November 24, 1998

?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Bill C-54
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REF

Rahim Jaffer

Reform

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, according to an Angus Reid poll released today, the public's greatest concern, even before unemployment, is the way the Liberals are attacking the health care system.

This is no surprise. Since 1993, the Liberals have slashed $7 billion from health care financing, and hospital waiting lists are longer than they have ever been.

Enough talk. When is the Minister of Health going to act?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health Care
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely incredible to hear the hon. member from the Reform Party speak to us of health care when, year after year of their first mandate, their recommendations were to cut, to slash health expenditures. But we refused.

Moreover, the first thing we did when we saw the deficit had been eliminated was to restore in excess of $7 billion to health care, over a five-year period.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health Care
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REF

Rahim Jaffer

Reform

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, this is not about the official opposition. This is about the government's record. Seven billion dollars have been cut out of health care. Nearly 1,400 doctors have left Canada for the U.S. Hospital waiting lists are the longest in history; 188,000 people are waiting for care.

How many more polls will it take before the health minister gets the message and stops this Liberal sabotage?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health Care
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this year in terms of tax point transfers alone the provinces will be receiving over $13.5 billion. The equalization transfer this year is $8.5 billion, up from $8.1 billion when we took office. The child tax benefit is $1.8 million. That is money that is going into provincial coffers and into the hands of Canadians with children to enable them to protect their health.

Whether we put money into research and development or into the health transition fund, this party, the party that created the Canada Health Act, stands behind the health of Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health Care
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BQ

Paul Crête

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the new ice breaking fees are so much ad-libbing.

The proof is that, in Rivière-du-Loup, the ferry operator will have to fork out $68,000 in ice breaking fees between December 21 and January 5, date of the last winter crossing, when ice breaking services have not been needed for this period since 1973.

Is this ridiculous proposal not a clear indication that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans should go back to the drawing board?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ice Breaking Policy
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LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, industry stakeholders have been consulted over the past three years. There is no ad-libbing about it. The industry's proposals are now being considered.

In a few days or weeks, the new revised fee schedule will be available for examination by industry stakeholders. There is nothing unusual about that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Ice Breaking Policy
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LIB

Shaughnessy Cohen

Liberal

Ms. Shaughnessy Cohen (Windsor—St. Clair, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Lim Guan Eng is a Malaysian opposition MP who has been wrongly incarcerated for simply doing his job, which is to oppose the government of the day. Canada has made a concerted effort to assist Lim Guan Eng and today his father, Lim Kit Siang, is in Ottawa to meet with parliamentarians.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us whether the case of Lim Guan Eng was raised by Canada at the APEC summit in Kuala Lumpur?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Rights
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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, while we were at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur I had the occasion to meet with Mr. Lim's father to discuss the treatment that his son had received in terms of raising issues as part of his parliamentary duties.

Subsequent to that we were able to raise with the minister of foreign affairs the way in which the judicial system was being used to suppress certain statements and expressions of freedom of point of view.

I also asked our high commission there to register officially our concern and to continue to monitor the situation. I am hoping we will be able to meet with Mr. Lim during a meeting on human rights that will be held in Edmonton this weekend.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Rights
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REF

John Duncan

Reform

Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, Greenpeace and other lobby groups have launched an all out war on logging in B.C. That is not fair because B.C. forest practices are among the best in the world.

Greenpeace's attack on jobs is being helped in its campaign by money from CIDA. Why are Canadian tax dollars being used to help a campaign to destroy the jobs that pay those very same taxes?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Greenpeace
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LIB

Diane Marleau

Liberal

Hon. Diane Marleau (Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, CIDA does not do any direct funding of Greenpeace. As a matter of fact, CIDA tries to transfer the good forestry practices practised in B.C. to the developing world.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Greenpeace
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REF

John Duncan

Reform

Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Ref.)

Mr. Speaker, the minister and the minister's officials do not know where CIDA money goes. We do. The money goes to the World Resources Institute, a lobby group that supplies Greenpeace with its information and political ammo.

Why are tax dollars from CIDA being spent to kill Canadian logging jobs?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Greenpeace
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LIB

Diane Marleau

Liberal

Hon. Diane Marleau (Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, there has been no direct funding of this particular group since 1994. It is very important for Canada to show the developing world the good practices we have here. Whether they believe it or not, we do have wonderful practices and the developing world appreciates our help.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Greenpeace
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NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister. Today is the anniversary of the all-party motion to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. Shamefully we are one year away, but farther than ever from reaching that goal.

What does the finance minister do? He has the gall to stand up at a Liberal fundraising bash and call child poverty a national disgrace. It is his policies that are a disgrace. Six billion dollars in cuts have forced more than half a million more kids into poverty. Where is the real commitment, backed up by real dollars and not empty promises?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Child Poverty
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, poverty is definitely an issue that has concerned this government in a very big way, and child poverty in particular. We should look at the record of what this government has done over the past few years.

We have been able to negotiate with the provinces the national child benefit in which we are investing $1.7 billion per year to help children in low income families.

We have also developed the Canadian opportunities strategy. We have developed the transitional jobs fund—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Child Poverty
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?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Child Poverty
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NDP

Libby Davies

New Democratic Party

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the minister should take his head out of the sand. Each time he is questioned on poverty he says that the child tax benefit scheme is the cure-all, but the truth is that most kids on welfare will gain nothing from this scheme and many of the poorest children will receive less in real dollars than they did in 1984.

While the government dines on rubber chicken at Liberal fundraisers, more than a million kids are waking up hungry. Half of them have been pushed into poverty during this government's term.

Again, will the minister keep the promise that was made in 1989?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Child Poverty
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that $1.7 billion per year toward the national child benefit is nothing. I think it is a lot of money for children in low income families. That money helps parents to leave welfare and to get a job, which is a lot better for fighting poverty.

We have also implemented the family income supplement to help the poorer families on employment insurance. The transitional jobs fund helps to fight unemployment in regions where unemployment is high. That is the way to fight poverty and to help the economy.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Child Poverty
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PC

Mark Muise

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mark Muise (West Nova, PC)

Mr. Speaker, Canadian farmers across the country are struggling to survive in the grips of the most severe crisis to hit our farming communities since the Great Depression. Faced with a worldwide downturn in prices for grain and hogs, wheat prices have dropped by 41% and hog prices have dropped by 65%. Canada's farmers cannot continue to produce at a loss and hope to survive.

Why will the minister of agriculture not stand up for farmers by providing them with immediate financial assistance?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canadian Farmers
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LIB

Joe McGuire

Liberal

Mr. Joe McGuire (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty early for the hon. member to be self-righteous in demanding compensation from this side of the House. If his party were in government it would have cut $600 million from that department. It would not even be called the department of agriculture.

This government and this cabinet know the situation of the farmers and are duly addressing it.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canadian Farmers
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November 24, 1998