Armand CAOUETTE

CAOUETTE, Armand

Personal Data

Party
Social Credit
Constituency
Abitibi (Quebec)
Birth Date
July 20, 1945
Deceased Date
May 15, 2010
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armand_Caouette
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=4caf8485-37f9-4267-ac86-70d0381b633f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
air-conditioning operator-mechanic, sales representative, salesman

Parliamentary Career

July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
SC
  Villeneuve (Quebec)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
SC
  Abitibi (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 46)


December 12, 1979

Mr. Caouette:

Come now, be serious!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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December 10, 1979

Mr. Armand Caouette (Abitibi) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider the advisability of amending the Income Tax Act in order to exclude from taxable income all indemnities received by a volunteer fireman in the exercise of his duties, as well as to allow such firemen to deduct from their income $1,000 for all expenses incurred in the exercise of their duties.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to deal for the third time with this motion which I moved for the first time some three years ago. Since then, 1 have received a great many letters from and made a great many contacts with firemen from various municipalities throughout Canada indicating that it is about time the government once and for all look into the situation of these people who are doing Canadians a first-rate service, so that income tax-wise they may get their fair share.

Mr. Speaker, the interest of several hundred Canadians who perform the duties of volunteer firemen is at stake here. As 1 said a while ago, this is the third time I have spoken on this motion in this House. Each time, the Liberal government, through its backbenchers, managed to defeat the motion. Of course, Mr. Speaker, all the parties represented in the House spoke of the need to pass the motion. However, they made sure beforehand of having enough speakers to use up the time allotted and so kill the motion. 1 therefore ask my colleagues today, both government members and members of the opposition, to overlook their parliamentary hesitations and realize the importance and necessity of passing this motion. 1 sincerely believe, Mr. Speaker, that the House, that all hon. members, would benefit from putting an end to this cynical comedy that recurs constantly when a motion of this type is introduced by an hon. member.

Mr. Speaker, 1 should like to quote a press release I received from the Quebec Federation of Professional Firefighters which strongly supports the resolution of the volunteer firemen of the province of Quebec asking that an income tax exemption be granted them on the money they earn in the exercise of those duties. That resolution was signed by Mr. Alfred Morin,

Volunteer Firemen

president of the Quebec Federation of Professional Firefighters. And I also received from the Canadian Fire Chiefs Association the report of the 60th annual conference which was held between August 24 and 28, 1975, in Mississauga. In the report, there was a resolution which reads as follows:

Introduced by the volunteer section of the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia regarding the increase in the income tax exemption for all volunteer firemen;

Whereas volunteer firemen must face an increase in their responsibilities and their functions as a consequence of the rapid growth in population and in construction;

Whereas it is ever more expensive to ensure those essential services to the collectivity;

Whereas the Income Tax Act which provides for a $300 exemption for expenses incurred as a consequence of the functions of volunteer firemen has not changed since its inception 29 years ago;

Be it resolved that the Canadian Fire Chiefs Association asks the minister concerned both in the federal and in provincial governments to bring up the exemption to $1,000, with the recommendation to the committee on resolutions to approve that resolution.

Mr. Speaker, we can see from that request by the Canadian Volunteer Firemen Federation that they are asking for a supplementary exemption not only to the federal government but also to all the provinces. Later, I shall be able to say specifically that some provinces decided to follow the Professional Fire Fighters Federation and to change their income tax act.

But before that, Mr. Speaker, I should like, for the benefit of the members of this government, to read from the speech the hon. Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources made last year on the same motion. He said, and 1 quote:

Having heard the proposer of this motion and the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Communications speak with such determination in the interests of this resolution I want to indicate on behalf of my party that we support the motion and are prepared to support the amendment in order to get it through private members' hour.

Let me put this in perspective. It is fine to have speeches in support of this very commendable motion, but I do not want to witness these speeches past six o'clock.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I believe in what was said by the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources when he was in the opposition and 1 hope that the message has been conveyed to his government colleagues, so that they will refrain from talking out the motion past six o'clock.

We are in this House, Mr. Speaker, to speak on behalf of our voters and only a greater feeling of equity and justice should guide our proceedings. It is in that sense that I am humbly asking all my colleagues to consider my motion.

1 would like in the first place to point the reasons specifically warranting that request for an increase with tax exemption from $30 to $1,000. Firstly, Mr. Speaker, volunteer firemen are ordinary workers often with a low income. They must regularly use their car to get to the scene of the fire and they must face all the dangers involved in their duties as volunteer

December 10, 1979

Volunteer Firemen

firemen. Those people must also pay their cleaning costs and often the loss of clothes or personal items such as a watch, a ring and other things.

And as far as their family life is concerned, volunteer firemen are on call in rotation in order to provide this service to the people. In addition, under the present tax legislation, volunteer firemen are getting harder to recruit for many municipalities. Mr. Speaker, many municipalities have represented to us how extremely difficult it was now to recruit individuals who are willing to go and help couples and families who have the bad luck of having their home destroyed by fire.

Volunteer firemen render a valuable service to the Canadian community either on a voluntary basis or at a very low rate of pay, and often at the risk or their life. Let us imagine how much more it would cost Canadian taxpayers if they had to pay the regular price for such services. These firemen perform exceptional duties at any hour of the day or night. For instance, I remember that a few years ago, in my home town, in the riding 1 have the honour to represent, volunteer firemen were called upon to fight a fire in a house where 18 people lived. When they got there, they realized that 11 persons were already dead.

Nevertheless, all local volunteer firemen mustered enough courage to answer the call even though it was 40 below. They wanted to try and save as many human lives as possible. By dint of hard work, they managed to save the other seven persons who were also caught in that house.

Mr. Speaker, for all these reasons, I will be the first to do what I asked other hon. members, that is not to talk out the bill. Mr. Speaker, 1 should like to make another comment. Volunteer firemen work freely for the community, they serve it in all sorts of ways, for little or no pay. They provide an invaluable service to our sparsely populated cities. So the government should recognize this, tax-wise.

As 1 said earlier, 1 have here a bill proposed at the Quebec National Assembly asking the provincial government to raise the tax exemption for volunteer firemen from $300 to $1,000. That may have been too much for the government but there was at least some increase since the exemption in Quebec went from $300 to $600. That may not be very big but it is an improvement which could be significant if the federal government also did its share.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX
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December 10, 1979

Mr. Caouette:

Mr. Speaker, would it be possible to know whether we are discussing Bill C-20, or a motion which has been put forward this afternoon?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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December 5, 1979

Mr. Armand Caouette (Abitibi):

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion, I should like to put my question to the Prime Minister. With regard to the policy of the Department of Regional Economic Expansion, could the Prime Minister confirm whether the department intends to make certain changes to the special region of Montreal and if so what are those changes and when will they be implemented?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REGIONAL ECONOMIC EXPANSION
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December 5, 1979

Mr. Armand Caouette (Abitibi):

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is directed to the right hon. Prime Minister. In view of the fact that his minister is away, could he make this announcement and also advise the House whether these changes will affect the Outaouais and northwestern Quebec regions?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   CHANGES BROUGHT ABOUT BY MODIFICATION OF AGREEMENTS
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