May 6, 2004 (37th Parliament, 3rd Session)


André Harvey


Hon. André Harvey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the interest that she is taking in my riding. This bodes well for the upcoming election campaign.
In politics, I would rather be part of the solution than making situations worse. This is true for everything. I want to ask the hon. member if, as regards the moneys collected by the government through the employment insurance program, through taxes and so on, we should not try to achieve a balance between the 14 million contributors and the 1.2 or 1.6 million claimants who qualify for benefits. It is at this level that a balance must be achieved.
I want to point out again to the hon. member that our role is to improve all existing programs in the country. As regards the employment insurance program, we will continue to improve it.
I want to ask the hon. member if, for example, she views as something positive the transfer of manpower training to the Quebec government, almost eight years ago? This measure resulted in close to $5 billion being transferred from the employment insurance fund to the Quebec government to manage manpower training programs.
I would like to ask her if the decrease in premiums, which were reduced by several billion dollars again this year, is not a valuable measure for the contributors. I would also like to ask her if the income tax cuts of nearly $100 billion for the last four to five years, which were part of the government's agenda, are not a very interesting measure for those who contribute to the collective growth and also pay employment insurance premiums?
Finally, I would like to ask my colleague, whom I respect deeply, if the government's role is not precisely to seek a balance between those who pay for a program and those who benefit from it? It is well and fine to speak about the $40 billion surplus, but one should not forget all the initiatives that were taken and implemented to help the people most in need.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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