September 20, 2000

?

The Speaker

The hon. leader of the New Democratic Party.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surplus
Permalink
NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister always lowballs the surplus so that Canadians will not have a clear picture of the truth. The truth is that the government is giving into the bankers and the financial big shots rather than helping the people who need it most.

The priorities of Canadians are the environment, education and health. Why is the Prime Minister betraying the priorities of Canadians?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surplus
Permalink
LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why three-quarters of our spending has been on health care, education, the environment and innovation.

At the same time we have brought in massive tax cuts that will benefit low and modest income Canadians. At the same time we are reducing the debt so that the next generation of Canadians will not have to bear the huge cost our generation has incurred. This is a question of generational equity.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surplus
Permalink
PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Kings—Hants, PC)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. His finance minister has just confirmed that the government's position on fuel taxes is that there will be no help from Ottawa unless the provinces agree.

Why does the Prime Minister give the provinces a veto on cutting Ottawa's taxes on fuel?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fuel Taxes
Permalink
LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I said in and outside the House that the government is examining various options. The government will certainly take action in that area.

I also said when I was looking at excise taxes, and according to most provincial governments, that it would be far better to act together if one is to have a price cut which will be of sufficient size to take effect at the pump, be visible and not end up in the pockets of oil companies.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fuel Taxes
Permalink
PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Kings—Hants, PC)

Mr. Speaker, let me ask whoever is answering for the Prime Minister the following two questions. First, has there been a proposal to the provinces for a meeting on cutting fuel taxes? Second, does the Prime Minister rule out removing the GST on home heating fuel?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fuel Taxes
Permalink
LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has spoken very clearly on this subject. I think we have to make sure that any move, if we were to have a move, goes into the pockets of consumers and not of industry.

I would like to quote a good friend of the leader of the Conservative Party, Mr. Mike Harris, who said “We are not about to cut taxes to give oil companies more money. I can tell you that. We need a guarantee that the oil companies won't suck up the difference with higher prices”.

I think that is why the Minister of Finance and the provincial governments are careful. They do not want oil companies to pick up the difference and not consumers.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fuel Taxes
Permalink
REF

John Cummins

Reform

Mr. John Cummins (Delta—South Richmond, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the reported deal at Burnt Church is not a deal. It is a capitulation. Illegal traps remain in the water.

Yesterday the minister said “Mediation cannot be a shield for unauthorized activity”. He said that he “would not jeopardize conservation of the viability of the fishery by letting fishing continue unabated”.

This deal allows fishing to continue unabated. It jeopardizes conservation. It legitimizes illegal activity. When will the minister get the illegal traps out of the water?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink
LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

Hon. Harbance Singh Dhaliwal (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to the House that Mr. Rae has reported and sent out a press release saying that he has a commitment from Burnt Church first nation to substantially reduce the number of traps in the Miramichi Bay.

The intent is to ensure that we have conservation as a priority. As I said in the House before, and I want to say it again, I will carry out my mandate to make sure we protect the resource for all Canadians and future generations, but we owe it to the communities to bring the communities together to make sure that we make every effort to resolve this situation in a peaceful way. That is exactly—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink
?

The Speaker

The hon. member for Delta—South Richmond.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink
REF

John Cummins

Reform

Mr. John Cummins (Delta—South Richmond, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, last week the minister was quoted as saying that there were two thousand traps in Miramichi Bay. At a modest catch of 10 pounds of lobster per trap, per day, that is 20,000 pounds of lobster coming out of Miramichi Bay every day at a time when the bay is closed for conservation purposes.

The minister continues to jeopardize conservation. He is threatening the viability of the fishery. Why will he not get the traps out of the water now?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink
LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

Hon. Harbance Singh Dhaliwal (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has not been following what we have been doing. We have been taking enforcement action. In fact we have taken 2,700 traps out of Miramichi Bay, so there has been enforcement action.

We have always said from day one, unlike the hon. member, that it is through co-operation and dialogue. That is our first preference. That is why we were able to get 29 agreements with first nations out of 34.

That is working well. We will continue to do it, but at the end of the day I will take my mandate seriously. I will protect the resource and make sure the rule of law is followed by all Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink
BQ

Gérard Asselin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gérard Asselin (Charlevoix, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, thousands of seasonal workers in Charlevoix, the north shore, the lower St. Lawrence and Gaspé, even in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, are worried. Next February 15, they will all end up on welfare.

I am asking the Minister of Human Resources Development whether she is going to propose transitional measures for these people who qualified for employment insurance between July 9 and September 17 and will receive only 21 weeks of benefits based on 525 hours.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
Permalink
LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I met with the hon. member and constituents from his area just a few days ago on this very issue.

He knows full well that we have agreed to phase in the changes for employment insurance boundaries in his part of Quebec. As well we have offered and are very anxious to start a community group to look at expanding the employment opportunities in that part of Quebec.

The workers want to work. The workers want new opportunities. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I ask the hon. gentleman if he would join us in that undertaking to make sure that the workers get what they really want.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
Permalink
BQ

Gérard Asselin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gérard Asselin (Charlevoix, BQ)

Does the minister realize that she has been given bad advice on this matter and has made a very serious mistake, for which the seasonal workers must pay, and does she realize that she needs to act promptly to remedy this mistake, which is having negative effects for workers in the regions?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
Permalink
LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we have acted quickly. We are phasing in the changes to the EI boundaries. We will be announcing a committee working right in the community to look at opportunities there. I, along with my colleague the Minister of National Revenue, will be investing and supporting that undertaking.

The real question is if that party understands that the issue of employment is about more than just employment insurance. It is about finding new opportunities and work for the people in that region.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance
Permalink
REF

John Duncan

Reform

Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the minister brags that 29 out of 34 bands in the maritimes have signed fishing agreements. He suggests that if only Burnt Church would sign on that would end the problem.

The reality is quite different. The Lennox Island Band agreement was for 20,000 pounds in Malpeque Bay. DFO sources say they have now fished more than double that and they are still fishing. Why is the minister pretending to protect the lobster resource with meaningless agreements?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink
LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

Hon. Harbance Singh Dhaliwal (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should take the time to read the 29 agreements we have signed.

For the first time we are creating real opportunity, providing not only access to the resource but providing vessels, providing training and providing mentoring so that the aboriginal community can truly be successful in the fishery as it participates more and more in the commercial fishery.

We have taken enforcement action, as I said earlier. We arrested and seized four vessels. We charged 16 people, so enforcement action has been taken. We want to make sure that every step is taken to try to resolve this issue in a peaceful and co-operative manner. However, at the end of the day, we will enforce the law and make sure we protect the resource for all Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink
REF

John Duncan

Reform

Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, we cannot have two sets of rules. In Malpeque Bay the minister is legitimizing illegal fishing by calling it a deal.

Yesterday the minister said that he would not use deals as a shield for unauthorized activities, but he is and he has. How many other of the 29 deals are shams like the Malpeque Bay deal?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink
LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

Hon. Harbance Singh Dhaliwal (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should meet and talk to some of the chiefs who have signed deals and then he would have a firsthand view.

They are very reluctant to go out to talk to the aboriginal community because then they would see the good work that has been done with the 29 deals which have been signed for this year that are creating real opportunity for first nations.

This has been a big commitment by the federal government of $160 million, to make sure that we have a plan to deal with Marshall. It is doing well. Unfortunately one or two bands are not signing, but we are working on that. At the end of the day we will make sure we will protect the resource for all Canadians.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Fisheries
Permalink

September 20, 2000