October 4, 2000

CA

Stockwell Day

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, I am gaining in composure every day and every week because every time we ask the Prime Minister to do something, or most of the time, he is responding on some of the issues. I am gaining confidence in him, I really am.

When the report is tabled will he be giving the government response? Further to the report itself, in the public accounts committee last week it was revealed that on top of the billion dollar boondoggle that has taken place another $344 million have apparently been mismanaged?

Will he be responding to this report and show how he will correct these disastrous things from happening in the future?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have debated all that in the House of Commons. The auditor general agrees with the six point plan that the minister proposed. The controversial program was eliminated.

Yes, if we were to have a debate it would be fun because I have a list of 30 golf courses in Alberta that received money from the Alberta government from 1996 to 1998 when the hon. member was the minister of finance. I have another list of 19 golf courses when he was a member there. I even know that in his own riding at one time that government gave $23,000 to a wet suit rental company. No, no, I am sorry—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Edmonton North.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Deborah Grey

Reform

Miss Deborah Grey (Edmonton North, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, surely it is the Prime Minister who is all wet. He ought to know about RCMP investigations and golf courses.

The public has invested a whole lot, as the Prime Minister should know, in terms of the billion dollar boondoggle and some other things we have seen that have been expensive for the public. The public has a right to know what is in the auditor general's report.

Will the Prime Minister guarantee that the public will see the report before he calls an election? Yes or no.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member has been in the House and she does not know when the Prime Minister says we will be sitting that it is here. I will not be sitting on her lap. I will be here.

I have to make a correction. It was not a wet suit rental service. It was for upper class people, as they plan to do with their tax cut. It was a tuxedo rental company.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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REF

Deborah Grey

Reform

Miss Deborah Grey (Edmonton North, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, it gives a whole new picture of a lap dog, does it not?

Just a few months ago the Prime Minister was arguing that his HRD minister had really only lost $250.51. Now the public accounts show that oops, it is over $300 million. Which is it: $250.51 or $344,732,360.51?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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LIB

Jane Stewart

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should get her facts straight. Without question, my department always tries to collect outstanding debt.

This year's public accounts clearly show that only a very small portion of the written off debts involves grants and contributions. Rather, the vast majority of debts written off relate to the Canada student loans program. They refer to old debts deemed uncollectible because they have reached the statute of limitations or because the borrower has declared bankruptcy or has died.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Human Resources Development
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois anticipated a surplus of about $20 billion for the current year, while the Minister of Finance said that the surplus would only be $5 billion.

Later on, the minister told us to wait for the opinion of the country's top economists. He spoke to them over the weekend and surely he must have told them about the size of the surplus.

Based on the figures that he has, and I am sure that he has some figures, could the minister tell the House what the surplus will be this year?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surpluses
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we had preliminary discussions with the economists, but the Bloc Quebecois leader must know that there are other meetings to come. Once all these meetings have taken place and the economists have completed their work, because it is their projections, we will present these projections.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surpluses
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, last year, we were quite accurate when we projected what the surplus would be, which was far from being the case for the minister. The top economists said that the surplus would be between $18 billion and $20 billion.

Could it be that the reason the minister does not want to reveal these surpluses is that he knows full well that he took that money from the unemployed and that, under the changes to employment insurance, he will only give them back $300 million at best?

During the election campaign, in the coming days, the minister will talk about compassion, but could he show compassion for the unemployed now while we are sitting in the House and take appropriate action?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surpluses
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I just said that a consensus will be reached based on the projections of the economists. These projections are not yet ready. As soon as they are, we will present them.

That being said, the reason for these surpluses is certainly our economic growth, which is one of the strongest in the world, our job creation, which is the strongest in the world, and the economy in general, which is doing very well in our country.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surpluses
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BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, with surpluses mushrooming at the rate of $94 million a day since last April, there are persistent rumours that the Minister of Finance will give in to the Bloc Quebecois' repeated requests that he bring down a mini-budget before the next federal election is called.

Will the minister assure us that his mini-budget will include tax cuts to match his huge surpluses, tax cuts aimed at middle and low income earners?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surpluses
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have always said that our priority was to cut personal taxes, with priority going to middle and low income earners.

When it comes time to bring down a budget, I assure members that I will do so here in the House, not in an airplane or bus, as the leader of the Canadian Alliance suggested.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surpluses
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BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Minister of Finance to be serious.

Last week, when I asked him whether he would be lowering taxes for families earning $35,000 or less, he said it had already been done.

How does he explain the answer he gave last week to those families watching today, families earning $35,000 or less, who are still filing tax returns every year and still paying taxes?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surpluses
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LIB

Paul Martin

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the answer I gave last week is based on our budget, which cut taxes.

The answer I gave last week is entirely true, which is to say that, according to our forecasts, a family earning $35,000 will not pay any net taxes to the federal government.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Budget Surpluses
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, prescription drugs are the fastest growing health care cost. Yet the government has still done nothing to address this crisis. Liberals have been promising year after year a national pharmacare plan for seniors, for hard pressed families, but they are still waiting.

Surely the health minister will take the opportunity at the meeting this week in Winnipeg to propose a national pharmacare plan to his health provincial counterparts.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will there be a pharmacare plan in place before the next election?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think we are tabling a bill in the House of Commons either today or tomorrow on the agreement we signed with the provinces which includes all elements of medical services in Canada.

In our discussions with the provinces we discussed not only hospitals but medication too. Part of the agreement we have made with them is that some of the money which will be made available to them, something like $23 billion over the next five years, is to go toward helping the provinces to deal with the problem of pharmaceutical care for citizens within each province.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, there is not the vaguest hint of a national pharmacare plan in the so-called agreement with provincial governments.

Canadians are sick to death of hearing vague talk about a possible discussion, about a future proposal for a pilot project that may or may not take place. They cannot take that to their local pharmacy and get the prescription drugs they need.

What Canadians need is a national pharmacare plan, the one the Prime Minister has been promising for seven straight years. Let me ask again: Will there be a national pharmacare plan in place before the next election?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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LIB

Jean Chrétien

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, after discussions with the three NDP premiers at the conference, they all agreed that the agreement we reached together was the way to cover all the elements of health care in Canada, including pharmacare.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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October 4, 2000