bringing home from Norway.

Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler turned in an astounding performance in pairs figure skating last night to earn a bronze medal for Canada.

First to "break the ice", these two young athletes have put on a performance worthy of the greatest skaters of our times. They displayed an exemplary calm and a strong determination. Isabelle and Lloyd deserve our recognition and our admiration.

This morning, Canadians had another reason to be proud. Jean-Luc Brassard, from Grande-Île, Quebec, took the honours, winning for Canada the gold medal in the free-style moguls competition. The Canadian team had much hope for this young 21 year-old athlete. He took up the challenge with unrivalled talent and command.

I join the Minister of Canadian Heritage and all Canadians in congratulating the latest crop of Canadian Olympic medal winners.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Winter Olympics
Permalink
LIB

John Loney

Liberal

Mr. John Loney (Edmonton North)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to bring to the attention of the House that the composite leading index rose by .08 in January, matching its revised growth rate for December. It is noteworthy that these gains are the highest since the index began its recovery in 1991.

An upward trend in the index points to better economic times ahead. Most economists expect stronger growth in 1994.

Statistics Canada reported that the leading indicator is heading in the right direction. The acceleration in recent months has been the result principally of a continental upturn and the buoyancy in the stock markets.

Manufacturing demands have been steady. New orders recorded a third straight increase despite the effect of temporary plant closings in the auto industry. At the same time, shipments to stocks ratio continue to improve, rising to the highest level since the data series began in early 1952.

The stockmarket soared to new all time records in January, accelerating from 1.6 per cent growth to 2.1 per cent growth at a time of falling interest rates.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Economy
Permalink
LIB

Guy Arseneault

Liberal

Mr. Guy H. Arseneault (Restigouche-Chaleur)

Mr. Speaker, over the last years, Canadians living in rural areas have been badly hurt by the closure or the reduction in services of thousands of rural post offices.

When he took office, the minister declared a moratorium which has been extended and is still in force.

The closures of rural post offices were a blatant attack on rural Canada. I would like to congratulate the minister for the leadership he has shown on the issue. This moratorium is an important first step.

I urge the minister to direct Canada Post Corporation to immediately drop its policy with respect to the closure of rural post offices. It is time to rectify that flagrant mistake for the sake of the rural areas of our country.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Canada Post Corporation
Permalink
BQ

Bernard Deshaies

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Deshaies (Abitibi)

Mr. Speaker, regional economic recovery is an absolute priority for all Quebecers and Canadians.

I would like to mention two cases in my region of Abitibi, where companies are acting responsibly in this regard. They are Forpan and Agnico Eagle, in Val-d'Or. Forpan will invest $8.3 million to increase the capacity of its particle board plant by 25 per cent. Through this investment, the company will increase its competitiveness on the international market and preserve jobs in the region.

Agnico Eagle will invest $13 million and provide jobs for some 40 workers during the next two years in mining exploration.

These are two concrete examples of economic recovery activities undertaken by energetic entrepreneurs capitalizing on the region's potential.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Regional Development
Permalink
REF

Grant Hill

Reform

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod)

Mr. Speaker, our nation was founded and has prospered on such principles as hard work and self-reliance. Traditionally we have rewarded men and women who start and maintain small businesses by their sweat and sacrifice.

Now our finance minister awash in debt from years of government overspending is talking of removing another small business privilege, the ability to put aside one's own resources to finance one's retirement.

Through such policies this government is not only encouraging but forcing citizens in Canada to be dependent on government handouts. RRSPs allow private citizens to plan for their own retirements without government aid. That is how Canada can continue to prosper.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Registered Retirement Savings Plans
Permalink
LIB

Eugène Bellemare

Liberal

Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Carleton-Gloucester)

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Reform Party seem to take great pleasure in tabling petitions asking for a national referendum on bilingualism.

When he tabled his petition the other day, an hon. member of that party declared that the official language policy is creating dissension. Another member of the same party maintained that there was too much French in the national capital. He added that everything would go faster in Parliament if less French were spoken.

We now have two separatist political parties in the House: one that wants territorial separation; the other that wants language separation. Both go against the Constitution and against Canadian unity.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Bilingualism
Permalink
LIB

Brenda Chamberlain

Liberal

Mrs. Brenda Chamberlain (Guelph-Wellington)

Mr. Speaker, illiteracy is an everyday reality for many Canadians. It is estimated that one in four Canadians has little or no literacy skills.

I am pleased that Guelph-Wellington has several groups committed to ending illiteracy.

Illiteracy crosses all income brackets and costs an estimated $14 billion annually, both directly and indirectly. We know that job creation is the key to our economic renewal. However, with little or no literacy skills the task of retraining for some will be impossible.

More important, the social and economic ramifications of this silent disability are tremendous and the amount of lost potential is staggering.

I urge this government to continue to make literacy a priority. We must help illiterate Canadians acquire the skills to ensure that they will become the best that they can be. We need to make literacy a fundamental right for all Canadians.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Literacy
Permalink
?

The Speaker

My colleagues, I would draw your attention to the clock. It is now 2.14 p.m. and we have all of the statements in. I think that is a good practice and I want to thank all hon. members who were kind enough to give their statements to the interpreters. It does help a great deal and I want to thank them for that.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Literacy
Permalink
BQ

Lucien Bouchard

Bloc Québécois

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition)

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister. Yesterday, the Solicitor General had to admit there were links between organized crime and cigarette smuggling networks, in connection with weapons and drug trafficking operations on Mohawk reserves.

He also contradicted himself by first admitting that certain people had cancelled RCMP anti-drug operations and then claiming there were no no go zones for the police in Canadian territory.

How can the Prime Minister insist that the law is enforced evenhandedly across Canada when yesterday Mr. Claude Lessard, the RCMP spokesman in Quebec, stated that the RCMP was not on the reserves, despite the fact that the reserves are said to play a major role in illegal trafficking in alcohol, drugs and cigarettes?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Permalink
LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister)

Mr. Speaker, about the police presence on the reserves: there are three police forces. There is the Mohawk police force which is locally recognized and controlled by the aboriginal authorities. There is the provincial police, which has jurisdiction because it was given the former powers of the RCMP and which must do its job there as it does elsewhere. The third one is the federal police which is concerned with smuggling. The federal police is doing its job at this very moment.

According to our information, cigarette smuggling in Quebec has decreased considerably. If we can break up the cigarette smuggling networks, we can break up the others as well. I am convinced the police are doing a good job. We have always told the police they can go anywhere across Canada to do their job.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Permalink
BQ

Lucien Bouchard

Bloc Québécois

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition)

Mr. Speaker, the government keeps changing its story. For a long time the government said, as it just said today through the Prime Minister, that the law is enforced everywhere, that the RCMP goes everywhere in Canada and that those are the government's instructions.

Yesterday, however, the Prime Minister used the word "hesitations", when he said he had never heard there were no go zones until it was said the police had some hesitations.

I want to ask the Prime Minister to explain what kind of hesitations he was referring to. Are these hesitations caused by the government's lack of political will?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Permalink
LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister)

Mr. Speaker, this nation has been facing this problem of contraband for the past four years. The member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell was asking questions here in the House when the Leader of the Opposition was with the government and nothing was being done. When I asked for a report on that, it said that there was some hesitation. I said there should be no hesitation. I said to the RCMP: "You do your job everywhere in Canada", and that is exactly what they are doing today.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Permalink

February 16, 1994