Monday, April 11, 1994
(Amendment agreed to.) 2831
(Motion, as amended, agreed to.) 2831
Bill C-17. Consideration resumed of motion for secondreading and amendment 2831
Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 2837
Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 2848
Mr. Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury) 2849
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 2849
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2851
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2852
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2852
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2852
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2852
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2853
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2853
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2853
Mr. Gauthier (Roberval) 2854
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2854
Mr. Gauthier (Roverval) 2854
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2854
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2854
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2854
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2855
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2855
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 2855
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 2855
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2856
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2857
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2857
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2858
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2859
Bill C-233. Motions for introduction and firstreading deemed adopted 2867
Bill C-17. Consideration resumed of motion for second reading and amendment 2868
Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 2879
Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 2880
(Motion moved and agreed to). 2889
Division on amendment deferred 2892
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Monday, April 11, 1994
The House met at 11 a.m.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg Transcona)
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should honour the
contribution made by those who served Canada's armed forces during World
War II at the Dieppe raid by striking a distinctive medal for Canadian veterans
of this battle.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin this morning by
thanking all the hon. members who formally seconded my
motion. As you may be aware, Mr. Speaker, there is a procedure
by which members can formally second a motion and up to 20
members may second any motion. I had more than I needed. I
had 20 and others who wanted to get on the list. I would also like
to particularly thank my colleagues this morning, the member
for Kamloops and the member for Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing
who are here to second my motion as it got on the floor.
The motion today is to right a wrong which has been felt by
veterans of the Dieppe raid for a long, long time. It is the
absence of any distinctive recognition of their participation in
that particular raid.
I begin by reminding the House that in the summer of 1942,
when the Axis powers were at their peak and threatening world
domination, 5,000 Canadian soldiers willingly participated in a
raid on the occupied French coastal town of Dieppe, France.
Operation Jubilee, as it was known, proved to be an allied plan
that had catastrophic and at the same time critical results for
future allied plans.
The catastrophe was 959 Canadian soldiers killed, 1,200
wounded and 1,900 more taken as prisoners. No other battle in
the history of the second world war had similar consequences all
in a single day: August 19, 1942.
Despite the horrific losses there were significant lessons
learned from the raid. This painfully gained knowledge proved
crucial to the success of the D-Day planning in 1944. Without
the sacrifices of August 1942 many believe that the success of
the Normandy landings would have been in serious jeopardy.
This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day
invasion. In 1992 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the
Dieppe raid. At that time I had the privilege of participating in
the pilgrimage to Dieppe, which took place alongside the
pilgrimage to Vimy when we were celebrating the 75th
anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge.
I also had the honour, thanks to the then Minister of Veterans
Affairs, of playing the lament at the Dieppe cemetery. The
privilege was afforded to me by the minister as a result of my
own service in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of
Canada stationed in Winnipeg at Minto Armouries.
I say this by way of a little personal history. I first became
aware and conscious of the Dieppe raid when I was very young
as a member of The Cameron Cadets in Winnipeg and later as a
member of the militia unit, the Queen's Own Cameron
Highlanders of Canada where I served in a pipe band for many
One of the people who instructed me at that time, Pipe Major
Alec Graham, was a piper at Dieppe and one of the people who
played the pipes on the landing craft as they came into the beach
at Pourville where The Camerons along with the South
Saskatchewan Regiment landed.
I have had the opportunity of being at Pourville and of seeing
the beach and the conditions under which The Camerons and the
South Saskatchewan landed. I also saw the main beach where the
Essex Scottish and the Fusiliers de Mont-Royal landed and the
beach at Puys where the Royal Regiment of Canada landed and
took the heaviest casualties of any regiment ever in one day in
Dieppe was a particularly tragic event, as many more
Canadians are aware of today than they might have been just a
while ago thanks to the television series on Dieppe. Regardless
of what one might think of the events and the interpretation of
events, certainly there is no question that many young
Canadians were tragically killed, wounded or captured in that
It is only fitting at this time that the government should move
to do what many have been asking it to do for years, to strike a
distinctive medal for those who have participated in the Dieppe
I might say in anticipation of what the arguments might be
that Canada now has the power to award its own medals even
though at the time during the second world war and
subsequently we were part of the Commonwealth system of
honours and medals. Since 1968 we have had the ability to
award our own medals as we did only recently with respect to the
gulf war. I hope I am not going to hear from people on the other
side that this is something beyond the capability of a sovereign
country like Canada to do if it so chooses.
I want to indicate at some point that I will try to seek
unanimous consent for this motion to be voted on and agreed
upon even though it has not been chosen as a votable motion. We
know that the House can do this with private members' motions
if the members so choose. I have not had anybody say to me that
this is a bad idea. I have had nothing but letters from various
members of Parliament from all sides of the House saying that
the motion should pass. I have had people eager to second it.
I hope we will not see a government member get up with notes
prepared by the Department of Veterans Affairs or whatever to
give the contrary argument and say no at the end when we ask for
unanimous consent to have the motion passed.
I remind members, particularly those on the government side
who may have been asked to do this, this is not a binding motion.
It is not a bill. It is a motion and if it passes it would simply give
the government ammunition, if you like, in trying to go ahead. It
would help to create momentum. It would give a government
that wanted to do this the ability to say: ``We do this with the
expressed and unanimous backing of the House of Commons''. I
do not see any good reason, other than a sort of small
mindedness with respect to the fact that I am not a government
member, or whatever the case may be, for not allowing the
motion to go ahead.
Another argument might be advanced. I hope the argument
will not be offered, but I have heard it in private conversation,
that Canadian medals have tended to be awarded on the basis of
campaigns rather than battles.
One will find if the records and the situations are examined
that this still leaves room and can be used to argue for a
distinctive Dieppe medal because participants in the Dieppe raid
did not receive, as I understand it, the campaign medal that
many other veterans received, the France-Germany medal. This
medal was not awarded to them because they did not participate
in the events in France and Germany following the D-Day
At one point they did receive a campaign medal which would
have satisfied their desire to be recognized. They were awarded
a 1939-43 star but that later was revoked for reasons that no one
seems to be able to come up with. It was extended and made the
1939-45 star which offers no particular recognition to those who
participated in events like Dieppe before the Normandy
All the Dieppe veterans are asking for is something which
recognizes they were part of that campaign and in this case a
particular event that was central to the pre-Normandy
campaign. They do not have that. They have been asking for it
and I simply ask how long do they have to wait? Time marches
on, as the old hymn that is used at Remembrance Day services,
``Abide with Me'' says: Time like an ever rolling stream bears
all its sons away. Time is bearing all the veterans of Dieppe
away as it will bear all of us away some day.
Therefore, in this year of remembering when there are so
many brochures and pamphlets from Veterans Affairs and
elsewhere, all of which are appropriate, why today can we not do
something concrete, not expensive and something which will
bring Canadians together.
One thing that struck me when I was at Dieppe and had struck
me before at Canadian war cemeteries is that row on row, no
distinction is made between veterans of the Fusiliers de
Mont-Royal or the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of
Winnipeg. Canadians of French, British and other origins lie
side by side in Canadian war cemeteries. It ought to be
mandatory for every member of Parliament to visit these
cemeteries and to get a tragic sense but nevertheless some pride
of the unity with which Canadians have fought in World War II
and before that in World War I.
I know there are others eager to speak on this. I hope we can
do this. Certainly there is precedent for motions like this passing
which have had no expressed opposition. I have a letter from the
minister saying the government is intent on some form of
recognition for Dieppe veterans. I say that the form of
recognition the Dieppe veterans want and that the Dieppe
veterans deserve is this medal. They do not want a picnic. They
do not want some kind of special event. They want what they are
I hope the government will use this opportunity, which is
Private Members' Business after all. We do not have on the other
side an emissary for the government to talk this bill out or to
deny unanimous consent. It would be a tragedy and a travesty as
far as Private Members' Business is concerned. I have not yet
heard a private member say he or she is opposed to this motion. I
have had private members indicating to me that they are in
favour of it. I would encourage the House to give unanimous
consent when the time comes to have the motion voted on and
The Deputy Speaker: Is it the wish of the hon. member for
Winnipeg Transcona to ask for unanimous consent that this be
Mr. Blaikie: Yes, Mr. Speaker, if this is the appropriate time
to do so. I would like to ask that this motion with the unanimous
consent of the House be made votable and that a vote be taken if
need be. We might agree to pass it at the end of the hour.
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member has the floor and will
not have the floor again, as he knows. He has heard the
comments from the other side and I take it he is not going to ask
for unanimous consent at this point while he has the floor.
Mr. Blaikie: Mr. Speaker, I can get up on a point of order at
the end but I might not be able to and there is no reason why, if
the House is willing at his point, we do not pass the motion now
by asking that the motion be made votable. Debate continues.
I would like to ask now that the motion, by unanimous
consent, be made votable.
Mr. Keyes: Mr. Speaker, I hope that we continue to hear from
the hon. member opposite with whom I have had the opportunity
to work on that side of the House.
I respectfully suggest that the hon. member might want to
hear first from other members in this House who may contribute
to his debate. He might want to hear the reasoning of other
members in this House before calling the question he might
want to call. He can do that by calling for a point of order later on
in the proceedings, a couple of minutes before high noon.
Mr. Blaikie: Mr. Speaker, I do not want to get involved in a
procedural wrangle. On the other hand, I do not want to be
hoodwinked either. I do not want to be trying to get up on a point
of order at the end when somebody is talking and not be able to
If it would facilitate the debate and the possibility of
unanimity I would say fine. Either I or presumably somebody
else could do the same thing, ask on a point of order toward the
end of the hour that the motion be made votable.
I do not see anything wrong with asking that it be made
votable now. It would not prevent other arguments from being
heard. It would not prevent other points of view from being
heard. It would just mean that would be done.
I am not interested in picking a fight with the member at this
point and I hope that he would be true to his word and ensure that
I get the opportunity to do that at the end of the hour.
Mrs. Jean Payne (St. John's West): Mr. Speaker, I would
like to say a few words regarding motion M-143 as proposed by
the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona. I am a great supporter
of any honours for our veterans and I sympathize with the intent
of the hon. member in putting this motion forward.
I certainly commend the hon. member for bringing the issue
to the attention of this House. In that regard the consultative
process now under way with the interested parties is
commendable. I am certain all hon. members trust that the
discussions will arrive at a successful conclusion.
I must also point out that this is a sensitive issue. It must be
considered within the context of the protocol and traditions of
the Commonwealth system of honours and awards to which we
as a nation have agreed.
The Dieppe raid was a catastrophic moment in Canadian
history. Every Canadian was touched in some way by the
horrifying losses Canadians suffered on that day in 1942.
It was also of tremendous importance to the allied war effort.
No matter how one interprets the events surrounding the plan of
the operation, the hard lessons learned from the disaster
contributed to the successful D-Day landings, the 50th
anniversary of which we will mark this June.
The veterans of the Dieppe raid have made an enormous
contribution to our country and they should be honoured in
I understand the Dieppe veterans' frustrations and I sincerely
hope their desire for further recognition can in some way be
accommodated. I do want to remind the House that the Dieppe
veterans have been honoured in many other ways.
The Dieppe veterans have not been forgotten. They have been
eligible for Canada's outstanding veterans program, including
POW compensation, a very tangible recognition of their
contribution to the war effort and to this country.
Regimental memorials have been erected along the beaches
where the Canadians fought that day. Monuments are also
located at Puys, Pourville and Dieppe, as the hon. member has
These memorials pay tribute to the members of the Royal
Regiment of Canada, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Les
Fusiliers Mont Royal, the Calgary Regiment, the South
Saskatchewan Regiment and the Queen's Own Cameron
Highlanders of Canada who gave their lives in the raid. These
regiments also proudly display the Dieppe battle honour on their
The town of Dieppe has also created a small park where it has
erected a monument of its own recounting the long relationship
between Canadians and the people of Normandy,
commemorating the raid on Dieppe.
At war's end Dieppe veterans also received a number of war
service medals, including the 1939-45 star, the Canadian
volunteer service medal, the war medal of 1939-45 and in many
cases the defence medal. Many Dieppe veterans have also
received individual awards for personal valour.
Perhaps best known among them are Charles Cecil Ingersoll
Merritt and John Weir Foote, recipients of the Victoria Cross.
Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Merritt landed that day at
Pourville. As the men struggled to cross the bridge over the river
Scie he walked calmly into the storm of enemy fire on the bridge
and led party after party across the bridge with his example.
Despite their best efforts, however, the Canadians were forced
to withdraw and again Cecil Merritt displayed his courage.
Twice wounded, he led a vigorous rear guard action that enabled
many men to reach the landing craft that waited to rescue them.
Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt and his men were unfortunately not
lucky. They could not reach the craft and were captured and
taken prisoners of war.
Similar courage was shown by Reverend Foote that day.
Through eight hours of fighting John Foote repeatedly exposed
himself to enemy fire as he worked again and again to move the
injured to an aid post. He saved many lives with his selfless
Then at the end of the battle when he could have sailed away
safely, he climbed back down from the landing craft and walked
toward the enemy lines to be taken prisoner. In this way he made
himself available to minister to his fellow Canadians as they
were held prisoners of war. Foote and his comrades were held
captive for the next three years.
Cecil Merritt and John Weir Foote were most deserving
recipients of the Commonwealth's highest military decoration
for bravery. Their stories of courage deserve to be told again and
again, as do many others.
For this reason, I am glad this issue has come to public
attention. I am very pleased the story of Dieppe presented on
national television not long ago has been brought to our
attention. It is fitting that Canadians be reminded of the courage
and valour displayed by their countrymen at Dieppe more than
50 years ago. We must never forget this chapter in our history.
That is why I heartily support a new commemorative program
called Canada Remembers. Over the next one and a half years
the Canada Remembers program will mark the 50th
anniversaries of the final events of the second world war. It will
honour the contributions of the Canadians who served overseas
during wartime and the millions of Canadians who supported
them back home.
I am particularly excited that this program will reach out to
younger Canadians, providing them with an opportunity to learn
more about the sacrifices made by a whole generation of
Canadians to secure peace and freedom for all of us.
Initiatives such as these are important if we are to maintain an
understanding of the impact of the second world war on the
development of this country and if we are going to keep a sense
of our military history alive.
Canada Remembers is for all of our veterans, the Dieppe
veterans included. I hope they will attend the many national and
local events being planned for them. The honours and tributes
they receive will be well deserved. They have earned them many
In response to the hon. member's motion I would like to
recommend that the motion be amended in view of the remarks I
have just made.
That the motion be amended by deleting the words ``striking a distinctive
medal'' and substituting therefor the words ``establishing an appropriate
I am sure the hon. member is aware of the reasons for this
amendment. I thank him once again for the motion.
The Deputy Speaker: The amendment is in order.
Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg): Mr. Speaker, I
welcome this opportunity to take part in the debate on the
motion presented by the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona. I
agree with the hon. member and with the hon. member for the
Liberal Party that the veterans of the Dieppe raid deserve our
gratitude for their courage and, unfortunately, their
determination in circumstances in which it was very difficult to
survive. We know that nearly 5,000 Canadians took part in the
Dieppe raid in 1942. More than 907 died. The operation was
unsuccessful and one could practically call it a massacre.
However, according to some experts and the hon. member for
Winnipeg Transcona, this operation probably helped pave the
way for the D-Day Invasion in 1944, whose fiftieth anniversary
we will soon be celebrating.
Perhaps I may depart somewhat from the position taken by the
hon. member who moved the motion and say that I am rather
intrigued that the hon. member has almost made this a personal
crusade. Since 1983, he has been trying to put a motion through
the House to strike a special medal for Dieppe 1942. There have
been varying responses to this proposal over the years. It was
repeated in June 1983 and September 1983 by the hon. member
for Bow River at the time, with the same request to strike a
medal for Dieppe. All sides of the question were discussed but
the medal was never struck.
When the hon. member mentioned earlier that he had never
heard anyone say they were against striking a medal in
recognition of the courage and efforts of those who took part in
this raid, he is perfectly right, except that in 1951, it was agreed
by members of the Commonwealth, by Canada and Great
that medals would be struck only for campaigns and not for
specific places, because otherwise, medals could be struck for
all the beaches where an invasion took place, whether it was in
1942 or 1944. There was also the battle of Vimy Ridge, where
nearly 50,000 Canadians were either killed or wounded during
World War I. A whole series of medals might have to be struck.
What bothers me is that whether a veteran defended his own
country or other countries in this place or that, against German
or other invasions, I do not think we can strike medals for
specific places, as if it were a distinction to have fought in such
or such a place, as though one battle were worth more than
another. I think that in a way, this discriminates against those
veterans who did not fight at Dieppe but on Juno Beach or at
Falaise or Caen. Why should they not also receive a
commemorative medal? Perhaps I am playing devil's advocate
because I realize that, in moving this motion, the hon. member
for Winnipeg Transcona means well, but I have a hard time
understanding the very specific reasons for striking this kind of
As a member of the Standing Committee on Defence, I would
argue-and I think that this is what veterans want-that we have
received requests from veterans and also from veterans of the
merchant marine. My sense is that they do not necessarily want
to be awarded a medal, but would rather receive some financial
assistance and help in their lives today. We have received
requests of this nature. Instead of debating whether or not to
strike a new medal, the Standing Committee on Defence should
proceed quickly to review specific requests from Dieppe
veterans. Since the Dieppe Raid took place 52 years ago, there
are not many survivors left and it is therefore important to move
quickly on this matter.
In conclusion, since the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona
has sought unanimous consent for the striking of a new
distinctive medal, I would like to point out that throughout
Canada's history, no special medal has been struck to
specifically commemorate a given place or battle in a given war,
with the possible exception of the Gulf War medal.
To commemorate a special battle, a distinctive ribbon has
until now been affixed to a medal or star. You may recall having
read about the battle of Inkerman which resulted in numerous
Canadian and British casualties. A distinctive ribbon
commemorating this engagement was issued.
Instead of striking a new medal, perhaps a distinctive ribbon
or decoration could be issued, as my colleague from the Liberal
Party suggested. And perhaps the debate should focus more on
responding more quickly to the requests of veterans, regardless
of where or when they fought.
I have some difficulty with the idea of commemorating a
specific engagement or battle when throughout Canadian
history, countless Canadians and Quebecers have taken part in
different engagements and have bravely defended their country
and others as well. Why single out the Dieppe Raid, even if this
massacre unfortunately resulted in the loss of many lives and
affected many Canadians? To agree to this would be somewhat
discriminatory toward those veterans who participated in other
campaigns. For these reasons, I propose that this motion not be
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands): Mr. Speaker,
although it may be a trifle repetitive, my speech will deal with a
historical aspect of Dieppe. I think this is not inappropriate
when one considers the importance of what happened at Dieppe
and the impact it had on Canadians.
Just before dawn on August 19, 1942 a swarm of landing craft
approached the coast around the French town of Dieppe on the
English Channel. The largest raid in history, code named
Jubilee, was on. A flotilla of 250 small naval craft was engaged
and overhead the largest single air battle of the war was about to
The attack on Dieppe was planned as a reconnaissance in
force ostensibly to assist the capability of the allies to launch
large scale amphibious assaults against German defences in
Festung Fortress Europe. Notwithstanding their lack of combat
experience, almost 5,000 Canadian troops conducted the frontal
assault on Dieppe. Supporting their efforts were battle hardened
British commandos assigned to attack and subdue German
coastal batteries to the east and west of the town. Their attack on
the guns at Varengeville-sur-Mer to the west was completely
successful. But at Berneval to the east they were not.
The town of Dieppe in peacetime, a pleasant minor resort, had
in war become a fortress. Though the town itself was of slight
importance, the Germans saw in Dieppe an obvious point for a
British attack. It was within range of RAF support and it was
familiar as the terminal of the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry.
The two storey casino fronting the beach had been heavily
fortified. The beach itself was covered by machine gun points
along the housefronts and at the ends by pillboxes and a tank set
These strong points together with guns sited in caves on both
headlands of the horseshoe shaped harbour permitted raking fire
right across the beach. While the British commandos achieved
partial success, overall Dieppe has been assessed as a major
My purpose today is to speak in support of the proposal to
honour those who fought at Dieppe, not to cast blame on the
planners of Operation Jubilee.
Notwithstanding, it is worth noting that Lord Lovat, leader of
the successful British commando group at Dieppe, later
commented: ``Only a foolhardy commander launches a frontal
attack with untried troops, unsupported, in daylight, against
veterans dug in and prepared, behind concrete, wired and mined
approaches, an enemy with every psychological advantage''.
The raid on Dieppe lasted only nine hours but of the nearly
5,000 Canadians involved more than 900 were killed, 1,900
were captured and of those more than 600 were wounded. As
prisoners of war they would spend the next three years in
Dieppe accounted for more casualties than Canada sustained
in the 11 months between the D-Day landings at Normandy in
June 1944 and the German surrender in May 1945.
The assault on Dieppe also became the scene of the largest air
battle of World War II. Sixty-six squadrons, Spitfires, Hawker
Typhoons and Hurricanes, about 730 single-seat fighters, flew
2,111 sorties in which 88 aircraft were lost.
Dual purpose aircraft and light bombers, Bostons and
Blenheims, also supported the operations, losing 18 aircraft in
the effort. In all 106 aircraft and 81 airmen were lost. Included
were 13 Canadian aircraft and 10 pilots. German losses were 48
Assessing losses, the pilot casualties were considered
moderate, the sailors, heavy. But for the soldiers and marines
where the casualty rate reached nearly 60 percent, they were
devastating. Overall, the casualty rate averaged more than 40
per cent, the highest in the war for any major offensive involving
the three services. Many units were decimated beyond their
ability to function as recognizable entities.
In the assault at Puys east of Dieppe, of the 500 men of the
Royal Regiment of Canada and the Black Watch Royal
Highlanders of Canada who landed, only six returned without
wounds. Many landing craft never reached the beach and of the
27 tanks landed, only half managed to cross the sea wall and
none penetrated the tank barriers protecting the town itself.
Eventually all 27 had to be abandoned.
Two Canadians, Honorary Captain J. W. Foote of the Royal
Hamilton Light Infantry and Lieutenant Colonel C. C. Merritt,
commanding officer of the South Saskatchewan regiment,
received the Victoria Cross for their actions at Dieppe.
Lieutenant Colonel Dollard Menard, commanding officer of the
Fusiliers de Mont-Royal, was badly wounded and decorated
with the Distinguished Service Order for his gallant leadership.
Lord Mountbatten, commander of the combined operations
headquarters which planned Operation Jubilee said Canadians
``paved an example of courage, and everything they possibly
could be called upon to do, they did''.
Another planner and Jubilee's naval force commander,
Captain Hughes-Hallett, said: ``The thing to remember was that
they,'' the Canadians, ``did the operation and that is more than
can be said for some of the crack formations which had been
selected for earlier operations. The great thing was that
Canadians were not only brave but they were bold as well. They
were prepared to chance their arm and it was that that made the
Dieppe operation possible''.
The assault on Dieppe has been described in many ways. The
Encyclopaedia Britannica states: ``It furnished useful lessons
for the future in the problem of invading a well-defended coast.
Although the cost was very high it showed the possibility of
achieving a large-scale landing under modern conditions while
bringing out mistakes that were to be avoided''.
General Dwight Eisenhower credited Dieppe with ``having
provided many useful lessons''.
Just a few months after the raid Lord Beaverbrook confronted
Mountbatten at a dinner party saying: ``You have murdered
thousands of my countrymen. You took those unfortunate
Canadian soldiers. They have been mown down in their
thousands and their blood is on your hands''.
The Canadian Encyclopaedia says of Dieppe: ``The raid did
provide valuable experience for subsequent amphibious assaults
in North Africa, Italy and most notably Normandy of 6 June,
1944''. It then goes on to say it was a major disaster.
Brian Loring Villa in his book Unauthorized Action classifies
Dieppe as a historical tragedy.
Accepting all these viewpoints and after the fact assessments
of the raid, we should remember that at Dieppe Canadian troops,
fighting in their first major action of the second world war,
acquitted themselves with determination, bravery and honour.
Under the conditions imposed they were involved in an
impossible task. This fact should be registered, regretted and not
The Canadians who participated in Operation Jubilee deserve
our respect, our admiration and our proud recognition. If ever a
battle has been worthy of commemoration by presentation of a
medal to those who took part, Dieppe is such a battle.
I urge this House to give unanimous support to private
member's motion No. 143 so that Canada can at long last
provide tangible recognition of a sad but proud day in our
In just four months it will have been 52 years since the assault
on Dieppe. Even the youngest participants who survived are now
in their seventies. It is long past time for Canada to officially
recognize the Canadians who fought at Dieppe.
Mr. Mark Assad (Gatineau-La Lièvre): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to deal with the motion in which the hon. member for
Winnipeg Transcona proposes that the federal government
strike an honorary medal for Dieppe veterans.
Like all Canadians, we have great admiration for Canada's
veterans. No one has been more devoted to our country than
these brave men and women, and I am still in favour of giving
the greatest recognition for the services they rendered.
Of course we support the intent of the hon. member in
presenting this motion, but I believe, as the hon. member for
Charlesbourg said a moment ago, that other Canadians
sacrificed their lives in the Second World War. We would not
want to give the impression that we are overlooking not only
those who sacrificed their lives but also those who were injured
or marked for the rest of their days. That is not our intention, far
Under the circumstances, and I believe that the hon. member
for Charlesbourg was right to raise this issue, I feel that there is
certainly another way to proceed. I believe that discussions on
this matter should continue with the association of Dieppe
veterans and prisoners of war-that would be a step in the right
direction. I sincerely believe that the process of consultation
should be given a chance before asking the House to act. Above
all, we want to show that everyone who fought in the Second
World War is on an equal footing.
Nothing can diminish the heroism of the Canadians who took
part in the Dieppe Battle. They showed incredible courage and a
great deal of determination on that truly memorable day of
World War Two. Because of their bravery, these Canadians will
always have a special place in the history of this country.
On August 19, 1942, at daybreak, a little under 5,000
Canadians were in position off the coast of Normandy, prepared
to risk their lives to break through Hitler's defences, known as
Fortress Europe, and to open the way toward liberation.
However, as soon as they set foot on the beaches in Dieppe, they
realized that theirs was a totally impossible mission. What lay
ahead was an absolute nightmare. Hundreds of young Canadians
were killed by enemy snipers shooting from positions on top of
We know now that they had been assigned an impossible
mission. The surprise effect was ruined. Small groups did
manage to approach their objectives, but most of the soldiers
were easy targets on the beaches, as tanks got stuck in gravel and
could go no further. For many of our men, attempts to make it
back to the landing craft proved futile. Finally, fewer than half
of the Canadians, many of whom seriously wounded, managed
to escape this hell and return to England.
Losses were extremely high. Some 2,000 became prisoners of
war and 907 were killed that day. News of this tragedy caused
consternation from coast to coast.
I have known many veterans in my riding as well as in my
home town, and I have heard quite a few stories about the Dieppe
Raid. It is obvious that we are indebted to these men and women
for their self-sacrifice; some gave their lives and lie buried in
The hon. member's initiative cannot go unnoticed. It is up to
us, on this 50th anniversary of that battle, to remind the people
of Canada of the great sacrifices that were made for our country.
If we have enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and peace after the
war, it is thanks to these people. It is our duty here to express our
gratitude for it is the highest form of justice on this earth.
I am convinced that these veterans will realize that Canadians
never forgot what they did for their country. So, we should
support our colleague's motion, which proposes changes
designed to pay tribute to these people.
Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West): Mr. Speaker, at first
glance I applaud and totally agree with motion No. 143 moved
by the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona. It urges the
government to strike a distinctive medal for the veterans of the
Dieppe raid during the second world war. I have always
favoured actions which pay tribute to Canada's veterans and
which benefit these exemplary citizens.
With the amendment proposed by my colleague from St.
John's West and with the acceptance of my friend from
Winnipeg Transcona the government will have taken a giant
step, along with that hon. member, in a process that will resolve
I am persuaded that members of the House ought to give the
amended motion a chance to succeed. In the meantime the
government is working with the veterans associations, including
the Dieppe Veterans and Prisoners of War Association, the
Department of National Defence and Government House to
resolve the issue. They are exploring a number of options in
order to find an approach that would satisfy Dieppe veterans
while honouring the traditions and upholding the integrity of the
Commonwealth system of awards and medals. I am confident
that by working together they will reach a solution soon.
I have the privilege of being a member of Ontario's largest
Royal Canadian Legion, branch 163 in Hamilton. It boasts a
membership of 2,500. Who better to spend some time with, so I
did just that last week. I asked the veterans what they thought of
the special Dieppe medal.
Veteran Pat Gallacher is the president of branch 163. His first
vice-president is Neil Murray, foreman of signals, who over his
heart proudly wears the France and Germany star, the D-Day
medal, the war medal and the 1939-45 star. On the other side of
Mr. Murray's blue blazer is a host of legion medals. Both Mr.
Gallacher and Mr. Murray told me that it was a good idea first to
hear and consult with everyone involved in the matter of special
recognition for Dieppe veterans.
They reminded me that the men who made up the Canadian
assault force for Dieppe came from all corners of this country.
``The boys were willing to serve their country'', they said. They
waited a long time to see action; while the Royal Canadian Navy
and the Royal Canadian Air Force had been busy defending
Britain the ground forces had to wait. For months they trained
for the time when they would spearhead an attack on occupied
Europe. When the call finally came they were anxious to do their
best, but the Dieppe raid was not destined to be a victorious
moment. It was a disaster. In the words of Gallacher and Murray,
it was the worst thing they ever did, a big blunder.
In the end, pinned on the beach, the survivors were forced to
surrender. These men spent three long years behind barbed wire.
The legacy of Dieppe has been controversial. My vets say that it
was a useless slaughter. Others claim it was a valuable if costly
experience that enabled the allies to plan so well the much larger
successful D-Day landings. I do not want to add to that debate
In Canada, Dieppe casts a long shadow in households from
coast to coast. Canadians know why men like Neil Murray wear
their military medals with such pride, but for many years they
have been bothered by the fact they did not receive a medal that
specifically recognized their efforts at Dieppe.
The France and Germany campaign medal was only awarded
to those who took part in the D-Day landings in 1944 and the
subsequent operations that retook Europe. This meant the men
who were killed, who were badly wounded or who were taken
prisoner never received a European campaign medal. In the end
they had fewer medals than veterans who had faced similar
circumstances, despite the fact that those men played a special
role in the effort to free Europe.
Both Mr. Gallacher, president of the legion, and Mr. Murray,
first vice-president, asked me to consider the American
experience, all those American medals from campaigns to
sharpshooting to attendance. ``Is that what we want'', they
asked, ``will we be striking more medals, beginning to diminish
the importance of each of the medals we have now?''. Mr.
Murray said that they should have struck a medal for Dieppe a
long time ago and that maybe now it is too late.
We should give them a bar to recognize their participation at
Dieppe to put on any war medal. After all we must respect the
protocol and tradition of the Commonwealth system of honours
and awards. In seeking to satisfy the interests of the Dieppe
veterans we must heed the concerns of all our vets. I am
confident we will do just that. Canadians realize they owe the
veterans of Dieppe an incredible debt. It is a debt that is in many
In closing, we want to ensure that veterans have been
thoroughly consulted on the matter of recognition for Dieppe
veterans. We must be reminded of the courage displayed by
them more than half a century ago. We must not forget. I ask my
colleagues in the House to support the amended motion put
forward by the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona.
Mr. David Iftody (Provencher): Mr. Speaker, I rise in the
House today to speak on motion No. 143 put forward by the hon.
member for Winnipeg Transcona.
The hon. member has suggested the government should
honour the veterans of the Dieppe raid by striking a distinctive
medal for these former members of the Canadian forces. I share
the hon. member's desire and would like to add my personal
commitment to see Canada's Dieppe veterans given proper
recognition for their part in the ill-fated attack on Dieppe. These
Canadians deserve every expression of our gratitude. However,
as I will explain, there is already a process under way to resolve
the issue and I feel the process deserves at least a chance to
succeed. All Canadians would undoubtedly agree that Dieppe
veterans should hold a special place in our history.
All members of the naval, ground and air forces that took part
in the raid on the coast of France in 1942 exhibited great courage
and bravery in the face of formidable circumstances. This is
especially true of the members of the Second Canadian Infantry
Division who disembarked on the beaches of Dieppe. These
Canadians were proud to have been selected to breach Hitler's
so-called Fortress of Europe but on that fateful day things went
For our nation August 19, 1942 was one of the costliest days
of the second world war. Of the almost 5,000 Canadians who
embarked on the operation more than two-thirds suffered
casualties. This included 907 Canadians who lost their lives and
1,946 Canadians who were taken as prisoners of war. Little more
than 2,000 returned to England, many of whom were wounded.
Dieppe therefore took a terrible toll on our wartime forces that
Canadians have not and will not forget.
In recent months interested Canadians have been taking up the
cause of Dieppe veterans. Aware that many of the Dieppe
veterans did not receive as many medals as their comrades, these
Canadians find it difficult to understand why Dieppe veterans
have not been given greater recognition for their participation in
the battle. Their concern is legitimate and understandable. In
point of fact Dieppe veterans definitely appear to have been
On the other hand, we must respect that during the second
world war Canada and other Commonwealth countries agreed to
a unified system of military medals. Since the battle of Dieppe
was a separate military activity outside any particular
campaign, the efforts of veterans were not recognized by a
campaign medal. There is the source of this unfortunate
discrepancy. Furthermore Dieppe veterans were eligible for
personal awards for acts of valour. Two veterans, Cecil Merritt
and John Weir Foote, received the Victoria Cross for their
actions that day.
This is why I am prepared to support the amended motion that
would read ``a distinctive decoration'' instead of ``a distinctive
Mr. Blaikie: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would
like to indicate my support for the amendment. Like many
amendments it is not always exactly what we asked for, but I
appreciate the willingness on the other side to make some
progress here, to have the motion go forward and hopefully to
create the kind of momentum I was talking about before.
I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that you seek unanimous consent to
have the amendment adopted and then to have the main motion
made votable so that we could proceed to pass the motion as
The Deputy Speaker: The Chair senses that there is
unanimous consent to pass both the amendment and the motion
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment, by
Some hon. members: Agreed.
(Amendment agreed to.)
The Deputy Speaker: Transferring the main motion as
amended into a votable motion today, is the main motion as
amended agreeable by unanimous consent to all members of the
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Deputy Speaker: Shall the motion as amended carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
(Motion, as amended, agreed to.)
The House resumed from March 25 consideration of the
motion that Bill C-17, an act to amend certain statutes to
implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament
on February 22, 1994, be read the second time and referred to a
committee; and of the amendment.
Mr. David Walker (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
Finance): Mr. Speaker, as we resume debate today on Bill C-17
I welcome the opportunity to join my government colleagues in
supporting this very important piece of legislation.
When passed, this bill will implement key aspects of the
February budget plan, a plan for action in three core areas on
behalf of all Canadians living in all regions. It is a plan to spur
job creation and economic growth.
That is one reason Bill C-17 revamps the UI entitlements.
These savings will allow us to reduce the payroll taxes identified
by business, especially small business, as one of the major
barriers to new employment.
It is a plan to get the deficit down and to set the foundations
for a balanced budget because we have to stop mortgaging our
children's future and pushing taxes eternally higher. This bill is
a critical step in meeting this goal by restraining parliamentary
and public service salaries and by reducing business subsidies
for transportation and energy.
Let me emphasize that the fiscal action we are taking will not
jeopardize the work that must be done to make the economy
stronger and create opportunity. Losing jobs is no way to pay off
debts, not for individuals and not for Canada as a nation.
It is also a budget plan to reform social security so we can
boost economic opportunity while ensuring we can sustain the
cost of Canada's social safety net. Here again Bill C-17 plays a
It does this not only through the actions on unemployment
insurance but by providing the provinces with two years of
certainty on federal transfers under the Canada assistance plan.
This will help create the stable window of opportunity and
co-operative environment that will allow the two levels of
government to work together on this critical task.
More important, the critics and the cynics are absolutely
wrong in assuming that this government's commitment to
delivering on our deficit reduction pledge was mere political
coin. Our government's goal is to restore federal economic
credibility, not continue to debase it. The fundamental fact is
with the February budget we have taken unparalleled action to
meet the fiscal challenge and that is no exaggeration.
Measures in the budget result in gross savings of $3.7 billion
in this fiscal year, rising to $13.6 billion in 1996-97. Over the
three year forecast period of the budget gross savings total $28.6
We have also taken action to encourage growth and job
creation, action targeted at enhancing our economic muscle and
confidence in the evolving global economy. We have done this
in part because restored growth is an essential element of the
deficit reduction strategy.
Even with the investments such as the infrastructure program
and support for R and D, net savings in the budget total $20.4
billion over three years. They deliver $5 worth of spending cuts
for every $1 of revenue. These spending cuts are the most
significant of any budget in the past 10 years.
Such measures are not a conclusion. They are simply a
foundation. Let me echo what the Minister of Finance has said
repeatedly, including at a meeting with major European
investors today. The message of our government is very clear.
The ultimate goal of this government is to eliminate the deficit.
The deficit ratio of 3 per cent of GDP by 1996-97 is exactly
what we have always said it was, an interim target, one that has
not been met for 10 years. We are going to meet it through the
spending cuts implemented in this year's budget, not a
The results of a major program review launched in February
which should identify further opportunities for savings will be
included in the 1995 budget. The goal here and in subsequent
budgets will be to take us beyond our interim target on our way
to balancing the books of this nation.
Some argue that our deficit action is too little, too slow. We
believe, and many Canadians understand, that more drastic
action could jeopardize Canada's return to economic health.
That would ultimately sabotage our ability to sustain consistent
We also believe that restoring budget credibility means
looking both beyond and beneath the numbers. Our budget puts
an end to many of the practices of the past. We have provided
full accounting of all program costs. Nothing is hidden.
We built in substantial reserves to allow us to handle
unforeseen contingencies without letting our fiscal objectives
suffer. Just as important, we reversed the budget's bias in favour
of optimistic, politically correct economic forecasts. As we all
recognized in previous years, governments would set targets
based on rosy projections in order to look good initially, only to
We believe it is more important to meet a target than to
promote a wish list and then fall far short. It is crucial to
re-establish the credibility of the government's economic
projections. Therefore when we put together our budget we use
prudent assumptions drawn from the pessimistic range of
private sector forecasters. We believe that is a responsible way
for this government to act.
Canada as elsewhere has recently witnessed some volatility in
interest rates. That volatility makes the case for the prudent
assumptions and contingency reserves built into our budget. We
have ensured substantial room for manoeuvre. Interest rate
fluctuations are not going to knock us off course. We remain
confident that we will hit our targets.
I am glad to see that this confidence is shared by the Royal
Bank's Ed Neufeld, the executive vice-president of economic
affairs. I understand that at the Royal Bank's annual spring
briefing on the economy last week he shared his view that we,
the Government of Canada, are on track this year to reach our
deficit reduction target.
At the same briefing the Royal Bank also forecasted that
Canadian growth will accelerate to 3.5 per cent this year and 4.3
per cent in 1995. It is worth noting that this 1994 forecast is in
complete harmony with preliminary reports on the upcoming
IMF forecasts for Canadian growth this year.
These forecasts exceed the prudent projections on which our
1994 budget was based. They reflect what I believe was an
objective assessment of the growing strength of our economic
fundamentals, strength that the budget and other federal actions
have contributed to.
Canada is now one of the lowest inflation countries in the
world. We are going to stay that way. Last December the
Governor of the Bank of Canada and the finance minister
announced that the inflation targets which anchor our monetary
policy, among the toughest in the world, will continue through
Another key fundamental is restoring fiscal responsibility to
our public finances, a major goal of this legislation, Bill C-17.
Let me again emphasize that we are working with the provinces
to improve the national debt situation because this truly is a
national problem. There are real grounds for renewed national
confidence that this challenge can and will be met. It is clear that
across Canada governments are applying themselves steadily to
the course of fiscal discipline.
Let us remember that fiscal action by governments is only
part of the answer for long term balanced budgets. A growing
economy is also essential if our debt build-up is to be reversed.
Here again there are real grounds for confidence. The economy
is starting to grow more firmly. Growth was 3.8 per cent in the
last quarter of last year based on solid exports and investment
Surveys for 1994 indicate that public and private sector
investment will be up an impressive 4.2 per cent over 1993.
Strong gains and competitiveness are behind the firming of
economic growth and they too augur well for the future.
Unit labour costs are down and productivity is up. The big unit
cost gap that opened up between Canada and the United States
has essentially been closed. Our record export growth is the
Those facts paint a picture of a competitive economy moving
in the right direction. This was further confirmed by the March
labour force numbers that came out last Friday. The
unemployment rate dropped a full half percentage point, the
largest contraction in 10 years since June 1984, and 114,000 new
jobs have been created over the last two months, the strongest
two month gain in almost five years. I welcome such news and
all Canadians welcome this type of news.
There is no question we continue to face challenges and
uncertainties. Dislocations can always emerge, sapping public
confidence. That is why good news is never an excuse for
complacency. That is why we will forge ahead with our strategy
of re-engineering the way government operates and the
programs it provides. These contribute to a stronger, more
flexible Canadian economy.
Our action on unemployment insurance is an excellent
example. We reduce spending on UI, something that will save us
money. That also means we can roll back payroll taxes that have
cost jobs across this country.
Looking at Europe anyone can see the cost of rigid labour
market policies. We in Canada were close to developing a
similar rigidity. We have now begun to move toward a more
The redesign of unemployment insurance with greater
emphasis on training to reintegrate the jobless and to discourage
habitual dependence will make Canada's labour market much
more flexible and efficient than is currently the case. The
ultimate result will be a greater national capability to generate
growth and, most important, jobs.
I have highlighted areas where our government is committed
to fundamental, forward looking change, deficit reduction,
support for job creation, social program reform, the process of
In closing, there is another area of change I want to
emphasize. In our endeavour we are taking a new approach to
the work of government. It is an approach based on openness,
consultation and communication. That is why we framed the
1994 budget as the first part of a two stage process. It took
immediate action to meet vital immediate goals but also
launched the process of policy review and public debate that will
lead to further action in time.
Such an approach is not a case of deferring action or evading
responsibility and leadership. Rather, it addresses a
fundamental fact in Canadian life, a fact that impacts directly on
economic relations. That fact, most important to this
government, is that without reasonable consensus and a real
sense of public participation and public ownership dramatic
change can become a disastrous failure. We do not intend to
create this type of failure because Canadians deserve success.
This budget was developed in the most open process we have
seen in Canadian political history. It involved meetings across
the country and involved an opportunity for Canadians to write
the minister, participate in meetings and make their views
This process of openness will continue. We have evolved an
open process on the budget in which we gave people in different
cities a chance to set out the parameters for the expansion of the
economy, for assisting the unemployed, for creating jobs and at
the same time to begin to deal with the deficit which is a very
real burden for all Canadians.
We will continue this process through the House of Commons,
through the committee on finance this fall in which we
anticipate the 1995 budget process will be even more open and
more visible and more transparent so that Canadians can begin
to understand and feel part of a process that spends billions of
their dollars each year.
This bill will help achieve that success by moving us to real
bottom line fiscal improvement and renewed business and
For this reason I have no hesitation in encouraging all
members here today to pass this legislation so that we can
continue to move ahead with vigour and vision.
Mr. Jean-Paul Marchand (Québec-Est): Mr. Speaker, I
listened attentively to the hon. member's remarks and I feel that
they represent the views of the Liberal Party. He is content with
the budget initiatives put forward by the federal government and
I find his speech extremely dangerous, despite his eloquence. He
may be trying to lull people into a false sense of security. You
know about the current crisis in Canada. I saw the poverty in my
riding two weeks ago. One does not have to look very far to see
that poverty is widespread; unemployment is very serious and
people are concerned about the confidence they placed in the
current government because they know that it did not do much in
its last budget. It tried lukewarm measures that lack conviction,
that lack direction.
For example, to reduce the deficit, the hon. member seems
content with the deficit reduction that was announced and with
the fact that the goal may be achieved, but I feel that several
other measures could have been proposed to reduce this
extremely alarming deficit that shook the stock market and sent
the dollar tumbling.
We in the Bloc Quebecois have proposed several measures to
bring down the deficit, including cutting the fat from the federal
government. There are hardly any measures in the budget to
reduce waste in the federal government.
Would the hon. member agree to help reduce Canada's
deficit? Would he agree to set up a parliamentary committee to
examine spending and waste in government?
Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
questions. Poverty in this country is a very important issue to me
because my riding is among the poorest in the country. In
addition, in this budget, we tried to cover these issues of poverty
and the deficit. We will ask the finance committee to discuss
these questions in detail.
I think that the balance of trying to deal with questions of
poverty, whether it be in Montreal or Winnipeg, is the question
that haunts this whole country, This government does not for one
minute take lightly the limitations it has in dealing with
questions of poverty.
As a former critic on social policy for this caucus in
opposition, I know we were very critical of the last government
for not addressing questions of poverty. That is why we
stabilized equalization payments and why in this particular act
we have stabilized the Canada assistance plan. We have moved
away from the war against the poor and moved toward
supporting initiatives that can help them.
The Minister of Human Resources Development is very
active. In fact he participated in a meeting this morning dealing
with questions of income security and reforms to unemployment
insurance to ensure they do not turn out to be an attack on those
who are in need.
The President of the Treasury Board is addressing the
questions of waste and the budget not only on an annual basis but
I would say on a weekly basis. Great progress is being made to
overcome questions of waste in individual programs.
Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops): Mr. Speaker, I listened with
interest to the comments of my hon. friend from Winnipeg North
Centre in terms of the legislation before us.
I have a question for him dealing with the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police and the problems faced by new constables.
When they leave Regina, for the first three years of their service
as new constables they receive six month pay increments to
bring them up to a reasonable level of income. This legislation
not only freezes the level of pay but freezes any increment
initiative as well.
Young constables coming out of training are being asked to
serve in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. They
simply cannot live on their stipend. It is impossible. These are
bright, young, interested and aggressive young constables who
want to serve their country at a time, I think we would all agree,
when the need has never been greater and yet they cannot serve
in at least some of these urban areas because of this freeze.
The hon. member will know that when the government
changed the unemployment insurance program, which he
referred to here, there was some acknowledgement that low
income Canadians, particularly those with children, should
receive some recognition for the changes in the economic plight
that they face. Why would the government not do the same for
these new constables?
I know that the commissioner has met with the government on
this and has pleaded their case. Could my hon. friend shed some
light on why the government at least to this point has not made
any announcement that there will be some changes.
Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for
Kamloops for his question.
The broad brushes of the changes and the freezes and the
extension of the freeze on public service salaries have obviously
been of great hardship to the tens of thousands of people who
work for us. It is something we take very seriously. The
particular case of the constables is an example of the difficulties
in which people find themselves at a particular point in their
careers when the next move is out of the question because of
some restraints on their compensation package.
I will undertake, as the member has, to raise it with the
Treasury Board minister and the Solicitor General to ensure that
as the salary freeze on public servants is extended for two more
years, as it is in Bill C-17 to obtain the savings that Canadians
are looking for, individual cases of hardship are brought to their
Mr. Jake E. Hoeppner (Lisgar-Marquette): Mr. Speaker, I
have a short question for the hon. parliamentary secretary. I
listened to the stats on unemployment. I also heard that there are
28,000 people who have given up looking for jobs. This is a big
concern in Manitoba, especially on the farm scene.
Coming back from there, realizing what the transportation
system is for grain and that the terminal operations cannot go to
a seven day cycle to start moving grain faster, would the hon.
member look at that and initiate some opportunities for people
to be employed in that industry in order to give western
Canadians a break so that they can really make and fulfil
commitments with regard to foreign grain sales?
Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member from my
I do not think this government in any way, shape or form takes
any solace in the figures that were released last Friday, except as
an indication that perhaps things are getting better in some parts
of the country.
We want to see several months of improvement. When one
sees a rate of unemployment across this country that high, one
cannot take any satisfaction from it. The member from
Manitoba and the member sitting behind him from Winnipeg
know full well that this situation is going to require a lot more
intervention. It affects not only the city of Winnipeg and other
cities across this county, but also the farm industry.
Any ways that the member can suggest to improve the
efficiency of the grain industry, which is so important to the
west and to places like Thunder Bay, Montreal, Vancouver and
other ports, will be taken under advisement and discussed with
the minister of agriculture.
Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg Transcona): Mr. Speaker, while
we are on the topic of grain cars I would like to suggest to the
government member and also to my Reform Party colleague
from Manitoba that one of the problems is the fact that we have
grain cars sitting all across the country. Many of them are in
Manitoba, the old boxcar type grain cars, and they are not being
The reason they are not being used is not because of
railroaders, the government or anybody else. As I understand it,
it is because the pools do not want to hire people to man the
elevators in order to use the old boxcars. They have cut staff at
We have the grain cars to move the grain but the people who
are responsible for employment at the elevators will not make it
possible to use these cars. That is only one dimension of the
problem but I think it is something that should be put on the
Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, as the member for Winnipeg
Transcona knows, the question of grain cars and the use of those
cars is also tied into the Churchill route. As he knows, the
member for Churchill has been very active in promoting the
interest of that route and has been helped by the member for St.
Boniface in whose riding the yards are located.
Hon. Sheila Finestone (Secretary of State
(Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)): Mr. Speaker, I found
my hon. colleague's speech most interesting. I hope everyone
will read it to get a clarification of the wonderful role that has
been played to date.
In his next series of consultations, I would ask that the
minister please ensure that more women's groups, more older
citizens and ethnocultural communities are consulted. I know
we did a fair job but not a good enough job in their view. I would
hope that some commitment would be made as we go across the
country on the next round.
Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for her
comments. I just met on her behalf with a group of women from
Winnipeg, a black women's coalition, who brought these types
of questions to my attention. They are very much on my mind.
Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat): Mr. Speaker, before I
get into the content of what I wish to discuss, I would like to
touch for a moment on the remarks of the previous speaker, the
hon. parliamentary secretary for finance.
He painted a very rosy picture about the future of the
Canadian economy. I would like for the sake of balance to point
out some of the other opinions on where the economy is heading
in the next little while.
First, over the last week we have seen a very volatile stock
market. The dollar continues to be extremely volatile. Interest
rates have been hiked in the last little while.
When economists comment on this, most often they point out
two factors that contribute to this volatility. The first is
continued high deficit and debt figures and a lack of confidence
in the ability of the government to get a handle on the deficit and
debt. The second thing they point to is the situation in Quebec
and the possibility of Quebec's separation.
I urge the government to do whatever it has to do to get the
debt and deficit problem under control. Though the minister
waxes eloquent about the intent to get the deficit and the debt
under control, so far the government has not convinced the
markets it is going to do this. That is why we continue to have all
kinds of uncertainty. It certainly hurts business and the economy
in general in this country when there is that lack of confidence.
I will be addressing this bill with respect to the request for
borrowing authority for the CBC. The rationale behind that
request would give the CBC the ability to invest in systems and
equipment that would make it more efficient down the road.
This request begs many questions. The first and most
important question is the timing of this request. Right now the
government is embarking on a management and funding review
of the CBC. This request for borrowing authority presumes the
outcome of that review. It is assuming the review will find that
the CBC is a good steward of money and that it is a good
manager with a solid management team.
I would argue that the facts really do not bear that out. I would
point to the fact that the CBC has lost several senior managers in
recent weeks. That leaves it weakened in terms of having the
expertise to use that money wisely.
The second is the argument that the CBC in spending the
money it gets from the government, about $1.1 billion a year,
uses it wisely. I would beg to differ that it does.
Over the last few years the CBC has actually seen its revenues
drop. That reflects two things. It reflects the lack of confidence
advertisers have in the CBC to generate viewers, and also the
programming of the CBC obviously is left wanting.
We have the CRTC commissioner recently criticising the
CBC, pointing out that its share of viewership has dropped to
13.3 per cent, despite the fact that it has a virtual monopoly on
Canadian programming and is rewarded every year with the $1.1
The first thing that really must be addressed when the
government brings this bill forward, at least with respect to the
CBC, is the timing. Why are we doing this now when there is a
funding review about to take place?
It may, and I would suggest it will, find that the CBC is very
weak in terms of its management because of the loss of so much
of the management team and also in how it has spent money in
the past. The Fraser Institute recently suggested that on average
a CBC station spends over twice what its private sector
counterpart spends on administration and programming. That
does not bode well for taxpayers if we are preparing to give the
CBC the authority to borrow money.
The CBC has a $40 million deficit on its operating budget this
year on revenues of $1.4 billion. Allowing an indebted company
to accumulate further debts at the public's expense is poor
management and morally irresponsible.
We were talking a minute ago about the tremendous debt and
deficit problems that we have in this country. Now we are
proposing to allow the CBC to go ahead and borrow more
money. Who is going to pay for that debt if the CBC cannot meet
its financial obligations? It will be the Canadian taxpayers as
usual. We will be picking up the bill for the CBC spending.
The other thing that really concerns me about this is who is
going to be directly accountable to Parliament for this
borrowing authority. It is true that the money will have to be
approved by the finance department before the CBC gets it. I am
not convinced because the CBC is a crown corporation and does
not really depend on profits to keep it disciplined, to keep its
expenses in line and does not have a bottom line like a private
sector company. We really do not have those market disciplines
to make the management in CBC accountable for that $25
The budget document also suggests that the public
broadcaster may be allowed to borrow an amount greater than
$25 million with parliamentary approval. In effect the ceiling of
$25 million is a decoy. How did the government arrive at that
figure? What measures will keep it from becoming $50 million
or $100 million? Until we have this management and funding
review completed how will we know whether the CBC is capable
of managing even higher levels of indebtedness? How will we
know that it can repay $50 million or $100 million? Again, the
question has to be who will get it off the hook if it is unable to
repay that $100 million. Naturally the CBC will come looking to
Canadian taxpayers for a greater subsidy.
The rationale behind this new borrowing power is supposed to
allow the corporation to make investments in systems and
equipment that will result in long term savings. What we have
here in effect is a perpetuation of waste and inefficiency since
the new Liberal government has given the CBC a $100 million
reprieve on cuts announced by the previous Conservative
administration and a further deferral of $150 million over five
years. In effect, the government is to a degree reversing that.
Until this review is undertaken it seems entirely premature.
The CBC has not demonstrated it can be financially
responsible. While private broadcasters will send one camera
crew to do the job, we can almost always count on the CBC
sending three. It is a standing joke among private broadcasters
how much money, how many reporters, how many camera
crews, how many technicians the CBC has to devote to a single
news conference in order to get the story that private
broadcasters could get with one camera crew.
One of our concerns is that this crown corporation really has
the best of both worlds. It has its feet in both the private sector
and the public sector. It has its feet in the public sector purse to
the tune of $1.1 billion. It also competes in the private sector
with private sector broadcasters. Because of its huge subsidy
and now a request for $25 million in borrowing authority it will
also have the ability to further undercut advertising rates in the
markets in which it competes with private sector broadcasters.
This is a concern to private sector broadcasters. They have
raised this before and this issue is not going away. At a time
when many private sector broadcasters are suffering-many of
them are operating in the red-how can we not only give our
support to this idea but why are we not going the other way and
saying it is time to give private broadcasters a break by reining
in the CBC a bit?
Perhaps we should be giving some consideration to making
the CBC a little like public broadcasting in the United States
where they depend a lot more on contributions from viewers.
Many Canadian viewers send their contributions down to PBS in
the United States. If I am not mistaken and memory serves me
correctly, the majority of funds for those border stations comes
from Canadian viewers. That should set off alarm bells
We have to ask ourselves in light of the decline in viewership
for the CBC and in light of this request for more money why in
the world is this happening. Why are we allowing this debate to
even happen when we see all this money going south of the
border? Should we not be trying to repatriate this money?
Should the CBC be more dependent on viewer support than it
With the CBC's tacit application for a new arts channel, the
festival channel, will some of this money end up supporting this
new application? The festival channel really is in competition
again with the private sector. We have a very strong private
sector application for an arts channel but it seems the CBC feels
it has to justify its existence by applying for that new arts
channel as well.
I have to wonder if this $25 million going to the CBC will end
up in some way, shape or form being shuffled over toward the
festival channel to help that channel get off the ground. The
CBC has no mandate to be involved in this arts channel.
Nonetheless it has found a very sneaky way to go in the back
door to push for an arts channel to fall under the CBC purview.
We have to ask ourselves whether the intent of the department is
to shuffle some of that $25 million into the newly proposed
We also have to ask what guidelines has the government
established to the exercising of this borrowing authority. This
has not been made clear. The government has basically said it
will decide when the CBC comes to it whether the CBC's
application for funds has merit. We are talking about a
government that wants politicians and government to be more
We need to know before we approve this what kind of
measures will be put in place to ensure this money is not wasted,
that this money does get a return on investment because that is
what they say will happen. We have to make sure it does not go
into a festival channel to compete against private sector
broadcasters. It is not at all clear that will not happen.
Those are the types of questions this government has to
answer before we can go ahead and give any kind of support for
allowing the CBC to have borrowing authority.
This really represents the opening of a Pandora's box. We
wonder whether there will be an increase now among crown
corporations coming forward to ask for borrowing authority. I
would argue that is a very scary prospect.
Too often these different crown corporations do not have the
private sector to compete with and keep them in line and they do
not have a bottom line to address. Often they do not have to
worry about what the shareholders will say and therefore very
often can spend money very unwisely with impunity. That is a
scary prospect when we have a $45 billion or $46 billion deficit
this year entering into a new year when we may have a deficit in
excess of $40 billion.
I will conclude by saying it is crystal clear that any attempt to
revitalize the CBC using measures normally reserved for
companies competing in a private marketplace undermines its
integrity as a public broadcaster.
Any special measures designed to raise capital for the CBC
such as loans, subscriber fees or licence fees would be an unfair
advantage if the CBC underbids its private counterparts for any
services which it offers given its heavy state sanctioned
For that reason I urge the members of this House to oppose
Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister
of Industry): Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the member
opposite from the Reform Party. I feel his analysis of the CBC
has been very narrow.
When I look at the CBC I do not see it just as a broadcaster. I
see the CBC as an instrument to pull this country together. When
we think of the CBC we do not just think about CBC television,
but of CBC radio, of CBC Newsworld, probably one of the most
efficiently run organizations in the broadcast industry anywhere
in North America.
When we see the way it pulls this country together, whether it
be in the arts, in current affairs in French and English, I do not
know what other galvanizing instrument we have out there that
can provide that type of service and support in this country.
There is another aspect of the CBC and we talk about
accounting measures. My background is in business and I
believe that it is very important to have full accountability of the
However, I do not think we are putting on the asset side of the
sheet the great contribution the CBC has made in terms of
training writers, producers, camera operators and technology
wizards recognized all over the world. This is training support
the private sector has been able to pull from to move into its own
private broadcast units without having to fund any of that
training and support. That is not just in television, it is also in
radio technology, talent and service support.
Look at what the CBC has done in terms of the north. What
person in Canada would not agree with the fact that the CBC has
made a contribution in the north? What private broadcaster is
even going to go there to help pull that part of our country into
I support the approach of the Reform Party to having
accountability, but I wish the Reform Party would support our
approach. We should look at all assets, all strengths, not just at
one or two particular weaknesses. If the Reform Party were to
put into its accounting analysis all other contributions the CBC
making, is making and hopefully will make in the future, it
might think we are getting good value for taxpayers' money.
Mr. Solberg: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate very much the
suggestions of the hon. member. However I think there is a
consensus in the country that the CBC has to change.
The hon. member mentioned CBC Newsworld and how
efficient it is. Within a year of applying for and getting its
licence the CBC had to come back and ask for higher subscriber
fees because it could not make it on what it was bringing in.
Despite the fact it said it would not do so, the CBC came back
and did exactly that. I would suggest that in terms of efficiency
the CBC obviously did not look very far ahead.
When it comes to bringing the country together I very much
appreciate what the CBC has done in the past with respect to
that, but I point out that many private sector broadcasters do the
same sorts of things. The CTV network brings the country
together through its programming. It provides all kinds of
programming that people across the county appreciate, not the
least of which is its news and public affairs programming.
I point to the new specialty channel applications, for instance
the proposed Bravo channel that would bring Canadian arts
programming to the entire country at a much lower cost to
subscribers than the CBC application. There are other ways of
looking at it. There are other ways of bringing the country
together that may not involve the CBC, or it may involve the
CBC but a drastically reformed CBC.
Since 1987 there has been a decline in arts and children's
programming on CBC. We have seen all kinds of soap operas in
the afternoon and sitcoms in the evening in an attempt to bring
back viewers. That is redundant. That is ridiculous actually,
when we think about it. CBC receives $1.1 billion to provide
Canadian programming and we have these American sitcoms
coming in on all kinds of other channels. I do not think it is the
role of the CBC to be replaying American sitcoms. We have to
get away from that. The CBC has to change.
With respect to the hon. member, I think he is out of the loop if
he does not recognize that the CBC has to change. I am not
arguing that it should disappear, but it has to change. The friends
of the CBC even point that out. It is time to bring some change to
the CBC to try to make it more efficient and to respect the fact
there are new forces in the country that will allow us to come
together. We do not necessarily have to do it through the state
Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Carleton-Gloucester): Mr.
Speaker, I found absolutely dreadful the speech of the Reform
Party member attacking one of our great institutions, the CBC,
Radio-Canada in French. Being unilingual, he only mentioned
the CBC and not Radio-Canada, but I imagine he meant both. I
have a question for him.
Does the member sincerely agree that we must have a united
Canada, coast to coast, from North to South and East to West, a
bilingual Canada with two official languages, a united country
where the Canadian culture can progress and where we can
create jobs or does he believe the only important thing for the
CBC and Radio-Canada is the bottom line? Does he not see in
the CBC and Radio-Canada a human asset, a window on the
Mr. Solberg: Mr. Speaker, in my vision of Canada I do not see
it as a country that draws its culture from institutions. I do not
think Canadian culture is a bureaucratic institution. Canadian
culture is something that flows from the creative impulses of
Whether those impulses are channelled through the CBC, a
private broadcaster, a private art gallery or whatever is not
important. What is important is that these people go out and do
their thing. If it can happen more efficiently through the private
sector or if it can happen through a reformed CBC-and I
remind hon. members that their own government has called for
the review of the CBC-that is what should happen.
To hold on to some old, solid institution simply because it has
been there for 50 years and not change it at all is absolutely
ridiculous. It does not recognize that the world is changing and
that Canadian artists and creators need all kinds of outlets to get
their messages out. We should not necessarily have it flow
mostly or completely through the state. That is a very bad idea.
It is time to look at some new alternatives and it is probably the
most human way to look at Canada's cultural industry.
Mr. Maurizio Bevilacqua (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Human Resources Development): Mr. Speaker,
the bill is a key element in a much larger process. Canadians told
us they wanted a government that treated jobs as a priority. We
have taken action on job creation through the infrastructure
program and measures in the budget.
The government has begun to address fundamental issues
facing our social security system. We agree we need a system
that encourages participation and gives people incentives to
contribute to Canadian society.
The current patchwork of programs no longer addresses the
needs of Canadians. The bill underscores our commitment to
Canadians that in two years we will be at the threshold of a new
system. New ideas in social programs are being developed
everywhere as part of the reform process. We have set aside
funds to start work on some projects. The budget provides $800
million for two years for joint strategic initiatives with
provincial and territorial governments.
The same search for innovation has shaped the design of the
program we are establishing to assist people affected by the
closure of the Atlantic fishery. The bill provides $1.7 billion of
new money over the next five years through an Atlantic
groundfish industry renewal and adjustment strategy to be
developed in consultation with the public and private sectors.
We are discussing with our partners the development of a
number of new jobs through such initiatives as expansion of the
eco-tourism industry and aquaculture industry and development
of new energy sources or the development of rural amenities.
Our changes to unemployment insurance are good examples
of real effort to find balance and create jobs. We have proposed
four areas of change to the UI act.
First, we will drop the 1995 premium rate to $3 and freeze or
lower it for 1996, which businesses have assured us will create
jobs. This premium rate will be 10 per cent lower than the $3.30
rate that would otherwise be required under the UI act. Second,
we will strengthen the link between work history and UI
benefits. Third, we will increase benefits payable to low income
beneficiaries with dependants. Fourth, we will improve the
fairness of the UI program by amending and clarifying how the
voluntary quit and misconduct measures are applied.
Small business told us that any real effort to encourage job
creation must look at the impact of payroll taxes such as UI. By
reducing premiums we reduce the cost of employing people. For
example, our premium cut and the subsequent freeze will save a
business with 50 employees $15,000 during 1995 and 1996.
How will we improve the linkages between work history and
UI benefits? One would be by increasing the value we place on
long term attachment to work and the other by raising the
minimum entrance requirement to 12 from 10. The new rules
recognize that no one has really gained from a system in which
UI became a regular part of income instead of temporary support
during unavoidable job losses.
Leaders in Atlantic Canada have told us the 10-42 system has
done more harm than good for their economies. With their help
our social security reform will create a more effective system.
It is not just in Atlantic Canada where this attitude of UI as a
regular income is considered a problem. We have received
letters from across the country telling us that UI should be
available to help those in difficult situations and not be a way of
life. We need something to break the cycle.
I also take this opportunity to ensure that adequate support
will be available to those most in need. The changes to UI
increase the level of support for those with low income and
As we begin to shift from our current set of programs to
something more comprehensive, we have decided to reintroduce
a principle that was part of UI for 30 years. To help reduce the
incidence of 1.2 million children living in poverty we have
established a benefit rate at 60 per cent for those with both low
income and dependants. For other claimants the rate will be set
at 55 per cent. Those with low insured earnings of $390 per week
or less in 1994 and who have dependants will qualify for the 60
per cent benefit rate.
We have also taken action to reintroduce an element of
fairness that was lost in changes regarding suspensions, leaves
of absence and when a person quits shortly before a known
First, if a worker is suspended from a job for more than a week
the worker is considered to have been fired for misconduct. As a
result the time worked before the suspension is not counted if
the worker has to apply for UI benefits any time after the
suspension is over.
Second, if a worker takes a leave of absence from work the
leave is considered to be voluntary separation from
employment. As a result if the worker is subsequently laid off
after returning to work he or she may have to requalify to receive
Third, if a worker quits a job one or two weeks before it would
have ended anyway then the worker may be denied all UI
benefits. These measures are unfair.
We proposed that a period of suspension should not be treated
as a loss of employment owing to misconduct. We propose that
rules for leaves of absence be clarified so that workers who
return to the workplace are not penalized.
We propose that legislation be amended to provide greater
flexibility in the rules for workers who leave a job that would
have ended anyway.
Another concern about the Unemployment Insurance Act is
that too much pressure is placed on the worker claiming benefits
to prove just cause for leaving employment. We propose that in
cases in which information from both parties, the employer and
the employee, is equally balanced that the legislation be
amended to give the claimant the benefit of the doubt.
Overall these changes to the UI program will be reducing
program expenditures by $2.4 billion per year once phased in.
This reduction is necessary to offset the loss in premium
revenue as a result of rolling back the premium rate of $3. The
changes also begin the process of reform.
The bill provides the legislative flexibility needed to
undertake a number of pilot projects aimed at improving the
administrative efficiency of the UI program. The UI program
contains several provisions introduced in the 1970s that
arguably no longer fulfil the original purpose and only impose a
heavy paper burden on employers and clients.
The complexity of the current system has effects on
employers, claimants and the government in the areas of cost,
accuracy and levels of service. These pilot projects will test
alternative methodologies to demonstrate that costs could be
decreased, accuracy increased and service improved.
There will be effects on UI claimants. This is a significant
package of changes. Even now fully three-quarters of UI
claimants return to work before their claims run out. The
minister, members of the government and I want to work with
the provinces to develop a common understanding of the
implication of UI changes for provincial social assistance
Preliminary estimates of the potential effects for provincial
social assistance costs are small but we are proposing that
officials from both levels of government meet to refine these
We would use some of the funds that have been made
available for the joint strategic initiatives to help address the
potential effect of the changes to the UI program. The
government remains committed to preserving an unemployment
insurance system that provides protection for Canadians who
have lost their jobs and are seeking work, one that operates with
Any substantial change to UI as part of the social security
reform will happen only after Canadians have had a chance to
think about their priorities. We recognize the concerns
Canadians may have about our decisions but we have pursued a
balanced approach to interim change. Canadians understand that
unemployment insurance must evolve in concert with the rest of
the social security system. However, UI is only one aspect of
To stabilize planning for both levels of government we have
taken measures in this bill for other elements of the system, the
Canada assistance plan and established programs financing. The
cap on EPF for post-secondary education represents an
important piece of the intergovernmental social policy
framework. This bill stabilizes the planning framework for
provinces and territories while we build a new system. CAP
transfers will grow by about 5.4 per cent in 1994-95 and remain
at that level until a new system is in place.
The joint strategic initiatives I discussed earlier will
contribute additional funding to help provinces and territories to
get started on testing new approaches and social security ideas.
EPF is a core of federal support that benefits Canada's youth
through the slightly more than $6 billion per year we provide for
post-secondary education. The budget provides for modest
growth in our transfers under this program.
Funding for post-secondary education is only one aspect of
our support for youth. We will pursue new approaches to
internship, innovative alternatives that help young people with
the transition from school to work. We are launching Youth
Service Canada and will have program participants contributing
to their communities and helping to protect our environment by
Mutual responsibility is a key principle driving our
discussions about social security reform. The government will
invest in people, but people must also make a contribution to
Let me conclude by saying the government is committed to
the issue of jobs and hope for Canada. It was our number one
objective during the election and has been ever since. With this
bill we have taken action. We have dropped payroll taxes to
create a climate for job creation. At the same time we have
created a stable planning framework for the period of change
that lies ahead.
During that time we will build a system which helps
Canadians find jobs, skills and the sense of dignity they have so
Mr. Jake E. Hoeppner (Lisgar-Marquette): Mr. Speaker, I
appreciate the parliamentary secretary's comments. I know
unemployment is a big problem.
I hate to always bring up the subject of agriculture, but being
from Manitoba it is very important to me. I wonder if the Liberal
government would take into account that there are
approximately 240,000 farmers in western Canada. According
to Stats Canada's latest figures, these farmers earned an average
of $16,000 a year before depreciation. It also showed that these
farmers earned $32,000 a year from off farm jobs. If we could
put agriculture back on a profitable basis there would be
240,000 jobs available to somebody else.
We have lost sight of the fact that agriculture is still the basic
industry in western Canada. We have to make this industry
profitable in order to provide other jobs.
Looking into the agriculture industry, we see that 500,000
jobs are created in the processing and retailing of agricultural
foods. It is very important we make this industry viable again.
I would appreciate the parliamentary secretary's comments
Mr. Bevilacqua: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon.
member for his question.
As a government we are concerned about agriculture and the
benefits which we draw as a nation from the production and sale
of agricultural products. There is a great willingness in the
government to bring about positive change to the lives of
Canadians, whether they are affected by agriculture or the
deindustrialization of the manufacturing base in Ontario.
On October 25 we received a mandate for change. People were
tired of working harder and earning less money. Our young
people were tired and feeling really hopeless about their
prospects. That is true whether they lived on a farm or in a city.
People felt that the rules for membership in our society had
changed. Basically they were asking for vehicles of opportunity,
a way once again to participate fully in the life of the nation.
In the last budget and in the throne speech we began a process
as a government in co-operation with the people of Canada to
redesign a new vision for the nation. That is why we entered into
the very extensive process of reforming Canada's social
Many governments in the past shied away from that. They
were afraid, perhaps of the misunderstandings, of the code
words. They were afraid to face the challenge of saying to
people that the systems were no longer working and new ways of
giving Canada a better social security system should be looked
We have accepted the challenge. We have said that
unemployment insurance as it exists today simply does not
reflect contemporary reality. Young people have asked for a
vehicle of opportunity, something to have during the transition
period between school and work. Therefore we are looking at
internship and apprenticeship training programs, the Canadian
We have told small business we understand when they say too
much stress is placed on them. We therefore have decreased
payroll taxes, the UI premiums.
We are doing many things to make people come together
rather than split apart. That was the legacy of 10 years under the
Conservatives where we saw polarization of classes and people
really losing hope in our country. It is our number one challenge.
A very important part of this new vision we speak and act
upon every day since the October 25 election is the people who
are involved in the agricultural sector of Canada. We value the
commitment and dedication they have made to developing a
better society for all Canadians. The challenges are great. There
is no question about that.
The measures we have taken in the budget set a direction but
they are interim measures. There is much work to do. We have
seen that we need to modernize and restructure our economy. We
have to give Canadians tools to become productive, to share in
the national vision that speaks to regaining the values that made
this country a great nation.
I am, as you are, extremely tired of going into cities and towns
where people are lining up at food banks, where we have the
problems of latchkey kids, where our young students are not
looking to the future in a positive way.
Our mission is to take back our communities. Our mission is
to take back our nation, to give it back to the people. Together
there is great potential to increase the quality of life for
everyone who resides here.
Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops): Mr. Speaker, I listened with
much attention to my hon. friend and his very thoughtful
Many questions could be asked but I want to take advantage of
the fact that he represents a Toronto constituency. As such he
knows the special burdens someone from our large urban areas
has to face.
I notice that when this bill was first introduced the President
of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for
Infrastructure drew attention to the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police and the tremendous contribution they make to our
country, and their international reputation.
The freeze that was applied to the members of the RCMP
along with others and the fact that no increments are allowed for
two years place tremendous pressure on new constables as they
leave the training facilities in Regina to go out and assume
responsible positions around the country.
Their take home pay is about $1,800 a month. Even in
Kamloops which is a lot smaller than Toronto I have had
constables come to me with a breakdown of their monthly
expenses. Living incredibly modestly they cannot live on
$1,800 a month. That is in Kamloops. I can only imagine how
much more of a problem that would be in a city like Toronto.
Would my hon. colleague consider taking back this kind of
concern to the President of the Treasury Board. When one makes
a freeze across a whole spectrum it might not have much of an
effect on a public servant making $120,000 a year but it
certainly will impact seriously on someone who brings home
$1,800 a month and expects to raise a family on that.
Could I get some response from my friend. Will he raise with
the President of the Treasury Board the plight that these new
constables face in the RCMP when they are unable to have any
increments when normally they would expect six increments-
The Deputy Speaker: Order please. The time is up. Please be
brief in reply.
Mr. Bevilacqua: Mr. Speaker, I will be extremely brief in
giving my assurances to the hon. member that I will bring his
concerns to the attention of the President of the Treasury Board.
Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Terrebonne): Mr. Speaker, today we
have an opportunity to speak on Bill C-17. This five-part
omnibus bill makes major changes to unemployment insurance.
The minister presents us with a bill, let me point out, dealing
with compensation in the public sector, the Canada Assistance
Plan, public utilities income tax transfers, various
transportation subsidies, the CBC's borrowing authority and
finally changes to the Unemployment Insurance Plan. Once
again, it is quite a hodgepodge. The more things change, the
more they are the same.
Radical changes are put in a bill without any specific
orientation and we are told to take the whole thing as is. I will
remind the Liberals, in case they no longer remember, that they
were elected with a clear objective, supposedly to create jobs.
But again, nothing, I repeat, nothing, has been done to achieve
A catch-all infrastructure program will create barely 40,000
temporary jobs, at an astronomical cost. I give you the figures
quoted by the Liberals themselves; 40,000 new jobs is very nice,
but if they achieve 100 per cent of their objective, they will not
even have reached 10 per cent of the unemployed young people
in this country. According to Statistics Canada, in February
1994, 428,000 young people aged 15 to 24 were collecting
unemployment insurance, and the Liberals are proud that they
may create 40,000 temporary jobs in a few years.
This government really shows disrespect for the people. If the
Liberals cannot take significant action, even for the 15-24 age
group, we can well wonder when people, seeing construction
trucks driving around, as the Prime Minister said, will regain
confidence in the economy, confidence in the government and
confidence in general. So, as my fellow member from Mercier
proposes, we should amend Bill C-17 so that it contains specific
measures to reduce youth unemployment.
Furthermore, how can the minister bring in such a bill
considerably modifying unemployment insurance while at the
same time he is launching a Canada-wide consultation on how
UI works? Strange. We can well wonder about this consultation
or these consultations. In fact, what have the Liberals done since
they came to power?
In finance, Canada-wide consultations, and bogus ones at
that, as confirmed by the budget. In defence, they have struck a
joint committee, with senators. Nothing but the best. Again,
consultations. In foreign affairs, another joint committee. We
really have to thank our senators for their contribution.
Consultation again. In social programs, consultation. How
A question comes to mind. I would like to know-and I would
like comments on that later, please-if Liberals are totally
devoid of ideas and opinions after nine years in opposition and,
if so, how does it feel coming in from the cold after nine years?
It was a rude awakening, was it not? One can certainly wonder,
seeing that nearly six months into their mandate, the Liberals
remain incapable of making decisions or making sensible ones
when they do.
Through UI cuts, the Liberals hoped to save $5.5 billion
dollars, over three years that is, and in a clearly inequitable
fashion, as Atlantic Canada and Quebec will bear the brunt of
the cuts. In fact, Atlantic Canada will suffer a shortfall of about
$630 million, while Quebec will lose some $735 million a year
in revenue. With 25 per cent of the population of Canada,
Quebec will actually foot 31 per cent of the cuts announced by
the minister. So, as you pointed out, and rightly so, it does
happen that people get more than their fair share from the
federal government. But in this case, it is at our expense.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to read you a quote from the red
book that I have used in a previous speech: ``-cynicism about
public institutions, governments, politicians, and the political
process is at an all-time high. If government is to play a positive
role in society, as it must, honesty and integrity in our political
institutions must be restored.'' I agree with that statement. I
agree with the Liberals on that. I do not agree on everything but
on that, I do. I will be bringing this up often because they are not
acting accordingly and it is true that we must all work together
to restore confidence in this place.
But what kind of cry from the heart will it take to make our
friends opposite show a little good faith in their
decision-making? In examining the budget papers, we see that
this year's budget for the Governor General's office is $10
million. Ten million! One hundred million will be spent over
five years for educational videos. One hundred million over five
years, while the provinces and the unemployed have to shoulder
$5.5 billion! And this is supposed to restore some confidence in
If we are to make any headway at all in resolving the
unemployment problem in Canada and Quebec, we have to
consider occupational training. I would like the minister to
explain to us how responsibility for occupational training is to
be shared and what his position on this issue is. Under the
Constitution, occupational training is a provincial matter, one
which falls, therefore, in Quebec's jurisdiction. It arises from
the province's exclusive jurisdiction over education. In 1942,
Ottawa encroached on this and several others fields by virtue of
its jurisdiction over unemployment insurance and its spending
power. Increasingly, the federal government has meddled in
fields such as worker placement and the funding of occupational
Since the unemployment insurance reform of 1989, the
federal government has used the Unemployment Insurance
Account for training purposes. At the same time, it has
considerably expanded its field of intervention to include
helping labour markets adjust to the opening up of markets and
A total of some thirty initiatives have been grouped into four
major programs, namely Labour Market Information,
Community Futures, Employability Improvement and Labour
Market Adjustment. The last two programs offer services to
individuals and businesses, respectively. At the same time,
Quebec adopted a similar program structure as recently as 1992.
It entrusted its management to the Société québécoise de
développement de la main-d'oeuvre or SQDM, a partnership
between the private and public sectors.
To finance these services, the federal government's
contribution to labour force training and adjustment in Quebec
amounts to a little over $900 million for 1993-94. Of this
amount, $320 million comes from the Consolidated Revenue
Fund, or $150 million less than three years ago.
As for administration at the federal level, the Quebec region,
which is described as one region among many others, is divided
into ten networks roughly equivalent to the Quebec
administrative division. About 100 Canada Employment
Centres are responsible for administering unemployment
insurance and managing manpower programs in their respective
Each of these employment and immigration centres has its
own local planning strategy or LPS. It includes some degree of
co-operation with Quebec.
Last April, the job training centre network in Quebec was
converted into 10 regional branches of the SQDM. In
association with local partners, each of them is responsible for
the management of Quebec manpower programs. Their action
largely depends on federal funds and is often incompatible with
the LPS, and federal priorities are applied to the regions.
Through its spending power and its jurisdiction over
unemployment insurance, the federal government's power on
job training in Quebec is practically absolute. This power was
reinforced with unemployment insurance reform in 1989 when
it became the federal government's favoured intervention tool in
labour force adjustment and free trade.
Quebec's role has been reduced to that of a mere manager of
some federal programs, as demonstrated by the January 1993
conference of federal and provincial employment ministers.
Despite unanimous support by Quebec labour market partners
and the creation of an administrative structure adapted to its
needs, the SQDM, the federal government refuses to withdraw
from this area and to transfer the allocated funds. It has kept its
network of Canada Employment Centres despite Quebec's
At the federal level, manpower adjustment services offered by
the federal government are divided into four main programs and
27 components. The result is something that can be a real
headache for clients.
There are over 100 criteria, depending on the type of client,
available resources and also on the region and local CECs. There
should be three sets of priorities: national, regional and local.
However, under this system, the needs of Quebec and local
organizations are ignored. The result: unemployed workers who
are wasting their time and courses for which there is no demand.
Quebec has two sets of programs administered by two
separate networks: the manpower development corporations or
SQDM, as I said earlier, and the Quebec labour centres. The first
set of programs has 15 components and is aimed at people on
welfare. The other set consists of ten operations which, since
last year, have been regrouped in three main programs intended
for businesses, individuals and victims of mass lay-offs,
respectively. This adds up to a total of 25 programs.
The cost of operating all these programs is about $580 million
for the federal government and about $70 million for Quebec,
with $62 million being spent on the SQDM, the Quebec
manpower development corporation.
My point is that it is high time we patriated this sector and put
it under Quebec control. Another aspect of this bill seems rather
absurd. I am referring to the premium rate of $3.07 for every
$100 of insurable earnings which in January 1995 will be rolled
back to $3. Remember, it was the Liberals who raised the rate
from $3 to $3.07.
According to the Liberals, the roll-back planned for next year
will help create 40,000 new jobs in 1996.
We will try to give a brief analysis of the Liberal approach to
this question. It may seem complicated, but we will give it a try.
Our conclusion will be somewhat Kafkaesque, to use a favourite
expression of the hon. member for Verchères. Let me explain.
According to the old formula, unemployment insurance
premiums would be as follows: in 1993, $3 for every $100 of
insurable earnings; in 1994, $3.07, which is what we have now;
and in 1995, premiums were to be raised to $3.30 per $100 of
insurable earnings. According to the government's proposal,
premiums which were at $3 per $100 of insurable earnings in
1993 will be raised to $3.07 as of January, which is the case now,
but the rate will be reduced to $3 in 1995.
Let us see what happens if we pursue this scenario.
If the Liberals had maintained the old premium formula, we
would have lost 9,000 jobs in 1994 and 31,000 jobs the year
after. By raising premiums to $3.07, the Liberals get the
following result: 9,000 jobs lost in 1994 they realize that, they
said so themselves and 9,000 jobs gained in 1995, which means
a grand total of zero. We lose 9,000 this year, we create 9,000 the
year after, and the result is zilch. Wow, that is really something.
Or so they say.
Actually we are not talking about 40,000 new jobs but 31,000
jobs saved and 9,000 new jobs after losing 9,000. Obviously, the
end result of their excellent theory is zero.
We must conclude that once again, the government is trying to
fool the public, but today's public is better informed and no
longer prepared to swallow this kind of proposal.
In any event, it is clear that the previous government was a
failure and that the Liberals will not be an improvement. The
government should no longer play a leading role in creating
jobs. Recent figures have shown that small businesses have been
the main source of new jobs during the past few years and will
continue to play that role. The Liberals realize that. Give credit
where credit is due.
Today, for investors and small businesses, the government's
role should be to protect public finances. A good government
should control its spending. A good government should control
the deficit, and by the same token, a good government will
restore a climate of confidence.
The economy is based on confidence, and governments-I
said governments-undermine that confidence by being
inconsistent and have done so for far too long. To create
employment we do not need construction equipment, as the
Prime Minister seems to think. We need to restore a healthy
climate of confidence that will encourage genuine economic
recovery, which in turn will attract investment and by the same
token create jobs, durable jobs.
However, we are convinced that because of overlapping
programs and interdepartmental duplication, the federal
government will never manage to meet this very simple
objective. However, a sovereign Quebec that is master of its own
destiny and controls the levers of its economy and
decision-making processes will be able to meet this immense
challenge. There is no doubt about that. We know, as Félix told
us, that the best way to kill a man is to keep him from working.
The Deputy Speaker: Since there is no one to take the floor
for questions and comments, we continue with the debate.
I wanted to recognize the hon. member for Windsor-St.
Clair, but I do not see her in the House. The hon. member for
Kent does not seem to be here either. Since it is the Liberals'
I would request hon. members to get the member for
Windsor-St. Clair as quickly as possible, please.
Is there a question or comment for the Official Opposition?
Some hon. members: No.
Ms. Shaughnessy Cohen (Windsor-St. Clair): Mr.
Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in this debate to speak to the
government's proposed changes to the unemployment insurance
program and in particular those changes that address the
problems of low income Canadians and their dependants.
These changes to unemployment insurance are the first step
toward a reform of our social security programs. They are the
first step toward making these programs more responsive to the
needs of Canadians as this country enters the 21st century.
The government is not taking this step unilaterally. The
Minister of Finance engaged in extensive discussions with
Canadians before bringing down the 1994 budget. The Minister
of Human Resources Development has consulted and will
continue to consult with business, labour and Canadians from
every walk of life about social security reform.
This government knows that the life of every Canadian will be
affected for many years to come by the results of this reform.
That is why we are taking steps to ensure that Canadians will
receive maximum benefits from these changes.
We have also taken special measures in our proposed changes
to the unemployment insurance plan to protect those Canadians
who are most vulnerable, those with low incomes who support
children, aged parents or other dependants.
Under the current unemployment insurance rules, people who
claim unemployment receive a benefit rate of 57 per cent no
matter what their circumstances. Under our proposed changes
there would be a two part benefit rate, 60 per cent for those with
lower incomes who have dependants and 55 per cent for all
To qualify for the higher benefit rate a claimant must have
insurable earnings of $390 per week or less and have
dependants. This would entitle the claimant to $234 weekly in
unemployment insurance benefits. However, this government
does not want rigid rules regarding eligibility to hurt those in
need whose weekly incomes may be slightly more than $390.
Accordingly, we have also proposed that all claimants with
insurable earnings between $390 and $425 receive the same
weekly benefit of $234. All those with insurable earnings over
$425 will receive 55 per cent of their earnings as benefits. We
estimate that this will improve benefits for 15 per cent of
unemployment insurance claimants or about 250,000 Canadians
and their families.
The economic restructuring of our country owing to the forces
of globalization and technology is creating a society
increasingly divided between those who have well paying,
secure, skilled jobs and those who are doing part time, low paid
temporary work without the benefit or hope of advancement.
The segment of our population that has been hardest hit by
this trend is women, in particular women with children.
Women's roles in our society have undergone enormous changes
since the social security system was first established.
Thirty years ago Canadians believed that most women would
get married, have children and stay home to take care of their
families. That was in the days when one wage earner could
easily feed and care for a family and still put money aside for a
holiday. Times have certainly changed. Today it takes two wage
earners for most families to keep their heads above the poverty
Women now represent 45 per cent of the Canadian workforce.
Unfortunately most of these women work for low wages. On
average a Canadian woman working full time today earns just 72
cents for every dollar earned by a man. Those statistics say it all.
In 1990 about 5.4 million working Canadians received a total
income of less than $10,000. Of these, 64 per cent were women.
At the other end of this scale the picture is entirely different. In
1990, 3.3 million working Canadians received a total income of
$40,000 or more. Of these, only 22 per cent were women.
Most working women in Canada have children. Many of these
women are single parents bearing full responsibility for their
children. The result is one of the most unacceptable facts of life
in Canada: We still have 1.5 million children living in poverty.
This is an unacceptable situation for one of the wealthiest
nations on earth.
Our proposal to provide greater unemployment insurance
assistance to those with low incomes and dependants will have
an immediate impact on those Canadians most in need: the
women and children of this country who are having trouble
making ends meet.
Providing greater unemployment insurance assistance to low
income Canadians with dependants is a signal to all Canadians
that this government believes in equity and fairness. We want to
make sure that if we have fewer unemployment insurance
dollars that those dollars we do have will go to the people whose
need is greater.
The proposals set out in the 1994 budget to change the
unemployment insurance program are important first steps but
they are only interim measures.
The reform of social security programs is essential if we are to
meet head on the challenges of the 1990s and beyond. We can no
longer use an outdated system to solve modern problems. It just
is not working. We have too many people without jobs, too many
families under stress, too many young people who have given up
hope and too many Canadians who have lost their confidence in
We cannot achieve change unless we shed the policies of the
past that simply are not doing the job that they are supposed to
do. We cannot achieve change if we try to cut and paste
programs, patching something here and adding something there.
We cannot achieve change unless we are willing to lay the
system bare, putting every component under scrutiny.
This government believes we have to start with a clean slate
and create a new framework for our social safety net. That is
why this government is undertaking the most significant and
wide ranging review of our social security programs in Canada's
The Deputy Speaker: I think it is understood that the member
is dividing her time with a colleague. Nobody is standing on
questions or comments.
Mr. Rex Crawford (Kent): Mr. Speaker, it gives me great
pleasure to rise today on behalf of my constituents and speak
about Bill C-17, an act to implement the first Liberal budget in
The budget shows we have a game plan and that we are going
to stick to it. We are delivering on our commitments, funding
every key initiative in the red book. With our top priorities of
jobs and growth, we are offering a balanced approach with
emphasis on economic renewal, deficit reduction and social
As represented by Bill C-17 presented by my friend and
colleague the Minister of Finance, we are renewing our
commitment to economic justice for a fair and lasting prosperity
that can put Canadians back to work.
We have all come through a vigorous election campaign.
Everyone had their losses, but the pain of our defeats is far less
than the pain of the people I have met.
We have learned it is important to take issues seriously but
never to take ourselves too seriously. I am sure we share the
same cause, the cause of the common man and the common
woman. Since the days of Laurier, King, St. Laurent, Trudeau,
Turner and now Chrétien, our commitment has always been to
those humble people of our society, the farmers, the labourers
and all others who work day in and day out to provide a better
life for their families.
This budget continues that firm commitment, clearly
establishing a framework for economic renewal and investing in
the skills of Canadians. We support job creation with the
national infrastructure program, youth internship and
Unlike the previous Conservative government the new
Liberal government has pledged that we will never misuse
unemployment, high interest rates and human misery as false
weapons against inflation.
We have pledged that employment is the first priority of our
economic policy. A rollback of the unemployment insurance
premium rate to the 1993 level of $3 for 1995 and 1996 saves
businesses over $300 million a year which can be reinvested in
new jobs. A Canada investment fund to provide venture capital
for innovative companies and a Canadian technology network to
help small business to get access to new technology are just two
Small business is the backbone of the economy and that is
where we have placed our emphasis. These are not simplistic
pledges; they are the heart of our tradition. They have been the
soul of our party across generations. It is the glory and the
greatness of our Liberal tradition to speak for those who have no
voice, to remember those who are forgotten, to respond to the
frustrations and fulfil the aspirations of all Canadians seeking a
better life in a better land.
Programs may sometimes become obsolete but the idea of
fairness always endures. Circumstances may change but the
work of compassion must continue. It is correct we cannot solve
problems by throwing money at them, but it is also correct that
we dare not throw our national problems on to the scrap heap of
inattention and indifference.
The poor may be out of political fashion but they are not
without human needs. The middle class may be angry but they
have not lost the dream that all Canadians can advance together.
Canadians are tired of changes that merely nibble at the edges.
We will implement bold, sweeping reforms that will ensure
Canadians can adapt to the challenges of the new economy. We
need to build bridges to work, to independence, not dependence.
We must better deliver to those in need and at the same time
make sure the social safety net remains affordable.
We will overhaul these programs to help Canadians move into
the workforce. The demand of our people in 1994 is definitely
not for bigger government but for better government. Some say
government is always bad and that spending for basic social
programs is the root of our economic evil, but the present
recession and unemployment rates cost our economy billions of
dollars every year. Unemployment and recession are the biggest
spenders of all.
We are the party that brought the Canada pension plan and
medicare to the nation. We have always been the party of hope.
With the budget of my friend and colleague, the Minister of
Finance, we are offering new hope to a Canada uncertain about
the present but unsurpassed in its potential for the future.
To all those overburdened by an unfair tax structure let us
provide new hope for real tax reform. Instead of shutting down
hospital wings let us shut off tax shelters. The budget closes
loopholes and brings greater fairness to the tax system.
During the recent election campaign I listened and learned
from the people of my riding of Kent, the heart of southwestern
I listened to a factory worker in Chatham, Ontario who had six
children to support and was going to her factory shift. I listened
to a Motor Wheel employee with four kids and many bills who
lost his job after 25 years at the plant. It is now an empty shell of
a building, shut down, throwing hundreds on the unemployment
lines. I listened to a farm family in Howard township who
wonder whether they can pass the good life and the good earth on
to their children. I listened to a grandmother in a seniors home in
Dresden who has only the old age pension to make ends meet and
wants her remaining years to be dignified and decent. I listened
to a 23-year old out of work, to students without the tuition for
university or college and to families without the chance to own a
In my riding especially I have seen the closed factories and
the stalled assembly lines of Chatham and Kent county. I have
seen far too many idle men and women desperate for work. I
have seen far too many working families desperate to put food
on the table, to make the hydro, mortgage and car payments with
one parent either working or laid off while being taxed to the
As I arrived at 4.30 every morning at the plant gates during the
election, I also sensed a yearning for new hope among the people
at every factory and every corner store. I felt it in their
handshakes. I saw it in their faces. I shall never forget the
mothers who had to work on the 5 a.m. shift to earn enough
money to feed their children.
I shall always remember the veterans in the Royal Canadian
Legions and the seniors in nursing homes who have lived in a
Canada of high purpose and who believe it can all happen again.
They are all optimistic. If only they had a government that was
on their side, a government that spoke out for the little guy.
I believe we are that government. Today in their name, for the
people of Kent, I am here to speak for them. It is an honour and a
privilege to be a member of Parliament, but our highest duty, our
overriding passion is to stand with our constituents to express
the thoughts and concerns of those who do not have paid
lobbyists to do their bidding or special interest groups to fax
dozens of pages of information across the country.
My special interest group is my constituents and I will fight
for them every day. I am proud to support the government and
Mr. Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I
congratulate the member opposite for his comments.
I wonder if the hon. member would expand on one thing he
touched on in his speech. It was also in the presentation of the
Liberal member who preceded him. It is the effect of part-time
employment on a community. In particular, I wonder if the
member opposite has given any thought to extending benefits to
part-time employees. As many members are aware, a very high
percentage of people are in our workforce now only because
they are consistently able to get part-time employment and they
have two or three part-time jobs.
I wonder if the member opposite could comment.
Mr. Crawford: Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member
for his question.
In my riding of Kent, which is the most depressed area in
Ontario at the present time, part-time work is about the only
type of job people can get.
Personally, I support benefits for part-time workers. I also
feel that people who are on welfare should be allowed to work to
top up their benefits without penalty. If people do find part-time
work, as soon as they are laid off, which is usually within a few
short weeks, then it is another battle to get back on the rolls
We have been promoting, and I think we have the hon.
member's support, an ethanol plant in the city of Chatham. This
$170 million plant will employ only 90 to 100 people within the
plant. Outside the plant over 400 will benefit from it. It is
something I have been trying to get through the government with
the help of the opposition parties. I hope the hon. member will
support it because I certainly support his views to a great extent.
Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough): Mr. Speaker, I listened
with great interest to both the previous presentations. I wonder
if the member would care to comment on the situation of
At the present time young people are having a particularly
difficult existence. We are encouraging them to stay in school.
We are encouraging them to get training. However the costs of
school and the costs of training become more and more arduous.
We really must look at different ways for students to pay back
their loans, in particular ways which mean that graduating
students who get very low paying jobs do not have to pay their
student loan immediately. Later those loans could be paid back
in proportion to the money they earn, in proportion to the tax
they pay, rather than in a very fixed period of time which really
works against those who cannot early on in their careers obtain
well paying jobs.
I wonder if the member would care to comment on that.
Mr. Crawford: Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member
for his question pertaining to students and repaying their loans.
I have had many students come to my office, especially over
the last two weeks when we had a break, who are worried about
this. They are now being billed by the banks and they do not have
The government through supporting job creation, youth
internship and apprenticeship programs will certainly help to
alleviate their problems.
I cannot give a figure on how much money right now, but I was
talking to UIC and it is putting quite a few students back to work
right now. UIC is giving them the opportunity to carry on their
education or to be able to pay off the money they owe. The
government is on the right track in helping these students and I
certainly support it 100 per cent.
The Speaker: The hon. member for Kootenay West. The hon.
member will note the time. Perhaps he would like to begin his
statement but I would be interrupting him. If not, I could go to
Statements by Members.
Mr. Gouk: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, if I may make
my full speech immediately after I would much prefer that.
The Speaker: Is it agreed then?
It being two o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the
House will now proceed to Statements by Members, pursuant to
Standing Order 31.
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Terrebonne):
following Montreal's selection as the host community for the
NAFTA Environmental Commission, many inaccurate and
vengeful things have been written about this city. Montreal has
been described by some as an island in the middle of an open
dump, as the worst city from an environmental standpoint not
Canada but in all of North America. These allegations reflect
deep-seated contempt and are cause for indignation.
The Mayor of Montreal, Mr. Jean Doré, has reacted to these
comments and has issued an update on the major achievements
of the Montreal Urban Community in the field of sewage
treatment. A number of important sewage treatment projects are
in the works. In truth, Montreal has nothing to learn from other
Canadian cities as far as this or any other field is concerned.
In our opinion, this kind of thinly veiled insult directed at
Montreal only serves once again to tarnish the image of this city
and of Quebec. It is an instance of provocation which must be
* * *
Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough):
Mr. Speaker, unlike other
members of this House, I have had to deal with two GATTs this
winter. One was the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade,
also known as GATT. The other was Vince Gatt, president of the
greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Gatt and I do not always see eye to eye but I was delighted
to see the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce wholeheartedly
endorsing the National Chamber of Commerce program called
Aim for a Million. This is a plan to create a million new jobs
across Canada. Peterborough's share of this target is in the
Although the government can play key roles in job creation
such as stimulating the economy, creating short term jobs and
ensuring we have a trained workforce, in the end jobs are created
by businesses. Many of those businesses belong to our
Chambers of Commerce. I welcome the chamber's initiative in
setting its sights on job creation. We need partners of this type.
In Peterborough both GATTs seem to be having some useful
* * *
Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast):
Mr. Speaker, I rise
today to recognize the Canadian company that is taking a
leading role in human resource development.
The Bank of Montreal is the first company outside of the
United States to receive the Catalyst award. This award
recognizes companies that implement successful and
meaningful employment programs.
The bank has made big strides in a short period of time to
bring job equity to the workplace. It has increased its number of
female executives from 9 per cent to 13 per cent. It has also
increased the number of females in senior management from 13
per cent to 17 per cent.
What is remarkable is that this has been done without reverse
discrimination or affirmative action programs. It adopted
flexible work programs to meet the personal and professional
needs of all its employees.
The Bank of Montreal has shown how fair mindedness when
offering opportunity results in competent and committed
employees in the workplace. I salute the Bank of Montreal.
* * *
Mrs. Jean Payne (St. John's West):
Mr. Speaker, there is an
old Chinese proverb which says that a long journey starts with
the first step.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank
my colleague, the Minister of Finance, because his budget is a
giant step toward the journey back to fiscal stability in Canada.
His budget is a realistic approach to the problems that have
plagued our nation for a long time. The measures the budget
proposes will allow us to both provide the jobs people need and
gradually reduce the deficit in a sensible manner.
The provision of employment is especially important in the
riding of St. John's West which I have the honour to represent. It
is especially important to the province of Newfoundland and
Labrador. It is also important to Atlantic Canada where
unemployment has been unacceptably high for as long as
anybody can remember.
The benefits of this budget have already been seen. Recent
unemployment figures are down nationally and in
Newfoundland. We should continue our efforts to reduce those
figures and that is going to be the goal of this government.
It is encouraging to note the extremely strong commitment
this government has demonstrated toward the survival of the
fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the riding
of St. John's West. During the next five years the government
has committed $1.9 billion in assistance to Atlantic Canadian
fisherpeople and plant workers. The government is putting the
money where it is really needed.
It should be noted well that this long term approach is a vote
of confidence in the fishing industry that is so vital to the people
of St. John's West and to the entire province.
* * *
Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth):
Mr. Speaker, I rise today
to express grave concern about published reports in today's
paper concerning revelations over the RCMP's spying activities
on black civil rights leaders in the province of Nova Scotia
during the 1960s and 1970s.
The documents were released only after an access to
information request by a Nova Scotia newspaper. Although
highly censored they still contain unacceptable racial
stereotypical references to blacks such as portraying black
women as prolific child bearers and black men as layabouts and
This whole episode would be disturbing enough if these
reports were written by any RCMP surveillance officer.
However some of the most racially insensitive comments were
in reports by Mr. William Higgitt who went on to become the
commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
I ask the Solicitor General today to personally undertake a
review of all of the uncensored documentation relating to this
issue in an effort to search out and if found, stamp out any
institutionalized racism in Canada's federal forces, the RCMP
* * *
Mr. Andy Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury):
Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Fredericton branch of
RESULTS, an international organization committed to creating
the political will to end world hunger.
In the time it takes to read this statement over 200 children
will die in the world. Tragically, most of these deaths are
preventable. As little as $5 per child could save thousands of
As we debate how many billions to spend within our affluent
society, citizens in countries in four continents seek our support
for basic sustenance.
We cannot allow NGO over-bureaucratization, western
cultural bias or fiscal pressures within to distract us from our
humanitarian responsibilities around the globe.
I join all members in saluting the many organizations and
individuals who quietly save children's lives.
I call upon the government to meet its 1991 commitment of
$20 million for immunization and encourage putting money
toward micro enterprise initiatives so that actual results will be
the pillars of Canada's foreign aid policy.
* * *
Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu):
Mr. Speaker, yesterday
the NDP member for Kamloops stated that his friends in Quebec
should shut up and stop talking about sovereignty because that
implies the destruction of Canada and makes international
lending agencies uneasy.
Such a statement calls for an indignant reaction. Markets are
soft because of the pitiful state of Canada's public finances,
which is the making of the federal system and should not be
blamed on the people of Quebec. As it is, this uncertainty is a
sure sign of the failure of this system.
Furthermore, the process the people of Quebec have
embarked upon is legitimate; they want to assert themselves as a
nation. They are not trying to destroy Canada, but rather to build
their own country.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I urge the hon. member not to waste
his time and energy, as the Bloc Quebecois will not shut up and
will continue to promote the sovereignty of Quebec in this
* * *
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West):
Michael McIntosh of Matsqui, British Columbia recently
received one of those mean old letters from Revenue Canada
which stated Revenue Canada was about to garnishee his income
tax refund to pay off an outstanding student loan.
However, Mr. McIntosh has no outstanding student loan. In
1972 he paid it off in full. Now, 22 years later the government
claims he still owes 75 cents principal and $39 in interest
accrued. The error is with the government that delayed the
processing of the payment 22 years ago. This is ridiculous.
The Prime Minister has said he has the people and he has the
plan. How can one implement any plan with people who make
decisions like this?
* * *
Mr. Jesse Flis (Parkdale-High Park):
democratic development and good governance are the hallmarks
of peace and co-operation in the modern era.
The successful outcome of Ukraine's first fair and free
elections since its independence is testimony to what can be
achieved given the strong will and perseverance of a people who
do not fear change.
The Canadian government played a significant role in
providing a $2.5 million electoral assistance package, including
ballot paper, media training and voter education.
I was pleased to lead a team of Canadian observers to monitor
the elections on March 27. After the second round of balloting
on April 9 and 10, I have been informed that 312 out of 450
deputies have been elected and further results are pending.
Given that the quorum has been reached to form a new
parliament and that at least 50 per cent of voters cast their
ballots in the Crimea, it may be concluded that the Ukrainian
elections were valid and that Ukraine is on its way to achieving a
healthy, multi-party democratic parliamentary system.
* * *
Mr. Clifford Lincoln (Lachine-Lac-Saint-Louis):
Speaker, on the occasion of 1994 National Wildlife Week, I
extend an invitation to all hon. members, and to all Canadians,
to take part in the week's activities.
Many dynamic projects will help Canadians to get to know
wildlife better, and appreciate biodiversity in general. Perhaps
more important, they will be able to take concrete steps to make
our natural environment healthier. It could be something as
simple as building a bird feeder for their backyards or as
complicated as developing a wetland preservation project.
The theme for this year's wildlife week is: ``Biodiversity
works for wildlife, you can too''. In French it is: ``La
biodiversité, tout un monde à sauvegarder''. This is fitting
because this is the year Canada will complete its biodiversity
This truly national strategy developed in co-operation with
all the provinces and territories, with aboriginal peoples, with
NGOs in the private sector, will be the instrument by which
The Speaker: The hon. member's time has expired.
* * *
Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West):
Mr. Speaker, on
Wednesday, March 30, 25-year old Joan Heimbecker, a graduate
student at McMaster University, was brutally murdered in her
residence apartment. She was shot several times with a sawed
off shotgun. This senseless and cowardly act has left the
Hamilton and area community in a state of shock and horror.
The individual responsible for this act of murder has not yet
been apprehended and is still at large. It is our hope the killer
will be located and prosecuted a.s.a.p.
Clearly, brutal acts of murder such as the one which claimed
Joan Heimbecker's life reinforce the need to ensure that
convicted murderers receive a life sentence for their crimes with
no chance of parole for 25 years.
We must do everything in our power to protect the public from
this kind of violence by fashioning a judicial system that is
aimed at crime prevention and which, equally important,
addresses victims' rights when violent crimes are committed.
I am sure all members of this House will join me in offering
sincere condolences to the family, friends and fellow students of
* * *
Mrs. Maud Debien (Laval East):
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of
the members of the Official Opposition and of all Quebecers and
Canadians, I strongly deplore the massacres in Rwanda. In the
capital city of Kigali, thousands of innocent civilians were
killed, including several political figures and human rights
I ask the federal government to express our disapproval to the
Rwandan government authorities. The protection of minority
and human rights, and of the most fundamental right of all-the
right to life-must be an integral part of Canadian foreign policy
in Africa as in every other part of the world. We must encourage
any attempt at national reconciliation in a spirit of democracy.
Many Quebecers who have contributed to Rwanda's
development are personally affected by the events of the past
few days. I would like to express our deepest sympathies to the
families and friends of the victims of these tragic events.
* * *
Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose):
Mr. Speaker, it was
recently brought to my attention by a concerned school librarian
that the student body was in possession of a pamphlet entitled
``Doing it in the 90s''. This pamphlet was produced by the
Canadian Aids Society in co-operation with the University of
Toronto and Laval University.
It details the results of a survey administered to gay and
bisexual men. The results explain how men have sex, whether
they practice safe sex, why they do not wear condoms and
whether they have been tested for AIDS and various AIDS
I personally have no trouble with educating the public about
the risk of AIDS. However, when a group of school children is
able to get hold of a document with such graphic references to
homosexuality and bisexuality, we have to question three
things. How did it get a hold of this document? What are the
benefits in the published information? Could our tax dollars,
$500,000, not be spent more effectively through proper AIDS
educational material, not advocating homosexuality and
bisexuality and the practices associated with them?
Ms. Maria Minna (Beaches-Woodbine):
within the last week in Toronto and in surrounding areas three
violent and horrific crimes have been committed with guns. A
student was shot in her own home. Another, who was the
daughter of a constituent of mine, was killed while enjoying
desserts with her friends at a downtown restaurant. The third, a
young father, was shot with a stolen gun at a party.
This painful loss of life must be the beginning of stronger,
tougher gun control laws.
As a woman I feel particularly vulnerable. As a female
constituent of mine stated, why must I lose my freedom and live
No longer should we tolerate these violent and senseless
I urge not only the Minister of Justice but the whole House to
unite and move rapidly to adopt stringent gun controls.
* * *
Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport):
Mr. Speaker, for the sake
of unemployed workers in the fishing industry and the economy
of Canada it is urgent that the Government of Canada ratify the
Law of the Sea convention. This treaty would serve Canada's
interests by enhancing Canadian sovereignty over coastal
waters and contributing to a stable and more peaceful legal order
for the oceans.
It specifically protects certain fish stocks and enshrines in
international law principles contained in the Canadian Arctic
Waters Pollution Prevention Act. This treaty would offer a legal
framework that would eventually assist Canada's efforts to stop
Canada's long term interest is in ratifying and promoting the
Law of the Sea convention if we are to bring back this industry at
all. I therefore urge the Minister of Foreign Affairs to ratify the
Law of the Sea without delay.
* * *
Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):
Mr. Speaker, Canadians
were recently shocked by two senseless killings in Ottawa and
Toronto. There is fear that our streets are not safe and that young
people are more violent. That fear has focused attention on the
Young Offenders Act.
I share the concern of Canadians about violence in our
communities. I agree that laws should be reviewed to make sure
they are effective but that review should be based on facts and
not fiction. If we are prepared to change the law we must also be
prepared to prevent crime.
Since 1992, RCMP funding has been cut by $33.4 million. As
a direct result of federal underfunding the Yukon crime
prevention program for example has been cut. By going directly
to the schools I believe the constable in charge there prevented
more crimes than the threat of stiff jail sentences.
It costs $1 for prevention for every $5 in incarceration. I call
on the government to look at this aspect of crime prevention in
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition):
Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister.
Economists and financial analysts are practically unanimous
in saying that the falling dollar and the increased spread between
American and Canadian interest rates are mainly due to the
federal budget's lack of credibility. The government has failed
to convince financial markets that it is determined to fight the
deficit and put public finances on a sound footing, and taxpayers
are paying for this with increased interest rates.
Does the Prime Minister agree that the rise in interest rates as
a result of the Bank of Canada's decision to stop the dollar from
sliding further is mainly the result of a negative assessment by
financial markets which are disappointed in the deficit
reduction measures proposed in the budget?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
disagree with the hon. member's hypothesis. The budget we
brought down in this House in February was well received. I
agree there was some movement in the markets last week, but
everyone agrees these fluctuations were caused by a very
volatile situation on the international scene, and everything
seems to be back to normal.
The Minister of Finance and I have made it clear that the
government's plan is straightforward: we want to meet our
objective to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by the end of
our third year, and we are convinced that we will meet our
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, the Prime Minister forgot to mention that most
economists and financial analysts who examined what caused
the financial instability of the past few weeks referred to the
Budget and the concern shown by financial markets about the
ment's failure to cut where it should cut, in other words, public
Does the Prime Minister agree that the negative assessment of
the financial community will add another $3 billion to his deficit
and that rising interest rates will compromise economic
recovery and job creation as a result of a lack of confidence
among consumers and investors?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
we are certainly not satisfied with the situation, but I think
everyone will agree that we have made considerable progress on
the employment side, because 114,000 new jobs were created in
February and March of this year alone and the unemployment
rate went down from 11.6 per cent to 10.6 per cent, between the
time this government was formed and the end of last month.
We are on the right track. We must keep calm and keep going.
When you know you have a good plan, you have to stick to it. I
agree there is some instability, but part of that instability is
caused by the political option of the Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, it is unfortunate to see a government so irresponsible in
the way it interprets the negative movements of financial
For instance, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister sees an
improvement where there has been deterioration. Fewer people
are unemployed because more people are on welfare. When
people go on welfare, they are no longer included in the
unemployment statistics, and so the government is satisfied.
This does not make sense. And the few jobs that were created are
not durable jobs.
I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he will let his
government review its deficit reduction strategy to restore its
credibility with the financial markets. Is he prepared to
immediately implement measures to cut government spending?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
what the financial markets need is a government with a plan, a
government that intends to stick to its plan, a government that
does not lose its cool, a competent government that is consistent
in its policies. It would be a disaster to have as the leader of this
government a political leader who has changed parties five
Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot): Mr. Speaker,
in his budget, instead of proposing a real plan to cut spending,
the Minister of Finance attacked the most disadvantaged people
by making substantial cuts to unemployment insurance benefits
in particular. With the recent instability in the markets, which
seems likely to continue, given what the Canadian dollar did this
morning, the federal government's interest charges have already
increased by $3 billion.
How will the Prime Minister explain to the unemployed and to
seniors that the sacrifices imposed on them will be pointless and
that the loss of his budget's credibility in the financial markets
will by itself wipe out the billions of dollars that his government
wrung from the disadvantaged to reduce its deficit?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
the fact that the economy has produced 114,000 new jobs in the
last two months is a sign that we are on the right track.
We are not satisfied with that. We know that when we started
unemployment was 11.6 per cent. We want to reduce it. We want
to create jobs. This is the program of this government. This is
the goal of this government.
The infrastructure programs will start to produce jobs in the
coming weeks because the agreement has been signed with
everybody. We are very hopeful that it will continue creating
more jobs, that there will be more jobs in the ridings of every
member of Parliament because of the program.
Of course the rest of the economy will produce other private
sector jobs. We are on the right track. We should not lose our
cool because there are some fluctuations in the market. I have
been Minister of Finance before and I have learned that it is
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice): Yes, and I managed to
reduce the deficit while I was there.
Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot): Mr. Speaker,
their irresponsibility is endangering the employment recovery.
Does the Prime Minister not agree that he must in the short
term review his deficit-fighting strategy and undertake a review
of all budget and fiscal expenditures by setting up the
parliamentary committee to review public spending that the
Official Opposition has been demanding from the beginning and
that the financial community now supports, Mr. Speaker?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
the opposition members will have to make up their minds one
day. We presented a budget and made cuts. They criticized us for
the cuts we made. They should start by accepting these cuts and
then we will accept their suggestions.
Every time we do something, they just criticize and of course
that is why they will never form the Government of Canada.
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest):
my question is for the Prime Minister.
While the House was recessed Statistics Canada announced
the combined federal and provincial debt to be $660 billion.
That is 93 per cent of GDP or $23,000 worth of debt for every
man, woman and child in the country.
Will the Prime Minister today acknowledge-
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
The Speaker: I know we have all missed the House and we
are anxious to be back. I also know all hon. members would want
to listen to the question by the hon. member for Calgary
Mr. Manning: I make reference to the record level of debt.
Will the Prime Minister today acknowledge that this debt level
is unacceptable to the government and that extraordinary
measures beyond those contained in the budget must now be
considered to combat it?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
would agree with the hon. member that we are not happy at all
and we do not find having this big debt very easy.
We only formed the government six months ago, but when we
have a problem like this one we have to be rational and make
sure we are managing it in a way that would not cause a
recession. That would compound the problem.
That is why we have a very balanced approach. Sometimes the
opposition parties criticized us for some cuts and some would
like to have more. However we know that if we go too deeply
into debt we will compound the problem by having more
unemployed people. When people are unemployed in Canada,
being a civilized society we do not let them starve. We help them
through these difficult periods.
This is why we think that our balanced approach is the best
one. We made some very difficult cuts but at the same time we
have kept our priority to ensure that new jobs are created in
Canada. I hope the hon. member will recognize that in the last
two months the economy created 114,000 new jobs. That is not
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I
find the Prime Minister's answer incredible. All members of the
House had better recognize that the government is spending
$110 million more per day than it takes in. We are sleepwalking
toward a fiscal crisis.
I have a question for the Prime Minister. Will the Prime
Minister today acknowledge that this spending rate simply
cannot continue and that the government will have to consider
extraordinary measures not contained in the red book, the throne
speech or the budget to bring this spending rate under control?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
we have cut quite substantially in the last budget. It was not easy
to do. We have some problems to cope with and we think we
have managed the situation quite reasonably.
We have a goal that is achievable: to reduce the deficit in
relation to GDP to 3 per cent per year. This goal is very
reasonable because 3 per cent of the GDP is the requirement for
any country to qualify in Europe to use the new currency called
the ECU. If it is good enough for all countries of Europe to have
that goal, it should be good enough for Canada. I am saying that
is a commitment in the red book and we will achieve that goal.
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker,
the countries that are part of the European Community are
running debt to GDP ratios of about 60 per cent. This
government is running a debt to GDP ratio of 93 per cent. We
could not even get into that community.
I have a supplementary question. If the Prime Minister is not
prepared to give convincing answers to this side of the House,
surely he recognizes that he has to be convincing to investors
and lenders of private sector job creation.
Will the Prime Minister today acknowledge that Canadians
want a clear signal, not from the Minister of Finance and not
from the Minister of Human Resources Development, but from
the Prime Minister that he is personally prepared to consider
extraordinary measures to control the overspending of his
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
have given my commitment to controlling spending. This is why
we have had so many cuts for which we have been blamed by the
We have a program that we want to keep. We are not about to
change suits every day. We will stick to the plans we have made.
The markets know we have a very good Minister of Finance. He
has my full support and full confidence. The Minister of Human
Resources Development is a man of experience and quality. He
is an excellent minister.
We have a good team and the markets should have confidence
in this team.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval):
Mr. Speaker, while the
government is trying to take credit for a drop in the
unemployment rate, more than 20,000 young people are said to
not even bother stating that they are looking for work. They are
disillusioned with the job market and the government's apathy.
Will the Prime Minister face reality and recognize that, at a
time when some 200,000 jobs are needed in Quebec to return to
pre-recession levels, the drop in the unemployment rate is
largely due to the fact that young people are disillusioned and
have given up looking for work?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
believe that the employment situation has improved but we are
extremely concerned with the unemployment rate among young
people. This is why the Minister of Human Resources
Development is working with the Secretary of State for Youth to
set up a special program to create jobs for young people. I hope
that we will be in a position to make an announcement on this
program in the next few weeks.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval): Mr. Speaker, how can the
Prime Minister keep defending his job-creation strategy when
the bad reaction to his budget in the financial community, as
well as the loss of credibility of both his finance minister and his
government, are the main causes and obstacles to job creation in
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
we have a program to stimulate employment. This program was
the main element of our election platform in 1993. We clearly
stated what we intended to do. We are following our agenda. We
are on the right track. So far, results are rather positive, but it
will take time. We started off with an unemployment rate of 11.6
per cent. We do not think we can turn the situation around in just
a few weeks or even a few months. We must continue to work;
we have a well-thought-out plan which Canadians have
accepted, and we need everyone's support if we are to succeed.
The hon. member could also help. Indeed, if he talked about
employment instead of always discussing separation, our
country would be better off.
* * *
Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.
During last fall's election campaign any suggestion that a
reformed UI program should be jointly funded by employers and
employees and should be run like a genuine insurance program
was greeted with ridicule by Liberals.
Will the minister tell this House, as has been suggested in the
media, if he is now considering funding the UI program solely
on the backs of workers?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, by this time members of the
Reform Party should learn not to trust everything that is printed
because it comes from somewhat dubious sources.
In this case the story the hon. member is alluding to was a
rumour that was apparently put forward by some bureaucrats
from a couple of provincial governments. I do not think that is
the most authentic source for proposals for changes in the
federal UI program. I would suggest that once the hon. member
gets his sources straight he may get his questions straight. Then
I will be prepared to answer them.
Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat): Mr. Speaker, it was a
pretty straightforward question. I suggest the minister learn a
little humility lest he end up unemployed as well.
Government reports over the last several years have
recommended that the government move away from control of
the UI program. Will the minister heed this advice and let
employers and employees administer their own programs?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows we
are presently engaged in a very major undertaking to look at a
variety of the programs run by the government in order to
achieve higher levels of employment.
We made some changes in the last budget which reduced UI
premiums. That has been one of the contributing reasons there is
a new sense of confidence in the economy, especially among
I met with them and they told me that they feel this
government is on the right track for job creation. We have
consulted with business, labour and community interest groups,
all of which have made various comments about the way in
which we can apply a more effective unemployment insurance
I want to make one thing very clear. The unemployment
insurance program does provide a very important service to
millions of Canadians. We will protect the integrity of that
program. What we want to do is improve the program and that is
not the interest of the hon. member who wants to take the
Mrs. Francine Lalonde (Mercier):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.
It is not some provincial bureaucrats who made a surprising
statement last week but the Minister of Finance himself who
suggested that unemployment insurance would be funded only
by workers' contributions. Furthermore, the amount of
contribution could be set according to each worker's own
My question is this: Is the minister, given his previous answer,
prepared to promise that unemployment insurance reform will
not make workers the only ones to pay for unemployment
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, we obviously are committed to
major reform and improvement of the program.
I must confess to my great disappointment that when I looked
at the House of Commons committee report and looked at the
special report submitted by the Bloc Quebecois, I found
absolutely no constructive proposals, no interesting
suggestions, no ways of making the reform.
I would suggest if the hon. member wants to make
recommendations on how to reform, we are prepared to listen.
Certainly, they refused to do it in their committee report.
Mrs. Francine Lalonde (Mercier): Mr. Speaker, the
mandate of the committee and of minority members on the
committee was to consult Canadians and not to submit the
opinion of the party.
Will the minister, since he is in charge and he is the one who
prepares the action plan which will be known as soon as possible
so that everyone can really be consulted, confirm that he is
preparing to modify unemployment insurance in such a way that
the premium rate will depend on each worker's risk of job loss,
so that those who hold insecure jobs will be hit harder?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct one
statement by the hon. member which I am sure she made
This proposal for reform is not something I initiate alone. I do
it as part of a government, as part of a caucus. We are working
with the provinces, business and labour. This will be a point of
view expressed by all Canadians, except for a certain group in
the House that does not want to participate in the process.
We have not been able to get this co-operative view as to how
we can change the program. As to the specific point raised by the
member, I have said to this Parliament many many times that we
are engaged in a very open and honest program to ensure that all
views are considered. If that is the point of view of the hon.
member, I will take that representation. If the Bloc Quebecois
wants to reduce the premium rate and wants to simply have the
employees pay it, that it is not the point of view represented by
the minister. It is not the point of view that I share personally. It
is a point of view that I will bring to this House as soon as I can
and will represent the point of view of all Canadians.
* * *
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West):
Mr. Speaker, here
we are just seven weeks since the budget and today's Financial
paints a vastly different economic climate from what was
predicted in the Liberal budget.
My question is for the Prime Minister. Short term interest
rates for 1994 are up a full percentage point from February and
growth is down. For 1995 it is the same picture, interest rates up
and growth down, according to 12 leading Canadian firms.
Using the government's own method of analysis, I wish to ask
the following question. We all know the Prime Minister said that
he has the people and he has the plan. What is the plan now that
his people have been proven wrong?
Hon. Douglas Peters (Secretary of State (International
Financial Institutions)): Mr. Speaker, the forecasts mentioned
are just some of the ones I would like to mention to the hon.
member. The Conference Board's forecast has been revised
downward but it is still well above the numbers we used in our
very prudent forecast in our budget.
The Royal Bank of Canada last week came out with a brand
new forecast. Those numbers show 3.5 per cent real growth this
year and 4.3 per cent next year, well above the rates that were
used in our budget numbers.
I remind the hon. member that there are some people out there
with substantial confidence in the economy and our employment
numbers in the last two months show that confidence. The rise in
consumer confidence and business confidence is there as well
and the private sector forecasts are still well above those used in
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, I do
not know who the hon. minister has been talking to, but if you
look at the economic forecasts in the Financial Post or you ask
the private businessmen or investors in this country you will get
a different scenario.
I would like to know if the Prime Minister still believes that
further cuts are not necessary or should we wait until the
Minister of Finance is back in this House to get a second
Hon. Douglas Peters (Secretary of State (International
Financial Institutions)): Mr. Speaker, I do not think that the
hon. member has looked at our budget carefully enough.
If he had read the budget carefully and looked at the very
prudent forecast numbers we used, he would see that our target
of 3 per cent of GDP is well within grasp and well within those
If he would like to know to whom we were listening, I was
listening to the Royal Bank of Canada's forecast last week and
the Conference Board of Canada's forecast last week. I know
most of those forecasters personally.
The Speaker: Perhaps it slipped our minds while we were
away, but we would prefer that there not be any documents or
books waved in the House. It takes a little bit away from the
decorum and I would ask all hon. members to please adhere to
* * *
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie):
Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.
In an interview with the daily Le Devoir, the Quebec Premier
reiterated his desire to patriate federal responsibilities for
manpower training, saying: ``Quebec has always done a better
job than the federal government with vocational training
activities, and I will not settle for less''.
Will the Prime Minister agree to this renewed request made by
the Quebec government and will he transfer to that province full
federal responsibilities for manpower training, as well as the
funds to go with it?
Hon. Marcel Massé (President of the Queen's Privy
Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
and Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal): Mr.
Speaker, we have had and we continue to have discussions with
the province of Quebec regarding manpower training. So far, we
have agreed on some points, including the single-window
concept, which a number of provinces also approved at the
recent meeting held in Toronto with the Minister of Human
Resources Development, I believe.
Indeed, the Quebec Premier has indicated that he wants to
keep negotiating on manpower training. We have taken his
arguments into consideration and we will continue discussions
with the province.
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie): Mr.
Speaker, I ask the minister, who seems to be participating in a lot
of discussions, if he will keep discussing until the election
campaign gets under way in Quebec and then propose to
Quebecers an agreement such as the Bourassa-Campbell one,
that is another smoke screen?
Hon. Marcel Massé (President of the Queen's Privy
Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
and Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal): Mr.
Speaker, it is not for me to say whether the Bourassa-Campbell
agreement was a smoke screen. I imagine that the people have
already rendered their verdict on that.
Generally speaking, we will first undertake the income
security reform and future agreements with any province,
including Quebec, will be based on arrangements reached on
* * *
Mrs. Dianne Brushett (Cumberland-Colchester):
Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources
The government has said again and again that it attaches the
highest priority to job creation. To that end the minister has
lowered UI premium rates and will soon announce the
government's strategy on youth.
What other results can the minister point to that really show
Canadians particularly those in Nova Scotia that the
government's job creation policies are working?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, perhaps the most important
demonstration of a new sense of confidence in the country are
the figures we released last week that show there was a very
substantial drop in the unemployment rate.
In particular, I would like to say there is .7 per cent, almost
10,000 new jobs created in the province of Nova Scotia alone. It
demonstrates that three-quarters of the new jobs created were
full-time permanent jobs and not the part time jobs of the past.
I agree with the hon. member it is very important that we take
a special look at those who still have very strong needs in the
labour market. Young people must be the priority of all members
of Parliament because they are the ones who still need the
greatest assistance from all of us to get back to work.
Mr. Bill Gilmour (Comox-Alberni):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of the Environment.
On January 24 the minister stated in the House that selection
of the host city for the NAFTA commission of the environment
would be ``open, transparent, public and objective, a process
free of politics. The selection will be made based on
environmental performance of these cities. Montreal along with
others will be considered in a non-partisan fashion''. The end
result was that Montreal, a city that dumps half of its sewage
untreated into the St. Lawrence River, was chosen as the host
My question for the minister is this. Why did she mislead this
House and 24 potential host cities-
Some hon. members: Order, order.
Mr. Gilmour: I will rephrase that, Mr. Speaker.
Why did she advise the House and 24 potential host cities
when she knew that the selection process was fixed in favour of
Hon. Sheila Copps (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of the Environment): Mr. Speaker, the selection process was
never fixed in favour of any city.
I have brought with me today a copy of the report from
KPMG. I would be very happy to provide the member and all
other members with an opportunity to review every single
proposal. I will say to the hon. member that environmental
considerations were certainly one of the key considerations.
When he starts pointing the finger at cities that spew sewage,
unfortunately there are a number of cities across the country that
spew raw sewage into the ocean, including several in his own
province. What the member should bear in mind is that Montreal
has a plan in place right now to deal with the problem. It will be
operational by the end of next year. I only wish that every one of
the other 25 applicant cities had as significant a reputation when
it came to actually dealing with the problems of raw sewage.
Mr. Bill Gilmour (Comox-Alberni): Mr. Speaker, my
supplemental is for the Prime Minister.
Contrary to the environment minister's supposed criteria the
Prime Minister now states that Montreal was awarded the
environmental secretariat because it has the highest jobless rate.
Given these inconsistencies which hardly justify such
patronage, has the government adopted the policies of the
previous Conservative government of showing favouritism to
the Prime Minister's home province?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
have nothing to add to what the Minister of the Environment
mentioned a minute ago. She did very objective work. Many
cities qualified. One of the factors that attracted my attention
and which she did not even use was the fact that of all these
cities, Montreal was unfortunately the city with the highest
All the other factors have been well balanced by the minister.
She asked for applications and so on. But when you are the
government you have to make a decision eventually. We made a
decision and we will not apologize to anybody for exercising our
* * *
Mrs. Monique Guay (Laurentides):
Mr. Speaker, on April 4
in Seoul, the Minister for International Trade stated that he had
received assurances from Hyundai officials that the Bromont
plant would be re-opened. Since then, the company has
indicated that it has no business plan for this plant and that
despite wanting to keep the facility in operation, Hyundai was
still not certain if it would re-open it. The company has even
requested that its employees sign waivers.
Can the Prime Minister shed some light on the nature of the
guarantees that the Minister for International Trade may have
received from Hyundai officials insofar as the reopening of the
Bromont plant is concerned?
Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry): Mr. Speaker,
obviously discussions have taken place between the Minister for
International Trade and Quebec's Industry Minister, Mr.
Tremblay. He did visit Hyundai and rather frank discussions
took place. Clearly, Hyundai is having trouble finding a product
to manufacture in Bromont. Our government and the Quebec
government want to help Hyundai, if at all possible, to find some
way to get the Bromont plant back in operation as soon as
Mrs. Monique Guay (Laurentides): Mr. Speaker, will the
Prime Minister not recognize that by making this kind of
statement, his Minister for International Trade is making fun of
the workers at the Bromont plant and of the region's inhabitants
by hinting that there may be some hope that the plant will reopen
when in fact no real guarantees have been received?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
the minister is trying to work out a solution even if the
opposition has concluded that no solution can possibly be found.
We will know soon enough. However, as long as we can look for
a solution, I hope no one will blame the minister for trying to do
his job well.
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of National Defence or the Minister
of Foreign Affairs.
Yesterday for the first time in its 44 year history NATO forces
launched an offensive air attack, in this case on ground positions
of Bosnian Serbs. This follows a recent downing of Serbian
aircraft violating a no fly zone over Bosnia.
Was the minister informed of these attacks before they took
place and if so, did he approve of these NATO air attacks on
Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs): Mr.
Speaker, we were informed of what took place. As you know we
have military personnel who are very much involved in the
operations and what has been done has been done according to
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands): Mr. Speaker,
many Canadians are concerned that Bosnia could quickly turn
into a combat situation and that restrictive orders or insufficient
equipment may leave our troops overly vulnerable.
Can the minister assure the House that Canadian troops in
Bosnia are adequately authorized, prepared and equipped to
defend themselves if this situation deteriorates?
Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs): Mr.
Speaker, it is quite clear that our objective is to not have an
escalation of the war. This is why we are pursuing vigilantly our
efforts to persuade parties to take part in the peace process.
We are very much encouraged by recent initiatives taken by
the Americans and the Russians that have brought some of the
parties to the table. It has led to a very historic and important
agreement being signed in Washington that involves the
Croatians and Muslims.
Unfortunately the Bosnian Serbs have not yet agreed to be
part of this peace process. We hope that they will come to the
only alternative there is, which is to make peace and join in the
peace effort with the others.
* * *
Mr. Derek Wells (South Shore):
Mr. Speaker, my question is
for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
There continue to be reports of Spanish and Portuguese
vessels taking undersized cod outside the 200 mile limit on the
nose and tail of the Grand Banks.
Will the minister tell the House what the government is doing
to stop this activity?
Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans): Mr.
Speaker, I thank the member for his question.
We have recent reports of Spanish and Portuguese vessels
taking undersized fish outside the 200 mile limit. There have
been about 13 citations issued this year. Most of those citations
have been issued for the catch of undersized fish on the Flemish
Cap. As the member knows, this is an area where Canada does
not conduct the fishery.
Nevertheless these catches of undersized fish are in violation
of the conservation rules that we would apply to ourselves and in
violation as well of NAFO conservation rules.
This morning I spoke to the European Fisheries
Commissioner. I brought this matter to his attention and sought
and received his assurance that member states of the European
Union will prosecute and penalize those who engage in this kind
of improper and illegal fishing activity.
* * *
Mr. Michel Daviault (Ahuntsic):
Mr. Speaker, my question
is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.
As the federal budget creates unemployment and attacks the
unemployed, all community groups were very concerned to
learn that there will be no new employability development
programs or EDPs in most regions. It seems there is no more
Can the minister confirm that the reason there is no new
money for regular EDPs is because he has decided to keep a
discretionary fund estimated at $40 million for Quebec alone?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period the
hon. member's colleagues were making a strong case that we
provide more assistance for young people to give them a greater
opportunity to get into the job market. Clearly we must look at
ways in which we can direct our expenditures to those who are
most in need.
We have made no final decision on those allocations.
However, I do want to assure the hon. member that we are
evaluating programs very carefully to see which ones work or do
not work. We will use the very scarce resources we have to target
those people in the province of Quebec and throughout Canada
who most directly need assistance in getting back to work.
Mr. Michel Daviault (Ahuntsic): Mr. Speaker, I would like
to remind the minister that community groups are often
front-line groups that are interested in and help people in
How can the minister justify the fact that, with Quebec's very
high unemployment rate, his only solution is to cut the EDPs and
reserve the right to allocate funds as he wishes? Is he preparing
for the referendum?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, in fact, there are now 50,000
more jobs in Quebec than last October. There has been a large
increase in the number of jobs in the province of Quebec, and I
hope that progress will be made in the future. But I must repeat
that our government's priority is to assist those who are most in
need, such as unemployed young people. And I hope we can
count on the support of the hon. member and his colleagues in
* * *
Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Justice.
Last week Nicholas Battersby, a young man from England,
was gunned down on the streets of Ottawa by several young
offenders. Canadians are sick and tired of inaction.
When is the Minister of Justice going to move beyond talk and
when is he actually going to do something? When is the minister
going to reform the Young Offenders Act? What is the hold-up?
Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, I want first of all to express
my sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives not
only in that crime but in a number of savage and senseless
crimes in recent weeks.
I also wish to emphasize in response to the hon. member's
question that we cannot let our anger and our grief and our
concern about these dreadful events lead us to believe there is a
simple or quick solution to the underlying problems of which
they are tragic symptoms.
Long before the events of recent weeks this government was
working intensively on a specific agenda of concrete action to
deal with these issues involving specific changes to the criminal
laws to make them more effective, including changes to the
Young Offenders Act and the Criminal Code, and at the same
time initiatives in respect to crime prevention which ultimately
will be just as effective if not more so in dealing with the
I assure my hon. friend that in the weeks to come he will see
ample concrete steps taken by this government to deal with
young offenders and crime in general in this society.
* * *
I wish to draw the attention of members to the
presence in our gallery of His Excellency Francisque Ravony,
Prime Minister of the Republic of Madagascar.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
The Speaker: I also draw the attention of hon. members to the
presence in the gallery of the Hon. Ghaus Bux Khan Maher,
speaker of the provincial assembly of Sindh, Pakistan.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
* * *
I am prepared to make a ruling on the point of
order raised by the member for Calgary West on March 25, 1994
regarding omnibus bills.
I would like to thank the hon. member and also the
Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader and
the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell for the
contributions to the discussion.
In his presentation the hon. member for Calgary West
contended that Bill C-17, an act to amend certain statutes to
implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament
on February 22, 1994, is an omnibus bill and as such should be
ruled out of order and should not be considered by the House in
its present form.
He also maintained there is no unifying principle contained in
the bill, that the omnibus bill attempts to amend several
different existing laws, that such a bill forces members to take
one decision applicable to several different issues and finally
that the variety of issues contained in the bill may cause
difficulties for the committee charged to study it.
The hon. member also cited the January 26, 1971 ruling of
Speaker Lamoureux as well as citation 626.1 of Beauchesne's
sixth edition in supporting his argument.
Before addressing the issues raised by the hon. member, I
would like to do as my predecessors have done in the past and
review for the House our practices regarding omnibus bills.
For the benefit of all members, I should start by giving out the
definition of an omnibus bill as found in the House of
Commons' Glossary of Parliamentary Procedure. An omnibus
bill is defined as: ``A bill consisting of a number of related but
separate parts which seek to amend and/or repeal one or several
existing Acts and/or to enact one or several new Acts.''
The hon. member is correct when he points out that Bill C-17
is an omnibus bill. However, as has been noted in numerous
rulings by previous Speakers and most recently in a ruling by
Speaker Fraser on April 1, 1992, procedurally there is nothing in
our rules and practices which prohibits the government from
introducing omnibus bills.
In his ruling Speaker Fraser, quoting the hon. member for
Windsor West, the current government House leader, described
omnibus bills in this way:
The essential defence of an omnibus procedure is that the bill in question,
although it may seem to create or to amend many disparate statutes, in effect has
one basic principle or purpose which ties together all the proposed enactments
and thereby renders the bill intelligible for parliamentary purposes.
This can be found on page 9147 of the Debates
for April 1,
One of the reasons omnibus bills are introduced by the
government is to aid parliamentary discussion by grouping all
statutory amendments for the implementation of a policy in the
same bill. As Speaker Jerome noted on May 11, 1977, at page
5522 of the Debates, the use of omnibus bills was at that time a
well established practice in the Canadian House. This is still the
case. In fact, there are numerous examples where legislation to
implement budgetary provisions have taken the form of
Often confusion arises between the Chair's power to divide
complicated motions and the Chair's past decisions not to divide
omnibus bills. Part of the confusion is attributable to our
concept of what it means to adopt a motion for second reading of
Debate at second reading relates to the principle of the bill
and not to its specific clauses. The principle may be very simple
or quite complex. Since there is not necessarily a unique section
of a bill which defines its principle the debate is understood to
be general at this stage with detailed consideration at later
However, the question before the House is very simple. It is
that the bill be now read a second time and referred to a
committee, and not that certain sections of the bill be dealt with
in a certain manner. The decision of the House, therefore, is
whether to send a bill for further consideration to a committee.
The question of the principle of a bill is obviously closely
linked to the second reading motion.
The argument presented by the hon. member for Calgary West
is: ``That the subject matter of the bill is so diverse that a single
vote on the content would put members in conflict with their
However, it is the view of the Chair that in the adoption of a
second reading motion the House gives approval in principle to
a bill and then moves on to the consideration of its specific
provisions in subsequent stages.
It must also be remembered that the Chair has ruled that there
is nothing procedurally objectionable to a bill containing more
than one principle. Speaker Sauvé expressed this in a ruling
given on June 20, 1983, and I refer hon. members to page 26538
of the Debates. She stated at that time:
-although some occupants of the Chair have expressed concern about the
practice of incorporating several distinct principles in a single bill, they have
consistently found that such bills are procedurally in order and properly before
Bearing directly on this matter, the hon. member from
Calgary West quoted Beauchesne's Sixth Edition, citation
626(1). I will read the citation for the benefit of the House. It
Although there is no specific set of rules or guidelines governing the content
of a bill, there should be a theme of relevancy amongst the contents of a bill.
They must be relevant to and subject to the umbrella which is raised by the
terminology of the long title of the bill.
The hon. member has argued that the House is being asked to
take one decision on a number of unrelated items. However, in
the Chair's opinion a common thread does run throughout Bill
C-17; namely, the government's intention to enact the
provisions in the recent budget, including measures to extend
the fiscal restraint measures currently in place.
In their remarks both the parliamentary secretary and the hon.
member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell also pointed out that
the provisions in the bill had arisen out of the budget presented
by the Minister of Finance which had already been debated by
As was underlined by the Parliamentary Secretary to the
Government House Leader and the hon. member for
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, the House heard the Minister of
Finance make a statement on the budgetary policy of the
government on February 22, 1994. The House subsequently
debated the budgetary motion for several days and adopted it on
a recorded division on March 23, 1994.
The title of Bill C-17 clearly refers to the original budgetary
statement and the bill will simply enact certain provisions
contained in that statement.
Bill C-17 is an omnibus bill but it has a common thread
through it and in my view a unitary purpose.
In conclusion, it is procedurally correct and common practice
for a bill to amend, repeal or enact several statutes. There are
numerous rulings in which Speakers have declined to intervene
simply because a bill was complex and permitted omnibus
legislation to proceed.
Hence, while I cannot accept the hon. member's request to
divide or set aside Bill C-17, I can suggest to him and to other
members that should they so wish they may propose
amendments to the bill in committee or at report stage and in so
doing have an opportunity to express their views and vote on the
specific sections of the bill.
I thank all hon. members for their contributions.
Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada):
Mr. Speaker, I
am rising to table in this House the 1993 public report of the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service. This is the third such
report and I am tabling these documents in both official
* * *
Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada):
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order
32(2), I have the honour to place before the House a brief
document in both official languages regarding the need for a
Criminal Code amendment specifically prohibiting female
* * *
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons):
Mr. Speaker, I
am pleased to table, in both official languages, a number of
order in council appointments which were made by the
Pursuant to Standing Order 110(1), these are deemed referred
to the appropriate standing committees, a list of which is
attached to the documentation.
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons):
pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in
both official languages, the government's response to 22
* * *
Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada):
having just tabled the third public report of the director of the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service, I am now pleased to rise
as Solicitor General to deliver the annual national security
Taken together, this statement and the public report are
intended to provide Canadians with an assessment of the current
security intelligence environment and information about the
government's efforts to ensure our national security.
It is my pleasure to continue this practice because I believe it
is essential in a democratic society that Parliament and citizens
have this information and that elected representatives are heard
on the crucial issues of security intelligence, security
enforcement and protective security.
Ten years ago with the passage of the CSIS Act and the
Security Offences Act in 1984 a previous Liberal administration
laid the foundation for a new national security system.
The goal was to create an effective national security system
within which there would be a carefully controlled civilian
security intelligence agency. This agency would work closely
and effectively with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well
as with other government agencies such as Transport Canada,
Foreign Affairs, National Defence and Citizenship and
The Service's first years of operation were marked by intense
scrutiny of how it went about its business. Concerns about the
Service's operational focus led to the creation in 1987 of an
independent advisory team to advise the government on how to
realign the Service's operational priorities and strengthen its
On the advice of the team the government disbanded the
counter-subversion branch of CSIS and the Service's use of
intrusive investigative techniques was circumscribed to ensure
that Canadians engaged in legitimate dissent were not caught up
in the security intelligence net.
The CSIS Act's provision for an external Security
Intelligence Review Committee, the SIRC, reporting directly to
Parliament and the Office of the Inspector General reporting
internally to the Minister, were key innovations in Canadian
SIRC with its annual reports to Parliament and the Office of
the Inspector General with its annual certificates to the minister
played an essential role in helping successive solicitors general
exercise their control and accountability for CSIS. Five years
after the legislation came into force, a special parliamentary
committee examined the operation of the CSIS and security
In 1991 in ``On Course'', the then government's response to
the committee's report, the then government committed itself to
making an annual statement to Parliament on national security
and the tabling of a public report from the director of CSIS. Our
system of review and control with its built in checks and
balances involving the executive, the judicial and legislative
components of government are working well.
In effect, the service has been under constant review and
adjustment since inception and this should be reassuring to all
Canadians. Indeed in its annual report for 1992-93 which I
tabled in this House soon after becoming Solicitor General,
SIRC concluded that CSIS ``is working within the law and
Today we see a service faced with constant and at times
dramatic change in the global security environment. Most
notably, I speak of the collapse of the Soviet Union and of the
classic cold war model of east versus west that was the
overriding preoccupation of the national security system.
Members might well ask whether we are reorienting and
streamlining our activities in step with today's security
intelligence environment. Yes, we certainly are. Two years ago
my predecessor asked the CSIS director to prepare for him an
assessment of how the evolving security environment might
affect the services mandate over time.
The director was also asked to consider how the service
should be structured as a consequence and to determine the
resource implications of his recommendations. In his report last
year the director concluded that although the bipolar tensions of
the cold war, which were terrifying but at the same time
reassuring because they were known, had largely dissipated, a
multiplicity of new threats and tensions has emerged.
The collapse of the Warsaw pact has been a major factor in
allowing the government to judiciously prune the services
resources. The services position complement has dropped from
a peak of 2,760 in 1992 to 2,366 today, a reduction of 394
As the spending estimates for the fiscal year 1994-95 show,
the CSIS budget is $206.8 million, down from $228.7 million
last year. In terms of reorientation, the director's review
confirmed the course of continuing to reduce the proportion of
resources specifically dedicated to counter-intelligence while
increasing resources directed to counter-terrorism.
Allow me also to note what the SIRC said on this issue in its
annual report and again I quote: ``We believe that CSIS is
reorienting its activities in a sensible prudent fashion and the
result will be a service that acts effectively against the modern
terrorist threat to vulnerable highly interdependent
post-industrial societies such as their own and which cost the
Our approach must continue to be prudent and steady. Mr.
We have to be deliberate and measured in any change in the
apportioning of our security intelligence resources and tough
and adaptable in how we target them.
I say this because while the Cold War may well be over, the
global situation does not warrant complacency.
Witness the conclusions of the Director in the public report:
The member of foreign intelligence services operating against
Canadian interests in Canada or abroad remains substantial.
The activities of former Cold War adversaries have generally
been reduced, he notes, but they have by no means been
eliminated. The recent arrest of a senior employee of the CIA for
allegedly selling his country's secrets seems to bear this out.
The primary threat to Canada is international terrorism and
the bulk of CSIS operational resources is dedicated to counter
The conspiracy to bomb a Hindu temple in Toronto, the
bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York, and the recent
terrorist attack against Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom
bring home the point dramatically that open democratic
societies offer vulnerable and attractive targets. Members
should also know that terrorists are known to plan and raise
funds for their operations elsewhere.
The conclusion of the CSIS threat assessment is both sobering
and instructive. Terrorists will continue to avail themselves of
the latest technology and to feed on the discontent of extremism
both from the right and the left.
As the number of flash points grows around the world so do
the potential number of threats. For this reason it is incumbent
upon us to ensure CSIS has the ability to investigate and analyse
threats and to advise the government so that it can take
To counter terrorism CSIS works with other government
departments and agencies to deny entry into Canada of known
and suspected terrorists. It also maintains liaison with foreign
intelligence services and here at home with various
communities and groups to identify emerging threats.
In this regard I would like to note that this government is
concerned that recent arrivals to Canada not be victimized or
manipulated by homeland governments or extremist groups.
These recent arrivals have come to a new land to escape such
The disintegration of the Soviet Union has lifted the lid on a
cauldron of ethnic nationalism. Disruption is rife and the waves
caused are already lapping at our shores. The disruption of
governments in some countries is making the work at CSIS and
its allied counterparts around the world ever more difficult.
A mixture of ethnic, religious, ideological, economic and
territorial pressures has increased instability in many regions
around the world. The proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, especially nuclear weapons, continues to be
worrisome. The increased availability of nuclear technology
and the aspirations of some countries to acquire nuclear
bomb-making capability are profoundly disturbing.
And as the nature of power changes, many countries are
turning their intelligence services to the business of economic
espionage, primarily in the developed Western world.
The Director underlines the Service's concern for the
protection of Canada's economic security from disruption due to
foreign intelligence services.
A key element of the CSIS mandate is to advise law
enforcement agencies of terrorist threats thereby allowing
police to take preventive action or arrest perpetrators.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is an essential part of our
national security system, being responsible for protective
security and for investigating security offences.
In addition to its responsibilities under the Security Offences
Act it also provides security for VIPs, federal properties,
including some airports and for foreign embassies and missions
here on our soil. CSIS and the RCMP work closely together and
it is my role as Solicitor General to work to ensure that the two
agencies do not fail in their work to provide effective protection
for Canadians and Canadian interests.
For example, CSIS provides security and threat assessments
and the RCMP provides protective security for major events
which have the potential to attract terrorists and extremists.
By way of conclusion, I want to say that this government in
the speech from the throne committed itself to playing an active
internationalist role in the global arena. As the speech said, in
the light of the radical changes which have occurred in
international affairs in the last few years, the government has
asked parliamentary committees to review Canada's foreign and
defence policies and priorities.
Mr. Speaker, we will want to follow these reviews closely and
analyze the results for possible implications for our national
Clearly, we should be prepared to make necessary
adjustments in light of changing national security interests and
realignment of foreign and defence priorities.
As I have just discussed, our orientation and national security
is influenced considerably by the global security environment.
Just as our national security system has undergone adjustment
and reorientation over the last 10 years, so must we be ready to
adapt and reorient in the coming years. I say this because
Canadians are concerned about their sense of security in the
world, a world that is ever more influencing our conduct at home
in terms of the economy, jobs and protecting the environment
and protecting our democratic institutions.
I believe that Canadians want an effective national security
system. Therefore our government intends to pay close attention
to national security issues but in a manner consistent with our
democratic institutions and with our Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. I have no doubt that hon. members expect no less.
Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier-Montcalm): Mr.
Speaker, to begin, I would like to thank the Solicitor General of
Canada for letting me see and read his statement, his press
release and the report he quoted. We were able to become
acquainted with it all before he read it and I thank him for that.
That will be the only thanks I extend to the Solicitor General
of Canada and to the government in general today, since we were
read a statement that I think is completely empty and contains
nothing instructive on this area of the jurisdiction of the
Solicitor General of Canada.
I think that it raises many more questions than it answers. The
Solicitor General acted like his predecessors; that is, he very
solemnly read an annual statement. I think that Canadians and
Quebecers want to have more than this very broad information.
We want to know to what use the money we give this
government and this agency in particular is put.
If the real purpose of this statement and the public report was
to provide Canadians with an assessment of the present
intelligence and security environment and especially to inform
them about what is being done to protect the security of the
country, I think that they have missed the boat again; we learn
absolutely nothing. A lot of information is scattered left and
right as a diversion but there is nothing substantial to show the
real value obtained from the $228.7 million spent by the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service last year. That is not
peanuts-it is a quarter of a billion dollars.
I am sure that the Solicitor General of Canada will answer me
that for reasons of national security, the government cannot
But would it affect national security to know in which
province CSIS spent the most or which province benefited the
most from the $228.7 million spent last year?
Would it affect national security to know about inactive
files-I hope that CSIS has closed a few files in its ten years of
existence-so that we have tangible evidence of what this
service has accomplished, in what areas it has conducted
investigations? Would it affect national security to know that
Quebecers and Canadians have in their hands something
tangible to check whether or not they do a good job?
Would it affect national security to know which investigations
saved lives or prevented attacks or disasters? Unfortunately,
what we now see in the newspapers is only the negative side. I
am quite willing to offer constructive criticism but I am not
provided with the arguments, the files or anything else I need to
do so. We now hear about things like Air India that are not too
flattering to CSIS, or about terrorists entering Canada. But if we
had something more constructive, more positive in the reports,
we could present different arguments.
In ten years of existence, as I was saying earlier, and three
public reports, I feel that something more concrete could be said
to increase transparency without threatening national security. I
think that if the government wants to be more transparent, it
should apply this philosophy in these reports.
True, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service itself is
watched by the Security Intelligence Review Committee or
SIRC, as the Solicitor General said earlier. It is reassuring to
know that, Mr. Speaker. I feel comforted by the fact that the
Solicitor General of Canada is reassured by SIRC's last report
saying that CSIS operations were legal and effective.
But who are the wise people who wrote this report and came to
this conclusion? I am going to name them because I think that
some members of this hon. House do not know them.
They are Jacques Courtois, a 73-year-old lawyer; Rosemary
Brown, a 63-year-old social worker and the first Black woman
to be elected in British Columbia; Edwin Goodman, a
75-year-old lawyer; George Vari, 70; and Michel Robert, whose
age I do not know, a former national president of the Liberal
Party of Canada.
When we see who is overseeing this committee, we may
wonder. I am not saying this is not a good group whose members
are not qualified, but what right have these people to monitor an
organization that we in this House cannot monitor? I think that
we must be even more suspicious of and look more closely at an
organization such as CSIS. And I think that the recently elected
35th Parliament has the mandate and the capacity to determine if
this $228.7 million is well spent. On the contrary, this job has
been given to a committee where the average age is about 70.
These people are probably friends of the government but are
they qualified to present such a report and say that yes,
everything is consistent with the law? I have my doubts and that
is why I cannot present a very positive report, because we were
given a statement almost impossible to verify, general
principles, wishful thinking, but nothing more tangible. When
we see who monitors CSIS, we realize there may be a problem
Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the friends of the government
who sit on the external review committee may have a definition
which is different from that of the legitimate elected members of
the 35th Parliament on what the protection of Canadians and
Quebecers' lives, as well as of the country's interests, entails.
As for the legitimate Official Opposition, I can tell you that
we surely have a definition which is different from that of the
Security Intelligence Review Committee. Since the Solicitor
General of Canada quoted an excerpt of the report in his
statement, I will also refer to a part of this report which raises
questions in my mind on just what the protection of life means.
In its report, the committee notes that in a small number of
recent cases-identified by the five people I referred to earlier,
whose average age is 70-, the intelligence gathered by the
Service during these investigations on certain individuals
seemed unrelated to the issue of national security. The
committee is also of the opinion that even though some
investigations were related to law enforcement issues regarding
legal protest activities or the expression of dissent, no
intelligence information leads it to conclude that activities
described in paragraph (c) of the definition of threats to the
security of Canada, in section 2 of the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service Act had occured.
I wonder about this excerpt. Are we going back to the good old
seventies? This could well be the case. I would have liked to
know when these investigations were conducted, who was
targeted, and in what province they took place. What legitimate
protest triggered these investigations?
As long as we have an external review committee with no
democratic control over targeted intelligence activities, the risk
of bias will always exist.
Members of the external committee are not elected. There is
no parliamentary control over intelligence activities and, in
spite of what the Solicitor General said earlier in his speech, I
find this situation extremely dangerous.
When we have a real report, a report with real questions and
real answers, then we may be able to make more constructive
criticism. What we have right now is an extremely important
organization, important enough not to have to come before
elected representatives. We were elected and these people do not
even have to come before us to explain what they do exactly.
Moreover, in these difficult times when the government keeps
saying that we must tighten our belt, it spends $228.7 million
and we cannot even see how the money was used.
Until we have a real report with real answers, it will be very
difficult for the opposition and for democracy in Canada to
come to a conclusion on this.
Mr. Paul E. Forseth (New Westminster-Burnaby): Mr.
Speaker, as a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and
Legal Affairs I am pleased to respond to the minister's statement
on the tabling of the annual report of the Canadian Security
In the public's view of CSIS there exists an inordinate secrecy
about its general operations and an apparent lack of
accountability to the government and the Canadian community
it serves. This report tabled today does not assuage legitimate
public concerns about the underlying assumptions of the
existence and the operational philosophy of CSIS.
We are in a time for governments when business as usual is
not good enough. The government of the day is being forced to
recognize that basic reviews of social programs and general
priority setting of departments will happen one way or another.
It can be done in a rational way or by disjointed
incrementalism. It is like rushing, putting out fires so to speak,
when the crisis of finance and popular political support
implodes upon the sleepwalking government as it stumbles
along toward a new Canada of new international, fiscal and
When we come back to look at CSIS from this side of the
House there is an increasing uneasiness about the aspects of a
government bureau that spends a fair amount of public resources
to in effect maintain an image while at the same time satisfying
the self-serving interests of insular survival at a time when all
else in government is under fundamental review.
We are in social service review and, more closely to CSIS, the
military establishment will be undergoing a white paper review
process. Certainly it is also time to ask this government about
CSIS, its mission statement, its performance results measured
against its own goals and mandate laid out in the previous annual
reports and the legislation.
There has been fundamental review before but we need more
than the current committee oversight process and annual
I have been 21 years in provincial public service and I have
come to appreciate how government bureaucracy can become
focused on its self-importance and develop a driving agenda
that is so right for those on the inside while it is losing the proper
connections with those it was originally created to serve.
From the opposition chairs, from this side of the House, from
Her Majesty's loyal constructive alternative, I want to ring the
bell of this government again on the community accountability
issue for CSIS. Members of the Liberal cabinet may think it is
business as usual, they may think they have the traditional
Canadian divine right to govern, for after all they are the
Liberals. It is a new Canada of more open and accountable
government that is the standard required.
The pre-Confederation reformers' agenda of responsible and
accountable government beyond mere representative
government has finally come of age and is represented by a new
wave of Reformers in this House. We question the business as
usual attitude, the annual report of CSIS which really tells this
House nothing much about what goes on there. The public report
is a good press release but justifies nothing.
I am quite aware of the difference between the operational
confidentiality required for the organization to be effective and
the new higher level of ongoing accountability that citizens are
coming to demand of government which in so many areas this
government has not comprehended, being stuck as it is in old
CSIS is said to look after security intelligence, national
security enforcement and national protective security. The 1994
report is said to provide a window on security intelligence. I
think it is a very small window and not large enough to let the
light in of effective accountability.
CSIS is mandated to perform a difficult job, formerly done by
the RCMP which led to a national scandal and the resultant
creation of CSIS as a solution. One wonders what the 1994
scandal will be-cigarettes? I do not have any alternatives to
We have CSIS. We need such an organization. It has
legislation, resources and about 2,500 people involved. That is
no small change. Daily in the media Canadians hear from around
the world reports of war, political unrest and intrigue and a
changing geopolitical landscape. Canadians want to be assured
that someone is minding the store and tracking world events
specifically in a Canadian security sense in view of vital
The cold war is over. The western alliance intelligence
systems have had to re-examine operations, assumptions and
priorities. Despite the reports that are annually tabled and the
current review and accountability structure, how is CSIS really?
How is it moving to respond to rapidly changing world
circumstances and the emerging new risks?
Specifically, despite what we have all heard about CSIS has it
been able at this point to become truly proactive and predictive
or is it still largely reactive or, in the vernacular, functioning
``catch as catch can''.
Issues of espionage, foreign influence, illegal activities in
Canada and politically motivated violence are of grave concern.
The world is a less predictable place. Canada is an international
player and cannot isolate itself.
Hostile intelligence services of other governments,
transnational corporations, which often are larger than many
countries in resources and capabilities and are accountable to no
one, these are issues for CSIS. As the number of global power
centres grows so does the potential for threat.
As Canada becomes a seller and inventor of high value added
technologies, both Canadian law and our international trade
agreements may be broken by both the Canadian criminal
element and underground operatives in the nations with which
Economic espionage is not new but it is a major issue for
CSIS. This activity disrupts the level playing field which is a
principle of international trade agreements. Yet there is a
doubtful priority given to it. Accordingly, last year there was a
liaison program from CSIS to the private business sector to
enhance understanding of vulnerabilities.
Unfortunately the marching orders for CSIS' role in economic
security was defensive, only advisory and precautionary.
Canadian law could be broken. International conventions could
be violated, our trade agreements subverted yet in economic
espionage CSIS was again to be passive, reactive rather than
What about specific training and research done jointly with
manufacturing associations or other national trade and financial
organizations? It is community policing at a national level,
block watch in the industrial, technological and financial
sectors. I doubt from what I have heard that CSIS has anywhere
near that kind of preventive, predictive level of operation, yet
that is the best kind of law enforcement.
To say that private sector industrial espionage is strictly the
responsibility of the private sector is like standing guard at the
front door while the thieves come and go at will through the back
Monitoring and intercepting the deadly traffic of weapons and
their associated technologies is a CSIS role. Terrorism is active
in the world. Canada has been used for fund raising for foreign
weapons buying and sometimes as a safe haven for numbers of
extremist groups. CSIS, the RCMP, the military, Immigration
and so on have overlapping roles to control criminal acts from
Global trends of ethnic nationalism, fanatic types of religious
fundamentalism and other forms of destabilizing ideological
extremism warrant vigilance. The immigrants to this country
and the millions who have come since the 1970s must be
protected from foreign influenced activities and be dissociated
from former homeland quarrels, violence and extortion. These
immigrants must not be exploited by homeland interests. Old
disputes from offshore must not continue in and through
The sources of terrorism remain strong. Nationalism,
separatism, ideological extremism are I am sure some of the
things that CSIS touches as it works to ensure the safety,
security and integrity of our society within the context of a
national security system.
The task of monitoring our national security agency is not one
that parliamentary systems handle very well. With CSIS, we pay
the piper but we never hear the tune or have much knowledge
about what instrument is being played. We invest large sums of
money in gathering security intelligence. I am not too sure we
know what to do with a lot of what is gathered.
CSIS is something like a national insurance policy or a
security alarm in the night to protect the public and national
interest. Value for money then is an issue. How do we know the
alarm works or if it is even turned on. We see the CSIS budget
stay about the same despite changing realities. They are coming
together in one building, organizing and reorganizing. I
certainly hope that by now the internal turf wars are over
between the grandfathered RCMP types and the other
Reputation has it that for the past while much of CSIS'
resources have been used up by itself for itself with infighting,
reorganization upon reorganization with not much of real
product or results for the national interest, the basic reasons why
CSIS exists. This gets back to the basic issue of accountability.
Although I am sure we have people there who see themselves
as dedicated and hardworking, secret unaccountable
organizations, like governments that behave that way, very soon
get completely off the rails. There must be an ongoing tension
efficacious result as the blank check of power is very corrupting
to those within the system.
As a final suggestion, it is often the lowest level operatives in
the system who actually deliver the service, the ones who
actually do the work that are the best source for renewal, new
and better accountability and a help for a mission statement.
They usually are never asked or seriously considered.
In summary, CSIS must be accountable, not in just that it
spent its money within the allowable vote and its accounts are
correct. Canadians have a right to know that the existence of
CSIS is worth it. My opening remarks related to a change in
community attitude against top-down, we know best
I thank the minister for his report. I make the point for the
need of better, broad based accountability. Increased public
confidence in CSIS can only strengthen its role. I close by
saying we hope against hope that CSIS can truly deliver a degree
of security that places our nation in the ranks of the more
fortunate few nations that have peace, order and good and honest
* * *
Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue):
Speaker, on March 24 I responded to the hon. member for
Comox-Alberni on a question concerning the registered
charity status of Greenpeace Canada.
I looked into the situation as promised. I wish to inform the
member that Greenpeace Canada was formerly a registered
charity but this status was revoked in June 1989 by Revenue
Canada at the request of Greenpeace itself.
The Greenpeace Canada Charitable Foundation is however a
registered charity and it is quite distinct, I am told, from
With respect to advocacy, political advocacy is permitted to a
registered charity but only in a very limited sense. When we get
information that this provision is being abused of course
Revenue Canada carries out investigations.
I trust this will explain that Greenpeace Canada is permitted
to carry out any advocacy that it wishes and that it does not in
fact receive charitable status for receipt purposes.
The Deputy Speaker: As the hon. members know, the
Official Opposition is entitled to reply to the minister's
statement. Does anyone from the Bloc Quebecois wish to speak?
The same goes for the Reform Party.
Is there somebody from the Reform Party who wishes to reply to
the statement by the minister?
Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River): Mr.
Speaker, if I understood the minister's statement there is a
difference between the international Greenpeace organization
and Greenpeace Canada. If I understood the context, is it
allowable to transfer funds from the one organization to the
The Deputy Speaker: I do not believe it is an opportunity for
further questioning. I think the way the rules work, as
spokesman for your party you have to make a statement rather
than ask a further question of the minister. If you wish to ask a
question perhaps at a later time or else make a statement now
putting your points on the record the hon. member may do so.
The Chair takes it that the hon. member does not wish to make
a statement at this time in the name of the Reform Party.
Mr. Hermanson: Mr. Speaker, just for clarification. Was
proper notice of this minister's statement tabled with the House
before the statement was made?
The Deputy Speaker: Ministers are not obliged to give notice
of the fact that they wish to make a statement. As the member
will appreciate, it is normally done when a formal statement is
being made such as was made by the Solicitor General.
However, it is not a requirement that a minister do so.
Mr. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I misunderstood the intent. The
answer is that I do not wish to make a statement at this time.
Mr. Hermanson: Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party would have
responded to the statement had we been notified that a
minister's statement would be forthcoming.
* * *
Mr. Paul DeVillers (Simcoe North)
moved for leave to
introduce Bill C-233, an act to provide for the limitation of
interest rates, the application of interest and of fees in relation to
credit card accounts.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I wish to introduce a private member's
bill entitled an act to provide for the limitation of interest rates,
of the application of interest and of fees in relation to credit card
The purpose of the bill is to make the rules that govern credit
cards fairer for the consumer. Such legislation is long overdue
and I look forward to debating the provisions of the bill in the
very near future.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon):
Mr. Speaker, I have the
duty to present petitions on behalf of the Kaska Tribal Council
of British Columbia and the Yukon. The petition is signed by
residents of Watson Lake, Lower Post, British Columbia and
that general area covered by the Kaska Tribal Council.
The Kaska Tribal Council in this petition is urging the
Minister of Indian Affairs to confirm to the Kaska Tribal
Council that Canada will honour its fiduciary obligations to the
Kaska Tribal Council under the 1989 framework agreement on
land claims. It also urges the minister of Indian affairs to remedy
any breaches to date to the 1989 framework agreement,
including those that may be contained in the umbrella final
agreement signed in May 1993.
Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt):
Speaker, I rise today pursuant to Standing Order 36 to present a
petition which has been certified correct as to form and content
by the clerk of petitions.
The petitioners request that Parliament review Canada's
foreign policy through a process involving broad consultation
and participation and improve the official development
assistance program so as to support more effectively the
solutions put forward by poor countries to meet their own
These petitioners are from Summerland, Penticton and
Naramata in the riding of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt. I
present this today.
* * *
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons):
Mr. Speaker, I
would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
The Deputy Speaker: Shall all questions stand?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Deputy Speaker: I wish to inform colleagues that
pursuant to Standing Order 33(2)(b) because of the ministerial
statements, Governments Orders will be extended by 38
The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill
C-17, an act to amend certain statutes to implement certain
provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 22,
1994 be read the second time and referred to a committee; and of
Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay West-Revelstoke): Mr. Speaker,
the omnibus nature of this bill makes it very awkward to deal
with the component parts contained in it. Some of the items are
realistic and reasonable. Some are not.
In normal circumstances one studies a bill and then makes an
informed decision whether or not that bill should be supported.
In the case of Bill C-17 that decision is not so easy to make.
One of the great political red herrings of the past Parliament
was the Charlottetown accord. It too was omnibus in nature.
There was something in it which almost everybody could accept
collectively and there were areas which almost no one could
accept as well. On the whole the majority of the Canadian
population rejected the accord because in an all or nothing
arrangement there were too many areas that were not acceptable.
Therein lies the problem.
Since the rejection of the Charlottetown accord the past and
present government have used the rejection to throw back in the
faces of people advocating such timely reforms as an elected
Senate the fact that such a reform was offered and rejected.
At the same time the government seems able to proceed with
such constitutional items as official bilingualism for another
province, changes in wording of an agreement which allow a
bridge to replace a ferry system and negotiations on aboriginal
Thus is the problem associated with omnibus type bills which
have in the past created a lose-lose situation for many of those
involved in the process. It is with this obstacle in mind that I
have prepared my position on transportation subsidies.
The prairie grain farmer has many problems in attempting to
operate a successful and very necessary business in Canada. For
years grain farmers have been receiving freight subsidies to
offset the cost of grain transportation. There is in this subsidy a
bit of a misconception. The farmers do not receive the subsidy
directly. It is paid to the railway and there many unresolved
problems with the rail system which I believe are further
complicated by the manner in which the subsidy is paid.
By paying the railroad directly one would assume that they
ship all the grain and the overall cost of the freight is reduced by
the subsidy amount. This is not the case. Many grain elevators
are full to capacity and have been for quite some time. Some of
these elevators have not seen a rail car in over two months.
A further complication to this is the spring road weight
restrictions which are now in place which make it even harder
for farmers to move their grain when elevators space does
become available. Grain farmers are not paid for their harvest
until it is sold and shipped to the purchaser. In the interim period
grain farmers are not only not paid for their work and expenses,
they also incur further costs which are often the difference
between making a decent return on their labour and investment
or going broke.
Some of these include the cost of storage of grain, interest
charges on debts which should have been reduced or paid off
from the proceeds of the grain sale, lost sales as a result of
failure to deliver the product on time and demurrage charges
levied by ships sitting in Vancouver harbour empty, waiting on
grain to be delivered by the railway. These demurrage charges
run up to $20,000 a day and some ships have left the harbour
empty after collecting as much as $350,000 in demurrage
The total crop transportation subsidy last year was about $36
million. Western grain farmers have lost approximately $200
million in grain sales and demurrage charges alone since the
beginning of the Vancouver port labour dispute which the
government was so reluctant to end.
Since the 1970s provincial and federal governments and the
Canadian Wheat Board have supplied thousands of hopper cars
to the railway. The Western Grain Transportation Act pays a
transportation subsidy directly to the railway. In doing so there
seems to be a loss of accountability which can be addressed very
Paying the subsidy directly to the grain farmer on a pro rata
basis will allow the farmers to have more control over the
method of shipment and provide more incentive to the rail lines
to move the grain more effectively and efficiently. The concept
of a reduction in the amount of the subsidy paid is not where my
concern lies. I know costs have to be cut and this is an area that
has potential for reduction. These cuts however must not be
solely on the backs of the grain farmers who are already in a very
insecure financial position.
In normal business practices one looks at a rate of return on an
investment. A return of 10 per cent is not considered particularly
high, especially if there is an element of risk involved.
In addition, one normally and reasonably expects to be paid
something for one's labours. Many grain farmers are currently
paid less than one-quarter of the normal return on their
investment that they hold. If we look at their total income in
light of that small investment return they are paid nothing at all
for their labours.
These farmers are not growing coloured TVs or fancy
furniture. They are growing the food we need to produce in this
country to maintain our independence for this vital commodity
and an extremely important export product which helps
maintain the economic viability of our country in an
international global market.
We cannot simply turn our backs on the needs of the farmer.
We must find a way to reduce expenses like the grain
transportation subsidy without creating further economic
hardships on people who are a vital part of our food chain and
The changing of the payment of the subsidy directly to the
grain farmer is the first step. This step however must be
accompanied by further changes to reduce unnecessary loss of
income caused by the current transportation problems.
Subsidy reductions contained in the 1994 Liberal budget
would result in a saving of approximately $5 million.
If the government were prepared to take some initiative in
ending the unnecessary loss of income through the current
transportation problems, not only would the subsidy reduction
not create a further hardship, it would open up the potential for
further reductions without hardships at all.
In short, there is a potential in this small portion of a great
all-encompassing bill for savings in the area of grain
transportation subsidies, but the government must do its
homework first. In this draft that homework has not been done.
I trust the government will accept these remarks as items to
consider and modify this entire section before it is brought
before the House again.
I now turn my attention to the Atlantic region transportation
subsidies. The Atlantic region consists of New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Labrador and the
eastern portion of Quebec. The purpose of these subsidies is to
promote and encourage the transport of goods within the
There are three different components to these subsidies under
the Maritime Freight Rates Act. The first is a basic westbound
subsidy on virtually all commodities travelling from inside the
region to territories outside the region.
In 1992 this totalled $38.4 million, $9.6 million for rail
transport and $28.8 million for truck transportation; a separate
westbound selective subsidy of 20 per cent on selected goods
which were actually manufactured inside the region as opposed
to simply passing through.
In 1992 this totalled $13.7 million, $3.7 million for rail
transport and $10 million for truck transportation.
In addition, there was an internal regional 10 per cent subsidy
which was reduced to 9 per cent in the budget of April 1993 on a
selected list of commodities. In 1992 this totalled $57.7 million,
$9.5 million for rail transport, $47.5 million for truck
transportation and $.7 million for marine transportation.
The combined total of all Atlantic subsidies for 1992 was
In the budget of April 1993 this $109.8 million subsidy was
reduced by 10 per cent. To achieve this cut the overall
westbound rail shipment subsidy was cut from 30 per cent to
28.5 per cent.
Other reductions in costs were made through general
administration and internal cutbacks across the board.
This year's budget calls for another 5 per cent cut in the total
Atlantic shipping subsidy, which now sits between $100 million
and $105 million, commencing April 1994.
Once again I find myself in a mix of support and opposition.
On the one hand we have the continuing problem of the needs of
government to reduce expenditures. On the other hand I find the
government has once again not done its homework.
The general economy of the maritimes is fragile at best and
the government while recognizing the need to reduce its
spending must also be mindful of the need to examine all areas
of savings before taking any arbitrary action.
The reduction of the Atlantic shipping subsidies as proposed
is not unreasonable. The reality is these subsidies could
probably be reduced considerably more but not without
coupling these reductions with other changes.
One of these changes is the removal of interprovincial trade
barriers in the region. These barriers already cost the Atlantic
region more than the total value of the regional development
grants. As in the case of western grain farmers, subsidy
reduction would be a lot more palatable if it were coupled with
reductions of other costs of doing business.
Another area that should also have been considered is the cost
of keeping the port of Montreal open in the winter months.
Currently icebreaking services are provided by the coast guard
at no cost to the shippers or ships that the goods travel on. This
creates two problems. First, this service costs the federal
government about $33 million a year. To be sure some of this,
about a third, is spent on flood control work. The rest amounts to
yet another transportation subsidy costing the Canadian
taxpayer four times the amount of saving in the Atlantic regional
freight subsidy reductions proposed.
Second, this free service actually works against the Atlantic
region by subsidizing the movement of goods through the
maritimes in the winter instead of utilizing the ice free ports in
Halifax and St. John's. It is well and good to have this service
available for ships wishing to utilize this service, but it should
be user pay. This would result in savings far in excess of the
current amount targeted by the government and at the same time
likely produce some economic benefit for the Atlantic ports.
To put it mildly, the St. Lawrence icebreaker issue certainly
seems ironic considering the large degree of difficulty the
Atlantic shipping industry is presently going through. The
disorganized, self-defeating government policy in subsidy
fields does not end there.
To add further fuel to the fire I must also express some sincere
concerns regarding the proportion of truck subsidies received in
the Atlantic region when compared with the alternate subsidies
received by rail and marine transportation sectors. I am a bit
perplexed as to why the government would provide such a
proportionately huge subsidy for the very industry that is
supposedly bringing about the untimely demise of our nation's
This is particularly true in the case of Atlantic Canada which
has been suffering a great deal in recent years and has suffered
deep cuts by both Canadian National Rail and Canadian Pacific
Rail as a result.
Although there is certainly an argument that is to be made that
Canada's railroads are not competitive enough to go head to
head with trucking firms in the ongoing quest for this market
share, I am not sure that I am prepared to accept this argument at
full face value. The fact that major trucking companies are being
so well subsidized by the government is bound to have a
negative effect on our important rail system, something that will
only hasten the demise of the rail lines in the Atlantic region.
Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland in particular have
already felt the sting of line closures, a predicament that strikes
at the very heart of interprovincial arrangements which were
made with the east at the time of Confederation. This relatively
heavy subsidization of truck transportation in Atlantic
provinces is a double pronged blow to our nation's railroads.
The reason for this is simple. The disproportionate amount of
direct subsidy money received by trucking firms amounts to a
second major subsidy for this industry which already receives a
major indirect subsidy in the form of government paid highway
construction and repair. Whereas railway companies like CN
and CP are obliged to basically pay their own way for the upkeep
and maintenance of their expensive rail lines, trucking
companies are under no such obligation when it comes to
Canada's roads. Yes, there are fuel taxes paid by trucks that
our highways but trains are also obligated to pay these same
The result of this scenario is that trucking firms are being
assisted in their transportation responsibilities to double and
triple the tune of what our railways are receiving on a per capita
While all this is happening our essential highways,
particularly the Trans-Canada, are crumbling beneath the
weight of heavy 18 wheel vehicles that are not required to pay
their full share of much needed repairs. At this point it seems
unlikely the federal government would be willing to put any
more money into expensive highway renovations. This has not
been done for years and the present deficit mess certainly does
not lend itself to alleviating the often dangerous conditions
drivers must deal with.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the present subsidy system
in the Atlantic region as it now operates is obviously geared to
work against railways that might not be so indebted at present if
it were not for unfair government policies.
I am not arguing that the subsidy systems provided to Atlantic
Canada are too high, although it is good to see small cuts have
been made by the government in this sector. What I am arguing
is that subsidies are being unevenly, unfairly, unwisely spread
throughout the transportation sector.
This is what I mean by the government not having done its
homework or having the courage to alter and improve what is
clearly an very inequitable subsidy system. I would hope and
expect that the Minister of Transport will give some serious
consideration to the revamping of its funding allocations in the
weeks and months to come. There are clearly much greater
potential savings than those proposed by the government and
without serious effect on either group or region involved.
Beyond the fact of subsidy issues we are now talking
transportation matters and none of this has come before the
I generally support both subsidy reductions proposed by the
government although I cannot support the overall bill because of
clauses that have nothing to do with the subsidies. I suggest the
government now commence to complete its overdue
assignments: government cost reductions coupled with
economic benefits to these regions.
Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): Mr. Speaker, I would
have a comment to make on the extremely well-thought-out
speech by the hon. member who just spoke. At the beginning of
his speech, he talked about subsidies which should be paid
directly to the farmers instead of to the railway to ship wheat, for
example, from the West to the East. This battle has been going
on for years and is known as the Crow's Nest Pass battle. That
debate reflects the conflicting philosophies of agricultural
development in Eastern Canada and Western Canada.
If the hon. member thinks that these subsidies should be paid
directly to western farmers, you will understand that eastern
Canada, Quebec in particular, is dead against it because this
freight assistance was intended to allow all regions of Canada to
be supplied with wheat, and not to provide the grower with a
subsidy he could then use as he wishes, to pay for shipping
wheat, raising cattle or operating a slaughterhouse. In other
words, to use this money to increase his personal wealth without
necessarily supplying regions where wheat is less plentiful.
That is why this assistance was applied directly to
transportation, to ensure supply.
If we, in Quebec, object to it being any other way, it is because
we believe that, if the province of Quebec-with about 25 per
cent of the total population of Canada-were assigned 25 per
cent of the overall budget for agriculture, it would be receiving
$800 millions more every year and could easily use this extra
money to diversify its agricultural production.
On the other hand, if the assistance went directly to the
grower, then the money which was intended to be applied
directly to transportation would be directed to that region of the
country where it would be put to a use that differs from the very
objective, the very principle of Crow's Nest, as it was called,
which would destabilize the entire Canadian farming industry.
We have always been opposed to this direct subsidy concept in
the East, that is to say in Quebec as well as in eastern Canada.
You may remember that there was a report tabled by the
previous government. In 1983, the Liberal government had
considered subsidizing growers directly, but the idea was
rejected. Later on, following an extensive Canada-wide debate,
the Conservative government also held an inquiry into the
Crow's Nest problem, which concluded that things should
remain as they were. The very fact that the hon. member raises
this issue again today goes to show that a block really exists and
how different both sides' philosophies are.
As for his remark on transportation in the East, it goes without
saying that we too, in Quebec, are not clear on a certain number
of things. But one must bear in mind that in that case, we are
dealing with a common household commodity like potatoes. If a
potato grower from Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick
receives federal freight assistance, that will cause some inequity
vis-à-vis growers from other regions, like Ontario and Quebec,
who have started to grow this product. For example, the grower
from Pierreville, in my riding, who wants to sell his potatoes in
Chicoutimi receives no freight assistance, while potato growers
from New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island do.
So, that is somewhat unfair. However, we recognize that this
legislation to help the Eastern provinces is still worth something
and we think the freeze will be extremely hard on these regions
which are going through tough economic times. The 10 per cent
freeze stipulated in the legislation is a very harsh measure.
As for the 10 to 15 per cent increase in the West, it is also a
tough decision which brings into question the supply process we
had in the East for crops coming from western regions. Finally,
the hon. member wondered about the port of Montreal and
mentioned that the use of ice-breakers was extremely costly.
Personally, I think the port of Montreal was one of the most
profitable ports in Canada and was affected by the opening of the
St. Lawrence Seaway. If you want to maintain the seaway, which
does not serve only Montreal, but links the city to other parts of
Canada, you need to keep the port of Montreal open in the winter
months. That seems as obvious to me as it was to the
Government of Canada when it decided to build the Seaway.
Although I understand very well the issues raised by the hon.
member, I want to tell him that I do not agree at all with him
about wheat production in western Canada and the subsidies
going directly to the farmers instead of the shippers. Above all, I
do not agree with his view on keeping the port of Montreal open
in the winter months, even though it costs money. We have
gained some expertise in the area of ice-control throughout
Canada and the Coast Guard is renowned throughout the world.
We could even export our expertise, make it some kind of know
how, as you say in English, knowledge we could export.
That is all I had to say following the brilliant speech made by
the Reform member, even though I do not agree with him.
Mr. Gouk: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
comments and questions.
With regard to prairie grain subsidies I would point out that if
they go to the farmers they still have to transport their grain. It is
not a question that they are going to pocket that money, use it for
other things, and not bother to ship their grain because there is
no way to get paid until they ship it.
The point I was trying to make during my presentation was
that these subsidies to western grain farmers could be reduced
or, for that matter, virtually eliminated if we also eliminated the
other unnecessary expenditures they are burdened with right
now because of the problems with shipping grain other than the
With regard to the port of Montreal the hon. member seemed
to indicate that it should be kept open because it was a decision
made by the Canadian government. It was also a decision made
by the Canadian government that put us over $500 billion in
debt. I do not think the hon. member likes that decision. Many
decisions made in the past have to be questioned.
I am not questioning whether we should be keeping the port of
Montreal open. To suggest that we shut down the port would be
ridiculous. In my speech I said that I had no objection to the
icebreaking service being made available to ships, but let them
pay the cost of having this service provided to them. It otherwise
forms an extremely expensive offset subsidy in direct
disproportion to all other subsidies for the service.
We have to look at ways of cutting all costs right across the
country in virtually every area the government does business.
This is just another way of addressing the problem.
Ms. Albina Guarnieri (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Canadian Heritage): Mr. Speaker, it gives me
great pleasure to join today's debate. I am rising to speak in
support of Bill C-17 and to address more particularly clause 18
which introduces an amendment to the Broadcasting Act. This
amendment will allow the CBC a greater measure of financial
I would like first to convey my appreciation to the Minister of
Finance faced with the difficult task of balancing so many
competing priorities. His support for the CBC has been most
gratifying. I know the employees of the CBC, including very
many talented Canadian artists along with millions of loyal CBC
viewers, also join me in expressing their appreciation.
The importance of public broadcasting in Canada fully
justifies such a commitment. Thanks to public broadcasting,
Canadians remain in touch with one another locally and
nationally scene and with the whole world. Public broadcasting
also gives all communities across this vast country of ours a
chance to define and articulate their own vision of the world.
Public broadcasting plays a decisive role in reaffirming our
That is why annual budget funding for the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation totals about $1 billion. This is 62 per
cent of all federal funding for cultural agencies reporting to the
Department of Canadian Heritage.
However, the financial situation of the CBC has deteriorated
in recent years. Since 1984, its budget has been cut by over $200
million, which has had the effect of increasing its dependence on
advertising revenue. In 1984, this source of financing made up
21 per cent of the CBC's total budget. Today, it is 36 per cent of
the CBC's total budget, an increase of 15 per cent, although this
has not been enough to turn around a very serious deficit. Its
dependence on advertising revenue calls into question the role
of the CBC as public broadcaster.
Furthermore, the 1993 budget inflicted cuts totalling $100
million, effective in 1996. The CBC has already told us that if its
financial situation is not turned around, it will have to proceed
with further cuts in operations.
However, the problems of the CBC are not only due to budget
cutbacks, a structural deficit and the impact of the recession on
advertising revenue. The Canadian broadcasting industry has
changed considerably in recent years. New and specialized
services obtained operating licences in the eighties.
Canadians now enjoy a wider range of programming and
services than ever before. Although these changes are
significant, they are only a preview of what we can expect in the
broadcasting industry. In radio and television, technological
progress will generate even greater diversity. It is expected that
this diversity will lead to increased competition, fragmented
audiences and major investments in technology, and will
increase the cost of Canadian programming.
In television, the advent of direct satellite broadcasting and
the ability of cable companies to increase the number of
channels they offer mean that 200 or even 500 channels will be
available before the end of the century. New American direct
satellite broadcasting services will be extended to Canada in the
next few months. Cable companies will add a number of new
services, including a number of specialized services which the
CRTC is expected to authorize this year.
This new competition will further fragment the audiences and
advertising revenue of Canadian broadcasters, including the
Radio is also facing a number of changes. A few years from
now, we will probably be seeing new radio services and digital
technology adopted by existing services.
Our government has an historical tradition of supporting
CBC, of supporting Canadian culture.
Our electoral platform was clearly outlined in the red book. In
that document we stated that culture is the very essence of our
national identity, the bedrock of national sovereignty and
At a time when globalization and information and
communications revolution is erasing national borders Canada
needs more than ever to commit itself to cultural development.
There is no single instrument more important to the
development of our national cultural identity than the CBC. This
belief was the basis for our electoral pledge to provide the
corporation with stable, multi-year financing. It is a key
element in our plan to strengthen the CBC's ability to adapt to
the new communications universe.
On February 3 of this year the Prime Minister announced the
appointment of Mr. Anthony Manera as president of the CBC.
Mr. Manera has enjoyed a distinguished career both within and
outside the CBC. His commitment to the ideals of public
broadcasting and his understanding of the corporation are deep
indeed. The government is confident that under the capable
leadership of Mr. Manera and the direction of the board of
directors the corporation will meet its many challenges.
The government recognizes the enormity of the task before
the CBC. In asking itself how the CBC can continue to reflect
our fundamental values that project an image of Canada in
which all Canadians recognize themselves the government
understands that it must provide some measures of assistance to
As a first step the government has committed not to impose
new reductions on the CBC over the next five years subject to
annual parliamentary approval of appropriations.
In addition, the government agreed to reprofile the cuts
announced by the last government in order to ease their
integration by the CBC. This measure comes in cost of $100
million in foregone savings to the consolidated revenue fund. It
is a sure sign of this government's commitment to the CBC that
this decision was made in the context of severe financial
These measures, the appointment of a strong new president,
our agreement not to impose new reductions on the CBC and the
reprofiling of previous cuts will give the corporation both the
leadership and the clear picture of its financial future for the
next five years it needs to plan for the longer term with
The next step in our campaign to help the CBC has been our
agreement to grant the corporation's longstanding request for a
borrowing authority. This measure will permit the CBC to
become more efficient in its operations and allow it to enter into
other ventures acceptable to the government that provide a
return on investment.
The proposed legislative amendment to the Broadcasting Act
would authorize the CBC to borrow from the consolidated
revenue fund and from Canadian banking institutions through
lines of credit, commercial loans and issuing bonds or
These borrowed funds would be used only to generate
operating savings or for venture investments. The operating
savings would accrue from investments in small and medium
capital equipment and projects which have a payback of four
years or less.
At the present time the corporation is unable to take
advantage of such opportunities due to its shortage of capital re-
sources and the immediate need of addressing physical
obsolescence in plants and equipment across the country.
Although the CBC can currently request an advance from the
government this can be obtained only in exceptional
The present situation is inadequate for two reasons. Requests
must be evaluated in competition with other government
priorities and the outcome of a request is directly dependent on
the availability of operational reserves.
An obvious example of how this initiative could generate
operational savings would be the purchase of capital equipment
to replace leased equipment.
The operational savings would first serve to repay the capital
investment over a period of three to four years and then further
be applied against the corporation's operational shortfall. The
authority to borrow would also facilitate the corporation's
undertaking of large scale initiatives that further the
achievement of the CBC's mandate and yield significant returns
for a relatively small investment.
A good example of an initiative of this magnitude is the recent
arrangement reached by the CBC to establish its owned and
operated stated in New Brunswick. If the CBC had taken out a
loan of $9.5 million for the purchase of the station, the
advertising revenues from this new station would have allowed
the CBC to repay the loan over a shorter timeframe than the life
of the current agreement. The ability to borrow would have
improved the CBC's financial position over the term of the
agreement by over $3 million.
At this juncture I would like to assure the House that under no
circumstances would the CBC be permitted to use these
borrowed funds to address an operational shortfall and thereby
operate on deficit financing. The CBC would be responsible for
raising all the borrowed funds and ensuring that all procedures
are followed in full compliance with the guidelines for market
borrowings by crown corporations issued by the Department of
Finance. The cash flows from the projects in question would
remain with the CBC with their first priority being to service the
The CBC's borrowing ceiling would be $25 million. A
memorandum of understanding between the CBC and the
Department of Finance would set out the terms and conditions
governing the borrowing authority. Foremost among these
conditions is that the CBC would require the approval of the
Minister of Finance for each case in which borrowed funds were
In my opinion granting this long standing request for the
borrowing authority is an important initiative in fostering the
business like flexibility that is required for a $1 billion
corporation with commercial objectives like the CBC.
No other corporation operating such a large enterprise would
wish to operate without at least some such ability to borrow for
viable investment opportunities.
The government and the CBC have taken a joint approach to
resolving the corporation's problems. In addition to these
measures, the minister has resolved to consult with his Cabinet
colleagues, with other broadcasting industry stakeholders and
with the corporation itself with a view to finding other ways of
generating revenues in the public broadcasting field which
would reduce the CBC's dependence on advertising revenues.
For its part, the CBC is expected to eliminate structural
deficits and to absorb inflation costs as well as operating costs.
Mindful of the unique and highly enviable reputation enjoyed
by the CBC's radio broadcasting services as well as the vital role
that regional services play in helping the corporation serve the
regions and introduce them to audiences nationwide, we have
asked that current radio services and a regional presence be
The challenge is formidable. The move to grant the CBC
limited borrowing authority will be one important component of
the new strategy which the corporation will need to embrace if it
is to meet the challenge.
Clearly, what we want is a renewed CBC.
Canada needs an effective public broadcaster as a front-line
weapon in the battle to defend our cultural sovereignty against
the influences of globalization.
To wage this battle effectively, the CBC must do the
following: it must be the perfect reflection of regional
perspectives across the network; it must help English-speaking
Canadians and French-speaking Canadians gain a better
understanding of the other group's culture by exposing them to
programs produced by the other group; it must contribute to the
common understanding of the multicultural or multiracial
makeup of our population; it must adopt the strictest standards
of journalistic responsibility; finally, it must co-operate with
the rest of the broadcasting industry in an effort to come up with
new markets for Canadian programs and sound recordings.
If we really want the CBC to be the typically Canadian voice
that will shape our national identity in a multichannel
environment, we must give it the necessary tools with which to
confidently plan its future.
I call upon my hon. colleagues in the House to support the
passage of Bill C-17 which, among other very commendable
things, will amend the Broadcasting Act so as to grant the CBC
limited borrowing authority. Recourse to this mechanism under
the stringently controlled circumstances described above will
give the CBC considerable commercial flexibility. In turn, this
flexibility will result in operating savings in the long run.
Mr. Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I
wish to congratulate the member opposite for her spirited
defence of mother corporation.
I think most Canadians grew up with CBC and view it as an
integral part of our lives. However, I have a problem with CBC
particularly over the last few years. I also have a problem with
CBC as a purchaser of advertising from CBC, but that is another
I wonder if the member opposite would comment on this
question and I will phrase it this way. The CBC is neither fish
nor fowl. It tries to be a private broadcaster but it is a public
broadcaster. It tries to be a public broadcaster and it is caught up
in being a private broadcaster.
I wonder if the member opposite has given any thought to the
CBC's paring itself down to a more affordable operation or a
model, striving for excellence using the BBC as a model, BBC-1
or BBC-2, running a commercial free network but not in
competition with the private broadcasting networks.
Ms. Guarnieri: Mr. Speaker, the Reformer is on record as
wanting to privatize part or all of CBC. I thank the hon. member
for his question.
As some make this recommendation they also claim that
Canadians would be better served by the privatization of CBC.
All they would succeed in doing by imprudent budget cuts is
waste much of the money that remains spent on the CBC because
it will not be commercially viable and its product would
deteriorate to irrelevance.
Closing the CBC or severely cutting funding would be to dam
the last river of Canadian culture and leave it in effect as a
stagnant pool. Certainly if the hon. member has suggestions to
make he may wish to make representation before the CRTC.
The hon. member also said that all Canadians recognize the
importance of CBC as a refuge from the mainstream of
American sitcoms and documentaries about the civil war or the
FBI. As the principal carrier of Canadian content, the CBC does
prevent Canadians from being completely culturally
Regrettably, though, the CBC must continue to suffer the
slings and arrows of Reform MPs who were advocating its
demise, unfortunately with a very narrow view of what
constitutes Canadian culture.
Mr. McClelland: Mr. Speaker, I do not think the hon. member
opposite heard what I said when I asked the question. My point
was this. Would the CBC not better serve the people of Canada if
it were to become a true public broadcaster rather than trying to
be a private broadcaster and a public broadcaster? It may
necessitate scaling down so that it could go into a commercial
free broadcasting mode similar to the BBC. The BBC is world
recognized for the quality of its programming.
The point that I would ask the hon. member to consider is that
perhaps Access TV for instance in Alberta may be shut down.
Why could the programming on Access or TVO not all be put
into CBC and CBC become truly a public broadcaster?
Ms. Guarnieri: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member would
like to elaborate, when he says that there should be substantial
cuts, where these cuts should be made.
Mr. Dick Harris (Prince George-Bulkley Valley): Mr.
Speaker, I have been sort of struggling with a comment made by
the chairman of the CBC on a panel show I watched a few weeks
He made a statement which I believe was just incredible. He
said that the CBC should not concern itself with economic
viability but rather with delivering a Canadian culture to the
While that may be barely acceptable in traditional economic
good times, I hardly think that this is a traditional economic
atmosphere that we are enjoying right now. It may be tradition
given the history over the last 15 years. It is all very nice to have
an outlet or a means of conveying Canadian culture but when the
government is borrowing well over $100 million a day to stay in
business, I would ask the minister whether she thinks this is the
time to separate our wants from our needs. To have this
expensive albatross around our necks at this time is sort of like
going downtown to buy a new television set when one does not
have any food in the cupboard.
What does the government have in mind in trying to get the
CBC on an economically viable basis rather than just a black
hole in which to throw money?
Ms. Guarnieri: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the
instant promotion but I am a mere parliamentary secretary and
not a minister. Thank you anyway.
The hon. member makes the point that there should be more
food in the cupboard but to many people culture is a form of food
and sustenance. It is the unifying link that binds this country
together. The measure that the government has proposed and put
on the table before members is very responsible. It is done with a
view to ensuring that we are fiscally responsible. The money
that we are proposing is money well spent.
Mr. Michel Guimond
(Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans): Mr. Speaker, on
Friday, March 25, my colleague, the hon. member for Mercier,
addressed this House on Bill C-17. She asked members to adopt
the following amendment: ``That this House refuse to proceed
with the second reading of Bill C-17, an Act to amend certain
statutes to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in
Parliament on February 22, 1994; 1) given that the amendments
to the Unemployment Insurance Act do not reduce the inequities
between have and have-not regions in the country and contain
no specific measures to reduce youth unemployment; 2) given
that the amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act do not
cancel the increase in premiums paid by workers and employers
in effect since January 1, 1994.''
Today is the period allocated to ask the House to adopt this
amendment. The reasons that led my colleague to present her
amendment are increasingly relevant, and the population,
particularly in Eastern Canada, clearly supports our demands. It
is unacceptable to ask Atlantic and Quebec recipients to become
scapegoats so that the current government can satisfy its
appetite for rationalization in unemployment insurance as
impartially as it does in this bill.
As my colleague from Mercier clearly stated in this House, we
cannot ask Atlantic Canadians, who account for 8.5 per cent of
the Canadian population, to accept cuts of 26 per cent of the
unemployment insurance budget. We have the same problem in
Quebec, where 25 per cent of the Canadian population will be hit
by cuts of 31 per cent.
Quebec has known for a long time that the Liberal Party of
Canada was going to impose such economic losses on Quebec if
it came to power. It knew that the Liberal government would
present bills allowing it to save $5.5 billion over three years and
that the bill would be split inequitably among the provinces. In
the proposals contained in Bill C-17, Quebec and the Maritimes
end up with a large portion of the bill while western Canada and
Ontario are much less affected.
Quebec knew that one of the first measures taken by the
Liberal government would be to approve an increase of 7 cents
in unemployment insurance premium rates, which it did on
January 1, 1994, nine weeks after being elected. Quebec knew
that this increase would eliminate 9,000 jobs. And to look good,
this same government proposes to re-create these same 9,000
jobs in 1995 and 1996 by bringing premiums down to their 1993
The government gives with one hand what it took with the
other and expects to be taken seriously. Quebecers were not
fooled. They elected 54 members of the Bloc Quebecois to
defend their interests, and that is what we intend to do here until
Quebec becomes a separate country, and we demand that the
redistribution of wealth, whether through unemployment
insurance or any other social benefit, be fair until Quebecers
hold all the levers of economic control and are masters in their
own country, Quebec.
If Bill C-17 extends for two years the freeze on compensation
for federally appointed judges, Parliamentary agents, the
Governor General, the Lieutenant Governors and
parliamentarians, fine, but it is not all right if it raises the
premiums of workers whose buying power is already lower and
the premiums of companies that already have trouble competing
in a world of global markets; that is unacceptable.
However, the Minister of Finance had the opportunity on
February 22 to present a budget for a fair redistribution of
wealth by taxing the richest individuals and sparing the poorest.
That is not what the Minister of Finance did. He presented a
budget in which he projected a deficit of $39.7 billion for
1994-95, when the total debt has already exceeded $500 billion.
On March 7, I asked this House to fight the deficit and waste. I
suggested to this House some ways to create permanent jobs and
to improve Canada's finances. Today I would like to add some
ways to reduce the deficit, improve our economy and make our
people more secure, while redistributing our wealth fairly and
Let us look at water transportation. In his budget speech, the
finance minister mentions the upgrading of ground
transportation but fails to specify how it will be done.
Well before the advent of rail and air transportation or
trucking, waterways were used by the early settlers. Canada
goes from sea to sea and holds the largest bodies of fresh water
in the world. A majestic river flows through it. Canadian
harbours played a critical role in the development of Canada and
Quebec. However, in recent years, the majority of ports have
been experiencing serious problems.
And yet, waterways provide the most economical and the least
polluting means of transportation. Our merchant marine has
been all but abandoned and our shipyards are facing great
difficulties, especially in Quebec. It is not a question of building
ships just for the sake of it; indeed, we can and must build ships
to lower transportation costs and preserve the environment we
The development of Quebec City's harbour and most ports
along the St. Lawrence Seaway is based mainly on grain
transportation. Whereas western ports see their share of grain
shipments increased, St. Lawrence Seaway harbours are nearly
at a standstill. The problem is compounded by a drop in Russia's
grain purchases due to an excellent wheat crop in that country.
What are we to do in such a situation? We must find another
vocation for our majestic river and our fresh water bodies. For
example, cruises are an ever-expanding sector both in the
United States and in Canada. Some 7,500 people went on
cruises ending in Quebec City this year compared to 4,300 last
year. Is this not an exciting new niche for a country like ours?
We could at the same time develop our merchant marine and
give work to our shipyards such as MIL Davie, in Lauzon, which
are world-renowned in their field.
I am making these constructive suggestions to the House
because they were ignored in the budget speech.
Let us now look at duplication. Is it not time that agencies,
departments and other government bodies be carefully reviewed
to determine if they really offer an essential service? Is it not
time for the various government levels to communicate with
each other and put an end to duplication? Our party has been
bringing tax shelters to the attention of this government for
some time now, but they did not have the courage to abolish the
real tax shelters of the rich, family trusts, for example. They
prefer to postpone such decisions and let a committee study the
question. However, the government did not ask a committee to
examine the question when it decided to cut the tax credit for
those 65 and over. They certainly know how to make decisions
when attacking the have-nots! They knew very well how to go
about it when they decided to cut UI benefits through bill C-17.
Canadians need reassurance. A country's economy grows out
of its resources and Canada's most important resource is its
population. Even though we make use of our human resources
we are not making the most out of them, mainly because they are
insecure. Our population feels insecure in areas like education,
unemployment, health services, social housing, violence
against women, the uncertainty of our future, legislation and
governmental programs; it feels insecure about the leaders of
this country. People worry when they see UI benefits shrink
from year to year.
What will happen to this program in ten years? Will it be
gone? Canadians are concerned when they hear about user fees
in the health sector. Will they be able to get medical attention
when they need it? Canadians are worried when they see that the
budgets allocated to education and health care are being reduced
all the time. They are concerned about the future. Will there still
be work tomorrow, in spite of the promises made by some
federal and provincial Liberal politicians?
Finally, Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried because of their
leaders' lack of concern for current problems. Let me give you
two specific examples. Some 30 farmers in my riding incurred
substantial losses in the production of potato chips. A request
for financial help was made to the previous government. The
request was rejected. Yet, some farmers from the Atlantic
provinces who suffered similar losses were compensated. The
farmers and their MPs made a request to the government in
office. After two months, the government acknowledged receipt
of their request, but took no concrete action.
Another group of individuals in my riding who are
disillusioned with our leaders are those who were affected by the
urea-formaldehyde foam insulation scandal. This tragedy
occurred under the former Liberal government, of which some
prominent members are still here. Let us not forget that the
current Minister of Foreign Affairs was one of the key players in
Once again, I transmitted a request to the government in
office asking it to take its responsibilities, instead of delegating
them to the judicial process. The government acknowledged
receipt of the request but did nothing else.
Throughout the debates in this House, we will have to keep in
mind that all regions of Canada and all classes of citizens have
to be treated equally. Is it right that, in Canada, 63,000
profitable companies do not pay taxes? Is it right that, in
Canada, some millionaires manage to only pay a few hundred
dollars in taxes every year? Is it right that, in Canada, powerful
families can avoid paying taxes on billions of dollars through
Middle-class workers know that the first penny they earn is
taxed and that the government takes half of it.
In conclusion, if we want to balance our profits and
expenditures, if we want to absorb our deficit, if we want our
economy to resume its former role at the international level, if
we want our wealth to be redistributed fairly, we have to restore
confidence among Canadians. We have to meet their
expectations and we have to answer their questions. We have to
give back to Canadians the place that should always have been
theirs: in other words, we have to realize that they are the
number one resource in our economy.
Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Public Works and Government Services): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to ask two questions. When we came into
office, we were faced, and everybody agrees on that, with a
deficit of about $45 billion and an accumulated debt of about
$500 billion. My colleague said that there were a number of
things he would have done, supposedly, if he had been in power
to try to control the deficit and the debt.
He forgot to tell us how much he would have saved on each of
his initiatives. Moreover, he said-and he will correct me if I am
wrong-that he would have spent more. He said three things:
Here is what I would have done, but without telling us how much
he would have saved; here is what I would not have done,
although some cuts have saved money and he did not say what
would have replaced them. And finally, he said: Here is what I
would have spent over and above what is already being spent.
If I am not mistaken, there was a deficit of $45 billion and a
debt of $550 billion, and I believe he would make things worse.
If I misunderstood, I am waiting to be corrected.
The second thing he mentioned that I object to are user fees. I
never heard anyone on this side of the House mention such a
thing. Why scare people? Why does he pretend that we are
studying the matter? In fact, the Minister of Health has said
repeatedly ``no user fees'', so why does he make such a
comment? Does he not feel that it is unjust, cruel, maybe a bit
Mr. Guimond: Mr. Speaker, listening to the hon. member for
St. Boniface, I am pleased to learn that we are allowed to accuse
one another of making dishonest comments. I wonder if the hon.
member heard the first part of my speech. I think he may have
come in partway through. I will nonetheless answer his two
First, what we blame the present Liberal government for is
that in its February 22 budget it came up with nothing more than
a national infrastructure program which will cost $2 billion in
federal taxes, $2 billion in provincial taxes and $2 billion in
municipal taxes, after running its campaign on a platform of
jobs, jobs, jobs. This program will create 45,000 jobs per year,
but just temporary ones. When Metropolitan Boulevard in
Montreal and Saint-Jean Street in Quebec City have been
upgraded, and the sidewalks redone, what other structural
projects will there be to create permanent employment?
We, in the Bloc Quebecois, have suggested innovative job
creation projects. A project like the high speed train would
create 120,000 work-years of employment for the duration of
the construction phase as well as 40,000 permanent jobs to
operate the Quebec-Windsor corridor. It would also be possible
to export Bombardier technology under North American licence
for use in ten upcoming HST projects. Two hundred billion in
investments over the next 12 years, that is what infrastructure
programs, programs that create permanent jobs and high-tech
jobs are about. That is my position with regard to the national
debt and the deficit.
I will also remind the hon. member for St. Boniface that, had
Quebec said yes in the 1980 referendum, the accumulated
federal deficit was $75 billion at the time, compared to over
$500 billion today. At this rate, what we are going to tell the
people of Quebec next time around is that we can no longer
afford to remain part of this country; we must get out because it
is headed for a $600-billion or $700-billion deficit. That will be
one of the arguments in the next referendum campaign.
As for deterrent fees, it is true that, since January 17, I have
never heard the Minister of Health, or anyone else for that
matter, say there would be any. I must admit that is true. Yet,
with regard to the provinces' finances, the danger is that all of
them end up facing cash flow difficulties and that the have-not
provinces can no longer afford providing health care services
because of cuts in federal transfer payments.
In Quebec, we are facing a real danger of finding ourselves
back, like in the 1950s, with two types of medical practices: one
for the rich and another one for the poor. With sickness striking
without distinction of social status, race, language, and so on,
there is a danger that the only way some Quebecers will be able
to afford treatment will be to mortgage their home and
belongings or to sell everything. That is the danger. It is true that
the federal government never talked about imposing deterrent
fees, but it does put the provinces in a situation where they could
well experience cash flow and public finance problems that may
divide people into two classes for health care.
Mr. Dick Harris (Prince George-Bulkley Valley): Mr.
Speaker, I listened to the comments of the hon. member of the
Bloc. He talked about ways to create permanent jobs.
I have a question for him. He mentioned three particular
projects: the TGV high speed rail line, the Quebec to Windsor
corridor and the exporting of Bombardier technology to
different parts of the world.
As I am sure most economists and the Bloc will acknowledge,
real permanent jobs must come from the private sector.
Although the current government disagrees with the Reform
position on how to create real jobs and pushes ahead with credit
card infrastructure programs to create temporary jobs, does the
Bloc agree that the source of real permanent jobs is from the
private sector? If so, is the hon. member talking about total
private sector investment in the three particular megaprojects he
has suggested? Or, is this another request for more government
subsidies and more government money to be poured into the
province of Quebec?
I find absolutely incredible that day after day we come to the
House and hear the Bloc party talking about wanting to leave our
country, wanting to separate. Yet day after day the Bloc sits in
the House and continually asks for more money. Indeed this is a
contrast in thought.
I want to ask the hon. member about these three projects. Is he
simply looking for more government money to be poured into
Quebec? I noticed this morning the Liberal government
authorized some $575,000 going to the Montreal Symphony
Orchestra and the Quebec Ballet going on a European tour.
Earlier I talked about not having any food in the cupboard and
buying a television set. This is just another case of money going
into the province of Quebec that we just do not have.
Would the hon. member advise me whether he is talking about
total private sector investment in the three projects, or is he
simply looking for another handout?
Mr. Guimond: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member for the
Reform Party sees a contradiction between statements by
members of the Bloc and what we receive from the federal
government, I want to make it clear that every year, Quebecers
pay $28 billion in taxes to Ottawa. I hope that when the federal
government invests in Quebec, no one here thinks the
government is doing us a favour. It is our money, because we pay
$28 billion in taxes.
As long as we are part of this system, and until such time as
Quebecers say they really want to form a country, and in any
event, Reform Party members who keep presenting petitions
against official languages in Canada won't have a problem any
more with what happens in Quebec. Quebec will be a French
nation. You won't have to present any more petitions to
complain about federal investment in Quebec, because Quebec
will manage its own taxes, both federal taxes and provincial
So there is no contradiction involved in claiming our due
while we are part of this system. The federal government is not
doing us a favour.
Regarding investments in a high-speed train service, a task
force including representatives from the Government of Ontario
and the Government of Quebec and chaired by the hon. Rémi
Bujold, former M.P. for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine,
has shown that a Quebec-Windsor high-speed train could be 70
per cent financed by the private sector, while the government
could inject 30 per cent, which would represent investments
totalling about $2.3 billion. The revenue generated by 120,000
person-years of work during construction and 40,000
person-years when a high-speed train is in operation would
total $1.8 billion, which means that the difference between $2.3
billion and what the federal government would contribute with
$1.8 billion in tax revenues would be $500 million.
We voted in favour of a project worth several billion dollars to
build a fixed link between Prince Edward Island and New
Brunswick, because we felt it was a good project. We are
convinced that if this proposal is debated in this House, a project
that would create jobs, export technology, and nevertheless have
a limited impact on the public purse, with 70 per cent
participation by the private sector, it would be a very attractive
proposition for Canada and Quebec.
Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister
of Industry): Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my remarks
The Deputy Speaker: I apologize for interrupting the hon.
member but, before I give him the floor, it is my duty, pursuant
to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the question to be
raised tonight at the time of the adjournment is as follows: the
hon. member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie-Average income of
My apologies to the hon. member for
Broadview-Greenwood. Resuming debate.
Mr. Mills: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my remarks by
continuing on the theme that the member for the Reform Party
discussed. It had to do with the contradiction of the Bloc
Quebecois coming into the House and constantly talking about
separation, yet at the same time asking for more support for
I have absolutely no problem with the members from Quebec
fighting for their constituents, for their community and for
projects that will help revitalize the city of Montreal and the
province of Quebec. If we can get the economies of Montreal
and Toronto going again it will go a long way in affecting all
parts of the country.
What bothers me is the fact that the members from the Bloc
never talk about the announcement that the Minister of Finance
made on January 21 when he stated the terms of the five year
equalization renewal, the equalization entitlement. As you
know, Mr. Speaker, because of our Constitution we have an
equalization formula. It is a complex formula where the
provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, which are
the wealthier provinces, are contributing to those provinces in
our Confederation that do not have the same resources.
On January 21 the Minister of Finance announced a $70
billion package for the province of Quebec. Over the next five
years there will be a transfer of funds that will go to the province
of Quebec, unfettered, no strings attached. I have yet to hear a
member of the Bloc acknowledge that the $70 billion transfer
under the equalization entitlement to the people of Quebec is a
good thing. They seem to pretend it is not happening, that it does
not go on.
I am not begrudging this transfer in any way. It is part of our
contract to keep Confederation together. But when they stand in
the House and talk about some of the difficulties we are having
collectively in trying to get our economy going again, I wish in
fairness that they would acknowledge the fact that for the last
five years on equalization the province of Quebec received
$50.2 billion and for the next five years it will receive an
additional $70 billion.
The people in my community in Toronto cannot figure out
transferring $130 billion to a community that is talking about
separation. I am waiting for the day when the Bloc members
start speaking publicly about the equalization entitlements and
the amounts that the people of Quebec will be receiving over the
next five years.
They should not confuse their constituents by saying, as the
member of the Bloc stated earlier, that they pay so much in
income taxes to the federal treasury. I think the member said $28
billion or something and that they should have all of that back.
They get all of that back and more under equalization.
Therefore, do not link the income tax being paid to the
equalization entitlement. They are two separate issues. The
equalization transfer is over and above all the other programs,
services and fundings that are transferred to the province of
I want to say, as someone from downtown Toronto, that to
spend $100 billion over the next five years to keep Quebec
feeling that it is part of Confederation, I personally would have
absolutely no problem.
It was a very rough week for us in Toronto. We thought we
were going to receive the centre for NAFTA for the
environmental studies. We did not receive it but that is the game.
You win some and you lose some. I guess my point is that I wish
the members of the Bloc would show some of appreciation, not
just to their constituents but to the people of Canada.
I realize that is just a little bit off topic from the budget
amendment that we are discussing today but I thought it was
relevant to the debate.
The part of the bill I would like to speak specifically to has to
do with part IV, the borrowing authority of C-17. This is the
section in the bill where-and I can see my friends in the Reform
Party getting twitchy already-through the approval of the
Minister of Finance, we are authorizing the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation, Radio-Canada, to a further
borrowing power of $25 million.
I know that the members of the Reform Party have great
difficulty with how we, when we are in such difficult times,
could authorize for the CBC a further indebtedness or a further
support of $25 million. I want to say to members on the other
side that this is the right thing to do.
Mr. Harris: Say that with a straight face.
Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood): I do say it with a
straight face. As I was saying to one of our colleagues this
morning, the CBC is really not like any other business in the
I do not know why I am defending the CBC because it has
never been particularly good to me or for that matter to any other
politician. It is one of those rare situations where we are
defending an organization that is constantly attacking us. That is
what makes this country so interesting.
Mr. Speaker, you signalled that I have only a couple of
minutes. As we head into this very sensitive period where once
again we will all be required to make sure that in the interest of
national unity we bring our best foot forward, I really feel that it
is important that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,
Radio-Canada-radio, television, Newsworld-have a solid
footing and a solid organization. This is an institution, as I am
sure most people in Canada would agree, that is probably the
best binding agent we have in a communications instrument.
We hear from musicians in every region who might otherwise
not get the opportunity to be heard on a national basis. As I
mentioned earlier today in debate it is a high quality
organization for communication and production. It is also a
tremendous training ground.
This is one area where, when we analyse the balance sheet of
the CBC, we have not given it proper credit. This has been an
area where it has trained people who ultimately have gone on to
produce on other TV networks and in the motion picture
industry. They are high quality technicians. Many of them now
are creating product that we are exporting around the world. It is
giving us not only a presence in North America but a Canadian
presence all over the world. For that reason I would urge all
members to support this bill.
Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast): Mr. Speaker, I really
appreciated hearing the comments of the hon. member across
the floor, especially when he talks about the have provinces of
Canada and telling everyone here today that Alberta is one of
It is wonderful to come from a have province. But we are
going through one of the most painful periods in our history
right now as we have a deficit reduction program that affects
every man, woman and child in Alberta.
I am very concerned about the fact that feel good money is
going to a province such as Quebec. There is no vision within
that province that includes all of Canada. It is very well defined
within their own borders for them.
It was interesting for the hon. member to have drawn an
analogy between this feel good money that will be going to
Quebec at all costs just to keep them and embrace them. I would
love it if they could make the choice for themselves to stay in
this wonderful country of ours.
I am totally opposed to that $25 million support for the CBC. I
would like the hon. member to explain to me how he can in all
good faith support the spending authority when there is
basically no plan attached to it. It is just a carte blanche gift of
spending. I really would like him to comment on that.
Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood): Mr. Speaker, I would
like to begin my remarks by saying to the member that in no way
do I consider the equalization money being transferred as feel
I do not believe that the Bloc Quebecois are the only people
who speak for the province of Quebec. We have a provincial
Liberal government right now in Quebec. The money, I believe
and hope, goes into responsible publicly accounted for projects,
such as retraining, education, et cetera. Please, let us not call
this money feel good.
I want to say to the hon. member who comes from the
province of Alberta that I realize her province is going through
deep pain. So is my city and my province. However having said
all of that, Quebec and some of our Atlantic provinces are even
much worse off than the member's province and my province.
That is something we have to realize.
As far as the $25 million for the CBC goes, and I do not think
it is receiving this money and just going out and buying
frivolous things, this money goes through a very rigorous
process and goes into Canadian content and new production. The
hon. member talked this morning about the CBC getting more
One of the reasons why the CBC is short on revenue is that it is
competing with the CTVs of the world that have much more
American content. The content in terms of Canadian budget and
Canadian productions is not anywhere near the budgets of
programming on other networks, CTV, which basically rents its
finished product from abroad. The money will be going to
enhance the production of CBC programming which hopefully
will raise its quality and which will ultimately make it as
productive as other networks.
I think the member has to realize and have the good faith that
the new administration of the CBC, not putting down the
previous one, has assured the CRTC and members of this House
that, as all of us in this country are undergoing restructuring and
renewal, it does not feel that it is exempt. It is going to do its best
to make sure that this money is used efficiently.
Mr. Paul Zed (Fundy-Royal): Mr. Speaker, through the
course of today's debate much has been said about specific
elements of this budget. I would like to take a few moments to
put our discussion into context by reminding hon. members that
the broad direction of the budget is one that has been described
by the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as
headed in the right direction and very specific about how to get
This budget addresses three vital challenges. The first is to
build a framework for economic renewal. The second is to
restore fiscal responsibility and the third, to ensure long term
viability of our social programs.
The budget takes a balanced approach to these goals because
they are the foundations for what Canada needs most, growth
and jobs. This budget is the first stage in a two stage process.
The direct actions taken today will be followed by extensive
policy reviews leading to further action in the future.
The government has taken concrete action to meet the urgent
need of creating jobs and revitalizing our economy. Canada as
we all know has just passed through a difficult recession. That is
why we are taking immediate action to restore consumer
confidence and spur growth, action such as our national
Currently in New Brunswick as in other provinces we are
determining the first projects to receive funding from the $153
million to be spent in our province over the next three years.
This government has also announced strategic measures to help
Canada compete and prosper in the new economy. This budget,
for example, takes action to assist small and medium sized
businesses, the driving force behind job creation in our fast
evolving economy. Measures including reduction of regulatory
and payroll tax burdens as well as improved access to capital and
new technology are essential for continued growth and job
creation in the new economy.
In keeping with the vision of this budget the standing
committee on industry has begun a study on the access by small
and medium sized business to new and traditional sources of
financing. In the past weeks this committee in keeping with the
government's pledge to consult with Canadians has heard
testimony from small and medium sized business owners from
across the country.
I am pleased to note that a number of Atlantic Canadian
business people have come forward to give excellent testimony
on this very important subject. Small business people know how
hard it is to get a modest loan and this committee wants to see
how the government can help.
The budget takes decisive action to bring the deficit down
now and set the country on a realistic path toward a responsible
target of 3 per cent of the GDP in three years, a target that no
Canadian government has reached for 20 years. We will
accomplish this mainly from expenditure reductions. In this
area this government is leading by example.
Bill C-17, for example, freezes the salaries of members of
Parliament. Over the next three years net savings from all
spending cuts will reach $17 billion. This represents the most
extensive program of net spending reduction of any budget in
more than a decade.
We still have work to do. Even with last week's encouraging
news of the largest monthly decline in the unemployment rate in
10 years, we still have too many Canadians out of work. We have
an economy where one in six children lives in poverty and where
social programs that were once the envy of the world no longer
meet our different needs and have outrun our ability to pay for
This budget sets the stage for a historic modernization and
restructuring of Canada's social safety net over the next two
years. The goal of this reform is to provide modern and
sustainable programs that respond to contemporary needs like
skills training and incentives to work.
The budget takes a critical first step toward this broad goal by
initiating concrete action in two major expenditure areas:
unemployment insurance and federal transfer payments to
provinces in support of social programs.
Rising unemployment insurance premiums for business are a
major obstacle to job creation. The changes to UI announced in
the budget will lower premiums and provide the creation of
more jobs. As the president of the Canadian Federation of
Independent Business said: ``It is a huge incentive for small
business to create business''.
In the recent past federal action toward the provinces
appeared to be based on a strategy of sneak attacks,
confrontation and denunciation. This led to federal-provincial
relations increasingly charged with tension. This budget rejects
this approach. Instead it provides for predictability and modest
growth in equalization transfers during the timeframe for social
Throughout the course of the reform process the federal
government will work with all of the provinces to redesign our
social programs. We will co-operate in studying reforms and
testing new approaches with extensive consultations with the
public to receive their input along the way.
In the province of New Brunswick we recently announced
co-operation agreements between the federal and provincial
ministers to find new ways for making a better Canada: a youth
jobs strategy program at CFB Gagetown to allow young people
between the ages of 17 and 24 to receive skills training in
different trades; the New Brunswick job corps program which
provides a guaranteed income for participants in return for
volunteer services. This program is targeted at individuals over
the age of 50.
As the finance minister for Newfoundland said recently, all of
us and every province in this country have to be part of the
solution to the Canadian problem.
The spirit of federal-provincial co-operation I have
described extends beyond the budget measures relating to social
security transfers. Despite the co-operative and constructive
approach this budget takes toward the provinces, some hon.
members have expressed concern about the regional impact of
specific measures. As a member of Parliament from Atlantic
Canada, I believe I can bring an important and constructive
perspective to this critical issue. I say this because we in
Atlantic Canada realize the scope of the national problem and
we know that to correct it, tough decisions have to be made.
We know we must look forward to the new opportunities
provided for in this budget, opportunities like the infrastructure
program and our experimental job corps, opportunities that get
business working in the proper climate to create the jobs and
economic security we need for the 21st century.
We in Atlantic Canada recognize the importance of taking
control of our own destiny. We are spearheading the move to
lower interprovincial trade barriers and have truly free trade
Canada within Canada.
In concluding, I would say that this budget has been described
as a road map to the future. It takes measurable, bottom line
action to help build the future opportunity and solid growth. It
does so with rigour but also with compassion and creativity.
Therefore I urge all hon. members to support this bill.
Mr. Dick Harris (Prince George-Bulkley Valley): Mr.
Speaker, I was disappointed I did not get to make some
comments to the hon. member across the way. I know he was
looking forward to that.
I just heard the hon. member for Fundy-Royal talking about
the merits of the budget. There were a couple of things that sort
of struck me which I have discussed with other members in these
First of all I would like to say the statement made by the
president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, as the
member pointed out, rang about the same bell as that of the
chairman of one of the major banks during the referendum
debate when he said that in essence the world is going to end if
the Charlottetown accord did not pass. Of course we saw that did
not come about exactly.
The member is saying that this gentleman has said that the
Liberal budget is on the right track. I wonder just exactly where
that track leads to. There are a couple of inconsistencies. The
member talks about all the different job creation programs that
the budget is going to bring about. I wonder if the answer to the
unemployment problem in Canada to the Liberal government is
simply to put everyone who is unemployed on a government
I am sure those people would rather have real jobs. I go back
to my earlier comments about where real jobs come from. They
come from the private sector industry that has confidence in the
fiscal responsibility of the government.
That is what this government has to show and it has to show it
by cutting spending in real and positive terms. This has not
The actual spending has increased by $3 billion this year. The
member said they had made significant cuts in spending. That
may be quite true but this is in proposed spending and projected
spending not in real spending.
I can say I am going to spend $50,000 next week on something
and then cut it back to $2,000. Can I take credit for saving
$48,000? This is the same type of accounting that the previous
administration used and the Liberal government before that.
We have to start talking in real terms about what it is going to
take to get this economy going again. It is not going to be credit
card infrastructure programs. It is not going to be job creation
programs for which there are no jobs once the people graduate
from those programs or attain their apprenticeships.
It is going to come from private sector confidence and private
investor confidence when they start investing in this country and
expanding their business. That is where it is going to come from.
Mr. Zed: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's
comments. In fact in as many days as I have spoken in this House
the Reform Party has raised the issue of the infrastructure
program. I would remind the hon. member that it is the
infrastructure program that is in fact giving Canadians
confidence. It is the package, if you will. That infrastructure
program is what is spurring the confidence.
I agree with the hon. member that small and medium sized
businesses create 80 per cent of the new jobs that are created in
this economy. But if the government does nothing but cut
without stimulating I would suggest to the hon. member that we
are going to be mired in a deeper recession than the one we are
getting out of.
It is a balance. That is what has impressed me the most about
this Minister of Finance and about our government, that there
has been a balanced realistic approach. The cuts represent $17
I am one member who would have liked deeper cuts, faster
cuts, but I have been convinced that this is a balanced approach
and over the next three years we will be within 3 per cent of the
GDP which I believe is responsible.
I would urge the hon. member, if he has some suggestion
about what is wrong with our infrastructure program, to let us
hear it. However I know a lot of people and a lot of
municipalities are enjoying the benefits of the infrastructure
Mr. Gilbert Fillion (Chicoutimi): Mr. Speaker, I would
simply like to make a comment about the programs which my
colleague mentioned and that are presently considered in his
province of New Brunswick.
I do not know if the hon. member has read La Presse this
morning, because one headline says: ``New Brunswick wants to
force single mothers to identify the father of their child'', and I
have followed the experiments that are being done in this field,
``Those who will refuse will lose access to welfare''. Is that the
kind of model we want to give Canada?
Mr. Zed: Mr. Speaker, that is not the program I am referring
to. The one I am referring to is an opportunity for young people
to be trained in a specific area: perhaps an environmental
project, a silviculture program as the lifeblood of New
Brunswick is the wood industry, or some community based
program. A program was recently announced for people over 50
years of age who would only be making about $8,000 on welfare.
In this pilot program 1,000 individuals will be eligible to receive
Mr. Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest): Mr. Speaker,
my comments in these short 10 minutes were to be on the
omnibus bill, a bit about UI reform and, if there were time, on
the wage freeze. However the eloquent, noble and spirited
defence of members opposite of the mother corporation CBC
drove me to buy a newspaper to find out what the oracle of
Canadian culture had in store for us tonight.
For the edification of members opposite and for those in
television land, they can want see ``All in the Family'' at seven
o'clock, ``Blossom'' at 7.30, ``Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'' at eight
o'clock or at 8.30 ``Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Part II''. Is the
oracle of Canadian culture worthy of the money we are going to
be borrowing from our children to pay for it? Does it need more
money? Should we give it $25 million so that it can get capital?
Let me deal, folks, with the Canada assistance plan because it
is fairly serious.
An hon. member: That is the Canada assistance plan.
Mr. McClelland: Yes, it is.
The Deputy Speaker: First, it would be very much
appreciated if the member would put his remarks to the Chair. It
is a long established tradition. Second, the member actually has
a 20-minute slot.
Mr. McClelland: I could go on at more length about the
mother corporation in that case.
In any event, this omnibus bill in support of the budget is of
great importance to our nation. As other members have said, it
sets the stage for what is likely to happen over the next few
Under the Canada assistance plan, as members know, the
Government of Canada was to fund generally speaking 50 per
cent of the money the provinces must spend in the welfare
programs they administered. A few years ago this was changed.
The Canada assistance plan payments by the federal government
to the three provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta
were capped. The net result was that these provinces were
frozen into a situation whereby they were getting less money
transferred from the federal government but were really having
more demands put on their resources.
The real problem is that we as a nation will go through the
trials and tribulations of living within our means. This will
inevitably mean cutbacks. Unless these cutbacks are done fairly
across the nation and in all sectors of our economy tremendous
resentment will be built up.
Let me give an example of what is likely to happen or what is
happening with the capping of transfer payments. Maclean's
magazine of April 4 speaks to the problems Ontario is going to
face because of the Canada assistance plan being capped:
``Through the Canada assistance plan Ottawa paid 50 per cent of
the welfare costs of the seven poorer provinces but picked up
only 29 per cent of Ontario's 1993-94 tab of $6.3 billion.
Quebec got 10 per cent more funds with 43 per cent fewer
Let us think about that. If a Canadian is on welfare or in need
of funds from the government and lives in Ottawa or anywhere
else in Ontario, the federal government pays 29 cents of every
dollar of those costs. However, if he or she lives across the river
in Hull five minutes from here, the federal government pays 50
per cent of the cost. Is that fair? That might have been fair
because of an extenuating circumstance that might last for a year
or two, but let us remember that the budget locked in the
inequity until 1998. What strains will that put on the budgets of
Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta?
There is a solution. The federal government could increase
the payments to the three have provinces or it could reduce the
payments to the three have not provinces to bring them all into
line so there is balance and equity.
A further example from Maclean's magazine indicated: ``In
1992 Ontario employers and employees paid $1.67 billion more
into the unemployment insurance fund than they drew out in
benefits. The province blames UI rules that allow workers in
areas of higher unemployment to work for shorter periods for
Several members mentioned earlier that this was an
appropriate means of transferring funds into very depressed
areas of the country, that it recognized some parts of our nation
were in worse shape than others. Unemployment insurance
should be unemployment insurance. When unemployment
insurance was brought into being it was not determined at that
time that it was to be a wealth transfer. It was to cushion
employees who lost their jobs for one reason or another until
they found another one.
From that aspect the budget goes a long way in eliminating or
at least ameliorating the problem. The government is to be
commended for recognizing that unemployment insurance
continually taxes those who are working. It really is a tax on jobs
and is going to do more harm than good in the long run.
As well, if the words we hear from the task force looking at
unemployment insurance are true, that unemployment insurance
may in the future be determined as an insurance program paid by
employees, it will be another big step to reforming
unemployment insurance. It is just blowing the dust off the
Forget commission report and implementing it 15 years or so
after it was written.
What do we do in the areas of Canada that need the transfer of
UI funds so that people can exist? We need to look at it as two
separate entities. Unemployment insurance should be
unemployment insurance, the purpose for which it was intended.
Income supplements should come through some other
government function but be accountable. If it ends up being a
guaranteed annual income or whatever it might be, so be it, but
let us not confuse the two issues so that we end up with nothing.
I would like to give a personal example of how unemployment
insurance as it is used today is a disincentive to employment and
costs far more than it should. Without the permission of my son I
will use him as an example. He is a very fine young man who
quit his job just before he was going to get fired because he was
not doing a very good job. It was a fairly well paid job. He
thought he would not have any trouble going out and finding
another one. It turned out that he was wrong. He had a great deal
of trouble finding another one.
Every two weeks he got a cheque in the mail for over $600.
When the time came for me to say to him ``Marry, go out and get
a job'', he would go out looking but none of the jobs would pay
anything like the amount of money he was getting for doing
nothing. Unemployment insurance was not tiding him over until
he could get a new job. Unemployment insurance at that level
was robbing him of the initiative to go out and get a job.
He grew up in a home where industry and initiative were the
bywords and the watchwords. Let us just imagine what the
richness of the program has done all across the nation to
hundreds of thousands of people who are milking the system,
who are using the system as it was never intended to be used.
The steps the government is taking with regard to UI are in the
right direction. However it must be coupled with some other
program to ensure that people on the bottom end of the totem
pole are able to exist and move themselves out of poverty,
I would like to spend a few minutes talking about the wage
freeze which is a good idea. It is a particularly good idea in the
House because we are the leaders of our country. The people at
the top of the heap in any circumstance, especially a difficult
one, should be the first to take a hit. A wage freeze in the House
is entirely appropriate. It is entirely appropriate in the upper
echelons of the public service.
However we have to do more than just say we are going to
freeze the wages. We have to look at how we could get the most
efficiency out of the money we are spending. We can bet that
people in any organization including the Public Service of
Canada lay awake at night trying to figure out how they can get
around whatever particular obstacles are in their path and make
a few more bucks.
If we were to look at it we would see that the only people who
are really suffering a wage freeze are the people who are on the
bottom rung of the ladder in the public service because they
cannot reclassify their jobs.
For example, right here on Parliament Hill employees of the
lowest order of employment had to restructure their
employment base, come in on weekends and change things
around so that they could no longer make overtime because there
was no more overtime. They cannot come in and work on a
weekend and get paid overtime. Yet other people in the
hierarchy here have reclassified their jobs so that they can then
get an increase by reclassification.
Another example that was brought to my attention during the
recess was in the weather stations across the nation. A person
from the public service brought to my attention the fact that we
have replaced weather recorders who used to be paid in the
region of $30,000 with a machine that costs about $250,000.
These machines have a life of about five years and require one
person to maintain them and travel around. Bonuses are paid in
the public service for anyone who is able to reduce the person
years of employment in their sphere of influence. What happens
is that if one gets rid of five weather observers and replace them
with a machine, one would get the bonus for reducing one's
payroll. However, the expense of the five machines goes to one
ledger and the expense of the maintenance person goes on
another ledger. We still have to pay it but we are really no better
off than we were when we started or perhaps a little further away
from where we wanted to be.
It also does not do any good in terms of employment. What we
have to do as a country is not just say we are going to have a
wage freeze, but we have to go through our books line by line
just as we would in the private sector and ask how we can make
everything that we do more effective, more efficient and work
better rather than just saying willy-nilly, we are going to put a
freeze on this or we are going to put a freeze on that. While it
sounds good, it really does not accomplish anything.
In conclusion, I would like to spend just a couple of minutes
addressing the question of Quebec and the fact that this has
come up for those who have been following this debate. Every
time a member of the Bloc stands in this House, at least in my
experience, it has been to cry how badly off the Bloc is treated
financially by the rest of Canada and yet it is to request more
money from the Government of Canada.
I hope that when this great national debate takes place in this
House and in the rest of the country we talk honestly and openly
and fairly about who gets what out of Confederation. Speaking
for myself and for many of my colleagues here, speaking for the
people I represent in Edmonton Southwest we do not mind
because we recognize that we are better off than most paying
money into Canada that is used as equalization going to other
regions of Canada to help them along.
However, we really resent it when we are paying this money
into an equalization pool and the people who are on the
receiving end of it just ask for more and never say thanks. As
this debate over the next few months unfolds, I hope we will talk
honestly about whether we are together as a nation because we
want to be together or because we are together as a nation only
because we continually pull out the wallet and throw money at
the problem. I can guarantee that if that is the only reason that
we are together as a nation it will not last.
This budget in some aspects is a step in the right direction.
Certainly to be fair it is better than anything the Conservative
government came up with over many years. Let us not kid
ourselves, it is merely the first tentative step. The very difficult
and hard decisions are yet to come. They must come because not
one person here, not one Canadian anywhere in this land has
ever spent their way into prosperity.
The only way that we as a nation can make our futures better is
if we live within our means. It is not morally right for our
generation or the generation that preceded ours to live beyond
our means at the expense of generations of Canadians yet
unborn. We are going to have to bite the bullet, live within our
means and make the tough decisions necessary.
Mrs. Beryl Gaffney (Nepean): Mr. Speaker, at the outset I
thought that the member from the Reform Party was going to be
talking about the CBC. He started talking about the CBC in his
initial comments and started quoting on the program that we
could watch with great anticipation and delight this evening.
I do not know whether he had the occasion to watch Venture
last night. It was talking about the BBC and the types of
programming that the British Broadcasting Corporation has.
When watching the breadth, the depth and the scope of what is
allowed to be broadcast in the UK as opposed to what our CBC is
allowed to broadcast here in this country I felt slightly ashamed.
Here we have a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that we are
literally starving to death and not allowing it to use any amount
of intellect as to the type of broadcasting that it can show us.
I had to stop and think that it probably had to do with money. It
had to do with the amount of money that we were giving it. If we
are going to starve it to death then we might as well put it out of
existence. We might as well not have a CBC as to allow it to
slowly starve as to what it is allowed to show us.
I think we are being very shortsighted and I would like to hear
the comments of the member opposite on this. I think that the
CBC was created the same way as our railway system was
created in this country because we are such a vast country. We
need to know what is happening in Northwest Territories and in
Yukon or even in Alberta for the information of the Reform
There is nothing more enjoyable to me than driving home at
night, I live in the nation's capital, listening to that program
broadcast from coast to coast and I can hear what is happening in
Newfoundland or I can hear what is happening in British
Columbia. I can find out what is happening in this wonderful
My question to this member is does he really believe that the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has a role in this country in
broadcasting? If he does, how does he expect it to accommodate
what we as Canadians would like to see on its programming with
the type of money that we are allowing?
Mr. McClelland: Mr. Speaker, to the hon. member opposite,
the program that we were both watching last night was 60
Minutes, another American program.
When the hon. member mentioned driving along she was
talking about the CBC radio program As it Happens that I think
many Canadians listen to regularly.
I think if we were to say what model would we have for CBC
television it would be CBC radio because we have to make
distinction between CBC radio and CBC television. If I were
looking for a model it would be CBC radio on television.
How would we go about achieving that? All across this fine
nation we have public television. We have Access in Alberta and
whatever it is B.C. and we have TVO in Ontario and in Quebec
and in the maritimes. They are the educational television
networks. They are all struggling for money. They can barely
Would it not make sense for the CBC rather than to be
telecasting the dribble that it is telecasting tonight in prime time
to be taking some of the programs that are on Access and start
working toward that?
The CBC last year started to sell itself as ``flash, the public
broadcaster''. In my view what it is trying to do is live off PBS.
It is trying to be a Canadian PBS but it is not.
Let the CBC become a public broadcaster. Let the CBC
broadcast BBC type programming and get out of commercial
programming. Why is CBC competing with CTV for the
broadcast rights of the Olympics?
It has to be either fish or fowl and if it is going to compete in
the private sector then let it compete in the private sector on a
level playing field and not get one cent from the public purse. If
it is going to get money from the public purse and call itself a
public broadcaster then stop telecasting this dribble and become
a public broadcaster and that is all I am suggesting.
Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay-Nipigon): Mr. Speaker, I
rise after my friend who talked about 60 Minutes and As It
Happens. There is some confusion here.
I am wondering if my colleague and friend from Edmonton
Southwest would mind if I would change channels for a moment
and talk about something he discussed about unemployment
His comments were, and I am sure my hon. colleague would
like to correct this, that hundreds of thousands of people are
milking the system in Canada who are on UI. I am sure he would
like to rephrase that statement because although we
acknowledge that there are some abuses in the UI system and
there are ways we should correct the UI system, when we have
the number of people we have in this country collecting UI while
they are looking for other jobs they are very honourable and very
fine Canadians who are out looking for work.
I enjoyed very much the personal experience that my
colleague had the opportunity to bring to the attention of this
House but I would like him to correct if he would the
misconception that there are hundreds of thousands of people in
Canada who are milking the UI system.
Mr. McClelland: Mr. Speaker, it is a tragic number. There are
over 1.5 million people in Canada today who are out of work.
There are social costs in being out of work. It is not just the
financial costs, it is the lack of self-respect, the lack of
self-worth experienced when people are unable to get that job. I
know very closely from personal experience that the sense of
self-worth and self-confidence really starts to go.
At the same time, while certainly there may not be hundreds
of thousands, there are many thousands. We all remember the
UIC ski team. We all know of circumstances in which people are
using the system. The system allows itself to be used that way
and people are not stupid.
If our largesse has the built-in ability for people to use it, it
also has the built-in ability for people to abuse it and
unfortunately we have become for one reason or another a nation
that does not look askance at people who abuse the system.
If people cheated on their taxes they were considered to be
criminals. Every day now people are avoiding taxes, the GST.
People are using the unemployment insurance or other welfare
entitlement programs and feel they are entitled to them.
I think we have really lost something in our country when we
became a nation of entitlements or benefits or rights rather than
I think the germ of the same thing is there that we as a nation
have forgotten the fact that we are a people with responsibility to
the nation. Every word we ever hear is about the rights that we as
individuals have from the nation. We have to turn that around
somewhere and I think it starts right here in this House.
Mr. John Harvard (Winnipeg St. James): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to offer one observation as a result of the remarks of
the hon. gentleman pursuant to the CBC.
He may or may not know that I spent 18 years at the CBC and
so I know a little about that corporation.
What he neglects to say is that the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation finds itself in a catch-22. Those of us who are what
you might call purists and who defend public broadcasting
would be more than delighted to see the CBC get out of
commercial broadcasting completely. I really think that a public
broadcaster has no business being in the commercial business.
As the hon. member should know, there is a refusal on the part
of a lot of Canadians, probably himself, to fully fund a public
broadcast network, and so the corporation over the last many
years has felt the need to get into commercials even in a larger
Then when the corporation does resort to gaining commercial
revenues a gentleman like him comes along and complains
about the CBC in broadcasting sports events. Sports events in
our culture attract large audiences and when we attract large
audiences that is how we attract commercial dollars or first of
all how we attract advertisers and that attracts commercial
dollars. That is the catch-22 or the vicious circle that the CBC
finds itself in.
Do not complain about the CBC's involvement in
commercials. It is forced to because of the refusal to support it
well as a public broadcaster. That is the catch-22 the
corporation is in.
Mr. McClelland: Mr. Speaker, I certainly do acknowledge
the fact that the CBC is in a catch-22 position. In my comments I
think I made it very clear that it is trying to be fish or fowl and
cannot be both.
I have looked at the CBC, as we all have, for many years. The
CBC is going to have to define its mandate and decide what its
going to be and how its going to do it and then come to the
government and say this is what it wants to be or this is what it
can afford to be.
We cannot keep on going as we are going today. The hon.
member is right, if I had a choice between the CBC as it is today,
CBC television, and continuing to throw more money at it, I
would say absolutely not, not another nickel. If we could have a
CBC, a la CBC Radio, a la the hon. member's intention, then I
say it is worth contributing to and it is worth supporting. In its
present state I do not think it is worth supporting.
Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to take this opportunity to change direction slightly
in this debate and talk for a moment about infrastructure. That is
a keystone part of this government's budget and I would like to
give the very narrow example of what that infrastructure
program is already doing for my riding.
Before I go into that detail I would like to put a little anecdote
together. Some 10 years ago I had the occasion to go on a
courtesy flight in an aircraft of the Canadian War Plane Heritage
Museum. The Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum operates
from Hamilton civic airport in my riding and had at that time a
collection of some 40 World War II vintage aircraft, that is
pre-war and immediately post-war. I had the happy occasion to
go up in an aircraft called the TBA Avenger. It was a torpedo
bomber used in the second world war, chiefly in the Pacific, and
this particular bomber was flown by the Canadian air force
during the second world war.
I flew in the rear gunner position. The airplane was used in
mock manoeuvres and it was quite an incredible airplane. The
Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum also had a Hurricane and
did mock dog fights and there I was. The airplane was diving and
climbing and it was quite an exciting experience. It was a very
daunting experience, I have to say.
While I was on that flight I could not help but realize that this
was the real point of this museum. This airplane that I was in,
this World War II airplane, was a full working airplane. It was
not just a museum piece. It was something that had been
restored, lovingly restored, and was in full flying condition even
though it was almost 50 years old.
I have to tell the House a sad thing about that aircraft. A little
more than a year ago it was destroyed in a fire in a hangar at the
Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum at Hamilton airport,
along with a Hurricane from that same vintage. This was a
terrible disaster to the museum which has become in the
Hamilton region one of the stellar attractions. The museum had
at that time about 40 aircraft and attracts about 80,000 visitors a
year. In that fire five aircraft were destroyed and it was a very
I wish to report however that the War Plane Heritage Museum
which is chiefly staffed by volunteers, with over 6,000
members, has risen from the ashes. It has done more than that.
Not only has it embarked on a very aggressive program to
replace the aircraft that were destroyed, it has also put forward a
proposal to build a brand new museum on the Hamilton airport
property as part of the infrastructure program. It has actually put
a proposal forward.
This proposal has gone before the Hamilton-Wentworth
regional council and it has basically agreed to partial funding.
The council is going to put up $1 million and the museum is
going to come up with the other $3 million through donations
and various other means and then we hope to have matching
grants from the province and the federal government to bring the
total cost of the museum to $12 million.
The plan is a beautiful one. They want to put up a museum
which will be right next to the airport terminal. It is going to
shaped like the fin on the tail end of an airplane and there will be
two large hangers on either side in which to keep the restored
aircraft. There will be a viewing area and all that kind of thing. It
is going to be fairly close to where they are going put the new
highway 6 bypass. It is going to be a very attractive project.
This seems to be a rather odd thing to be a candidate for an
infrastructure program because we think more in terms of roads
and bridges. The region is using much of its $53 million
allocation for just that purpose. This project incredibly fits right
into the infrastructure mandate as laid out in this program. It is
going to create jobs and it is going to be operated by the people
who have put it together.
The thing that makes this project so exciting is not only is it
going to create jobs, it is going to create enormous attention for
the War Plane Heritage Museum which as I explained already
attracts 80,000 visitors a year and we can expect it to attract
160,000 visitors a year when this is completed. Therefore, we
will see jobs created.
The thing that is so delightful about this project is that it really
is a project that celebrates our past and our identity as
Canadians, even though it is an infrastucture project. This is the
thing that is so beautiful about it.
For instance, one the the most stellar aircraft in the collection
is a Lancaster bomber which is one of only two Lancaster
bombers in the entire world that will still fly. That is the kind of
object that is in this museum.
The reason I bring this up is that to my mind it just shows how
a program like the infrastructure program that has been
presented by this government can be taken by regional
politicians and by ordinary people and be made into something
that can inspire our fellow Canadians, can celebrate our past and
be a very fine thing for everyone involved.
I think that other communities will take this program and do
many things similar to this. It is a very fine program and a very
The Deputy Speaker: I understand that the member is
dividing his time. The hon. deputy whip to the government, the
hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell on debate.
Mr. Don Boudria (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell): Mr.
Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in
I want to start by congratulating the Minister of Finance for
having brought forward such a balanced budget for our country.
Mr. Speaker, lest you think that I am partisan when I make these
remarks, which is probably the furthest thing from your mind at
this point, let me tell you what others have said about the budget.
John Reid of the Canadian Advanced Technology Association
says that the budget sends a good message for the economy and
our rapidly changing job structure. Is that not great?
Ted Bryk, president of the Canadian Home Builders
Association-an appropriate name for a job like that-said: ``I
think it is fantastic. I see it as a really positive move that will
encourage young buyers into the housing market''. This is in
reference to the extension of the RRSP Home Buyers Program.
``It is a huge incentive for small business to create business.
You take a tax off jobs, you get more jobs''. This is in reference
to the cut in UI premiums by John Bulloch, president of the
Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
Even bankers have said that this is in bankers' language a
good budget. Mike Chandler of the Royal Bank says that the
market seems to have given the budget a passing to good grade.
Considering bankers' compliments as they are, I consider this to
be pretty complimentary.
So, as you noted, Canadians agree that this budget is good for
the future of our country. It is not only commentators who made
comments on this; we have already seen the effects of this
budget, and also the effects of having a government that we can
trust, and we see it in the reduction of the unemployment rate
since the Liberal government took office.
What has this meant? It has meant that in March the
unemployment rate had fallen to 10.6 per cent. Of course that is
still way too high but we have only just begun. We have reduced
it from 11.1 per cent in February and the month of February had
a huge increase in the number of jobs. I say to all hon. members
that this is good news for Canada.
So, the infrastructure program is not even implemented yet
we are receiving bids and we award contracts.
The other day, I heard the Minister of Finance tell us that, at
first, we thought that the infrastructure program would create
60,000 jobs. Well, we were wrong. It will create 90,000 jobs,
according to the most recent estimates. And it is not even in
So, you see, this government is here to serve the Canadian
people and to serve them well. We are here, of course, to make
sure that Canada will prosper. It is useless to preach despair, as
some of our colleagues opposite do, or as those who like to say
that we should cut everything and that perhaps the economy will
work by itself. No. The government is here to govern. It is here,
of course, to have its say for the good of the Canadian people and
for the good of our economy.
As a father of two adolescents, I cannot wait for the economy
to improve. I have a son of 22 years who is just completing his
fourth year of university this year. I want him to be able to have a
job, yes, but a good job even more so. I say that we must move
now to do these things. Every day we wait to pass Bill C-17 is
For instance, I say this to my colleagues from the Reform
Party, if the bill is not passed by June 16 in all stages, the Senate,
royal assent and so on, it would cost $34 million more pursuant
to the Western Grain Transportation Act. If changes to the
Unemployment Insurance Act are not made by the first week of
July, a one month delay would cost $175 million more. The
people opposite say they are in favour of saving money. This
would rise to $350 million after three months. That being said,
we have waited long enough. Therefore, pursuant to Standing
Order 26(1), I move:
That the House continue to sit beyond the ordinary time of adjournment for
the purposes of considering the second reading of Bill C-17, an act to amend
certain statutes to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in
Parliament on February 22, 1994.
And fewer than 15 members having risen:
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 26(2) the
motion is adopted.
(Motion agreed to.)
Mr. Plamondon: Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to say that
as for the House's cooperation, if the government keeps on
moving such motions without any warning, the Official
Opposition will put an end to the exceptional cooperation it has
offered up till now.
We had an understanding concerning that bill; we would
discuss it until 7.10 p.m. in accordance with the Standing
Orders. But they underhandedly propose continuing the debate
this evening without giving us advance warning for our
speakers. We refuse to agree to such methods and if that is the
kind of game the government wants to play in the coming weeks,
I can tell you the Official Opposition will not behave as before.
The Deputy Speaker: It is now time for comments or
questions on the last speaker's intervention. Are there any
comments or questions? The member for Richelieu.
Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): Mr. Speaker, during the
five minutes I have left, I would like to make a few comments on
the speech by the member who just spoke.
It is rather surprising to hear him make such remarks when we
know what he used to say when he was in the opposition. How
dare he come and tell us with a straight face that unemployment
has dropped when it has only fallen by one point and only
because unemployed workers are now on social assistance.
There is nothing to rejoice about.
What I cannot understand is that the member, instead of being
ashamed of his government's performance, and trying to put a
good face on a ridiculous budget, is boasting about it. He is
boasting about his government's performance. He claims that
his government has created 100,000 jobs, but with what
projects? With what? With what vision? With what
performance? This government has no economic vision.
Speaking of the last budget, what did it amount to? It amounts
to the creation of 32 or 33 committees of all kinds to consult
people, whereas before the elections, they were brandishing
their red book saying that they had solutions for everything.
They had solutions for everything but when the time came to
table the budget, the only solution they had was the same disease
the Tories suffered from, which is to consult the people. We have
consultations on defence policy, consultations on economic
matters, consultations regarding social programs, but no
And the member opposite dares come here and boast about his
government's performance! There is a total lack of vision in the
bills this government has presented since it came to power. They
have no vision and they come and tell us that everything is fine.
They talk about infrastructure, temporary jobs, jobs created
with borrowed money. They say they will create 90,000 jobs,
60,000 jobs or maybe 45,000 jobs, none of them long-term. Is it
the only thing you have to offer your son who is graduating after
four years in university? What is he supposed to do? Work for a
few months at a job provided by the infrastructure program? Is
this the best you have to offer your son, sir? Mr. Speaker,
through you, I am talking to the member and I think I am getting
Well, this government, which has no vision, has decided to
consult the people instead of making decisions. Consultations
like people in bars would have held. You only have to listen to
open-line shows to know that people are fed up, that they want
decisions, cuts, changes and a fairer tax system.
Why not do something about family trusts? About tax havens?
Because the people who benefit from them are the same people
who finance your party. Now that you are in office, you do
exactly what the Conservatives did. It is your turn to enjoy
pork-barrelling. Instead of saying ``We will not do as the
Conservatives did'', as you promised to do while in opposition,
you have not changed a thing. You come up with the same kind
of budget, the same kind of statements. You brag about
decreasing the unemployment rate, when you had nothing to do
with it. You brag about creating jobs, even though not one
program has been set up since you came to office, and no
economic direction has been given. You are behaving exactly
like the Conservatives did in 1984.
You had five months to answer my questions, dear colleague.
Five months to let me know of your government's intentions
through statements by ministers and a budget that holds up. But
no, we got nothing at all.
I would be pleased if the hon. member could give me an
answer, albeit a short one. You have already talked too much,
that is why I did not leave you much time to reply. I would like
the hon. member to tell me how he can be proud of what his
government has done, since the unemployed have seen their
benefits reduced, as of April 1, and have lost $1 billion-
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if that was a question
or a litany. I thought it would never end.
The hon. member asks us why we are in favour of
consultations with regard to family trusts. Does he not
remember that it was his own colleague, the opposition finance
critic, who called for consultations? You see, we are so receptive
that we are even willing to take advice- not too often, of
course-from a member opposite.
The hon. member questions us about the budget, claiming that
the general public does not like it. I will read you a quote: ``The
federal Finance Minister's first budget is modest but true to
what the Liberal Party told Canadians during the last election
campaign. It will not please those who, like the Reform Party,
want to slash spending across the board. But, for once, it spares
the vast majority of taxpayers who already shoulder a heavy
burden.'' That quote is from Le Devoir.
Would you like to hear another one, Mr. Speaker? Here is what
the Vancouver Sun had to say: ``Mr. Martin kept his word. He
gave us a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that
will reduce the deficit a little without compromising a fragile
recovery.'' Canadians across the country are saying
unanimously that it is a good budget.
Mr. Jean Landry (Lotbinière): Mr. Speaker, I would like to
express to this House my support for the amendment moved on
March 25 by my colleague, the hon. member for Mercier,
respecting Bill C-17, an Act to amend certain statutes to
implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament
on February 22, 1994.
How can we endorse these amendments to the Unemployment
Insurance Act? How could we support this government, even for
one minute? Do you think we were elected to help the
government swap its promise of jobs, jobs, jobs for bang, bang,
bang? That is the sound of unemployment insurance reform
crashing down on the heads of the unemployed if we allow the
government to come down hard on them, because that it what it
intends to do, Mr. Speaker.
In moving her amendment, my colleague gave two reasons
why this House should refuse to proceed with the second reading
of this bill. I fully agree with them. How will the proposed
amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act redress the
imbalance between have and have-not regions? Where are the
measures to reduce youth unemployment? How does the
government explain its pursuit of a conservative policy and the
finance minister's refusal to cancel this year's increase in
unemployment insurance premiums?
These are all questions that I have been hearing from my
constituents and that are being asked across Canada. Is the
government deaf? I hope that it is not and that it will take these
concerns into account. The people deserve more than recycled
There is nothing in this bill that leads us to expect that the
inequities between the provinces will be eliminated. Who will
be affected by the amendments to the unemployment insurance
system? Quebec and the Maritimes. Increasing the number of
weeks needed to qualify for benefits affects mainly the
Maritime provinces and Quebec. In the regions hardest hit by
unemployment, people will have to work two weeks more to
obtain benefits, that is in regions where unemployment is over
16 per cent.
Let us suppose, an unpleasant hypothesis, that this measure
had applied in the past few months. Seven of thirteen regions
would have been affected in the Maritimes and six out of
thirteen in Quebec. In real terms, we are talking about 277,000
unemployed people in Canada, of whom nearly 210,000 live in
these regions suffering from the economic climate.
Many young people who have to rely more and more on
insecure employment will be victims of these measures. They
will not collect UI, no, they will have to live on welfare. What a
program, Mr. Speaker!
We learned some good news last week: unemployment had
declined. Bravo! But that is mainly thanks to the economic
recovery in the United States, so the government should not
boast. Nothing in its budget has helped the economy recover in
this country, Canada. But at least, if the economy is recovering,
the government should not put obstacles in the way of those who
want to participate in this economic recovery.
When I hear the Minister of Human Resources Development
say that he wants to require beneficiaries to work for longer
periods to qualify for the same number of weeks of benefits, my
hair stands on end! As if the unemployed chose to be out of
work. That is not the problem, Mr. Speaker. Unemployment in
our area is due to the lack of jobs and to the fact that more and
more people have to go from one temporary job to another.
Do not mention the infrastructure program to me; it only
creates temporary jobs, not real permanent jobs. There is
nothing to give confidence back to the 1.5 million unemployed
people throughout Canada and the 428,000 in Quebec. No. The
eligibility conditions will not be tightened and the number of
weeks of benefits will not be reduced. It is a big deal.
As I just said, the result will be to shift claimants from
unemployment insurance to welfare. This passing the buck to
the provinces, which is what it is, Mr. Speaker, will cost the
provinces at least $1 billion, of which $280 million is for
Quebec, according to the figures put forward by three
economists from the Université du Québec à Montréal. The
government, more generous, no doubt, estimates the costs at
between $64 and $135 million only.
Clause 28, Part V, of Bill C-17 is complete nonsense. This
clause modifies the number of weeks of benefit entitlement and
abolishes the qualifying salary range for UI. As I have just
demonstrated, these measures affect areas with the greatest
needs. Again, the unemployed do not choose their situation, no
matter what certain dinosaurs seem to think in Canada.
Still, according to the previously mentioned study conducted
by three economists from the University of Quebec in Montreal,
90 percent of the unemployed in Quebec did not voluntarily quit
their jobs. We are talking here about lay-offs, job losses,
illnesses or buy-outs. Others are looking for a first job, but are
not receiving any UI benefits. Job security is practically
non-existent. We have no control over the length of
employment. Workers accept casual, precarious or seasonal
jobs. Not by choice. It is not that they refuse stable jobs and
decent salaries, but rather that only these types of jobs are
available. I cannot believe that we must still explain that to the
Another point which supports our case for amending this bill
is the government's decision not to lower immediately the UI
premium rate from $3.07 to $3 for employees, and from $4.30 to
$4.20 for employers. The Minister of Finance decided to
postpone this move until 1995. I think the good news from last
week concerning the reviving economy should prompt the
government to reinstate the $3 rate as soon as possible. You
know as well as I do how fragile an economic recovery can be.
Cavemen did not spit on the fire they wanted to light. Rather,
they blew carefully on it to make it brighter. It is that kind of
care that is needed to ensure economic recovery. Why
jeopardize the recovery when one could have frozen the rates in
January and could still do it with an amendment to the bill?
Not later than last week, the minister of Finance recognized in
an interview with Canadian journalists that, considering their
current levels, U.I. premiums killed jobs. The Minister of
Finance said and I quote: ``The problem today is not that we
must take fiscal measures to encourage job creation. Rather, we
have to eliminate fiscal measures that deter employers from
hiring people. That is the real problem.''
I am glad to see that the minister has identified the problem.
Now he only has to take action. Why was Bill C-17 not brought
in with that in view? When a job is botched, there is no shame to
do it again. When the government brings in the House a bill
which will reduce iniquities between richer and poorer
provinces, measures which will create jobs for the young and
cancel the raise in both employers' and workers' premiums, it
will have done a real good job.
As the slogan of a well-known Quebec humorous magazine
says, it is not because we laugh that it is funny. Yet, I feel that
this is the reaction of Canadians to the government's promises.
The government claims that the reduction in the unemployment
insurance premiums in 1995-96 will create 40,000 jobs by 1996.
Those who prepared the budget have taught us a few things.
Every 1 per cent reduction creates some 1,300 jobs. One does
not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that any increase
leads to a loss of jobs in the same proportion. The government
talks about 40,000 jobs that were eliminated in its last budget.
Where will the government re-create these 9,000 lost jobs? In
its budget, the Liberal government proposes to re-create these
same 9,000 jobs by lowering premiums to their 1993 levels.
There is the catch! The government will re-create what it had
eliminated. The remaining 31,000 jobs will not appear as if by
I think these 3,000 workers could return to the labour market;
is it not the wish of all members of this House to see these 3,000
people regain their pride? This country needs more people
working to turn the economy around, but under the current
system every time you hire someone, you get hit by a whole lot
of new taxes.
The government must be consistent. Yet, it hopes that this
House will pass its bills without reacting. It should listen to the
Canadian people expressing themselves through us: let
businesses and the unemployed breathe; do not stand in the way
of the economic recovery; refuse to proceed with second reading
of this bill before it is too late.
Mr. Plamondon: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I
understand that the government is very interested in continuing
this debate but we do not have a quorum.
The Deputy Speaker: I ask the Clerk to count the members
And the count having been taken:
The Deputy Speaker: We do not have a quorum. Ring the
And the bells having rung:
The Deputy Speaker: As we now have a quorum, the hon.
member for Winnipeg St. James has the floor on the debate.
Mr. Harvard: Mr. Speaker, I understand that this is on
Some hon. members: Question.
The Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?
Some hon. members: Question.
The Deputy Speaker: The question is on the amendment. Is it
the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the amendment
will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the nays have it.
And more than five members having risen:
The Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.
And the division bells having rung:
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 45(5)(a) I
have been requested by the Chief Opposition Whip to defer the
division until a later time.
Accordingly, pursuant to Standing Order 45(5)(a) the
recorded division on the question now before the House stands
deferred until 5.30 p.m. tomorrow, at which time the bells to call
in the members will be sounded for no more than 15 minutes.
It being 7 p.m. the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at
10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 7 p.m.)