Jean J. CHAREST

CHAREST, The Hon. Jean J., P.C., LL.B.

Parliamentary Career

September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
PC
  Sherbrooke (Quebec)
  • Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole (October 31, 1984 - June 29, 1986)
  • Minister of State (Youth) (June 30, 1986 - January 23, 1990)
  • Minister of State (Youth), Minister of State (Fitness and Amateur Sport) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (March 31, 1988 - January 23, 1990)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
PC
  Sherbrooke (Quebec)
  • Minister of State (Youth) (June 30, 1986 - January 23, 1990)
  • Minister of State (Youth), Minister of State (Fitness and Amateur Sport) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (March 31, 1988 - January 23, 1990)
  • Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (January 30, 1989 - January 23, 1990)
  • Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader (January 30, 1989 - January 23, 1990)
  • Minister of the Environment (April 21, 1991 - June 24, 1993)
  • Minister of Industry, Science and Technology (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
  • Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development - Quebec (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
  • Deputy Prime Minister (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
PC
  Sherbrooke (Quebec)
  • Minister of Industry, Science and Technology (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
  • Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development - Quebec (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
  • Deputy Prime Minister (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
June 2, 1997 - May 1, 1998
PC
  Sherbrooke (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 547)


February 25, 1998

Hon. Jean J. Charest

Madam Speaker, I ask you to rule on what I have just asked, the consent of the House to table the document. I cannot believe Liberal members would refuse after the question by the hon. member for Oakville. Surely they would not have the gall. I want to table what our position is. I want to do it for the record in the House and I think it should be published in Hansard so that all Canadians will have a look at it.

Madam Speaker, I am asking you to put the question to the House. I would be curious to find out which Liberal member would want to get himself on the record at this point saying no. Let us hear them.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
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February 25, 1998

Hon. Jean J. Charest

Madam Speaker, actually I appreciate the opportunity to engage my colleague from Wild Rose on this issue because there is a lot of rhetoric around. Let me try to present the facts in as straightforward a manner as I can.

When this government was elected in 1984 it faced a very serious problem of high deficits and debt. In fact, the deficit relative to GDP, the size of the economy, was about 8%. We then engaged in the process of reducing spending because average Liberal government program spending, which the member from Edmonton will know, in the last 10 years before the election of the Progressive Conservative government in 1984 increased 14% a year. Guess who was minister of finance?

We engaged in the process of turning the ship around. I am sure the member for Wild Rose will appreciate that does not happen overnight. Let me set down for him some markers that indicated real progress. The federal government started to balance its operating budget as of 1987.

What is the operating budget? I will take a second. It is the amount that comes in in revenue and what we spend on programs and excludes interest on the debt. From there on what we dealt with was the leftover debt, mostly of Liberal governments.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
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February 25, 1998

Hon. Jean J. Charest (Sherbrooke, PC)

Mr. Speaker, neither does the Prime Minister tell the whole story. Seven out of ten provinces, including Nova Scotia, will be cut in health care and education over the next few years.

The Prime Minister said in question period that you “should relax—. It is time to rejoice”. I wonder whether this is the message he is delivering to unemployed Canadians or to young children in poverty, more of them being in poverty since he was elected.

I would like to know what kind of logic the government is using to conclude that it cannot afford to reduce taxes, yet it found the money to spend on this new program.

Where is the logic in not cutting taxes?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Budget
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February 25, 1998

Hon. Jean J. Charest

Madam Speaker, the parliamentary secretary to the House leader of the Liberal Party said no and I want the record to show that. It demonstrates the hypocrisy of the Liberals who have now embarrassed the member for Oakville. The Reform Party members did not say no. Why would they object? If they asked the same thing I would not object. Nor did the NDP or the Bloc. That demonstrates the hypocrisy of the Liberal Party. I am sorry that she has been embarrassed.

I am surprised that the member would actually want to rise and say that our positions are not known or that they just continued to have the courage to pursue the policies that we had brought forward but did not have the courage to implement. Does the member mean like the GST, the Pearson airport, the free trade agreement or the targets for inflation? What about when the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada guaranteed funding for health care and education in 1993?

When the member for Oakville said they reduced their program spending more than they cut the provinces, I am very sorry, but whether it is in percentages or in raw numbers, she had better check her facts. Maybe the parliamentary secretary would have the courage to get up and correct her, since he is now bent on correcting her today, and tell the truth to Canadians.

What is the truth? The government gutted health care and education after cynically promising that it would not touch it, that it would be guaranteed.

The last comment I want to make is that it is very imprudent for someone from Oakville to actually criticize the people of Nova Scotia, which she has done today. I would say to the member for Oakville that she would be wiser to let the people in Nova Scotia make up their own minds on their future and not sermonize them from the House of Commons. Their health care and education have been cut and they have a right to services also. They have a right to receive services from this government and from governments in the province of Nova Scotia. We will see how they speak in the next provincial election.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
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February 25, 1998

Hon. Jean J. Charest

Madam Speaker, I would be happy to table in the House immediately a document entitled “A Plan for Growth”. It spells out in great detail exactly where we stand on all these issues.

All members of the House of Commons can read it. So I ask for consent to table this document immediately.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   The Budget
Full View Permalink