Thursday, February 24, 1994
Mr. Speaker (Lethbridge) 1759
(Motion moved and agreed to). 1761
Consideration resumed of budget motion, the amendmentand the amendment to the amendment
Mr. Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury) 1766
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 1782
Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 1785
Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 1792
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1796
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1796
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1796
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1797
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1797
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 1797
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 1797
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 1798
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1798
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1798
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 1799
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1799
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 1799
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1799
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1799
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1799
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1800
Mrs. Gagnon (Québec) 1800
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1800
Mrs. Gagnon (Québec) 1800
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 1800
Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 1803
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1803
Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 1803
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1803
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 1804
Mr. Speaker (Lethbridge) 1804
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1804
(Motions agreed to.) 1805
Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 1805
Consideration resumed of the budget motion, theamendment and the amendment to the
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 1806
Mr. Tremblay (Rosemont) 1809
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 1811
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 1827
Division on amendment to amendment deferred 1837
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Thursday, February 24, 1994
The House met at 10 a.m.
My colleagues, I have the honour to lay upon
the table the expenditure plan in relation to the 1994-95
estimates for the House of Commons.
A message from His Excellency the Governor General
transmitting estimates for the financial year ending March 31,
1995, was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and
read by the Speaker to the House.
Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for Infrastructure): Mr. Speaker, I
submit Part II of the estimates for laying on the table.
I would also like to table in support of the estimates Part I, the
government expenditure plan. In addition I will table with the
Clerk of the House on behalf of my colleagues Part III of the
estimates consisting of 76 departmental expenditure plans.
These documents will be distributed to the members of the
standing committees to assist in their consideration of the
spending authorities sought in Part II of the estimates.
* * *
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 several
Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for Infrastructure):
today I present the 1994-95 main estimates for the Government
I have the honour to table the first Estimates of this 35th
Parliament, which contain the government's expenditure plans,
department by department, program by program, for the next
I take pride that these estimates reflect the commitments we
made to Canadians in the election last fall. They reveal a
balanced approach in which the government supports growth
and creates jobs while taking steps to reduce the deficit.
The main estimates set out the details of $160.7 billion in
planned expenditure in the next fiscal year. This includes the
$112.1 billion in statutory expenditure that flows from
legislation that Parliament has previously approved and $48.6
billion in expenditures for which we are seeking parliamentary
authority at this time.
The main estimates are the first step in carrying out the
expenditure plan amounting to $163.6 billion set out in the
budget of two days ago delivered by my colleague, the Minister
However, unlike the budget, the main estimates do not include
reserves and they do not anticipate the impact of proposed
legislation. In other words, if legislation has not yet been passed
then the dollar figures would not be in the main estimates.
The main reason total spending is up is the increase in public
debt charges. Program spending, which is our total spending less
public debt charges, is virtually flat, increasing by only 0.7 per
cent. Spending on most programs is down.
Old age security and aboriginal programs account for a large
part of the increase in program spending. That is because of an
increase in the population in those two categories which are
drawing on the programs.
As the Minister of Finance made clear two days ago, this is a
budget that sets in motion the most comprehensive reform of
government spending policy in a decade. The budget tabled on
Tuesday and the main estimates that I table today provide a
framework for the future delivered by a government for the
One of the clear policy planks of this government is that we
are going to do what must be done and we are going to do it in a
fiscally responsible way.
In the main estimates we have set a course of action for each
component of the agenda in ``Creating Opportunity'', better
known as the red book. Canadians have told us that job creation
is a high priority and in the red book we have said that a national
infrastructure program would be a key element in job creation.
Since we have come to office, I am proud to say that we have
made this a reality by signing agreements in every province
across this country. In the main estimates we are asking
Parliament to appropriate more than $700 million in the coming
fiscal year for the implementation of this program.
Also in the red book we said we would impose further cuts in
operating budgets by some $400 million in 1994-95, increasing
to $620 million in the following two years. The main estimates
reflect the commitment. We hope that we can generate a lot of
these savings through efficiency gains, but we realize that it may
also require having to set priorities.
Of the $400 million just mentioned, the largest part will come
from savings on professional services. These are services that
we contract for. We will shortly be asking Parliament to look at
this whole area of contracting out.
However, this was not enough. Solving our fiscal problem
required taking more restraint measures in the operating
budgets. We looked at different options available to us. We
looked at what other governments and the private sector were
doing. We consulted with our public service unions in this
process. In the end we did what we believe is best for Canadians,
best for public service employees and for the economy.
As the Minister of Finance stated in the budget, we extended
the freeze on the federal public service for a further two years
and we suspended annual increments for two years beginning in
1994-95. We also provided for the opportunity, working with
our employees and working with their bargaining agents, to be
able to shorten that period of time by finding other efficiencies
in government spending so that we could in fact end that freeze
at an earlier time.
We believe that under the circumstances this was the best
course to follow. It allows us to better protect jobs while
minimizing the impact of our ability to deliver quality services
to Canadians at the lowest possible cost.
The reduction in the defence budget reflects reality. We had a
defence structure that reflected the priorities of the past. The
world order was changing and we had to adapt. The result will be
an armed forces that will meet our future needs.
Reductions in our international assistance funding is a
statement of our fiscal capacity rather than a reflection of what
really is the need. We will nonetheless continue to spend $2.6
billion on international assistance as is shown in the main
Canadians told us that grants to business were not getting the
best value for the tax dollar. We made it clear in the red book we
would cut grants that were not of value in helping small and
medium sized business and we have done that.
Canadians were vocal in expressing their desire to reform the
unemployment insurance program because it was more than
taxpayers could afford. The payroll tax required to pay the
benefits was putting us in an uncompetitive position vis-à-vis
our trading partners. We had to take action and we have.
In the main estimates 16 per cent of the total spending is in
payments to other levels of government and 25 per cent is in
payments to persons such as the old age security and
unemployment insurance. The government will spend about $62
billion on social programs and $4.8 billion on natural resource
based programs, $3.9 billion on industrial, regional and
scientific programs, $2.8 billion on transportation programs,
about $3 billion will go to cultural and heritage programs, $3.3
billion for justice and legal programs, and $6.4 billion for
general government operations.
My colleague the Minister of Finance made it clear in his
speech this is only the beginning of reform. He announced that
over the next year we would make service delivery more
efficient and effective and we will do that.
As a result of the course set out in the budget, program
expenditures will decline in real terms between now and
1995-96. Even now, as I said earlier in my remarks,
expenditures are virtually flat with last year.
Our annual deficit is on a downward curve, a very important
downward curve, and we have set our sights on the fiscal
objective of a deficit which amounts to no more than 3 per cent
of all the goods and services we produce in Canada in a given
This is the true sign of a government that listens to the
electorate, shows leadership, takes decisive action, consults its
partners, and sets a clear vision for the future of each and every
Mr. Richard Bélisle (La Prairie): Madam Speaker, what
strikes me upon reading the 1994-95 Estimates tabled by the
Minister responsible for Treasury Board is that, compared with
the 1993-94 budget, there is a 0.5 per cent reduction in transfer
payments and a 3.2 per cent reduction in other program
spending, while at the same time the cost of servicing the debt
has gone up 3 per cent. This means that budget cuts are being
made to accommodate an increase in the cost of servicing the
The government's policy in the years to come will be to cut
transfers to individuals and transfer payments to the provinces.
However, as we postpone these cuts, the debt increases
accordingly, as shown in the budget, which means even larger
cuts will be necessary in the future, always to accommodate the
cost of servicing a debt that will soon be out of control. We are
fast approaching the breaking point.
As the debt increases and transfers to individuals are cut back,
the gap between rich and poor widens. The gap between the
various levels of our society has never been greater, and is
getting wider. Ironically, the cumulative debt of the past 20
years was the result of a desire to redistribute wealth across the
When servicing the debt means transferring tens of billions of
dollars from taxpayers to investors, this will create even greater
gaps between the rich, the middle class and the neediest in our
society. Is this the failure of the Canadian model of a just
society, an echo from another era?
Total budget expenditures are forecast at $163.6 billion, an
increase of 2.1 per cent. We are told that more than 75 per cent of
this increase, or 1.6 per cent, is due to the cost of servicing the
public debt. The impact of the debt on the estimates will get
worse over time because the government's spending cuts are not
enough, as was illustrated by the minister's speech this morning.
The cost of servicing the public debt is $41 billion, compared
with $38.5 billion last year. Program spending is estimated at
$122.6 billion, compared with $121.8 billion last year, a
difference of only 0.7 per cent, while debt charges are 6.5 per
cent higher than last year.
This year, cuts in operating costs-departmental
budgets-amount to $413 million, out of a total $2.1 billion in
cutbacks. My point is that departmental budget cuts represent
only 19 per cent of the total reduction in operating costs. The
$725 million cut in unemployment insurance, however,
represents 33 per cent of total reductions. Reductions in
business transfers add up to $117 million or 5.3 per cent of total
cuts. I think it is clear where this government's priorities are. It
uses the unemployed to get the cuts it cannot make in its own
Cuts in the departments represent less than 2 per cent of the
government's operating costs, of which a substantial 19 per cent
is generated by defence. There was no disciplined item by item
assessment by the government, as the Bloc Quebecois had
However, there is still fat and waste in government
operations. The Auditor General estimates that if the
government stopped the waste, the potential savings would
amount to several billion annually. A reduction of $400 million
in operating costs, less than 2 per cent, is certainly not enough
when the cost of debt servicing increases by $2.5 billion during
the same period.
The government has failed to make the necessary reductions
in spending. Only a reduction in expenditures achieved by
eliminating waste and poor management procedures will in the
long run reduce the tax burden on the middle class that has
caused the underground economy to flourish, as we have seen
repeatedly during the past few months.
Although so-called spending cuts were announced with a
great deal of publicity, government program spending will
increase again this year, by another $800 million. This amount
corresponds to statutory programs such as equalization.
Instead of coming down hard on the unemployed and senior
citizens, whose age credit has been cut, the government should
have acted immediately to streamline government operations by
getting rid of the duplication and overlap that costs the
government between $2 and $3 billion annually. This is nearly
eight times the cuts made in this government's budget plan.
Second, the government should make further reductions in
defence spending. A 12 per cent cut is planned over five years,
while the Bloc Quebec asked for a 25-per cent cut. The Collège
militaire royal in Saint-Jean should not be closed until Quebec
has received its share of national defence spending, on a per
capita basis. This closing does not make sense, especially since
the college had just been renovated at a cost of several million
In concluding, I would like to add that the government should
have made further spending cuts and invested half of this
spending room in job creation and the other half in reducing the
debt. Most analysts agree that the infrastructure program does
not do enough because it creates only 45,000 temporary jobs and
is, in the final analysis, the employment recovery program the
government announced with so much fanfare.
Mr. Ray Speaker (Lethbridge): Madam Speaker, I
appreciate the opportunity to speak to the resolution before us
and certainly in recognition of the tabling of the estimates. As
we examine the presentation today and the budget which was
given to us on February 22, we have some very major concerns.
They are concerns that reflect the attitudes of Canadians.
The first concern is that the debt of the country is going to be
our downfall and we must recognize that. The second concern is
that along with the debt is the annual debt or the deficit which
continues to hang over our heads, not only as taxpayers but
members of Parliament. We have to deal with it. It is very basic.
We cannot afford in the next three years to accumulate $100
billion more of debt.
The estimates of 1994-95 start that process. They place
before us $39.7 billion as the deficit. That is the best the
government could do in its budgeting process. It could not do
any better and it is not good enough. We have to sit here as
parliamentarians and face that.
The government tried to tell us it has a plan to cut in the
future. It is going to use studies to bring about the cuts. From my
experience any time a group of legislators and private citizens
work together, any recommendations that come back to the
assembly usually demand more money.
I do not think any terms of reference went to those
committees, particularly terms of reference with regard to social
programs. The Minister of Human Resources Development said
he would like to see the cost of social programs reduced but that
those programs be targeted. I did not hear that in the terms of
reference. Those should have been the initial terms of reference
for those kinds of programs. That was not there.
The government is continuing a pattern of spending more. All
of the deficit reduction in this budget, the amount of money
applied to the deficit, comes from revenue growth. None of it
comes from substantial, deliberate, priorized reductions of
spending across government.
Nothing in these estimates presented to us today really deals
with the fat of government, the overlap of government, the
inefficiency of government, the bloating of government that
occurred between 1975 and 1982. There is nothing in these
estimates that represents significant changes from the trends of
that period of time. The government is continuing the way it is.
I would like to say something with regard to the reductions.
First, the government claims that it has made some major
reductions and will make major reductions in expenditures over
the next three years. The projections are $11 billion.
In the estimates before us the reduction is $3.7 billion. If one
examines the budget book that was presented to us on February
22, 25 per cent of the reductions came from Tory policies, not
from Liberal initiatives. That is the first item. Therefore how
can the government take much credit for the reductions in the
Second, let us talk about the estimates for 1994-95. The
reductions are $3.7 billion which is not much in a major budget
of some $163 billion. New initiatives is $2.2 billion which
leaves us $1.5 billion to apply to the deficit. That still leaves us
with $39.7 billion. That is not much. Why did the government
not look at the reductions and say it should apply all of the $3.7
billion to the deficit and do something with a little more
Many of the funds were reallocated internally without
consulting Parliament. We as parliamentarians should be able to
ask the questions. For example, when certain programs are
being cut, what is being cut out? After a program has been
reallocated we should be able to ask the cost of the new priority,
is it necessary, where will the money come from and can we do it
for less. We really did not get a chance to do all of that in the
process. We will possibly have that opportunity in the estimates.
I have a last point to the government in the time I have left. I
hope that the government will really make a serious
commitment, in the words spoken by the Minister of Finance
yesterday, so committees will be able to review these matters,
make recommendations and that the government will listen to
those recommendations and implement them. I hope during this
35th Parliament that will be a major change. If government is
that open and able to allow that, we will have a tremendous
Parliament and one that is really democratic.
I recommend to the government not to become political and
terminate that process through which a committee recommends
decisions that are a little difficult to initiate. Committee reports
and recommendations are number one to an effective process of
dealing with the estimates.
* * *
Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce):
Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages,
the first report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal
Affairs. Pursuant to the order of reference on Friday, February 4,
1994, your committee has considered Bill C-4, an act to amend
the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, and has agreed to
report it without amendment.
Mr. Jim Peterson (Willowdale):
Madam Speaker, I have the
honour of rising today to present the second report of the
Standing Committee on Finance. This is in accordance with the
order of reference of Wednesday, February 9, 1994. Your
committee has considered Bill C-3, an act to amend the
Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Federal
Post-Secondary Education and Health Contributions Act, and
has agreed to report it without amendment.
May I also take this opportunity to say this is the second
report to the House from the Standing Committee on Finance. I
just want to thank all members of that committee who have
worked so hard in the spirit of constructive co-operation to
bring in a second report in addition to all of the other business
the committee has had to do. I thank all members.
* * *
Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for Infrastructure):
Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 81(4) and 81(6), I move:
That the main estimates, 1994-95, tabled this day, be referred to the several
standing committees of the House as follows:
Since the list is rather lengthy, I would ask that it be printed in
at this point without being read.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
[Editor's Note: List referred to above is as follows:]
To the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Votes, 1, 5, 10, 15, L20, L25, 30,
35, 40, 45 and 50
To the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20
To the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
Canadian Heritage, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, L20, L25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65,
70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140 and 150
To the Standing Committee on Government Operations
Canadian Heritage, Vote 145
Finance, Vote 55
Governor General, Vote 1
Parliament, Vote 1
Privy Council, Votes 1, 5, 10 and 30
Public Works and Government Services, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and
Treasury Board, Votes 1, 5 and 10
To the Standing Committee on Natural Resources
Natural Resources, Votes 1, 5, 10, L15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50
To the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development
Environment, Votes 1, 5 and 10
To the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Foreign Affairs, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, L30, L35, 40, 45 and 50
Public Works and Government Services, Vote 45
To the Standing Committee on Finance
Finance, Votes 1, L5, L10, L15, 20, L25, 35 and 50
National Revenue, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20
To the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans
Fisheries and Oceans, Votes 1, 5 and 10
To the Standing Committee on Health
Health, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30
To the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Disabled Persons
Justice, Vote 15
To the Standing Committee on Industry
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Votes 1, 5 and 10
Finance, Votes 40 and 45
Industry, Votes 1, 5, 10, L15, L20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75,
80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105 and 110
Western Economic Diversification, Votes 1 and 5
To the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs
Justice, Votes 1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45
Privy Council, Vote 35
Solicitor General, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50
To the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development
Human Resources Development, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45
To the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Parliament, Vote 5
Privy Council, Vote 20
To the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs
National Defence, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20
Veterans Affairs, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20
To the Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Finance, Vote 30
To the Standing Committee on Transport
Privy Council, Vote 15
Transport, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60
To the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages
Privy Council, Vote 25
To the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
Citizenship and Immigration, Votes 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20
To the Standing Joint Committee on Library of Parliament
Parliament, Vote 10
(Motion agreed to.)
Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod):
Madam Speaker, it is a privilege
to present a petition to this House from the members of my
constituency in Glenwood, Alberta. This petition relates to the
post office and it is an honour to present this petition on behalf
of those constituents.
Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East):
Madam Speaker, it
is my duty and honour to rise and present a petition duly
certified by the Clerk of Petitions from over 400 concerned
citizens in the beautiful Chilliwack River valley of my
constituency of Fraser Valley East.
The petition states that incidents of flooding, related
problems with roads, utility lines and residential homes and
businesses are becoming more and more frequent since the
disastrous floods of 1989 and 1990. Each such incident threatens
public safety, devalues property and hinders the ability of
residents to obtain mortgages and home insurance.
As a result the petitioners humbly pray and call upon
Parliament to implement the Chilliwack River valley hazard
management plan through the Government of Canada's
Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops):
Madam Speaker, it is a
privilege to present a petition on behalf of constituents from
Kamloops, Chase, Savona, Pinatan, Knutsford, Little Fort,
Barriere, Birch Island, Monte Creek, Pritchard, Monte Lake,
Westwold, Blue River and Clearwater.
These constituents point out their concerns regarding the
Young Offenders Act. They suggest that the act as currently
enacted is inadequate for the needs of a modern society. They
are asking Parliament to review the Young Offenders Act and
take the necessary steps to ensure appropriate sentencing, better
post-custody supervision and more effective rehabilitation
* * *
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons):
I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Shall the questions be
allowed to stand?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): I wish to inform the
House that pursuant to Standing Order 33(2)(b), because of the
ministerial statement, Government Orders will be extended by
The House resumed from February 23 consideration of the
motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy
of the government; the amendment; and the amendment to the
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands): Madam Speaker,
subsequent Reform Party speakers will be splitting their time, to
10 minutes and five minutes for questions and comments.
This morning I would like to address the budget from the
point of view of the defence department and first of all to
congratulate the government on some good measures it has
taken. I have noted it is looking at reducing the rank structure in
the Canadian forces and thinning out the level of middle
management. Both these items are long overdue and will
provide more people at the pointed end and fewer in the
administrative support tail.
It is looking to amend its management practices, to delegate
and lower the responsibility level to base commanders and other
unit commanders, to do away with bureaucracy. This will make
the process much more efficient and more cost effective.
It is looking at off the shelf purchases. For far too long
Canadians have tended to put in special frills and things that
required additional engineering which wound up costing more
and taking much longer to implement. I think the off the shelf
purchases are a very good idea.
We are looking at contracting out some of the things that
Canadian forces personnel currently do. This as well is a step in
the right direction.
I understand from the defence document that we are going to
look at contracting out flight training at Moose Jaw. I know this
has worked very well at Portage la Prairie in basic training and I
must admit I have some personal misgivings about putting the
training of our air crews into other than military hands.
However, certainly it has worked at Portage la Prairie and we
should definitely investigate it at Moose Jaw.
I also note that group headquarters has been combined for
efficiency and moved air combat, which used to be fighter group
headquarters, from North Bay to Trenton. The same will be done
with 10 tactical air group headquarters from St. Hubert to
combine with air transport group at Trenton. Again, this is a
refining and efficiency measure which will pay dividends.
The government also mentioned some infrastructure
reductions, some $850 million over five years by the 1997-98
timeframe. By that time savings will be $350 million a year. I
will be speaking to this from the other point of view in a few
moments. However, I think all people who have looked at the
defence department have been aware that there has been an
overabundance of infrastructure in that force and it was time to
However, I do think that defence has become an easy target.
All parties in the last election, with the exception of the Reform
Party, were aiming very strongly at large cuts in defence. I think
this may be premature and that people do not appreciate the
current state of the defence force.
Basically it has been underfunded since 1972 when Mr.
Trudeau made dramatic cuts. He was reminded of the
inter-relationship between defence and trade when he tried to
make the cuts in NATO and very shortly found out that it would
impact dramatically on Canadian trade. He reversed his decision
on the cuts he was proposing.
The world situation has changed, without question. The
relationship between the two superpowers has evaporated.
However, rather than providing us with a more stable world, this
has provided a much more volatile world, one which is must less
predictable and, I would say, more dangerous.
Currently Canada has more troops deployed on operational
missions than at any time since the Korean war. The current
strength of the Canadian forces is 75,000 in round numbers. The
government is suggesting that this should be reduced to 67,000
in round numbers by 1998. I question the wisdom of these cuts,
particularly before we have completed a defence review to
establish what we want the Canadian forces to accomplish.
I am not certain at the moment that 75,000 is a sufficient
number to do the jobs Canadians will be asking their forces to
do. I believe it really is premature to suggest that we should be
cutting this number even further.
I am glad to see the reserve force staying constant at 30,000,
although I believe there may be some need to expand its uses if
we go to the total force concept and it is found to be workable.
Regarding budget cuts, over the period from 1989-97 the
previous government had programmed in $14 billion in defence
budget reductions. This government has now implemented an
additional $7 billion deduction in the defence budget between
1994 and 1999. This is a total of $21 billion over 10 years, a
substantial reduction in a budget of only $12 billion. This again
has been done before we know what we are going to be asking
the defence forces to do. I think this is premature.
These defence cuts have reduced the operations and
maintenance budget so that operational and training activities
have had to be reduced by 25 per cent. In plain words, this means
that the navy has and will continue to sail less. The air force has
and will continue to fly less and the army has and will continue
to train less. This means less well trained and less capable
sailors, soldiers and airmen, and that means a reduced
operational capability. There is no question that the training
required by the forces increases its ability to do the job we ask it
to do. Reducing its training reduces its operational capability.
The government has said that one half of the $7 billion
reduction over the five years in the defence budget will come
from the cancellation of the EH-101 helicopter project. I remind
hon. members that the EH-101 was a 13-year program
extending to the year 2002 with the heaviest spending occurring
in the years 1998 and 1999. The $5.8 billion to which the
government is referring is based on 2002 dollars rather than the
original cost for the EH-101 which in 1991-92 dollars was $4.3
billion. I suspect its number is not accurate, its $3.5 billion
Also missing from the figures totally is the cost of the
cancellation of the EH-101 program, payments to contractors
who had already invested substantial sums in the program. This
is estimated to be anywhere between $500 million but more
likely close to $1 billion. This appears nowhere in the budget.
The Minister of National Defence said yesterday that this
would not be coming from the defence budget, but if it is going
to be paid it is paid out of our own budget. Since it is not
identified that means it is in addition to the $39.7 billion the
government has already estimated.
In addition, the minister points out on page 2 of the budget
The Department will still have to find the money for replacement helicopters
should the requirement be confirmed in the defence policy review.
He said also, and I agree with him, that the likelihood was that
the need for these helicopters would be confirmed in that
Depending on the helicopters that are chosen to be bought, we
can spend as much or even exceed the cost of the original
EH-101 program. The Canadian environment provides an
atmosphere that is perhaps among the most challenging for
flying operations the world knows.
Canada is a beautiful country. It is one I have chosen over a
many other countries, having visited them. It has many
advantages but we have long and rather severe winters. When we
have winter weather we have icing conditions. When we have
conditions we have problems for flying machines, particularly
Whatever airplane we buy it should have the ability to fly in
icing conditions. I point out that when the Ocean Ranger went
down off the coast of Newfoundland it took 36 human lives with
it. Both the Sea King and Labrador helicopters were grounded in
Halifax at that time. They were unable to fly because of a
combination of icing conditions and fog.
The EH-101 helicopter could have operated in those
conditions and may very well have saved those lives on the
Ocean Ranger. Any helicopter we buy to operate in Canada
whether it be from ships or in search and rescue should be able to
have the range, the speed, the capacity and the ability to fly in
Let me move on to another cost saving measure, the reduction
of infrastructure. The government has announced that it will
close four bases: the base at Cornwallis, the base at Chatham,
the base at Ottawa, and the base at Toronto. A total of $185
million is identified in the defence document as the cost of those
closures. I do not think they are going to include termination
training, allowances for civilians or transfer costs for military
The gift of the station at Downsview to the city of Toronto as a
gift in perpetuity, a park, is a super thing. Is my time up, Madam
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): The member's time has
expired. Could he conclude please.
Mr. Frazer: Basically there are some good things in the
budget, but there are many things which are incomplete and
have not been thought through. Budget day in 1994 was not only
a disappointing day for Canada; it was not a good day for
Canada's defence force.
Mr. John Richardson (Perth-Wellington-Waterloo):
Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to the hon.
member for Saanich-Gulf Islands. He made some very good
points in his speech.
I know from his experience the infrastructure was like an
albatross around the neck of the forces in terms of budgets for
the past 10 to 12 years. The move was seen by all professional
officers as an excellent one, as a way to free up money for the
needed things he mentioned in his speech. The government
should be applauded for taking the stand to depoliticize the
nature of bases. I certainly go along with that.
I agree with him that we should not be tailoring the future of
the forces based on the budget. A lot of thought has to go into
that matter. I hope the committee that is put together will come
up with a forward thinking program and task the armed forces
appropriately. I look forward to working with him on that future
There are other points I would like to make. The British
announced today a very serious cut in defence expenditures. As
the member just noted, they have gone to a ratio of total force.
They call it a one army concept, a one navy and one air force
concept. Here we call it total force. They are putting more
resources into upgrading the quality of the reserves as a method
of rapid expansion in case of need.
As the member appropriately indicated, we may probably
have to look at it in the future as a way to bring the people of
Canada into the armed forces by having the reserve component
enlarged and increased in competence to take on the roles they
do in the German air force, the American air force and the
reserve programs, as well as in the army and navy components.
Overall he made some very good points. I want to make clear
that the cut in infrastructure was applauded throughout the
forces because it was a drain on both financial and human
resources. It will release that hopefully for the future growth of
Mr. Frazer: Madam Speaker, I would like to address the
problem of infrastructure. I agree with the hon. member that
obviously there was a military hand in the cuts that were made.
These were not done for political reasons. I appreciate that. I
think it is a step in the right direction.
I would question the wisdom of closing either of the two
defence colleges, Collège militaire royal in Saint-Jean or Royal
Roads Military College in Victoria. The total capacity of the
production of the defence colleges has not been sufficient to
provide the Canadian forces officer corps with sufficient
I can speak for Victoria. The University of Victoria does not
have the capacity to absorb additional students. By taking this
productivity from Royal Roads the number of qualified
graduates that will be available has been cut. If these are
supplanted by armed forces training prospects it will cut other
people out of the program. It is my understanding the university
training given at Royal Roads is very slightly more expensive
than that given at any civilian university. I suggest the
government was premature in shutting down these two
Mr. Robichaud: Madam Speaker, it has been agreed that hon.
members on this side of the House, in other words, the Liberal
members, will share their 20-minute speaking time, which
means two periods of 10 minutes, with the exception of the
ministers who will use the full 20 minutes.
Mr. Herb Grubel (Capilano-Howe Sound): Madam
Speaker, the Government of Canada is like a person who has a
weight problem. Overspending is like overeating. The deficit is
like the fat that stores the excess calories consumed. The
dangers for Canada are the same as for the overweight person.
Ultimately the fat will clog the arteries and some vital functions
Like those with weight problems our government always
makes resolutions to do something about the problem: just
enough calories today to sustain the fat and a more serious diet
The excuses for procrastination are always the same. We need
the calories to sustain the living tissue otherwise there will be
pain: unemployment. Another excuse is that we are about to
discover a method for losing weight without pain: an
infrastructure spending program, some grand redesign of social
programs, more efficient government operations or the closing
of tax loopholes.
This budget has put the patient on a diet which slows the rate
of growth of the debt. It does nothing to stop the debt from
growing. Certainly there is no indication that we can ever expect
a slimming of the debt. Promises for a more restrictive diet
following the redesign of social programs are no longer
believable. There are no painless ways of losing weight. No
studies will uncover them.
More important, it makes no sense to keep on saying that all
slimming procedures are health threatening. Canada had full
employment and rapid economic growth when budgets were
balanced. The restoration of balanced budgets really restore
these favourable conditions, just like people feel healthier and
more vigorous who have dieted successfully and have returned
to their normal weight.
The cure for Canada's disease is known. It needs to be applied
soon or the patient will be seriously ill. All it takes is to say no to
additional helpings of food. We need to cut spending drastically.
During the election campaign the bulk of people I had contact
with were concerned about the size of the deficit and debt and
wanted dramatic action to reduce it. They believed that the
overweight person, the Government of Canada, must be made to
slim down to where there is no more fat. They believed that a
crash diet was worth the pain in the knowledge that health would
My constituents put one important condition on their
willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of the country's
fiscal health: the pain must be shared by all Canadians. Our
basic system of public health care and pensions must be
preserved. Social spending programs must be restructured to
serve only those in need. The budget does not share the burden.
The people in the defence industries, civil servants, elderly
taxpayers, business, entrepreneurs with capital gains and the
recipients of UIC have been singled out. Worse, these Canadians
are asked to make sacrifices while excess spending is
maintained. There are 18 new spending programs which in the
aggregate match the cuts. These new programs are motivated by
the desire to pursue ideological goals stemming from the liberal
world view about the ability of government to solve all problems
There is the promise to increase the number of day care spaces
once economic growth has reached 3 per cent. The forecast is for
such a growth rate during the next two years. What will this
promise cost? The budget is silent on this potentially very
There is much known fat in current government spending
programs. No studies are needed to identify it. It could have
been cut to reduce the deficit significantly while resulting in
much more equitable sharing of the burden.
First, there is the unemployment insurance system. The
proposed changes in eligibility requirements are a step in the
right direction but they are not enough. By most international
and our own historic standards the benefit rate of 55 per cent for
single persons is too high. Lowering it by two percentage points
is symbolic rather than economically effective, especially when
at the same time the benefits to others are raised to 60 per cent.
Second, old age security benefit payments are slated to rise
7.5 per cent from the current $20 billion in two years, primarily
because there are more eligible Canadians and because of the
indexing of the benefits. Yet, it is well known that a very
substantial part of OAS payments are going to families with
high incomes. It was never the intent of the program for families
in the top decile and earning $100,000 to receive annually over
$2.5 billion under this program while they are retired, without
family obligations and fully insured against health care
Third, the most rapidly growing expenditure category is
grants to Indians and Inuit. It is slated to rise a full 17 per cent in
two years. Many people who have been asked to make sacrifices
are wondering why spending in this program is slated to increase
$300 million every year for the next two years.
More generally this budget claims to make savings of $8
billion in two years. It should be noted that these savings are
relative to spending levels slated to increase according to the
budgets made a number of years ago. Half of them are due to
what is called securing savings from previous budgets which
requires no measure of political courage. In effect all the
so-called savings amount to nothing more than the reduction of
previously announced spending increases.
The bottom line for Canadians is that the level of program
spending is slated to remain unchanged at $122 billion during
the next two years. This is not the kind of diet the overweight
There is legitimate reason to be sceptical about the realism of
the projected size of the public debt charges. They are slated to
rise only $3 billion over the next three years. The expected
deficits of this period are about $100 billion. The interest on this
additional debt alone is $6 billion. Therefore the government
must expect to enjoy large savings of $3 billion on debt service
charges on the already existing debt of $504 billion.
This is a very risky forecast. Economic growth is predicted to
be 3 per cent and 3.8 per cent in the next two years. This will
create inflationary pressures which will be compounded by the
delayed effects of the depreciation of the Canadian dollar during
the last year.
The forecast of the inflation rate of 1.3 per cent for 1995 is
very low and so is the related forecast for interest rates of only
6.1 per cent on long term bonds in 1995. Adding to my
scepticism about interest rates is that the U.S. economy is
booming and rates there have already begun to rise. Canada
cannot afford to have a significant gap in favour of U.S. interest
I also have my doubts about the forecast for economic growth
in the next couple of years, doubts which are not shared by the
majority of economists. I believe the main reason consumers are
reluctant to spend and therefore are extending the recession is
that they are worried about the country's deficits and debt. They
worry whether they will experience the collapse of government
services and entitlements suffered by the people of New
Until they are sure that our government has taken courageous
steps to reduce the deficit, they will continue to spend
cautiously. As a result, economic growth may well remain more
sluggish than has been forecast in the budget.
Let me close by noting that the international capital markets
are giving the government breathing space for this budget,
however disappointing are the figures on the level of spending
cuts. Several people in close contact with the financial
community have told me that we may expect serious capital
flight and a financial crisis unless the announced redesign of the
social programs this fall produce significant savings.
I therefore urge the government to make the redesign of the
social services a serious effort. If there are no tough decisions
made and credible savings generated, Canada may find itself in
the same position as did the country's largest real estate empire.
Rumours and predictions about a financial crisis were denied
and banks kept on extending credit until suddenly and upon one
extra slight provocation the crisis started and the entire empire
began to collapse. The diet was too late and too little.
Let us hope that Canada will not face the same problems. The
decision is in the hands of the government.
Mr. Andy Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury): Madam
Speaker, I am delighted at the opportunity to beat all of my
colleagues to the floor. I was certain that the speech would
provoke an immediate reaction. Certainly it reminds me why I
I would suggest to the member for Capilano-Howe Sound
that the objective of social programs is not to save money. The
objective of social programs is to help people. To set out with an
immediate objective that is based on the need to save money is
incorrect in the spirit of those programs.
The 18 new programs that the budget is financing were
presented to the population of this country last fall and accepted
and supported in big numbers. I think to do anything but to
support those programs is to ignore the democratic wishes of the
people in this country.
The idea that the UI reductions did not go far enough I find
mind boggling, that the way we would try to save money is to
take it from the hands of people who are just getting by so that
people who are getting by more comfortably will be more
comfortable in their support for these programs.
Finally I would say, in keeping with the member's analogy in
terms of diet, there is a big difference between dieting and
starving people to death.
Mr. Grubel: I thank my hon. colleague for his comments.
They are clearly partisan. This is what divides people. I look
forward to seeing how many letters he will get from the people
who have been singled out to make sacrifices so that other
people can get benefits. I find that the kinds of programs
initiated by his government are not popular with my
Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Carleton-Gloucester): I would
like to comment on the remarks of the tough-talking,
self-proclaimed crash diet expert from Capilano-Howe Sound.
He says we are not going through enough pain in dieting and that
we should be on some kind of crash diet. I am not too sure if he
confuses the word diet with what my friend just mentioned to
The hon. member said that the Liberal Party is now going into
excessive new spending. Then he attacked the system for day
care we want to introduce. He talked about overweight
Canadians. I react to that with a smile.
He says that the UI changes are not enough, that we should
have been more courageous and we should have cut, cut, cut
further. I wonder if the member for Capilano-Howe Sound
would have further cut the UI.
He talks about letter writing from Canadian citizens. I wonder
if he would care to write an open letter to the newspapers in the
Atlantic provinces on the UI changes which he would propose. I
am waiting with bated breath to hear what his proposals would
On old age security he says that we are giving out too much
money. I wonder if he has read the budget and if he has had
reactions from people who are now seniors and will be paying
much more in taxes due to the thousand dollars they will be
losing from now on.
He talked about the 17 per cent increase to natives, $300
million a year. I wonder if he could expand on his views
regarding the treatment of natives.
I will stop at this point because I believe the member for
Capilano-Howe Sound, the tough talking, self appointed crash
diet person, probably has a lot on his plate right now.
Mr. Grubel: Madam Speaker, I will be very brief in
commenting on the wonderful reiteration of the ways in which
this government is preserving this wonderful country which is
going down the drain because we are facing a financial crisis.
One hundred billion dollars more added to the debt in three
years. It alone will add $6 billion to the current deficit. I do not
understand how this can continue.
Mr. Barry Campbell (St. Paul's): In this, my first speech in
the House of Commons, I would like to congratulate the Speaker
on his election and you, Madam Speaker, on your appointment.
I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the people of
St. Paul's riding in Toronto who have entrusted me with the
honour of representing them in this Parliament. I accept this
responsibility in all humility.
St. Paul's riding is in many ways a microcosm of Canada. It
defies easy characterization. It is a place of contrast. It is a
riding of tenants and home owners, business executives and
building contractors, new Canadians and people who have been
here for generations. Successive waves of immigrants have
called the southwest part of my riding home and supplanted one
another in this neighbourhood as each group has prospered and
moved on, the Canadian way.
Among the residents of St. Paul's are many of our best known
business, cultural, political, labour, educational and community
leaders, and many thousands of hard-working people who
through their efforts keep Toronto and Canada growing.
As I went door to door during the last election, I was
continually moved by the diversity of Canada and how it is
reflected in my riding. In representing St. Paul's, I have
wonderful role models to look to: John Roberts, Mitchell Sharp
and Walter Gordon who represented voters in this riding in the
past. These people of great vision and deep commitment to
Canada shared a fundamental belief in the virtue of public
In carrying out my responsibilities I shall very much have in
mind their example, people who served, and in the case of
Mitchell Sharp continues to serve, with integrity and devotion to
I must pause to say thank you to my family, the unsung heroes
in any politician's life. I am grateful to my wife Debra, who
holds things together in Toronto while I am here, and to my two
sons, Matthew and Jeremy.
My parents taught me that we each have a responsibility to
give back to our community. Whatever our personal
circumstances we have the same responsibility to roll up our
sleeves, get involved and try to make a difference. I shall always
be grateful for that lesson and their support.
Over the last year I have had the privilege of meeting
thousands of people in my riding. They voiced concerns about
jobs and the economy. Many are deeply troubled about the
future and perplexed about the role of government in our time.
St. Paul's has not been spared the ravages of the recession. For
many, optimism has given way to frustration and despair.
Economic stagnation has taken its toll. However, our spirit is
strong. The people in my riding are not apathetic. They have
channelled their frustration and anger into action and
involvement within their community, their city and their
Politics is serious business in my riding. St. Paul's is the site
of Montgomery's Tavern where William Lyon Mackenzie
planned his rebellion of 1837. One cannot help but notice
parallels between those days and our own. The rebellion resulted
from widespread public anger directed at a government which
was disinterested, self-absorbed and out of touch. The bold
actions of 1837 paved the way for responsible government.
One hundred and fifty-seven years later the Canadian people,
angry with a disinterested and out of touch government, again
rebelled the way we do in modern society: at the ballot box. The
message they sent was loud and clear. Canadians want
responsive and responsible government.
The people of my riding are unforgiving of politicians. They
do not forget if we fail to keep our promises. That is why I am
proud to be part of a government which is proceeding with this
budget to do exactly what it said it would do. We are funding
every major commitment in the red book. When we keep our
promises we go a long way to restoring the confidence
Canadians must have in their government.
Among the many noteworthy budget initiatives are the
infrastructure program, the youth service corps, prenatal
nutrition programs, the restoration of the court challenges
program, the technology network and the residential
rehabilitation assistance program.
There are two different visions for Canada. Some believe, and
we have heard it today, in a Canada of winners and losers, of we
and they, of us and them. They believe government is the
problem, that government has no role to play except to stand
aside and let the chips fall. Their theory is that the economy will
adjust, that we will all be better off in the long run if government
simply gets out of the way.
In the meantime, and it is a mean time, slash and burn
economic policies have a terrible impact on the social fabric of
I learned a few things when I was working for the monetary
fund in Washington.
One of the things I learned is that slashing expenditures alone,
what we call shock therapy, leads inevitably to serious costs to
society and fails to restore fiscal health. We must control
expenditures and foster growth. That is the course we have set.
We should beware of those who would prescribe quack diets.
Our vision is different. We cannot define Canada in terms of
winners and losers. What matters to us is improving the quality
of life of all Canadians so that they can all be winners.
The government has a role to play in revitalizing the economy
and in preserving the social fabric. Canada has always been a
land of prosperity and Canadians have always prospered under a
government which could play that role, even in times of fiscal
restraint. As the budget indicates, our government must take an
active part in the economic, social and cultural life of this
This budget demonstrates that this government understands
its responsibilities to the people of Canada. For Canada and for
Canadians to prosper, government must neither stand aside nor
stand in the way. Government must stand alongside Canadians.
I know the government cannot do everything. There are
worthy things we simply cannot afford to support. We have
made tough choices in this budget but I believe we have made
the right choices. We were listening to Canadians in the
As a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, I look
forward to listening to the views of Canadians on the thrust of
the economic policy.
The government understands the reality we are faced with
today and is prepared to do that which is necessary to be fiscally
responsible. Controlling spending is a priority for this
government. This budget begins the long and difficult task of
reversing the debt and deficit spiral. The budget incorporates a
more ambitious deficit reduction plan on the expenditure side
than any budget in the last decade.
We will not blame the previous government for the sorry state
of Canada's financial affairs. We are prepared to be judged by
how we deal with the hand we have been dealt by the world we
find. This budget is a first step in a longer process which began
on October 25 to restore fiscal health and preserve the social
justice which defines Canada.
The government will not solve Canada's problems by creating
a permanent underclass in this country. Those who need help
most will always have the assistance they require. I will work
with the government to identify and support the role that
government can and should be playing.
Government can and should bring people together, set goals,
provide leadership, make sure the job gets done fairly and
effectively. That is what this budget is all about. The
government understands it has a role to play in helping people
find decent work, in helping restore their confidence. Even in
difficult economic times government must respond to the needs
of Canadians and Canadians need jobs.
The budget accomplishes this in two ways. The infrastructure
program is putting people to work now. In looking to tomorrow,
to tomorrow's workers and the jobs they must have, the budget
establishes a national literacy program, a youth service corps,
internship and apprenticeship programs, and innovative
programs for small business.
I am confident that together with the people of Canada we can
solve the riddle of the 1990s. We will be able to have a caring
society, a vital cultural life, and a viable economy. We are up to
We, as members of Parliament, must do our job, but
Canadians too must do their share and keep on believing in what
we can accomplish together. All citizens of our great country
must recognize and accept their responsibilities towards this
society and do their share. We must regain confidence in our
Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Madam
Speaker, I was rather surprised by the speech of my colleague,
because my vision of the budget is entirely different from his.
How can he say that we are going to improve the quality of life
in Canada, when the qualifying period for unemployment
insurance has been raised from 10 to 12 weeks at a time when
people are experiencing a very difficult economic situation in
the regions of Quebec and Canada? How can he say that
reducing the number of weeks of insurable employment for an
individual to be eligible to UI benefits will improve the quality
of life of Canadians? I believe that Liberals will have to admit,
at the very least, that their budget is a conservative one.
What should we think about this budget, when the government
is reaching into the wallets of senior citizens. They have paid
their share all their lives and now that they are retired, all they
deserve is to see their income cut back. I think the media were
very clear on this. I would be pleased to hear the hon. member
explain to me how this is going to improve the quality of life of
Also, how can he say the deficit is under control, when it is the
highest that any government dared make public? I am willing to
make a bet with the hon. member that, next year, when we get the
figures for the fiscal year, the deficit will be $45 billion rather
than $39 as forecast, because the Liberals were not willing to
take their responsibilities and reduce the duplications.
Mr. Campbell: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon.
member for his question.
The budget is very much about the quality of life. It contains
numerous programs, many of which I have focused on, that are
all about the quality of life: our youth, the jobs they must have,
the retraining that must take place and the preservation of the
social programs that he referred to in a sensible way which
contributes to getting people back into the workforce.
Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast): Madam Speaker, I
appreciate some of the comments the member made in reference
to the response of people to a government that does not listen. I
keep wondering how things are changing right now when we are
faced with that very situation. Government is not listening to the
Many have expressed concerns about the massive debt that
keeps building up. The budget has just been released and it
amounts to a situation now where in the next three years we will
have an additional $100 billion in debt. That certainly does not
reflect what the people are demanding. A threat hangs over the
head of every taxpayer in the country. There is now going to be a
service charge to be paid, again on the backs of the taxpayer.
What is going to happen? Are we going to have additional tax
burdens again affecting the quality of life? How caring will the
government be when forced by lenders to curtail its spending? If
we do not get a handle on it now, what is going to happen in the
next three years when the lenders say that enough is enough?
I would appreciate the member responding to how caring the
government will be after failing to take immediate action. It will
be a much greater crisis in the future.
Mr. Campbell: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon.
member for his question.
There are no tax increases in the budget and I have every
confidence, unlike the hon. member and some of his colleagues,
that we are up to the challenge. I am not sitting on the edge of my
seat waiting for the total collapse of this country. I am
shouldering my burden along with my colleagues on this side of
the House and the few who are over there in getting on and in
getting the job done.
Mr. Benoît Serré (Timiskaming-French River): Madam
Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to
address the House this morning on this important matter of my
government's first budget.
For the past few weeks, I have sat in the House, listening to
the many statements, questions and speeches made by my
colleagues on both sides of the House. I was struck by one fact.
No matter how different our approaches and methods and no
matter which region of Canada we originate from, we all share
something in common: a strong sense of duty to our
For me my riding will always come first. I want to thank the
people of Timiskaming-French River for putting their faith in
me. I want to tell each and every one of them how proud and
honoured I feel to be their voice here in Ottawa.
Many of my colleagues on both sides of the House have
addressed specific issues in relation to the budget speech today.
I would like to restrict my comments to two areas which I feel
have more direct consequences to my riding: mining and
My riding of Timiskaming-French River is largely a rural
riding. It is vast in size and stretches from Matheson and
Kirkland Lake in the north to the French River of Alban and
Noelville in the south. It is a riding that has been developed by
the forestry, mining and agricultural sectors. Although tourism
offers great potential it remains relatively undeveloped.
Unfortunately as a result of the poor mining policy of the
previous government and the cancellation of mining incentives
by the Conservatives in 1987, for the first time in its history
Cobalt has no operating mine. The Adams mine in Kirkland
Lake and the Sherman mines in Temagami, two iron ore pellet
producing mines, closed in 1990. Dofasco through very
questionable circumstances now buys its iron ore pellets in the
former Prime Minister's riding.
Permit me to state a few facts and statistics on the mining
industry in Canada. The first big myth is that mining is only
important to a few remote areas of the country. This could not be
further from the truth. The mining industry is the cornerstone of
our economy, accounting for approximately 16 per cent of total
exports, 4.6 per cent of gross domestic product and 100,000 high
paying, skilled jobs. More jobs are created in urban centres from
services and supply to the mining industry than in the actual
Mining is a mainstay of employment and industrial activity in
more than 150 communities across the country with a total
population of about one million people. Urban areas also benefit
as they are home to international mining head offices, support
industries including banks, stock markets, insurance
companies, suppliers, legal services and consultants.
This is why I am so pleased with our initiative to establish a
reclamation fund mechanism for the mining sector. I intend to
continue my consultation with the Minister of Finance and
cabinet to ensure that other initiatives, as set out in our mining
policy, such as a single window environmental process and an
incentive program for exploration, be implemented as soon as
The second big myth is that mining is environmentally
damaging and irresponsible. Well-intentioned
environmentalists have virtually declared war on our resource
based industries like mining, forestry and trapping. Yet the total
mined acreage in the country is smaller than metropolitan
Although I recognize that forestry and mining practices of the
past cannot be repeated, we must guard against extremes which
would result in the death of our resource based communities and
thus do great harm to the Canadian economy as a whole. We
must do more to educate the general public, especially from the
urban areas, on the importance of mining in the Canadian
In the last five or six years our ore bodies inventories in this
country have been reduced to dangerously low levels. The lack
of consistency and the duplication in environmental processes,
the lack of incentives and a reclamation fund mechanism, land
accessibility because of native land claims and parks are but a
few of the problems facing the mining industry.
The Liberal Party in the last election was the only party which
developed a comprehensive mining policy. These policies
received tremendous support from the mayors and reeves of the
mining communities across the country, most of which are
single industry towns. These policies were also endorsed by all
major mining associations in Canada. I praise the finance
minister for acting expeditiously to implement some of those
Agriculture remains an economic sector which is essential for
the security, the prosperity and the sovereignty of our nation. On
December 15, Canada signed the GATT Agreement in Geneva. I
want to congratulate the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister
for International Trade as well as the 60 members of the Liberal
caucus who worked hard to defend the interests of the Canadian
farmers in Geneva.
Together we have succeeded, under those very difficult
circumstances and in spite of though time constraints, in
maintaining our marketing system and an effective control over
import quotas through an appropriate pricing method. Those
measures will allow our family farms to survive in the short and
the long run.
We still have a very thorny problem to settle with the
Americans, the cream and yoghurt issue. I am confident that the
Minister of Agriculture will be quite capable of negotiating with
them a bilateral agreement which will satisfy our Canadian
However, we will have to be very careful not to give in to the
constant pressures of the Americans who are asking us to lower
those import tariffs. We will have to maintain the viability of our
family farms at any rate.
A country that cannot feed its own people is not a sovereign
nation. Therefore, I am very proud that the Minister of Finance
maintained the major safety nets for farmers, including the
Gross Revenue Insurance Plan and the Net Income Stabilization
I would like to make a few comments to my colleagues from
the Official Opposition, in particular to their leader. First, I wish
to say a few words about my background. My ancestors arrived
in the beautiful city of Quebec around 1658. I am very proud to
be a descendant of one of the greatest Canadians, Sir Wilfrid
Laurier. My family moved to Ontario around 1889 to work in the
logging industry and clear rocky lands. I am extremely proud
that we were able to preserve not only our language but also our
French culture, despite all the challenges and fights we had to
face in Ontario.
Last year, my family was designated the Francophone Family
of the Year by the ACFO Nipissing.
My riding is made up of about 30 per cent of francophones, as
well as Canadians of Ukrainian, Polish, Italian and other
origins, and 45 per cent of anglophones who came to work on the
land, sometimes a very difficult land to develop. I intend to
defend the rights of all these minorities equally.
I am doubly proud to be the first francophone elected in the
Timiskaming-French River riding, with the biggest majority
ever seen there, since the riding includes six municipalities
which declared themselves unilingual anglophone, even before
Sault Ste. Marie went that way.
That is why I listened to the opposition leader's speech with
great concern and apprehension. I had the impression that,
during the election campaign, he promised Quebecers that he
would concentrate first and foremost on job creation and
economic renewal. I think it is the reason why many Quebecers
voted for his party. However, nearly all his speeches have been
very negative and mostly devoted to his separatist agenda.
Quebec constituents are not any different from those in
Timiskaming-French River. They want to be able to earn a
decent living and put food on their table.
Consequently, I would like to warn the opposition members
that if they do not set aside their separatist option and start
working with this government to put Canada back to work, as a
party, they will end up paying a huge political price.
Moreover, for the Leader of the Opposition to consistently
refer to the rest of Canada as English Canada is an insult to the
millions of francophones outside Quebec, as well as the millions
of Canadians of other origins.
I had the opportunity and the pleasure to visit beautiful
Quebec City and other areas in Quebec where I felt at home.
They are as much part of my heritage as of any Quebecer's.
Thus, I would like to invite my colleagues from the Bloc
Quebecois, especially those who come from Northwest Quebec,
to work with us to implement our mining, forest and farm
policies, extend the Ottawa seaway, and jointly develop our
tourist industry, so that we can stimulate the economy and create
Let us look for what unites us rather than what divides us and
together, let us put our country back on its feet.
Mr. Yvan Bernier (Gaspé): Madam Speaker, I want to
congratulate my hon. colleague from Timiskaming-French
River. I must say, however, that I do not agree fully with his
comments. He speaks of sovereigntists. Well, I am proud to be a
sovereigntist, but I am even more proud of the fact that our
leader addressed the sovereignty issue during the election
campaign. Another distinguishing feature of Bloc Quebecois
members is that they are realists.
The budget brought down this week is an assault on existing
social benefits. We have proof of this. We have listened to our
constituents and seen the impact of cuts, of lower
unemployment insurance premiums, of the increase in the
number of weeks of work for UI eligibility and of other reform
measures which have either been announced or are being
planned for them by the Minister of Human Resources
Development. We are confused and worried. And we are rightly
proud that we are sovereigntists and realists.
We are not trying to be divisive, to start any arguments or to
score political points at the expense of Quebecers and
Canadians. We have before us a budget about which my
colleague spoke at greater length. I fail to see why one would
seek out divisive issues. But, since we are talking about this, I
would like to reiterate that the second distinguishing feature of
sovereigntist Bloc members is their realistic approach in saying
to Canadians: Be careful, you voted for the Liberals, the ones
responsible for this budget. We have always maintained that
there is very little difference between the Liberals and the
Conservatives. During the election campaign, we used the
expression ``six of one, half a dozen of the other''.
If we had to start another campaign tomorrow morning, in
referring to the difference between the Conservatives and the
Liberals, I would say that the Liberals are just Tories wearing
red ear muffs. That is all I wanted to say.
Mr. Serré: Madam Speaker, on one side we have the Reform
Party claiming that we did not cut deep enough, while on the
other side, we have the Bloc Quebecois that says we were too
ruthless. They want us to reduce the deficit, but they do not want
us to make any cuts or increase taxes, as we did on corporations
and wealthier Canadians.
A well-known Quebec comedian and philosopher by the name
of Yvon Deschamps summed it up quite well when he said that
what these people want is an independent Quebec within a
I must say that one cannot have it both ways. One cannot have
one's cake and eat it too.
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Madam
Speaker, governments come and go, but nothing changes. At
least, that is the distinct impression one gets from the February
22 budget, once the veil of pretence has been lifted and the many
statistical pirouettes have been figured out.
Yet, the members opposite claimed they had understood a few
things: first, the urgent necessity to drastically reduce the
federal budget to reverse the debt spiral which is spinning out of
control; second, the price to pay in terms of credibility for
padding forecasts for future economic progress; and third, the
need for openness and transparency to win people over, as they
are the ones who pay and do not appreciate being mistaken for
something they are not.
There was also a fourth thing, which the government seemed
to distance itself from more and more as the fateful moment to
table the budget drew near. The federal government is
unquestionably responsible for creating the debt spiral, and
therefore the budget crisis that Canada is currently facing.
Logically, it should make some sacrifices and clean up its own
Given that the federal government had recognized in
December, at the premiers conference, that overlapping
jurisdictions and policies were a problem, some were
Alas, on all four fronts, the budget is a surprising
disappointment, especially since the government has, at the very
beginning of its mandate, a wide-open window of opportunity,
both politically and economically. Any recovery, however
still gives more leeway than a recession. This golden
opportunity was missed.
Let us look at the substance. The billions in cuts announced
left and right combined with the spectacular increase in federal
revenues would have led any person unfamiliar with the
vocabulary used by successive finance ministers to believe that
the trend in the federal deficit would finally be reversed as early
as next year. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We will go from a deliberately inflated $45.7 billion deficit in
1993-94 to an almost $40 billion deficit for the coming year.
The government's budget plan tells us that the 1993-94 basic
deficit, excluding non-recurring factors, will amount to $42.1
billion and that, without any political change, next year's deficit
will go down to $41.2 billion.
Let us compare this $41.2 billion figure with the $39.7 billion
deficit announced by the Minister of Finance. We must conclude
that all this figure shuffling by the government results in a very
modest deficit reduction of $1.5 billion. The Minister of
Finance wants to convince us that he deserves a gold medal in
deficit reduction. In fact, he deserves a paper medal.
Why paper? Because a paper medal has two sides, one for
recording revenues and the other for recording expenditures.
When we look at it more closely, we see that the finance
minister's alleged achievement is entirely based on a revenue
increase so large that we are taken aback, especially since his
economic forecasts for 1994 are both realistic and modest. But it
is pretty useless if we do not arrive at the right conclusions.
Even if we exclude non-recurring factors, revenues only went
up by 1.2 per cent between 1992-93 and 1993-94, while the
GDP grew by 3.3 per cent in nominal terms.
With a wave of the finance minister's magic wand, revenues,
excluding increases due to a broader tax base, will suddenly
jump by 4.6 per cent with a GDP nominal growth of 3.9 per cent.
We must ask the question that the Minister of Finance has
been avoiding: What would be the impact of a more realistic tax
revenue increase of, say, 3 per cent? The deficit would amount
not to $39.7 billion but to $42.9 billion. The basic deficit for
1994-95 would stay the same as that for the fiscal year ending in
one month. At first sight, this outcome would seem the most
The government backed down after the general outcry caused
by the trial balloons on RRSPs and employer-financed health
insurance plans. But it will still take $1 billion from the pockets
of the middle class over the next three years, while some tax
shelters reserved for the wealthiest stay in place. They told us
about making taxes more equitable, but that will have to wait.
If the government wants its revenue forecasts to materialize,
it must allocate additional resources to create jobs by making
further cuts in less sensitive federal expenditures. There would
then be a real deficit reduction with, as a bonus, a beneficial
effect on long-term interest rates and, in turn, on consumption
The government is acting as though Canada was not facing a
structural economic crisis. The year 1994 did not start well on
the employment front as 38,000 jobs were lost last month so
that, nearly two years after the recession ended, 47 per cent of
the jobs lost during the recession in Canada have still not
reappeared. The 143,000 jobs created in 1993 were not even
enough to absorb new arrivals in the workforce. Quebec still has
to recover 60 per cent of the lost jobs. The Canadian economy is
still performing well below its potential. The Minister of
Finance himself predicts that 173,000 jobs will be created in
1994, which is barely enough for the new arrivals and is not
enough to continue making up lost ground.
One of the obstacles to a real recovery of the Canadian
economy is the level of longer-term interest rates, which are
still high, especially because of this huge debt hanging over
Canadians like a sword of Damocles. Historically, long-term
interest rates did not exceed 4 per cent in real terms. Today, they
are still 6 per cent and, even worse, have started to rise again in
the last few weeks under pressure from the U.S. economy.
The only way of bringing back the momentum of lower
long-term interest rates is by substantially reducing the federal
deficit. When we have a debt of $511 billion, a one point decline
in rates represents more than $5 billion less in interest
payments. Half the federal debt is of a short-term nature and
half is of a longer term nature of is more than one year. This
momentum can feed on itself but it has to be sustained and
propelled by a government that knows where it wants to go. This
does not seem to be the case.
As things stand now the prediction of the Minister of Finance
on long-term interest rates seems too optimistic. In a few
months the federal deficit will appear to be still out of control
and significant economic growth will again be postponed. Job
creation was supposed to be the rallying cry of the Liberals. The
Minister of Finance predicts a real boost in job creation but
unfortunately not this year. It will be next year only.
I am reminded of the metallic plaques in a few French cafés
and brasseries bearing the inscription: ``Tomorrow free beer''. It
is tomorrow only and we read it today.
In the meantime what are we supposed to make of a budget
that acknowledges one of the first measures of the new
government enacted last December was and is a job killer. It is
written in black and white on page 2 of the backgrounder on the
proposed changes to the unemployment insurance program.
Referring to the rollback in the premium rate from $3.07 to $3
next January it says:
-will provide significant financial relief to businesses. By the end of 1996 there will
be 40,000 more jobs in the economy that could be expected if premiums were
allowed to rise.
Certainly 40,000 jobs are not something to be looked down
upon in these uncertain times. It represents maybe $1 billion in
The government is going to roll back its own increase in the
premium rate this year but only in 10 months. In the meantime
this increase is killing thousands of jobs. It is strange indeed.
But how do you explain that the announced cuts of several
billion dollars do not have any real impact on the deficit? This is
because there are two kinds of cuts: real cuts and artificial cuts.
For several years, finance ministers have become real
specialists in making false cuts.
What is an artificial cut? It is an announced reduction of
planned future spending. What was usually foreseen before, of
course, was an increase. Reducing or eliminating this increase,
in the jargon of technocrats at the Department of Finance,
becomes a cut. An employee whose salary raise goes from 5 to 3
per cent has his pay cut 2 per cent, from this point of view,
although in fact it is a 3 per cent increase, which will be
accounted for as such in the budget of the company or the
Such an approach obviously has several advantages for the
government. For one thing, it is a good show for the media, since
the billions pile up fast in this game, especially since there is no
time limit. They will talk about cuts spread over the next three or
even five years. And since they are in the habit of adding the cuts
over several years, even if it only makes the debate more
confusing, they quickly come up with impressive amounts that
they can boast about.
What this approach does, in reality, is keep the public
guessing as to the government's determination to take the bull
by the horns. These budget papers, like all those that came
before, do not include the expenditure forecasts of the previous
budget. This makes it easier for the government to pull the wool
over people's eyes and to more or less distort the facts.
Before I give you a few examples of this sleight of hand,
Madam Speaker, I want to say that not only are we not impressed
with all of these special effects, we also deeply deplore the lack
of transparency in the budget process. The nice words spoken by
the Minister of Finance at the University of Montreal last
November were quickly forgotten, along with all of the other
good intentions. However, the government will not resolve the
serious debt crisis by playing hide-and-seek with the opposition
parties and with the taxpayers.
At this point, I would like to highlight a discrepancy which,
considering the sums of money involved, is perhaps only a
minor one, but one that is nonetheless symptomatic of a
dangerous attitude. The government appears to be saying that
since no one will bother to check the figures, it can take the
liberty of concealing the truth. Here is one example of this type
of attitude which we are not used to seeing, given the traditional
accuracy of Finance Department budgets. On page 32 of the
Budget Plan, we note the following: ``International assistance
funding is, therefore, being reduced by 2 per cent for 1994-95
from the 1993-94 level''. However, on page 34, the figure
quoted for 1994-95 is $91 million. This represents a reduction
of 3.4 per cent compared to this year's international assistance
budget, which was pegged at $2.7 billion. Therefore, this is not a
2 per cent reduction. Does this mean that we have to check every
single percentage in the Budget Plan? Is there a catch here? Is
the government trying to conceal something? We want an
The budget announces new cuts in business subsidies. On
page 33, the following is stated and I quote: ``These reductions
are over-and-above the reductions in grants and contributions
announced in the April 1993 budget. By 1996-97, grants to
business will be on the order of $3.1 billion, down by just under
10 per cent from $3.4 billion in 1993-94''. While this last
sentence is accurate, it completely contradicts the first one.
Expenditures for this item already exceed the forecasts
contained in the April 1993 budget. It was projected that
expenditures would decrease from $3.3 billion in 1993-94 to
$2.5 billion in 1997-98.
All of this is quite complicated and difficult for anyone to
understand. However, this approach generally allows the
Finance Department and the Minister of Finance to hide behind
distorted facts that have been introduced into the debate. In this
instance, the lack of transparency is accompanied by a lack of
This is doubly worrisome. Not only are facts being distorted,
but the total accuracy of table 8 on page 34 can be viewed as
questionable. This particular table is very important as it details
reductions in expenditures associated with the restructuring of
federal programs. Consequently, the formula used to calculate
the deficit can also be viewed as questionable. In fact, in some
cases the figures listed under such items as international
assistance and defence relate to the April 1993 budget, while in
other cases, they do not. They do not even represent new
artificial reductions. The references are complex and confusing.
We are dealing with apples and oranges and the average person
has trouble sorting the whole mess out.
The situation with respect to business subsidies is also true of
federal government operating expenses, at least for 1994-95. It
should be noted-and this is far from reassuring-that the
federal government is having a lot of trouble controlling its
operating expenses. Over the last two fiscal years, these
expenses have clearly exceeded budgetary projections. The
Budget Plan announces that the new reductions for 1994-95 will
be over-and-above those announced in the April 1993 budget.
At the time, reductions of $468 million were projected for
1994-95. Yet, in Tuesday's budget, we see that the operating
expenses for the new fiscal year are identical to the forecasts in
the April 1993 budget. It is in the defence sector, Mr. Speaker-I
just went from the feminine to the masculine and the people
reading Hansard will realize that our female Speaker has just
been replaced by a male Speaker-so it is in the defence sector
that we hit the jackpot of false cuts. Seven billion over five years
compared with the April 1993 budget. In this case, it seems to be
somewhat consistent. But the real cut is much smaller, since the
defence budget will decrease from $11.3 billion in 1993-94 to
$10.5 billion in 1995-96.
As there will be no real reduction in federal operating
expenditures and in business subsidies, and as the overlap
problem will remain unresolved, the Minister of Finance had to
do something to at least give an impression of movement. So
what was left? Social spending. So they went full speed ahead.
Make no mistake. We would dearly like to see the
unemployment insurance budget reduced to zero for lack of
unemployed people, except for those in between jobs. But the
minister is cutting the budget without reducing unemployment.
He will eventually carry out a global reform combining, we are
told, training and re-training programs. But, in the meantime,
he is striking with full force. He himself estimates that 85 per
cent of unemployed workers will receive reduced benefits while
only 15 per cent will see an increase in theirs.
Disadvantaged regions will be hit the hardest. Let us not
forget that the minister's own forecasts for 1994 are not the
greatest. Social assistance, mainly funded by the provinces, will
see an increase in the number of claims.
At the same time, the Minister of Finance is reducing his cash
transfers to the provinces by $800 million. I am referring to
Table 17 on page 56 of the Budget Plan, a $800 million reduction
in cash transfers. The value of tax point transfers will increase
by more than that, but cash transfers, the only transfers that the
federal government can regulate, are the only ones that matter in
terms of the federal government's policy in this regard. So the
federal government's heavy responsibility in the budget crisis,
the practice of shifting the deficit burden to the provinces
remains popular. That is a heavy price to pay and we will come
back to that later.
Again, an accurate assessment of the unemployment
insurance shortfall will have to wait. The Minister of Finance
talks about savings of $725 million in 1994-95, but compared to
what? It is not clear. What is surprising is the total cost of
unemployment insurance benefits, which stays at practically the
same level between 1993-94 and 1994-95, despite the new
rules and the stable unemployment figures. Given other
estimates of budgetary expenditures, we are entitled to see the
finance department's detailed simulation.
Is there, Mr. Speaker, more significant evidence of this
government's lack of moral fibre than the avowed intention to
achieve the most drastic cuts, $5.5 billion over three years in
this particular sector? During the election campaign, the
Liberals were rending their clothes over the protection of social
programs. They are now trying to mend them but their
stitchwork leaves much to be desired.
The copy tabled by the Minister of Finance deserves a single
annotation: ``This Budget is all smoke and mirrors''. This is not
what Canada and Quebec were hoping for.
The Speaker: As I am sure all hon. members understand,
there will not be a question and comment period. The hon.
Leader of the Opposition has unlimited time and it is only after
20-minute speeches that there are questions and comments.
Mr. Harper (Calgary West): Mr. Speaker, I wonder if there
would be unanimous consent to have a 10-minute question and
Daily we have the opportunity in the Chamber to question
cabinet ministers and any other member who makes a speech,
including the leader of the Reform Party. The government in
particular is always saying that the Leader of the Opposition is
somehow responsible for every policy that occurs around here.
Maybe there would be unanimous consent to allow a
10-minute question and answer period.
The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Duceppe: Mr. Speaker, this process is a privilege of the
Official Opposition and we do not want to call into question the
role of the Official Opposition, as the Prime Minister did when
he was leader of the opposition. So, we fully respect the normal
operations of this House, while also following the example of
the present Prime Minister when he was sitting on this side of
Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to remind the Bloc that the current Prime Minister
did accept questions in the question period after speeches when
he was Leader of the Opposition, not necessarily on every
occasion, but he certainly did it. Perhaps the current Leader of
the Opposition does not like to be reminded of his past as a
member of the previous government.
I have participated in a lot of budget debates and a lot of
borrowing authority debates over the last five years, always of
course from the other side of the House. The task of criticizing
the budget when I was in opposition was always made easier by
the fact that the previous government always failed to meet the
budget targets it set. Every year it gave us more and more
rhetoric about the deficit. It proposed more cuts and tax
increases every year. Yet it seemed to auger deeper into the
ground, so much so that this year we face a deficit of $45 billion.
The fundamental problem which the previous government
failed to address was the need to take seriously its responsibility
for the transformation of the Canadian economy into one
premised on the need for growth based on knowledge, skills,
innovation and the use of technology.
We live in a new global market. Rapid structural changes are
taking place in our traditional industries and these changes,
combined with globalization, have generated confusion and
uncertainty among Canadians.
We have reason to be hopeful. The new economy offers
boundless opportunity for the innovative, the inventive and the
courageous. This budget is about seizing the opportunities of the
new economy. It is an agenda for economic growth. It is an
agenda to put Canada back to work. It builds on our strengths,
faces our weaknesses head on and points us to new horizons.
A basic vision for the Canadian economy was at the core of
our red book in the election campaign and survives intact in the
budget. The vision is one of a Canada successful in making
adjustments to the new economy, a Canada in which our
traditional sources of wealth creation are enhanced by the
application of new technology and by adherence to the
principles of sustainable development, a Canada in which small
business is able to prosper in an environment in which
governments believe that to succeed is good and to succeed
requires the co-operation and support of public policy.
The fundamental problem that faces Canadians today is that
we as a society cannot finance our consumption at current
levels. Measures in the budget reduced the amount that the
federal public sector is consuming by a significant degree.
However, we still face the reality that the only way our standard
of living can be maintained and our expectations of government
services can be realized is if we move forward with a plan to
revitalize the wealth creation capacity of our economy.
The notion that government does not have a role to play in
enabling a nation's economy to succeed is a view that I believe
was held by our predecessors, including the current Leader of
the Official Opposition. This view has been widely discredited
by the successful new economies that are emerging rapidly as
our chief competitors in the international marketplace.
The world is moving from a commodity and assembly line
economy to a knowledge based economy in which innovations
in products and processes are the result of scientific research
Knowledge and skills, rather than location and natural
resources, are now the basis for the competitive edge in
agriculture and mining, as well in electronic data processing.
Public policies can have a bearing on knowledge and skills.
The government can promote the creation and improvement of
At the same time as barriers to trade are falling, new roles for
government in determining a nation's economic success are
being defined. Governments too have to be innovative and
strategic in the use of their own limited resources and strategic
as well in the direction sought for the economy of the nation.
Our strategy recognizes the rapid change occurring in the
world today. Our strategy recognizes that for Canadian firms the
key competitors are not across the street. They are on the other
side of the world. Our strategy recognizes that our most
important resource is people: their skills, their knowledge, their
desire to succeed.
In this strategy individuals need to prepare themselves for a
future that will likely include career changes and the acquisition
of new skills and knowledge throughout their working lives. In
this strategy companies must recognize the importance of
continual upgrading of their products and the need to develop
new markets in Canada and abroad. To do so they need to
continually invest in their people and they must not delay in
acquiring and using new technology, new processes, new ways
of solving old problems. In this strategy governments must
create the supportive environment that encourages individuals
and companies to innovate, to upgrade, to expand and to create
What will this require of government? First, we have to get
the economic framework right. The Minister of Finance has set
out a tough but realistic plan for reducing the deficit to 3 per cent
of GDP over three years.
We put in place a clear and stable monetary policy until the
end of the decade. We signed two major trade agreements,
NAFTA and GATT, which increase and ensure access to world
markets for Canada. We are also negotiating a comprehensive
agreement to eliminate internal obstacles to domestic trade in a
key sector by June 30 of this year.
Second we have to get Canada's business framework right. By
that I mean we need a regulatory and tax environment that
enables Canadian firms to succeed rather than hindering their
success. We need competition and consumer protection laws
that enhance the proper functioning of the marketplace while
enabling Canadian businesses to achieve the critical mass
necessary to take on the world.
We must try to attain excellence in education and training, and
also eliminate barriers and obstacles to personal initiative.
Third, we must change the culture and attitudes of employers
and employees alike to the adoption of new technologies.
Advances in science and technology are driving productivity
improvements everywhere in the world. In the 1990s no country
can insulate itself from new developments. We must organize
ourselves to keep up with cutting edge technology and where
possible move ahead. This is the essence of creating well paying
jobs and growth in this decade.
The opening of markets around the world creates new
opportunities for Canadian business. In Latin America and
southeast Asia national economies are growing at a double digit
pace. Yet almost 80 per cent of the Canada's trade continues to
be with one nation, the United States. Despite the abundant
opportunities abroad, as recently as 1990 only 100 firms
accounted for 60 per cent of our exports. Only 7.6 per cent of
Canadian firms are engaged in export trade. This is simply not
good enough for a country as dependent on trade as we are to
sustain our standard of living.
In a knowledge based world economy, technology and people
define the difference between a firm in Singapore and one in
Montreal. Yet less than one-half of 1 per cent of Canadian
companies do research and development on their own. Not
enough of our R and D winds up in products and services to
create jobs at home. Canadian companies, particularly small
businesses, have not integrated leading technologies as rapidly
as their competitors abroad.
The message is clear. The number of businesses doing
research and development and investing in state of the art
technologies must increase dramatically.
The questions we have to answer are these: How are we going
to make more than one in ten Canadian companies into
exporters? How are we going to dramatically improve the
number of Canadian companies that perform research and
development? How are we going to match our global
competitors in the use of new manufacturing and processing
To succeed, we must have an economy based on innovation.
We must rely on the strengths of small businesses which offer
the best opportunities for growth and job creation. We must help
small businesses where needed, that is with training, exports,
high technology and financing.
As part of the budget the Minister of Finance and I have tabled
an action agenda to help small businesses grow and to continue
to generate jobs for Canadians. It is a small business agenda that
is willing to help firms to take risks and to innovate. It is the
small business that has the greatest potential for dynamic
growth and job creation.
At the top of our growth agenda is the vital consultative
process that has been launched with the small business
discussion paper. This consultation demonstrates that we are
ready to listen and ready to act. The need to review our approach
to science and technology to better support a knowledge based
economy is also at the top of our growth agenda.
As part of the budget, we announced a comprehensive
re-evaluation of science and technology policy that will begin
with the release of a discussion paper this spring. This process
will build on budget initiatives to set a long-term course for
science and technology policy focused on our greatest
opportunity, the transfusion of R and D and technology into high
value added products and services.
A key feature of the knowledge based economy is the speed
with which information is transferred. Economic success comes
from freer, easier flows and exchanges of information. In this
rapidly changing environment, the prospect of linking
Canadians to a high speed interactive multimedia network, a
virtual information highway becomes critical to building our
Canada is a leader in telecommunications and we can rely on
that strength. Investments, mostly from the private sector, are
enormous. I will work in co-operation with industry and the
users of the information highway to ensure that governments
play an active and creative role.
An economic growth strategy is not a one budget issue. It is at
the heart of the government's mission. I have reviewed today
how we will elaborate on our growth agenda in coming months,
particularly in the areas of small business, science and
technology and the information highway. However this debate is
also about what the government is doing to fulfil the immediate
promises of the red book.
The answer is simple. We mean what we said. Capital is the
catalyst that turns ideas into new products and services. The
Canada investment fund will help provide that patient capital.
We will contribute $100 million to the fund over four years and
we will seek additional funds in the private sector. The fund will
be operating before the start of the next fiscal year.
We are working with the Canadian Bankers' Association on
projects to improve financing for small business. These include
the development of a banking code of conduct to clarify the
relationship between borrower and lender and the search for new
and better ways of providing regular and trade financing to
knowledge based businesses.
We will work with the industrial sector to create networks that
will help small businesses to form groups to do together what
they cannot do alone.
Our competitors, particularly in Europe, recognize that
networks are essential if small businesses are to compete
internationally and gain competitive advantages of scale, scope
Networks are particularly effective in innovation. They help
small businesses develop new products and services, to put new
and emerging technologies to work for them and to focus on
marketing and exporting.
We will improve the diffusion of innovation and the building
of an innovation culture in business by committing $15 million
this year for the creation of the Canadian technology network.
The network will provide small businesses with the latest
information on new technology, new management techniques
and new market developments.
We want to set up an engineering and science program to help
small businesses hire engineers, scientists, technicians or
industrial designers. We will co-operate with the provinces and
industry to develop this program and co-ordinate its
implementation by 1995.
To help turn research excellence into new products, growing
industries and jobs, we are committing to start-up funding this
year of $10 million for a national technology partnerships
program. This program will promote the growth of technology
partnerships and help small businesses turn research into new
products, new services and new jobs.
There is a great domestic and export growth potential for the
environmental technology sector, particularly for small
businesses. This sector is poised for growth and Canadians can
benefit immeasurably from the jobs and exports created by
The Minister of the Environment and I are reviewing
Canada's approach to the environmental technology sectors.
When that review is complete we will table detailed plans for
this strategic sector.
The budget allocation of $800 million over 10 years for a new
long-term space plan is proof of the government's commitment
to Canada's continued role as a space-faring nation. The new
space plan will be within our financial means and will build on
our strengths in earth observation, remote sensing and satellite
A stable base for our research infrastructure is a vital part of
improving our innovation capability. The National Research
Council of Canada plays a key role in giving effect to the federal
government's science and technology policies. This year we will
provide the National Research Council with new resources to
carry out its mandate.
It is important that we be able to promote and preserve our
skills in the university research sector. University research and
development are high priorities. This is why we continue this
year to ensure the financing of the various granting agencies.
Starting in 1995-96, we will give them an annual increase of
about 1.5 per cent.
A significant part of Canada's academic research capability is
the networks of centres of excellence program.
We are making sure that there is enough funding to support the
second phase of the program. In this second phase we will give
greater weight to the economic and commercial potential of the
networks to support our growth agenda based on innovation.
As Canadians we have been through a lot in this last decade.
Many of our fellow citizens approach the future with more
anxiety than hope. Our mission as a government is to offer hope.
But if hope is to be meaningful, it must be realistic. So we have
put forth in this budget a plan for the revitalization of the
Canadian economy, a plan which I believe addresses the
challenges and recognizes the opportunities that await Canada.
This House was once told, and I quote: ``The times in which
we are living call for initiative and resourcefulness on the part of
industry. We must be constantly alive to the changes taking
place in the world today and quick to seize every opportunity
that will build up our economy. It cannot be done overnight but I
am confident that with the co-operation of industry and of
government we can build toward a better Canada and a better
Canadians heeded my predecessor, C. D. Howe, when he
spoke those words in this place in 1948. Canadians showed
initiative and resourcefulness. They worked together, they
seized opportunity, and they launched Canada into a period of
unparalleled vigorous growth and helped build a better world.
We still have that initiative, that resourcefulness, that sense of
shared opportunity. I am confident that we can harness it again
to create a period of growth as we move into the next century
that will match our great post-war expansion.
I look forward to the co-operation of all Canadians and all
members of this House in working toward that goal.
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): First I have to say how
much I enjoyed my colleague's speech about how enthusiastic
he is about how bright the future of Canada perhaps will be. He
talked about the electronic highway, and that of course is vitally
important to the ability of this country to remain competitive in
the years ahead.
He talked about putting new technology to work. He talked
about a $50 million program to provide assistance in the new
technology. He talked about a program to hire scientists and
engineers to ensure that we can move forward and develop new
products. He talked about a $10 million program for new
product partnerships. I thought this was just great and
If all these things are so important to Canada moving ahead
and being competitive in the world, why are we spending $6
billion to fix the roads and sewers when these things that he has
outlined are so vitally important for the country to move ahead
from this point forward?
Mr. Manley: I thank the member for his question because I
think it is important for us to understand how economic growth
is generated in the country. I think what is fundamental in the
favourable comments that he made on the subject of some of the
investments that we want to make with respect to the electronic
highway, with respect to diffusion of technology, technology
partnerships which get new inventions out into the marketplace,
and what is very important about spending in some of those
areas is that it is seen as an investment in growth for the future.
An analysis came out a week or so ago, produced by Statistics
Canada, analysing what has made for success, made for growing
small and medium sized firms in Canada. One point is that they
have been prepared to invest in research. They are also good at
applying new technologies.
We have to understand when we spend whether we are
consuming or whether we are investing.
With respect to the infrastructure program, there are really
two things that I would like to say in response to the member's
question. First of all it was made an important point of the
design of criteria for the program that the definition be broad
enough to include expenditures that related to, for example,
electronic highways, to things that would improve innovation
that would allow investment in technology.
I am absolutely delighted that the Regional Municipality of
Ottawa-Carleton, part of which I represent, has chosen to use
some of its funds under the national infrastructure program to
expand the communications network by investing in electronic
highway capability for this region. I think that is exceptionally
far-sighted on the part of local government and I applaud them
It must also be understood that the traditional infrastructure
programs are also investments in economic growth in the future.
True, they do provide short-term jobs, but just as at one time in
our history it was the canals and at another time it was the
railroads, currently in many areas it is the highways that are
generating economic growth, highways, airports, means of
transportation and communication. These are vital to economic
growth in many parts of the country.
Every government at every level needs to look at, and these
issues are difficult because of the financial limitations on
government, its expenditures very carefully to ensure that its
expenditures represent investments in productivity gains for the
future, not simply spending for current consumption. The
emphasis has to be on building for the future so that we can
afford our current level of consumption.
Mr. Gérard Asselin (Charlevoix): Madam Speaker, in
response to the minister's speech, where he talked about sending
a clear message, I would like to tell him that since the tabling in
the House of this budget, which will be in effect until March 31,
1995, Canadians and Quebecers do indeed find the message very
It is clear because, regardless of whether Conservatives or
Liberals are at the helm, people no longer have any confidence
at all in the present federal system. Let me explain: Canada is
operating increasingly in the red. Both the budget and the deficit
reflect this fact. Liberals, for a second time, have set a record.
The first one was when they created the deficit, under former
Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. This week, they set a
second record, when they brought down a budget forecasting the
largest deficit ever, $39.7 billion; never before has a budget
projected this large a deficit.
How does the minister intend to reduce the deficit when he has
tabled a budget forecasting a $39.7 billion deficit? I await his
Mr. Manley: Madam Speaker, in my speech, I tried to explain
what is not so hard to understand. I think that the key to deficit
reduction is economic growth. Throughout the years under the
previous government, we have learned that the Conservatives
always thought that, by cutting expenditures and increasing
taxes they could lower the deficit. It did not work.
This year, we have a dreadful $40 billion deficit. If we want to
tackle this problem, we will have to reduce government
spending. That we have already acknowledged. But we must
also limit tax increases. That is why the Minister of Finance
stated that the deficit reduction measures announced in the
budget will result in a cut of $5 in government expenditures for
every one dollar raised in revenues. That is totally unlike the old
tactics used by the Conservatives. We have also implemented an
economic growth policy. We are prepared to invest in the new
economy. We are prepared to help Canadian small businesses
have access to international markets for their goods and
services. That is the key to the problem.
I would just like to say a couple of words in English. If we are
going to solve the problem of the deficit over the long term there
is only one realistic solution and that is to achieve substantial,
sustainable economic growth. That is the plan of this budget.
That is a diversion from the budgets of the previous
government which relied entirely on a false hope that getting
some of the macroeconomic fundamentals right was going to
allow for economic growth as the grass grows in springtime. It
simply did not work. We are going out into the fields, we are
ploughing them, fertilizing them, we are trying to encourage
economic growth. That is going to be the key to reducing the
deficit in the future.
Mr. Jim Jordan (Leeds-Grenville): Madam Speaker, I just
want to congratulate the minister on his fine speech. I am very
sorry that we did not have the opportunity to question the Leader
of the Opposition. I think that is a mistake because unless we
have that exchange and dialogue we are not quite sure where the
opposition stands in reference to the budget.
If I understood correctly it was saying that the cuts did not go
deep enough. I will never know for sure. I do know for sure that
the Reform Party is saying that the cuts did not go nearly deep
enough. It would have cut further and I guess would have been
prepared to substantiate and defend the fallout.
I want to ask the hon. minister if he saw any further area of
substantial cuts that this budget could have imposed on the
Canadian people, forgetting that there is a fallout; that innocent,
hardworking, perhaps unemployed Canadian people will bear
the negative effect of any further cuts we would have imposed
on the Canadian people. That would have to be realized.
I wonder where the Reform Party and the Bloc will be a year
from today when we come in with a new budget. They will say
further cuts, further cuts.
I just wonder if the minister would care to pass judgment on
that. If we consider that people are still the bottom line, will
there still be that position a year from today when they think we
should have made deeper cuts than we did?
Mr. Manley: Madam Speaker, I appreciate that question as
well. I must say that what I find confusing about the position that
the Official Opposition, the Bloc Quebecois, has been taking,
and I heard part of its leader's speech, seemed to be that it was
very dissatisfied with the fact that the deficit was too high.
Yesterday in the House of Commons we heard its members
raising question after question about the changes to the
unemployment insurance regime which is effecting a reduction
in the deficit and a reduction in payroll taxes. They send us very
contradictory messages and it is impossible to understand how
their ultimate political objectives which they proclaim on a
regular basis of separatism are going to do anything but add to
the burden of costs on the people of Canada and the people of
With respect to the Reform Party, the comment is correct. The
view has been consistently presented. I do not agree with some
of the views that have been put forward by the Reform Party,
particularly with respect to what it has said about eliminating
all assistance to business.
For example, in the areas of concern to me, science and
technology, it is the scientific research and development tax
credit which gives about a $1 billion a year assistance to
advanced technology companies in Canada which has made
Canada a desired location for much of the R and D facilities that
are here now.
In my speech I talked about how we do not have enough. If I
had time I could list examples of companies that have chosen to
locate facilities in Canada, high paying, high value added jobs,
because of that assistance. It is provided by other countries. That
kind of work is footloose. It can be here, it can be in the U.S., it
can be in Europe, or it can be in Asia.
If we are going to secure those kinds of jobs, unfortunately or
fortunately, depending on how one looks at it, we have to be
prepared to create a tax and economic environment which is as
favourable to those efforts as is offered by our competitors.
Further, I would like to say that there are ways we can make
more progress on reducing the deficit. Let me give one example.
The elimination of internal trade barriers within Canada could
generate as much as a 1 per cent increase in our GDP, a product
of $6 billion to $7 billion a year. Why is it that so many
provinces are still not willing to come to the table and say they
will do it by June 30?
We have signals of goodwill. We signed an agreement last
month but there is a lot of work to do. I hope that we will see all
of the provinces and the federal government sign such an
We have to come to grips with areas of duplication between
levels of government. That effort is being spearheaded by the
Prime Minister and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
That will enable us to deliver government services more
efficiently and help us make more progress on the deficit in
years to come.
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Madam Speaker, February
22, 1994 will go down in Canadian history as the day that the
Minister of Finance failed to rise to the challenge of coming to
grips with the fiscal problems facing this nation.
This government has a debt in excess of $500 billion and an
annual deficit of $45 billion. The Minister of Finance has
brought down an uninspiring and tepid budget with nothing but a
little more taxes and a little less spending that barely addresses
the issue of deficit reduction and elimination. By his own
admission, the actions that the minister announced in this House
on Tuesday will only reduce next year's deficit by $1.5 billion,
from $41.2 billion to $39.7 billion.
The Minister of Finance had led us to believe that he was
launching a major attack on the debt and deficit of this country.
This was to be a tough budget, he said. He was going to break
the back of the deficit and we all expected that the Minister of
Finance was going to be decisive. His budget reduces the size of
the expected debt in this country next year by less than .3 of 1
per cent. Is that what he calls an attack on the debt and deficit? Is
that being decisive?
I have challenged the Minister of Finance on several
occasions. I will say it again. Will the Minister of Finance dare
to be great and balance the budget by the end of this Parliament?
I have stated that he could choose mediocrity or he could choose
to rise above mediocrity and reach beyond himself and lead this
nation out of the dark tunnel of deficits and debt and into the
sunshine of renewed prosperity. History has always given the
accolades to the leaders who rise to the challenge while those
who have failed to rise to the challenge have been buried in the
ignominy of their failure along with their mediocrity.
It would appear to me that we may find the name of the
Minister of Finance and his red book, or perhaps red ink book,
buried in the footnotes of history along with his indecisive and
The Minister of Finance broke new ground on January 31 by
holding the first ever parliamentary pre-budget debate in this
House. At that time he was demonstrating his leadership. He had
no shortage of innovative ideas presented to him. If he had
listened to Canadians he would have heard that they were
disgusted with budgets that profess to address our fiscal
problems through a little more taxes and a little less spending
while waiting for the panacea to fall out of the sky.
This budget, in my opinion, has failed the test of financial
leadership since the deficit and the debt tunnel has just been
extended again. There is no sign of that ray of sunshine of
renewed prosperity. According to my calculations, the light at
the end of the tunnel may have been turned off as a result of lack
of leadership and lack of vision.
In his report, the Auditor General stated that hard choices lie
ahead. This government continues to pay millions of dollars of
old age security to high income families.
These taxes are paid by working people, many of them just
scraping by. To continue paying old age security to high income
families means that he, the Minister of Finance, has dodged the
hard choices which still lie ahead.
What about unemployment insurance? The Minister of
Finance proposes to narrow the gap between employment
income and unemployment insurance payments for people with
modest income and dependants, thereby further reducing the
incentive to work.
If there is one thing this country needs it is more jobs. This
budget has presented easy choices but no jobs. The bad news is
that the hard choices still lie ahead.
A previous Liberal government, back in the seventies,
promised us a just society but delivered to us a debt society. If
we examine the track record of the seventies we will see that the
previous Liberal government spent beyond its means and the net
result was a plethora of social programs and a mountain of debt.
In the eighties the Tory governments promised to reverse this
alarming trend. Every budget in the last 10 years has professed
to address the annual deficits as they continue to consume our
economy like a cancerous growth. What was sold to us, sold to
Canadians as a just society by the Liberal governments in the
seventies, turned us into a debt society in the eighties. The
Minister of Finance's budget by this new Liberal government
gives us every indication that, in turn, this will turn us into a
bankrupt society in the nineties.
I have spoken in this House of the difficult choices and how
we have surmounted them in the past. I have drawn parallels
between our current situation and the period at the end of World
War II when the federal debt was 108 per cent of our gross
domestic product. We had back then what we would call today a
peace dividend as we wound down the war effort.
That was not a time without problems, however. Soldiers were
returning from the war with no jobs; industry was in transition.
The leaders of our nation at that time were able to open the door
to a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity through
leadership and vision.
Members will note that I said leadership and vision opened
the door by using the peace dividend to buy the prosperity. We
did not use it to buy more social programs.
We can do the same today by creating our own deficit
elimination dividend. This country needs a dramatic
realignment of our resources toward the opportunities available
in this rapidly changing technological world. We have talents
and resources that are in high demand around the world.
If we start exploiting these opportunities and teach our
citizens to build on our advantages rather than holding each
other's hand through social programs, it will be then that this
country will have a bright future. The sunshine of renewed
prosperity will once again be realized so that we can pass that
prosperity on to our children.
Unfortunately, the Minister of Finance has put that reality on
hold for yet another year, if not indefinitely. The deficit
elimination dividend, obtained through a dramatic
reorganization of our priorities that will balance the budget by
the end of this Parliament, is the only hope that I can see for the
return to economic prosperity in this country.
The Minister of Finance has failed to secure the economic
future of this country. He did not rise to the challenge. He did not
dare to be great and he passed up on an opportunity to balance
the budget in this Parliament.
The day of fiscal reckoning cannot be postponed. We must
face it and we will face it. Based on the budget tabled yesterday,
Canadians will have to face that day of reckoning on their own
without the leadership of this government.
Mr. Bill Graham (Rosedale): Madam Speaker, I
congratulate the hon. member on his remarks.
I would like to ask him a couple of questions that arose out of
his remarks. The first is a specific one and the second is more
The member made specific reference to the fact that in his
view old age security to high income families was still being
paid as a result of the budget. Exactly what level does the
member and his party set as high income? Where does the
member set the line? Where would he cut the line and say that
thereafter no one would get supplementary payments?
As the member knows the budget referred to a possible cap at
$49,000. Where does the hon. member drop it to? Would it be
$30,000 or $35,000? What is the member's definition of a high
income family? The member heard the minister specifically say
that the budget was trying to deal with the problem of people
trying to survive in complex urban societies who need money to
live. The top cap is $49,000. Where would the member draw that
It is easy to criticize, but we were here when the Minister of
Industry explained what was in the budget for precisely, it seems
to me, the types of items the member has been talking about: the
need to get the economy going and the need for small businesses
to have government services that would enable them to
participate fully in the economy.
Is the member suggesting that all those should be cut as well?
Where is the member going to cut in three years to bring us down
to a flat no debt position?
Mr. Williams: Madam Speaker, in response to the member's
question, during the last election we stated quite specifically
that we would cut back the old age security from families
making more than $54,000.
During the election campaign when I told seniors that our
policy was to cut off the old age security for families making
more than $54,000, their response was generally that they
wished they could have earned $54,000 a year as a family. Why
should hard working Canadians, many of whom are just scraping
by, pay their taxes for retired people to be in Florida, Hawaii or
California courtesy of the taxpayers of the country?
I will address the second question. I listened to the excellent
speech of the Minister of Industry earlier this morning. I raised
the point then and I will repeat it again: Why are we spending $6
billion in infrastructure programs based on sewers, roads and
low tech jobs when there is such a great need to ensure that the
country is competitive around the world in the area of high
priced jobs where education is required, where it is important
that we can compete? I have always said that the differences
between $20 an hour jobs in Canada and $1 an hour jobs in
Mexico are motivation and education. That is where we should
be taking the $6 billion and putting it into high tech jobs.
We cancelled a helicopter program that was to create all kinds
of research and development in the country in order to pave a
road from here to there. That is where this government's
priorities are wrong. It does not have a philosophy and a real
plan of what it is trying to do. It is trying to appease various
different projects with short-term solutions.
If we finally got our act together we could accomplish what
the minister was trying to say. At the same time we could
balance the budget and ensure that the country has a future for
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Madam Speaker,
this is the defining moment for the new government because the
first budget sets the tone for the next four years of Liberal
policy. I want to talk today about a definition of my own. It
defines my view of the substance of the budget. There are some
good things in the budget I could spend a good deal of time
talking about, but I will talk about those things that are most
Here we are in a most critical period of our economic history
and the government has gone soft. Instead of clenching its fists
and getting tough with the deficit and debt at a time when world
markets are watching our every move, the government has opted
for a limp-wristed approach. At this defining moment for the
new government the word I use to define this disappointing
budget is flaccid. The dictionary defines flaccid as limp, flabby,
less rigid, lacking vigour and feeble. How appropriate.
The budget is more important for what it does not address than
what it does. I want to ask why the budget has not done more or,
to paraphrase an American statesman, instead of looking at
things the way they are and asking why, I am here today to look
at the way they could be and ask why not.
My focus today is on what was not cut and why. There are no
details of significant cuts to spending on things like foreign aid,
wasteful aspects of bilingualism programs, ineffective
multiculturalism programs, subsidies to crown corporations,
and grants and subsidies to special interest lobby groups. Quite
frankly the reason the government avoided these areas is that
they are politically dangerous.
The time for safe, non-contentious decision making is past. It
astounds me that members across the floor still refuse to
acknowledge the seriousness of the country's financial
situation. If we want to gain the confidence of business and the
general public we have to make tough decisions now; not two
years from now after more studies, but right now.
Let me illustrate some needless cuts. I will start with the b
word, bilingualism. The media like to jump on anyone who
mentions this issue and brand him or her anti-Quebec. It makes
good ink and is guaranteed a predictable response from Quebec
members. There is a difference between talking about the theory
of bilingualism and the outrageous waste of money that
sometimes accompanies the application of that theory.
I am talking about the needless waste of money. When it
comes to official bilingualism, the act itself, we have absolutely
no idea of how bad the problem of wasteful spending is. I would
like to quote from a letter of a government official:
The true costs of official languages activities from the Department of
National Defence are higher than those given. Unfortunately, Treasury Board
reporting guidelines do not permit us to report, among other things, salaries of
military personnel attending continuous language training-and the
bilingualism bonus for civilian employees.
Millions of dollars were spent on translating manuals for
frigates, but that figure is buried in the budget for the frigates,
sunk so deep below the sea of numbers no one could ever dredge
up the real true costs. While the commissioner may report the
cost of official languages as about $654 million as he did in
1992, the number means nothing. A report released last year
puts it somewhere between $2 billion and $4 billion. What is the
truth? No one knows.
Since 1969, according to a report released last year, language
policy added $49 billion to the federal debt. The effect on
provincial debt and the compliance cost of private industry are
left to our imagination. Where does it end?
The government has also gone weak in the knees in the area of
foreign aid. Flaccid is the word. The Auditor General's report
cites a litany of mismanagement, especially in the area of
foreign aid. The Canadian International Development Agency,
CIDA, has become a cash cow. The Auditor General reports that
CIDA is trying to please too many interest groups and meet too
many conflicting objectives. The result is an agency with a
budget of over $1 billion a year that is characterized by
confusion and ineffectiveness.
What is really confusing is the government's refusal to look to
this area for major cuts. It cannot even use the excuse that it is a
politically contentious area since criticism of the effectiveness
of foreign aid spending is coming from all directions. What is
the government waiting for? In 1993 the federal government
spent just under $2.7 billion on international assistance with
little or no tangible proof of any kind of results.
The horror story continues into the area of-dare I say it-the
m word, the department of multiculturalism.
I am disturbed by some of the commentary in the Chamber
this week. I firmly and deeply believe we are all equal regardless
of race, colour or creed. Every single Canadian should be proud
to stand and proclaim his heritage, but he should not expect
every other Canadian to finance his group's cultural activities.
These groups must be self-supporting.
In 1992-93 federal government spending on multiculturalism
was nearly $120 million. What is frightening is the response I
got from a researcher when I tried to get the figure. He told us he
was having trouble getting a response from government
departments that incur costs as a result of multiculturalism
programs. In other words again we have no idea what is the true
cost of multiculturalism.
A short time ago the deficit was supposed to be $33 billion.
That was around the time when the election campaign started.
During the election the government would not even tell us what
it was. The new government took over and the number
suspiciously grew. It went to $42 billion and all of a sudden we
are told it could reach $46 billion. Now we are supposed to feel
happy with a figure of $39.7 billion. It has to stop.
In closing I leave the House with my definition of flaccid. I
will redefine the term. For the purposes of this discussion I will
use the acronym, FLACCID. The previous Progressive
Conservative government promised tough measures, but when it
came to making the politically tough decisions it withered under
the pressure. The present government was elected on the
promise it would tackle this critical problem too, but its feeble
attempt to come to grips with our financial woes suggests
another definition of flaccid applies. The acronym stands for
federal Liberals are cunning Conservatives in disguise.
Mr. Yvan Bernier (Gaspé): Mr. Speaker, I want to
congratulate my colleague on his speech. That is not to say that I
agree with everything he said. There are things I would like him
to go over again. I did not understand everything he said about
multiculturalism. He spoke too fast and I do not understand
English all that well yet. I am trying very hard to learn but it
takes a lot of time.
I would like to give the hon. member the opportunity to
reiterate his thoughts on the reduction of the multiculturalism
budget. I want to be sure that as long as Canada exists, English
and French will be spoken in this country, and that the cuts
regarding multiculturalism will not change that. I would like an
answer from the hon. member.
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, the cutting
back of multiculturalism I was talking about is about $21.5
million relating to grants to cultural groups. That is not the only
cut that has to come about. I listed only a few.
I am surprised government members would really believe
Canadians would re-elect them in view of where they have
already started to go. Their deficit is higher than anyone
expected. We can look at what happened last week in the House.
We asked a question of the Prime Minister about why they
gave away a patronage payment of $4.5 million to his riding to
build a museum. They spent $172,000 on one minister to take
one flight to make a speech. They gave $27 million to Quebec
City for a conference centre. They blew away $120 million by
misfinancing CBC. They took over a deficit of $33 billion. They
said it was going to be $45 billion and now they say we should be
happy at $40 billion.
There is a saying that goes: If you forget the past, you are
condemned to repeat it. The past is the Conservative
government. The government is condemned to repeat it if it
keeps on the same road.
Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops): Mr. Speaker, I listened with
interest to my friend's commentary. What caught my attention
was his reference to the fact that he thought the Liberal
government looked very much like past Conservative
What gave my hon. friend the clue? Was it the fact that the
Conservatives promoted NAFTA? Of course the Liberals
opposed NAFTA and then after they became the government
they signed it. The Conservatives supported cruise missile
testing and the Liberals opposed it, but when they got into
government they too approved cruise missile testing. In
opposition, my hon. friend opposite often spoke against payroll
taxes, and one of the first things the government did was, of
course, increase payroll taxes.
An hon. member: They rolled it back.
Mr. Riis: Well, indeed, introduced it and a few days later
rolled it back.
But are these items some of the reasons that my hon. friend
thought that the present government looks an awful lot like the
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, I like the way
the hon. member got his speech in by asking the questions. He
made some very good points. Yes, we learn fast, we new
members. I suppose I could use those too.
I guess what reminds me most of the Conservative
government over here is the acceptance of deficit financing and
the very acceptance by virtue of their budget that the debt will
increase by $100 billion in three years. It was not a problem with
the Conservatives and it is not a problem with the Liberals.
Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon): Madam Speaker, on
February 1, the Minister of Finance stated in this House, and I
There is a profound sense that the status quo simply will not do and that if we
continue on our current path then that would be a road to nowhere.
Having read the latest budget, I realize that, unfortunately, it
will lead us nowhere. Why? Because it does not deviate in any
significant way from the course taken by the Conservatives over
the last nine years.
The Liberals were elected because they promised jobs. Yet,
there are 29,000 fewer jobs in Canada today than there were
when the present government took office. Voters clearly showed
the previous government how they felt about the unacceptable
unemployment level. With this budget, the present government
did not keep its word.
Page 9 of the budget makes the point clearly: ``The
unemployment rate will continue to exceed 10 per cent in the
foreseeable future''. There is no hope for unemployed
Canadians. One in five workers in Canada is unemployed or has
a part-time job because full-time jobs are impossible to find.
The budget simply abandons these people to pave the way for
a jobless recovery.
Canadians have had enough of what the former government
used to call the jobless recovery. I ask the government why are
there no targets in the budget for reducing unemployment?
There are deficit reduction targets, as there should be, but also
accompanying those should be targets on reducing
What is the government's expectation other than, as we see by
the budget, that we will have double digit unemployment in the
next few years? Instead of choosing to attack unemployment the
government in this budget chose to attack, once again, as its
predecessor did, the unemployed.
The Minister of Finance told us early on through the whole
pre-budget consultations that everyone would share equally in
the pain of this budget. I ask people to consider the facts and
whether Canadians have shared equally in the pain of this
Fact one, fully 50 per cent of the spending reductions in the
budget are on the backs of the unemployed.
Fact two, the poor who rely on the social safety net lose $2
billion. The social policy review has been given its final
mandate before it even begins.
Fact three, the provinces face cuts in transfers, increased
welfare costs when unemployment runs out and there are no jobs
to be found. The budget is a very elaborate offloading to the
provinces and territories and to unemployed Canadians.
Fact four, the Atlantic provinces get more than their fair share
of the pain. With unemployment levels as high as 20 per cent in
the Atlantic provinces, facing base closures, reductions in
income, reduced fisheries compensation and no jobs, no one can
look at the budget and say that the pain has been shared equally.
These last few months since the election of the government
we have witnessed a range of consultation initiatives. Let us
look at what the budget really says about what those initiatives
will mean. Prebudget consultations were held when it is clear
that the budget is just going to be a continuation of previous
governments. When the Minister of Finance looked in the mirror
he saw his predecessor, Don Mazankowski.
Defence reviews are being held when the government has
already moved on the issue of defence. Social policy reviews are
promised to be held when the budget in fact sets the parameters
for that very debate. Negotiations on transfers to the provinces
are also to be negotiated or reviewed, we are told. However, the
finance department has already determined what the outcome
will be with this budget. Lip service is being given to collective
bargaining in this budget, but the budget precludes it.
On February 2, 1994 there were 29,000 fewer jobs in Canada
than on October 25, 1993. The government was elected with the
hope that it would make good on its promises to create jobs and
to get Canadians back to work. What does this budget show? It
shows 25,000 fewer jobs in the public service, 16,500 jobs from
defence. We did not know that the government's job plan was
going to work in reverse after it got elected. This budget shows
that is exactly what is going to happen.
The minister said we would all share the pain equally. I ask
Canadians if they feel it is fair that $6 billion was cut from the
unemployed while the rich still get to deduct 50 per cent from
the cost of their cruises and hunting trips. The unemployed will
be getting more trips too, but those trips will just be to the food
The wealthy certainly did not need to fear the budget. They
will still get to hide their money in private trusts, untouched.
The 63,000 profitable corporations will still go untaxed,
untouched. Offshore profits are untouched by the government.
That is why, on behalf of Canadian workers and also on behalf
of about six million Canadians who want to work, I ask the
Minister of Finance to send back his work boots. The last thing
we need is to be kicked while we are down.
The budget clearly shows that the Minister of Finance should
send back his work boots. We do not need to be kicked while we
Elements of the budget have not given hope to Canadians as it
should have done. It has not restored consumer confidence that
needed to get our economy on the rise.
The government has failed on all counts but most seriously it
has failed the faith of Canadians, the faith that Canadians
elected it to provide jobs to get them back to work. In fact more
people are out of work.
Later in this session I will be presenting a private member's
bill on full employment. It will ask the government and require
the government to set employment targets, to put before the
House on a regular basis through the Minister of Labour a report
on how those targets have been achieved and to give a full report
to every member about the objectives of the government in
terms of job creation. The time is long past when empty rhetoric
and promises will do. Canadians want to see a pay cheque, not a
Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister
of Industry): Madam Speaker, I want to say to the member for
Yukon that whenever a budget is put forward there will always
be people, through change and transition, who will go through
I want to say to the member that we feel the pain that a lot of
those people-we do not feel all of the pain, but we feel a little
bit of the pain-are going through, especially on those bases in
The member knows we inherited a fiscal framework that was
dramatically different from all of the forecasts to which we had
access. We have been caught in a very tough bind. It is our
collective responsibility to try to get some kind of confidence
going in this country.
There is an area in the budget that the member refused to talk
about or forgot to talk about and that is the area around small
business. The member for Yukon has made tremendous speeches
on the importance of small business. Small business represents
our greatest hope for putting Canadians back to work. It
represents our greatest hope for liquidating the unemployment
problem. I think she has to be fair and recognize that there are
many good things related to small business in the budget.
I have heard from small business people and already just the
mere fact that the Minister of Finance announced we would be
having a comprehensive study on access to capital for small
business has caused a positive response in the community.
Banks right now are beginning to trip over themselves in
providing a more aggressive lending practice toward small
business. That is a good feature of the budget and I do not think
we should forget it.
The other thing related to small business in the budget is the
continuation of that good idea about new home ownership from
the RRSP pool for first time buyers. In my community there are
many people in the trades; carpenters, plumbers, home builders
who are happy about that and already we can see some activity in
the home building industry. That is another good part of the
My only point to the member for Yukon is that, yes, this is a
tough budget and I acknowledge that. We have ourselves in a
fiscal bind, the likes of which we have never seen in this country.
When we talk about the budget she should at least acknowledge
that there are some portions of it that really are exceptional. The
section relating to small business is headed in the right
Ms. McLaughlin: Madam Speaker, I will agree with my hon.
friend. I certainly concur with an emphasis on small business
but I would remind my hon. friend that small businesses rely on
customers. If farmers are going bankrupt and factories and
mines are closing across this country, there are not going to be
We have to make the link between the two. People living on
reduced unemployment insurance with no hope of a job and
people living on reduced social assistance are certainly not
going to be viable customers for the small businesses that my
I agree that the Canada investment fund, a fund that we
proposed during the election, is important to get venture capital
to small businesses. I support that. I hope members opposite will
review the proposal of the New Democratic Party. It was
reasonable. There are some similarities to that of the Liberal
Party. We share some good ideas on that. The hon. member
across and I both share the necessity of ensuring that part of our
economy is stimulated.
I would like to mention two other points on small business. I
note that the budget says that Canadian business centres will be
established in every province. I hope that was just a lapse. We
from the territories have to pick up on this lapse and hope that
there will be one in Yukon and the Northwest Territories as well.
I am assuming that there was a temporary amnesia there. We do
have two territories that cover one-third of Canada's land mass.
The second point I would like to make is with regard to the
negotiations, and I applaud the government for doing this, with
banks and financial institutions in terms of venture capital to
small business. While it is not my place in this period to ask a
question, I will phrase it as a comment. I hope that in this
consultation the government will raise with financial
institutions the possibility of looking at a formula whereby the
that come into a particular financial institution from a
community or a portion thereof will be reinvested in that
One of the main problems we have is that a very large
proportion of Canadians' savings is not being invested in
Canada. It is being invested offshore. We must encourage
Canadians to invest in their own country, something that the
province of Quebec and Quebecers learned a long time ago and
we could take a lesson from.
Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops): Madam Speaker, I am pleased
to have an opportunity to participate in today's debate.
I listened to eight or nine Conservative budgets. After each
budget I could almost hear the champagne corks popping on St.
James Street in Montreal, on Bay Street in Toronto and on Howe
Street in Vancouver because almost inevitably that same group
was always pleased with the Conservative budget.
Of course working people just shuddered because they knew
that they would be slapped with additional taxes, they would be
hacked here and there and slashed up. Indeed, they were never
disappointed because that is exactly what happened time after
time after time.
When the election came along in October, the people of
Canada said that they were going to send a clear message to
Ottawa and they jettisoned all of the Tories, except two. They
said that they were going to send the strongest message possible
and set these Tories back so far they were never going to come
back, at least in the foreseeable future. They disappeared almost
like the dinosaurs.
The people of Canada said that they wanted a government
with a strong mandate, one that was going to do something
totally different. There was going to be a new direction. There
was going to be a new approach. We would get off this monetary
and fiscal policy that we saw in the past and the government was
going to create jobs. It went on and on.
In the red book there were jobs here, jobs there, jobs, jobs. Of
course, this was what Canadians wanted to hear. Therefore they
elected the Liberals. Almost the next day things started to
change. There is a magic conversion that takes place when
Liberals walk across that central aisle and occupy the seats on
the right hand side of you, Madam Speaker.
I can see all my friends across there. I remember their
passionate speeches against NAFTA, how NAFTA was going to
be the killer of jobs. I heard ``killer of jobs'' echo throughout
this Chamber days on end. The first thing they did was sign
NAFTA. This sort of jarred people. They wondered what was
Of course, they remembered the payroll taxes that those mean
and nasty Conservatives used to impose on small business. The
first thing the government did was to impose another payroll
tax. The people of Canada started to get a little shell-shocked at
Then they remembered that cruise missile testing by the
United States was coming up for renewal. They remembered all
of the Liberals saying for years that this was dastardly, that it
was caving in to the Americans, and they would never do that.
When the time came, they did that too. They agreed to it.
I could go on and on, but I think I have made my point. Before
we even got started, people were dazed because suddenly the
Liberals started to break their promises and do exactly what they
said they would not do. They enacted exactly what they said they
would never enact.
Along comes the budget. I guess Canadians thought: Well,
here is a chance because Liberals were elected to do a job, and
that job was to create jobs. What Canadians got was a snow job.
Look at this budget. I am sure that if you went back a few days
you would find there were some ghostwriters such as Michael
Wilson and perhaps Don Mazankowski. Perhaps they wrote that
budget. Maybe Kim Campbell slipped back from Harvard and
added her two bits worth.
Has there been a significant departure in terms of domestic
policy in this country? No. Has there been a change in monetary
policy? No. I know there is a new Governor of the Bank of
Canada, sort of a John Crow look-alike. He says that the same
monetary policy will continue.
Is there a shift in policy? No. Canadians were hoping for a
different kind of budget that would actually put people back to
work. What did they find? If they read the budget carefully and
they go to page 9, they may ask what the government predicts all
of this is going to do. They read through and, lo and behold, they
find that unemployment levels will continue in double digits for
the foreseeable future.
After all the red book rhetoric, the budget plan says that
unemployment will continue at essentially the same level for
this year, next year and on into the future.
Ms. McLaughlin: And it is a blue book.
Mr. Riis: Yes, this is a blue book. They did not even change
the bloody colour, for Pete's sake.
We had a chance to start setting targets. When it came to
reducing the deficit, targets were set. This is what we anticipate
the debt reduction to be. However, when it came to setting
targets for reducing unemployment, they were woefully absent
from the budget. This is a serious oversight and it is really too
We have the old approach to the Peter Pan school of
economics. We thought it would be something a little bit
different from the Liberals; that if you really believe that
unemployment will come down, it will. But you have to take
action. You have to set
targets and then introduce strategies to reduce those levels of
unemployment. That is not in this budget. It is not in here.
Here is what happened to me personally. I received calls from
a number of small businesses in Kamloops. They called and
said: ``We have not read the budget, Nelson, but what is in it for
us?'' I told them there were a couple of things, that there would
be a network established and so on so they could bid on
international contracts. I was told: ``I am running a hair salon''
or ``I am running a welding shop, I am not going to be exporting
my services overseas. What is in it for us?'' I had to say, with a
heavy heart, that there was nothing in it for the average business
person in this country.
The unemployed, as my hon. leader indicated, were again hit
with this budget. The victims of these government policies have
been now hit. It is a strange way to run a government. We accept
it, but it is a continuation of what we saw for the last nine years
under the Mulroney regime.
I want to give credit to the government on one point. Actually
I could give it credit on a number but let us just pick one. When it
was changing the unemployment insurance system, it
acknowledged that some people would be really hard hit. I am
thinking particularly of single parents or low income families
with dependent children or adults that they are caring for. Their
benefits went up slightly. In other words, there was
acknowledgement that some people were hard hit.
Is there anything in here for the 1.5 million kids who are
living in poverty today?
Ms. McLaughlin: No. Not a thing.
Mr. Riis: Not a single word, not a word.
What about the public servants? The public service was hit in
this budget. As a matter of fact 25,000 will likely lose their jobs
over the next three years as a result of this budget. The
government said it was going to freeze their salaries once again.
Does it make sense to freeze everybody when messengers or
people who shovel snow off sidewalks have annual incomes in
many cases below $20,000 and deputy ministers have incomes
in excess of $120,000? It does not acknowledge the fact that
some federal government workers are struggling to simply
The government showed sensitivity when it came to changing
UI programs. Why did it not show that same sensitivity to the
people who actually work for the government? As somebody
said the other day, it is like bombing your own troops.
Show some compassion, show some sensitivity. There are
people who work for the federal government right now who
quite frankly are just managing to survive by the skin of their
teeth. They are suffering. There should have been an
acknowledgement about that in terms of that blanket across the
board freezing of salaries.
My greatest disappointment is that a handful of people are
probably still drinking champagne. Those are the richest
families in Canada who had a special tax loophole provided for
them by a previous government, actually by the Liberals which
was then updated by the Conservatives. There is not a single tax
lawyer or single tax accountant in this country who says family
trusts make any sense at all, not a single one.
I remember when the experts were before the finance
committee. The financial advisers were asked what they thought
of this particular tax exemption. They all thought it was crazy.
They thought it was nutty. They thought the government was
goofy to do this.
The Minister of Finance had a chance to show that even the
very wealthy in this country are going to have to pay their fair
share this time under this new government. Did he close that
loophole? Oh, no. The government is going to study it. What on
earth is there to study about a loophole that everybody agrees is
In closing, it was a missed opportunity. I could go on and
hopefully I will have an opportunity later. I must say that those
Canadians who were hoping for a change of course from the last
nine years of Brian Mulroney are very disappointed after this
Mr. Jim Jordan (Leeds-Grenville): Madam Speaker, I
think anyone who campaigned in the last election found out that
very high on the priority list of Canadians was the need to
address the national debt and the national accumulating deficits.
I notice my good friend from Kamloops did not allude to that.
Today I think we know where the Reform would stand. They
would say: ``Correct that by deeper cuts''. I think I know where
the BQ stands, if I understood their leader this morning. We did
not get a chance to dialogue with him because of the new rule. I
think he was saying: ``We would be in favour of deeper cuts, that
way of getting at the national debt''.
I wonder if the hon. member for Kamloops would tell me
where the NDP stands in relation to national debt. Were the cuts
deep enough, too deep or just right?
Mr. Riis: I think it is fair to say that there were some changes
that could have had a very serious impact in terms of deficit
reduction. I named one, the closing off of some of the glaring tax
loopholes like the family trust loophole, a consideration of a
wealth tax. Again, we are one of the very few countries in the
world that does not have a wealth tax. These are not going to
solve the deficit problem but they would show good faith in
moving in the right direction.
I think if a person wins $5 million on a lottery they would not
mind paying some tax on that. I do not think anybody would say
that is an unfair request.
The question of a minimum corporate tax that we have often
discussed in this House is something that deserves examining.
In other words a whole number of changes to the tax system
would generate an awful lot of wealth.
This budget assumes that the deficit will be brought down,
which we all support. No one in this House would say we do not
have a serious debt crisis and a deficit problem and we have to
take steps to get it down.
This budget assumes that because of the steps taken there will
be economic activity occurring and then general revenues will
flow to the central government. That is a fair summary I think.
However, as my leader indicated, when one person is
unemployed or underemployed or afraid of being unemployed,
if one is living on social services, one does not have enough
disposable income to make much difference. That is what we
require. We must get people back to work. I know my friends
opposite when in opposition said the same thing. It is critical. If
we are to pay down the deficit we must get people back to work
so that they can contribute and not be a drain on those revenues.
I do not think the budget will put people back to work. I do not
rely only on my own observations. I have listened to the experts
who responded to the budget. I have yet to find anybody who
says it is going to put a lot of Canadians back to work.
We have all sorts of unused capacity. I remember the figures
given earlier this week for manufacturing losses in the province
of Ontario alone because of unused capacity and the new
technologies. They are simply not putting people to work.
This is why the budget has been such a disappointment. There
is nothing in it to give hope to those people who are unemployed
or to those people who want to see a meaningful new direction in
terms of putting people back to work.
Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre): Madam Speaker, I
followed the debate with great interest all morning. If I were
confused this morning, I am even more confused now.
Earlier we heard two presentations from the Reform Party.
One was saying how we did nothing and there were not enough
cuts. The critic for the defence ministry indicated that we cut too
much. Now I am hearing something else again. I do not know
what it is.
Did we cut enough? Did we not cut enough? We want to entice
businesses to hire. The $300 million rollback on the UI will
entice companies to hire.
Mr. Riis: Madam Speaker, we in the House would all agree
that the area the government has supported in the past to a
certain degree and needs to support more in the future is the area
of high technology.
What do we find in the budget? We find the abandonment of
the KAON project in British Columbia. I see some of my British
Columbian colleagues across the way. That project would have
put Canada on the cutting edge of high technology. It would have
been a vote of confidence for our scientists and our top
engineers in the country and around the world.
The Conservatives slapped British Columbia in the face by
abandoning the Polar 8 icebreaker. This was to be the federal
government's show of support for B.C. KAON was the same and
the government let down KAON. Literally hundreds of millions
of dollars that would have gone into creating jobs in the
construction area and, most important, in the high tech
sophisticated scientific engineering area have now been
abandoned. It is very disappointing that we missed this
Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Madam
Speaker, the finance minister's budget speech, that could be
described as ``Campbell meat with Martin sauce'', reflects the
vicious circle of irresponsibility the federal government has got
The Minister of Finance did not allow himself to do the job he
has been elected to do. During the whole election campaign, he
said ``jobs, jobs, jobs'', but when the time comes to create them,
he is not there. Instead, he forecast a record deficit of $39.7
billion, and a new series of committees. There is a disease in
Ottawa, the ``committee disease'', which I have rarely seen so
rampant anywhere else.
The election slogan has fallen by the wayside due to the
timidity of a finance minister who has given in to the federal
bureaucracy. How then can politicians ask voters for their
confidence when, every time, government parties promise one
thing during the election campaign and do the opposite?
This budget will contribute to increasing the differences and
disparities between the various regions of Canada because,
under the guise of the infrastructure program, the federal
government is cutting the budgets of the development agencies
without giving the provinces any leeway to take over their own
The federal government is courageously taking on the
weakest in the system by raising the minimum number of weeks
of work required to be entitled to UI benefits and bringing down
to 55 per cent benefits paid to unemployed workers. That is a
Valcourt plus formula. What is worse, they assume that people
do not want to work.
The lack of jobs and the extensive restructuring of the North
American economy are blamed on the unemployed and on other
people who try and improve their lot. Instead of trying to help
them, we will take a whole year to cook up a reform, the contents
of which are not known, when we should be up and running and
taking immediate action. We were not elected to create
committees but to take action.
I would like to underline more particularly that the situation
in regions like Eastern Quebec is certainly as bad as in
aboriginal communities, but I do not find the same level of
support for those areas as for aboriginal communities. I think
the needs of native people are real, but ours are too, and it is
extremely unfortunate that the situation is handled the way it is.
Somebody said a while ago that there is no tax increase. Do
you not think there will be a hefty increase for those people who
will have to go from unemployment to welfare next year because
they do not have those two extra weeks of employment? They
will have to find news ways of making ends meet only to find
that they are accused of cheating the unemployment insurance
system or the welfare system.
The federal government turns a blind eye to the elimination of
duplication, because it would have to admit that the federal
system itself is the cause of runaway deficits. During the
election campaign, voters kept asking the same question: Are
you going to create jobs like the Liberals promise they will? Our
answer was: Yes, but in order to do that, we need some leeway.
Because of a lack of political courage, the Liberals will not
reach their goal since they cannot get this breathing space. In no
way, since the recall of Parliament, has the government allowed
us to seriously examine spending in order to remedy the
inequities, the programs which were created a long time ago, but
no longer meet our needs. In the national capital, we often forget
what the situation of unemployed people really is. We do not
want to look at that because if we did, the government would be
forced to admit that federalism is costly for Canada as a whole.
If the Liberals had freed the $3 million lost because of
duplication, they would have given hope again to the 25-35
generation whose potential is wasted. That generation includes
technicians, engineers, skilled people who should be working.
We will realize in 10 or 15 years that this generation has been
sacrificed, that we did not give these people the opportunity to
work for the good of Quebec and Canada. They will struggle
along from one project to another.
The government also forgets-since it has decided to tax the
elderly, we understand a little better its agenda, which is to
become another conservative government-that unskilled
workers older than 40 were the ones who were hardest hit by the
recession. Nowhere do we find this search for fiscal fairness
which was supposed to be the mark of this budget.
Forgotten were family trusts. Forgotten were the $250 million
which are wasted because of duplication of labour services for
Quebec alone. I personally had the opportunity to work in
reclassification and labour assistance committees which
systematically have both a provincial representative and a
federal representative to do a job that could be done properly by
one person only. Quebec has agreed for a long time to take full
jurisdiction in that field but no one wants to hear a word about it.
The government reduces transfers to the provinces by $2
billion, which means $700 million less for Quebec. All the
provinces will then have to accept the machiavellian plan of the
Minister of Human Resources Development to reform social
This is a very difficult situation to live with since the minister
will then take advantage of the hardship the provinces will be
faced with, because of the budgetary restraints, to impose on
Canadians a reform that they do not want. In the foreword, the
Minister of Finance said:
Our goal is a Canada where every Canadian able to work can find a meaningful
Unfortunately, there are no incentives in that budget for
massive job creation, as promissed by the Liberals during the
electoral campaign, for all unskilled workers, except for the
infrastructure program and that will judged when it is
By not having contingency funds coming from useless
expenditures, the government is acting exactly like its
predecessor, the Conservative government, but in their case,
such an approach would have been understandable.
The government did not dare cancel the tax shelters of the
rich. Rather it turned on average consumers-the elderly and the
self-employed-by increasing their tax burden.
They went so far as to create two income classes for UI
beneficiaries. Single people will have to prove they are not
hiding a lover in their closet. What a good decision is this, the
Year of the Family. Terrific! All the better since individuals
living alone very often have fixed expenses which eat away at
their budget. The only jobs created by this decision will be those
of Axworthy's Macoute-style inspectors they will surely
appoint, because of their bureaucratic logic. Federal Liberals
should have taken advantage of the experience of their Quebec
counterparts. A similar measure is now leading to the downfall
of the Johnson administration.
In its process, the federal government even took the
incredible decision of increasing the National Research
Council's budget, an organization that is far from being as
productive as regional research centres. Every part of the budget
mark of Ottawa mandarins totally unaware of what citizens are
experiencing in the regions, everywhere in Canada and in
Quebec. The government members did not do their homework.
On another point, I want to remind the minister of defence
that, during the campaign, we did advocate cuts in the defence
budget. However, the decision to close the only French language
military college in all of North America has been inspired by
something else than pure financial arithmetics. I appeal to all
the Liberal members from Quebec, who will be stigmatised by
this decision, especially the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister and I come from the same region. The St.
Maurice Valley is an area which had long been dependent on
American or English-Canadian companies in the pulp and paper
industry. Then, we had to slowly blossom as full partners. If he
is not aware of the impact a decision such as the closure of the
Collège de Saint-Jean will have, I think that he forgot what
being a Quebecer means.
If the federal system can no longer assume the training of
French-speaking officers in Quebec, Quebec will not take this
laying down. We will fight as vigorously as others have done to
protect the survival of the French fact in other Canadian
provinces. The Acadian and francophone communities know
full well that a bilingual education system is the shortest route to
anglicization, for soldiers as well as ordinary citizens.
The Liberals have decided to make committees the
corner-stone of their job creation program. Let me name a few:
a task force to develop a code of conduct regarding loans to
small and medium-sized businesses; a task force on the taxation
of family trusts; a task force on an improved supplementary plan
to make businesses more competitive; a review of how to
increase the efficiency of federal assistance. Moreover, a
discussion paper on science and technology will be published to
trigger a national debate that will lead to a new policy in that
As a former civil servant, I know only too well this disease
called ``committee-itis''. I know the recipe. It is the best way to
go nowhere. A year or a year and a half from now, we will
receive reports on reports. They will be quietly tabled here, on a
day when the attendance is low, and they will not resurface until
the following year.
Today, governments must react quickly to allow this country
to enter the excessively competitive world market. While we
prepare all these fine reports and that years of pussy-footing in
committee go by, Canada will pursue its breathtaking drop on
the list of nations with declining productivity. We were not
elected here to set up committees.
Action was urgently needed to help college and university
graduates. Now, forestry workers will have to hunt down
12-week contracts instead of 10-week ones. Of course,
unemployment insurance officers will be overworked, chasing
down the bad guys who are trying to save their skins.
The government is not taking its responsibilities and is
behaving like a consultant when it should be governing. By
giving itself additional time, it avoids making real decisions.
However, unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals have dared to
increase the qualifying period for unemployment insurance.
This budget appears to be the work of bureaucrats unaware of
the devastating effect raising from 10 to 12 the minimum
number of weeks of work required to be eligible for
unemployment insurance will have in our local areas. I urge the
Liberal members to remind their Minister of Finance of their
election promise to put Canada back to work.
This budget will disillusion those who still believed in
election promises. During the election campaign, I met people
working in peat bogs and took half an hour or so to explain to
them how politics could be useful and how things could change
with the coming election. Now, when I will go back home, these
people are going to come to me and say: ``See, nothing changed.
You elect a new government and, once in office, it does the exact
same thing as the ones before''. At least, I will be able to say that
we did not change.
My cry to the Minister of Finance is also the cry of the
regions, those struggling ever since fishing was restricted and
doing their best to cope with their unemployment problems.
These are also the regions that the young generation has
inexorably fled, as well as those striving to pull through. No, the
regions are not applauding this budget. They are scowling and
looking forward to taking their development into their own
hands. Two thirds of welfare spending goes to the various
intermediaries in the system instead of to those who need
it-that is something which should be attacked right away, and
not worked on in a committee for over a year.
Those who are surprised that Quebecers regularly and
repeatedly elect sovereigntists should understand why, faced
with these successive Tory or Grit budgets that only show the
influence of the federal bureaucracy. If only to get out of this
infernal cycle, Quebec can no longer afford to stay in the federal
Indeed, next year at the same time, the Minister of Finance
will explain to us why he could not keep the deficit to $39.7
billion, but that 1995-96 will really be the year when the
government regains control of its budget. I would be quite
prepared to bet on that with any hon. member. It is a well-known
old refrain that rings hollow.
To avoid this sad situation, I again ask the government to
strike a special all-party committee to analyze all spending.
This would force government managers to answer our questions
about the necessity of the work done and would show all of
Quebec and Canada that we, not the senior civil servants, are the
ones running this country.
Tomorrow I will go back to my riding to tell the people of
Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup that there is no more hope of
regaining control of the runaway federal government. I would
hope that they rise up everywhere to show their disapproval as
they have been doing in the media for several days. On the
weekend, when you meet your constituents, how will you
answer them when they ask all government members how this
Liberal budget is different? Is there any hope in this budget of
putting Canadians and Quebecers back to work? It is up to the
Liberal members to bring their government to its senses.
Mrs. Eleni Bakopanos (Saint-Denis): Madam Speaker, I
listened with great interest to the comments made by the hon.
member opposite, and I find it strange that the remarks are
always the same. Regardless of the issue discussed in this
House, the observations made by the hon. members opposite
never change. They are always making the same comments and
every government measure is invariably taken at the expense of
the poor and the unemployed. It is clear to me that they have not
read the budget and I will simply give you an example to
illustrate my point. As regards unemployment insurance, we
clearly stated that women with children are going to benefit
from the new system to be put in place. And let us not forget that
the government also intends to bring in other changes. Of
course, it is in their interest to talk about the unemployed and the
poor and to mislead the media to get their message across.
In Montreal's newspapers, it was mentioned that senior
citizens would lose their pension. I can tell you that I received
calls at my office, because people read this inaccurate
information released by the opposition, to the effect that the
elderly, regardless of their income, would lose their pension,
which is not true.
Also, the scenario always being presented by the opposition is
not realistic. Again, they did not look at the real figures in the
budget and at what we really want to achieve. We do talk about
jobs, yes we do. Let us not forget job creation. To what extent
will we be able to create these jobs? It will be to the extent that
we help small businesses in Quebec, including in Montreal
where my riding is and which I know well, because they create
A few years ago, the city of Montreal conducted a study which
showed that small and medium-size businesses were the ones
creating jobs. We will help those businesses. We will provide
them with the means to create jobs for the poor, as the members
opposite keep saying.
Given the narrow vision of the opposition, and given that it
keeps saying the same things, I would like to know why these
separatists-after all this is their real name-insist on
continually misleading Quebecers and not telling them the truth.
Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Madam
Speaker, I am very surprised to hear such words from a member
who lives in the poorest region of Canada. I feel she has lost
touch with our planet.
How can you say that the Saint-Denis riding, in the region of
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Order! I am sorry to
interrupt the member, but he should address his comments to the
Mr. Crête: Madam Speaker, can the hon. member seriously
tell us that in her riding, increasing the required number of
weeks worked before one is entitled to
unemployment-insurance benefits will not increase poverty?
Let us not be mistaken here; the unemployed will be entitled to
fewer weeks of benefits.
As for the issue of women, it is perverse for a member from
Quebec to say such a thing; she should know better from her own
experience in Quebec where the Bourbeau reform was
implemented a few years ago and where women have to find
witnesses and leave their homes in the evening just to prove they
live alone. That kind of situation is unacceptable. We cannot
maintain such a thing.
With regard to the member's question and comment, I for one
trust Canadian and Quebec medias. I do not feel they lie, I think
they report truthfully what they hear in the House of Commons.
This is also partly what Mr. Martin, the Minister of Finance,
realized the day after he presented his budget. He discovered
that everyone thought he had made no changes at all and that
surprised him a great deal.
My last comment is on the issue of what you call the
separatists, or at least those who want Quebec to be sovereign. A
sovereign country is one which makes its own legislation,
collects its own taxes and signs all its treaties. We believe there
is 3 billion dollars worth of duplication in a federal system and
that means unnecessary expenditures; and because of your
ideology, government members refuse to address that question.
If they had the courage to do so, they would not have to take
money away from the less fortunate among us.
Mr. Benoît Serré (Timiskaming-French River): Madam
Speaker, the hon. member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup
certainly did not listen to my speech this morning. He claims
that it is only in Quebec that one can get an education in French.
In fact, he is asking a question to Acadians and francophones
outside Quebec. Earlier, he was telling us: ``Ask them if one can
get an education in French outside Quebec''.
Madam Speaker, I think that I am living proof of that. I
completed all my studies in Ontario and in French. Not only did
the Franco-Ontarians have a good education system, but they
also served a good part of Northwest Quebec, where people
would come to Sudbury because there was no learning
institution in Northwest Quebec.
Mr. Crête: Madam Speaker, since the hon. member speaks
French, he certainly did not listen to my answer, because I was
talking about our bilingual colleges. I said we know very well
that for any francophone, bilingualism in a bilingual college in
any province of Canada leads directly to anglicization. When we
know that, in Canada, we had to wait one hundred years for
Supreme Court decisions allowing us to have French schools in
some Western provinces and that we must still go to court to be
able to preserve that, I think it is very clear that bilingual
education in Canada does not have any future. You will have to
walk all over us before you can impose the closing of the
Collège militaire de Saint-Jean. You can be sure that the entire
Quebec population will be behind us.
Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood): Madam
Speaker, I listened to the member's speech closely and I
appreciated his respect for the fact that we had such limited
manoeuvrability because we inherited a fiscal framework that
was much worse than any of us ever imagined.
We all realize there is a crisis of confidence in the country. It
does not matter whether it is in the member's riding in Quebec or
my community in downtown Toronto, one of the factors that
affects the confidence of investors is that we have so many
members constantly talking about separation.
Does the member not realize or does he not agree that this
constant focus on separation affects the economy just as much as
any budget does?
Mr. Crête: Madam Speaker, if making a case for the
sovereignty of Quebec could be as successful as the process that
led to the separation of Norway and Sweden, I think we will have
much to be proud of. Today, small countries like these have
practically full employment while we are stuck with a federal
government that is as cumbersome and slow-moving as an
elephant. It is so slow to react to crises that by the time it is ready
with solutions, another crisis has already developed.
Mr. Martin Cauchon (Outremont): Madam Speaker, I heard
what the hon. member said. To hear him talk, a separate Quebec
would be seventh heaven. I would like to ask him why that would
be the case and how a separate Quebec could be in better shape
economically than it is now within Canada, a Canada that has its
place among the Group of Seven, a Canada that operates within a
North American free-trade zone and that looks both to Europe
and Asia. What more would a separate Quebec be able to offer
Mr. Crête: Madam Speaker, when Quebec is a sovereign
state, it will control all decisions that affect Quebec. It will
never decide to waste $250 million worth of labour just to make
another level of government look good.
Furthermore, we can say that this beautiful Canada of ours is
close to being examined by the World Bank. If the government
keeps bringing down budgets like this one, not only those
terrible separatists from Quebec but the whole world will want
to see some changes made.
Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Carleton-Gloucester): Madam
Speaker, the hon. member of the Bloc Quebecois is to be
commended for his very sensitive presentation on government
He suggests that once his province is a separate state, which
God forbid, he will have all the answers and that Quebec's
economy will be the envy of the whole world.
If we look at unemployment insurance, considering the
economic situation in Canada today, a Canada which includes
the 10 provinces and two territories, I would like to ask the hon.
member what he wants to improve in reference to the economy.
Mr. Crête: Mr. Speaker, if Quebec became a sovereign state, I
never claimed it would be seventh heaven. Those were the terms
used by the hon. members on the government side. However, I
did say, and maintain that we would be able to get along as well
as many small countries in the world which are doing a better job
than Canada is doing now. In 1980, people in Quebec
The Speaker: Order. It being 2 p.m., the House will now
proceed to Statements by Members under Standing Order 31.
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
Mr. Réginald Bélair (Cochrane-Superior):
the Electoral Boundaries Commission has proposed to eliminate
the ridings of Cochrane-Superior and Timiskaming-French
River in northern Ontario.
I am appalled at the commission's ignorance of the
geopolitical landscape of this area. Reducing the number of
ridings will only make it more difficult to properly serve our
constituents because of the distances travelled and the increase
of population set at 80,000.
Northern Ontario will not sacrifice two ridings for the benefit
of southern Ontario which will be getting four additional
ridings. We need a strong voice in Ottawa.
By eliminating the ridings of Cochrane-Superior and
Timiskaming-French River, the Elections Commission is
proposing to disfigure the north of Ontario. We will never accept
a diminished representation. How could the Commission use a
population of 80,000 as the only criterion to divide the huge
territory of northern Ontario?
It did not take into account the excellent service we offer our
constituents in spite of the great distances we must cover.
* * *
Mr. Roger Pomerleau (Anjou-Rivière-des-Prairies):
Speaker, February 22 is a very important day. It is on February
22, 1857, in London, that Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the
scouting movement, was born. So, on February 22,
Baden-Powell Day, we celebrate scouting, which Canada joined
The scouting movement has now more than 25 million
members across the world, in 150 countries. As a former scout, I
would like to repeat for the House this famous quote from
Baden-Powell: Try to leave this world in a better state than you
* * *
Mr. Paul E. Forseth (New Westminster-Burnaby):
Speaker, I rise to reflect what the tobacco smuggling issue tells
me about Canadians.
Many say the government started it all by over reaching with
taxes, but what about the complicity of the tobacco industry that
markets a killer substance and then passes it off as socially
acceptable? Protesting store vendors did not participate in civil
disobedience. It was crime for profit. Some natives near the
border look the other way, then blame someone else.
However, the real moral lapse comes from Canadians who
consume illegal products. When did we become a nation of
cheaters? Is it okay as long as one does not get caught? Dodging
the GST, scamming welfare, lying to customs, it is time for each
of us to look at ourselves and our social malaise.
If there are no buyers, there will be no sellers.
* * *
Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South):
Mr. Speaker, on many
occasions in this House, hon. members from all sides have
expressed unanimous concern about the growing and senseless
violence and abuse within our society.
Spousal abuse, child abuse and racism have been raised
frequently because we know that law and order and safety within
our communities are very important to all Canadians.
As such, members of this House have a duty to reflect their
support for these social concerns whenever possible. Verbal
support is important but tangible actions must compliment the
words to demonstrate our sincere commitment.
Accordingly, I call on all members of this House, and indeed
all elected representatives across Canada, to utilize their skills
and resources to develop and to champion specific initiatives to
promote our shared value which is, and I emphasize, there is no
excuse for abuse.
* * *
Mr. Martin Cauchon (Outremont):
Mr. Speaker, I rise today
to clarify a question which many people have asked me
regarding the age credit.
Contrary to what the Bloc Quebecois has been saying, the
changes brought to the age credit will be of no consequence for
the vast majority of seniors.
As a matter of fact, three quarters of retirees are not affected
since their income is less than $25,921. Only those whose
income exceeds $50,000 will no longer be entitled to the age
credit. They represent only 5 per cent of all retirees. Thus, three
quarters of them will not be affected at all.
The new budget provisions will have the same beneficial
impact on seniors who are less fortunate. Retirees with an
income below $26,000 will not pay more taxes.
One of the key ideas of the 1994 budget is to better target our
resources so that we can meet the basic needs of those who
depend on government assistance. By reducing the level of tax
credits for the more wealthy, we free additional money to help
the elderly who are less fortunate, so that they can live with
dignity without being afraid of tomorrow.
Mr. Stan Dromisky (Thunder Bay-Atikokan):
Speaker, I address the Canadian people in celebration of the 76th
anniversary of the independence of the republic of Estonia.
On February 24, 1918 Estonian nationalists declared
independence from Russia, and after several periods of foreign
control, reclaimed their independence on August 20, 1991.
Since then it has emerged as a leader among the Baltic states. It
is the first former Soviet republic to issue its own currency, to
double exports and is outstripping the other developing
economies of the former Soviet Union as well as most European
Under the vibrant leadership of Prime Minister Mart Laar,
institutions are rapidly emerging which clearly and solidly
establish Estonia as an independent and free democratic
republic wherein the supreme power is vested in the people.
To the people of Estonia, the people of Canada extend wishes
of permanent peace and prosperity.
* * *
Mr. Gaston Péloquin (Brome-Missisquoi):
Quebec is once again in the spotlight today in Lillehammer. It is
with great pride and pleasure that we learned this morning that
Philippe Laroche of Lac-Beauport, in the riding of
Charlesbourg, and Lloyd Langlois of Magog, in my riding, have
respectively won silver and bronze in freestyle skiing-aerials.
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to them and wish
them the best of luck in whatever challenge they decide to take
on next, with no lack of enthusiasm, that is for sure.
Mr. Speaker, the success of our athletes at the Olympic Games
is even more preaiseworthy when you think that they must
initially struggle on their own to find financial support.
We will see to it that the Minister responsible for Amateur
Sports honours his commitments and quickly puts in place new
policies regarding support for our athletes.
* * *
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert):
Mr. Speaker, it has been
reported in the media that members and supporters of the
Reform Party have been maligned and labelled racist and haters
of Indians by certain members of this House.
I find this repulsive and so do more than 2.5 million
Canadians across this nation who voted for the Reform Party.
Many of those who supported our party are native Indians. I
have two reserves in my riding and they as well find these
Remarks of this nature serve only to create divisions in our
country and foster hatred between different groups of Canadians
where there should be friendship and understanding.
It is my fervent hope that the members who have made such
offensive remarks will rise in this House and apologize and
promise never again to make such hate filled comments,
whether in private or in front of this House before the television
* * *
Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East):
February is Black History Month. The black community has a
long history in Canada during which, like many other
immigrants, black people have substantially contributed to the
life of this country with pride and determination.
Every February Pride magazine presents the Canadian Black
Achievement Awards to members of the black community who
have performed outstandingly in their field of expertise and in
participating in the life of their communities. The awards
recognize and honour the accomplishments, achievements and
excellence of African Canadians in 16 different categories of
This year Pride magazine has recognized and honoured three
members of this House who are for the first time representing
the constituents of their ridings in the Government of Canada.
The hon. member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, the hon.
member for Vancouver Quadra and the hon. member for
Bruce-Grey were chosen for the work each of them did in their
communities in their capacities as educator, medical doctor and
mayor, respectively, while being active volunteers in many
I am sure all members of this House want to join me in
recognizing the three hon. members and congratulating them for
* * *
Mr. Jesse Flis (Parkdale-High Park):
Mr. Speaker, this
week the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that Canada
was sending 12 Canadian forces personnel to Cambodia to take
part in the dangerous task of removing five million land mines
which literally cover half of the country.
The terrible legacy of two decades of civil war left a deadly
variety of land mines which kill or maim 300 Cambodians every
month. It also makes any kind of agricultural activity virtually
I congratulate the bravery of these 12 Canadian soldiers who
are going to Cambodia to support the demining operations there.
In view of the international conventions against the use of
biological, chemical and other diabolical weapons of
destruction, I will recommend that the use of land mines in
warfare be considered on the agenda of the Canadian foreign
affairs and defence policy review which this government is
preparing to launch very shortly.
* * *
Mrs. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Hubert):
Mr. Speaker, on
October 25 last, the people of Quebec and Canada thought they
had elected a new government. Unfortunately, until proved
otherwise, this is not the case. Take for instance this important
issue affecting my riding, namely the closure of the weather
office in Saint-Hubert.
Weather services experts are slated to be replaced by an
automatic meteorological observation system which has not yet
been perfected and does not differentiate accurately between
types of precipitation.
Following the announcement of this highly questionable
decision, officials from the Montérégie region asked to meet
with the two ministers concerned to review the decision made by
the Tories. Will the Minister of Transport and the Minister of the
Environment dare reconsider a decision made by the Tories?
* * *
Mr. Leon E. Benoit (Vegreville):
Mr. Speaker, recently the
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development expressed
his concern with what he believes is the Reform Party's view on
aboriginal Canadians which is that Reformers hate Indians. This
allegation, of course, is completely false.
Charges of racism have been used all too often as a means of
attempting to undermine the Reform Party. These allegations
contribute nothing to the daily performance of this House.
The statements the minister made in this House, which
implied that Reformers have shown racist tendencies, are based
on the fact that we speak openly and honestly on issues like
The Speaker: It is the practice in making these statements
under Standing Order 31 that no member be directly attacked in
Perhaps the hon. member could rephrase his statement so that
it would not be a direct attack.
* * *
Mr. John Harvard (Winnipeg St. James):
Mr. Speaker, I
rise in support of a special war medal for Dieppe veterans.
For 30 years or more the issue has been in the hands of the
federal government. Almost everyone seems to support the idea
of special recognition for these very deserving war veterans.
Politicians make positive statements, officials meet and
promises are made, but nothing really happens. If the country
waits much longer all these men will be dead.
I am given to understand that the federal government is now
studying proposals on how special recognition might best be
provided and that when that is done the government will have
several concrete options for veterans' groups to review.
Moreover the secretary of state says he sees merit in a war medal
for these courageous men.
Let us hope we are near the end of this saga. The gallant
veterans of Dieppe have waited long enough. I urge the
government to act and act now for a group of fine men.
* * *
Ms. Paddy Torsney (Burlington):
Mr. Speaker, there are just
two days left and tickets are going quickly for the second annual
gala for child poverty.
The successful event benefits needy children in the
Ottawa-Carleton region. It is sponsored by the Fund for a New
Generation, a group of active young people who represent all
parties in the House as well as the public, private and university
sectors. These young people strongly believe in grass roots
I take this opportunity to thank the 100 local merchants and
retailers and national sponsors Sun Life Canada, Merck Frosst
and the Rider Travel Group. They have made the event possible
but they cannot do it alone. Future generations need us now.
I ask members, visitors and pages to stick tapes in their VCRs
to catch the Olympics and go to the Museum of Nature this
Saturday night. Many children in the Ottawa-Carleton region
need our support. Tickets are available from any of the whips'
offices. They should call now. Operators are standing by to take
* * *
Mr. John Solomon (Regina-Lumsden):
Mr. Speaker, the
Liberals are making it more difficult to be a young person with
hope. In Regina-Lumsden more and more unemployment
insurance claimants are rejected because of the unfair changes
These individuals cannot find full-time work and are forced
to take seasonal or part-time jobs. When these jobs dry up they
do not qualify for UI; they go on the province's welfare rolls
instead. They are not lazy. They are underemployed because
there are simply not enough full-time jobs to go around.
The Government of Saskatchewan addressed the issue of
unemployment in its recent budget with a job creation program.
Unfortunately the federal budget will mean more
unemployment for Saskatchewan and more people dependent on
The changes to UI simply offload federal costs to the
provinces and continue the Tory tradition of disguising how
many unemployed people there really are by shifting them to
The Liberal government does not get it. The unemployed do
not want to be unemployed. They only wanted one thing from
this government: real jobs. Instead they got snow jobs.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition):
Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.
Unexpectedly, to the dismay of francophones in Quebec and
Canada, the government wants to close the military college in
Saint-Jean. It is the only French-language military college in
Canada and enables francophones to advance in the armed
forces in their own language. Since it was founded, this college
has trained several generations of brilliant French-speaking
I ask the Prime Minister if he does not admit that by closing
the Saint-Jean college in an arbitrary and underhanded way, he
is sending a message that there is no more room for
francophones who want to become officers in the Canadian
armed forces in their own language and environment.
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
the government does not take such action on a whim. We had a
recommendation to close the Royal Roads Military College in
Victoria and the one in Saint-Jean, Quebec.
Royal Roads was established in 1942 and Saint-Jean in 1952.
We decided to close them both and to keep the one in Kingston,
Ontario, where both official languages of the country will be
taught. There are many French-language institutions that work
very well in Ontario.
I would remind the Leader of the Opposition that many times
he recommended cutting military spending by 25 per cent. If we
had followed his recommendations, not only would we have
closed the military college in Saint-Jean but we would also have
had to shut down the facility in Bagotville, in his region.
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): I have
trouble understanding how one can say such things when the
Canadian armed forces already spend only 13 per cent of their
capital budget in Quebec.
But, Mr. Speaker, if you allow me, I would remind the Prime
Minister that the college in Saint-Jean was founded to end the
scandal of an army that resisted the French fact and that the
college in Kingston was indeed one of the bastions of that
I want to ask the Prime Minister if he does not admit that his
government's decision is taking us back 40 years and wiping out
a symbol of success for the French fact in Canada.
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
am sorry, perhaps that was the problem in 1952, but since then,
we passed the Official Languages Act. The best example I can
give the House now is that the chief of Canada's armed forces,
John de Chastelain, is a perfectly bilingual anglophone, which
proves that the Canadian armed forces have changed a lot since
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, we all noted with interest that the Prime Minister
admitted that until 1952, it was a problem. Indeed, the problem
was that the French fact was not recognized and was snubbed by
the Canadian armed forces and that Kingston was a prime
example of such rejection.
Can the Prime Minister confirm that closing the college in
Saint-Jean is the result of last-minute pressure from the Liberal
caucus to help the closure of military bases go down better in the
rest of Canada?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
that statement is totally false. The problem was not even raised
in the Liberal caucus.
I would say to the hon. member that he should think twice
before making statements like that. If we had cut 25 per cent as
he asked and as he called for dozens of times in the election
campaign, not only would we have closed Saint-Jean, but we
would have closed the military base in Bagotville at the same
time. Furthermore, I think that the new Canada can have a
completely bilingual institution in Kingston, Ontario, where
they have one of the best universities in Canada.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval): Mr. Speaker, in an article
published this morning and entitled ``Kingston, a choice made
for reasons of economy and national unity'', the Minister of
National Defence says, and I quote: ``I am tired of those
Quebecers who claim to be the only ones protecting the French
fact in Canada''. The minister goes on to say: ``In Canada,
francophones must feel comfortable everywhere. That was the
dream of Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals of old''.
Mr. Speaker, given those comments, are we to understand
that, to get rid of those Quebecers he is tired of, the minister
intends to give to Kingston the responsibility of training
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
stand by what the Minister of National Defence said. There is a
I once was the member for Beauséjour. When I was there, I
attended the University of Moncton, where some law classes are
taught only in French. I visited the University of Sudbury and
the University of Ottawa. I was also invited to Glendon College,
in Toronto. It is possible to find institutions in Canada, outside
Quebec, which provide first-class education in French, and that
is what Canada is all about: ensuring the preservation of French
all across the country.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval): Mr. Speaker, how can the
Prime Minister, who supports the comments made by his
minister to the effect that he is tired of Quebecers who try to
protect the French fact in Canada, believe that they will trust
him when it comes to protecting the interests of the French
language, while he and his government are about to close the
only institution for the training of francophone officers in the
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
am very pleased to see the hon. member defending federal
institutions in Quebec. I am really very happy to see that. I hope
that the hon. member will now start saying that he knows more
than his small region.
Some hon. members: Oh,oh!
Mr. Bouchard: The small region of Lac-Saint-Jean, is that
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice): I want to say something to
the leader of the opposition. If, some day, he succeeds in leading
Quebec to independence, his neighbour's children will not have
the option of becoming American citizens. In an independent
Mr. Gauthier (Roberval): Is he talking about my children?
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Chrétien: It is true. We, on this side, believe that there
are federal institutions in Quebec and that one can be a proud
Quebecer, a proud Canadian and a proud francophone
everywhere in this country.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Some hon. members: More, more.
The Speaker: Order, please. I am starting to feel like the
Maytag repairman. With my colleagues' kind permission we
will hear from the member for Calgary Southwest.
* * *
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest):
Mr. Speaker, I
am wondering what happened to our resolve to conduct
ourselves a little differently than in the past.
My question is for the Minister of Human Resources
Development. The premier of Quebec announced that it was the
objective of his government to reduce unemployment in that
province by 1 per cent this year.
Does the federal government have an unemployment
reduction target for the country as a whole and, if so, what is it?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the
hon. member for Calgary Southwest by pointing out that one of
the reasons the premier of Quebec is able to target a reduction of
1 per cent unemployment per year is that there is a federal
government in Ottawa providing great assistance in job creation
right across Canada and helping Quebec, Alberta, British
Columbia, and every other province to reduce the number of
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker,
the minister's reply is simply too vague, particularly on an issue
of such personal importance to millions of Canadians.
In the name of those Canadians my question is: Does the
minister have specific targets for reducing unemployment in
1994-95, public sector targets, private sector targets or national
targets, and if he does, can he tell us what they are?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, there are two answers for the
hon. member. The real target for members of the government is
to put into place job creation programs, such as reducing UI
that will create over 60,000 jobs; an infrastructure program that
will create over 65,000 jobs; a youth corps that will create over
15,000 jobs; an apprenticeship program that will create 15,000
or 20,000 jobs. The government is in the job creation business.
If the member wants the targets I suggest he read the budget
papers because the information is in the budget papers. Maybe
he should learn to read before he asks questions.
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker,
the red book and the throne speech promised jobs. Yet the budget
predicts that unemployment will fall from 11.2 per cent last year
to 11.1 per cent this year, a drop of only one-tenth of 1 per cent.
Will the minister acknowledge that this is not good enough,
that the job impacts of the budget presented on Tuesday are
negligible in 1994-95 and therefore unacceptable to
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the hon.
member I think he has been attacked by a slight case of
Yesterday he was in the House of Commons in high dudgeon
speaking about the need to cut government expenditures, to get
all the expenditures down, which would put thousands and
thousands more Canadians in the unemployment ranks. Now he
is asking us how we are going to put people back to work. He
cannot have it both ways.
* * *
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie):
Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Finance.
Last December, the Liberal government raised unemployment
insurance premiums to $3.07, a tax increase of several hundred
million dollars for 1994. The new Budget reverses this decision
but will maintain the tax until next December. The government
claims that the rate reduction will create 40,000 jobs, starting
Would the minister agree that a roll-back is necessary right
away, and that based on what the minister said, the premium
increase, a real tax on jobs, will cost us about 40,000 jobs
between now and next December?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the hon.
member agrees with the number of jobs we will create by
lowering unemployment insurance premiums, after the increase
we had to introduce as soon as we came to power because of the
deficit inherited from the previous government. If you look at
the number of jobs we will create, our roll-back is in line with
our infrastructure program and our job creation program which
was welcomed by everyone. It is really excellent.
Let me quote the following: ``The unemployment insurance
premium roll-back is a major incentive for small business. By
cutting social costs you get more jobs''; this was said by John
Bulloch, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent
Business. ``It should provide the conditions that will help the
private sector create jobs. And I think that is the tenor of this
budget''; this from Anne-Marie Hubert, accountant, participant
at the conference in Montreal. ``I think the minister has brought
down a budget that goes as far as the government can go
The Speaker: Order. The hon. member for
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie): Mr.
Speaker, thank you for interrupting the minister's quotes from
favourable press clippings.
It is really incredible. The minister tells us: ``You agree this
will create 40,000 jobs, and it certainly will, especially since
this year we are going to cut 40,000''. Now that is quite an
achievement. Mr. Speaker, this is like the cha-cha-cha: one step
forward, two steps backward. The minister admits that this year
he will be cutting 40,000 jobs, and he says that next year, he will
save 40,000 jobs.
Why does he not do something right away and save several
hundred million dollars in the process? This measure will create
unemployment, because-the minister admitted this
himself-they want to create jobs because this year they are
Does the minister feel his policy is responsible, yes or no?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, the answer is, of course,
According to statements by the vast majority of union and
business leaders, because we made it very clear that we are
going to freeze spending- that is how we can do this
roll-back-we are creating the kind of optimism that will create
jobs. And here again, I could quote, if you do not interrupt me,
Mr. Speaker, ``This is the right way to go, because it is
essentially a social cost, and if we can reduce the tax on jobs,
this will have a positive impact on employment growth''. That is
one quote, but there are thousands, Mr. Speaker.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, my
question for the Minister of Finance affects all Canadians and
not just one province.
Page one of the budget plan states that the government will
-interim target of a 3 per cent deficit-to-GDP ratio by 1996-97.
If 3 per cent is the interim target, is the ultimate target to
reduce the deficit to zero?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development
-Quebec): Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker,
somehow I expected that answer.
The obvious question for the minister then is when does he
forecast a successful attempt in getting to zero?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development
-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, we are on the road to that with this
budget. It is the first important step.
Again, I would want to go through a whole bunch of citations.
An hon. member: No, no.
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard): But they are so good, Mr.
It is very clearly our ultimate goal. It is a goal that we have set
out with this budget. As we begin to approach that goal there is
another goal that we intend to implement at the same time and
that is reductions of taxes because that is very important to a
nation which is overburdened.
Mr. Paul Mercier (Blainville-Deux-Montagnes): Mr.
Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Finance.
In his budget speech, the minister chose to target the
middle-class and particularly middle-income seniors. He has
decided to take $490 million out of their pockets over the next
Does the Minister of Finance realize that he is adding
unacceptably to the fiscal burden of 800,000 seniors by digging
into the pockets of every senior earning over $35,000 to find an
extra $560 over two years?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, first of all, 95 per cent of
seniors will be entitled to all or part of the age credit. Only 5 per
cent of seniors will no longer be entitled to any credit
All we are really doing is bringing the age credit in line with
other revenue-based credits.
I might add that our budget does not affect in any way Old Age
Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement or the pension
Mr. Paul Mercier (Blainville-Deux-Montagnes): Mr.
Speaker, the 800,000 people I was referring to are over and
above this 5 per cent.
Why did the minister choose to target middle-income seniors
rather than making sure that all corporations pay minimum tax
or doing away with outrageous family trusts?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, there are two questions in
one and I will answer both. As far as seniors and the budget are
concerned, if I could just quote the famous Mrs. Solange Denis
who was quoted in this morning's edition of Le Droit as saying:
``We must be careful not to think that we can do as we please
because we are senior citizens. Seniors must do their share; the
deficit is enormous and every one knows that a concerted effort
is required''. Certainly, we will take the word of Mrs. Denis on
this. Now, Mr. Speaker, the question was put to me-
Mr. Loubier: One question, was it?
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard): No, there were two. At any
rate, he is much cleverer than you are.
Mr. Speaker, in response to the question on family trusts,
about what we plan to do, allow me to refer the hon member to a
speech made by the Bloc Quebecois critic for finance, who said
in essence that the same thing applies to family trusts, that there
are no really comprehensive studies on the subject, that the Bloc
Quebecois reiterates its request that a parliamentary committee
* * *
Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Finance, and he will happy to
know he will not need reams of paper to answer it.
Last night CTV reported that the Governor General was using
a Challenger jet to shuttle between Ottawa and Arizona for a
total cost of $160,000. I know that we would all like to head-
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Marchi: There's the wild thing. Those westerners are
The Speaker: Order. As a general practice questions about
the Governor General are not handled in the House. Perhaps the
member could somehow phrase his question so that he could
elicit the information he wants without reference thereto. The
hon. member for Wild Rose.
Mr. Thompson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was surprised I
even had to talk about Challenger jets. I heard they were for sale.
I wonder if the finance minister would agree that it is time the
government started showing some restraint in this kind of
spending in these tough times.
Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I think
it is the same for the Governor General as it is for the Prime
Minister. When the Governor General and the Prime Minister
travel, questions of security are decided along guidelines
established by the security service of the RCMP.
Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose): Mr. Speaker, I can
accept that security may be important. I am not sure if it is or
not. I would like to check into it more.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier): That's disrespectful of the
Mr. Thompson: Probably security can be a factor. However I
believe there might be better ways of doing it.
Mr. Manley: Just ask General Renfrew.
Mr. Thompson: The next question I have for the minister is:
Would the finance minister be willing to take on an immediate,
full scale review of pay and perks for all employees of the
people of the country to put a stop to extravagant spending?
Mr. Marchi: They just froze it for goodness sake.
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
in the budget the Minister of Finance indicated that a review of
all boards and appointments is being conducted at this time
under the authority of the minister in charge, the President of the
Privy Council. We are reviewing everything to make sure there
will be no unnecessary spending.
In the case of the Governor General, I did not complete my
answer to that. The same principle applies as to Her Majesty the
* * *
Mrs. Christiane Gagnon (Quebec):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Finance. The budget speech
brings us 20 years back by taking into account the spouse's
income and dependant children to establish the level of UI
Does the minister not agree that it is women who will bear the
brunt of the changes brought about by his budget since they will
have to prove whether or not they have a spouse or dependant
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that the
role of women is very important in the unemployment insurance
reform we are presenting, as indicated by the fact that we have
substantially increased benefits for single mothers. We did away
with the draconian measures imposed by the Conservative Party.
When you look at the reform, it is very clear that the women's
role is very important to us and that we will act accordingly.
Mrs. Christiane Gagnon (Quebec): Mr. Speaker, does the
minister recognize that the enforcement of the new changes will
require the establishment of a monstrous control system similar
to a gang of boubous-macoutes which will harass women?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, the only monster around is in the
mind of the hon. member.
The fact is that the administration of this new effort to help
those most in need will be based upon those who are eligible for
the child tax credit, which is a basic standard form that is
applicable to all Canadians.
I would like to ease the fears of the hon. member and tell her
that if she has any more problems with monsters, she may want
to talk to the Leader of the Opposition about that.
* * *
Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of National Defence.
Yesterday this House voted on establishing a joint
parliamentary committee to review and revamp defence policy.
On Tuesday night the Minister of Finance announced cuts to
defence and the closing and downsizing of over 20 military
My question to the Minister of National Defence is this.
Could he inform the House as to what criteria was used in
selecting the bases to be downsized and cut? Can he give this
House an assurance that the actions in the budget of two nights
ago will not prejudice the work of the defence review
Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National
Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I
answered a similar question in the House a few weeks ago.
We cut in such a way as to deal with the surplus capacity, the
excess infrastructure, so as not to prejudice the outcome of a
I regret that many installations were deemed surplus after an
exhaustive review by our officials and thorough costing was
done. In fact one in the hon. member's constituency has been
severely hurt and I do regret that. We are trying to work with him
and the other members affected to see if mitigative measures can
be put in place to help those local communities replace some of
the economic activity that has been lost.
* * *
Mr. David Chatters (Athabasca):
Mr. Speaker, my question
is for the hon. Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
It is my understanding that the previous government and
native leaders agreed not to discuss Bill C-31, a bill defining
band membership as part of ongoing discussions regarding land
claims and native self-government. In fact, they agreed to leave
that matter to the courts for a decision so that land claims and
self-government discussions could proceed more quickly.
If native leaders made this agreement with the previous
government and were satisfied with it, why is the present
minister dragging Bill C-31 into discussions with native leaders
Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development): Mr. Speaker, it is a different government.
We started with the premise that the inherent right of
self-government exists. We look at communities, watersheds
and cultural aspects. We do not say that an aboriginal person on
a reserve is any different from an aboriginal person off that
reserve during negotiations.
It is very sensitive. I know there is strong feeling within the
bands across Canada. Part of the problem is on the return. No
one knew this was coming on the return. Everybody estimated it
would be about 10 per cent of those people reinstated wanting to
return to the reserve. In fact, it is closer to 40 or 50 per cent and it
provides tremendous pressures on the chiefs.
Notwithstanding all that, dealing with the people who
legitimately belong to bands is part of the ongoing discussions.
That is the policy of this government.
Mr. David Chatters (Athabasca): Mr. Speaker, I am not sure
if that answered my question or not. Native Canadians arrive at
agreements with governments and rely on governments, no
matter what party is in office, to honour those agreements.
My supplementary is this. The minister has yet to clearly deny
or confirm that he told members of bands in my riding that
Reformers hate Indians. Will he rise in this House today and
give an unequivocal yes or no. Did he so label Reformers as
haters of Indians, yes or no?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Indian Affairs, if he
wishes to answer the question.
Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development): Mr. Speaker, I think it is very important. The
Reform Party of Canada has asked me several times if I at a
private meeting said that the Reform Party of Canada hates
Indians. As I said yesterday in this House, I do not recall making
such a statement and others do not recall me making such a
However, if I did or even if the Reform Party thinks I did, and
I think that is important, let me state categorically to all
members of this House and to all Canadians that I do not think
the Reform Party of Canada hates Indians.
Notwithstanding partisanship, Mr. Speaker, the House of
Commons must continue to function. All of us in this House
must work together to improve the quality of life for all the First
Nations of Canada.
* * *
Mrs. Monique Guay (Laurentides):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Finance.
When the Liberals were in opposition, not only did they
condemn the cuts to social housing made by the Conservative
government, they also pledged, if elected, to restore funding in
Can the minister explain to us why the budget contains no
measures to restore funding for co-operative and non-profit
housing? Why is he reneging on commitments he made during
the last election campaign?
Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Public Works and
Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank and
congratulate the hon. member for keeping this issue before the
House. If the hon. member has anything besides congratulations
for the Minister of Finance, I think she should look at the budget
and see what the Minister of Finance did.
The minister is providing $2 billion under direct financing for
the purpose of social housing, $100 million is reaffirmed for the
purpose of RRAP which is social housing, and savings which
accrue to approximately $120 million over four years are for the
purpose of social housing which has yet to be defined depending
upon consultations with the various stakeholders.
I say to the hon. member and her party that they should
congratulate the Minister of Finance for his commitment to
Mrs. Monique Guay (Laurentides): Mr. Speaker, during the
election campaign, the Minister of Finance made the following
promise to groups and I quote: ``There is no question that a
Liberal government would see to it that funding was restored to
these areas''. What happened to this nice promise?
Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Public Works and
Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency): Mr. Speaker, I refer the hon. member
to table 7 of the budget plan which clearly spells out the
commitment of the Government of Canada as it relates to social
The hon. member and her party may wish to disagree as to
whether the RRAP is social housing or not. We on this side of the
House believe it to be social housing because it helps provide
low income Canadians with necessary assistance to make
improvements to their homes.
That is social housing. That is a live commitment by the
Minister of Finance.
* * *
Mr. Allan Kerpan (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre):
Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.
Three weeks ago the decisions on the Martensville child abuse
case were released. There is an uproar in Saskatchewan from all
those involved in this case. The people of my province are
demanding an official inquiry.
Will the minister press the Saskatchewan authorities to
initiate an inquiry in this case?
Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, I should first thank the hon.
member for his consideration in giving me advance notice of the
At least part of that case is still before the courts. Anything I
say ought not to be taken as a comment on the case but I am
happy to speak to the subject generally.
As the hon. member implicitly recognized in his question, the
issue whether there ought to be an inquiry is a provincial matter.
I have no doubt about commitment of Attorney General Robert
Mitchell of Saskatchewan to the integrity of the administration
of justice in his province.
I have every confidence that he will confront the decision
whether to order an inquiry in accordance with appropriate
factors but it really is a matter for the attorney general of that
province to deal with.
Mr. Allan Kerpan (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre): Mr.
Speaker, my supplementary question is for the Minister of
Justice. The ugly reality of child abuse in our society demands a
response from us as leaders.
What plans does the government have to help Canadians work
toward preventing this type of horrible crime against innocent
Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada): Again, Mr. Speaker, without referring to
the Martensville case itself, would you permit me to express to
the hon. member the confidence that I have in the effectiveness
and the responsiveness of the criminal justice system to deal
with these hateful crimes of child sexual abuse.
The fact is they do present extraordinary challenges in terms
of the police investigations, the prosecutions, and for the judges
and juries who must decide them.
There have been changes in the criminal law in recent years,
including bills that have made it easier for victims of alleged
crimes to testify, to have attendance with parents or friends in
the courtroom, and to use screens so they need not confront the
alleged attacker. May I remind the hon. member as well of the
steps we outlined in our platform document that we intend to
take to deal with this issue, including the creation of a national
register of child abusers.
I am confident in the present system. This government has
plans to improve it further so that we can deal with this very
difficult and hateful crime in an effective way.
* * *
Mrs. Georgette Sheridan (Saskatoon-Humboldt):
Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.
There is a perception among many Canadians that
government departments seek to avoid future budgetary
reductions by recklessly draining their budgets at fiscal year
end. Will the minister tell this House how he will implement the
red book commitment to exercise unwavering discipline in
controlling federal spending?
Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for Infrastructure): Mr. Speaker,
there is indeed that perception on the part of Canadians about
rushing to spend the money before the year runs out. Of course,
under the Financial Administration Act it does lapse. Perhaps
from time to time it means that managers will spend prematurely
or money will be expended prior to when it needs to be.
To combat that we have in this current fiscal year put in place
the opportunity to carry over a percentage of the budget so that
spending can be done at more appropriate times beyond the year
end. I am pleased to inform the hon. member and other members
of this House that as of now we have made the decision to
increase that amount to 5 per cent of operating budgets. That
should severely curtail at least the perception and of course the
reality of that past practice so we can ensure the effective and
efficient use of taxpayers' dollars
* * *
Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Finance, but first of all, on behalf
of all members of the Bloc Quebecois, I would like to express
our solidarity with the people of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
and our disappointment with the comments made by the Prime
Minister earlier in this question period.
In his budget, the Minister of Finance announces a slight
reduction in government expenditures of only $400 million and
postpones until 1995 the real decisions on streamlining the
government's administrative machinery. Thousands of
statements condemn him in this regard.
Why did the Minister of Finance not act this year to
implement without delay the repeated recommendations made
year after year by the Auditor General to streamline government
and reduce waste estimated at several billion dollars?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, regarding not only the
cuts but also our plan to streamline government and to really
make it much more efficient, in co-operation with the President
of the Treasury Board and the Minister responsible for Public
Service Renewal, we have outlined in our budget the most
substantial government reform process since World War II.
Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe): Mr. Speaker, does
the minister not agree that, by acting without delay on the
government cuts recommended by the Auditor General year
after year, he would show a real political will to end the waste of
public funds instead of going after the unemployed, the poor and
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, as we already stated in
this House, we accept the great majority of the Auditor
General's suggestions and we intend-we said so in the
budget-to implement them this year. That is our intention.
Mr. John Cummins (Delta):
Mr. Speaker, my question is for
the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
The enabling authority for the aboriginal fishing strategy will
expire this spring. As I understand it cabinet must review the
program and then rule on whether to continue or terminate it.
Will the minister tell us when we can expect such a decision,
whether the decision will be made in splendid isolation, or will
input be sought from those affected by the program?
Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans): Mr.
Speaker, I thank the member for Delta for his question.
The member will know I had the great privilege and honour to
be in the province of British Columbia within the last two
weeks. I met with many groups while in British Columbia. With
each and every group I talked to, including during an address to
the Pacific Trollers Association, we had a discussion of the
aboriginal fisheries strategy.
Certainly consultation is not being done, to quote the member,
``in splendid isolation''. May I say that I would welcome input
from the member either on the floor of the House, in committee,
or privately on this important subject.
The government will be seized of the matter within the next
number of weeks. We will conduct the review as is appropriate.
We will be glad to report our findings to the country as a whole
through the auspices of the House of Commons in the
appropriate way and time.
* * *
Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops):
Mr. Speaker, the minister
responsible for public works indicated that the government had
demonstrated a sensitivity for seniors with the continuation of
the RRAP. I agree. The Minister of Finance indicated some
sensitivity to low income Canadians with special
responsibilities by having a benefit differential with the UI
My question is for the Minister of Finance. When the decision
was made to freeze salaries of the public service across the
board, and recognizing the tremendous variation from very low
paid jobs to very high, why did he not show the same sensitivity
to those people who work for the government? Why did he not
recognize that to freeze those wages for everybody is quite
different in terms of impact for somebody making $20,000 a
year and somebody making $120,000 a year?
Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for Infrastructure): Mr. Speaker,
prior to the budget being brought in I consulted with employee
representatives, the various union leaders, with respect to the
fact that in order to get the deficit down we were going to have to
make some of the cuts on the wage bill. We looked at various
options. I told them that we were looking for up to a billion
dollars. I got their input on this matter.
First and foremost union representatives said that they wanted
to preserve jobs. That is what we took. We found that the best
way to make those cuts was to extend the wage freeze and to try
to preserve jobs.
We looked at a lot of other options: everything from wage
rollbacks to the kinds of measures that the hon. member's leader
in Ontario had taken, but those Rae days, those kinds of
measures were very unpopular with the union. We did what we
believed was best to preserve the jobs for our employees.
* * *
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to say
that during my response to the member for Calgary Southwest I
used the word schizophrenia. I would like to withdraw that
remark. It was inappropriate to use it in that context.
Mr. Ray Speaker (Lethbridge):
Mr. Speaker, my point of
order is with regard to citation 495 of Beauchesne's under the
documents cited section.
Today the Minister of Finance cited a number of documents in
his responses to questions. I was wondering if we could have the
minister table those documents in respect to citation 495.
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development
-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to accede to the
request. I would not only like to table these documents but I have
a pile more I would like to table as well.
* * *
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval):
Mr. Speaker, as is
customary at this time, I would like the Government House
Leader to tell us what the business of the House will be for
tomorrow and next week.
Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, I
am pleased to provide the weekly business statement.
Today the House will continue with the budget debate.
Tomorrow the House will proceed to second reading of Bill
C-14, respecting the borrowing authority. We will continue this
debate when we come back on Monday, March 7 and if it is
completed before the end of the day, we will return to
consideration of Bill C-7 and Bill C-5.
Tuesday, March 8 shall be an allotted day and there will be a
vote on the budget subamendment at the end of the day.
On Wednesday, March 9 we will continue with the budget
debate. On Thursday, March 10 we will conclude the budget
debate with the votes, if any, at the end of the day on Thursday.
On Friday, March 11 we will commence the report stage of
Bill C-3 respecting federal-provincial fiscal arrangements. Of
course we will consult further about any other business that day.
Finally my parliamentary secretary has some motions to
move on consent which I understand he will do as soon as I
complete these remarks.
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons): Mr. Speaker, I
think you would find unanimous consent for the following. I
That, pursuant to its order of reference of February 8, 1994, concerning the
modernization and restructuring of Canada's social security system, the House
authorize the required personnel of the human resources development
committee to travel from place to place for the purpose of preparing and holding
video teleconferences of committee sittings during the week of March 6, to 12,
1994 in the following cities: Vancouver, Edmonton, Windsor, Quebec and
Sydney, Nova Scotia.
I should state that I am informed the total approximate cost of
the travel contemplated by this motion and authorized by this
motion is $11,000.
The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
Mr. Milliken: Mr. Speaker, I have another brief motion and I
believe again there is unanimous consent. I move:
That, if a recorded division is demanded on Monday, March 7, 1994 at the
conclusion of the debate on second reading of Bill C-14, an act respecting
borrowing authority, such division shall be deferred until Tuesday, March 8,
1994 at 6.30 p.m.
Members have heard the terms of the motion.
Is there unanimous agreement?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
The Speaker: Today during statements by members I
recognized the member for Red Deer but the member for
Vegreville made a statement. The record will be corrected to
show that it was the member for Vegreville who took the floor.
* * *
Mr. Allan Kerpan (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre):
Speaker, I consider it an honour to rise in the House today to pay
tribute to a veteran honourable member and a friend of this
Hon. Douglas Charles Neil passed from this world on
Monday, February 21. Mr. Neil served his community and
country well. Along with community service Mr. Neil, like so
many others, was part of the overseas forces during World War
II. As a member of Parliament, Doug had nothing but the highest
respect from his colleagues as well as from his constituents. He
truly was an honourable member.
He served as member for Moose Jaw from 1972 until 1984.
This was the southern and urban part of the current riding of
Moose Jaw-Lake Centre, the electoral district which I am now
privileged to represent.
Although I did not know Doug personally I have heard many
in my riding refer to him and the service he gave to them, to his
country and to the House. These references of which I speak
were without exception favourable and commendatory.
Just today I was reading through press accounts of Doug's
passing. I am struck by the deep sense of loss many of his
personal friends are expressing at this time. Even stronger than
that sentiment is the gratitude and respect these friends hold for
Mr. Neil. Truly his life of service impacted his fellow citizens in
a profound way.
I join all those who sorrow at this time of Mr. Neil's death. On
behalf of members on this side of the House I express my sincere
condolences to his wife, Charlotte, and to his family. I also join
in the recognition that Doug Neil has had and will have a lasting
influence for good. May his memory be blessed.
Hon. Ralph E. Goodale (Minister of Agriculture and
Agri-Food): Mr. Speaker, it was my privilege to know the late
Doug Neil and to serve with him for a term in the House in the
Doug was first elected as the member for Moose Jaw in 1972
and he served as a member of Parliament until 1984. From 1974
until 1979 it was my honour to represent the Saskatchewan
constituency of Assiniboia which at that time was right next to
the constituency of Moose Jaw.
Doug and I shared a common interest in issues such as
agriculture, transportation and rural affairs. We had many
encounters on these issues and others in the House, in the
Standing Committee on Agriculture, in the Standing Committee
on Transport and on many public platforms, especially in
western Canada. We obviously had our policy disagreements,
but I believe we also shared a mutual respect for each other and a
profound commitment to the well-being of those we were
elected to serve.
Prior to his career as a member of Parliament, Doug Neil
distinguished himself as an RCAF navigator, a barrister and
solicitor, a Moose Jaw city councillor and an active contributor
to his community through such vehicles as the Moose Jaw Wild
Animal Regional Park, the Royal Canadian Legion, the United
Services Institute and the Moose Jaw Kinsmen and K-40
Doug Neil was well known and well respected in Moose Jaw.
He was a proud citizen of Saskatchewan and Canada. He was a
successful and effective member of Parliament and a dedicated
servant to his community. He will be missed.
I wish to join with the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake
Centre to express on behalf of the Government of Canada our
sincere condolences to Mr. Neil's family.
Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe): Mr. Speaker,
although I did not know Douglas Charles Neil personally, I
would like at this time, on behalf of all my Bloc Quebecois
colleagues, to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and
friends of the former member for Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
who served in this House from 1972 to 1984.
Mr. John Solomon (Regina-Lumsden): Mr. Speaker, it is
my honour this afternoon to join with my colleagues of this
assembly to extend deepest sympathies on behalf of the New
Democratic Party caucus to the family of the late Doug Neil, the
former member for Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan.
We are very saddened to learn about Mr. Neil's death. We do
acknowledge that he and his family committed a great deal of
time and energy, to serving Saskatchewan, to serving Canada
and to serving the farming community in western Canada.
Along with my deskmate, the member for Saint John, a
Conservative Party member, and on behalf of the NDP members,
I offer my deepest sympathies to the family.
The House resumed consideration of the motion that this
House approves in general the budgetary policy of the
government; the amendment; and the amendment to the
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, after listening to the response to
the budget proposal of Tuesday and examining very carefully
the comments of members of the opposition, outside
commentators and others, I am struck by one very sad and
People still have not come to grips with the fact that there is a
jobs crisis in this country just as there is a jobs crisis right
around the world. They have not really come to terms with the
reality but we are going to have to look at a fundamental change
in employment strategy for this country and begin to make the
changes to make it work.
The Bloc Quebecois, out of sheer partisanship, is claiming
that the budget is an attack on the unemployed. However, what it
neglects to say is that the budget is an attack on unemployment.
The Bloc prefers to see people remain on unemployment
insurance rather than have a chance at getting a job.
The difference is that we want people to go back to work while
they want to protect the status quo. They want to protect the old
way and not look to create new opportunities.
The Reform Party has elevated the reduction of the deficit to
an end in itself, not what it will do, not what impact it might
have, but an end in itself to the point even that the member for
Medicine Hat rises in this House and says that we should have a
complete cancellation of government programs for training at a
time when every single whip would know that the best
investment we can make is in the people of this country.
The outside commentators who have commented on the
budget have said that the government in reducing UI benefits, is
doing what the Conservatives said they were going to do. What
they ignore is how the changes we made are designed to put
people back to work.
It is about time in this Chamber, in this city and across this
country that we begin to examine seriously how to create work,
how to find work for Canadians, how we distribute work and
how we prepare people for work. That is the overriding, ever
compelling responsibility of this government and it should be
the responsibility of all members of this Chamber.
The shortage of jobs is world-wide. We know that. It is not
simply happening in Canada. In two weeks time, there will be a
major job summit of the G-7 countries at which we are going to
come together to examine this shrinkage of employment, the
shredding of jobs.
The OECD has said that the number one employment problem
in European countries is the lack of job creation. We are finding
increasingly that all the old standards, all the old formulas no
longer work. One pushes the levers of productivity, competition
and growth and it does not end up in jobs. It is like pushing a wet
Therefore we have to put our minds to the serious question of
how we begin to find jobs. That means that we have to take a
look at what is happening in the employment market of this
country. For example, 10 years ago part-time work was about 10
per cent of all jobs created. It is now close to 20 per cent.
In the 1990s all new jobs will require a minimum of
post-secondary education. Between 1990 and 1993 jobs held by
university graduates increased by 17 per cent, those held by high
school graduates increased .5 per cent, and the jobs held by
those who did not graduate from high school decreased by 17 per
That is an enormous revolution in the world of work. We have
members in this House unable, unwilling and not ready to begin
facing that new reality, talking about defending the old ways of
doing things. The world of work is changing and it is about time
members opposite began to change with it.
I have just come from a meeting of a group of labour leaders,
business leaders and academics, a special group I have
established to look at this question of work, the distribution of
work, and who are prepared to join a common cause to look at
this issue. The conclusion at the first meeting is clear. The
traditional strategies of productivity and economic growth are
not working any more. The time for political posturing is over.
I would say to members who have spent a great deal of time in
this House, Reform members, Bloc members, our own
members, we must make Parliament relevant again. The best
way to make Parliament relevant is to start talking about
relevant things such as how we get people back to work.
That is what the budget of Tuesday did. It began to set the
stage, the foundation, the framework by which we can begin to
create a new employment strategy for Canadians. That is what
Canadians want. That is why they elected us in October.
All the other smoke-screens and masquerades and charades
that we have heard will not mask the fundamental fact that the
deep, abiding, overwhelming commitment of all members of
this government is to get Canadians back to work. We invite
members opposite to help us in that task. Just take a look, let us
clear away all the attempts to short-circuit and create
Let me give some clear indication of our commitment to job
creation. The leader of the Reform Party wanted to know what
we are going to do about it.
The infrastructure program has been part of the budget,
65,000 direct jobs and perhaps close to 130,000 indirect jobs as
a result. The youth service program has 17,000 as a first
estimate. By an interim program to help get young people from
school into the workplace we are talking about 60,000. On the
reduction of the UI premiums alone, from a statutory
requirement to be raised to $3.30 by 1995 will be brought down
to $3.00 which in itself will create 40,000 jobs.
On a rough total, my mathematics are pretty simple, that adds
up to over 180,000 to 200,000 jobs forecast by direct initiatives
of this government alone.
We believe that will set the climate in which the private sector
can respond. It will begin to set the engine rolling, it will begin
to put a catalyst in the system so once again people will no
longer have the insecurity of not knowing where the jobs are.
They will know they have a government that cares where their
jobs are and that is going to do something about it.
When we hear all these cherry-picking criticisms, let us not
forget the central task that we have to begin to mould our
programs, our initiatives and our policies around that central
fundamental issue of how to get people working again.
Let me talk for a minute about the unemployment insurance
changes. Members opposite have made a great deal of effort to
try to distort the actual meaning of what took place. How can
they distort the fact that in every single consultation that the
Minister of Finance and, in every single meeting right across
this country, we heard small business say to us that if we reduce
the premiums, if we begin to reduce the burden of the payroll
tax, if we begin to show for the first time that we are prepared to
give small business a chance, it will go out and create work for
That is exactly what we have done. We have started a contract
with the small business community across this country to say:
We are beginning to do our part, now do yours. That is the
message in the budget.
To give one example, if there is a small enterprise of 100
employees, the net effect of the changes announced by the
Minister of Finance would be a net saving to that employer of
$30,000. There is one new job all by itself. What is wrong with
that and why do members opposite oppose creating another new
job in a small business?
I want answers from them because they have not given them
so far. All they are asking is how do we keep people on
unemployment insurance. They do not ask how we put people
back in the work place. That is the question they should be
Certainly we have made a very clear linkage between one's
work history and the amount of benefits provided. Some ask
why. I would like to cite a couple of examples. It is time we
began to break that sense that UI itself has become part of the
wage scale of so many Canadians.
I have a copy of a letter written to the Minister of Finance
from someone living in a small town in British Columbia. The
letter says: ``The people in this town do the necessary work and
then refuse any further work until next year. They feel that the
only time they need to work is to build up their UI claims and
that they do not feel the need to do further work''. The sad part
about this is that they say their children are beginning to do the
We are building a culture in which we are saying that the only
requirement is to get a bare minimum of 10 weeks and then one
can be on pogey for the next 42 weeks. There is no relationship
between work and benefit. We believe that unemployment
insurance is crucial. It is a vital program. It is an essential
program but it shall not be used to provide a replacement for
work. It should be simply-
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre): That is what the
members opposite want us to do. They want to perpetuate a
system that is killing jobs in this country and destroying the
incentive to work.
I think it is disgraceful at this time when there are so many
unemployed Canadians that we have an opposition that says
keep them that way, do not try to put them back to work.
Mr. Speaker, that is the position of the Bloc Quebecois. It
prefers unemployment to jobs.
The fact of the matter is we have also said that we will begin to
change our system to respond to need, that we recognize there
are large numbers of people in that system who need special
Again we changed the UI program to ensure that those who
have the greatest need will receive the greatest benefits and we
have raised the benefits.
Some journalists yesterday asked me how we are different
from the Tories. When we changed UI conditions we brought
down benefits as a result to change work. When we changed
benefits we made sure those most in need had the highest level
We also have made fundamental changes to the voluntary quit
portion to change the onus of responsibility from the employee
to the employer to make sure there is a built-in fairness in the
system. That is how we are different. We care about the
The hon. member laughs. That is the hon. member who will
stand in her place and say do something about social housing to
create jobs but at the same time supports the party which has no
interest in creating jobs by bringing down UI premiums, by
changing the world of UI so that people have a chance.
That is the problem. I do not think that party is really
interested in getting Canadians back to work. Its real agenda is
to provide delay, distortion, to show that federalism does not
work so its own self-prophecy of separatism will be the agenda,
not putting people back to work. That is the real, true agenda of
the Bloc Quebecois.
We fully recognize that those changes in themselves are not
enough. They are just the beginning. That is why we have put in
place within the budget a fundamental restructuring of those
programs at the federal level. It can provide a new framework
for employment in this country, our training programs, our
employment programs, our educational programs, our
assistance programs, and unemployment insurance, and to begin
to provide the integration of those programs so they begin to
reinforce one another, they begin to provide a synergy of
assistance and are not simply used as a way of propping up old
ways of doing things.
We recognize that action is required. We recognize that
Canadians have voted for us, not for more studies, not for
lengthy and delayed consultations. They want action. They want
this government and this Parliament to show that it is ready to
work to put Canadians back to work. That is the message we had
and that is the message in the budget. That is why we believe that
it is going to be absolutely crucial in the days and weeks ahead
that we begin to build upon this framework.
A week or so ago we met with the provincial governments
which have offered their full co-operation in a major program of
reform. They are not hanging back, obscuring and obfuscating
like members opposite have done during this budget debate.
They are prepared to get in there and work.
What is more important is that in joint co-operation with the
provinces we have come to an agreement that over the next year
or two we will initiate a number of new programs targeted at the
most chronically unemployed Canadians, those who have been
on welfare for a long period of time, those who have exhausted
benefits and those who have various employment handicaps.
The Minister of Finance has dedicated $800 million over the
next two years to give this country a brand new lease on
innovation. We are challenging the provinces, ourselves,
employers, business groups and labour unions to become part of
the new thinking and approach to the world of employment. We
are prepared to use scarce resources to make sure that those
hardest hit, those most in need, those with the longest record of
unemployment will be given that assistance.
I can report to members of the House today that already we
have applications and proposals from every single province in
this country. That is the kind of spirit of co-operation we need.
That is the kind of working together that Canadians expect. That
is the kind of esprit that Canadians voted for, that we have a
notion as to how we can bring Canadians together to reason
together and find ways of working together. That is the kind of
invitation we keep putting out to members of the opposition to
Of course they do not want to co-operate. We know why they
do not. We know what their agenda is. We hear it every day in the
House. Co-operation is not part of their make-up. Working
together as Canadians is not part of their make-up. Trying to
make this country economically strong and firm again is not part
of their make-up. They have a very different, destructive,
negative agenda but we will not let them succeed. We will not let
them have their way because we want to put Canadians back to
We believe that the budget is the first step in giving Canadians
a sense of a new direction, a sense that they recognize that there
is now a plan in place, that we are moving toward a new
employment strategy, that we will begin to work within the
programs of our own level of government, work with provinces
and work with the private sector to give that sense that we can
begin to reorganize, restructure and reform the system of
employment in this country.
I do not pretend it is going to be easy. I do not say it is
something that is going to happen overnight. I recognize the
difficulties of it. However, I also recognize that if we do nothing
about it, if we simply hang on to the old shibboleth, if we simply
echo the old arguments, if we simply hang on to the status quo
then nothing will be done. We will not be able to have a better
trained population. We will not be able to say to our young
people that we are going to give them a chance to have a first
time job with real employment, not to go on UI as their first
source of income. We will not be able to say to older workers
that we are prepared to help them get back to work.
My colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and I are
presently working with other ministers on a program in the
Atlantic in order to say to the 35,000 to 40,000 people in the
fishing industry who have seen their livelihood disappear that
we are prepared to give them a five year commitment of
long-term stability, to change their training, to change their
careers and to put them back to work on eco tourism,
aquaculture, restoring the resources, conserving the reap of the
natural riches of the Atlantic provinces so they will no longer
have to say, when they get up in the morning: ``I have nothing to
do. I am waiting for the fish to come back''.
We are going to help them to go back to work and to put the
fish back. They have been harvesting for 20 years. Now we think
we can help them plan for the next 10. That is what we want to
do. That is the new way of thinking about things. We are again
working in co-operation with the provinces, the unions and the
industry to make it happen.
I think that this is the great crusade for this Parliament. This is
the great mission that we have before us. How do we once again
give Canadians a sense of the dignity of work, the opportunity to
have a livelihood based upon their labours and their creative
talents, something that is the entitlement and the right of every
It will not be perfect and we will not fill every hole. We are
now putting in place a youth service corps for community
employment, an intern program for workplace training, and
major changes to student aid and education so we can provide
serious incentives to get back to school and get back to work. We
are basically providing a guarantee to all our young people from
18 to 21 that if they want to improve themselves, if they want to
go to work, if they want to change their skills, the federal
government is there to help. Those are the kinds of things we are
Mr. Speaker, you have been very kind in allowing me to speak
this full period of time. I hope that what we have been able to
convey to members of this House and to Canadians listening that
the need for a new employment strategy is paramount. The
foundations were laid in the budget of our finance minister, but
we have a lot of work to do yet.
We have enormous work to do in this Parliament in coming
together to put forward ideas, to provide a forum for Canadians
to come together and present their solutions. We have an
enormous amount of work to do in working in our own
communities to change the attitudes of business and labour and
community groups to begin seeing that employment is the major
priority. We have a lot of work to do ourselves, to begin to
understand that we can no longer separate or rely on the old
habits and old ways of thinking.
If we do it right, if we are able to mobilize ourselves into this
new world of work, to face the new realities that we all have to
experience, then I believe that at the end of this Parliament we
will be able to say to Canadians we have done well by helping
them to get back to work.
That is our purpose and our mission.
Mr. Benoît Tremblay (Rosemont): Mr. Speaker, when one
has a little parliamentary experience and hears a minister make,
in reply to the budget speech or as a follow-up to the budget
speech, the kind of partisan remarks the Minister for Human
Resources Development just made, you can be sure that he is
He spent half of his speech blaming the opposition. Yet, he is
the one who ran an entire election campaign on job creation. The
truth is plain and simple and, if it was easy to speak the truth,
then the minister could speak it calmly. Canadians would
Why does the minister have to make such a fuss, raise his
voice and make accusations? The reason is simple. I cannot say
that he is lying, of course, but I can say that he is not telling the
whole truth. The truth of the matter is quite simple. They are
making $5.5 billion worth of cuts on the backs of the
unemployed, cutting $2.5 billion in social assistance and there is
no telling what is going to happen two years from now to
post-secondary education, I mean federal transfer payments to
the provinces in that area, but one thing is sure, we can expect
cuts. We do not have the individual amounts for social
assistance and post-secondary education, but the combined
amount is in the budget.
The minister talks about job creation. He did so during the
entire campaign. Yet, in January, the government decided to
collect an extra $800 million in UI premiums. And now, it is
telling us that in 1995 it is going to reduce the premium rate and
roll it back to its previous level. That will happen next year.
The loss of 40,000 jobs has just been announced, and we will
have more jobs in 1995. Of course, this is making the
unemployment situation worse, so benefits have to be cut.
Everyone can see that you are cutting benefits. Everyone can see
that you are getting ready to cut social assistance. That is clear
from your budget.
It apparently contains measures for businesses. As we said
before, Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General of Canada clearly
demonstrated that Canadian corporations were hiding millions
of dollars in international tax havens. Yet, there is only one tiny
little measure with regard to banks and insurance companies in
this budget, and it will not be implemented before November
In the Globe and Mail this morning banks were reported as
saying: ``We did not get an answer yet. We are waiting. It is only
for 1995, anyway''. Basically, what they mean is that things can
change between now and then. Cuts on the other hand take effect
I would ask the minister to calmly tell us the truth on this. He
does not need to shout if he wants to get his message across to
the Canadian people. Neither does he need to accuse the
opposition. If he has positive steps to introduce, we are prepared
The Deputy Speaker: Order! I recognize the hon. Minister of
Human Resources Development.
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre): Mr. Speaker, in
response to the hon. member who said that there were all these
cuts taking place in the budget and so on, I would remind him
that there is a need in any budget to balance the objectives. One
of the most important is to make sure that the fiscal stability of
the country is held in a position which is respected by
I would like to cite a very important authority on this matter. I
quote from a page of Hansard of May 4, 1989.
We never see any recognition of the fact that we have throughout the country a
responsibility for public finances and that those finances must be absolutely
sound if we are to maintain social programs.
In other words, says the speaker, our responsibility is not just
to Canadians living today who are having trouble but also to
future generations. He goes on to talk about the need to handle
the debt and deficit problems. The authority I cite is the-
The authority I just quoted is the hon. leader of the Bloc
Quebecois, when he was a member of the Conservative
government. He has changed his position since he left the
Mulroney government to become leader of the Bloc Quebecois.
The Deputy Speaker: Many members would like to speak. Is
the minister finished?
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre): Mr. Speaker, I
understand. I would just like to simply have the amount of time
that the hon. member took in posing the question. I think he
missed it. I do not think he was in the House. I just want to point
out to him that under the direct job creation measures proposed
in the budget, not just the general economic climate ones, we are
talking about 180,000 new jobs being created as a result. That
seems to me to be a pretty good start.
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands): Mr. Speaker, I
was interested in the minister's comments about selective
attention. Basically I think what he was saying was tunnel
vision. He was referring to his aim to achieve jobs for
Canadians. He referred to the Reform aim or our concentration
on the deficit as the be all and end all.
However, in answer to the questions posed to the Minister of
Finance less than an hour ago, after finally admitting that his
eventual goal should be the achievement of a balanced budget,
he volunteered the information, ``and that would allow us to
reduce taxes''. By reducing taxes you enable business to expand
and to generate jobs. These are long-term jobs.
If I may quote the hon. minister, he has invested $6 billion, $2
billion from the federal government, $2 billion from the
provincial government and $2 billion from the municipal
government, all from the same taxpayer and this is going to
create 60,000 jobs, I think he said, with various off-shuttles. But
these are short-term jobs and they are bought with borrowed
I think the answer to the problem of Canada is to get our fiscal
situation right and to generate long term jobs so that we own our
future rather than owing it to somebody else.
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre): Mr. Speaker, there
may be no argument about the question of getting the fiscal
situation in order and bringing down the deficit. It is a question
of how you want to do it. The Reform Party says the only way to
do it is to cut all kinds of expenditures which would throw tens
of thousands of Canadians out of work. That is what they are
talking about. They are saying we did not go far enough. We
have members here who are saying that we went too far.
They are saying that the kind of Draconian measures proposed
by the Reform Party would have the unemployment rate in this
country going up to 13 per cent, 14 per cent, 15 per cent. We are
saying that the only way to ultimately bring down the deficit is
to get Canadians back to work, get them back creating revenue
for their families. Get them off unemployment insurance. Get
them back paying taxes. The responsibility of the government is
to provide the stimulus to do that, to create a climate in which
government can give a signal, a message to the private sector
that the hard days are over and that they should get back and
In my speech I asked: What is one of the important signals?
By reducing unemployment insurance premiums from a
projected statutory rate of $3.30, it brings it down to $3 which
for every company of 100 employees puts $30,000 back in the
pocket of the employer; it puts $80 to $100 back in the pocket of
the employee. That employee can go out and buy a kitchen table
or his kid's shoes. That is how we are going to create deficit
reduction, not by the cut and slash program-
Mr. Osvaldo Nunez (Bourassa): Mr. Speaker, I listened with
attention to the very aggressive speech by the Minister of
Human Resources Development. He launched several attacks on
the Bloc Quebecois. He occasionally uses progressive terms to
outline conservative, sometimes right-wing policies.
Instead of tackling unemployment, the budget goes after the
unemployed themselves. The Bloc Quebecois worries about the
most disadvantaged in our society: unemployed workers and
welfare recipients. I come from the union movement, Mr.
Speaker, and we are not alone in our fight against the minister's
budget and his cuts to unemployment insurance. I had feedback
from three Quebec unions, namely the FTQ, the CEQ and the
CNTU. I also heard from the Canadian Labour Congress. Over
two million Canadians are very concerned about the govern-
ment's budget. The president of the FTQ, Clément Godbout,
said, ``To effectively tackle the debt and deficit problem, we
must put people back to work by creating jobs. However, this
concern does not appear in the budget''. For the FTQ, this is
incomprehensible. Not only does the government not do
anything to create jobs, but it is hitting the unemployed very
hard by taking $6 billion over the next three years from the
unemployment insurance fund.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member must
conclude his comments and ask his question as soon as possible.
Mr. Nunez: What does the Minister of Human Resources
Development think of the unions' unanimous opposition to this
government's budget, to its cuts to unemployment insurance and
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre): Mr. Speaker, what
the unions said, as reported to us by the hon. member, is false, is
not true. Indeed, the budget we brought down will create
180,000 jobs. I hope that the hon. member will send to union
members in his riding messages of hope and not the ones being
sent by the Bloc Quebecois which say there is no hope for the
unemployed. We are sending a positive message of hope. I hope
he will relay it.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, I
cannot help but be astounded how a minister of a government
can stand up and continuously say that spending more
government money will create more jobs. Ultimately that
money is going to turn into a higher deficit, more debt. When is
that going to get paid off?
My question though is on the infrastructure program. I was
told very recently by a mayor of a municipality that the
infrastructure program was basically going to accommodate
their program to build sewers and roads. All it is doing quite
frankly is costing them one-third of the cost instead of the whole
The Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Human Resources
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): What happens-
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. member's question is
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre): I am astounded
equally by how members of the Reform Party do not have the
economic sense to understand that when we put capital
investment in new transportation, in new infrastructure, in
improving productivity, we create new wealth for the country.
Do they have no understanding of how important it is to
improve the productivity of the country and to help people get
back to work?
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West): You don't know what
economic sense is.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. Time has thankfully expired on
the questions and answers.
Mr. Jim Silye (Calgary Centre): Mr. Speaker, I rise to
address the budgetary policy of the government as presented by
the Minister of Finance.
As a new member of Parliament and a member of the Standing
Committee on Finance I listened intently to the minister's
speech in the hope that this budget was going to be different.
After cutting through the finance minister's wonderful rhetoric,
the budget is nothing more than a continuation of the Trudeau
philosophy that we can grow out of our economic problems.
That concept was the solution for a different problem at a
different time. In fact, the only things that grow out of this
budget are overall spending, up by $3.3 billion, and the number
of task forces, committees and hearings to determine and sell
next year's budget. These new studies are up to about 15 new
committees with three or four task forces.
I have said this before in the House and I will say it again.
Total government revenues are projected at $123.9 billion. Total
expenditures are slightly less than this. It is the interest on the
debt that creates the deficit of $41 billion. Interest expenses on
the federal debt now total 33 cents of every tax dollar. I submit
that it is the debt and the interest expense to service the debt that
puts in jeopardy the viability and flexibility of our existing
The Minister of Finance has taken great pride in the
unprecedented degree of consultation that his party sought in the
preparation of the budget. What good is consultation when a
government will not implement policies that people want and
I fail to see the finance minister's so-called game plan that he
claims to have presented in a budget that is full of
wait-until-next-year promises. Spending increases are this
year and all the big spending cuts are left for future years.
As a former professional football player I know the value and
the purpose of a game plan. A game plan is about attacking a
known obstacle or problem which in this case is the rising costs
associated with servicing the debt.
Based on the government's game plan I can tell members that
they are attacking the wrong problem because they have
ignored the debt. It will not work in the field of economics.
However through his great political skills and wondrous
humour skills, the Minister of Finance will certainly know how
to talk to the reporters after the game. Will he blame the
players, the game plan or himself when this plan fails?
The finance minister has promised to ``put an end to real
drift'' by guaranteeing meaningful jobs, training and retraining.
How does he plan to do this when he tells the people who pay our
salaries to wait another year for government to fulfil its
policies? It appears that he has learned nothing while he was
eight years in opposition and has applied, I am sad to say, very
little of his own business acumen.
I hope that the finance minister and the Prime Minister truly
enjoy themselves as they travel across the country selling
another year's worth of hope and weak promises on the rock
solid financial foundation of living on borrowed money and over
spending while those to whom they speak must live within their
I submit that the budget, like those before it, has missed the
mark. The Minister of Finance has truly wasted some golden
opportunities to reduce spending and here are a few of them.
The budget could have included the elimination of business
subsidies and regional development programs; savings to the
government, $3 billion to $4 billion. The budget could have
outlined at the minimum a 25 per cent reduction of subsidies to
crown corporations; savings to the government, $1.25 billion. In
this area our party would have gone further and outlined the
value of some privatization, with the application of the proceeds
from the sale to the national debt, another savings to
government of $3 billion to $4 billion.
This budget could also have addressed old age security
payments going to seniors whose household income is in excess
of the national average of $54,000 per year. That is $54,000 and
not $35,000 as the finance minister seems to say on television.
They are not truly needy. Savings to the government, $2 billion
to $3 billion.
If the government or the finance minister had done nothing, in
other words no new budget, with his own figures and estimates it
shows us that the federal deficit would have gone down, dropped
to $41.2 billion from this artificially inflated $45 billion, in the
coming fiscal year, and unemployment would have remained at
around 11 per cent. By doing nothing that is what we would
achieve. What the finance minister did was shuffle the financial
deck of cards and confuse everyone with a new hand to evaluate.
The finance minister has deferred the tough decisions and at
the end of the day has ended up with virtually the same results.
Why did he bother? He has created a whole lot of pain with no
net gain for those who have been asked to sacrifice. At the end
of the day, in my opinion, if you are asked to contribute and
sacrifice, there should be a reward, and there is none in the
budget for those people.
In my estimation, Canadians have been dealt a rotten hand
while the finance minister on the other side of the table has
finessed four aces in the financial deck of cards. When will he
play the ace of toughness and cut overall spending by the
government? When will he play the ace of reality and stop
hiding behind taxpayer funded task forces and committees to
debate the obvious? When will he make the real choice; do what
has to be done, reduce overall spending.
When will he play the ace of change and show something for
his party's eight years of opposition, spent criticizing Tory
budgets, and work toward helping Canadians see the benefit in
attacking the debt instead of adding to it, more so than the
previous Tory government did in their last year?
Finally, when will the Minister of Finance play the ace of all
aces, the ace of tax reform, and eliminate the incredibly high,
complicated and bureaucratic taxation system that all Canadians
want simplified and lowered? Canada needs a simple, visible or
flat tax that is the same rate for individuals and businesses alike;
a tax with no exemptions or loopholes in the range of 15 to 20
per cent, which addresses the problem of equality, equity,
neutrality and efficiency; a tax that increases disposable income
for all Canadians and businesses and reduces the current
bureaucratic, suffocating nightmare.
These are the key factors for an effective system of taxation.
The Liberal budget addresses none of them. When the finance
minister has the courage to play this card, the ace of tax reform,
his government will have begun to address the real problems in
This budget is not about change, but rather a nibbling at the
edges leaving only high debt, high taxes and high
unemployment, the exact opposite of what is intended.
The Liberal Party always challenges us for alternatives. Here
in my speech I have provided over $9 billion in cuts this year for
the Minister of Finance to use which are not in his budget. I
challenge him to take the initiative, take the credit, start
reducing the debt and do what is best for the country.
I say to the Minister of Finance: Stop talking a good game.
Make some real decisions. Get into the game. Get your uniform
dirty and complete the grand slam to lower debts.
Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York-Simcoe): Mr. Speaker, I
would suggest that the Minister of Finance is not some kind of
card shark who is gambling with the lives of Canadians. The
Minister of Finance is someone who cares about the lives of
Canadians, is concerned about job creation and has taken a
When we have one million Canadians unemployed it costs the
economy $25 billion, and I would suggest to the hon. member on
the other side that perhaps the deficit is only the symptom not
the root of the problem.
Mr. Silye: Mr. Speaker, I have long abandoned the deficit
because when you say deficit the opposition tackles that. So let
us present the real problem: the debt; the fact that the
government is now adding another $41 billion to the debt. It is
going to be $550 billion at the end of this coming fiscal year. It is
the debt that is causing the problem and the interest on it. They
make an emotional plea about jobs. Currently the
unemployment rate is at 11.2 per cent. At the end of this year,
with the finance minister's projections and the Minister of
Human Resources Development with these 168,000 jobs
offered, at the end of all this the unemployment rate goes from
11.2 per cent to 11.1 per cent. This is one-tenth of 1 per cent. Is
that what this government calls giving jobs to Canadians?
All you do is talk and promise, promise, promise but you do
not deliver the goods. Here was your opportunity to lower the
deficit to a point at which you could leave money in the hands of
private enterprise so it could create long-term, meaningful jobs
and it is equity capital.
In the previous speech I heard the Minister of Human
Resources Development say that capital creates jobs. There is
no question that capital creates jobs but not borrowed money
and not governments-equity capital not debt capital, private
enterprise not public enterprise.
The Deputy Speaker: I would invite the hon. member for
Calgary Centre to put his remarks through the Chair. The reason
is quite simple. It is designed to promote harmony between the
members by doing it that way. That is the theory.
Mr. Andrew Telegdi (Waterloo): Mr. Speaker, let me
express my harmony through you to the member for Calgary
Actually I have found the member for Calgary Centre to be
rather reasonable on some issues. What I am concerned about is
the amount of response we have coming back and forth between
the government and the Reform Party. It is the same kind of
debate that took place during the election campaign when we all
were on the hustings. We were all debating the issue.
There is a fundamental question. We laid out a plan and our
plan is the red book. The Reform Party laid out a plan which was
the slash and burn book. My question to the member for Calgary
Centre is will he not concede that we stayed true to what we said
we were going to do in the red book?
Mr. Silye: Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member and
with respect, I just cite the figures of the finance minister which
show that the Liberals were elected on a promise to create jobs.
The number of jobs they are going to create after 12 months is
one-tenth of 1 per cent. If the member figures it out himself he
will see that is not very much of a growth.
If they keep that up in year two, year three and year four,
pretty soon the rest of the member's mates will be back over on
this side of the House and we will be all over there full. Once
eastern Canada gets to see what we are talking about, the
advantages of living within our means, it will understand that we
have the right medicine and we have identified the right problem
and not the pie in the sky that the Liberals keep talking about.
Mr. Dale Johnston (Wetaskiwin): Mr. Speaker, the Prime
Minister bought the Minister of Finance a new pair of work
boots for the budget the other day and it is a good thing because
he has certainly got his work cut out for him.
Like all new work boots, or at least like any that I have had, it
will only be a matter of time now before he gets a certain amount
of organic material on them.
This was the minister's first budget and we can only hope that
within the next three budgets he will get better at reducing the
deficit. This budget will put Canadians another $39.7 billion in
debt, bringing the total debt in two years to $550 billion. If we
add the projected deficit of $39.7 billion to this and the $32.7
billion for the forecast for next year, one will find that we are
adding another $72.4 billion to our already burgeoning debt.
Since we are living on borrowed money, as has already been
pointed out by my hon. colleague from Calgary, and borrowed
money is subject to interest of at least 7 per cent, if we are lucky,
we are adding another $5 billion in interest to that debt.
To switch off of the negative for second, I do wish to
commend the minister for showing at least some restraint and
changing some government operations which will produce some
Unfortunately, it seems to me that all of this will be negated
by the cost of the 18 new programs and 15 new studies
announced in this budget.
When will this government admit that we have a spending
problem? Spending is the key, not revenue. The government
revenues for 1993-94 totalled $127 billion. The Prime Minister
said in this House not too long ago we cannot run government as
if it were a business.
Even if we grant him that supposition, perhaps the
government could be run like a household. Certainly, when we
can no longer pay our bills in our household we have to take
drastic measures; namely, do without some of the things that we
without in order to reduce our expenditures to fit our income.
That certainly seems to make sense to me.
The whole issue of spending $70 billion a year on a social
safety net and a further $40 billion on interest to service our debt
simply has to stop. Past governments have certainly made the
military their whipping boy at budget time. What do you know,
this government seems to have taken right up where the other
bunch left off.
We on this side of the House were quite pleased. We
applauded and supported the government in its promise to
undertake a military defence review. Instead it accelerated the
process and we as members of Parliament did not have any
opportunity for input. It completely prejudiced the outcome of
the study by going ahead and closing bases and reducing others.
Perhaps if we had had a better equipped military we could
have exercised sovereignty over the Atlantic fishery and we
would not have to pay support to the whole east coast fishing
industry. The cod stocks maybe would not be quite as low as they
are now, and certainly they are depleted. Members opposite
refer to our cod stocks as extinct. Now we have added all these
otherwise self-sufficient business people to the ranks of the full
The January unemployment rate was 11.4 per cent in Canada.
Stats Canada reports that there were 1,592,000 unemployed
people in Canada last month and that does not take into account
all those people who have dropped out of the system.
This budget simply nibbled at the edges in my opinion. The
unemployment insurance program is a good example of that.
Reducing the generosity of the program is, however, a step in
the right direction. After all, we are all aware that generous UI
programs do have the effect of increasing the number of people
drawing unemployment insurance.
The cumulative deficit of the unemployment insurance
account amounts to $6 billion. It is a fallacy to believe that this
is solely a worker-employer funded program. It is the
government, the taxpayer of Canada, paying for the shortfall.
The unemployment insurance program changes announced in
the budget begin to target social benefits to lower income
Canadians, as the minister has said, to target those most in need.
This as well is a positive step.
The Canadian unemployment insurance plan has become an
inefficient income supplement plan rather than social insurance.
We need to the ``un'' out of unemployment insurance. It should
be employment insurance with extra emphasis on insurance. We
buy life insurance, not death insurance.
The Reform Party policy is to make employment insurance a
sensible, sustainable program of social insurance which
provides compensation for temporary loss of employment. We
believe the program should be funded by employers and
employees who determine the level of premiums and benefits.
This, I am sure, would go a long way in reducing the
underground economy and ultimately relieving the tax burden.
To quote the hon. Minister of Finance, the underground
economy is not simply about smuggling, it is about hundreds of
thousands of otherwise honest people who have withdrawn their
consent to be governed.
It appears that they are withdrawing their consent to be
overtaxed as well.
An hon. member: Good point.
Mr. Johnston: The underground economy's strength is
directly proportionate to the high levels of taxation. Taxpayers
need a break. The beleaguered Canadian taxpayer deserves a
Canadians do not want to cheat. They are prepared to pay their
fair share of taxes. Does this budget provide a fair level of
Over the last 10 years successive governments have increased
the tax burden of the average middle class Canadian. The Fraser
Institute reports that even though before tax earnings have
increased for the average family, the percentage of after tax
income has decreased. It has to be an increase in the taxation.
At the same time the same governments allowed this debt to
escalate to $500 billion, half a trillion dollars. Is it any wonder
that the underground economy is flourishing? Does this budget
give the taxpayer a break? I do not think so.
We in the Reform Party will do everything we can to ensure
that the minister gets an opportunity to wear out his new work
boots. We will continue to work in this House and in committees
to convince the minister and his government colleagues that
they must reform their red ink book philosophy before the
minister brings in another budget.
Mr. John Harvard (Winnipeg St. James): Mr. Speaker, I
have one question to put to my hon. friend, the hon. member for
The hon. member went on a bit about the UI program. As
opposition members are wont to do, the member focused on
what he thinks are some of the more negative aspects of what we
have done or not done with UI.
One thing that he did not point out is the reduction in premium
rates that will come about from $3.07 to $3.00. According to the
government, and I have no reason to disbelieve the calculation
put forward by the hon. Minister of Human Resources
Development, that premium reduction alone could translate into
as many as 40,000 jobs. That reduction does put an additional
million into the hands of business. Most of that is small and
medium size business.
I would like to know from the hon. member for Wetaskiwin
how he feels about that particular reduction and whether he
would support putting that kind of money into the hands of
business which might use it to increase jobs.
Mr. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, the member raises an excellent
question, one that I am sure we could debate on all day.
The first thing that springs to my mind is that whenever
government gives something, it first had to take something
I am going to try to answer this question to the very best of my
ability. I am not going to dance around it. If government had not
been involved in unemployment insurance in the first place, if it
was an agreement between the employer and the employee,
probably the rate would have been down around $1.50. There
would never have been a need for it to be raised in the first place
so that it can be lowered at budget time.
I think that should probably suffice the hon. member.
Mr. Jerry Pickard (Essex-Kent): Mr. Speaker, I would also
like to ask a question of the member and congratulate him on his
I have a bit of a problem with the position he took with regard
to the military. I think it is very clear that as the budget came
down, the finance minister and the minister of defence had a
mandate to reduce expenditures and costs. Certainly there is a
review of the military and that is extremely important as well.
However, if they were not to take steps and measures within
this budget of a $1.9 billion reduction we would have a deficit,
in addition to what there is at present, of $1.9 billion more.
Is the hon. member suggesting that those cuts not be taken and
the deficit be increased?
Mr. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I am suggesting that there is a
need for military in Canada today. Let us define what it is. We
need a certain amount of military to exercise our sovereignty
over Canada. We also need a certain amount of military to
exercise our sovereignty over our 200-mile offshore limit. We
also need a certain amount of military for search and rescue
Let us define what it is before-and I use some terms I have
heard from the other side of the House-we hack, slash and burn
Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth): Mr. Speaker, I
have a very quick question for my hon. colleague.
He mentioned in passing in his speech that he found the $70
billion figure for the social safety net unacceptable. Could I ask
him what he thinks is an acceptable figure? In other words by
how much would he cut the $70 billion and what programs
would he cut thereby?
Mr. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I do not know that it is so much a
matter of cutting out certain programs. It is safe to say that we
could find a level somewhat less than $70 billion.
If we were able to lower our debt we would lower our interest
payments and there would be at least a portion of the $40 billion
that could be used to put into social programs. That would be my
Mr. Tony Ianno (Trinity-Spadina): Mr. Speaker, I rise
today to present my maiden speech to Parliament with honour,
pride and a great sense of responsibility. I would first like to
congratulate you on your election as Speaker. I believe your
sense of fairness and calmness will help us in these uncertain
times as we face the unique challenges of the nation.
I am honoured and humbled by the confidence placed in me by
the people of Trinity-Spadina who have given me the
opportunity to serve them in the House. In this capacity I hope to
echo both their deepest concerns and their greatest hopes.
Trinity-Spadina is located in the heart of downtown Toronto
by Lake Ontario. It is one of the most economically and
culturally diverse ridings in Canada. It is an exciting place to
live and a great place to raise a family. It is home to the
University of Toronto and the world champion Toronto Blue
Jays. Great theatres and some of the best restaurants in Canada
are located in places like Portugal Village, Little Italy,
Chinatown, the Annex on Queen Street and the waterfront.
I had the good fortune to be raised in Trinity-Spadina and
have experienced many of its great attributes. My parents like
many Canadians immigrated to this country because of the
opportunities it provided. They instilled in me the belief that
with hard work any dream can be achieved. They also instilled in
me that sharing with and compassion for others must be integral
parts of that dream.
I believe the government was elected to give Canadians their
pride, dignity and hope. The way to achieve this is by charting a
new economic course. As an entrepreneur this experience allows
me to speak with some insight on the issues facing our economy.
Too often in Trinity-Spadina I see small business people
striving to keep their enterprises alive. I see single mothers
struggling to raise their children. I see university graduates
trying to find jobs that do not exist and working people who
cannot make ends meet. I see a staggering number of people who
depend on the Daily Bread Food Bank, an appalling number of
whom are children.
For us to move ahead as a nation we must ensure those without
a voice, those who have fallen through the cracks, are not left
behind. We must give Canadians the tools to realize their
potential and their dreams and thereby fulfil Canada's. That is
this government's goal.
The budget is the first step in achieving that goal by laying the
basis for tomorrow's prosperity. In order to achieve this we must
harness the initiative and creative talents of all Canadians.
The key to the success of Canada's economy is our small and
medium sized businesses. There are over 900,000 of them across
the country. If we as a government as we have started to do in the
budget establish the proper framework for our small and
medium sized businesses so that each of these businesses can
hire just one person, many of our economic problems would be
solved and the government would have a net gain of $18 billion
from direct employment alone.
What small businesses need to achieve this is access to
capital. The banks' rigid lending formulas and the arbitrary
cancelling of lines of credit are cracking the backbone of our
economy. Every time we allow a small business to close we not
only lose jobs; we kill a dream. It is time Canadian banks
recognize their responsibilities as partners in the development
and growth of Canada's economy. Canadians through the Bank
Act have given the banks special privileges. Canadians expect
them to do more. We will work to achieve it.
The first step, as mentioned in the budget, was to establish a
task force that would develop a code of conduct for small
business lending. Small businesses also need access to the
emerging new global economy to survive and grow. The opening
of foreign markets to Canadian business will provide
unprecedented opportunities for growth. Canada's cultural
diversity, coupled with its entrepreneurial spirit, gives our
country a unique advantage in this highly competitive world.
This government is going to play its role. Our international
network of embassies and trade officers will provide a
pro-active, ongoing link to these exciting new export markets.
The economic engines of the future are the emerging
technologies of today. We must participate fully in the
technological revolution and be at its leading edge.
Through increased funding for the National Research Council
and the technology partnership program, government will bring
together our research institutions and the private sector to
capitalize on the innovations of Canadians in such fields as
environment, health care, biotechnology and
telecommunications. In some of these fields we are already
By the year 2000 environmental technology sales alone will
be worth approximately $580 billion a year. We have great
opportunities. The government's task is to ensure that
Canadians have the capacity to meet these new challenges.
Let me give an example from my own riding. At Central
Technical High School a partnership has already been forged
between the school and the Canadian Tire Corporation. In the
past Canadian Tire could not find graduates trained in computer
based auto repair. To help remedy this situation they provided
the school with $200,000 of equipment to modernize the auto
mechanics teaching facility. Because of this, graduating
students will now enter the workforce with the most up to date
skills and Canadian Tire will not have to look abroad to fill the
We must keep up with technological change, not only in our
educational facilities but also in the workforce and the
workplace. We must use new technologies to reinvigorate our
existing industries. As an example, Spadina Avenue has
historically been synonymous with the fashion industry in
Canada. Today, to remain competitive, this industry must
embrace new approaches to design and manufacturing. By
drawing on the creative talents of designers and by utilizing the
most modern computer assisted systems we can put Toronto
once again back on the leading edge of the global fashion
It is only through this kind of creative leadership that we can
accomplish these changes. The budget will help in the required
However economic growth is not just a matter of exporting
abroad. It is drawing on the strengths we already have. In
Trinity-Spadina we know first hand the benefits that can come
from expanding tourism. Trinity-Spadina is home to many of
Canada's most unique tourist attractions. From the art galleries
and the museums to the theatres and the bistros, from the
SkyDome to Ontario Place, from the CN Tower to Harbourfront
Centre, millions of visitors come to my riding to enjoy music,
art, theatre, history and sport. We must take advantage of this
resource. Governments and business must work together to
expand this industry by letting the world know of our treasures.
These resources must be aggressively marketed. Tourism is a
form of export. The difference is that foreign customers come
here and leave their money behind.
I draw the attention of members to a potential infrastructure
project in my constituency which will provide much needed
construction jobs and will advance the long-term goals I have
described. I am referring to the establishment of the World
Trade Centre at Exhibition Place or the expansion of the Toronto
Convention Centre. Either of these facilities would provide
Canada with a venue that would allow us to compete with
convention centres around the world. By drawing these shows to
Canada we could help small and medium sized businesses bring
their Canadian products and technologies to the world
Along with bolstering our export market such a facility would
draw hundreds of thousands of visitors who would leave
millions of dollars behind. The people of Trinity-Spadina want
to be a part of a proud Canadian team competing in this
international market. Canada has the tools and an intelligent
educated workforce that can adapt to these new industries and
technologies. We have the strength in our diversity and we have
the desire and ability to succeed. We are not afraid of
The budget set the foundation on which the future economic
growth of Canada will be built. This government will be the
catalyst to bring Canada's people, businesses and institutions
together to harness our strengths and to achieve our common
All Canadians must share in our growth. Everyone's dream is
important. No one will be left behind.
Mr. René Canuel (Matapédia-Matane): Mr. Speaker, I
listened attentively to the hon. member opposite. In addition to
our ideological differences, I noticed something else. I noticed
that there are huge differences between urban and rural
constituencies. Where I live, there is no CN Tower. I live in a
rural riding whose population depends on farming and forestry
and where many are unemployed.
Is the hon. member not a little surprised that the budget cuts
funds for forestry and maintains the status quo for agriculture?
Are you not a little surprised by that?
Mr. Ianno: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question.
I am not surprised. What we are doing in the budget is setting the
framework so that we can invest in agriculture and forestry, but
maybe not in the same ways that have been used in the past.
We have to get creative. There is a lot available for us with
new forestry technology and agricultural technology. Not only
will we serve our own purposes here as my father-in-law on his
own farm and my relatives deal with. There will be a future.
Their children will have a chance to participate in innovative
ways. Not only will we be able to use the technology in Canada
but abroad to the benefit of export markets for cattle and
everything else our farmers utilize, and in our forest industries
when we take into account depletion around the world and our
concern for the environment.
I am not surprised by the member's question, but I hope in the
next four years when the economy comes along with us we will
be at the leading edge of a lot of these new industries that our
communities will be able to participate in fully and vibrantly,
especially the young.
The Speaker: I know the hon. member was referring to me
when he said you.
Mr. Jack Ramsay (Crowfoot): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank
the hon. member for not only his speech but the demure way in
which he gave it. I appreciated that very much. His presence
would be welcome in my office or in my presence at any time as
a result of that.
I would like to ask the member a question having to do with
the debt. We have been told by economists that we may be
beyond the line of any return on the debt. What impact does the
member feel the addition of $100 billion to the federal debt over
the next three years will have upon job creation and employment
Mr. Ianno: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the
We wish that we did not have any debt to deal with and could
just deal strictly with investment. However, as a small business
person I can tell the hon. member that when one is searching for
growth, one has to pay a price and that price is in investment.
I believe that we need to retrain our work force in Canada. I
indicated in my speech that we have to give training to the lower
echelon of Canadians, those who do not currently participate in
the situation. We have to give them the opportunity to have the
tools so that we, as business people and entrepreneurs, can
develop the niche markets and expand internationally to bring
all of that money back to Canada for growth. We must help
Canadians, those who are not as fortunate as some of us, to be
able to participate in the process.
I therefore believe that there is an investment. I am not afraid
of having a debt in order to invest in the future.
The Deputy Speaker: It is my duty, pursuant to Standing
Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised
tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon.
member for Crowfoot-Indian Affairs; the hon. member for
Regina-Qu'Appelle-Book Publishing Industry.
Mr. Paul DeVillers (Simcoe North): Mr. Speaker, I am
pleased to speak in support of the budget tabled by the finance
minister earlier this week. I am particularly comfortable in
supporting this budget because it is the funding of the red book
key programs that were the Liberal platform in the last election.
They contain investments in people and job creation not
necessarily through tax increases but rather through spending
Earlier today in this House I heard what in my opinion was
hollow rhetoric coming from the backbenches of the
independent members to the effect that this budget must have
been ghost written by a former Tory minister.
I would like to take the opportunity to outline some of the
measures contained in the budget, some of the red book
programs that are being implemented. For instance, the
establishment of the national infrastructure program that is
already in place, the restoration of full funding for the national
literacy program, the establishment of the youth service corps,
the establishment of the youth internship and apprenticeship
programs, the insurance of access to capital for small businesses
in replacement of GST, the reinstatement of the residential
rehabilitation assistance program, the establishment of a
prenatal nutrition program, the establishment of the aboriginal
head-start program, the establishment of a centre of excellence
for women's health, the restoration of the court challenges
program, the restoration of the law reform commission, the
establishment of the Canadian race relations foundation and the
establishment of the national forum on health.
I suggest that it is indeed hollow rhetoric to suggest that this
was written by a former Tory minister. What this budget
contains in addition to the implementation of these red book
programs is hope.
If we want to give voters hope in our political institutions
again, governments must keep their promises. Canadians have
had enough of governments that say one thing and do the
opposite. With the former government, this country got the habit
of not respecting politicians because of broken promises. Just
think of universal social programs, which were a sacred trust for
the former government. We are keeping our word with this
budget. We are doing exactly what we promised to do.
Past efforts by Tory governments in deficit reduction
overlooked the expenditure side of the financial statements.
Tory minister after Tory finance minister used to indicate that
the forecasted deficits were not attained because there was not
enough revenue. They were able to control the spending but
there was not enough revenue. That is why I submit that what we
have in this country is an income crisis, not a spending crisis.
Government like businesses must be prepared to promote and
intervene in economic activity to create revenues. That is
something that has been lacking in the last few years and it is
something that is contained in this budget that is before the
This budget also was delivered following unprecedented
The pre-budget consultation process begun by the Minister of
Finance gave many people an opportunity to express their views
on the policies which affect them deeply. The government has
created an important precedent with these consultations. I hope
that we can go beyond the four cities that were visited by the
advisory committee for next year's budget. Through the debates
in this House, I was able to share the concerns of my constituents
in Simcoe North.
The measures contained in my prebudget debate speech that
received favourable review in the budget include the need to
prevent tax avoidance through offshore affiliates of Canadian
companies, a review by the parliamentary committee of family
trust rules, partial preservation of business expense deductions,
no reduction in RRSP contribution limits and implementation of
a permanent RRSP first time home buyers' plan.
In addition, this government will be undertaking a complete
tax review in the very near future. As a matter of fact it is already
before committee. That will include the replacement of the GST.
I already said in this House that Canadians have an
unprecedented lack of confidence in our taxation policies. If we
want Canadians to respect the law, they must feel that the law is
fair and equitable.
If we want our economic recovery to succeed, people must
feel good and contribute to the economy. I can say with full
confidence that the measures in this budget will restore the
confidence of Canadians. Canadians can now count on this
government for greater fiscal fairness.
This budget has been well received by the international
monetary markets. I am aware that the Canadian dollar was
indeed up yesterday, the day after the budget was announced.
The budget also received favourable comment from the
Canadian Federation of Independent Business. It realizes that
the UI premium reduction provided for in this budget was in fact
a tax on business and jobs and that this measure will indeed help
in job creation.
This budget shows that this government is taking a radically
different approach from the one the former government took.
Some people want us to give up our search for a just society. As
the finance minister said, this is not the time to move away from
our values; on the contrary, it is the time to return to them.
The mere fact that the opposition parties claim on the one
hand that we have not cut enough and on the other that we have
cut too much is a perfect indication that this budget is balanced.
The bottom line is that we are delivering on our election
promises. This budget puts us on track to reduce the deficit to 3
per cent of GDP in three years. This was what our red book
Some opposition members have been saying that we did not
cut deeply enough. This is the position of most of the Reform
Party speakers I have heard.
Their election platform as I understood it was a zero deficit in
three years. In my estimation that would create untold hardship
on Canadians. We have already seen the hardship that the
present measures in the military cuts have inflicted on Canadian
lives. To attempt to reduce a deficit of this magnitude in three
years I submit would be untenable.
The Liberal approach is much more balanced and realistic.
The majority of Canadians supported the Liberal plan.
Canadians know one cannot stop putting groceries on the table
in order to pay off the mortgage on the house in three years.
I do not expect the opposition to agree with this budget since
they campaigned against the Liberal plan. I do not believe that
they or Canadians can truthfully say the Liberal government is
not following our red book plan.
Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Terrebonne): Mr. Speaker, I
apologize to Mr. Collenette if we are bothering him, but we do
have to speak up from time to time in the House.
First of all, I want to get back to something my hon. colleague
from Simcoe North said. Throughout his presentation, he kept
repeating that his government had delivered on its promises and
had followed through on its red book plan, and so on. In their red
book-as you can see, I have read it because I am familiar with
the lies it contains-, the Liberals promised to convert military
bases into peacekeeping training and staging centres. A program
is like a contract and when one fails to meet the terms of a
contract, one must pay a penalty.
The Liberals did not promise to close military bases. They
promised to convert them into peacekeeping training and
staging centres. So, what did the government do? It closed some
bases and consolidated others. As a result, jobs have been lost.
I would like to ask the hon. member, through you, Mr.
Speaker, if the government gave any thought at all to the cost of
redeploying thousands of military personnel who will have to be
moved and reassigned? Did it give any thought at all to number
of direct and indirect jobs that would be lost as a result of base
closures? The government talks about job creation, but what I
see are job losses.
In an editorial, Lise Bissonnette stated the following: ``In five
years, once the dust has settled, DND will not even have saved
$1 billion. Not even $1 billion after five years. The figure will be
more like $850 million. However, for the communities in which
the designated bases are located, economic activity will grind to
a halt. Everyone will feel the effects: the corner store, the movie
theatre, the school and the restaurant. Activity will come to a
standstill because direct and indirect jobs will be lost''. That is
the first part of my question.
The second part has to do with the promises you made. Did
you promise during the election campaign to tax the elderly?
Did you promise during the election campaign to penalize the
unemployed? Did you promise during the election campaign to
extend the wage freeze in the public service? Did you promise
during the election campaign to close military bases? These are
my questions, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. DeVillers: Mr. Speaker, I do not think I have enough time
to answer all of these questions.
I am sure the hon. member knows that the red book contained
many promises. The present action taken in the budget with
respect to the military closings was not an action taken lightly. It
results obviously in some unemployment for people who are
affected. The minister of defence has assured us that there will
be early retirement packages available as well as relocation
packages, et cetera, to try to deal with that. But the more
significant issue is that the funds that are being saved by these
cuts, which we are informed should have been made years ago
and would have been easier to make at that time, are being
reinvested into the programs, some of which I listed at the
beginning of my speech, where there would be a better return for
the job creation that is required than to continue to fund the
military establishments that are no longer useful.
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Mr. Speaker, I have a few
points I would like to raise in response to the hon. member's
speech in defence of the budget.
He took great pride in talking about the new programs that are
being introduced in the budget. This was presented by the
Minister of Finance as being a tough budget. Yet 18 new
programs are being introduced. We have gone 125 years since
Confederation without these programs. This was supposed to be
a tough budget and here we have the government starting off and
spending on programs in brand new areas.
I have another point, and it is the one to which I would really
like the member to respond. He said we have an income crisis
and not a spending crisis. The country is $500 billion in debt.
Canadians are groaning under the weight of taxes they can
hardly afford to pay. I would like him to tell us why he thinks we
have a revenue crisis rather than a spending crisis.
Mr. DeVillers: Mr. Speaker, the definition of a deficit is the
difference between incomes and expenditures. My position, and
I believe my party's position, is that we can increase our
revenues. Government obtains revenue from taxation. The
problem is we do not have enough people paying taxes because
of the unemployment rate.
The measures being implemented through the red book
program and through the budget are designed to get more people
employed so that we can broaden the tax base, have more people
paying taxes, not people paying more taxes. That is the object of
Mr. Michel Daviault (Ahuntsic): Mr. Speaker, as a
Montrealer from way back who represents Ahuntsic, a Montreal
riding, I would like to talk about my city, the city of Montreal.
A number of years ago when I was still in elementary school,
our teachers taught us, with barely disguised pride, that
Montreal was Canada's metropolis. We were the residents of a
city that was Canada's financial and banking centre. The port of
Montreal was Canada's major port, handling goods from
Ontario and the Prairie provinces and imports from Europe and
Africa. Those were the good old days, but times have changed.
Montreal has now become this country's poverty capital. In
the metropolitan area, 18.5 per cent of households live below the
poverty line. And with the first Martin budget, Montreal has
become the capital of despair. During the past ten years, poverty
has been gaining ground, and not only undermining the moral of
Montreal's residents but also their ability to face the major
challenges it must overcome to be competitive on the market.
Business arteries formerly crowded with shops, boutiques and
markets, now show signs ``for rent'', ``going out of business''
or, tersely, ``bankruptcy''. I am not dramatizing at all. This is a
fact of life in Montreal.
But what these shop windows tell us reflects only a fraction of
the experience of Montreal residents. According to a study
conducted by United Appeal to improve the way it targets
funding to the neediest in the organization's territory, half the
low-income residents surveyed in the United Appeal's territory
live in the city of Montreal. Montreal Island has a poverty rate
that is higher than the average rate for the greater United Appeal
district, which also includes the suburbs. In Montreal, Montreal
North, Verdun and Ville-Saint-Pierre, one resident out of three
lives below the poverty line.
I may add, for the benefit of the Minister of Finance, that his
own city and his own riding has been struck by poverty as well,
since one resident out of four in Ville LaSalle lives below the
This is the same minister who gave us a budget that,
ostensibly to give the economy a boost, takes the money out of
the pockets of those who need it most. They do not need the
money to put into family trusts and save on their income tax or to
compensate for the fact that they can no longer deduct their
business lunches. They need the money for food, clothing,
shelter and health care.
Not so long ago, when he was meditating on the opposition
benches before becoming Minister of Finance, this is the same
person-although he seems to have forgotten this, as we saw in
his first budget-the same person responsible for the economic
development of greater Montreal, who wrote in La Presse on
June 8, 1992, in referring to Montreal: ``As the economic
heartland and a major development force, the Montreal region
must be given a boost very quickly, otherwise its economic
decline will be that of Quebec as well''.
Why did the minister not introduce the kind of measures he
proposed last June, which included upgrading or rebuilding
infrastructures and a program for home renovation assistance,
which, as he said quite accurately, generated jobs and would be
very beneficial in an area like Montreal, with one of the highest
tenancy rates in the country? Since the only existing renovation
program, the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program, is
intended not for tenants but for owner-occupants, one wonders
who had the most powerful lobby.
Why did the same member, who is now the minister, not talk
about creating super economic incubators and implementing a
policy for renewal of growth sectors in the manufacturing
industry in partnership with Quebec and the city of Montreal?
These are all former proposals made by the minister. Was it all
just a fantasy? What happened to the promise he made with other
Liberal candidates last October, a promise that included
investing $250 million in research and development in Quebec,
mostly in Montreal? What happened, since everyone agrees
Quebec does not get its fair share of spending on research and
How could they promise such measures and many others it
would take too long to mention, and not take concrete steps in
the Budget, at a time when we are witnessing the pauperization
of Montreal? And what are the consequences, in the near and not
so near future, of a deteriorating financial situation in a city of
1.2 million with an unemployment rate that rose from 9.1 per
cent in December 1989 to 13.8 per cent in December 1993,
higher than the unemployment rate in St. John's, Newfoundland
during the same period, or in Toronto, where the unemployment
rate rose from 4.1 per cent in December 1989 to 11.5 per cent for
the same period?
One of the more obvious signs of poverty is reflected in the
housing situation, shelter being a very basic need and extremely
important in a country like ours with its severe winters-some-
thing we can certainly see these days-like the winter we are
going through, which may end some time this spring?
But seriously, the housing situation has been discussed many
times in this House, and with good reason. It is a good way to
assess the poverty level of a city or any other community. In the
last census, we get a very good picture of the rental housing
situation in Quebec and Canada. In Toronto, 62 per cent of all
units requiring major repairs were occupied by tenants. In
Montreal, the figure is about the same, that is, 59 per cent; it is
58 per cent for Ottawa-Hull and 54 per cent for Vancouver.
In Montreal, families in rental housing live in appalling
conditions. One household out of three spends more than 30 per
cent of its income on accommodation, and one household out of
six spends more than 50 per cent. Nearly 20,000 people are
considered homeless. According to the Montreal Municipal
Housing Bureau, 10,000 households or about 20,000 people are
on the waiting list. Most of the requests for low-cost housing
come from seniors, single-parent families and people with
disabilities, that is to say the most vulnerable segment of our
Last Tuesday, merely two hours before the budget speech,
when I inquired about the lack of social housing, the Minister of
Public Works, who is responsible for the Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation, asked me to be patient, that I would have
an opportunity to review the decisions of the Minister of
Finance once he had delivered his budget. The fact of the matter
is that there is nothing for social housing in that budget.
In Montreal, 63,280 households pay in excess of 50 per cent of
their income in rent. That is about one tenant household in five,
or 19.1 per cent. Montreal is the Canadian city with the highest
number of tenant households paying over 50 per cent of their
income in rent, with 19.1 per cent, as compared to 14.5 per cent
in Ottawa and 16 per cent in Toronto.
One third of all tenant households forced to devote in excess
of 50 per cent of their income to housing, or 194,225
households, live in Quebec, as compared to 583,705 in Canada.
With a much larger population, Ontario has about the same
number of households in the same predicament: 194,920
households, in a much larger population. There are 77,120 such
households in British Columbia.
To complete this list of sad statistics showing the poverty
level in Montreal, we must take a brief look at Montréal-Nord, a
city represented by Mr. Nunez, the hon. member for Bourassa, a
neighbouring riding. The level of poverty in Montréal-Nord is
such that experts warn that it could turn into a social tinderbox.
In Montréal-Nord, a very cosmopolitan city, 10,500
households, nearly 42 per cent of all tenant households, spend
more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, while 22 per
cent spend over 50 per cent. These figures reflect a completely
Again, it must be pointed out that, last October, the Minister
of Finance, like the rest of the Liberal candidates, had promised
to support co-ops and non-profit organizations involved in
providing social housing.
At this point, I must quote statistics from the Co-operative
Housing Federation of Canada. In 1992, there were 17,400
housing units in Quebec versus 35,000 in Ontario; 17,400 versus
35,000. These figures show once again that Quebec does not get
its fair share. One out of two is certainly not a prorated share.
This is no doubt another good example of the fairness of the
Why is it then that the Minister of Finance wrote a coalition of
organizations involved in social housing and told them that it
was up to the federal administration to ensure that over one
million Canadian households have decent and affordable
housing? I hope that our colleagues will ask questions about the
RRAP program, so that we can cover that aspect as well.
How can a nation which calls itself civilized and boasts that it
is the best in the world, as our friends have told us repeatedly,
see the desperate situation some of its citizens, people just like
you and me, are in because they are unable to find work or have
lost their jobs and have us believe that taking $5.5 billion away
from the unemployed over the next three years will help put
Canada back to work? It is surrealistic. By failing to tackle the
deficit directly by reducing duplication and overlap, of which
we still do not fully appreciate the magnitude, failing to even
impose minimum tax on large corporations and getting cold feet
when it should cut federal operating expenditures, the
government made the conscious decision to get the money it
needed out of the pockets of the most vulnerable members of our
With the qualifying period for unemployment insurance
benefits increased from 10 to 12 weeks, chances are that all
those whose work is seasonal in nature, like farmers, fishermen,
gardeners, waiters and waitresses, and summer camp workers,
or do contract work, which is the only way for many young
professionals to earn a living, will be greatly penalized. Again,
the hardest hit by the measures introduced by the Minister of
Finance will be the people who already have an employment
Furthermore, beginning unemployment insurance reform
before the vast consultation to identify the people's needs even
begins will have a downright disastrous effect on the provinces'
finances. These measures will put more people on welfare, at
provincial expense; the provinces in turn will be forced to cut
their programs as a result of the freeze on transfers to the
provinces. Part of our deficit is being shifted to our neighbours,
while their funds to meet the resulting new needs are cut. The
situation is most alarming. It is quite a program.
Just think that during the election campaign, the Liberal Party
spoke only of employment and equity, and this budget provides
no remedy for unemployment and poverty; it only offers
short-term jobs, which we hope will last at least 12 weeks so
that these workers qualify for unemployment insurance. It is
clearly insufficient for restoring the dignity of people without
The unemployed, especially jobless women, seniors and the
poor will pay the price for the Liberal government's social
spending cuts. The Minister of Human Resources Development,
whom I would call Mr. Axe, tells us that the social program
review could lead to more cuts. What an indecent turnaround in
the Liberals' social positions from the time they were in
opposition until now, when they are in power. Unemployment
insurance cuts lead to more people on welfare, the present
Deputy Prime Minister said in 1992. Unemployment insurance
cuts lead to more people on welfare! She was in the opposition
then. If you raise your eyebrows, you can check the news on the
French network of the CBC yesterday; it ran that newsclip.
These new cuts still mean shifting the deficit to the provinces.
Freezing transfer payments costs the provinces $2 billion more.
Montreal is seriously ill, but the Liberal government is still
cutting a little more of the oxygen off from its disadvantaged
population. We have to thank the Liberals for their generous
program of collective impoverishment.
Mr. Bill Graham (Rosedale): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank
the hon. member for his eloquent speech and for his description
of a city that has fallen on hard times. Many of us who live
elsewhere in Canada also find this situation very distressing. I
was born in Montreal, but have lived many years in Toronto. I
also taught at McGill University and at the University of
Montreal. I do have a question for my colleague and I ask it of
him humbly and with no malice. Will he not concede that the
problems experienced by the big city of Montreal, which should
be a prosperous city after all, are due to his own policies and
threats of independence? In order for a city to be prosperous, it
needs to attract investment. Investors are shying away from
Montreal. Even Montrealers themselves refuse to invest their
money because they fear the current policies. You are
responsible for creating this situation, and we are having to pay
for it. This budget attempts to correct the imbalance created by
your own policies.
Montreal first lost its advantage over Toronto when Mr.
Lévesque was elected. I remember, because I living in Montreal
at the time. We can trace everything back to this time. That is
when Montreal lost its edge over Toronto. People in this world
are free to do as they please. They are free to leave, free to
travel, free to invest their money wherever they want.
I would like you to be honest and to ask yourselves whether
your sovereigntist policies encourage investment in Quebec or
whether in fact your policies are responsible to some extent for
creating the problems which you have so sadly ascribed to us. I
put this question to you very humbly, as all Canadians are very
fond of Montreal.
The Deputy Speaker: Please address your remarks to the
Mr. Daviault: Mr. Speaker, through you, I thank the hon.
member for his nice comments. Earlier I quoted unemployment
figures from 1989 to 1993. As far as I know, there was no
sovereigntist government in Quebec at that time.
I would like to talk about a study done by Professor William J.
Coffey and Mario Polèse-it could be tabled if someone asks for
a copy; this document is available at the Library by the way-on
the city of Montreal; it is called Le déclin de l'empire
montréalais: regard sur l'économie d'une métropole en
mutation. The authors are not sovereigntists. Their analysis
shows that Montreal's decline is mainly due to what they call the
loss of the hinterland. The market gradually moved to Toronto.
Our industries got older. The Lachine canal region, which was a
cradle of industrial development in Canada, is sinking into
obsolescence; major investments are needed to revitalize it.
I was involved in creating an association to promote
economic development in Montreal. In the end, we must take
ourselves in hand at the local level and this, in turn, will lead us
to do the same at the national level. I am a Montrealer and a
``Montrealist'' and, in that sense, we cannot propose to use the
means at our disposal while leaving important tools in the hands
of the federal government, which does a very poor job of
During question period this afternoon, the minister, in a flight
of partisan oratory, talked about the RRAP. The RRAP was
supposed to be a social housing program. The first part of the
program is aimed at homeowners and the second part, at
handicapped people. The part of the program designed for
handicapped people can be compared to social housing,
We know that Montreal has a problem, mostly because of
single parent families and the large number of new residents,
who often live in apartments. Toronto probably has the same
problem to some extent. But these people are not eligible under
This government, which was a great advocate of social
housing when in opposition, throws us a few peanuts and tells us
it is providing social housing; it is outrageous. When the
minister adds that we should applaud the Minister of Finance,
who is responsible for Montreal's economic development, that
is the last straw.
So this study, that will be made available to you-again, it is
called Déclin de l'empire montréalais-identifies the Quebec
political option as a minor factor. It is a minor political factor at
this stage. I would guess that William J. Coffey is not a
It is important for Quebec's main city to give itself tools and
to recognize that these tools must belong to the Quebec
government. The federal government did not fulfil its mandate
and I myself have lost hope.
In 1988, I was among those who supported the Conservatives
for the nice worth-
An hon. member: Chrétien nixed that one.
Mr. Daviault: The ``beau risque'', as we say in French, did
not work. Even Bourassa's five minimum conditions did not
work. To start with, these five minimum conditions with a
patriation of power, respect for our jurisdiction, even that did
not work. The government tells us that as far as the Constitution
is concerned, it is business as usual, the problem will disappear
by itself. That is not true. The federal government is involved in
all spheres of activity. There is not one department, except
possibly defence, where it is not involved.
The economic development projects that it presents to us, the
Youth Corps program which resembles Katimavik is a
provincial program. It has no business being there. This is a
cultural program, an educational program, it has no business
As for occupational training, no subject brings such nearly
unanimous agreement among Quebecers. Even the very
federalist Conseil du patronat and its president, Ghislain
Dufour, who is not a sovereigntist, agree. It is up to the SQDM,
the Quebec labour development corporation, to act in this field.
When we get to this point in other subjects, we can raise specific
issues where the federal government does not even recognize
programs that qualify for the SQDM, there is all that
duplication. We are wasting our energy while we cut help for the
unemployed. You said yourselves that by cutting unemployment
insurance, you would put pressure on welfare. Now that you are
in power, you say the opposite.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Secretary of State
(Parliamentary Affairs)): Mr. Speaker, I find it very
depressing to listen to the speeches of Bloc Quebecois members.
They are painting a very gloomy picture of Quebec and making
it out to be the most miserable place in the world. Truthfully, I
would be most unhappy if I had to live there.
Would Bloc members not be better off singing the praises of
Quebec expertise, and giving examples of the achievements of
Quebec industries which are recognized around the world? Does
the hon. member not think that if he spoke in a more positive
tone, if he praised Quebec's merits, then businesses would
consider relocating to the province, which would result in job
creation and improve the lot of Quebecers? Does he not want the
same thing as we want?
Mr. Daviault: I thank the hon. member for Beauséjour.
Indeed, entrepreneurship in Quebec is alive and well. In my
riding, attempts were under way for many years to set up an
economic development corporation. Federal and provincial
members of Parliament and municipal councillors persisted in
telling us that this was impossible. But, we took matters into our
own hands and established such a corporation, because we had
the will to succeed.
There are many examples of similar successes at the
provincial level. However, we also encounter obstacles and
when I spoke about unemployment insurance in particular, I
mentioned that we needed some oxygen. Until such time as all of
these problems are resolved, and the Minister of Human
Resources Development sits down with his provincial
counterpart and settles the question of manpower training as
best he can, until such time, we need some oxygen in Montreal
to help the disadvantaged who are gasping for breath.
This afternoon, the minister quoted from a newspaper
clipping. Undoubtedly, he overlooked an article on
unemployment insurance which appeared on page C-1 of
today's edition of La Presse. It quotes Mr. Claude Forget, a
former provincial Liberal minister who once put forward a
major proposal for unemployment insurance reform.
Mr. Forget is reported as saying that the introduction of a
different benefit level for persons with dependants will
complicate matters and increase the costs of administering the
legislation which is already highly complex.
With two different benefit levels, namely 55 per cent and 60
per cent, the system will be absolutely impossible to administer.
This will create major problems and complicate the system. In
addition, as reported on page C-3, the budget proposes vague
fiscal measures. Even the experts are confused. Moreover, it is
reported on the front page that Mr. Paul Martin was visibly
disappointed with the frosty reception given to the
government's financial plan and was prepared to accept part of
Perhaps the most interesting of all the articles appearing in La
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member's time
has expired. We will now proceed to debate.
Mr. Culbert: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
Concerning the previous speaker's presentation, one of the
things I noted, and I believe I noted it correctly unless it lost
something in its translation to me, was his reference to a very
distinguished and honoured minister of this House, whom I
believe, if I am not mistaken, he referred to as Mr. Axe. That was
the translation I got. I do not think that was the intention of the
hon. member but if it was I certainly suggest that this House take
The Deputy Speaker: I take it that was a point of order. The
test of a point of order is whether it is disruptive in the House.
Although the member just raised the point of order, I did not take
it as being a disruptive comment.
If I find otherwise I will come back to the House with respect
to words that have been ruled to be unparliamentary. Having
read Beauchesne several times, I am not sure that Mr. X is an
unparliamentary word, but I will be happy to look at it and report
back to the member.
Mr. John Finlay (Oxford): Mr. Speaker, I rise today as the
elected member for the Oxford riding to make my maiden
speech in this elegant and venerable chamber. When I visited
this place as a high school student some 50 years ago, I little
thought that I would have the opportunity to address my hon.
colleagues as a member of Her Majesty's government. However,
that day has arrived and it is an intensely moving experience for
I am proud to represent all the citizens of Oxford riding and
Burford Township and I thank them for giving me the
opportunity to serve them and Canada.
Oxford County and Burford Township, which make up the
riding of Oxford, are situated in the agricultural heartland of
southwestern Ontario. It is not as rugged as Alberta or B.C., or
as expansive as Manitoba or Saskatchewan, nor does it have the
rocky coasts and oceans of maritime Canada. It does have the
pastoral beauty, character and history of many predominantly
rural ridings in central Canada.
Agriculture is the backbone of our communities. We have
tobacco farms in the southern part of Oxford around
Tillsonburg, which is a progressive town, supporting factories,
supplying parts to the automotive industry. Tillsonburg is also
the headquarters of the Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers'
About 25 kilometres north of Tillsonburg is the town of
Ingersoll, the home of the huge, modern General Motors Suzuki
automobile plant known as CAMI.
The county seat is in the city of Woodstock, population
30,000. It is the administrative centre of Oxford County and has
many factories serving the automotive and trucking industry, as
well as several concrete fabricating plants, foundries and metal
machining factories. The linings for the new Detroit River
tunnel are being fabricated in Woodstock.
Woodstock is proud to be called the dairy capital of Canada
and its symbol for the last 50 years is a holstein cow, Springbank
Snow Countess, owned and milked by Tom Dent, a former
Speaker of the legislative assembly of Ontario between 1943
and 1955. A life size statue of Snow Countess stands proudly
beside the highway just as one enters Woodstock from the east.
I could wax eloquent about the hundreds of well kept dairy
farms throughout Oxford County and Burford Township. There
are also cash crop farmers, pork producers and chicken farmers.
In fact, Cold Springs Farms of Thamesford is one of Ontario's
largest turkey producers and processors.
Burford Township boasts some high tech factories and an
outstanding research farm. Just north of Woodstock is the
Western Ontario Breeders Incorporated which collects, tests,
stores and sells semen around the world for the artificial
insemination of cattle.
Oxford, my hon. friends, was the birthplace of some
interesting historical characters. Aimie Semple MacPherson,
the California evangelist, was born and raised near Ingersoll. A
woman with a less admirable but no less colourful life was
Cassie Chadwick, the famous con artist who lived very high off
the hog in Cleveland, Ohio by pretending to be the illegitimate
daughter of the New York City millionaire Andrew Carnegie of
On the male side, ``Colonel'' Joe Boyle, the saviour of
Romania, was a Woodstonian who made a fortune from
hydraulic placer mining in the Klondike following the gold rush.
He equipped his own machine gun battery of ex-mounties and
miners and transported them to France in the first world war. He
was sent to Romania and Russia to reorganize the railroads. He
rescued the crown jewels and 20 million in currency for Queen
Marie of Romania from the Kremlin during the Bolshevik
His bones were returned to Woodstock several years ago and
reburied. The Reverend John Davies of old St. Paul's Anglican
Church in Woodstock, who lived to be 101 and who had known
Joe Boyle in the Klondike, presided at the reinternment.
I will just mention some other heroes. The Mighty Men of
Zorra, the tug-o-war team which won the world title at the
Chicago World's Fair in 1893, was commemorated last year on
July 1 at the Annual Highland Games in Embro by an
international tug-o-war contest. The anchorman on the 1893
team, Robert MacIntosh, had a chest expansion of 52 inches.
Last year the unlimited class hydroplane, Miss Canada IV,
was returned to Ingersoll to the Centennial Park Museum by
Harold Wilson, its owner and driver. Miss Canada IV broke Sir
Malcolm Campbell's world speedboat record in the 1930s.
I want to share with my hon. colleagues some of the things I
believe about this country. I believe passionately in this country.
I agree with the view expressed two weeks ago by one of the hon.
members opposite who said there were three founding realities
in Canada's past, the aboriginal people, the French and the
My hon. friend from the Bloc went on to point out very rightly
that now more than one-third of Canadians, 12 million in fact,
are neither aboriginal, English nor French, but come from many
cultures and races.
I would like to remind all hon. members that 52 per cent of
Canadians are women.
I am proud to espouse the Liberal philosophy and to be part of
this Liberal government. Our members represent people from
one end of this great country to the other, both ways, and bottom
Just look at the diversity along these government benches and
across the way in the rump corner. Nearly every one of the ethnic
groups which make up this country is represented in this
government. We have not yet achieved parity in representation
for women. Yet, 37 Liberals out of the 52 women members in
this House is a great improvement over the last government.
I believe that Canadians want this government to succeed.
They want to help Canadians get back to work. They want an
equitable tax system in which everyone pays their fair share.
They want a revised safety net of social programs which is
affordable, makes sense, and serves all those who need it but not
those who do not. The people want us to govern firmly. They
want peace, law and order. They approve of the Prime Minister's
multifaceted and firm approach to the tobacco smuggling
problem. They want a searching review of the Young Offenders
Act and our parole system with respect to serial killers and
violent sexual offenders.
This government committed itself in the throne speech to a
more open process and more power to the backbenchers on both
sides of this House. I would remind the hon. members opposite
that provincial governments are just as guilty of overlap and
unnecessary duplication of programs as the federal government
In this first budget presented by the hon. Minister of Finance
we have fulfilled another promise from our famous red book.
This budget will stimulate small and medium size businesses
to undertake new ventures and test new markets. It will reduce
significantly government spending on inefficient and
non-productive programs. It will force a thorough review of all
our social security programs and our defence department's role
to make sure that we can deliver the programs we need
efficiently and effectively.
The budget does broaden the tax base and stops up loopholes
in the tax system. It collects more taxes from large corporations
and the rich. It will reduce the unemployment insurance
premiums to help small business expand.
It lengthens the minimal work requirement and lowers the
percentage benefit for all except those who have dependents and
There are many other provisions which reduce government
In conclusion, I give a quotation from Sir Wilfrid Laurier
which I would ask all hon. members to ponder, particularly those
in Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from Quebec.
In 1911 Sir Wilfrid said:
I am branded in Quebec as a traitor to the French and in Ontario as a traitor to
the English. In Quebec, I am branded as a jingo and in Ontario as a separatist. In
Quebec I am attacked as an imperialist and in Ontario as an anti-imperialist. I
am neither. I am a Canadian. Canada has been the inspiration of my life. I have
had before me as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day, a policy of
true Canadianism, of moderation, of conciliation.
I honour the spirit of Sir Wilfred and I commend his balanced
and zealous view of this great country to all honourable
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Mr. Speaker, I offer my
congratulations to the hon. member for Oxford on his maiden
speech in the House. We are delighted to hear about the many
facets of his riding and I can see that he has much to talk about.
On the budget, about which he did not have too much to say,
he seemed to emphasize the fact that he was proud of his
government's attempts to broaden the tax base and close the
loopholes and perhaps raise taxes and so on.
I was wondering if he would agree with the previous speaker
with whom I took issue who said he thought that we did not have
a spending crisis in this country but that we had a revenue crisis
in this country.
The hon. member seems to think that we should be raising
more taxes. Again, I ask him the same question I asked the
previous speaker. Does he think that while Canadians are
groaning under the massive weight of taxes in this country, and
while we are $500 billion in debt, we should not look at cutting
spending and cutting that spending dramatically rather than
trying to squeeze another dollar out of the Canadian taxpayer?
Mr. Finlay: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my
hon. colleague. I am glad that he found some of the comments
about Oxford interesting.
With respect to the budget and his very appropriate question,
we must not forget that this budget cuts $5 in spending for every
$1 it takes in through taxes or other payments.
I agree that the Canadian people do not want any more taxes. I
said that they wanted a tax system that is equitable and in which
those that can pay their fair share. I do not think this budget goes
as far in this regard as it can. I remind the hon. member that the
matter of family trusts is being taken up by a committee and that
there are other changes that the finance minister pointed out
would be dealt with in future.
Mr. Ghislain Lebel (Chambly): Mr. Speaker, I speak out
against what the hon. member opposite said about duplication
being the provinces' fault. It has been more than 50 years since
he attended high school and he needs a refresher course.
I wonder if the sharing of constitutional jurisdiction has any
meaning for him. Originally, four provinces agreed to share
certain powers, but never ever did they think that they would
give up their own powers which belonged to them and which
they needed for their own development within the Canadian
Confederation. So there is something wrong with that.
If there is duplication, it is because the federal government
has always been meddling. The provinces did not middle in the
national defence of Canada, the provinces did not meddle in
foreign trade. It is downright wrong. We have been hearing that
since this morning, so we should set the record straight.
As for job creation, 99 per cent of Canadian businesses have
fewer than four employees. There are 1,114,000 self-employed
people who work for their own business; that is not a lot. They
play with figures to suggest that taxes for those people will be
reduced from 28 to 12 per cent, when in reality their tax rate is
12 per cent. Those people have an awful time making ends meet.
Does the minister know that while he was telling us such
nonsense, the national debt is costing us $75,000 a minute, and
for the four or five minutes he took to tell us such rubbish, we are
some $275,000 worse off than when he started to speak? He
should be aware of that.
Mr. Finlay: Mr. Speaker, I think there were three or four
questions there. There were a couple at the start. I might remind
my hon. friend that while death and taxes may be sure, the other
sure thing in this world is change.
When the Constitution was written we were not flying across
the ocean in six hours. We were not flying from the capital to
Vancouver in four and a half hours. We were not picking up the
telephone and calling our offices at home. There was no such
thing as electronics, fibre optics and a lot of other things we now
have. The Constitution did a good jobs in those days for what
I suggest to my hon. friend that he has to keep up with the
times. We have the problem of airlines and telecommunications.
These things need new approaches.
Mr. Bernie Collins (Souris-Moose Mountain): Mr.
Speaker, I commend my colleague from Oxford for his maiden
speech. It was very well done and certainly very timely in this
As I rise this afternoon to place some comments before this
House with regard to the budget of the finance minister, I think
that it is a credit to the people of Canada that they elected the
government they did that keeps its promises.
Within four months every single item we proposed in the red
book has been met or budgeted for. I can tell my constituents in
Souris-Moose Mountain that there are no new taxes. For
farmers and small business in my riding, it is good news. They
were concerned over the $500,000 capital gains provision, that
it not be touched.
For many farmers their farms are their pension plans. The
exemption is a legitimate means of financial security. This
budget is an investment in the future of Canada. It is fair, it is
pragmatic and it is progressively oriented.
I was very pleased that agriculture was given careful
consideration in this budget. Again the citizens of
Souris-Moose Mountain are greatly affected by the
agricultural industry. Every livelihood in our riding is affected
It therefore pleases me very much to see that many programs
affecting the industry were kept in place. The people of
Souris-Moose Mountain are responsible and they are
compassionate people. They want to contribute their share to
this country, to the reduction of the deficit and to the
development of our economy. They are willing to shoulder their
share of the burden. However, they want to know that the
contribution they make is handled responsibly by this
That is what pleases me about this budget. It is a balanced
responsible approach to problems of the future. We are reducing
the deficit while stimulating jobs. We are supporting those in
need while closing loopholes and eliminating waste. We are
putting our own house in order, just what my constituents asked
us to do.
In that same spirit of co-operation and contribution my
constituents are saying to me with respect to agriculture that
they will make their contribution but we should handle things
responsibly, guard the industry from disaster and collapse.
This budget is addressing those concerns. Although grants
and contributions will see a 5 per cent across the board cut,
essential agricultural insurance programs will not be affected.
The gross revenue insurance plan, the net income stabilization
account and crop insurance were exempted from these cuts.
This is very good news for the people of my riding. They have
been severely affected by circumstances far beyond their
control in the field of agriculture. The exemption of these
programs from the restraint measures is much needed and
As well the finance minister has announced that there will be a
study of the taxation of capital gains as it applies to small
business and farmers. We have been given assurance by the
minister that no changes will be made to the current exemption
without the agreement of the farming community.
The grain farmers in my riding have one concern. That is with
regard to cuts in the Western Grain Transportation Act. The
report of the producer payment panel is still outstanding. The
agriculture community would like to have a chance to agree on a
new process before any cuts to this program are made.
With respect to the impact of the budget on growth and jobs,
the budget provides funding for a number of programs
mentioned in ``Creating Opportunities'' which will create jobs
immediately and build the foundation for job creation in the
The infrastructure program is now being implemented and
agreements have been signed with every province. Over the next
three years the programs will create 50,000 to 65,000 new jobs.
There are other initiatives in the budget that offer hope to young
people. For example, the Canadian Youth Services program will
put together a place where young Canadians get meaningful
work experience and develop personal skills.
In addition, new youth internship programs will be developed
with the province which will help to provide young people with
It is important to note that there are no changes to the access to
RRSPs for first time home buyers. That was a major concern to
the people of my constituency and one that the budget delivers
With respect to social programs, I am very pleased that the
government intends to overhaul Canada's outdated social
security system within two years. It will build bridges to work
and support independence and not dependence. The budget calls
for an investment of $800 million to test innovative new
approaches to release Canadians from dependency and get them
back to work.
As promised in the government's platform, the budget
provided funding for the aboriginal head start program, a centre
for excellence for women's health, the creation of the Canadian
race relations foundation, the reinstatement of the law reform
commission and the court challenges program and a prenatal
program for low income pregnant women.
As an alderman and a former mayor of the city of Estevan, I
have always believed in fiscal responsibility and fiscal restraint.
This budget addresses both. For every dollar raised in new
revenues, the government will cut $5 from government
spending, resulting in a $23 billion cut over three years. The
cancellation of the EH-101 helicopter added another $1.7
billion over three years.
In addition to focusing on fiscal restraint, we also have
focused on budget loopholes. Through incentives we are going
to bring together fairness to Canada's tax system.
The corporate income tax deduction for meals being reduced
from 80 per cent to 50 per cent is a good direction to travel in.
The $100,000 capital gains exemption which primarily benefits
high income Canadians is eliminated immediately, another right
The Liberal government promised to create jobs and to this
end the budget addresses economic renewal. We encourage
innovation and technology development and the government is
supporting the vital small business. Canada's investment
program, venture capital, and Canada's technology network
program are excellent moves.
For years governments have promised more than they can
deliver and delivered more than they can afford. We are
confronting a deficit head on. In three years we will reduce that
deficit from $45.7 billion to $32.7 billion. As a government
committed to cutting expenditures, we intend as an example
cutting $3 billion from government operations and putting on
Finally, with regard to UIC, the move from $3.07 to $3 will
add $300 million for new investment by small business.
I want to assure this House and all Canadians that we will be
taking home the gold. Never has so much been done by such a
finance minister as the present Minister of Finance. I am pleased
to stand here and support the budget this evening.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, I
congratulate the hon. member on his speech. I would like to once
again try to put some logic into this infrastructure program.
The infrastructure program is supposed to have $2 billion
coming from the federal government, $2 billion from provincial
and $2 billion from municipal. Municipalities will charge
residential tax and the provincial probably an income surtax and
I wonder if the hon. member could enlighten us as to how long
these infrastructure jobs might last, how he sees the logic in
spending $6 billion for that duration of those jobs and how will it
Mr. Collins: Mr. Speaker, let me just highlight the process we
have in the province of Saskatchewan with regard to
infrastructure program. I look forward to the infrastucture
program in Saskatchewan because I think it has all kinds of
potential, certainly for the city I come from.
We are looking at putting a sewer and water program in place
that will cost about $4 million. Whether it will be selected as one
of the projects to be approved by the province will be a
provincial decision. What will it do for our area?
I know very well that many people in southeast
Saskatchewan, particularly in the riding I am from, are looking
for jobs. They are looking for an opportunity to do some work
and to develop some skills.
What will it do? It will give us people who will work on those
jobs, in those places and as those improvements to our city come
on stream we can hire those people as part of our infrastructure
program within the city. Therefore, we also have the feature of
being able to supplement and have these people right on the job
in the city as a permanent possibility for the city of Estevan. I
look forward to the infrastructure program. That is just in the
Let us go to the north part of Saskatchewan. The
infrastructure program, as we have it set for the native people,
has tremendous possibilities. We have the possibility for head
start education; the possibility for them to determine for
themselves new inroads in the educational field. For job
opportunities I think there is tremendous potential.
Mr. René Canuel (Matapédia-Matane): Mr. Speaker, how
can the hon. member say that the budget is very good for farmers
when, in the East, in just about every parish, there is a weekly
auction, and he admitted that there was a 5 per cent budget cut. I
am asking him to give me one benefit for Eastern farmers in this
Mr. Collins: Mr. Speaker, there is a tremendous potential for
everybody. We can sit here, put our heads in the sand and say
nothing will be done. That is what some people would like to do.
Some would say we have gone too far and others would say we
have not gone far enough.
We have come to a point in time when we have to make an
effort to make the best of what we have. The farmers in Quebec
and Ontario will do just as well as the farmers in Saskatchewan.
Maybe they will have to be a little more ingenious, but it is a fact
there are going to be some cutbacks. They will provide that
The people in the dairy farming industry will become
ingenious. They are going to be competing with the United
States and I think they will do very well. Yes, they have had to
take a bit of the cut. However, I think of hon. members farther to
the east where some bases are being closed and 2,000 jobs may
be lost. The impact there is great. The impact was spread across
the country. It is no different for Quebec than it is for
Saskatchewan or any other province.
Mr. Leon E. Benoit (Vegreville): Mr. Speaker, I rise today on
behalf of Canadians who were disappointed with the budget the
government tabled in the House on Tuesday.
This disappointment is well-founded. Let us start by
examining the words of the participants at pre-budget
conferences, the words of government itself and the subsequent
actions of the government in the 1994-95 budget.
One Calgarian participating in the pre-budget consultations
stated: ``Government cannot, in and of itself, create jobs.
Government should get out of the way of private sector
investment and employment''. Many other Canadians share
On page 7 of Facing Choices Together, one of the
government's own booklets, the Minister of Finance
acknowledged that the role of government should be:
-establishing a positive economic climate for the private sector, and
particularly small business; reducing the burden of regulation and taxation; and
I thank the minister for acknowledging what Reformers have
been saying for years.
It is unfortunate, however, that in the budget the actions of the
government do not follow its words. Not only did the
government back off in terms of action, but on page 8 of the
same booklet the finance minister inferred that the people at
these consultations are not to be trusted. To demonstrate this I
will quote the minister:
-the government does not accept the view that there is no role for some
immediate spending action.
The minister continues to ignore the views of the people by
justifying a need for increased spending in programs like the
infrastructure program. For the people to gain confidence in the
integrity of a government there must be consistency between the
words of the government and their actions. In this case there is
not even consistency between the words of government on one
page of their document and the words that follow on the next
Canadians used their common sense and said cut spending. In
fact the government has increased spending. It is time for the
government to start listening to the people.
I will illustrate how the figures in this budget affect the people
in the Vegreville constituency and indeed across the country. At
the end of next year, Canada's federal government debt will be
approximately $550 billion. Approximately $40 billion will be
added to this debt in the next fiscal year. Using my own family as
an example I will demonstrate the burden we are placing on the
young people in Canada.
My wife, my five children, and myself owe about $140,000 as
our share of the national debt. This year's deficit adds
approximately another $1,700 to each person as their share of
the debt. By the time my younger children reach their early
twenties they will each owe a total of about $40,000 as their
share of Canada's national debt if it keeps growing at the same
I believe it is morally wrong for government to continue this
wild overspending. If it continues Canada will reach a crisis
situation, maybe as New Zealand did, within the next couple of
years. If this happens, painfully drastic spending measures will
have to be implemented. Some of this pain can be avoided if the
necessary government cuts are made now.
I plead with the Minister of Finance to make these spending
cuts or similar cuts in a mini budget in the early fall. Canadians
cannot afford to wait another year for sanity to come.
Reform MPs have consistently presented positive,
constructive alternatives to government proposals. In keeping
with this I would like to offer some specific advice to the
Reform's specific proposals include: unemployment
insurance should be made into a self-funding insurance plan
where the benefits, the premiums and the funding are
determined by employers and employees. If implemented this
will save taxpayers about $3.5 billion per year. Eliminate
business subsidies to the tune of about $3.4 billion per year. Stop
funding special interest groups rather than just reviewing the
matter, saving $500 million per year. Reduce foreign
government aid by $700 million instead of the $400 million
proposed in this budget. Decrease subsidies to crown
corporations by 25 per cent saving approximately $1.25 billion
per year. Cut non-salary federal government overhead by 15 per
cent, saving about $1.8 billion per year. Target the Canada
assistance plan to help poor Canadians for savings of about $1.5
billion per year. Reduce old age security for households making
over $54,000 per year, saving $3.5 billion per year.
Excluding the unemployment insurance reform, the total
savings I have just outlined amount to over $12 billion per year.
The government should have made these, or similar, changes in
this budget. They are the measures that were presented by
Canadians at the pre-budget consultation meetings.
Will the minister and the government listen to Canadians this
time? Will they present a new budget in the early fall putting
their own words into action?
I will use the rest of my time to discuss agriculture in the
budget. My greatest concern is that the government has made
and will continue to make cuts in spending to agriculture before
they have released farmers from the burden of over-regulation.
For example, the government followed through on the 10 per
cent cuts to the Crow benefit which were implemented by the
former government in the 1993-94 budget. This eliminated
funding of over $60 million to farmers. My concern is that while
the funding is being reduced, the problems which plague the
grain transportation system and further processing of
agricultural commodities have not been dealt with.
Furthermore, the Crow benefit is still being paid to the
railways. Grain cars are still controlled by at least three separate
agencies and the Canadian Wheat Board restricts farmers from
seeking out markets on their own and shipping to these markets.
Funding is being cut to farmers, but farmers' hands are tied so
they cannot improve the situation for themselves. It is critical
that over-regulation is eliminated before cuts are made.
At a conference I attended last weekend farmers made it very
clear they do not want farm subsidies to continue indefinitely.
They called for a massive reduction in government regulations
to be followed by spending cuts. I hope the parliamentary
secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, who also attended this
conference, was listening carefully.
During the campaign, Reform presented a budget for
agriculture for the next three years. This budget outlined our
plan to target over $2 billion in support to producers and save
taxpayers between $400 million and $500 million per year.
Reformers promised to present positive alternatives and we
have certainly done this in the area of agriculture.
Once again I must emphasize that before cuts can be made,
regulations that prevents farmers from achieving open access to
free markets must be eliminated. Federal-provincial
government overlap must be reduced, and high administrative
costs in delivering the various programs that are in place must
be substantially trimmed.
Some of the specific recommendations that Reformers
support are: first, consolidate over a dozen unco-ordinated
safety net programs into three; a trade distortion adjustment
program, an income stabilization program and an improved crop
Second, reform the transportation system so that products
may be moved by any route, any mode, and in any state of
Third, improve private sector participation in research,
education and job training.
Fourth, better target research funds to meet the goals that are
set out by farmers and agribusiness.
Fifth, improve regulations relating to safety, fair competition,
and dispute settlement so the marketplace can work better.
As well, we propose these changes to the Canadian Wheat
Board: first, make the Wheat Board accountable to the people
who pay the bills, that is western Canadian grain farmers.
Second, allow the board to handle any crop, but permit farmers
and grain companies the right to compete with the board. Third,
continue Canada's loan guarantees as long as other countries
offer them. Fourth, give farmers the right to choose between a
pool price and a daily cash price.
I believe these changes to the Canadian Wheat Board will
increase the price that farmers get from the marketplace. This
increase in market revenue will reduce payments to safety net
programs, a reduction that is not included in the Reform budget
In conclusion, the government made few changes in the area
of agriculture in this budget, nor should they have without a
comprehensive review of agriculture policy. However, studies
similar to the one being conducted in the dairy, egg and poultry
industries are virtually worthless because the scope of these
studies is limited from the start. In this study, supply
management is retained as a fundamental principle rather than
allowing farmers and others affected to discuss this principle
and decide if supply management is needed at all.
While a study of agriculture-
The Deputy Speaker: Order. I very much regret interrupting
the hon. member. Is it his maiden speech? I do not think it is.
Would the member indicate whether it is his maiden speech. It is
not; then I am afraid his time is up. I am sure he will get a chance
to make the point he was just going to finish with prior to all
these questions that are waiting to be asked.
Mr. Morris Bodnar (Saskatoon-Dundurn): Mr. Speaker,
the hon. member has touched on rail line transportation. In
Alberta there has been some experimentation with privatization
of abandoned rail lines, where they have been taken over by
private entrepreneurs who have been successful in the operation
of these lines.
Could the hon. member tell us whether his party favours the
privatization of rail lines in Canada?
Mr. Benoit: Mr. Speaker, on the question of the privatization
of railroads and the question of the privatization of rolling
stock, the answer is that we would certainly consider privatizing
There has to be a bit more study on the issue, but I believe
there must be more competition allowed for the railways than
there is now. Privatizing rail lines or nationalizing rail lines and
allowing competition is important. How it can be done is up for
Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Public Works and Government Services): Mr.
Speaker, I thank my colleague for his address. He made a
number of potentially very useful suggestions with respect to
It would be very helpful if my hon. colleague could indicate to
us what impact if implemented the list of suggestions would
have on unemployment. In other words how many more
unemployed Canadians would there be?
My second question is with respect to the self-funded
unemployment insurance program. Does the member know
whether or not that would increase or decrease the premiums,
whether or not it would increase or decrease the payouts to
Mr. Benoit: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate those questions. They
are both excellent questions.
In terms of the last question first on whether unemployment
insurance will increase or decrease premiums, we are saying
that as a self-directed plan the decisions will be made by
employers and employees on whether premiums are raised,
benefits are reduced, or who in fact is eligible under the plan. It
is up to the employers and employees to make the decisions on
the plan, as they should, because they are the ones who are
funding the plan and we say it should be strictly them funding
On the question respecting how much the cuts would affect
unemployment, I believe the cuts we have laid out may affect
unemployment over a very short term. I believe very strongly
that as these cuts are made and as Canadians see that the
government is finally dealing with its overspending problem,
unemployment will be reduced within a year and a half to two
years. Economics is not an exact science but that is my belief.
Mr. John English (Parliamentary Secretary to President of
the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of
Intergovernmental Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I too welcome the
suggestions made by the hon. member, but I recall that during
the debate on the GATT we talked about subsidization of grain
exports in many countries including Canada, United States and
the European Community.
In the case of those countries we recalled that Canadian
subsidization of grain exports amounted roughly to somewhere
between 30 and 35 per cent; less than the Europeans and
probably a little less than the Americans but considerably more
than the Australians and the Argentinians. In the case of the
Australians it is almost nil. In the case of the Argentinians it
costs them to export because they subsidize their manufacturers.
Having said that, what would the hon. member think would be
an appropriate figure for our subsidization agreement?
Mr. Benoit: Mr. Speaker, the member is specifically asking
about what level subsidies should be at in terms of grain exports.
Talking about grain exports specifically, the level has to be
reduced over time. My goal and the goal farmers have told me
they would like achieved some time down the road-and I
cannot say exactly whether it might be six years or ten
years-would be as close to zero as possible.
Mr. Bob Ringma (Nanaimo-Cowichan): Mr. Speaker, I
heard the Minister of Finance during the budget presentation say
that he was looking for $400 million to be cut from operating
budgets of government departments in the next year and a
further $1.5 billion in the subsequent three years. I have a
suggestion for where the minister could find that amount of
His budget speech was very impressive. I was really caught up
in it. He said: ``The budget being tabled today follows an
unprecedented process of consultation with Canadians. We have
gained a great deal from listening to Canadians but one thing
stands above all others: Canadians are fed up with government
inertia. They seek determined fundamental change. Canadians
know the kind of Canada they want''.
I was really impressed with those words. I was therefore a
little surprised to find that the minister and the government had
not been doing the consulting they pretended to do. They came
up with nothing, for example, in the way of cuts to official
languages. I hear from my constituents in Nanaimo-Cowichan
that it is one place where cuts should surely be made.
I wonder too if the hon. Minister of Finance was consulting
with his own colleagues. The hon. member for Ottawa-Vanier
across the way said on January 27: ``A serious study should be
undertaken by an individual to determine whether the Official
Languages Act is working as intended''. I agree with the hon.
member. A serious study should be undertaken. My impression
and that of my constituents is that it is not working and it is
costing far too much.
Before I go further I would like to correct an impression of the
Bloc Quebecois on what the Reform Party policy is on official
The hon. member for Richmond-Wolfe said, ``If they think
that English should be the only official language of the federal
government, they should say so clearly''. I would like to say
clearly that we do not think that English should be the only
official language. There must be two official languages, English
and French, everywhere. But it must here in Parliament, in the
courts and in government offices.
The Reform Party's official policy on bilingualism is that we
support individual bilingualism. We support territorial
bilingualism as far as the federal government is concerned, that
is to say-and let us take Quebec as a specific
example-services must be given in the French language
throughout the province of Quebec because obviously the
numbers warrant it. Within the city of Montreal it is evident that
services in the English language should be given in the regions
of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Saint-Luc, Beaconsfield, et cetera.
Services must be provided in the appropriate languages
wherever there is a need.
Let us now move to another phase of why I am tackling
official bilingualism. I underline again that we are in favour of
bilingualism, personal bilingualism. Let us have more of it, but
official bilingualism is divisive in the country and is wasteful. It
is a terrible waste of money.
How wasteful is it? I quote from Diane Francis in the
Financial Post: ``Translating technical documents involves the
500,000-page technical manuals for two new frigates currently
under construction. A full translation of these manuals would
cost $100 million''.
In their defence National Defence and Supply and Services
shot back that the real cost could reach $43.5 million.
Unfortunately the real cost of translating those manuals will
likely never be known since it will be buried in the overall cost
of the frigates. That is one of the big problems we have not only
with government but with estimates and everything else. Costs
are buried and it is very hard to find them.
Another problem I have with the official languages policy in
the country is that it is a product of the Ottawa elite. The elite in
Ottawa says and has said for a number of years that this is what
we should be pushing, that it will be wonderful for the whole
country and it will certainly help keep Quebec in. I do not
believe that is true and I do not believe the people of Quebec
believe it is true either; not official bilingualism as it is
Typical of the attitude embraced by the Ottawa elite is the
official languages commissioner who was recently quoted as
saying: ``We must not be deterred by the opposition which there
is in public opinion. They are great adversaries with whom we
have to attend''. That was in spite of or perhaps because of a
March 1992 Gallup poll which showed that 64 per cent of
Canadians believe official bilingualism has been a failure.
How expensive is it? I do not know. It is almost impossible to
find the real cost, but let us look at one example. National
Defence admits official languages program activities cost
nearly $48 million in fiscal 1992-93. Yet nowhere in the
1992-93 public accounts for National Defence is that figure
recorded. It is buried somewhere.
In fact the person who prepared the report on official
languages cost in National Defence to send to my office said in
his covering letter: ``The true costs of official languages
activities for DND are higher than those given in the enclosed
fax sheet. Unfortunately Treasury Board reporting guidelines do
not permit us to report, among other things, salaries of military
personnel attending continuous language training and the
bilingualism bonus for civilian employees''. That is part of the
problem of identifying costs.
Let me conclude by saying that the budget should be tackling
the deficit. One way of attacking the deficit is to cut
expenditures, especially in areas where it is creating division in
the country. One such area is the Official Languages Act. I say to
the government: ``Please look at it and cut''.
Mr. Dan McTeague (Ontario): Mr. Speaker, I must point out
as a Franco-Ontarian that during the 1960s and 1970s, I had a
chance to learn a second language. I learned another language,
and I want to make this clear to the hon. member for
Nanaimo-Cowichan, thanks to the institution of bilingualism.
During my school years and when I was employed in the private
I had an opportunity to work with several large firms in this
country which acknowledge readily that official bilingualism is
a lot easier when you put, for instance, English on one side of the
Kellogg's box and French on the same side. It is far more
efficient to try to communicate to the seven, eight or nine
million people in this nation who do speak French and who are
not confined to one single region of the country.
I am living testimony to a system that works, a system that
helped me learn a second language. I hope the hon. member for
Nanaimo-Cowichan will agree that having two official
languages was one of the great things that happened to this
country, and that it gives us, as Canadians, an edge in our
Mr. Ringma: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted the hon. member
learned to speak English and French. It is a good thing for this
country, and I certainly agree with him. However, I maintain
what I said in my speech, that a tremendous amount of money is
being wasted in this country. You are an example of someone
who learned both languages, and that is wonderful. However, I
can assure you that, although they agree with the principle of
learning both official languages and other languages as well,
most people in Western Canada feel that money is being wasted,
and I repeat what I said in my speech in this respect.
The Deputy Speaker: I would ask hon. members, whether
they speak English or French, to address the Chair.
Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Public Works and Government Services): Mr.
Speaker, if the hon. member wants to know about costs for the
official languages policy of this country, there is no policy on
official bilingualism. I would be delighted to share with him an
article that I published on that very subject matter which
outlines those costs. No one has ever challenged them.
With respect to the comments that he has made about costs, it
is those kinds of things that are said that exaggerate the fears
that are found throughout the nation. We do not know what they
are but they are big.
What about this comment about the Ottawa elite?
What about the French language communities-like St.
Boniface, St. Albert in Alberta and other francophone
communities across Canada. Those are the elite, those are the
people who are asking for services in French.
Does he realize we have unilingual senators and members of
the House of Commons here, some unilingual French and others
unilingual English, Canadian soldiers who speak only French or
only English? Are these people not supposed to talk to each
other? What does he really want? Does he want to scare
Canadians? If there is any waste, let us identify it. Waste can be
eliminated, but removing a policy that makes it possible to talk
to each other is ridiculous.
Mr. Ringma: Mr. Speaker, as I said before, I have nothing
against bilingualism and neither does the Reform Party, and
when I say the elite, I am not referring to the people of
Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, or Grande-Prairie or St. Boniface.
The elite are here in Ottawa, where they force the issue by
saying: We will have this legislation enforced by inspectors who
will monitor its implementation, and we can spend any amount
of money on this. That is what I object to.
Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton-Middlesex): Mr. Speaker,
I am pleased today to stand in the House to present my maiden
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr.
Speaker, on your appointment to the chair.
I will begin in recognition of the International Year of the
Family by thanking my own family for their encouragement and
the support they have always given me.
I would also like to thank the most dedicated campaign team
for all their hard work and the constituents of
Lambton-Middlesex for the trust and confidence they have put
in me by electing me as their representative in the 35th
Parliament and may I also add as the first female representative
for the riding since Confederation.
Prior to my being elected, I also had the privilege to work with
the former member for Lambton-Middlesex, the Hon. Ralph
Ferguson, who was the agriculture minister in the Turner
Hon. members may be interested to know that
Lambton-Middlesex has a pivotal role in Canada's history. The
historic Battle of the Longwoods took place in Middlesex
country during the War of 1812. In fact the great Indian Chief
Tecumseh was killed during the Battle of the Longwoods. No
doubt were it not for the role of Tecumseh in repelling the
Americans, we would probably be a part of the United States
On the Lambton side of the riding oil was discovered in the
mid-1800s in Enniskillen Township, the first oil discovery in all
of North America. In fact some of these oil wells have been
producing for over 100 years and are still producing today.
Lambton-Middlesex is one of the largest ridings in
southwestern Ontario. It is predominantly rural in nature,
containing 18 municipalities, several towns and villages, one
urban centre, Strathroy, and four native reserves.
The single largest industry in Lambton-Middlesex is
agriculture, producing fruits, vegetables, corn, soybeans,
raising poultry, dairy, pork, and beef, just to name a few.
I am proud to say that a number of very prominent Canadian
leaders in the field of agriculture reside in my riding.
I would also be remiss if I did not mention that Cuddy's turkey
farms, one of the largest turkey breeding farms in North
America, is located in Lambton-Middlesex. It exports turkey
parts all over the world.
As co-chair of the ethanol task force and ad hoc committee
exploring the viability of a Canadian ethanol industry, I am
pleased to see that the Minister of Finance is willing to review
the necessity for greater assurance of federal excise tax
exemptions for ethanol. I would urge the minister to make this
his next top priority.
We have a window of opportunity that we must not ignore. We
must encourage the greater use of ethanol blended fuels. It is
good for the environment. It is a renewable resource and will
create huge new markets for corn and grain.
This budget sets in motion some of the most fundamental
far-reaching reforms in government policy in decades in such
crucial areas as social security and defence.
Canadians have told us they are fed up with government
inertia. They want a government to have a game plan and stick to
it. We have a game plan, our election platform, Creating
Opportunity, the red book.
In this budget we are funding every key initiative in the red
book. We are delivering on our commitment.
What pleases me the most is that this budget offers a balanced
approach because of its three main goals: economic renewal,
deficit reduction, and social reform. These are all foundations
for our top priorities, jobs and growth.
By focusing on these three goals this budget directly answers
the concerns and priorities expressed by Canadians during a
first-ever series of consultation conferences. The budget takes
action through funding for infrastructure programs, a
commitment to rolling back unemployment insurance premiums
to the 1993 levels, and through new strategies to promote small
business, the engine that drives the new economy.
The recession has taken its toll, as it has all over Canada, on
some of the small businesses in my riding. However, a number
of enterprising factories producing footwear, auto parts, frozen
foods, mobile homes, to name just a few, have bravely
weathered the economic storm through their own diligence,
creativity and hard work.
I am especially gratified and relieved that the $500,000
exemption for small business and farm property will remain.
I am also very pleased that the home buyers plan which allows
first time home buyers to use RRSP funds as a down payment is
now a permanent program. The use of RRSPs has grown by leaps
and bounds in Canada as more and more Canadians make use of
them as a retirement supplement.
In agriculture areas such as my riding of
Lambton-Middlesex RRSPs are often the only means of
ensuring retirement security. Small and medium sized
businesses do not want handouts. What they require is an
environment characterized by improved access to capital, the
encouragement of innovative leading edge technology, a
commitment to better management training, a reduction of the
regulatory and paper burden and the adoption of an aggressive
trading mentality to take advantage of new export markets.
I am delighted that this budget addresses all these areas. In
fact this budget is a winner I believe for small business. The
following programs are being initiated: the Canada investment
fund to provide venture capital for companies, improving access
to capital for small businesses by establishing a task force to
work with Canada's banks to develop a code of conduct for
small business lending, establishing a Canada business service
centre in every province to provide one-stop shopping for
government services, and rolling back the unemployment
insurance rate to the level of 1993 for 1995 and 1996. This is
going to save businesses $300 million a year, money that can be
invested in new jobs. Our small businesses need a break and this
budget provides it.
If I had to use one word to describe the message contained in
the 1994 budget, then I would use the word hope.
Canadians have also said they want changes in our social
security system to ensure it is fair, compassionate and
affordable, a reform that delivers incentives for work and
creates jobs and opportunities.
That commitment to change has already been launched by the
Minister of Human Resources Development. The budget
highlights important steps in meeting this challenge. The link
between the length of time a person works and the UI benefits is
Assistance is being enhanced for those with dependants to
increase benefits to 60 per cent of their wages. Other individuals
will receive 55 per cent of their original wages.
This government is committed to deficit reduction. Our
program of net spending reduction over the next three years is
the most significant of any budget in a decade. A major goal of
this budget is to take concerted action to bring government
finances under control, action that is essential in Canada's
In planning this budget the finance minister has relied on
cautious, prudent projections of economic growth for this year
and next. These projections based on consensus of private sector
forecasts are in stark contrast to the overly optimistic
expectations of those presented in some previous budgets,
expectations that resulted in deficit forecasts that were wrong by
millions of dollars.
Obviously the Canadian people will not stand for any more of
these rude surprises. The 1994 budget actions, coupled with
moderate economic growth we are projecting, will reduce the
deficit from $45.7 billion in 1993-94 to $39.7 billion in the
coming fiscal year. A further drop to $32.7 billion is expected in
1995-96. For every $1 of revenue increase there are $5 of
Finally, I think it is fair to say that the 1994 budget was
developed following unprecedented public consultations that
brought together a wide spectrum of Canadians to discuss the
economic and fiscal challenges confronting the country. I salute
the finance minister in his pledge to continue to consult openly
and widely with Canadians.
May I conclude, by saying that I am proud to be a part of this
government, a government that has pledged to restore honesty,
integrity and accountability to all its operations.
If we continue to honour this pledge then we will have won
back the public trust, enabling us to fight to rebuild Canada as a
strong, independent sovereign nation, a nation that makes its
own decisions, a nation that is caring and compassionate, a
nation that will be united from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose): Mr. Speaker, my
congratulations to the hon. member on her maiden speech.
I assume that she is a new member as I am. I know one feels
after one gets that first speech done. It feels great. Thank
goodness it is over.
Although the hon. member did not mention specifically about
getting our own house in order I know she alluded to responsible
spending and the accountability of politicians, the importance of
it, being careful with the money, being very cautious in our
spending so that we do not get carried away. I would like to know
how the member feels on some issues and I will pick on three
because the list is quite extensive.
There are a couple of things that are happening in this country
that I find disturbing. One of them was mentioned by the
Minister of Human Resources Development when he said that
over a million children were living in poverty in this country. It
is really a shame to hear that kind of news.
I have here on the top of my list that the Challenger jets cost us
in excess of $3 million a year, the little blue cars that the cabinet
ministers drive around in cost us in the neighbourhood of $1.3
million a year, the outrageous tax funded pensions for MPs are
over $2 million a year. We are coming up to about $10 million.
Does the member agree with me that cutting that kind of fat
out of the spending from the government and transferring those
funds to help the poverty stricken children in this country would
make a lot more sense?
Mrs. Ur: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his kind
remarks and for his questions also.
I too believe that one of our first priorities, one of the issues I
ran on when I was campaigning last fall, is that we should
certainly take a look at the funding and the way government
spends its money.
As to the examples the hon. member has given me, pensions
for instance, that question came up quite often when I was at
all-candidates meetings. I certainly appreciate the member's
question on that.
I felt that with the Canada pension plan I always referred to
pensions for members. Perhaps we could look at it in that
fashion. I am sure it is going to be reviewed in the near future
and work it on the same basic principle as Canada pensions.
I know several people came up to me after these meetings
thinking that was a genuine way of looking at Canada pensions,
making them more fair to the general public's pension plan.
I certainly agree that governments have to address spending
but as to the Challenger jets and so on, there is security. The
Prime Minister has said at different times that he would prefer to
be one of the regular folks on economy class but he cannot travel
in that fashion. When one is elected to that office, there are
standards one has to live by. We have to certainly respect his
security and the security of whomever is Prime Minister.
Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island): Mr. Speaker, I too would
congratulate the member for that first speech.
I am really hesitant to put her on the spot but I would like to at
least give notice of a question. This is a really genuine and
She quoted from the budget speech that for every $1 raised in
new revenues, we will cut $5 in government expenditures. That
is a worthy goal. I may be putting a new member on the spot here
but sometime I would like the answer to where is this being cut?
How does it then occur that our government expenditures keep
rising every year in the plan, the debt keeps going up and the
deficit each year is also going up? How can we then have a ratio
of five to one in cuts?
Mrs. Ur: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
question. It certainly is a good question and I do not pretend to
be the finance minister here. I thought the finance minister had
given time and time again during question period really good
answers to this question. There have been several cuts made,
whether they were the helicopter cuts, the defence cuts. We have
heard those questions asked and answered during question
period. Really, the issues are all outlined. All one has to do is
read the budget papers that we have presented and the answers
I thank the hon. member for his question.
Mr. Robichaud: Mr. Speaker, the next speaker will not have
time to finish his speech. I wonder if there would be unanimous
consent to allow him to finish his 10-minute speech before the
question is put to a vote.
The Deputy Speaker: Does the House agree to give 10
minutes to the next speaker so that he can finish his speech.
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. Alex Shepherd (Durham): Mr. Speaker, I would like to
speak in favour of the budget as presented by the hon. Minister
My hon. colleague has spoken of the five and one plan.
Tonight I only want to deal with a two and one plan, that is, two
expenditure cuts with one expenditure increase.
First, I would like to discuss the actions the hon. Minister of
Finance has taken with regard to the federal civil service. I am
sure that our civil service across this country is basically hard
working and shares the commitment of the government toward a
prosperous Canada. There are those who feel that the continued
freeze of $500 million in 1994-95 fiscal period and the further
$620 million in the 1995-96 fiscal period is a great hardship.
I would like to point out that this only represents a reduction
in the federal civil service payroll of 2.2 per cent.
I know that many of us are all too well aware of reductions
much more significant than this by national and international
companies based in our own ridings. I would like to refer to a
study done by the Canadian Federation of Independent
Businesses which undertook an analysis of the 1991 Canada
It discovered in all sectors of employment that the federal
civil service had the highest paid workers in all classification for
all sectors studied in all urban areas across this country. On
average, the federal civil service is paid 13.9 per cent higher
than similar classifications of the private sector.
What sort of a message does this send our workers and
I have been unable to find similar parallels in any other
country in the world. At a time when we are negotiating
international trade agreements such as NAFTA and GATT with
the objective of making our private sectors more competitive,
we discover that the federal government is over burdened by an
inequitable wage system.
I note that the finance minister has attempted to deal with this
very serious situation by proposing payroll freezes in the hopes
of curtailing layoffs. Having said that, I acknowledge the
planned layoffs which are to occur in the military, being well
over 17,000 jobs.
Not only is the civil service pay structure out of step with the
private sector, many of my constituents inform me of great
difficulties in dealing with the personnel of the civil service who
often do not return phone calls, often have work hours which are
inconsistent with the concept of service. I know that there are
many individual conscientious civil servants but it would appear
that there is much that we have to do in improving service in the
federal civil service.
I would now like to address the second of my points dealing
with the expenditure support of the budget. This is the area of
The Minister of Human Resources has often stated Canada's
social programs were designed for another time and another
place. There is a tremendous structural change sweeping our
country. This change means that my generation, a generation
that thought our career paths were set for life, now finds itself
without jobs and uncertain of the future.
We have to reach out to these people and give them hope but
also give them the tools to find alternate employment. It is not
good enough to talk about retraining and train people for jobs
that either do not exist or will not exist in the near future.
The government has to show leadership in planning the
training needs of the future. This is why the federal government
must retain its discretionary spending power in this area across
this nation to set national training standards.
What does this say about our present social welfare system? It
says that it is no longer sustainable. It says that we are creating
social ghettos in which we subsidize people to do nothing,
fostering a loss of self-respect and dignity. We must do better.
Our benefits under the unemployment insurance system in
this country are in excess of 20 per cent of the average of the
United States and indeed all G-7 countries. I have always
believed that money restored energy. It is a human's way of
taking work and converting it into a liquid commodity.
For instance, if I pay someone at the front door of this place
$25 he or she will use their car and expend natural resources and
time to drive me to the train station. To take money and give it to
people to have them simply subsist is an insult to human
intelligence. We must use unemployment insurance and other
forms of transfers to individuals to assist them to rise up and
take control of their lives. I am talking about using these funds
to send them to learn new skills so that everyone can benefit
from the new challenges of an evolving economy.
I now want to talk about the final point in my support of the
budget and that deals with the area of small and medium size
businesses. Much talk has been made around this place on this
issue and much discussion has been made about the relation of
these businesses with the banking community.
I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that
these institutions account for less than 6 per cent of all deposits
in this country. As a consequence, castigating this sector, the
banking sector, is much like trying to fix a leaky row boat to
cross the Great Lakes. It will not do the job even if we do fix it.
I note that the minister has elected to study pension funds and
how they can be used to more effectively finance small and
medium size businesses. Clearly, this is the right direction.
The minister has also pointed to a number of government
initiatives in the budget. These include Canadian investment
fund, business network strategies and the establishment of
business service centres for one stop shopping for government
services. One feature of these initiatives is the electronic
The railway bounded this country in our history, then roads
made it easier for people to communicate. Finally, the telephone
first operated in Canada so that we could even more effectively
deal with each other. Our diversity and the fact that we are
spread fairly thin across this great nation turned us into the
world's expert in the field of communication.
While we have squabbled about our internal problems, as my
colleagues to the left of me continue to do, the real world is
passing us by. We need to get on with the fourth stage of our
nation building. The ability to link each individual in the
country by means of an electronic highway, regardless of
language or culture is our challenge.
I am proud to note that the government has provided funding
for this worthwhile project, recognizing that it, together with the
initiatives for the small and medium sized business sector, will
set the agenda for a new tomorrow for all Canadians.
The Deputy Speaker: I think the hon. members understand
that we will not have five minutes for questions and answers
because it is already very late. Is there unanimous consent?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 84(4), it is
my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith all
questions necessary to dispose of the amendment to the
amendment now before the House.
The vote is on the amendment to the amendment. Is it the
pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment to the
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour 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: Pursuant to order made Tuesday,
February 22, 1994, a recorded division stands deferred until
6.30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, 1994.
A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38
deemed to have been moved.
Mr. Jack Ramsay (Crowfoot):
Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday of
this week I rose in the House to ask the Minister of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development a question of great
importance to me, to my colleagues and particularly to the
members of the Slave Lake bands.
The hon. member chose to blatantly ignore the question which
showed disrespect to me and to the grand chiefs and chiefs who
brought this issue to our attention.
I did not simply ask the question of my own accord. We had
contacted members who were present at the meeting between the
minister and the Slave Lake bands. I was told that they felt the
minister's conduct at the meeting was insulting and shocking.
They said his comments, as they pertained to the Reform Party,
were indeed racist.
My colleague, the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan,
who was upset by the lack of response by the minister to my
question, was prompted to pose the same one later in the
The minister, when asked to provide a direct, clear answer,
once again avoided the question. He said: ``I am sure, Mr.
Speaker, that the Reform Party does not hate Indians'', but he
did not deny or admit saying to a group of aboriginal people that
the Reform Party hates Indians and they want to be seen as the
defender of the white man. I believe the hon. member has a duty
and responsibility as a minister of the crown to answer this
I and other members of the Reform Party have established
close ties with many First Nations people and leaders over the
years. This kind of comment, if made by the minister, amounts
to a racist and slanderous attack on members of the Reform
Party by a minister of the crown and defames us in the eyes of
the aboriginal people and all Canadians. Nothing short of an
honest and straightforward answer will suffice in a matter of this
I was present in the House today when the question was posed
in almost identical words to the minister for the third time. I also
have the ``blues'' that indicate his answer. Again he does not
clearly indicate whether he had made this statement. He only
deals with a portion of the statement that has to do with the hate
of the Reform Party for Indian people and does not cover the
other part of the question, that we want to represent the white
man, in effect against the Indian people.
Although it appeared to me that the minister had come a
certain way in resolving this issue, it has not been resolved in my
mind nor in the minds of my colleagues within the Reform Party.
We have also received a joint affidavit from people who were
present at that meeting when this incident occurred. Eight of the
leaders have signed a document and sworn before a notary
public what actually happened at that meeting. I am prepared to
table a copy of that here today.
I feel the minister should resolve this matter so that we can get
on with our business and he can get on with the affairs of his
Mr. Jack Iyerak Anawak (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development):
[Member spoke in Inuktitut]
Mr. Speaker, as you know this question concerns an alleged
comment by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development that Reform Party members hate Indians. As the
member said, it was raised earlier in the House this week. At that
time the minister answered the charge, clearly stating that he
does not believe he said any such thing.
Again today the minister told members of the House
categorically that he does not believe Reform members or any
other members of the House for that matter hate Indians. I think
it is quite understandable that he would not believe any such
thing. The minister took the opportunity to encourage all
members to look beyond their partisan interests so that we might
all work together in building a new relationship with us, the
aboriginal people of Canada.
Aboriginal people have told us that implementing the inherent
right to aboriginal self-government should be the cornerstone of
this new relationship. To that end the minister has had an
opportunity to meet with many leaders across the country,
discussing various issues, one of which is the inherent right to
The member would like the minister to respond to one
particular community or meeting that he attended and at that
point the minister answered clearly, again restated today that he
does not believe any such thing. He said he has checked with
other members who attended the same meeting and they do not
remember such a statement being made.
Mr. Simon de Jong (Regina-Qu'Appelle):
Mr. Speaker, on
February 22 I asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage why his
government did not follow the requirements of the Investment
Canada Act and in fact allowed Paramount to obtain the book
publishing company's Maxwell Macmillan and Ginn
The act prevents a non-Canadian from acquiring a Canadian
controlled book publishing business.
Ginn Publishing was 51 per cent owned by the government
through CDIC. In the case of a non-Canadian wishing to sell an
existing Canadian business like Maxwell Macmillan the act
requires that the vendor must prove that the potential Canadian
investors have had a full and thorough opportunity to purchase.
In both cases the government simply ignored the act.
In the case of Ginn Publishing the government claims it was
obliged to sell its 51 per cent share to Paramount because of a
Canadians would like to see that contract made public in order
to determine what that obligation is, who incurred it, when and
where. Even if that obligation is there this government has
renegotiated commitments made by the past Tory government,
i.e. Pearson airport and the helicopter deal.
The Minister of Industry also claimed there was not ``a
substantial indication of interest''.
Let me quote from the Toronto Star of February 22:
One of Canada's top publishers, Canada Publishing Corporation, insists that
its repeated expressions of interest in the company were constantly spurned.
The firm's chairman, Ron Besse, says that the government kept promising a
prospectus on Ginn but never issued one.
After the Liberals assumed power, Besse sent his lawyers to Ottawa to again
explore the possibility of purchasing Ginn. The next day, he received a call from
Paramount asking what he wanted.
In other words, it is Paramount that is speaking on behalf of
the minister and the government and not the department.
In the case of Maxwell Macmillan this is a direct acquisition
and the act requires that Canadians have a full and fair
opportunity to bid.
What effort was made to find Canadian buyers? Why was the
acquisition of Maxwell Macmillan not reviewed by Investment
Canada as part of the larger review that the act requires because
Paramount in turn has been bought by Viacom?
The government could have had significant leverage in
negotiating with Paramount but again it failed to do so.
This government could have acted to prevent the book
publishing business of especially high school and university
texts being dominated by American controlled companies. The
fact the government did not has sent shock waves through the
As Keith Kelly, national director of the Canadian Conference
of the Arts stated, `` What is stopping other transactions from
acquiring other Canadian cultural industries?''
One wonders if the ministers involved in this decision really
knew what they were doing. Were they misinformed by their
advisers? If not, is this going to be the Liberal government's
policy, the same as the previous Conservative policy.
I quote from the Liberal red book:
At a time when globalization and the information and communications
revolution are erasing national borders, Canada needs more than ever to commit
itself to cultural development. Instead, the Conservative regime has deliberately
undermined our national cultural institutions.
The purchase by Paramount of Maxwell Macmillan and Ginn
is an undermining of our national cultural institutions.
I ask this government, is this what it means when it talks about
cultural development? Is this a harbinger of things to come?
Mr. David Walker (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
Finance): Mr. Speaker, this is my first opportunity to
congratulate you in your new job. I wish you well. I remember
working in caucus with you. I very much appreciate the
contribution you made as a member of our caucus and I look
forward to working with you in the House.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the questions
raised by the hon. member for Regina Qu'Appelle. Also, I would
like to elaborate on the information that was already distributed
to all members so that the hon. member can better understand
the series of events that led up to this transaction.
Further to a directive from the previous government CDIC
acquired 51 per cent of Ginn from Paramount in 1989. In
consideration of the book publishing policy then in effect known
as the Baie Comeau policy, Paramount, then Gulf & Western
Industries Inc., had acquired Ginn as part of a larger takeover of
a U.S.-based parent. It was subsequently required to divest a
controlling interest in Ginn to Canadians.
Following Paramount's unsuccessful efforts to find a
Canadian buyer, the government through CDIC bought a 51 per
cent interest in Ginn for $10.3 million. At the same time CDIC
was directed to sell its interest to Canadians as soon as practical.
In negotiating the forced divestiture of Paramount the
previous government agreed that if its policy respecting
indirect acquisitions in the Canadian book publishing industry
changed while CDIC continued to hold its interest in Ginn,
Paramount would have the right to repurchase the holdings by
CDIC at the same price.
Furthermore, while CDIC technically purchased the Ginn
holding in 1989, there remained a number of legal and
commercial issues to resolve with Paramount before the
interest could be offered for sale to Canadians. CDIC succeeded
in resolving some but not all those issues.
In the meantime CDIC received inquiries from Canadians
interested in purchasing the Ginn holding and a list of potential
purchasers was compiled. However, contrary to the statement
made by the hon. member, no potential purchaser was turned
away. In reality, CDIC was at no time in a position to market its
interest in Ginn actively until the resolution of certain
outstanding issues, one of which was a complicated distribution
arrangement to be settled.
In January 1992, when the former government announced its
new book publishing policy, Paramount's legal right to
repurchase CDIC's holding in Ginn was triggered. From that
time forward CDIC's hands were tied as it was not able to
consider a sale to a Canadian purchaser until Paramount
declined to exercise its right to repurchase the 51 per cent
interest in Ginn.
To have proceeded otherwise could have exposed CDIC and
the government to possible legal action. Paramount decided to
exercise its right to repurchase the Ginn holding for the original
price paid by CDIC of $10.3 million. The government was
required to complete a transaction that was set in motion by its
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to Standing Order 38(5), the
motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been
adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until
tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 7 p.m.)