Thursday, March 10, 1994
Bill C-16. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed adopted 2083
Consideration resumed of budget motion. 2084
Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 2089
Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 2097
Mr. Leblanc (Longueuil) 2106
Mr. Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead) 2107
Mr. Mills (Broadview-Greenwood) 2110
Consideration resumed of budget motion 2113
Mr. Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead) 2113
Mrs. Stewart (Brant) 2118
Mr. Lavigne (Verdun-Saint-Paul) 2119
Mr. Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry) 2119
Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville) 2119
Mr. O'Brien (London-Middlesex) 2120
Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 2120
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 2121
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2122
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2122
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2122
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2122
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 2123
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 2125
Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 2125
Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 2125
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 2126
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 2126
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2126
Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville) 2127
Mr. Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville) 2127
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2128
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2128
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 2128
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 2128
Mr. Mills (Red Deer) 2133
Consideration resumed of budget motion. 2134
Mr. Tremblay (Rosemont) 2139
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 2139
Mr. Chrétien (Frontenac) 2142
Mr. Tremblay (Rosemont) 2144
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 2148
Mr. Breitkreuz (Yellowhead) 2148
Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais 2150
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 2154
Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 2156
Division on motion deferred. 2159
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Thursday, March 10, 1994
The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons):
Mr. Speaker, I
have the honour to table, in both official languages, pursuant to
Standing Order 36(8), the government's response to four
* * *
Mrs. Marlene Catterall (Parliamentary Secretary to
President of the Treasury Board):
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of
the President of the Treasury Board, I am tabling this morning,
in both official languages, the report prepared by Sobeco, Ernst
and Young on parliamentarians' compensation.
The report, entitled Parliamentarians' Compensation,
examines the allowances and privileges of members of
The government is referring this report to the Lapointe
commission to review allowances of members of Parliament.
* * *
Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-16, an act to
approve, give effect to and declare valid an agreement between
Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada and the Dene of
Colville Lake, Déline, Fort Good Hope and Fort Norman and the
Metis of Fort Good Hope, Fort Norman and Norman Wells, as
represented by the Sahtu Tribal Council, and to make related
amendments to another act.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
* * *
Mr. John O'Reilly (Victoria-Haliburton):
pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am pleased to present a petition
on behalf of the constituents of Victoria-Haliburton who are
vehemently opposed to the importation of serial killer cards.
This petition adds to the growing list of Canadians who are
opposed to the killer cards which glorify serial killers and send a
negative, violent message to the youth of our country.
The petition calls upon the Parliament of Canada to amend the
laws of Canada to prohibit the importation, distribution, sale
and manufacture of killer cards in law and to advise producers of
killer cards that their products, if destined for Canada, will be
seized and destroyed.
I note the first signature on this petition is by an 18-year old,
* * *
(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons): Mr. Speaker,
question No. Q-1 will be answered today.
Question No. 1-Mr. Taylor:
What is the government's intention regarding the automated security systems
planned for the Fort Battleford national historic park in Saskatchewan, what is
the rationale for the conversion, and what tests have been done on the system
under consideration to guarantee that it works?
Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage):
government's intention is to install an automated security
system at Fort Battleford national historic site. The system will
be installed in five historic buildings, as well as the maintenance
shop, administration office, visitor reception centre and storage
garage by March 31, 1994.
The rationale for the conversion is to effect an annual saving
of approximately $51,000, as follows:
1. An electronic security system was approved for Fort
Battleford national historic site in the 1989 management plan.
2. Once the security system was approved for
implementation, the site's two security staff were redeployed to
the visitor activities department with no loss of salary.
3. The Corps of Commissionaires was contracted through a
master standing offer to provide security services on an interim
basis until completion of the installation of the electronic
4. The average annual operation and maintenance (O & M)
costs from April 1, 1990 until March 31, 1994 for the standing
offer with the Corps of Commissionaires are $58,019 per year.
5. One time installation costs for an automated security
system are estimated at $60,000. Annual O & M cost based on
existing system are estimated at $5,000 per annum (maximum).
A saving of approximately $51,000 will be realized annually,
beginning April 1, 1994. In one year, installation costs will be
recovered. Savings can be redirected as per the approved
The highest criteria imposed on installation proposals were
utilized: all hardware had to be CSA (Canadian Standards
Association) or ULC (Underwriters Laboratories of Canada)
approved; must meet the approval of the Dominion Fire
Commissioner and Labour Canada; only systems presently
installed in several businesses and government offices across
the country are being entertained as viable; generally similar
systems have been used successfully at other National Historic
The Deputy Speaker: The question as enumerated by the
parliamentary secretary has been answered.
Mr. Milliken: Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions
be allowed to stand.
The Deputy Speaker: Shall the remaining questions stand?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The House resumed from March 9 consideration of the motion
that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the
Ms. Maria Minna (Beaches-Woodbine): Mr. Speaker, this
day marks the first time in history that a Liberal has stood in this
House to speak on behalf of the people of Beaches-Woodbine. I
am proud to be that Liberal.
As I campaigned door to door throughout last year's election,
I promised the people of Beaches-Woodbine that we could
have social justice and jobs. It did not have to come down to a
choice of one over the other.
The budget brought down by my esteemed colleague, the
Minister of Finance, reflects very much my commitment to the
people of Beaches-Woodbine. He has succeeded in creating a
judicious balance between the need to put our financial house in
order and the equally important need to ensure that Canada
remains a truly just society.
That hard to achieve balance is very important to the people of
Beaches-Woodbine and to all Canadians.
Our long lasting commitment to social justice is the hallmark
of our society. It sets us apart from most nations. If members
think that is an overstatement, ask the millions of men and
women who left their own countries over the last several
decades and made a deliberate choice to become Canadians.
Their being here has helped to make Canada a vibrant, dynamic
model of living together, a model for the entire world.
Ours is a truly remarkable society and we must ensure
throughout the nation-wide debate that is about to take place
that we remain a truly just society of which we can all be proud.
We do have to take all necessary steps to arrest the growth of
the deficit, reduce it to a manageable level and put in place
sound economic policies to create jobs. The budget brought
down by the Minister of Finance is a major first step in that
The budget is, however, but one of several initiatives set in
motion by the Liberal government. It is designed primarily to
ensure that our financial house is put in order as quickly as is
I am more concerned, however, about the social justice part of
the equation, that which sets us apart as a great, caring nation.
As we embark on the national debate about our social security
systems, I find myself a little uncertain about the outcome.
Because of the pressure that has been placed on the economy
and the social safety net by the recession there appears to be an
almost panic mentality that has taken place. Get on with it is
what everyone seems to say.
Because of my promise to the people of Beaches-Woodbine
on social justice and jobs, I will do everything in my power to
ensure that appropriate time is given and taken to ensure that the
social safety net review is carried out in a worthwhile manner.
There is a great deal of talk of the stress that social programs
have put on the economy but we must also look at the stress that
the economy has put on the social programs. Despite some of the
holes in our safety net this held out very well despite the huge
demands we have put on it.
I believe that the social security system that we will need in
the future should be one that can address the needs of Canadians
from cradle to grave. It must be a system that is comprehensive,
holistic in approach, completely accessible to all and flexible.
People now are often falling between the programs.
This may mean a guaranteed income supplement. We have
had a form of guaranteed income supplement in this country for
quite some time. The old age security system, unemployment
insurance and the way we have used them in eastern Canada has
been a form of that.
We will have to make some fundamental choices, however.
For instance, the labour market is changing with low value,
short term and part time jobs on the increase. What choices will
we make in the need for continuous upgrading of skills, the type
of day care available and retirement planning?
Apart from the real fact that the comprehensive child care
program is essential, if we are to have a chance at succeeding
with upgrading, retraining and development of programs I
believe it is our collective responsibility to ensure that children
are cared for. The physical and mental well-being of children
will mean healthy and well adjusted adults.
Today's youth are tomorrow's leaders. I attended a youth
conference in Toronto on Tuesday of this week. It was attended
by some 200 young people from all walks of life. Some had
received welfare and were now on the youth employment
program. Some were university graduates out of work and some
were single parents on social assistance. The one thing they all
had in common was their desire to want to work and their
concern that maybe we, the baby boomers, were not interested in
their concerns, did not understand their plight and did not have a
commitment to tackle the problems that they are facing.
They made very insightful observations about the strengths
and weaknesses of the current social assistance programs and
their recommendations I thought were very practical and
realistic. These are some of their statements:
``Most kids decide what to do by grade 10. They either stay in
school or they drop out. So why can we not start apprenticeship
as a career choice at grade 10''. ``I was asked to move back home
in order to receive employment and training assistance'', said
another. ``I have not lived at home since I was 15, so why am I
going to move back now''?
Yet another: ``I had to drop out of my college program because
student aid was not enough and welfare would not pay if I
received student aid. I now owe $3,000 in student loans, but still
do not have an education. I really want to be an interior
Grants for students should come back.
They refer to themselves as the lost generation. They asked
me if the government was really serious about addressing their
needs. I said that if we did not do anything at this time and did
not move quickly, we would be totally negligent and very stupid.
They are the future of this country and we must meet their needs.
Social programs might cost more than we would like at first,
but in the long run we save. If a young person is working they
pay taxes. They will be able to create other jobs as they build
their own businesses.
A comprehensive child care program allows parents to work
and results in healthier children and we will save on further
Finally, the cost of the delivery of the programs does not
necessarily have to be as costly as it is today. If we use an
integrative approach instead of a selective approach and utilize
all existing infrastructures such as schools for child care, the
voluntary sector, and developed one stop shopping for all three
levels of government it might just save some money. Economic
renewal does not have to be at the expense of social justice. In
fact, I believe that a strong social justice system will aid
As I stated at the outset I am the first Liberal since
confederation to stand in the House and represent the people of
Beaches-Woodbine. And, yes, I do consider this an honour.
The Beaches part of the riding's name derives from the fact that
we have the best area of beach in metropolitan Toronto. Every
summer and throughout the year thousands of people from
outside the riding descend on the beaches and become honorary
beachers for several hours of a day.
Our international jazz festival attracts upwards of 60,000
people, devotees of jazz across North America. The beach
family festival reflects a devotion to family and community that
makes the beaches such a great place to live.
The Woodbine part of my riding's name takes up from the tree
lined streets of the beach to Little India at Gerrard and Coxwell,
the family run stores of the Danforth, the postcard perfect
bungalows of the seniors in East York and the largely immigrant
population high rise towers of Crescent Town. Does it not sound
Beaches-Woodbine is a truly diverse riding and being the
member for that area is a rewarding and demanding challenge.
We have no factories in Beaches-Woodbine, no company head
offices despite a large number of small businesses. We are very
much dependent on opportunities for jobs outside the riding.
That is why it is very important to us to ensure that metro
Toronto gets its fair share of the infrastructure program and all
other programs for economic stimulus.
As Toronto grows so does Beaches-Woodbine. You can be
sure, Mr. Speaker, that I will avail myself of every opportunity
to ensure that Toronto gets its fair share and makes its fair
contribution to the growth and prospects of the whole country.
It is the whole country that should be speaking in the House in
the debate on the budget, the social security system, our
defence, health care and other national issues. We simply cannot
afford to pull back, to think only of our ridings and of our
regions. Today more than ever before it is important that we
speak as one, as one country, one nation, one great people.
Mr. Speaker, I want to assure you that the people of
Beaches-Woodbine will be well represented in national
debate. We will be heard.
The Deputy Speaker: Congratulations to the member on
what I take was her maiden speech.
Mr. Gilbert Fillion (Chicoutimi): Mr. Speaker, first I would
like to commend the hon. member opposite for the comments
she made in her speech. Since we started this debate on the
budget, I believe this is the first time we have heard a Liberal
member who is so emphatic about social justice, who tells the
government to take its time in carrying out the reforms it plans
to make and to examine all sides of the question in order to
create the kind of social justice-and I was particularly struck
by this comment-that will guarantee a better future for our
young people, and the hon. member is to be commended for
saying so. Throughout her speech, she repeatedly referred to the
future of our young people and the fact that they too will have to
make a life for themselves. I am sure that many members of her
party will be mindful of what she said in her speech, for the
greater benefit of young people in Quebec and Canada.
I understand where the hon. member is coming from, because
I have worked with teenagers for many years, and the problems
you described and heard described by various people sound
familiar. I must say, Madam, I am impressed.
Before we finish, I would like to ask how you intend to
persuade the Liberal caucus to share your views?
Ms. Minna: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member opposite
for his kind comments.
In my caucus there is very open discussion on these issues. We
have embarked on something that is quite unusual. A standing
committee of the House normally does not embark on public
hearings prior to legislation or prior even to a proposal being put
before the House. In fact we are doing that right now, talking to
Canadians to hear their concerns about these issues.
Once the proposals are presented to the House by the minister,
which will be a discussion paper not yet legislation, we will
again travel this country to discuss with every Canadian who
wishes to talk with us. We will try to reach as broadly as we can
to discuss those proposals and to share what kinds of ideas we
want to share and to see what future we want to have.
I will continue to fight and work within my own caucus. A lot
of my colleagues agree with me. I do not have to work very hard.
I have a tremendously strong and very committed caucus with
regard to social justice. I do not think that is something we need
to be concerned about too much.
Once legislation is brought in at the end of the year at that
point we will be able to consult on the legislation itself.
To explain to members opposite, there will be plenty of time
to be able not only to share ideas but to work out solutions, to
adjust and to share them and discuss them again with Canadians.
Certainly for my part I intend to hold two or three public
consultations in my riding. Every member of the House can do
the same. In fact I think they are being asked to do the same by
the minister so that we have as broad a consultation on this issue
Certainly the commitment that I have to social justice which
is 20 years long is not going to diminish during this process but
rather will increase.
Mr. John Murphy (Annapolis Valley-Hants): Mr.
Speaker, as this is my first formal speech in the House of
Commons I would like to begin by offering a message to my
constituents of Annapolis Valley-Hants. I thank them for
putting their trust in me to represent their views in Parliament. I
consider it an honour
and a privilege to have been elected to this position. Julia,
Patrick, Kelly and I consider ourselves most fortunate to live in
the valley where the warmth and generosity of our people
enhance the natural beauty of our area.
When my Liberal colleagues and I were elected to form the
government last October, it was as a result of our commitment to
jobs and long term economic growth. This budget is a first step
in fulfilling the commitment and promise made at that time. It
strikes a balance between economic renewal, social policy
reform and deficit reduction, a balance that will provide the
foundation for jobs and growth.
This budget offers fundamental restructuring of our thrust to
this balance so we can move from a passive system to an active
one. The changes we are offering will cause some pain but this
new active approach will bring on the creativity that is inherent
in the people of my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants and of all
I know there is a lot of unemployment in my riding and I feel
very badly. It is easy for me to say this because I am fortunate; I
have a job. However, I will commit my energies to be a part of
the process that will create jobs in my riding.
I recently had an opportunity to travel to CFB Greenwood and
meet with the base commander and the defence staff. I have also
had a chance to meet with the regular forces and reservists at
Camp Aldershot. I am extremely impressed by the dedication,
commitment and high levels of professionalism of these
military personnel. While these centres have only been
minimally affected by the budget, I will work to ensure that the
military and civilian jobs at these bases remain secure over the
As the budget indicates, one of the most effective ways to
encourage economic growth and jobs is through support of the
small business sector. I have talked with many small business
owners in my constituency who believe that the federal
government can play a very active role in helping small business
not only remain viable but grow and create new jobs. I am also
working very closely with the local agricultural industry which
is the backbone of small business in the community of
Annapolis Valley-Hants. By working with this local advisory
group we can best determine how the government and the
agricultural sector can work together to create jobs.
I have also in the past had the pleasure of working closely with
first-rate institutions such as the Acadia University Centre for
Small Business. Such centres are not only promoting local
community networks but also provide valuable information
services to help individuals get their ventures off the ground.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Canadian
Federation of Independent Business, a freeze or reduction in
government payroll taxes was one of the most important
conditions necessary for small business owners to hire more
We have listened. By rolling back unemployment insurance
premiums for small business, we are providing these firms with
incentives necessary to increase both investment and job
creation. I applaud the Minister of Finance's announcement that
we are moving ahead with programs such as the Canada
investment fund, the Canadian technology network, and a
commitment to work closely with banks to improve access to
capital for small business.
Aside from assisting small business, this budget has set the
foundation for economic recovery through a number of
important initiatives. First, the national infrastructure program
is progressing rapidly. In Nova Scotia the federal contribution
for this program over two years will be $69 million. Annapolis
Valley-Hants is largely a rural riding and, having high quality
physical infrastructure, it is imperative for the future economic
viability of both the businesses and individuals who call this
area their home.
Organizations in my area have submitted several innovative
proposals and I hope they will receive positive approval.
Another major commitment we have made in this budget is
the extension of the RRSP home buyers program. Prior to the
budget I received many letters from the real estate companies
and home builder associations in Annapolis Valley-Hants in
support of this program. All of these letters indicated the
housing industry will play a central role in Canada's economic
recovery and that by promoting this program over the long term
the government would be greatly assisted in this recovery.
The budget also makes a $50 million a year commitment to
the residential rehabilitation assistance program. This will
further boost the housing construction industry and help create
The most important aspect of our commitment to economic
restructuring however is our pledge to help individuals obtain
the skills necessary to find meaningful jobs. It is my
commitment to the people of Annapolis Valley-Hants that I
will work tirelessly in this endeavour.
By investing in programs such as the Canada youth service
corps, the youth internship and apprenticeship programs, we
will assist young Canadians in gaining the training and skills
necessary for jobs for the long haul.
I have received over a dozen phone calls in the last week from
groups and individuals interested in putting forward proposals
for the national youth service corps. I am committed to working
closely with youth interest groups in the riding to assist them in
getting involved and benefiting from these important programs.
With respect to education and training I would like to take the
opportunity to mention one program which is currently under
way in my riding. It is a technology recycling program
sponsored by a non-profit organization, Nova Knowledge, in
conjunction with the federal government and a number of
private sector organizations.
The purpose of the program is to collect used computers from
organizations planning to purchase newer technology. These
computers then go into community colleges across the province
and students refurbish and repair them for shipment to many
Nova Scotia schools.
I am proud to say that the province's first program is located
in Annapolis Valley-Hants. Students at Kingstec Campus,
Nova Scotia Community College in Kentville have refurbished
more than 20 computers at this point in time which have gone to
public schools. These are the types of innovative programs this
government is committed to.
We are working with all the stakeholders to provide valuable
training programs which will serve to benefit the local and
national economy now and in the future. An important part of
our commitment to education and training is our pledge to
ensure that people collecting social assistance have access to
skills upgrading programs.
It is quite clear the old system is not working. We need to find
and make more jobs available. We need to make our approach
more active. When we offer assistance we must also offer the
opportunity to develop the necessary skills to find a meaningful
job. At the same time we must assist small and medium sized
businesses in creating a fertile economic environment.
As both the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Human
Resources Development have outlined, by revamping our social
assistance program we will be able to reinvest our resources into
initiatives geared toward finding innovative ways to get people
back to work. In that regard I applaud the announcement of $800
million being made available over the next two years for pilot
projects so that we can help with the training of the unemployed.
I am confident this budget will set the course for growth and
jobs in Canada. I believe these initiatives will have a positive
impact in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants. I am proud
that as a government we are fulfilling our commitment.
Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to ask a very brief question to the hon.
member. In his speech, he mentions that the deficit is quite
reasonable, but the fact is that it is the biggest deficit ever
announced by a government, a $39 billion deficit. Does he
believe that such a deficit is acceptable? Should he not rather try
to convince his government to review spending so that we can
really make the necessary cuts and get room to manoeuvre to
really create jobs, not only in the infrastructure area, where jobs
are less specialized, but also all other types of jobs?
Mr. Murphy: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
question. What really arises is that we are attentive to the
deficit. We have spent a great deal of time trying to explain that
issue to members across the way.
My emphasis is not less on the deficit, because we need deficit
reduction and we are working toward that goal. However it must
be remembered that we have to create a climate in which there is
economic growth so that we can work on that deficit. This is a
parallel, two-pronged approach which we need to work on.
I only tried to emphasize job creation, training and the
advancement of an economic climate because in my riding I can
make some differences working with people. I certainly have
had an opportunity to talk with our Minister of Finance and our
caucus over time. Yes, we are working on the deficit. I would
only encourage members opposite that we work together.
I came to Parliament so that I could work with people to get
them back to work and achieve economic recovery. I come from
a psychiatric background and know what dependency is all
about. I have been at it for 30 years. I want to see people become
more independent. That is a goal for Canada, for members
across the way and for our party. I look forward to the
enhancement of that in my work here in Parliament.
Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre): Mr. Speaker, I
want to congratulate the member for his presentation. I was very
impressed with what he focused on. There is no question he
outlined our deficit problem but it is very simple. He
emphasized economic renewal. If we through the programs he
outlined enhance economic renewal there is no question we are
going to be addressing that problem.
I was impressed by how he used the approach that we have
now moved from a passive to an active system. That is a prelude
to attacking this deficit problem. More so I was impressed with
the used computer concept, to refurbish them for use by schools.
I would like to introduce this program in my riding. We are
accomplishing two things. First, we are educating people on
how to train and upgrade themselves by repairing the computers.
Second, we are passing this on to other institutions which use the
refurbished computers thus allowing people to elevate
themselves to a higher level.
There is no question that automation is where it is at today
and where society is heading in the future. Therefore, the
passive to the active system has very much impressed me. I
thank him for sharing that.
Mr. Murphy: Mr. Speaker, I have thought for a long time this
was the route we had to follow. There is pain in this route, but I
believe when we move from the passive to the active we bring on
creativity. As a government we are allowing people to create
opportunities and jobs. Therefore as a government we become
facilitators. We are not the creators. We are the facilitators
helping small and medium sized businesses get started and get
the economic recovery back on track.
Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata): Mr.
Speaker, in this budget the government has attacked the most
vulnerable members of our society. Unfortunately, the elderly
and the unemployed had less clout than the Liberal Party's
backers. This is unacceptable, and some day, Quebecers and
Canadians will remember this.
We strongly condemn the $7.5 billion cuts in social programs
especially as they affect unemployment insurance. A slow
recovery, with little stimulus for employment, is hardly the
answer to the tremendous economic problems facing us today.
The safety net introduced by Canadians is now, more than
ever before, absolutely essential to the survival of individuals,
families and communities that are in need. And now, when we
need it most, the minister has decided to weaken the safety net.
The budget has attacked all aspects of the unemployment
insurance program: benefit periods and rates have been reduced;
to qualify for unemployment insurance, a person must have
worked at least 40 weeks in his first job; and it now takes 12
weeks instead of 10 to be eligible for benefits. A measure that
will be particularly hard on seasonal workers, for instance.
Incidentally, Serge Côté and Normand Anctil of the group for
interdisciplinary research on regional development in Eastern
Quebec at the University of Quebec in Rimouski have just
published a study conducted with the co-operation of with the
Minister of Human Resources Development. According to the
study, 25 per cent of the unemployed in Rimouski are seasonal
workers, and the figures is 50 per cent in the rest of the region,
which means they represent 37 per cent of UI claimants. The
study also found that 83 per cent of seasonal workers would
prefer regular, steady jobs, which puts the lie to the stereotype
that these workers are lazy and perfectly happy the way they are.
The minister has cleverly camouflaged cuts in benefits as a
way to help low-income women, while at the same time
invading the privacy of these women, who will be entitled to
more benefits only if they can prove to UI employees-who are
not always very understanding or forthcoming-that they have
dependents and are the sole breadwinner. Moreover, women
whose only fault is to try to get a second income for the family
will be discriminated against, since they will suffer a reduction
in their payments.
The Minister is thus launching a policy of intrusion into
women's private lives, refusing them the right to live or cohabit
with whoever they please, very often solely to save money and
make ends meet.
What about social housing? During the election campaign, the
Minister had personally promised that a Liberal government
would, as it should, guarantee to one million Canadian families
decent housing at a reasonable price. Looking at his budget, we
realize that he forgot that promise. In 1989, $133 million were
allocated to public housing. In 1993, the amount is down to $41
million and, in 1994, it will be nil, no money being allocated to
new social housing projects.
What is worse, the government is refusing that municipalities
use the infrastructure program to build social or co-op housing.
Yet, building housing units is profitable in many respects.
Because they are saving on rent, people can spend more; social
expenses for shelter, soup kitchens or protective lodging are
reduced; they offer greater security to low income seniors who
cannot afford private foster homes.
The Minister should look around, because the situation is
disastrous. In my riding, you can tell people are getting poorer
by the fact that 40 per cent of households must spend more than
30 per cent of their income on housing. Senior citizens who are
going to be affected by the elimination of the tax credit or the
changes in their pension plan, as we now know, will see their
While the government is making cutbacks and is overlooking
job creation, their friends can live in peace. In fact, the
contribution made by businesses to government revenue over
the last ten years has decreased. If only the minister had the
courage to establish a minimum corporate tax, like the one in
United States, taxpayers would pay less and might even benefit
from a lowering of taxes without any changes required to our
At a time when the GST is a nightmare for all Canadians, the
minister, once again, has spared the holders of some $25 billion
worth of listed shares when he could have gained substantial
revenues by taxing them.
I want to take a closer look now at some aspects of the
expenditure plan of Canadian Heritage. The budget announces
that the red book is going to be fully implemented, including an
investment of $60 million over a period of three years in the
cultural sector. That is great news if you think it involves new
money, but such is not the case. In fact, as it is said in The Budget
Plan, these initiatives will be ``funded through internal
The government cuts with one hand and reinvests with the
other. The left hand does not know where it will cut and the right
one does not know where it will reinvest. I hope the Holy Spirit
will enlighten the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and
the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and that this new trinity will
inform this House as soon as possible.
The estimates for the Department of Canadian Heritage are all
the same: they give us very little indication about where the
government is heading. On that point, the Minister of Canadian
Heritage should make the Cabinet understand the importance of
culture not only as part of our national identity, but also as a
major driving force behind our economy, and increasingly so.
It is unfortunate that the federal government's inconsistency
should have such an impact on major institutions such as the
CBC and Telefilm Canada at a time when the main industries of
the future are telecommunications and entertainment. The cuts
of $100 million will be maintained for 1995 and 1996 for CBC
and, during the coming years, the Corporation will have to deal
with a structural deficit which will amount to $169 million by
The Minister of Finance is saying to CBC: Make the cuts
yourself, take on that responsibility. Like Pontius Pilate, he is
washing his hands of the whole question.
Moreover, the government keeps on repeating that it is
guaranteeing CBC a five-year budget, but one should remember
that, during the last campaign, this same government was
promising that it would maintain social programs. Barely four
months after the Liberals' coming to office these solemn
promises have vanished into thin air. You understand now why
we are working so diligently to bring about Quebec's
sovereignty, so that we will not be around three years from now,
when this government goes back on all the promises it made
over and over again.
As far as Telefilm Canada is concerned, this budget maintains
the 10 per cent cut in its operating budget announced by the
previous government. As a result, for 1994-1995, Telefilm must
give $10 million back to Treasury Board. The overall cut of
more than $116 million over five years is maintained, at a time
when the emergence of new technologies and specialty channels
create an almost limitless demand for cultural material of
Quebec and Canadian origin.
The Liberal government could not come up with a better idea
than clipping the wings of such an essential cultural agency.
However, to have us believe that culture is of great concern to
them, the Liberals exempted Telefilm Canada from a further 5
per cent cut.
On behalf of the francophone and Acadian communities, one
must rejoice in the reinstatement of the Court Challenge
Program, the abolition of which they had condemned. It is
thanks to this program that the right to be educated in French in
Canada was recognized. However, I would like to point out that
even though the courts have upheld this right, its formal
recognition still leaves a lot to be desired in Canada.
In another connection, I would like to add that the Minister of
Canadian Heritage recently allotted enormous amounts of
money for the promotion of a failure, Canadian federalism. Here
are a few examples.
Communications strategies, $16 million; negotiation of
constitutional amendments for native people, $27 million;
Knowing Canada Better Program, $6 million; for a better
understanding between Canadians, $15 million; Canada Day,
$3.6 million-48 per cent more than what was anticipated; the
125th anniversary of Confederation, $22 million; forty-two
medals commemorating the 125th anniversary, $1.3 million.
Time is running out and I would be remiss if I ended my
speech without saying a few words about amateur sport and
especially about the Athlete Assistance Program. The Minister
of Canadian Heritage went to Lillehammer where he met
athletes and gave an interview on television. In answer to
questions by two Quebec gold medallists, Gaétan Boucher and
Sylvie Bernier, the minister admitted that the athlete assistance
policy would have to be reviewed.
The last budget increase for that program goes back to 1985.
To compensate for the loss of buying power due to inflation
since then, benefits under the Athlete Assistance Program
should have been raised by at least 43 per cent. What did the
heritage minister do? He accepted a budget cut of 7 per cent
which will bring average benefits to individual athletes down to
$5,100 a year from $5,500.
The federal government lost no time in claiming the gold
medallists of the last Olympics in the name of national pride and
rewarding them with the country's highest decoration, but as for
helping them on a day-to-day basis, they force them to live
below the poverty line.
Mr. Julian Reed (Halton-Peel): Mr. Speaker, I would like
to take a couple of minutes to reminisce after hearing the words
of the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata. In 1967 I had the
distinct privilege of travelling through the member's riding with
200 Boy Scouts from western Ontario. It was during Centennial
Year. We travelled 3,600 miles, as they were in those days,
through the south shore of Quebec and into the maritimes and so
One evening we camped in the town of Rimouski in a field
beside the high school. Maybe it is still an open field, I do not
know. We were wonderfully treated by the people of that town
and by one of the service clubs. We were treated to a typical
south shore dinner of turkey and rabbit. It was a wonderful
We could not speak very much French and the local people
could not speak very much English. However, I recall that when
we returned to the campsite from dinner the young people from
the town of Rimouski had all gathered and made a big bonfire.
We discovered that we could sing together. We sang songs in
both languages until about three o'clock in the morning. When
we finally recovered and got on the buses we recalled it as one of
our most wonderful experiences.
I was very interested as the hon. member talked about the need
to support national identity. I concur with her in that regard. It
seems to me that our duality and our national identity needs all
the support it can get these days. I stand with her in that regard,
even though I had a bit of a problem when she said she felt that
somehow it was a lost cause. I want to go on record as saying that
I do not believe it is a lost cause at all. It is the thing that makes
us different in North America; it is the thing that makes us great.
I want to ask the member a question. At the outset of her
speech she talked about the government is attacking the most
disadvantaged seniors. Does she feel the 25 per cent of senior
citizens who are in an upper income bracket of over $25,000 are
disadvantaged senior citizens? I would have to challenge the
I realize senior citizens deserve support and protection, but I
believe many seniors in upper income brackets are willing to
participate in helping Canada get out of its financial difficulty.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The point has been
made. It is time for the hon. member to reply.
Mrs. Tremblay: Mr. Speaker, I mentioned two things.
Presently, I want to reassure my colleague. Even when we are
sovereign, he will still be welcome in Rimouski. We will still
have parties on the beach and sing around a bonfire.
I think that the elderly, pensioners, did not have the chance to
live in the same context that we did. They did not have a chance
to save up as much as we did. Some of them did but I do not know
how many. Perhaps the Minister of Finance could tell us how
many of them are in his millionaires' club, but I doubt it is the
majority of the seniors of our country. I think they need help.
Again, there were suggestions made, plenty of them. I
mentioned two: one is a minimum corporate income tax and the
other is the levying of GST on transfers of listed shares. With
such measures, it would not have been necessary to make
changes affecting the public or social programs. As long as there
is no reform of federalist parties that keep on being financed by
big funds and big business, there will never be a government in
this House with the courage to change the Income Tax Act and
tax those with the big bucks.
In the end, if we took care of corporations and tax shelters, we
could lower the burden of taxpayers as they did in the United
States instead of adding to it all the time. We cannot pay any
more. If the government keeps on ignoring this simple fact, we
will keep on heading towards bankruptcy.
Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères): Mr. Speaker, we have
come to the stage in today's proceedings, pursuant to the
Standing Orders of the House, when we resume debate the
budget speech. For several days now, members have had the
opportunity to voice their concerns about the budgetary
provisions. However, I think we can rightfully ask ourselves the
following question: What is the government going to do with the
views expressed in this House on the budget?
Given the government's obstinate refusal to change its mind
about closing the Collège militaire de Saint-Jean, I think the
answer to this question is obvious: Nothing! The government
has no intention of acting on the concerns expressed during this
debate. It has no intention of listening to or taking into
consideration the arguments put forward by the members of this
House. Just a few minutes ago, my colleague, the hon. member
for Rimouski-Témiscouata, mentioned several suggestions
made in this House that the government has chosen to
It was not so very long ago that the government was boasting
of wanting to consult Parliament and the public before drafting
its budget. Yet, it does not seem to be able to benefit from the
opinions, suggestions and concerns presented. The Liberal
government, which appears to be suffering from acute
``consultationitis'', spent vast sums of money staging mock
pre-budget conferences and was unable to draw little, if any,
inspiration whatsoever from the opinions expressed.
However, by holding these conferences which were given
wide coverage by the media and which provided an opportunity
to float a series of trial balloons, setting Canadian taxpayers up
to expect the worst, the government deliberately maintained an
atmosphere of austerity. As a result, the vast majority of our
fellow citizens were fully prepared to do their share to help
bring the deficit under control, provided all segments of society
were asked to make equivalent sacrifices.
Did the government take advantage of the implicit consensus
among Canadians and of the admirable movement of collective
solidarity? No, it foolishly let this opportunity slip away by
tabling a highly disappointing budget designed so as not to stir
up the waters too much. In some respects, the budget is a
reflection of the Canadian government's powerlessness in the
face of the catastrophic state of public finances.
After unemployment, the deficit is one of the biggest
concerns of Quebecers and Canadians. This government wanted
to work on three objectives at the same time: first, to promote
economic growth; second, to stem the increase in public
spending so as to reduce the deficit; and third, to carry out at all
costs the promises made during the election campaign. In doing
so, the government literally overlooked two objectives to which
it should have given the greatest importance: deficit reduction
and job creation.
It seems that this government was not able to attain both these
goals at the same time. In fact, instead of attacking the
problems, it chose instead to go after the citizens themselves,
especially the most disadvantaged.
Indeed, 60 per cent of the too small deficit reduction projected
for 1995-96 is due to the new measures reducing the amounts
allocated for the unemployed. Furthermore, the government is
increasing the tax burden of seniors and eliminating a tax break
that benefited the middle class.
Let us consider for a moment the structural deficit, which is
approximately 3.5 per cent of the gross domestic product. The
Bloc Quebecois and many Quebecers are convinced that Canada
is running up such huge deficits because of the very way this
country is structured. Federalism is inherently inefficient with
the many overlaps, wasted energy and contradictory policies.
The structural deficit is due to the huge government
bureaucracy. What is the government doing in the 1994-95
budget to improve the poor management practices that exist and
are perpetuated in this bureaucracy? What is it doing to
eliminate the waste which the Auditor General has made a point
of denouncing many times in successive reports? Very little.
One of the solutions put forward by the government is to cut
transfer payments to the provinces by $2 billion, $466 million in
1995-96 and $1.54 billion in 1996-97. Of course, the Minister
of Finance defends himself by saying that he will spend $800
million to finance new approaches to social security. What are
these new approaches? Can he assure us they will not, once
again, lead to federal government intervention in areas of
exclusive provincial jurisdiction?
It is disturbing to see that one of the solutions considered by
the government is to increase the tax burden of middle-income
seniors and of middle-class taxpayers in general. How can they
justify their decision to reduce the age credit? In total, between
1994 and 1997, this measure will take $490 million from the
pockets of seniors, while high-income taxpayers are still
benefiting from tax shelters.
On the other hand, when the Bloc Quebecois called for
stimulation of the job market and lowering of the unemployment
rate, it did not ask the government to shift the responsibility for
its problems to Quebec and the other provinces. Unemployment
insurance reform will neither motivate people to work nor, of
course, increase the number of jobs available. It will in fact put
more people on the welfare rolls.
The government's dithering is impossible to explain and
unforgivable when every wasted minute aggravates its financial
situation as well as the suffering of individuals and families hurt
by unemployment and poverty.
The government seems to count mainly on economic recovery
to fill its coffers. Recent experiences have taught us to be wary
of such calculations. We should have expected the government
to take vigorous measures, but it has not done so.
The Desjardins Group, the Quebec Deposit and Investment
Fund and the Conference Board all forecast an unemployment
rate of around 10 per cent in 1995. How did the government
come up with this more or less realistic and much too optimistic
percentage of 8 per cent?
The sluggish recovery is mostly due to the excessive tax
burden and unacceptable unemployment rate. No wonder Gallup
pollsters found out last November that participation in the
underground economy is considered acceptable by 33 per cent of
Canadians and 42 per cent of Quebecers.
The only real solution to the underemployment problem
proposed by the government to Quebecers and Canadians is the
infrastructure program. It is better than nothing but it is far from
being the solution to all our problems. Furthermore, the
short-sightedness with which this program was designed is
alarming. In fact, it will only provide 45,000 short-term jobs in
economic areas having rather little value-added, so it does not
stimulate Canada's international competitiveness. Quebec's
437,000 unemployed are perfectly entitled to question the
government's good faith.
Yet, when all available means must be used as efficiently as
possible, the government does not seem to understand that
enhancing the production and export capability of the thousands
of small and medium-sized businesses throughout Canada and
Quebec can truly create jobs and produce wealth. The
government recognizes that two million jobs depend on exports,
account for more than one quarter of the GDP. It also
acknowledges that priority should be given to increasing the
exports of the small and medium-sized business sector, which
account for only 10 per cent of the total volume of exports. It
fails, however, to take concrete measures to realize its wishes.
The Minister for International Trade himself declared that
measures to stimulate expansion in this sector are insufficient,
overlooked and therefore inadequate. Several members received
complaints from heads of small and medium-sized businesses
who say that they cannot get the information, the expertise or the
logistical support needed to access foreign markets. It is
therefore urgent for the government to correct the situation and
ensure that the information, which apparently exists, is made
This is only the tip of the iceberg. This sector's real problems
result from the treatment small and medium-sized businesses
receive from banks and their inability to access funds. In this
regard, the minister does not have anything concrete to propose
apart from planning a vague consultative process between
himself and Canadian financial institutions, but, of course,
without the main stakeholders, namely small and medium-sized
businesses. Once again, the Minister only uses the future tense.
Unfortunately, action must now replace discussions and pious
We know that, in the past, the governments of some
provinces, especially Quebec, made efforts to promote small
business development. What is the federal government doing to
coordinate its initiatives with those of the provinces? The fact is
that small business assistance programs, particularly those
related to exports, are not only inadequate, but often competing
Solutions to problems are deferred. After being so alarmist
for several weeks, the government finally tabled a budget which
had no real direction and managed to make everyone unhappy.
Once again, the government resorted to a policy with no
long-term vision, thereby leaving us with the poor result that we
This budget reminds us of an administration which, not long
ago, was vehemently criticized by the Liberals themselves. This
budget, like the ones tabled by previous governments, fails to
reach the original objectives set by the government.
It does nothing to reduce the deficit. It does not provide
adequate measures to create employment. Moreover, it targets
social programs, instead of eliminating costly waste and
overlapping in government expenditures. One could almost
think, and I will end on that note, that it was Michael Wilson or
Don Mazankowski wearing the Minister of Finance's work
boots, last February 22. And that certainly does not augur well
for Canada and for Quebec.
Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to thank the hon. member for Verchères for his very
interesting remarks and I would like to make a comment. He said
that one of the reasons for the high cost of federalism was
overlap and duplication between the federal programs and
provincial programs. I took note of that fact.
In that context I wonder whether he would agree that it would
be a net saving and a reduction in the deficit if Quebec returned
control of immigration to the federal government as it is in the
rest of the country and as it is constitutionally. Would he agree
that is a good plan?
Mr. Bergeron: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank
my colleague for his question.
The hon. member commented on one part of my speech where
I most specifically addressed the issue of costs inherent to our
federal system. I mentioned of course the costly overlap and
duplication, but I could also have talked about the scattering of
public moneys all across Canada, supposedly to defend regional
interests and to avoid offending regional susceptibilities. This is
one aspect of Canadian federalism which, because of our vast
territory, is at the root of some of our financial problems.
To reduce overlap, the hon. member suggested that Quebec
opt out of the immigration field. At the outset, I find it horrible
that members opposite would only take note of the fact that we
find that overlap costs us a lot of money. First, we were
expecting a lot more from them. We thought you would act
energetically to eliminate overlap and duplication between the
federal and provincial governments. Second, Quebec negotiated
with the federal government a special immigration agreement
which, in a certain sense, does not involve additional costs
either for the federal government or for Quebec. This agreement
only transfers the responsibility for managing the case files of
immigrants and applicants. In my opinion, what the member
suggested was somewhat irrelevant, since it has more to do with
the Quebec government than with the prerogatives of the
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Mr. Speaker, I thank the
hon. member for his speech. I know we are the opposition on this
side of the House, but I do not think that means we have to be so
negative. The hon. member knocks the budget but there is
nothing concrete, no proposals being put forth by Her Majesty's
Loyal Opposition that also sits on this side of the House. He
talks about the bank's being difficult on small business, about
the underground economy growing, about all things that are
negative in the country. As members of the House we should be
talking about the positive aspects such as how the federal
government transfers $3.5 billion to the province of Quebec
through the equalization grants.
When are they going to start acknowledging these things
rather than talk like a broken record and say that the duplication
of federal-provincial programs seems to be the problem that
faces the country? If we repeat that statement often enough
people will start to believe it, but the point is that there are many
Will he recognize that we in the House make a positive
contribution to Quebec and every other province in Canada?
Mr. Bergeron: Mr. Speaker, this is already the second time I
have the opportunity to discuss directly with my colleague from
St. Albert on budget issues and, each time, I am under the
impression that the hon. member for St. Albert does not listen
carefully to what I say.
Duplication was mentioned as one of the factors behind the
lack of budget efficiency within the federal system; other causes
could have been indicated. So, if he wants, I could meet with
him in private or simply make a speech on the factors inherent to
the federal system that are responsible for the staggering costs
to the country as a whole.
You suggested-and I find it a little sad-that the Official
Opposition only knows how to criticize and never has anything
positive to suggest. I cannot help but think that you must not
have been present in this House very often to say that, since the
Official Opposition has not ceased, these last few months, to put
forward several budget proposals which the government has not
taken into consideration, as I have already mentioned in my
speech on the budget.
Moreover, the hon. member has also suggested that Canada is
a great country and that it had to be acknowledged that Quebec
receives a lot from the federal government in the way of transfer
payments. I will put to you that these transfer payments are in
the form of unemployment insurance and social assistance
benefits and that one does not congratulate oneself on receiving
from a federal state investments which are not going into
research and development or a job creation program, but which
only reveal the poverty of Quebec society within this federal
The Deputy Speaker: By the way, I ask you to please address
your remarks to the Chair and not to the hon. member, even
though you sit close to one another. Debate.
Mr. Larry McCormick (Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox
and Addington): Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to have the
opportunity to speak about such an important measure as the
federal budget. I consider the budget to be a historic document
which lays the necessary framework for a renewed, prosperous
and just Canada.
As this is my maiden speech, I take the liberty to point out that
my great privilege to be speaking today is also a historic
occasion. I am the first Liberal representative of
Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington since David
Wright Allison defeated Sir John A. Macdonald back in 1883. It
is a privilege to be given the trust and good wishes of one's
constituents. I will work to ensure the government represents
the concerns of my riding.
Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington extends from
Lake Ontario in the southwest and Algonquin Park in the north
to the Thousand Islands area in the southeast.
As I travel through the riding and stop in places like Bancroft,
Madoc, Marmora, Stirling, Napanee, Arden, Sharbot Lake and
my own village of Camden East, I receive many words of
encouragement. I also receive general advice and specific
suggestions about the issues that face our rural communities. I
value this input and I thank the people of
Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington for their support
and wise counsel.
I give thanks to several hundred people who gave so freely of
their time during the recent campaign. Today I am proud to be
representing all of the people of our riding.
I would also like to publicly thank my wife Reta, and Kayla
Rebecca, our daughter, for their love and support.
One of the messages I receive over and over again is that
people want to see the government come out with an open and
transparent game plan for economic and social renewal. My
constituents expect no less. This is what the 1994 budget sets in
motion, a framework for social and economic renewal.
Our objective is clear: to stimulate growth by targeting our
spending without imposing new taxes. Just look at how quickly
the government has set about funding initiatives which were
promised during the campaign. In this party we take our
platform, the red book, seriously.
The national infrastructure program has had a speedy start. In
my riding alone 44 local level governments and five school
boards are busy preparing their proposals. There is no doubt in
my mind and in the minds of rural residents that there are many
worthy infrastructure projects.
I received copies of proposals from a number of
municipalities in my riding. My riding has the most miles of
roads of any riding in Ontario. I have seen proposed projects for
road improvements. I can attest that there are many heavily
travelled arteries which have yet to be paved. The benefits of
these proposed upgradings are many. Besides the prospects of
jobs in road construction, there is the added benefit to the local
tourist economy. Good roads get residents and tourists to and
from their destinations quickly and safely.
Infrastructure projects may even save lives.
My background is in small business. I owned a general store
in our community. My constituents own, work in and patronize
small and medium sized businesses. Eighty per cent of new jobs
are created by small and medium sized businesses. Eighty per
cent of all jobs in rural areas are created by local based
This budget, I am pleased to point out, supports small and
medium sized businesses. By its measures to support small
business, this budget becomes the foundation for our country's
One of the most common complaints coming from the
business community in my riding is that it is difficult to access
bank capital for investment or expansion. During the election
campaign we in the Liberal Party acknowledged this and
promised to act to redress the situation.
The government is acting now in consultation with both
financial institutions and businesses to develop a code of
conduct for small business lending. The government's role is to
act as an honest broker between stakeholders. By consulting
with those concerned our government is showing its willingness
and ability to tackle the problem of access to capital.
It is only by working with the banks and their business clients
that we can together meet our country's common objective to
improve the business environment and increase international
With this budget the government has proven that it not only
knows how to consult but it knows how to listen and act as well.
More payroll taxes would have been a burden on business and
a barrier to jobs. The government has acted decisively to roll
back the unemployment insurance premium rate.
As most people know, a common request made to MPs'
offices is for information on programs for small business. This
suggests to me that Canadians have the will to create new
businesses. Canadians have faith in their talent and their
abilities. Canadians have plans that they are willing to put into
action. Finally, Canadians have the initiative to search out the
resources which are available to them.
My staff has been and will remain happy to seek information
on government programs for small business on behalf of
It is only sensible that my staff and my constituents should be
able to access complete information quickly. They need direct
access to civil servants who hold an expert's knowledge of the
content and scope of government programs for small business.
By next year the government will have put a Canada business
services centre in every province. This is an efficient one stop
shopping scheme for government programs. This is just one
more piece of the framework which will serve to support
business growth. With this budget the government is putting into
place the building blocks necessary for strong social and
Also, on the economic front I am excited about the Canada
investment fund and the Canadian technology network, just two
more pieces of the framework for our country's renewal.
I am perhaps most encouraged by our government's
commitment to fundamentally overhaul the social security
system. We will not achieve savings by indiscriminately
slashing the budget of social programs. Ours is not the mandate
of the previous government. We have not been elected to tear
down the social safety net, but rather to rebuild a system that
works for all Canadians. This is our mandate and this is what the
1994 budget initiates.
Mr. Yvan Bernier (Gaspé): Mr. Speaker, I would like to
congratulate the hon. member for his speech. However, I would
add that I do not agree with everything he said and I will begin
with the end of his speech to illustrate the points on which I
When the hon. member said that his government was not
elected to cut social programs, I wonder if we read the same
budget, because it said that the Department of Finance will cut
$725 million from unemployment insurance plan this year. Is
the hon. member aware of the impact that will have in regions
like the Maritimes and Eastern Quebec where, unfortunately,
people live on seasonal jobs?
Right now, unemployment insurance is essential there. Like
everybody else, workers in those regions would like to be able to
work 52 weeks a year, but they need tools. The government says
that it did not get the mandate to cut social programs, but
nonetheless it is cutting unemployment insurance. The Liberals
say that they want to reform and restructure the Canadian social
safety net, but I would like to be sure that when they talk about
reform, they do not mean cuts and less assistance. What
alternative do they have to offer?
Mr. McCormick: I thank the hon. member for his question.
Certainly I appreciate the fact that I have had an inside
opportunity for the last few weeks of sitting with the Standing
tee on Human Resources Development. We have been listening
to witnesses for 12 and a half hours a day this week, and I will be
back there shortly.
Certainly with our programs we are not setting out to cut off
anyone and make them suffer and go hungry in this country. We
believe that there is a lot of money in the system between the
different levels of government, including all the provinces and
this government. The strength seems to be that the
municipalities can deliver a lot of these systems.
We can save a lot of money within the administration as we
study that. We can put this to good use in helping to look after all
the people of Canada.
Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast): Mr. Speaker, I
congratulate the member on his maiden speech. I would like to
bring the hon. member into a point of reality with his analysis of
his government's budget.
We must focus on the ugly reality which the government's
budget brings about.
I am talking about an additional $100 billion debt that will be
attached to the $500 billion debt that has now accumulated. How
is the hon. member going to assure business that there is going to
be no hindrance to its expansion, to its growth or other such
initiatives when there is no other alternative but to increase
Mr. McCormick: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for
As I go back to my riding and talk to business people from
across 5,000 miles of road a lot of these business people who
like to complain about government-I complained about
government for many years and I still do-believe there is a new
confidence in the air already. I do not believe they are just
saying this because I happen to be a Liberal member. I hear
people running down the government but who are also
acknowledging the fact that there is an atmosphere of
confidence today and that things are getting better already.
Back to my small business background, I am certainly glad to
talk about the debt. The hon. member's cohorts and my friends
in our standing committee are letting every witness who comes
in front of us know that we do have a debt in this country. Many
of us believe that the only way we can look at this debt and be
realistic in this country without ruining it is to have jobs.
Therefore we believe it is very important how we affect this
country and certainly we want to provide the right atmosphere to
help businesses grow.
The Deputy Speaker: I congratulate the hon. member on his
maiden speech. On debate, the hon. member for Vancouver East.
Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East): Mr. Speaker, tansi.
Tansi means hello in Cree, one of the languages of the aboriginal
Being an immigrant I feel it is appropriate for me to use it in
my maiden speech. I have risen in the House before to make
statements or ask questions but this is the first time I have
delivered a speech in this House where so many important
people before me stood and delivered their maiden speeches.
My riding of Vancouver East is surely one of the most
interesting and diversified ridings in Canada. It stretches from
Cambie Street on the west side to Boundary Road on the east
side and from the waterfront on the north side to Grandview
Highway in a zigzag on the south side.
I cannot imagine myself representing another area. I chose
Vancouver East for the work I have done in that area over 20
years and I am glad I did. Vancouver is a very seductive city.
Since my arrival from Italy in 1966 Vancouver has grown by
leaps and bounds and is becoming an international metropolis
by the day. Vancouver East is a microcosm of Canada with its
many immigrants and interesting people representing the fabric
of the entire nation.
In Vancouver East the Chinese population at over 30 per cent
outnumbers the British group at 16 per cent, followed by the
Italians, who used to be the largest group, the aboriginal people
and all other ethnicities such as Filipinos, Vietnamese,
Indo-Canadians and Latin Americans, to mention a few.
In Vancouver East 45 per cent of the population is classified
as immigrants. Almost six people out of ten do not speak
English. Vancouver East also has one of the largest aboriginal
urban populations in Canada. The port of Vancouver is in
Vancouver East and so are many of the labour unions.
In Vancouver East one can find several cultural centres, such
as the Aboriginal Friendship Centre, the Native Education
Centre, the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Italian Cultural Centre,
the Croatian Community Centre and the Sikh Gudwara.
In Vancouver East we have the police department and several
small business owned by families. A colourful part of the city
with core streets such as Commercial Drive, Powell Street with
Gastown, Pender Street with Chinatown and Hastings Street,
Vancouver East counts on a large number of caring people who
provide support to the many needy in the area and who are the
heart and soul of the riding. These people operate from centres
such as the Carnegie Centre, the neighbourhood houses, the
churches and the non-profit organizations' headquarters.
I thank them for the tremendous job they do. I want to thank
the constituents of Vancouver East for believing in what I have
to offer and for voting for me. They will not be disappointed. But
I need them now more than ever. I also thank my son David and
all the people who supported me, those who worked with me in
my campaign and ensured my victory.
The human element was the most important factor in my
campaign. Because of the nature of Vancouver East, I asked to
speak to the budget which contains much of what is needed in a
riding like Vancouver East. This was the new government's first
budget and was a blueprint of the red book that got the Liberal
This budget is the first step of this new government to bring
back dignity to our population by creating jobs and restoring
faith in government. However, let me speak to some of the
important issues for Vancouver East and for Canada.
No tax increases. What a challenge. A fairer use of UIC and
lower UIC premiums, giving businesses a chance to reinvest the
premium money they save in creating more jobs. This was
another challenge and this time it came from the business
The support for housing through the RRAP, the continuation
of subsidies to the needy on reserve housing, projects to help
victims of family violence and the use of RRSP for first house
purchases. We would like to see more funding for new
subsidized housing but I feel we must become innovative and
find private funding as well to be able to continue a subsidized
housing system which is the envy of the world.
The infrastructure program for the present and future of our
transportation network and of tourism. The prenatal nutrition
and the aboriginal head start programs are two very important
programs for our newborns. The court challenges program and
the establishment of the Canadian race relations committee
needed for all minorities.
The centre of excellence for women's health and the national
forum on health are two very important initiatives for the
prevention of illnesses. The youth services corps, the youth
internship program, the literacy programs to help our youth
become independent and start their lives. The unification of
families during the year of the family.
All that was done by the Minister of Finance with the advice
and support of government members. The Minister of Finance
took into account the requests made by Canadians and often
changed the course of his budget according to the advice given
to him by his colleagues.
The Minister of Finance also considered the fact that, next
year, we will have the results of the consultations that will be
held in the areas of defence, human resources and immigration. I
think that this budget is a very good example of the
government's determination to change course.
What I feel is so important is the slight shift of the work
burden from the government to the business sector. We have
been counting for too long on the government for our jobs. By
offering incentives to businesses, the Minister of Finance is
beginning to give the business sector a chance of expanding and
creating more jobs. Even the change in UIC is a good step
toward creating more commitment on the part of the worker.
During the campaign many single mothers living in my riding
called. They want to get off welfare, get some training and start
working. This is the answer to their requests.
As a woman, I am quite happy to see that for the first time
women's needs are reflected in the budget. I am sure this is the
beginning of something.
Sure we would like to see more funding for various programs,
but unfortunately due to our financial constraints we all have to
share the burden and co-operate. Sure we would like to see a
much lower deficit forecast, but this cannot be done without the
suffering of all Canadians who are asking for jobs.
Mark Hill, an Ottawa writer, has tried to get rid of the deficit
and the debt, but after much general cutting, after: ``slashing old
age security, unemployment insurance, health care, social
assistance and education by 25 per cent'', and this on top of what
he has already cut, he has concluded by writing: ``what if we
allowed our elderly to fall into poverty, our sick to go without
treatment and our poor to go without decent food or shelter?
How many years would we have to suffer after we paid off our
debt''? The answer is 22 years of suffering.
In conclusion, I would like to bring up an issue that troubles
me a great deal. In 1976, I took part in various initiatives aimed
at keeping Quebec within Canada. When I arrived in this country
in 1966, Quebec was part of Canada and it must stay that way.
I want to offer my assistance to Quebec members who want a
united Canada and who would like the support of a Canadian of
Italian origin, from Western Canada, who speaks French and
who is interested in keeping Canada together.
The Deputy Speaker: Permit me to congratulate the hon.
member on her maiden speech.
Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast): Mr. Speaker, I too
congratulate the hon. member on her maiden speech. As I have
said before, that is a very special moment in our political life in
this House. I do congratulate the hon. member.
I am going to be very short. I am going to address the issue
of jobs and job creation. In this budget, $725 million in UI cuts
means 40,000 jobs. A $6 billion infrastructure program means
65,000 jobs. Sixty-five thousand and forty thousand certainly
does not add up to 1.2 million. That is currently the number
of people in this country who are out of work.
I am having a really hard time understanding how this
disparity of 100,000-plus jobs is supposed to get 1.2
million-plus people in Canada back to work. I would like the
hon. member to respond to that, please.
Mrs. Terrana: Mr. Speaker, I can see the concern and I know
it is only 10 per cent of what we need.
With the infrastructure program it is not just roads and the
infrastructure we need. Some moneys are also set aside for arts
centres. Fifteen per cent of it is earmarked for other programs.
I would like to say that this is another opportunity to increase
jobs. I would also like to say that we cannot get 1.2 million jobs
on the first budget and we cannot get the deficit down while
trying to do some work in the area of the economics of the
Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Mr.
Speaker, I would also like to thank the hon. member for the
quality of her maiden speech. Many of us here have had to make
this first speech, and it is always a rather moving experience.
I have a comment about a remark she made in her speech on
the change of direction brought about by the new government.
We, on this side of the House, do not agree at all that there has
been change, considering some significant items in the budget.
For instance, this is the record deficit. Never before had the
government forecast a $39 billion deficit. There is also the
increase in the number of weeks of work needed for entitlement
to unemployment insurance benefits coupled with a reduction in
the number of weeks people can get these benefits. To me, this
looks much more like a continuation of the previous
Conservative government's policy.
That is why Canadians and Quebecers find it very hard to
accept the results of this budget. During last week recess, people
told me this was another case of all talk and no action, since after
telling us for two months how serious the situation was, the
government ended up with no real cuts. It is just business as
I have a second brief remark. The hon. member said that she
wanted to work with Quebec members at building a united
Canada. I would invite her to work at making sure that Canada
and Quebec set up structures that would make them able to face
global competition in the years ahead. In that regard, Canadian
federalism no longer represents the kind of structure that will
allow us to be competitive in the global market.
Mrs. Terrana: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to
comment on the second remark of my colleague. The fact that
Quebec has tried to separe from Canada for many years did have
an impact on our economy. It is well known that problems are
not limited to Quebec but affect the whole country. I believe
that, as we say in Italy, united we stand, divided we fall. I do not
know how they say it in France, but we say that unity is strength.
As to the first remark on a new direction for our country, I
must say I am convinced there is indeed a new direction. This is
our first budget, and it was tabled only four months after the
government came into office. It is the first of two phases, and the
second one will come next year. It will then be possible to
discuss the budgetary content because we will have all the
findings of the consultation process. The opposition may find
that we are right in what we do and do it in the best interest of
Mrs. Sharon Hayes (Port Moody-Coquitlam): Mr.
Speaker, on behalf of the whip of the Reform Party, I would like
to advise the House that pursuant to Standing Order 43 our
speakers on this motion will be dividing their time.
I am more than pleased to address an area of concern that is
very real to Canadians. Last week I spent time in my riding of
Port Moody-Coquitlam, the first extended opportunity I had to
meet with individuals and groups since the budget was
introduced. I was met with three main areas of concern, two of
which I would like to touch on today.
The first topic is the budget. The other is immigration. Both
deal in very real terms with the concern of ordinary Canadians
about the future directions and opportunities of Canada.
Most Canadians view the budget of February 1994 as a
stop-gap measure, an attempt, however feeble, at holding the
line on the deficit and yet it has not done too much damage in
their own backyard. Predictably those whose livelihoods have
been directly affected through base closures or wage freezes or
other means are angry. Others who have watched our nation's
economy closely through the last several decades are angry.
I put to it the House that this budget is a failure and that all
Canadians should be angry.
Canada's debt and deficit situation is now at a point at which it
is affecting every individual and every business through
exorbitant taxation. Every personal paycheque is slashed by
taxes and reduced buying power. Our debt load of over half a
dollars, among the largest per capita debt of the industrialized
world, will destroy trade, jobs and our standard of living.
The deputy finance minister admitted yesterday that the tax
burden on individual Canadians and corporations is higher in
Canada than in any other major industrial power except France.
One-third of every dollar we pay in taxes disappears to debt
servicing. Those moneys are not there for our country's needs.
Allow me to illustrate. Every second eats up $1,300 in debt
interest payment, enough to employ two Canadians for a week.
In six seconds you could feed a family of four for a year. In the
10 minutes I have for this speech the debt will have increased by
$780,000. It will take an average Canadian 20 years to earn that
Remember, this money is not owed just to ourselves as some
may like to think. It is a fact that our largest export as a nation is
Canadian dollars owed to foreign lenders each year.
Yet with this budget government spending for the coming year
has actually increased by $2 billion. As with so many previous
budgets there will supposedly always be more revenues, better
economic conditions to bring our debt problems in order. Not so
then and not so now.
The problem is too severe to be left to the future because it is
that future that will inherit not the promises but the crushing
load of today's inability to face the problem. Spending must be
reduced and Canadians must be prepared to face the problem
squarely and honestly.
This current situation demands that all areas of expenditure
and human capital be addressed. That is why the budget debate
is an ideal time to examine the issue of immigration.
On its own it has been relegated to an untouchable topic
associated too easily with suspect motives and easy labels. Our
financial and human resources must be opened up for close
inspection in this area as well as others.
As the Globe and Mail stated on its 150th anniversary, the
biggest story of the nineties will be whether we learn to live
within our limits in a world already stressed by our excesses.
Our world has become a place of movement, of capital and
humanity. Recent reports in the media remind us that the
economic and migration issues are not ours alone.
Bosnia is one of almost 50 identifiable areas of civil war. Up
to 22 million people in Africa will need emergency food this
year. There are 20 million refugees worldwide, plus another 24
million people displaced inside their homelands. One-third of
the world's labour force, more than 820 million people, is either
not working or is living below a subsistence level.
This dilemma only intensifies as it becomes too apparent that
there are no easy solutions. The 1991 Geneva Convention cannot
adequately address these developments. International
co-operation must be pursued quickly to deal with shared long
Canada has one of the most generous immigration policies in
the world. We accept more refugees as landed immigrants than
any other nation in the world per capita. On February 2, 1994 the
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced the target
for this year's immigration level set at 250,000 or 1 per cent of
our population. Per capita it is double that of Australia or the
United States, the other two countries which receive the largest
amounts of immigrants.
We pride ourselves on our humanitarian and multicultural
policies. Yet according to a recent Vancouver Sun article recent
studies on immigration demonstrated that federal planners
cannot know for sure what impact these new arrivals will have
on Canada. Reports and studies are mixed. Even the much
quoted Canada Council report of 1991 recommends an
immigration target of 1 per cent of population only after 25
Historically, Canada's immigration rates have been erratic
since the 1970s, ranging from a low of 84,000 in 1985 to more
than 200,000 in the last three years. Typically, rates have
reflected economic trends with numbers dropping in harder
economic times. Historically, the largest flows have been in
response to definite need as when record numbers came in the
early 1900s to populate a vast western prairie.
Studies seem to indicate immigration has been economically
neutral, neither helping nor hindering the economy to any large
extent. That would seem to depend on the receiving conditions
and the adaptability of the immigrants to the needs of the
country. Both these factors have changed dramatically in the
past few years.
Canada and Canadians are facing a tremendous economic
challenge as we adjust to new world market conditions. Our debt
puts us at a growing disadvantage. Domestically, new
technologies demand major shifts in a struggling labour force.
Jobs are no longer there not only for the untrained but neither for
the student nor those in middle management careers.
The present unemployment rate is 11.4 per cent and much
higher if we take into account those who no longer are looking or
are underemployed. Add to this an immigration policy that will
introduce 2.5 million new people in the next 10 years. More than
half of the new arrivals coming as refugee or family class
immigrants will not have the skills needed in the new economy.
The independent class of immigrants with job and language
skills dropped from 54 per cent in 1954 to 27 per cent in 1992.
The family reunification class increased at the same time by a
similar amount. Immigrants who spoke no English or French
used to be only 10 per cent of new arrivals. Last year that soared
to nearly half with over 100,000 of Canada's 250,000
immigrants with no official language capacity.
I saw a living example of such proportions in a Port Moody
school last week. Fully half of the students in that school are in
the ESL program stream. Students there take their seat in the
classroom having arrived two or three days earlier in a brand
new land surrounded by brand new sights and sounds.
Immigration decisions made here in Ottawa are being lived
out in the burgeoning budget needs of local school boards and
the stress of overworked teachers. Language training for new
immigrants currently costs the Canadian taxpayers over $100
million a year.
The life and the blood of our nation are its people.
Government can seek to prescribe remedies to all kinds of our
country's ills through tinkering with this one factor. Will
immigration really save our pensions? Will immigration save
our dwindling revenues?
Increasingly, we see the band-aids that must be applied to the
serious side effects of these choices, whether it be the rising
racial prejudice, immigration dependency on social services,
perceived welfare abuse and criminal activity among new
arrivals, or the stress in our education system.
It is time to go back and honestly review the doctor's
prescription. Basic immigration policies and assumptions must
be opened to re-examination.
Last week I met with representatives of a Chinese immigrant
service organization. Their greatest concern was not in
supporting the cultures of those they represent. Their role is to
help give new arrivals the tools to make a new life in their new
chosen home. For that they need more and more resources to
meet the escalating demands of greater numbers and greater
needs. They see their main goal as effectively integrating these
new Canadians in a prosperous new country. Present
immigration policies are ruining their effectiveness. Present
economic policies are ruining their hope for a prosperous
We have a responsibility therefore to ask ourselves the
following question: What drives government policy that invites
record numbers and new classifications of new arrivals into an
I urge all members of all parties of this House to be truly
humanitarian and truly compassionate by giving our
immigration policies a responsible scrutiny and careful
assessment. As members of Parliament we are watchmen at the
gate for those who live in this land as well as for those who will
come to join us. We must therefore seek out those policies that
are proven, which will strengthen and create opportunity and
Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough): Mr. Speaker, I listened to
the member's remarks with great interest. I must say I heard
very much of a mixed message. I do not know where she gets
some of the literature she cites.
In the province of Ontario, which I know best but I am sure the
figures are roughly the same, its population would have
decreased every year of the last 10 years if it had not been for
immigrants. The population of the province of Quebec would
have decreased even more quickly. What is perhaps more
important for us all is that while that was occurring, the
population of the province of Ontario would already have been
close to 25 per cent senior citizens. That is one aspect. How she
thinks that works into the mix of our economy I do not know.
The other matter is that the immigrants-by that I mean new
immigrants, not established immigrants like myself-in my
riding are almost invariably contributing members of our
community. They are people who often take jobs well below
their qualifications and work very hard in those jobs. They rent
first of all and then buy small houses and improve them. They
see that their children get educated.
Also in the hon. member's figures she mentioned immigration
of 1 per cent. She knows this country has never had 1 per cent
immigration. There have been targets of 1 per cent. There is a
target at the present time but there has never been 1 per cent
She mentioned Bosnia. She mentioned unemployment. She
mentioned compassion and humanitarian feelings for people in
other countries. Does she realize that in her lifetime the world
population will double and will then double again? That
assumes, by the way, that she lives an average life and I hope she
lives longer. What are we supposed to do in this country while
the world population doubles and redoubles?
For the member's information 1 per cent of our population,
which is the target for immigration we have at the moment,
represents at this moment one day's increase in the world
population. Do we move into a bunker and let the world
population grow around us and try and live as increasingly aging
and wealthy people not reaching out to help these people in other
Mrs. Hayes: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his
comments and questions. Actually I am getting a mixed message
from the member as well.
As we look at the immigrants who do come to this country, the
thrust of my talk and feeling is we need to give them opportunity
when they arrive here, as well as provide opportunity for
Canadians who are here already. That should be our bottom line.
I did not say anything about a 1 per cent immigration rate
before this time but that is our target. I think we agree with that
as the established government target.
There are no studies indicating that 1 per cent is where we
should be at. What I do see though and I referred to this in my
speech are the surfacing problems. In today's Globe and Mail
over one-half of Canadians perceive we are accepting too many
immigrants. That tells me there is a perception problem which
needs to be addressed.
Why is that perception there? The immigrants that do come to
this country tend to come to three urban centres. They come to
places that are already stressed. They come to places where jobs
are not available. They come to expectations we cannot provide
because we have not been able to assess how we are going to
accommodate these people.
The hon. member has admitted in his question the reasons our
immigration policies are what they are. The government wants
to provide pension funds because of its own mismanagement of
funds in the past. Those pension funds will not be there if
present trends continue. Is it fair to the immigrants if we bring in
the possibility of reduced employment, fewer jobs for the
I would agree that immigrants are necessary and immigration
is a positive force in our country if it is done wisely. Where is the
proven wisdom in our present policy? That is what we need to
Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Mr. Speaker, to be quite
frank, I find the statements by the member to be quite
The member quoted a poll from today's paper which clearly
shows there is a problem. Perhaps the problem is accentuated by
the fact that people who claim to be leaders in the community
stand in places like this and in provincial legislatures and allow
the perception that immigrants are a drain on the Canadian
society to be put out there without any type of substantiation
It is very dangerous to stand in the House of Commons and
give a speech that lends credibility to an argument that has
absolutely no foundation in fact. The problem is not that
immigrants are becoming an undue burden on our major cities.
The reality is that more immigrants with different skin colours
are coming to Canada from places like Asia. That seems to be
the problem I hear. I would like the member to comment on that.
Mrs. Hayes: Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment certainly
on what the hon. member has said.
You say that I have no substantiation in that I repeated
something in the paper. The substantiation I have is that it is in
the paper. The public perception is there. What are we going to
do about it? I would challenge you on your substantiation of the
numbers that are now used for the immigration policy. There is
no basis for those numbers in the world, except Canada, or in
The Deputy Speaker: I would please ask members to try to
say ``the member'' rather than ``you''. It is supposed to lower
the temperature and I think we will all benefit if we use that
Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River): Mr.
Speaker, I rise to participate in the debate following the first
budget presentation in this, the 35th Parliament. My
constituents expect me to bring some new perspective and sanity
to how government spends the taxpayers' dollars and to what
effect and purpose.
My west coast riding covers one half of Vancouver Island's
coastline as well as one half of the mainland coastline of British
My riding generates major wealth. Its contribution to our
gross domestic product is one of the country's highest, if not the
highest. It is a resource based economy. We have five pulp mills
with the two fastest papermaking machines in Canada, logging,
three major mines, sawmills, fisheries and a highly developed
My constituents contribute in a big way to the wealth of this
country but do not enjoy the level of services provided in other
parts of this country. It is not a question of more government
employees. We already average 8,000 federal, provincial and
municipal government employees per riding in Canada. What is
required is downsizing, better deployment of employees and
priorizing of services.
The federal government has cut jobs such as lighthouse
keepers and federal fisheries officers, the very people and
institutions which deliver services in the field in an
irreplaceable way. We all know that reductions in services and
employees should be in middle and upper management, not in
There are indications that the federal government is
considering closing the fisheries offices in small coastline
communities in my riding. This policy is totally contradictory to
the government's pledge for example to maintain rural post
offices in Canada and is detrimental to hands-on enforcement
and habitat measures. These policy decisions send a strong
negative signal to these rural communities. It also sends a signal
to the people who ask if the federal government has the
competence to manage this resource''.
It is the only resource managed by the feds and they cannot
even get it right. The sports and commercial fisheries ask:
``Where are the enforcement, habitat and budgetary priorities of
fisheries and oceans going?'' The demise of the east coast
fishery is on the minds of everyone.
Let me now turn to the budget document. It is very
disappointing to me and my constituents to deal with the
fisheries issues I have just articulated in the face of increased
At the same time the government projects 8 per cent growth in
revenue after a drop in revenue last year. This is absurd.
Allow me to put the national debt into a constituency
perspective. The Powell River area's cost of servicing national
debt allocated on a pro rata basis is $17 million per year. This
money is blown out the window. The entire cost of local services
provided by the Powell River area for police, fire, garbage,
water, sewer, sidewalks, streets and all those other valued local
services also runs at $17 million per year. If this does not point
out the profligacy and penalty of federal spending, I do not know
Incidentally, similar national debt comparisons can be made
for other local governments in my riding such as Campbell
River. Our local B.C. governments do not run deficits by
legislation. The debt and deficit are weakening confederation
and the federal government is in danger of becoming impotent.
This government had better get its act together on spending
decreases. No tax increase during the life of this Parliament is
Allow me to turn to the Department of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development. Most government departments had a 3
per cent cap in the growth rate of departmental budgets in the
last Parliament. The department of Indian affairs has enjoyed
exclusivity from this policy. The budget of this department
should be frozen at 1993-94 levels at the very least.
Since the 1988-89 fiscal year, the departmental budget of
Indian affairs has increased $1.6 billion, averaging a $275
million increase every year. This fiscal year departmental
spending is projected to increase $396 million over fiscal
1993-94, representing an increase of 8.6 per cent. Compare this
with the Environment Canada total operating budget of $737
million. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development increase is almost half of its total budget.
Is there anyone who believes that these spending increases are
sustainable or can be attributed to demographics? According to
the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development,
there are 997,000 people in the aboriginal population in Canada.
Total federal aboriginal spending now exceeds $7 billion or
$28,000 per family of four. I ask if this spending has brought our
aboriginal peoples any closer to self-sufficiency.
The myriad of programs and services provided by other
government departments for Indian affairs confuses an already
complex situation regarding programs and their delivery.
One does not have to look far to find examples of a lack of
accountability within the Indian affairs department. For over 20
years the Auditor General has been raising concerns over the
management of programs and delivery of services by Indian
affairs. In his 1993 report, the Canadian aboriginal economic
development strategy is cited as a function where lack of
appropriate performance and evaluation information impedes
the necessary accountability within the aboriginal communities
and between the government and Parliament. This has cost the
taxpayer approximately $1 billion since 1989.
The Auditor General went on to say that the department could
not demonstrate that it was meeting the strategy's objectives.
As another example in 1992-93 Canada's status Indians and
Inuit received non-insured health benefits totalling $422
million administered by the Department of National Health and
Welfare. The Auditor General's 1993 report states that the cost
of this program could have been reduced by $85 million or 20
per cent if the benefits had been provided in accordance with
national program directives and principles.
The Auditor General concludes that the information provided
to him on the program continues to fall far short of reasonable
and adequate disclosure.
It is evident that reforms must be initiated. A Department of
Indian Affairs and Northern Development budget freeze at
1993-94 levels would stimulate activity in priority setting in a
long overdue way. The current situation stifles creativity.
Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Natural Resources): Mr.
Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in support of the first budget
of this government announced on February 22 by my colleague,
the hon. Minister of Finance.
This budget deserves the support of this House because it
provides a solid framework which will both stimulate economic
growth and set the course for long term fiscal restraint and
responsibility. As the member for Edmonton Northwest, I am
very encouraged by this budget. It addresses those issues that
the residents of my riding raised with me during the election,
issues of job creation, deficit reduction and meaningful reforms
to Canada's social programs.
In addition, there are several announcements concerning the
activities of my department, Natural Resources Canada, that I
wish to highlight.
First I wish to discuss aspects of the budget which affect my
constituents in the riding of Edmonton Northwest. The
unemployment rate in Edmonton Northwest is high. However,
with this budget the government will help restore hope and
prosperity not only to the residents of Edmonton but to all
A key component in restoring this hope and prosperity will be
the creation of jobs by the private sector. In my riding as in many
others these jobs will be created primarily by small businesses.
For example, mine is a riding of small businesses. There are
over 5,000 such businesses creating employment in my riding.
This budget recognizes the importance of small business,
supports its further growth and encourages its natural creativity
and initiative. For example we have cut back on premiums for
unemployment insurance. That will save businesses $300
million a year which they can now reinvest in new jobs. The
government will consult with banks for the first time to develop
a code of conduct for small business lending.
The budget also creates Canada business service centres in
every province to facilitate contact with our government. It
establishes the Canada investment fund to streamline badly
needed access to venture capital for small enterprises.
In addition this budget addresses the badly needed reform of
our social programs. Our social security system was designed
for a different era and no longer meets Canadians' needs. We
have hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are unemployed,
underemployed or stuck on social assistance, who see unfairness
and disincentives in the system and who live in poverty.
We will undertake this reform of Canada's social programs
through a wide ranging process of consultation involving other
levels of government, the private sector, members of Parliament
and their constituents. There will be numerous opportunities
over the next few months for constituents in Edmonton and
elsewhere to participate in this process and I encourage them to
Now I would like to turn to another key component of the
budget, deficit reduction.
As stated by my colleague, the Minister of Finance, the
budget reduces the deficit from $45.7 billion in 1993-94 to
$39.7 billion in 1994-95 and $32.7 billion in 1995-96. In terms
of spending cuts this is the most significant budget we have seen
in this country in 10 years.
One of the key components of the deficit reduction program is
major cuts in defence spending, some $1.9 billion over the next
three years. The budget contained the announcement that 21
defence facilities across Canada would be closed or
restructured. While these decisions were not easy they are an
example of the tough choices this government has promised to
make to get our spending under control.
In Alberta alone the net saving which will be achieved
through cuts in defence spending is approximately $44 million
annually. We in Edmonton with a proud and long military
tradition know that we must do our part to ensure an efficient
and effective yet streamlined military force.
At CFB Edmonton several operations will be transferred out,
including the search and rescue squadron to Yellowknife and the
air transport squadron to Trenton and Winnipeg. These and other
operational changes will result in a net saving of approximately
$36 million annually.
At the same time the Lord Strathcona Horse Brigade will be
transferred from CFB Calgary to CFB Edmonton. By reducing
the transit time to the main training area for these troops at
Camp Wainwright and by closing the Harvery barracks, this
move represents a saving of $6 million annually to taxpayers. In
addition, the closure of CFB Penhold will achieve another $2
million in annual savings.
The government believes that our defence infrastructure has
far exceeded for many years any probable and reasonable
defence needs. The announcements of reductions reflect the
realities of the nineties that with the end of the cold war
Canada's military presence must be rethought and reconfigured.
The budget also focuses on achieving greater equality in
social conditions for all Canadians. In this budget we see
investments made in women's health care issues, the well-being
of children, young Canadians and aboriginal peoples. These
issues are very important to me as they are to many in my riding.
I am very pleased to note several announcements which
follow from our promises to Canadians in the red book. The
budget provides funding for a centre of excellence for women's
health, a prenatal program for low income pregnant women, an
aboriginal head start program, a new youth service corps and
youth internship and apprenticeship programs.
I believe these programs are long overdue in terms of
responding to the needs of these groups and individuals. The
introduction of these initiatives demonstrates that this
government is committed to the equality of all Canadians.
Further, these programs represent a key step toward meeting
the challenge which the Minister of Finance identified in his
budget speech, the challenge to construct responsible social
programs which are affordable.
Several aspects of the Minister of Finance's announcements
will have a direct effect on the women of this country. For
example, I would like to note that the package of reforms to the
unemployment insurance program will help the women of
Canada. As the Minister of Finance said, it is often women who
bear the brunt of social stress and economic dislocation.
He said that during our budget consultations a number of
issues were raised regarding disparities in the tax and income
Specifically, while the unemployment insurance benefit rate
will be reduced to 55 per cent, the rate will be 60 per cent for
individuals with modest incomes who support children or older
parents. Many of those people are single mothers. There will be
amendments to the provisions governing workers who quit their
jobs voluntarily or are fired for misconduct. This acknowledges
the concerns of the many women who voice their opposition to
the introduction of these provisions by the previous
Furthermore, I am very pleased to note that the Minister of
Finance announced that he will act on the recommendations of
the federal-provincial family law committee which has been
studying the issue of tax treatment of child support payments
and the related issues of their levels and enforcement.
While these measures respond to the specific needs of
Canadian women, they also respond to the pressing need to
reform Canada's outdated social security system to ensure that
system builds bridges to work and that system encourages
independence, not dependence.
The Minister of Finance also discusses in the budget a number
of measures which will create economic renewal and
revitalization, including the infrastructure program. In Alberta
total investment in infrastructure development and
enhancement and job creation will be $518 million. The creation
of both short and long term employment, particularly in centres
with high unemployment such as Edmonton, comes as welcome
Moreover, the infrastructure program will improve national,
provincial and local competitiveness and help promote
improved environmental quality.
For example, I know that the Edmonton city council is
considering a number of projects, including the construction of
a major roadway interchange along a truck route, improvements
to the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant and the extension of
its river valley park system.
Such programs will help to ensure that Edmonton not only
remains a good place to conduct business, but also that its
citizens continue to enjoy a high quality of life.
I have addressed some aspects of the budget which directly
affect my constituents in Edmonton Northwest. Now I would
like to turn to issues which deal with my responsibilities as
Minister of Natural Resources.
Let me emphasize the fact that Canada's natural resource
sectors are industrial cornerstones of Canada's economy.
Through our general economic policies and the work of my
department this government is committed to ensuring that the
energy, mining and forestry sectors continue to provide jobs for
Canadians, stimulating the economies of hundreds of
communities in all regions of this nation and continuing to
contribute to Canada's positive balance of trade.
Before I discuss specific budget announcements affecting
these industrial sectors I would like to address two key concerns
identified by Albertans in discussions leading up to this budget.
First, the federal government's acting unilaterally to impose a
carbon tax was of great concern to some Albertans prior to the
budget speech. The Minister of Finance did not impose a carbon
In addition, the Minister of Finance did not reduce tax rebates
for privately owned utilities.
One of the things this new government will accentuate is a
partnership approach with all key stakeholders such as other
levels of government, industry, labour, et cetera. Gone are the
days when governments could impose solutions without
consulting with those who will be most affected.
The goal of the Public Utilities Income Tax Transfer Act, also
known inelegantly as PUITTA, is to reduce interprovincial tax
disparities and provide a balanced playing field for crown and
investor owned utilities and their customers wherever they are
located in Canada.
The principal beneficiaries of PUITTA are those provinces
with investor owned utilities of which Alberta, Nova Scotia and
Prince Edward Island are the main examples. Under the PUITTA
legislation the federal government rebates 85.5 per cent of the
federal income taxes paid by investor owned utility companies
back to the provinces.
The government is not abolishing PUITTA but merely
extending the current restraint on its growth. Albertans are not
being targeted. Their utilities receive better treatment from the
federal government than from their own provincial government.
In 1990 the Alberta government abolished its own equivalent
of the federal PUITTA program.
I would like to turn now to the changes affecting class 34,
capital cost allowances. First, I should explain that class 34
allowed the right-off of certain equipment used in
co-generation, the recovery of waste heat and renewable energy,
including active solar heating, small hydro, energy from wood
and municipal wastes and wind energy.
In this budget class 34 has been eliminated and we have
created a new and expanded class. Class 34 was created in 1976
and was designed to encourage business and industry to reduce
energy waste and use renewable energy sources.
On the energy efficiency side many of the standards used
under class 34 were based on the technology of the seventies.
Since the purpose of the tax write-off mechanism is to
encourage the use of leading edge technology the standards
needed to be revised, and accordingly the new class does just
On the renewable energy side we have created a new class that
now has expanded to include three new renewable energy
sources. Photovoltaic energy, geothermal energy for electricity
production and methane from landfill sites and sewage
treatment facilities are now included in the new class.
The initiatives under this new class will contribute to the
government's greenhouse gas emission objectives. In addition,
the government is examining a variety of measures under the
national air issues co-ordination mechanism. This examination
includes several measures to increase the use of renewable
energy in Canada.
There has been criticism about the fact that this budget does
not do anything to improve the prospects for mineral
exploration in Canada. First of all, the Liberal Party of Canada
was the only federal party to have a platform on mining during
the election campaign.
Let me also point out that this budget was one of the first in
years to address the concerns of the mining and mineral industry
in this country. The tax changes concerning mine reclamation,
which I will discuss in a few moments, prove that this
government is committed to the future of this industry in
The mining policy mapped out by my party notes the serious
economic implications of Canada's declining ore reserves due to
inadequate grass roots exploration. The Minister of Finance has
listened carefully to my concerns regarding the ore reserve and
mineral exploration issues.
He has also carefully considered concerns registered by
organizations such as Save Our North, the Prospectors and
Developers Association of Canada and various regional
prospectors and developers associations. However, the
government's immediate agenda for taking action to stimulate
mineral exploration and other desirable economic activity must
take into account constraints imposed by the country's current
I should also point out that this issue is being examined
through a consultative process called the Whitehorse mining
initiative. This initiative, as I know members are aware, is
driven by industry and includes federal, provincial and
territorial governments, native peoples, environmental groups
and other related stakeholders.
Mining has been a significant factor in this country's
economic growth since before its very inception. As I mentioned
earlier, the mining industry has demonstrated its commitment to
Canada through the development of the Whitehorse mining
initiative. Late last September the industry launched an
impressive public information campaign called ``Keep Mining
in Canada'' which my department enthusiastically supports.
In this campaign's ten point plan the industry called on
government to change the tax laws on mine reclamation funding
to encourage investment in new mines. Briefly, mine
reclamation is the process of decommissioning and
rehabilitating mine sites following closure and the termination
of production. It involves restoring the site to the same or better
state than existed prior to the development of the mine. As I am
sure members can appreciate, this often costly process supports
our commitment to sustainable development.
By bringing in changes to the mine reclamation tax fund
regulations, the Minister of Finance has created greater equity
in the tax system. The government has taken a position that is
fair to both small and large companies. Smaller single mine
companies are put on a level playing field with large mining
With the new measure such small companies will be able to
take the deduction up front to the extent that they are required by
provincial governments to make payments into mine
In short, the measure the Minister of Finance has taken is
good for environmental protection. It has brought greater
equality into the income tax system and has increased the cash
flow of large and small mining companies.
This measure also represents an annual investment of about
$15 million by the Government of Canada in our mining
industry. I believe this measure addresses some of the concerns
raised by the Keep Mining in Canada campaign. It also supports
the improvement of the investment climate without doing
something which could prove to be fiscally imprudent.
I should add the perception that this new measure creates a
system of double taxation for mining companies is false. While
fund earnings are taken into taxable income twice, there is a
corresponding deduction for the amount of reclamation
expenses. Therefore in reality tax is paid only once on the fund
Finally I should emphasize several measures announced by
the Minister of Finance which have positive benefits for client
sectors of Natural Resources Canada.
As I mentioned earlier the reduction of UI premiums is
estimated to provide businesses with some $300 million to put
people back to work. I believe this will spur job creation in small
businesses engaged in energy, mining and forestry activities
throughout this country.
The establishment of the youth corps is also expected to
provide young Canadians with the opportunity to gain valuable
on the job experience in our forestry sector. The apprenticeship
program will enable other young Canadians to get valuable
experience in all three sectors supported by my department.
The technology network represents a first step toward
improving the linkage between federal government research and
development institutes, universities and the private sector. That
linkage will be extremely important as every country in the
world seeks to set up electronic highways to improve its
Besides the potential increase in demand for forestry products
the residential rehabilitation assistance program may also
increase demand for energy efficient products that have been
developed by industry in co-operation with my department's
research and technology arm, CANMET.
The redefinition of Canada's involvement in space will boost
our commitment to the continued development of Canada's
expertise in remote sensing. As members know the Canada
Centre for Remote Sensing which is a division of the surveys,
mapping and remote sensing sector of my department was
almost single-handedly responsible for the push in the early
1970s to develop our expertise in the field of space.
Mr. Speaker, I see that my time is almost up.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I was just going to ask the
hon. minister if she could give me some assistance and possibly
indicate as to how much longer she might be.
Ms. McLellan: Two minutes.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Is there unanimous
consent for the minister to conclude her remarks?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Ms. McLellan: Mr. Speaker, these last two points I have
raised only begin to scratch the surface of my department in
terms of its importance in the development of Canada's science
and technology expertise.
I can assure members of this House that Natural Resources
Canada is committed to greater efficiency in its operations in
order to maximize its contribution to Canada's science and
technology capabilities which are key to our future prospects for
economic growth and job creation.
In closing, as the member for Edmonton Northwest and
Minister of Natural Resources, I urge this House to fully support
the announcements my colleague the hon. Minister of Finance
has made concerning this government's first budget.
Canada faces serious challenges as we move together toward
the next century. I believe these measures provide an extremely
positive and useful series of first steps to get this country on the
road to a more competitive standing in global markets and to get
Canadians back to work.
Much has been said about this government's commitment to
the concept of sustainable development. It is clear we must
move carefully to achieve a balance in decision making between
environmental and economic objectives.
At this time our movement toward sustainable development
must progress carefully. We know very well that the wrong
signals to the marketplace will have a drastic effect on our
ability to encourage environmental sensitivity. All Canadians
must work to balance environmental and economic objectives. It
is that simple.
In conclusion this budget will rekindle that confidence. It is
the kind of confidence this country needs to get hundreds of
thousands of Canadians back to work and to fulfil their desire to
make a positive contribution to the future of this great nation.
Mr. Nic Leblanc (Longueuil): Mr. Speaker, I do not think the
Secretary of State for Human Resources really understands what
the budget does. At least not the way I understand it. I do not see
how she, as the Secretary of State for Human Resources, could
let the Minister of Finance increase unemployment insurance
premiums by $800 million. And since she is supposed to help
Canadians who need assistance, I wonder why she let the
Minister of Finance raise the minimum entrance requirement
and reduce the number of weeks during which claimants can
collect benefits. It seems to me that the minister does not have a
great deal of influence with the Minister of Finance.
She also talked about research and development. I may
remind her that at this very moment, $1 billion more is being
spent annually on research and development in Ontario than in
Quebec. I hope that from now on she will monitor the situation
closely and ensure that funding is distributed more equitably.
She also mentioned infrastructures and the many jobs this will
create. I say it will not happen, because increasing
unemployment insurance premiums by $800 million means that
consumers will have that amount less to spend. The government
reduces our purchasing power by $800 million but allocates $1
billion for infrastructures, which means zilch for job creation.
It is clear this budget is not about job creation but job
Furthermore, corporate taxes will be increased by $1.7 billion
and individual income tax by $1.8 million, over the next three
If the government thinks this is going to create jobs, I think
the reverse will happen. That is why I completely disagree with
the secretary of state. And now for my main question, which
concerns her directly. Considering her responsibilities in this
area, how could she let the Minister of Finance raise
unemployment insurance premiums for the current year and
reduce unemployment insurance benefits? In other words, how
can she let the Minister of Finance do the exact opposite of what
she should be doing in her own department, which is to improve
the well-being of Canadians?
Ms. McLellan: Mr. Speaker, perhaps my hon. colleague is
under some misapprehension as to who I am and what I do. I am
not the secretary of state for human resources. I am the
Ministerof Natural Resources. There is a difference, although I
point that perhaps our greatest natural resource in this country is
our people. Having said that I will respond to a couple of the
comments made by my learned colleague.
In relation to his concern about unemployment insurance as
my comments indicated the reforms of this system are ongoing.
There will be a far reaching consultative process with
Canadians. In the interim however we have targeted those
people most in need to ensure that their benefits are increased.
Those most in need with modest incomes, with dependents be
they children, elderly parents or disabled family members, are
going to see their benefits increase to 60 per cent.
In relation to the hon. member's concern about jobs and job
creation this government believes the single greatest engine of
job creation in this country will be small business.
I reiterate those steps the Minister of Finance and this
government have taken to encourage small business to create
more jobs. The Minister of Finance offered small business a
challenge in his budget. I have no reason to believe that the
small businesses will not take that challenge and create tens of
thousands of new jobs across this country.
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Mr. Speaker, in her
concluding remarks in answer to the previous question the
minister said she had every reason to believe business is going to
take up this challenge and create hundreds of thousands of new
jobs. Why then do we actually need an infrastructure program
which is going to cost the taxpayers another $6 billion?
The minister asked us to endorse the budget that was brought
down by the Minister of Finance. In her speech she talked about
creating jobs through small business. Why do we need a $6
billion infrastructure program that loads more taxes and more
debt on the taxpayer? We have argued for a long time to start
reducing taxes and allow business to do its job and that is how
we will start creating employment.
In her remarks on unemployment insurance she was taking
great credit for the fact that government is reducing UI
premiums. Remember however that on January 1 the
government increased the UI and now is taking it back. The net
result is absolutely zero. For the government to take credit for
reducing the UI premiums I think is false on its part.
The hon. minister talks about the budget, taking great credit
for reducing the deficit to $32 billion. By the minister's own
admission it will drop on its own to $41 billion this coming year.
Why is the minister asking for our support when the Minister
of Finance brought down a dismal budget? It has not been
accepted by Canadians and Canadians recognize that
government has not even started to address the deficit problem,
adding another $100 billion in debt.
Will the minister please explain why we should support the
budget as brought down by the minister because I do not think
Ms. McLellan: Mr. Speaker, in relation to the infrastructure
program and small businesses, small businesses will create jobs.
What do small businesses need to create those jobs-renovated
and rebuilt infrastructure. They need good public
transportation, good roads, good sewer systems, cleaner air.
That is what they need to compete with their competitors around
It is interesting that our major global competitors, Germany,
Japan and the United States, are contributing billions and
billions of dollars over the next 10 years to renovate their public
infrastructure. Why? They know it is a public responsibility to
provide the foundation, the bricks and the mortar, so businesses
can then do the job they do best which is to create wealth and put
people back to work.
That is why this government, with its commitment to long
term thinking, is making this short term commitment to the
renovation of this country's infrastructure.
Mr. Maurice Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead):
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House today to speak on
behalf on the citizens of Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead about
the budget tabled recently by the Minister of Finance. Let me
assure you that my constituents, like Quebecers and Canadians
everywhere, have become acquainted with the measures
contained in the budget and, like the Official Opposition, are
extremely concerned about the budget's implications on their
In the past few days, as I was thinking about what I would say
on the subject, the front page of the Saturday, March 5 edition of
La Tribune caught my attention. In fact, two headlines caught
my attention. I would just like to mention that La Tribune is
owned by the Power Corporation. It has no ties to the Bloc
Quebecois and is in no way sympathetic to the Bloc's position. I
would invite my colleagues on both sides of the House to
subscribe to this daily which, I might add, focusses on the
Eastern Townships. On reading the editorial page, they will see
that this newspaper has nothing in common with the usual stands
taken by the Bloc Quebecois.
As I said, this daily newspaper is sold in the Eastern
Townships and outside this region. So, naturally it also reports
goings-on in the riding of Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead
which I am honoured to represent in this House.
As I was saying, two headlines in the newspaper caught my
attention. The first one, which I would like to show to my
colleagues, proclaimed the following: ``Record Number of
Social Welfare Recipients''.
Last January, 21,539 people in my region received
unemployment insurance benefits, according to statistics
supplied by the Department of Human Resources Development.
How in all conscience can we speak of human resources
development in the face of such a high level of unemployment?
In addition, 17,600 people received social welfare benefits
during the same period. These figures do not include dependants
of unemployment insurance and welfare recipients. In reality,
what all of this means is that 28.6 per cent of the region's labour
force is unemployed.
The 1994-95 budget launches an assault on the least
fortunate, the very group that the Liberal government and its
Minister of Finance profess to staunchly defend.
The second headline in this newspaper was a statement made
by the Prime Minister of Canada which earned-the statement
that is, not the headline-the applause of 700 people attending a
luncheon given by the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce. I
assume that very few unemployed people must have attended
that luncheon. The Prime Minister is quoted in this article as
saying: ``Stop complaining. The time has come to stop whining,
to forget about the Constitution and think about creating jobs''.
He goes on to say: ``Stop whining-you know what I am talking
about-and you will make progress''.
The Prime Minister's comments show unacceptable scorn
towards the thousands of people who find themselves
unemployed, not because of their own iniquity but mostly
because of mismanagement by all federal governments of the
last 20 years, in particular that of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in
which, as Minister of Finance, the current Prime Minister was
one of those who started the monstrous deficit spiral that has led
to a debt of over $500 billion.
However, we understand why the Prime Minister drew
applause from the richest members of our society, since this
government has not touched the outrageous family trust system.
I want to point out another perverse effect of this budget on
unemployment insurance. I refer to the study done by three
economists from Quebec University in Montreal, Pierre Fortin,
Pierre-Yves Crémieux and Marc Van Audenrode. What are the
conclusions drawn by these economists?
They point out that the new unemployment insurance
measures are generally more stringent than the 1990 Tory
reform that caused an outcry among members of the current
Liberal government then in opposition, and make the
unemployed bear the burden of the unemployment insurance
reform now under way, which represents 60 per cent of the new
budget cuts announced by this government.
According to these three economists from Quebec, the new
cuts are in the order of $4.1 billion, $2.4 billion of which comes
from savings made possible by the changes to the
unemployment insurance program.
In the face of such measures, how can we assume that the
government is acting in good faith when it claims it wants to
improve income security programs through an extensive reform
process and when, even before knowing the first thing about this
reform, we already know that this government intends to make
cuts of between $5 billion and $6 billion in unemployment
insurance and who knows how much in the Canada Assistance
Plan? Only yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources
Development and the Prime Minister announced outside this
House that they would make cuts not only in unemployment
insurance and social assistance but also in old age security
In conclusion, I urge the Minister of Finance to intercede with
the Prime Minister to make him show more compassion towards
the disadvantaged and more common sense in the administration
of federal affairs. If the government really wants to save $280
million at Quebec's expense, it only has to put Quebec in charge
of managing job training programs, as all Quebec stakeholders
are asking; it will thus save $250 million a year while ensuring
that job-seekers receive better services.
Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Public Works and Government Services): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to ask the following question: Does he
believe that the victims, whom he mentioned in his speech, are
the result of policies of the former Conservative government or
are they victims of the policies of the new Liberal government,
which has been in office for a little over four months? Of whose
policies are they the victims? That is my first question. I would
like to have a very honest answer to a very specific question.
The second question I would like to ask is as follows. He
mentioned that the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Hon.
Jean Chrétien, made a speech where he said that we need to have
a positive attitude and stop whining and so on.
Does he really believe that this Prime Minister was targeting
people who are unemployed or on welfare? Frankly, that is what
I understood, and if that is the message he was sending, I am
very, very disappointed, because no member and no party in this
House, be it the Prime Minister or anyone else, would wish such
a misfortune on anyone. If I am wrong, let him correct me; if I
am right, I would like him to withdraw that comment.
Mr. Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead): Mr.
Speaker, I will first answer my colleague's first question, in
which he refers to his government's responsibility for the state
of the Canadian economy. I come back to what I just said in the
last ten minutes, something that is mentioned very eloquently in
the study done by economists at the Université du Québec. I
remember the figures given in this study by the economists,
which incidentally was published in the newspaper La Presse
The federal budget provides for a net deficit reduction of $8 billion in
1995-96. However, slightly less than half of this had already been proposed by
the previous Conservative budget.
The new Liberal cuts are thus about $4.1 billion. Of this amount, $2.4 billion is
from savings made through changes to the unemployment insurance program.
So the responsibility belongs both to the previous government
and to the present government, because in fact just the label has
changed from Conservative to Liberal but the measures are the
So, yes, the present government bears some responsibility for
the drastic economic situation in which we find ourselves. As I
said, the present Prime Minister, when he was Minister of
Finance some 15 years ago and more, was one of those who
started this deficit tragedy which means that today we have a
debt of over $500 billion.
On the second point, I will answer my colleague that I believe
that people in all parties are sincere when they feel sorry for the
unemployed and welfare recipients throughout Canada, except
that a government is judged by its deeds and its actions.
In this budget, dear colleague, the cuts being made are aimed
at the unemployed. Again, I take the example of family trusts,
on which nothing is being done, although they could
immediately have obtained large amounts from them.
If the Prime Minister or members of the government are not
talking about the unemployed when they say to stop
complaining, I would like them to tell me whom they are talking
about. The unemployed people whom I met in my riding last
week feel these remarks were meant for them.
Mr. René Laurin (Joliette): Mr. Speaker, this is the fourth
day of debate on the 1994-95 budget. According to this budget,
expenditures will reach $160.7 billion, which is $39.7 billion
more than the anticipated revenue.
While the expected deficit should be 0.2 per cent lower than in
1993-94, it still remains an enormous burden for Canadians, and
particularly for the middle-class and the poor.
Indeed, this budget asks the unemployed to tighten their belts
even more. It asks the middle class to forget about salary
increases, even though this has been the case for the last four
years. It asks the elderly to accept smaller pensions. It asks
small businesses to still wait for an economic recovery which
will come of course when the recession ends. It asks
municipalities which, in many cases, cannot afford it, to get
even more into debts to improve their infrastructure and create a
few thousand temporary jobs.
However, this budget reassures the well-to-do by
maintaining most of the benefits which will enable them to
increase their wealth as well as the gap between them and their
less fortunate fellow Canadians. The rich will continue to get
richer by taking advantage of tax shelters. Wealthy families will
continue to avoid paying taxes, thanks to the maintenance of
family trusts. Similarly, major corporations will continue to
cash in millions in non-taxable profits, thanks to tax havens.
The 90,000 companies which, in 1987, realized profits of $27
billion without paying any taxes, according to professor
Léopold Lauzon, will carry on their operations without having
anything to fear from the tax man. The underground economy
will be able to continue to prosper.
Yet, according to the Association of Canadian Distillers,
liquor smuggling alone results in an annual loss of $1.2 billion
for the various governments in Canada. Last November, Gallup
conducted a survey to ask Quebecers and Canadians if they had
contributed to the underground economy in the 12 previous
months. Thirty-three per cent of Canadians and 42 per cent of
Quebecers candidly admitted to having paid cash for purchases,
so as to avoid paying applicable taxes.
In fact, it looks as though it is perfectly acceptable to promote
the emergence of two classes of citizens: the poor who have
trouble meeting their basic needs, and the rich who live the life
of Riley. The noble definition of just society advocated by the
federal Liberals since the days of Mr. Trudeau has very little to
do with the reality experienced by Canadians as well as with
their perception of that notion.
The deficit is a chronic problem for which the federal
government is the primary responsible, since close to 80 per
cent of the total public debt in Canada is attributable to it. Yet,
the Auditor General tells us that, for several years now, the
federal government has been doing a rather good job of
monitoring its budgetary expenditures. This was also the case at
the end of the Conservative administration. So where is the
To understand the root of the problem, you have to realize that
this federal debt results from the accumulation of deficits over
time. If we look at the evolution of the deficit in relation to the
GDP, we can see that the debt really grew primarily under
Indeed, from 1970 to 1985, the debt-over-GDP ratio went
from a surplus of 0.3 per cent to a deficit of 8.5 per cent, an
Usually, increases in budgetary revenues tend to follow a rise
in GDP. However, during the 1992-93 fiscal year, the federal
government's budgetary revenues fell by 0.41 per cent, despite
an increase of 2.6 per cent in GDP during the same period.
The trend has continued. According to the forecasts of the
Department of Finance, budgetary revenues will decline by 3.74
per cent or $4.592 billion during the 1993-94 fiscal year. This
was abundantly confirmed by the results for the first eight
months of the current fiscal year, since federal budgetary
revenues were down 5.2 per cent, from the same period in the
previous fiscal year.
During the second and third quarters of 1993, GDP increased
3.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively, on an annual basis.
The decline in revenue is largely attributable to a decline in
personal income tax payable, another indication Canadians'
fiscal threshold had been reached.
Despite the extent of the deficit and the national debt,
Canadian taxpayers may be willing to make additional
sacrifices, provided all members of society and all economic
partners do their fair share. And also provided that those
sacrifices will be used solely to improve their individual and
collective economic situation. As a guarantee to Canadians that
this will indeed be the case and that the objective will be
achieved, the government should immediately put in place
mechanisms that will inform Canadians quickly and accurately
on the state of the economy.
Since so many complex factors are involved, it is not easy for
the average person to get a clear picture of the country's
financial situation. Since the experts often disagree on the best
way to deal with the economic situation, I realize it must be hard
for the average citizen to weigh his own immediate interests
against the broader, long-term interests of the country.
However, we must not underestimate the ability of average
Canadians to make up their own minds if they are given clear
and precise information or a number of simple indicators. As
was pointed out by the Auditor General in Chapter 5 of his report
to the House of Commons, it is important the government
provide Canadians and their elective representatives with the
appropriate tools they need to grasp the essence of the problem.
Simple tools and periodic information must be made available
to Canadians so that they can evaluate the government's
forecasts and its achievements. Any discrepancies between the
two should be explained to them.
Canadians must be told with delay about the impact their
future choices will have. For example, if it had been properly
explained to them that the revisions to the 1992 economic plan
made in the 1993 budget would mean an $8 billion increase in
the projected deficit for 1993, if they had been told clearly that
this would translate into an increase of $65 billion in the total
debt six years down the road, then they would have understood
that the government's objectives sometimes have considerable
future cost implications.
The more Canadians know about the state of the government's
finances, the less chance they have of being taken in by
questionable interests. Better still, they will understand when
the time comes to make difficult decisions.
In conclusion, let me just say that if this government honestly
believes that it can achieve the economic and financial goals set
out in this budget, then it should have the courage of its
convictions and immediately provide the public with adequate
evaluation mechanisms so that all Canadians can judge for
themselves well before the next election whether they made the
right choice when they democratically elected this government.
Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister
of Industry): Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the member
opposite that I was quite surprised when he was delivering his
budget remarks that he did not mention the two initiatives he
talked about in his prebudget speech. He asked the government
to make sure these were included in the budget speech.
I refer to the speech the member gave on the budget day
consultation when he talked passionately and convincingly
about the necessity to maintain the homebuyers permanent plan,
allowing first time homeowners to buy homes out of their RRSP
I remember saying to the member that he made a compelling
We listened to the member and as he knows that is in the
budget and I thought it very strange that the member did not
acknowledge that we on this side of the House had listened to
him for that idea he put forward.
That was a good idea and is part of the comprehensive
package that this budget is putting forward in trying to put
people back to work. As the member knows, with low interest
rates right now this is a period in which young people with
families could have a chance to get into first time homes. That
will create jobs for people in trades.
That is the thrust we are putting all of our energy into, putting
people back to work. The member had a very good idea. We
listened to it and I am surprised he did not acknowledge that the
Minister of Finance had listened to him.
To simply focus on some of the problems with the budget in
terms of the unemployed, just to talk about that, is a bit
unreasonable. All of us in the House realize this has been a
tough budget, particularly for those who are unemployed, but
we are trying to get them back to work.
It is very important also that the member should have
acknowledged some of the things we are doing in this budget for
small business, particularly the study in the industry committee,
the study on access to capital for small business. Many of the
Bloc members are participating constructively.
My point is that although there may be room for some
constructive criticism on this budget, it is also important that the
opposition recognize some of the good things in this budget.
Our responsibility in this House is to deal in hope for the
people who are trying to get this economy going. I am
wondering if the member could maybe acknowledge that.
Mr. Laurin: Mr. Speaker, I would not want the hon. member
to be too disappointed at not hearing my thanks. I am pleased to
thank him today because the Liberal Party decided to accept one
of the many measures which we proposed.
Since not many of our suggestions were accepted by the
Liberals, you will agree that I cannot spend ten minutes thanking
them. I would rather let the hon. member remind me that he
congratulated me, and I really appreciated that.
As for the other measures, particularly as regards
unemployment, I want to point out, as I said in my speech, that
the poor might once again be willing to make an additional and
ultimate effort. People in our ridings discuss this issue when we
meet them. If ordinary Canadians could be guaranteed that this
ultimate effort would eventually help improve their financial
situation and reduce the deficit, I think that they would be
willing to make that extra effort, but only on the condition that
they would not be the only ones to pay. But the government still
has not given us that guarantee.
Indeed, the poor and the middle class are affected, but the
wealthy have kept their most important privileges. They are
only affected in a symbolic way. This is what the poor find
unacceptable. They say: If we are an integral part of this society,
are we an integral part only when the fiscal burden must be
shouldered? Are we there only ones to pay? Should we not also
get some benefits?
The humble privilege which should be granted to the poor is
the right to collect UI benefits when they become unemployed,
usually involuntarily. Instead, the government decided to
impose stricter conditions for them to be eligible to UI benefits.
I do not think this is the just society which the Liberals were
so adamant about, and I will be very pleased, in a future speech,
to thank the hon. member and the government opposite if they
are willing to accept our numerous other requests.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I would like to join all
members from both sides of the House today to thank you also
for your co-operation.
I recognize the hon. member for Rosedale.
Mr. Bill Graham (Rosedale): Mr. Speaker, it is with great
pride that I rise today to give the first speech in this House in
which I have the opportunity to speak to the members of this
House, my colleagues, to some extent about the nature of my
riding in introducing my observations about the budget.
I am very proud to stand here as a representative of the people
of Rosedale riding and to take the place of a great Liberal who
was the last Liberal to represent that riding, the Hon. Donald
Macdonald. I do not say that I will be able to fill his shoes. As I
am sure you, Mr. Speaker, and his other friends in this House
will remember, that would be a difficult task both physically and
I would like to introduce my remarks by saying to my
colleagues in the House that the name Rosedale does not entirely
describe the diversity of the riding. I would like to tell members
about the diverse areas that we have in our riding. It stretches
from Davisville to the waterfront and includes such interesting
areas as Moore Park, Rosedale itself, Cabbagetown, Regent
Park, Moss Park, Crombie Park and St. Lawrence.
In this area are located six major hospitals, two universities,
part of the University of Toronto and a new university, Ryerson
University, and other institutions of higher learning.
Toronto's financial district, the notorious if I may say that,
King and Bay area is located there and includes the headquarters
of five major banks and many other financial institutions.
Osgoode Hall, the seat of the justice system of the province of
Ontario, is also located there as are many theatres of local and
national reputation including the Théâtre Français of Toronto
and some 18 co-operatives. In addition, I am sure it will be of
interest to members of this House to know that we also have the
Riverdale Farm located in the riding. It is perhaps not of enough
size to give me credibility among my colleagues in the rural
caucus but is at least a presence and a reminder to the people of
this urban riding that we too must always be conscious of rural
In human terms, we have here a complex urban mixture, a
microcosm, as other members of this House have said, of the
society in which we live and, if I may say, not only a microcosm
of Canadian society but in fact of the integrated world which we
are now living in and adjusting to. It is an exciting dynamic
community which represents, if I may say, the best of what
Canada has to offer.
The area of Rosedale proper of which I spoke contrasts in
some ways with St. James Town, Regent Park and Moss Park
where we have many people living in assisted housing, many
seniors and single mothers, and others who are working hard to
keep ahead. All are united in their desire to have good
government, a government with a sense of balance, a
government that puts their interests first. Our government I
believe achieved that in this budget.
We have in our riding a large component of new Canadians.
Some have come to us as immigrants, some have come as
refugees. All are decent hard working people, bringing their
skills to contribute to this country in the tradition of our
The riding also contains the largest gay and lesbian
population in Canada who bring a sense of diversity to our
community and who enrich many areas of our community life,
including the artistic and cultural life of the city. These people
look to this government to fulfil long unkept promises of many
previous governments to ensure that discrimination in their
lives and in their employment will cease so that they may play
their full role in our society. It is their right to live in a world
with a level playing field and we owe that to them.
You will also find in my riding a French community which
may not be large, but is important to us. This community is
proud, different, and fully contributes to our culture and our
economy. Our French Canadian community considers the
presence of Quebec within our federation as an asset and a
source of inspiration for its own linguistic and cultural future.
And our French community hopes that our friends in Quebec are
aware of it.
This diversity raises challenges and opportunities. I would
suggest that many of those challenges and opportunities are
reflected in the budget which we are discussing here today. The
merit of this budget in my view is its balance between the
various financial imperatives which influenced it, the directions
that it sets for the future and the way in which it relates to real
people's lives. It puts people first. It does not sacrifice them on
the altar of fiscal dogma or orthodoxy.
The people in my riding have responded well to this budget.
The people in Rosedale proper who are self-employed were
pleased to see that they will be able to contribute to their RRSPs
and guarantee their financial future so they will not become a
burden on future taxpayers of this country.
The small and medium sized businessmen in the riding were
pleased to see their initiatives adhered to and their concerns
referred to in a way which will enable them to compete more
effectively in this complex world in which they have to operate.
The new Canadians of whom I spoke seek to employ their
skills to advantage and are looking for ways to use their
languages and their cultural skills in a way in which they can
take them out and invest them into medium and small sized
businesses and the export markets. This budget points the way in
that direction. These skills are a resource of this country which
we owe to ourselves to mobilize for the good of all of us because
it is the future of the world and the future of Canada which is at
stake in the way in which this particular community brings its
cultures and skills to play. This budget specifically focuses on
People in my riding living in assisted housing see the human
resource development initiatives in this budget as an excellent
beginning on the way to ending their dependency and giving
them back control of their lives so they may live productively
without having to rely on the government handouts which they
I had the opportunity last week during the break to assist in a
very proud moment in my riding. I went to a meeting at George
Brown College where, because of a grant of the Government of
Canada, Goodwill Industries was able to reach out and train
people who hitherto had been unable to get training. Some of the
people had disabilities, some had had drug problems, they all
had problems which had inhibited them from being able to take
advantage of their lives. They were given a program, thanks to a
government grant, which enabled them to complete this
program and 70 per cent of them had jobs as of the night they
When I heard the leader of the Reform Party speaking
yesterday about the need for budget cuts and Draconian
measures I could not help but think of the smiles on their faces
and the smiles on their families' faces, showing the pride with
which they graduated from this program. Those programs are
the type of programs that this government is creating for people
to enable them to get back to work. This is a resource that we
cannot afford to lose in our society. This is the budget that is
going to enable us to do it.
That is why I am proud on behalf of the people who live in my
riding to speak for them, whatever class of society they come
It is that element of the budget which makes me proud. I think
it maintains an essential, constructive, necessary Liberal role
of government and the people of my riding, all parts of it,
Even in the university community there are many problems of
finance. I was speaking to the president of the University of
Toronto the other day. He told me that the cuts in unemployment
insurance premiums, which have had to be paid by the
university, are a significant contribution. Universities are very
big employers. This will make a contribution to their financial
The infrastructure program has been ridiculed on the other
side of the House as being nothing but a bricks and mortar
operation. The president of the University of Toronto tells me it
is creating a tremendous opportunity for his institution of higher
learning to do a better job of training young Canadians who are
going to take us forth into the 21st century.
Why do we do negative things like this, just for partisan
political purposes? I heard the minister speak, just before I got
up to speak, eloquently about the need to deal with our
infrastructure. We all have to realize that this infrastructure
program has an intellectual component to it which is just as
valid as bricks and mortar and I am proud to be part of a
government which has seen that, seen the need to renew and seen
the need to look forward to the future.
Let me conclude my remarks where I began. I am proud to
stand here in this House and make my first speech, recognizing
the people of Rosedale who elected me and who put me here. I
will do my best for them. I will do my best for my country. I will
do my best for this government which I think in this budget has
set the framework for a productive and human future for this
Mr. Milliken: Mr. Speaker, I am very reluctant to interrupt
the question or comment period that is about to start on my
learned colleague's speech, but I wonder if I might seek
unanimous consent of the House to revert to presenting reports
by standing and special committees. I have a committee report
which I think will be of interest to members that I would like to
table at this time.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Does the hon.
parliamentary secretary have the agreement of the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons):
Mr. Speaker, I
have the honour to present the 10th report of the Standing
Committee on Procedure and House Affairs concerning the
items of Private Members' Business which have been selected
Pursuant to Standing Order 92(2), this report is deemed
adopted once laid upon the table.
Normally this report would not be tabled until tomorrow.
There was agreement that if it were tabled this afternoon to get
the information before members so they know which items have
been selected Private Members' Hour would not start tomorrow
but would start on Monday.
Accordingly I move, I believe with unanimous consent:
That consideration of Private Members' Business commence on Monday,
March 14, 1994 at eleven o'clock a.m.
Motion agreed to
The House resumed consideration of the motion.
Mr. Maurice Bernier (Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead):
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to make a brief comment on my
colleague from Rosedale, with whom I had an opportunity to
travel to Vancouver a few weeks ago. I got to know him better
and I believe that he is someone who can be called a gentleman,
as the term was understood in the Middle Ages, that is, a man
who is sincerely open-minded towards all his colleagues in the
House. I do not at all doubt his sincerity when he speaks or when
he expresses the wish that Quebecers feel at home in the
I also want to tell him that should Quebecers in the near future
choose to take charge of their own affairs and thus make Quebec
a sovereign country, Quebecers will still be happy and interested
to maintain ties with neighbours who show this
open-mindedness, like the hon. member for Rosedale.
I commend him for what he said and I hope that we can
indeed maintain such a relationship, whatever the future holds
Mr. Graham: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
very nice comments about me but he also reserved something for
the end that may give us the opportunity to voice more
opposition than today.
I would like to put some emphasis on what I said about
Rosedale. I suggest to him that it is not only a matter of
Quebecers being welcome in other parts of Canada. I assure you
that Quebec's attitude and the fact that Quebec and Quebecers
have succeeded in keeping alive their culture and their language
is an inspiration to francophones outside Quebec, including
those in my riding.
I urge you not to endanger, through your actions and what you
will do in the future, this fragile flower that must be tended by
you, by us and by all members of this House so that the
francophone culture can flourish in the rest of Canada like it did
Mr. Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce): Mr. Speaker, I want to
preface my remarks in my first address in this House by offering
my own congratulates to our Speaker and our Deputy Speakers
for the even-handedness in the way that they have conducted the
interventions in this House.
We are witnessing a new civility and decorum in this place
rarely witnessed in recent memory. I think all members,
regardless of their politics, are showing Canadians that serious
discussion, debate and, yes, some disagreement can take place
with respect and honour.
I want to take a few moments to reflect on my riding and the
wonderful people who elected me as their representative and
voice in Ottawa.
My riding of Huron-Bruce is situated on the easterly shore
of Lake Huron. It is a riding that consists of the entire county of
Huron in the southerly half of the county of Bruce.
It stretches from Grand Bend in the south to Southampton in
the north. This beautiful riding includes towns and villages such
as Kerkton, Dublin, Teeswater and Zurich, and on the far
easterly boundary, Paisley. My riding constitutes 43
municipalities in total.
It is without doubt one of the most truly rural agricultural
ridings in Canada. It is decisively agricultural in its base, with
pork, beef, dairy and poultry all being produced in great
The climate is also well suited for beans, navy beans and other
cereal grains including canola. I would also like to mention that
my hometown of Zurich boasts being the bean capital of Canada.
While the town of Goderich boasts being Canada's prettiest
town it is also the manufacturing base of Champion road graders
which builds graders and other road building equipment. I am
glad to see some of that equipment on the streets of Ottawa.
Farther to the north of Lake Huron we have the Bruce nuclear
power plant, the largest nuclear generation plant in the world.
Among notable Canadians to have come from my area of
Huron-Bruce, Paul Henderson in 1972 scored what proved to
be the winning goal and made world history in the
Canada-Russia summit series.
Timothy Eaton, upon immigrating to Canada, established his
earliest roots in Usborne township in the southeast area of my
Kipple Disney, the grandfather of the famous Walt Disney,
settled on the family farm in Bluevale. This is where Elias,
Walt's father, was born and later went to central school in
Most recently we were made proud when another famous
person from my riding, Lloyd Eisler from Seaforth, or as he
would like it to be known, Egmondville, the suburb, and his
partner Isabelle Brasseur from the riding of Richmond-Wolfe
won a bronze medal in the 17th Winter Olympics in
To all those people who worked and voted for me in
Huron-Bruce I offer my sincere appreciation and gratitude.
Their friendship and encouragement are reward enough for a
task that at times seems impossible.
Most important in my life has been my family, my wife Kathy
and our two sons, Cam and Brian, their wives Kathy and Bonnie
and our two grandsons, Brent and Shawn. They have all
supported me in my efforts to come here and they have also
given me great encouragement in the many years I served in
municipal politics. Thank you for your love.
This being the year of the family causes me to reflect in the
directions we take as we determine social policies for the
country. My view, which I think is shared by many hon.
members, particularly my hon. colleague from Central Nova, is
that life is sacred from conception to natural death. This view
will obviously give cause for some difference of opinion. I
welcome the opportunity to debate and address this and other
issues in this place of democracy.
Prior to the election, Canadians had lost confidence in their
political representatives and the institutions in which they
served. I believe we as the new government have begun to
reverse this opinion and return people's trust and confidence in
us as members of Parliament.
During the election the public had some clear choices before
it, parties with very different policies and ideas. We as Liberals
believe that the people should know exactly what they were
voting for and that is why we put our policies in our famous red
Canadians overwhelmingly chose to support our party and,
most important, our policies. This is where the confidence
factor comes in. What better way to improve Canadians'
confidence toward politicians than to give them exactly what
we promised and ran on in the election?-not exactly a new
idea, but one that has been forgotten for some time.
People's confidence is essential if we as a government hope to
be successful in making the necessary reforms to a whole host of
policy areas from social security to foreign affairs and defence.
Confidence in Canadian institutions has also increased due to
the unprecedented level of consultation and open debate that
occurred on recent peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and cruise
missile testing discussions in northern Canada. This open
consultation has also shown that this place does serve as a forum
for constructive debate on matters of national interest.
These changes are just the beginning and I look forward to
future debates and changes that will further improve our
If we look at the budget that the hon. Minister of Finance
presented last month we see that the commitments made in the
red book are almost kept item by item. If I look at page 111 of the
book I cannot find anything that has not been acted upon.
As I have told my constituents, the contents of the budget
should come as no surprise to anyone. This most of all will
increase the people's trust in their representatives. I am also
proud of this budget and have absolutely no problem with
defending it and selling it to my constituents. It is a balanced, far
reaching budget that lays the groundwork for future reform on
improvement to programs and services.
In my riding over the last couple of weeks I have spoken with
a great many people and have conducted several media
interviews. In all instances people had a positive opinion of the
budget. What I think people like about this budget is that it is
realistic. People were tired of budgets that promised the
impossible and then failed to deliver. It is realistic in terms of
deficit reduction, economic projections and job creation.
What we did was lay out before the people the serious
financial problems of the country which included a deficit that
has skyrocketed to $45 billion, far more than what was expected.
We as Liberals believe in getting our fiscal house in order and
that is why the minister has put forth a budget that over three
years attains a ratio five to one in terms of spending cuts to
revenue increases. This sets us well on our way to meet the
deficit target of 3 per cent GDP in three years; again, something
which was in the red book and is what Canadians supported.
To those who would say that we have not gone far enough, I
want to say that we are not going to abandon those in need or
risk spiralling back into recession by cutting and chopping,
spending wildly or giving no thought to the consequences at a
time when 1.6 million people are unemployed, when welfare
rolls are skyrocketing and child poverty is up 30 per cent. It is
not the time to abandon these people.
Those people who argue for deeper cuts forget that we did not
get into this situation overnight and it will take time and a great
deal of fairness and compassion to get out of it. These people
forget that they were not on a different planet during the time of
deficit spending. They voted and supported governments and
benefited from the spending just like we all did.
We must now not take radical approaches but take a balanced
approach that emphasizes building a framework for economic
growth, restoring fiscal balance and creating jobs.
This budget pursues job creation, not in the old ways in which
government provided the jobs, but in a way that produces the
climate and provides business with the tools to create the jobs.
I also want to point out that the government wanted to invest
in the infrastructure of this country, an investment that will
enable Canada to stay competitive in this time of increased
globalization. This will create approximately 50,000 to 60,000
The minister has listened to Canadians who said that they
wanted deficit reduction without tax increases. They wanted a
beginning to policy reform without drastic cuts to programs for
the most needy. They wanted job creation. They wanted a
constant, systematic decline in the deficit. They wanted
investment in R and D. They wanted economic renewal and
revitalization, and they wanted a fair and more equitable tax
This is the budget we delivered and it is the one that I am
proud to support.
Mr. Paul E. Forseth (New Westminster-Burnaby): Mr.
Speaker, I rise in this House today to not only express my
dissatisfaction over the budget that the finance minister
introduced on February 22, but moreover I want to state for the
record the dissatisfaction of my constituents in the riding of
A measure of opinion was expressed to me publicly in a recent
town hall meeting. It was specifically called to discuss the
budget and the fiscal priorities for the nation. I took the public
risk and advertised very widely for an old-fashioned town hall
meeting in which any constituent could express himself or
herself on the budget in front of their own community. The
meeting went for over two hours and I listened to the line-up of
speakers who came to the open microphone.
Government ministers should have been there for they would
have heard that the Liberals have no political mandate to do
what they are doing in this budget. I did not hear a positive thing
said with regard to this budget except a relief that the
government did not announce massive new spending on grand,
misguided schemes. Most complained that there was no long
term job creation in this budget. The budget did not inspire hope.
The election was a mandate for change. What the country got
in this budget was just more of the same.
There was a promise in the budget to fix sewers and repair old
roads. Suffice it to say these are not long term jobs to put us on
the international cutting edge.
In the budget the finance minister withdrew the government's
support for the KAON particle accelerator project in British
Columbia. I suppose it is more important to pave old roads than
to keep Canada at the competitive forefront of science and
I can remember back in the election campaign when the
Liberals promised Canadians jobs and hope for change. When in
opposition, the Liberals decried that the Conservative
government had let the unemployment rate rise to 11.2 per cent.
The red book, which now looks like the Liberal red ink book,
promised to put Canadians back to work and decrease the
When the unemployed of New Westminster-Burnaby
watched the budget presentation on TV they were expecting, and
I repeat expecting, that the finance minister would give them a
job or at least the hope for one and provide a plan to slash the
rate of unemployment.
In his ultimate prediction the Minister of Finance did predict a
lower unemployment rate, a walloping .1 per cent. Canadians
from coast to coast could not believe what they heard: .1 per
cent. Unbelievable for a party that spent the entire campaign
promising jobs. We all heard it: ``We have the plan, we have the
team, trust us''.
The Minister of Finance wants us to believe that next year is
when more jobs will occur and that is when we will see an
improvement in the economy. The mandate for this election was
crystal clear. It was to change, to drastically reduce spending, to
go in a new direction and thus spur on the economy. The
mandate was not to shuffle a few things and hope that the
economy would turn around on its own.
The people in New Westminster-Burnaby know that in our
present predicament high taxes, the high spending of this budget
and high unemployment are directly linked.
The government needs to go on a diet. For starters it should
have put a cap on all federal spending at $153 billion bringing
the deficit to $27.8 billion rather than the predicted $39.7
billion. This would have been a modest broadly based goal that
would have sent the right message to the international markets
where we are ultimately judged.
Instead of making an effort to lower federal spending, the
government raises it by $3.3 billion to $163.6 billion from
$160.3 billion just the year before.
If the finance minister had done nothing at all the federal
deficit for 1994-95 would have been $41.2 billion. However,
since it is mandatory for the government to introduce a budget,
the minister put on his new footwear and lowered the deficit by a
mere $1.5 billion.
Folks in New Westminster-Burnaby wonder how federal
spending can be so high. I will zero in. Some of my
responsibility is in the field of justice and legal affairs. I will
comment on some of the spending in that area.
The continued funding for special groups is incredible. For
example the Law Reform Commission which was reinstated in
this budget had previous expenditures of $4.8 million in
1992-93, $4.9 million in 1991-92 and $5 million in 1990-91.
All of this is for an unaccountable organization of academics
who turned out obscure reports that were mostly forgotten the
day after they were published.
The taxpayers are going to foot the bill for this Liberal
academic think tank. It will clothe itself with credentials in the
appearance of political neutrality while preaching Liberal
dogma. Political parties have their own funding from their
supporters. Now the taxpayers are going to fund a Liberal think
tank. This is old Canada thinking of the Pearson-Trudeau era.
We should support the legitimate academics in our universities
to do research on legal public policy. We do not need the social
engineering of a reconstituted Law Reform Commission.
Another example of waste is that of the court challenges
program. The actual expense of this program for 1992-93 was
$1.06 million. In 1993-94 the forecast was $1.26 million. For
1994-95 the main estimates show it will be allowed to use $3.35
million. What a retirement plan for lawyers, well the Liberal
lawyers anyway who might get the retainers.
If I sound cynical it is because I watch from here and see it is
business as usual, old Canada thinking from yesterday's leader
who peddles an outdated budget philosophy ill-suited for the
new world economy.
The court challenges program was initially introduced in
1978 to fund individuals who brought forward constitutional
cases based on equality and language rights. It was expanded in
1982 for the new charter arguments.
The scope of the program has changed dramatically. It now
serves as a taxpayer supported platform for radical feminists,
the gay-lesbian agenda and other social engineering groups who
want to revise the political landscape via the back door of the
court rather than obtain a mandate for their changes at the ballot
The appointments to the selection committee for this program
will be suspect and most financially burdensome as there will be
no market forces to moderate who gets what. If a case is worth
fighting to the Supreme Court of Canada the people of Canada
will voluntarily support it. If it cannot fly in the marketplace of
ideas in the community, then it should not proceed to court.
I also hear now that salary increments are frozen for the
RCMP which is causing an internal uproar. Yet the government
is committing millions for court challenges and a commission.
What does this say about the priorities of this government? Our
economy is in a tenuous state.
The government should have realized that the first cuts to be
made should have been to the special interest groups. The
National Action Committee on the Status of Women has
regularly received $300,000 since 1991 with the exception of
last year when it received $270,000. The government gives this
group over $250,000 and then the group complains that it is not
By cutting off all spending to every special interest lobby
group the government would eliminate two problems. One, it
would reduce a substantial part of federal expenditures. Two, it
would eliminate the bickering and rivalry that goes on among
groups if the government cuts part of their budget. It would stop
the divisiveness in our communities.
For Canada the international community is holding its breath
and has given the government a short term breather. I am not so
optimistic that the Liberals can or will deliver later. Reformers
have asked for a minibudget in the fall to stave off what is now
starting to happen, especially with those in the area of more
Investors are increasingly betting against Canada and money
is going offshore. That trend will continue at a steeper rate until
it will actually develop into what is commonly known as a run on
Right now Canada is draining its gold and foreign reserves to
buy up Canadian dollars on the international market just to keep
the price from falling too fast. It is the old law of supply and
demand. The problem is that Canada does not have the deep
pockets to keep up this defence for any sustained period.
The old standard advantages of political stability and a
prospect for reasonable return may not stay in place for Canada.
When one places the political instability of Quebec along with
the general fiscal malaise we are due for a major shock from
If we do not straighten ourselves out then the international
community will do it for us in blunt, brutal terms. The best
predictor for future performance is past behaviour. At least
since 1984 the world community has listened to Canadian
governments promise time after time to deal with deficits and
proportional taxation levels. Then they see a stay the course
budget delivered time after time.
The prescription is that we must now run consistent balanced
budgets for a number of years because of where we have been
economically in the past few years. The cure is known but it
takes courage to act. The overweight needs a crash diet to bring
us back to health. The pain must be shared equally by all.
The first dramatic steps need to be done with Parliament Hill
operations and general spending at the top for a leadership by
Currently the burden is not equally shared. Eighteen new
spending programs for ideological reasons are outlined in this
budget. Debt charges are underestimated, a very risky forecast.
The international capital markets are waiting until this fall but
not much longer.
Parliament is where government comes to the people to get
permission to tax and spend. This House bears the responsibility
for the financial consequences of this nation. It is up to members
to decide to take action.
Those in the Reform camp, those who are indeed in touch with
their communities, have heard the people speak and have made a
start. However, there must be 100 ways for members who are not
Reformers to apply pressure against those stuck in yesterday's
old Canada thinking. To put it in psychological terms, spending
behaviour reveals inner character.
Let it be said right now that where there is conviction let there
be the courage to act. If we believe in what we do we can journey
to the new Canada where equality is our standard and
compassion is our principle, where humility is our manner and
truth is what we say.
Mr. David Berger (Saint-Henri-Westmount): Mr.
Speaker, I commend the member on his speech. At the same time
however I would like to ask him to perhaps go back and check
He criticizes the rather modest expenditure the government is
undertaking in re-establishing the Law Reform Commission,
but criticizes the rather sensible decision the government made
about the KAON factory. The hon. member should know that the
KAON factory would cost the Canadian taxpayers in excess of
$200 million a year in capital and operating costs.
Given that extremely high cost and the futuristic nature of the
science involved, the government's advisory councils made a
recommendation. The National Research Council, the Natural
Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Science
Council of Canada and a committee of the National Advisory
Board on Science and Technology appointed by the previous
Prime Minister unanimously recommended this expenditure
could not be justified given the country's priorities with respect
and technology and the current levels of science and technology
spending and the other needs we have.
The hon. member also failed to mention in his speech that this
government has committed in this budget substantial resources
to implement the red book commitments for example to upgrade
the industrial research assistance program and create a Canadian
technology network. There are very important expenditures on
the diffusion of technology.
That will benefit the many small and medium sized
businesses which really comprise the Canadian economy.
Canada has a small firm economy and that is where the efforts of
this government have been directed.
Mr. Forseth: Mr. Speaker, it comes down to a matter of
opinion concerning basic government priorities. I talked about
how spending behaviour reveals inner character and a person's
The Speaker: It being two o'clock p.m., pursuant to Standing
Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to statements by
members pursuant to Standing Order 31.
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
Mrs. Jane Stewart (Brant):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay
tribute to the many Canadian women who have made significant
contributions in the field of arts and culture. Arts and culture
have made a real impact on the continuing development of
Canada's social fabric, as well as on our economic growth as a
I am truly inspired by extraordinary performers like Karen
Kain, by authors like Margaret Laurence and by artists like
I am proud of women in my riding like Linda Schuyler who
recently received the 1994 Order of Canada for her outstanding
contribution to the media. Ms. Schuyler is most notably known
as the executive producer and series creator of the acclaimed
television series ``The Kids of Degrassi Street''.
Virginia Little is the musical director for the Little String
Orchestra in Brantford. Recently Ms. Little was selected Arts
Citizen of the Year by the Brantford Regional Arts Council.
As performers, entrepreneurs and volunteers Canadian
women are making their mark in the world of arts and culture.
My congratulations and thanks to them all.
Mr. Yves Rocheleau (Trois-Rivières):
Mr. Speaker, the
Fondation de l'entrepreneurship
has just launched a new
initiative called ``A quarantine for employment''. The
foundation has teamed up with a number of regional
organizations in order to generate local initiatives of job
creation. The Défi Emplois
program of the foundation will try to
have some input in every community in order to facilitate the
emergence of new job-creating businesses.
I wish to congratulate the Mouvement Desjardins for putting
network of credit unions at the disposal of the foundation in
order to support the Défi Emplois program. We must pay tribute
to the social involvement of the Mouvement Desjardins which,
beside this program, is involved in Forum pour l'emploi,
Qualité Québec and the Desjardins Chair for the Development
of Small Communities.
It is too bad this government does not show the same
enthusiasm in proposing job creation measures for Quebec and
* * *
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert):
Mr. Speaker, I rise to
recognize the anniversary of the birth of Father Albert
LaCombe, born on February 28, 1827.
Father LaCombe migrated from his native community of St.
Sulpice in the province of Quebec to found the settlement of St.
Albert in 1861 and several other missions in the province of
Alberta such as St. Paul de Cris.
He worked with the native Indians of Alberta, the Cree and the
Blackfoot. His efforts led to the peaceful acceptance of the
building of the CPR. During the 1885 Louis Riel rebellion he
acted as a calming influence in the region. He was also an
adviser on the negotiations of Treaty No. 8.
Father LaCombe was also an accomplished linguist. He wrote
a dictionary and a grammar book of the Cree language and he
translated the Scriptures into native languages.
In conclusion, I wish to recognize Father LaCombe as a great
Albertan and a great Canadian.
Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce):
Speaker, today is the 35th anniversary of the uprising of the
Tibetan people against the Chinese occupation of their small
Each year I have risen in the House on this date asking our
government to protest with the Chinese government the massive
violation of human rights in Tibet, the destruction of its
environment, and the denial of its self-determination.
During the past year political arrests have risen by 30 per cent
and have included children and Tibetan nuns.
Yesterday China was once again successful in having the
United Nations put aside the resolution criticizing its human
rights record. That is a tragedy.
The people of Tibet have always pursued a non-violent
approach in dealing with this issue. In 1989 the Dalai lama won
the Nobel peace prize.
I hope that this matter will be positively dealt with in the
government's review of foreign policy. Human rights abuses in
Tibet and elsewhere cannot be ignored.
* * *
Mrs. Anna Terrana (Vancouver East):
Mr. Speaker, there
are many success stories among women but some are more
touching than others.
Paige was a prostitute sexually abused at a young age. In spite
of trying to get into a normal lifestyle she ended up on the streets
and became more and more involved in drugs to the point of
having seizures when she was clean.
After many years of prostitution Paige had the good fortune of
learning of a woman who started Prostitutes Anonymous. This
fortunate turn of events helped Paige start on her difficult road
Battered women's shelters, drug and alcohol centres and
recovery houses became Paige's new environment. In 1991
Paige started Prostitutes Anonymous in B.C. She is now a
member of an ad hoc citizens' committee of elected women
Last week I participated in my first committee meeting. I met
Paige and also Cindy-Lou. These women are only two of many
who fortunately were able to get out of prostitution. Paige needs
help in her task. Transition houses are crucial to give prostitutes
In this International Women's Week I rise to pay tribute to a
young woman who went against all odds and won.
Mr. Raymond Lavigne (Verdun-Saint-Paul):
Speaker, next week from March 13 to March 19 will be the
Quebec week for the developmentally handicapped, during
which traditionally, parents, friends, caregivers and persons
who are developmentally handicapped organize various
activities throughout the province, to make the public more
aware of the experiences of the developmentally handicapped
and their families.
I would urge members from Quebec and other provinces as
well to take part in the week's activities under the theme: My
family accepts me-do you?
This being the International Year of the Family, I want to
thank all the people in Verdun-Saint-Paul and especially the
``Droit de Vivre'' group of volunteers who work with the
developmentally handicapped who are living with their
* * *
Mr. Laurent Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry):
Speaker, recently, the Assemblée des évêques du Québec met
with a group of influential people to discuss ways to deal with
the ever widening poverty gap which is causing more and more
damage and suffering in our society.
The proposals developed by this group of experts echo the
pressing demands submitted by many groups and organizations
to a government that still refuses to listen.
Mr. Speaker, poverty is not just a statistic. It has a face, that of
men and women who suffer and try to recover their dignity in
any way they can.
The Bloc Quebecois supports this initiative and intends to
make sure that the recommendations of this group of experts is
not ignored by this government.
* * *
Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville):
Mr. Speaker, in
February newspapers reported that the Solicitor General
promised sweeping reforms to the National Parole Board
following the investigation into the release of Robert Leech, a
convicted rapist sentenced to life imprisonment in 1972, whose
subsequent parole resulted in the sadistic murder of Jewel
Gamble in Regina in 1992.
Now that Mr. Leech has been sentenced to life imprisonment
for the second time, we all wonder what steps the government
will take to ensure Mr. Leech never gets out of jail to rape and
kill again. If Mr. Leech hoodwinks the parole system again, will
he be released into our neighbourhood?
Considering the fact that national polls consistently indicate
the majority of Canadians support a binding referendum on the
reintroduction of capital punishment, I beg on behalf of this
silenced majority that the government introduce legislation
giving voters what they want, a binding vote on capital
* * *
Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West):
Mr. Speaker, hunger and
poverty are very real problems in Atlantic Canada. The Metro
Food Bank Society of Halifax-Dartmouth has recently
released a comprehensive survey of food bank users in the metro
area. This survey serves as a sombre reminder of the often
forgotten members of our society.
It found that food bank clients receive incomes far below the
poverty line; 94 per cent have incomes of less than $1,000 a
month. For the few who have incomes of slightly more than
$1,000 a month, most have households of four or more persons.
Forty-four per cent of food bank clients experience days when
they go without food. Many of these are parents who go without
food to ensure that their children have enough to eat.
Here is proof that our social programs are not working. Here
is proof of the real need for reform.
* * *
Mr. Pat O'Brien (London-Middlesex):
Mr. Speaker, we
must ensure that the needs of self-employed women get as much
consideration in tax laws as those of self-employed men.
The number of women in the workforce with children younger
than school age has risen to 68 per cent. The majority of these
women are working or running a business full time and cannot
claim child care expenses as a business expense.
Child care is an important family support service and an
integral part of society's ability to sustain a broader income.
Because women are the parents whose careers are still most
affected by child care responsibilities, the inclusion of child
care expenses as a business expense would certainly give
women more incentive to further develop their entrepreneurial
skills and ingenuity.
Surely child care is more of a true business expense than
country club memberships, seasons tickets to a sporting event or
the rental of a luxury car.
During this International Women's Week, I join with the
Canadian Farm Women's Network, my constituents and, in
particular, the women of London-Middlesex in urging the
government to consider legislation that would allow the
deduction of child care expenses as a business expense.
* * *
Mr. Janko Peric (Cambridge):
Mr. Speaker, Monseigneur
Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo, is with us here today.
After 22 months of living under siege in Sarajevo,
Monseigneur Puljic received permission from UNPROFOR on
Sunday to leave the war torn capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Monseigneur Puljic has long been an outspoken advocate of a
just and peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict in
Bosnia-Hercegovina and a harmonious co-existence between
all of its peoples.
Despite the threat to his personal safety, the Archbishop
remained in Sarajevo to oversee the distribution of desperately
needed humanitarian aid to all citizens in need.
I would like to welcome Monseigneur Puljic in Croatian as
[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Croatian.]
* * *
Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe):
Mr. Speaker, the
Liberals have been in office barely four months, but the new
government is already showing its true colours. Elected on the
strength of a program borrowed from the NDP, they are now
resorting to the practices and policies of right-wing
conservatives to govern the country.
When the time came to translate the red book into a budget,
we see that it was not the corporations or the wealthy families
who were enlisted to help fight the deficit, but rather the least
fortunate, including the unemployed. The eagerly awaited,
much-ballyhooed GST reform will be a camouflage operation
aimed at hiding the tax in the overall price, meaning that it will
apply to all goods, including food.
The Liberals speak of strengthening the social fabric of the
country. Instead, they are dividing society. Retired persons are
being asked to sacrifice their pensions for youth training
Now we are seeing the true face of the Liberals. Their election
facade has crumbled.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West):
Mr. Speaker, we
have heard much from the government about a new integrity in
politics. The Prime Minister recently stood in this House and
refused to speak strongly about the Leader of the Opposition's
promoting separatism abroad. Instead, we have heard the
government condemn my party for being against bilingualism.
I rise today to appeal to all members of this House to stop the
name calling and deal with the facts. The facts are that we are for
individual and regional bilingualism. What we are against is the
Official Languages Act and the ridiculous cost it has created.
The government member has asked us to provide accurate
costs. We tried to get these costs but his government will not
provide them because it does not know what they are. Research
estimates the direct and indirect costs at between $2 billion and
$4 billion a year.
I challenge the government to provide us with the real costs
and open the debate up in this House on this issue.
* * *
Mrs. Jean Payne (St. John's West):
Mr. Speaker, as we
celebrate International Women's Week I would like to draw the
attention of this House to a unique group of women comprised of
the fisherwomen of Newfoundland and Labrador.
While we often talk about the men who earn a living from the
sea, the lives of women who fish for a living are almost
forgotten. These brave souls face the cold ocean day in and day
out to help support their families. In the fishing boat everybody
In these days of declining fishery activity there is a difficult
job to be done and the fisherwomen of Newfoundland and
Labrador have proven they are up to the task. Their efforts are a
great part of the Newfoundland culture. During International
Women's Week their spirit and determination should be
* * *
Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton):
Mr. Speaker, I rise in
the House today on the occasion of International Women's Week
to invite all members to join me in honouring those women who
have offered their services to their relative communities as
We will find them in the slums of Third World countries and in
the community centre next door. We will find stories of their
courage and dedication in the history books and in today's
newspapers. We will find them performing singular acts of
voluntary courage for their community and we will find them
dedicating years of service through unending commitment to
Women have courageously and selflessly volunteered their
services to their respective communities throughout history in a
variety of ways.
International Women's Week has given us the opportunity to
ponder the achievements of women throughout the world. A
week long recognition of these achievements would not be
complete without mentioning the efforts which women have
made to serve their communities as volunteers.
I call upon all members of this House to join me in
recognizing the years of dedication and service which women
have contributed to their communities throughout the world.
* * *
Mr. Jag Bhaduria (Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville):
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of this House
an issue that I trust all hon. members will support.
Michelle and David Gebe, two constituents in my riding of
Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville, became the proud parents
of a baby girl, Erin-Denise, on February 10. They became
parents through the adoption process monitored by Ontario
Social Services. This is indeed a joyous occasion for Mr. and
Unfortunately, they have run into a major roadblock trying to
obtain maternity benefits through the unemployment insurance
program. As adoptive parents, they are only eligible to receive
10 weeks of UI benefits as opposed to up to 30 weeks of benefits
that a birth mother can obtain.
I humbly call upon the government to investigate the obvious
discrepancies in the unemployment insurance legislation and to
rectify this problem. Adoptive parents such as David and
Michelle should be supported and rewarded by the federal
government. They need our assistance.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition):
Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister.
We are gradually getting a better idea of the government's
real plans for changing our social programs. Yesterday, the
Minister of Human Resources Development confirmed that he
wanted to review old age security programs. However, during
the election campaign, the Leader of the Liberal Party strongly
condemned the Reform Party's plans to cut old age pensions
and said that it was not something he would recommend.
Why does the Prime Minister feel that cutting old age
pensions is advisable today, while that was not the case just
before he went to the polls? Why is he coming down hard on
senior citizens today and why has he reneged on his commitment
to leave old age pensions intact?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
said it before and I say it again, we do not intend to cut old age
pensions, and those who insist on spreading these rumours are
trying to scare people.
What we have to do is look at the serious problems we have in
connection with the Canada Pension Plan. This is a very
long-term program, and we know that in 2005 and 2010, it will
be difficult to finance the program.
Since we want to do a good job, we are trying to anticipate the
problems we will have when we form the government in 2010.
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, instead of daydreaming, the Prime Minister should
look at the source of these rumours. He should look at his
Minister of Human Resources Development and tell us whether
he endorses the minister's irresponsible statements. Does he
wants to force Canadians to choose between training for young
people and old age pensions?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
want to make it clear that I have full confidence in the minister,
who is working very hard to reform what needs to be reformed in
this country. As Canadians we must ensure that we can once
again give people on welfare and unemployment insurance the
dignity of having a job. That is what the minister is trying to do
now, and I think he is doing a very good job by consulting the
provinces and all concerned.
I think there is no connection with what I mentioned earlier.
Because of an aging population, we expect that the Canada
Pension Plan will run into problems after the year 2000. Our
government must start looking at these problems right away, and
the minister is doing an exceptional job in trying to restore the
dignity of Canadian workers.
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, that is the kind of ambiguous statement that will revive
the fears haunting the elderly today in Canada and Quebec.
Now that we have a government that attacks the universality
of old age pensions, I think we should ask the Prime Minister
whether we are to conclude he deliberately hid his true
intentions during the election campaign.
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
can certainly be no clearer than I was on the first question. It is
quite possible that all three questions were prepared ahead of
time, so he read them! I said we did not intend to cut old age
pensions. Stop trying to scare people! I cannot be any clearer
In a way, I rather enjoy seeing the Bloc Quebecois defending
the Canadian status quo every day in this House. We want to
introduce reforms, but they do not want us to change anything in
Canada. They want us to keep Canada the way it is. We want to
introduce reforms for the benefit of all Canadians, including
those in Quebec.
Mr. Maurice Dumas (Argenteuil-Papineau): Mr. Speaker,
my question is for the Prime Minister.
The policy of the government is becoming increasingly clear.
After launching an assault on the unemployed, the government
is now setting its sights on seniors. By reducing the tax credit for
seniors, the government is actually increasing their tax burden
by $500 million over three years. The Minister of Human
Resources Development has also announced a review of social
programs for seniors.
Instead of targeting the pensions of senior citizens, why does
the Prime Minister not have the courage to eliminate tax
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member
and the leader before him, if they want to look at the intentions
of the government I would suggest the first page they should
turn to is page 56 of the budget wherein we commit to
substantial augmentation and addition to old age security
programs over the next four or five years. If they want the
answer it is in the book.
We are trying to say that over the next couple of decades we
will have a full doubling of Canadians who are eligible for
various kinds of security. We want to ensure the next generation
has the same security as this generation. To do that we have to
find a way to ensure that we pay for it.
This means that much of the investment now generated out of
pension plans and RRSPs must be used more effectively to
generate jobs and growth in Canada today so young people can
go to work and can pay for the pensions of tomorrow. That is
what we are trying to do.
Mr. Maurice Dumas (Argenteuil-Papineau): Mr. Speaker,
in 1985, the Conservatives were assailed by the Liberals for
wanting to eliminate the indexation of old age pensions. What
has happened to the convictions of the Liberals in 1994? Now
they are directly attacking the very existence of old age
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources
Development and Minister of Western Economic
Diversification): Mr. Speaker, the only person in the House who
attacked the existing benefits for seniors is the Leader of the
Opposition when he was a member of the previous government.
He is the only person in the House to do so.
We are trying to make sure the system is strengthened and
maintained for the future. We are not talking about cutting the
budgets now. We are not talking about affecting universality.
The budget makes that very clear.
We are talking about an open consultation with all kinds of
Canadians so that we can have a full discussion about the future
security of Canadians, how we use the pension funds to invest in
Canada, how we make sure there is a proper CPP, and that we
have a proper system of payment.
This generation of Canadians has to look at how we begin to
ensure the future of Canadians is as good as the one that we
provide for seniors today.
* * *
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest):
my question is for the Minister of National Defence. It is also on
the social implications of the budget.
The minister has announced plans to reduce the size of
Canadian forces in his department by 16,000 people. Many of us
in the House regard this downsizing as a test of the capability of
the government to help workers shift from employment in one
sector to productive employment elsewhere.
Specifically what steps are the minister's department and the
department of human resources development taking to help
these 16,000 Canadians find and fill productive jobs elsewhere?
Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National
Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker,
perhaps my colleague, the Minister of Industry, can talk about
the defence conversion program; he has responsibility for that.
We are trying something very new and bold in dealing with
our public servants and the military, in trying to give them a
combination of moneys-we call it an enhanced buyout
provision-so they can take early retirement. In some cases
money is applied for retraining and other allowances that will
help them make the necessary conversion the hon. member is so
With respect to the conversion on a mass scale, that is
something we are committed to as a government under the
defence conversion program. I will be working along with my
colleague, the Minister of Industry, to ensure this is done as we
gradually downsize the armed forces.
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I
would remind the minister we are not talking here about 16,000
tanks or trucks but about 16,000 people with families.
My question is for the minister. Would he be prepared to
submit to the House a registry containing the names of these
16,000 people so that Parliament can monitor how many are
forced on to UI or welfare or on to dead end jobs and how many
in fact make their way to jobs in the new economy the Minister
of Industry is talking about?
Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National
Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, the
leader of the Reform Party has certainly an odd version of
democracy where we make the private lives of individual
Canadians known on the floor of the House of Commons. We do
not do this with the tax system. We do not do this with health
benefits, and we are not going to do it with the people
concerning defence. I cannot believe the Reform Party is
preaching this Orwellian view, something that we totally reject.
We respect the privacy of individuals. We are very concerned
with those people who are losing their jobs. I think the
statements I made following the budget underlie that.
If the hon. member looks at the severance packages that have
been announced, that are now being negotiated base by base and
throughout the department, I think he will see we are treating
people in a most generous fashion.
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker,
will the minister then acknowledge that what happens to these
16,000 people being laid off by his department is a fair test of the
government's ability to help the unemployed in general?
In other words, if the government cannot guide 16,000 people
laid off by the minister's department into a new economy, who
in heaven's name would believe that it could help 1.6 million
unemployed people to that destination?
Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National
Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker,
obviously the hon. member has not read the budget documents
or listened to the speeches I have been giving.
There will be generous severance packages. We probably will
have to legislate one part of it over and above the workforce
adjustment provisions of the collective agreements that are now
From the discussions we have had with the unions, obviously
they are not happy with the numbers of people who are going to
be phased out over four years. They recognize that the end is not
going to come tomorrow and that this is going to be a regulated
process through which everybody is going to be dealt with
I find it rather ironic the hon. member woke up two weeks
after the budget to talk about the plight of these 16,500 people
who will be phased out, yet for the last couple of years he has
been talking about much more Draconian cuts in the public
* * *
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval):
Mr. Speaker, I can
understand the frustration experienced by the hon. member who
never has any questions to ask. He would like to ask his
government a few questions.
Yesterday, on the subject of the eventual closing of the
military college in Saint-Jean, the Minister of National Defense
It is one that I opposed, the Prime Minister opposed and many people
opposed. We would have liked to have done it another way rather than close this
college. However, from the point of view of financial sense, it seemed to us that
the best business case was to concentrate the college in Kingston.
Can the Minister of Defence assure us today that the decision
to close the military college in Saint-Jean was made ``only'' to
save money and not for political reasons?
Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National
Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, the
answer is certainly yes.
I should explain that in looking at our proposed reductions if
we had been able to cut other facilities that were surplus we
would have done it. It made sense to rationalize the colleges, all
the arguments that have been given here by myself and my
colleagues. Naturally no one likes to phase out the jobs of
16,500 people; no one likes to have such a difficult effect on
various communities. It was a tough decision that we had to
wrestle with. However, in the final analysis, I put forward the
list and that was in the budget. It is something that we will
defend. The closing of the two colleges is regrettable, Royal
Roads and CMR, but it is a decision that is final.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval): Mr. Speaker, the minister
also said: ``-when I appear before the standing committee
dealing with the estimates. I will have all the information
available at that time''.
People do not understand the minister's decision. In
Saint-Jean, they are preparing for a big demonstration to protest
the minister's decision. Why is the minister stubbornly refusing
to disclose the figures at this time? Could he be fiddling with
them to justify his decision?
The Speaker: I know that when we ask questions, we
sometimes get carried away. I am sure that the hon. member
could replace ``fiddle'' with another word.
Mr. Gauthier (Roberval): I will put my question more
politely. Is the minister manipulating, arranging, or
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Speaker: You mean ``explain.'' The hon. minister.
Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National
Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I will
be guided by your judgment, but the hon. member has imputed
some very bad things that I am alleged to have done. In normal
cases I would demand an apology, but I understand the hon.
member is new to the House and perhaps we can overlook this.
All the figures will be available next Tuesday. In fact we have
given figures on all of the base closings to all members that are
concerned. It does not matter what party. We have been
completely open. As he knows, I have organized briefings with
my department, with the Reform Party and with the Bloc
Quebecois. We have been totally open. We have nothing to hide.
A much more detailed discussion really is something that
should be done at the committee. He can have all day. I will
spend all day and all night just to satisfy the hon. member.
* * *
Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley):
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human
According to the minister's own numbers, government will
have to spend $92,000 to create one job through its
infrastructure program. On the other hand, cutting UI premiums
will create private sector jobs at a cost of $50,000 per job.
My question to the minister is this: If cutting taxes creates
almost twice as many jobs as spending tax dollars then why is
this government still planning to launch such an inefficient
infrastructure program when it can simply cut taxes?
Hon. Arthur C. Eggleton (President of the Treasury Board
and Minister responsible for Infrastructure): Mr. Speaker,
the infrastructure program was launched at the request of the
municipalities across this country because they recognized that
to create jobs in this country and to get people back to work we
needed to keep up the infrastructure in our communities so that
we could attract investment to increase our competitiveness in
this increasing global economy.
The purpose behind the program was partly that and partly to
get Canadians back to work. That program is being fulfilled and
it is being fulfilled in partnership with municipal and provincial
governments all in agreement right across this country.
Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley):
Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question.
Yesterday the Deputy Minister of Finance admitted that
Canada's corporate and individual tax rates are the second
highest in the industrialized world. Surely the minister
understands that there is a direct link between high taxes and
high levels of unemployment.
Does the minister have a long term plan to create jobs by
seeing Canada's taxation levels reduced?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development
-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Minister of Finance spoke
well at the meeting yesterday. In fact, there is no doubt about the
tremendous burden of taxation which Canadians are forced to
bear at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. It is
certainly a major inhibition to job creation.
It is exactly for that reason that in the last budget for every $1
in revenue that is raised this government imposed $5 in
It is also for that reason that the Minister of Human Resources
Development was able to announce through the budget that we
were reducing unemployment insurance premiums which are in
fact a tax on jobs. We have begun to attack this cancer on job
creation in this country.
* * *
Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata):
Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Yesterday, the Minister of Industry told us that the
government had given its interest in Ginn Publishing to a
foreign company as part of a verbal commitment. We still do not
know who concluded this verbal agreement.
Does the heritage minister know the identity of the person
who gave this agreement? If he cannot reveal the name of this
person to us in this House, can he at least assure us that he really
knows that person's identity?
Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage): Mr.
Speaker, it is not customary in this House to make accusations
against people whom one names. I would not want to either
make an accusation or name names, but there are dates. The date
is 1992. And I believe that I said that the ministerial
responsibility must be borne by those who held the portfolios in
question in 1992.
Of course, this is a complicated and sensitive issue. I have
already expressed my opinion on this subject. I think that some
decisions were made. We had to follow up on those decisions.
That is what we did, to the benefit of the publishing industry in
Mr. Bouchard: He is all mixed up, read my career.
Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe): Mr. Speaker, a minister is
The Speaker: Order. The hon. member for
Rimouski-Témiscouata has the floor.
Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata): Mr.
Speaker, how can the minister go on supporting the transaction
involving Ginn Publishing when he and his colleague in
Industry said yesterday, on leaving the House, that they had
never seen the legal opinion of the Department of Justice on
which they base their support for this controversial transaction?
Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage): Mr.
Speaker, I believe that is not quite what I said. I said that I did
not see the contract, since it was an oral one and naturally could
not be seen. I said that these oral exchanges leave traces.
I can reassure our colleague. Yes, I saw the opinion that was
issued. So I answered her question and I can assure her: I saw the
opinion that was issued.
* * *
Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the minister of aboriginal and northern affairs.
Yesterday in the House the minister announced that Manitoba
would be a test case for aboriginal self-government. Since this
will involve tens of thousands of aboriginal people and will
ultimately affect all Canadians, will the minister tell the House
exactly how he defines self-government for Manitoba's
Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development): Mr. Speaker, that is a difficult question.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Irwin: Really. Seriously. I do not analogize numerical
superiority with intellectual superiority. I would like to work
with my hon. friend because if the Reform Party truly wants
self-sufficiency and self-government and self- determination,
these are issues that we have to define collectively.
It is not like doing a budget. It is not like altering a figure. It is
really altering opinions or mindsets. We want to work together.
Consequently, we have entered into what will be extensive
discussions with the Manitoba chiefs. They will be difficult,
they will be hard. We are not kidding ourselves. But they will be
Our commitment to self-government, self-determination and
self- sufficiency is in the red book. Because it is difficult does
not mean that this government will shy away from it. I hope that
my hon. friend will work with us.
Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East): Mr. Speaker, we
recognize that defining self-government may be difficult but
when the Government of Canada makes a commitment, an
agreement to enter into self-government, I think somebody had
better know what agreement they are entering into. That is what
we are getting at.
Will the minister tell the House who he is negotiating with and
how he is going to let the aboriginal people ratify any final
Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development): My hon. friend I think should know that there is
a system in place through the First Nations, through the
assemblies, through the various tribal councils, to do just that.
As we said initially, there will be six months of discussions
with these people. As we said, we will do it within a timeframe
that is acceptable to the First Nations. It will be done. There will
be ratification. It will be done very democratically. I am sure at
the end we will collectively have something that my friend will
be very proud of as a Canadian.
* * *
Mr. Pierre Brien (Témiscamingue):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Finance.
Some economists and tax experts are recommending that the
GST be applied to food items. In November 1989, the Liberal
opposition said, in a report tabled in this House: ``The Liberal
members of the Finance committee cannot accept that basic
food items be taxed''.
Does the minister intend to act upon the recommendation to
apply the goods and services tax to the food sector?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, I am asked to answer a
question which is already being reviewed by a parliamentary
committee. As you know, the mandate of that committee is
really to listen to Canadians and get their opinion.
It is certainly not the role of the government to tell Canadians
that they have no right to express their views. This is one of the
fundamental freedoms in our country. I think the committee is
doing an excellent job and we support it.
Mr. Pierre Brien (Témiscamingue): Mr. Speaker, Canadians
want to know the minister's opinion.
Will the Liberal government immediately rule out taxing food
items, as the same Liberals did when they were in opposition?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, we are talking about a
committee which includes several colleagues of the hon.
member. This committee has a very important role to play
before the end of June, when it will table its report. It is not the
government's intention to stifle debate. We want this committee
to sit and listen to Canadians, and I am surprised to see the hon.
member afraid of letting Canadians express themselves.
* * *
Mr. Bill Graham (Rosedale):
Mr. Speaker, my question is
for the Prime Minister and it relates to the position of our
Canadian troops in the former Yugoslavia.
It is my understanding that the government's present
commitment to retain troops in that area expires on March 31.
Will the Prime Minister advise this House whether it is the
government's intention to maintain troops in the former
Yugoslavia or in the Balkans area after the expiry of our present
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
there will be a statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs later
today on this issue.
I would like to inform the House that all the troops have been
successfully taken out of Srebrenica. Tonight they will complete
their mission very successfully. On behalf of all Canadians I
would like to congratulate them. They were in an extremely
difficult situation. They have protected the lives of 30,000
Muslims for a long period of time under extremely difficult
I am very happy to report to the House that they are out of
I also want to say that a press release received just a few
moments ago informed us that the Pope had met 50 soldiers from
the Royal 22nd Regiment. His Holiness praised them for their
efforts to maintain peace in the former Yugoslavia. I think we
should also congratulate those soldiers who have gone through
very difficult times and who have done an excellent job.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
* * *
Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville):
my question is for the Minister of Justice.
On Friday, March 4 I attended a rally with over 1,200 gun
owners in Preeceville, Saskatchewan. They are extremely upset
with the government's new gun control regulations.
There are two types of gun owners in Canada: law-abiding
citizens and criminals. According to the Canadian Centre for
Justice Statistics less than one-tenth of one per cent of
registered handgun owners commit crimes with guns.
Could the minister explain how putting more controls on
responsible gun owners better protects law abiding citizens?
Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, the legislation in place today
to ensure the safe use, storage and maintenance of firearms is
intended to reflect that firearms are themselves inherently
Whether it is the intention of the owner to use it lawfully for
proper purposes or otherwise, the fact of the matter is that this
government has decided and I believe it is quite correct, that
anyone who wishes to acquire or use a firearm should be subject
to the reasonable controls in the law today.
In terms of the use of firearms for criminal or improper
purposes, we are taking a variety of steps to ensure that does not
occur. We are tightening up border controls with respect to
illegal smuggling of weapons from the United States.
The hon. member knows our platform has specific proposals
for strengthening measures to ensure that criminals do not have
weapons in their hands. We will be introducing measures to
ensure that occurs so the people of Canada can feel safe from the
improper use of firearms.
Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville): Mr. Speaker,
Saskatchewan gun owners are not against safety and training in
the use of firearms. They asked me to ask the minister how does
putting more restrictions on law abiding and responsible gun
owners in any way deter criminals from illegally acquiring these
Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, I have met with chiefs of
police in Moncton, Fredericton, Edmonton and last week in my
own riding in Etobicoke near Toronto.
Those chiefs of police made the point very forcefully to me
that weapons used in criminal offences are often stolen from
lawful gun owners who keep them improperly or in insecure
circumstances or do not look after them with a reasonable
degree of prudence.
The laws, regulations and administrative controls to which
the hon. member has referred are intended to bring home to
every person in this country who owns a firearm that a
reasonable standard of safety and security is required. In that
way we can limit the prospect of someone stealing that weapon
and using it for criminal purposes.
* * *
Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères):
Mr. Speaker, at the
conclusion of a recent visit to Washington, the Minister of
Foreign Affairs said that Canada had made a number of major
diplomatic concessions to the United States, particularly on the
issue of air strikes in Bosnia, the Freedom
space station and the
North American Free Trade Agreement. The minister expressed
the hope that this would have some impact on certain trade
issues between our two countries.
Following the incredible, in-your-face ruling of the United
States International Trade Commission reversing the decision
on softwood lumber reached by a panel of experts, and given
that we are facing an unprecedented US offensive with respect to
such products as uranium, beer, wheat and steel, does the
Minister of International Trade really believe that his colleague,
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has adopted the right strategy?
Hon. Roy MacLaren (Minister for International Trade):
Mr. Speaker, there are ongoing discussions with the United
States on a number of trade issues.
The United States has indicated it intends to pursue the issue
of softwood lumber when there is no basis for any further
movement by the United States, except to find that the panel's
conclusions are correct.
We also have seen progress in recent days on the wheat issue
that has separated our two countries. We look forward through
the continuing discussions on agricultural issues to a final
resolution in that area as well.
Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères): Mr. Speaker, my
supplemental is for the Prime Minister. Given the considerable
economic interests at stake, does he not believe that the time has
come for him to take up the matter directly with his US
counterpart in order to put an end to the harassment that
Canadian industry is experiencing?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
we make representations to US authorities on a regular basis. In
the course of the conversations that I have had with the President
of the United States in recent weeks, I have indicated to him that
too much pressure is being applied in certain areas and that we
are not completely satisfied with matters. I hope that this will
produce some positive results.
Of course, considering that nearly 80 per cent of our trade is
with the United States, it is normal to encounter the occasional
irritant. However, we ensure that we make the best
representations possible. I have to thank the Leader of the
Opposition because when he was in Washington, he raised a
number of issues of concern to all Canadians and he asked the
Americans to treat us fairly.
* * *
Mr. Darrel Stinson (Okanagan-Shuswap):
my question is for the Prime Minister.
The report on parliamentary compensation tabled today
proposes that salaries for members of Parliament be increased
from $64,000 to $88,000. The President of the Treasury Board
says that this is an important first step in assisting the
government in finding out what is acceptable to the taxpayers.
Would the Prime Minister concede to this House that a 40 per
cent raise is not acceptable whether it is in two, four or six
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
this report was asked for by the previous government. The
salaries of MPs are frozen, the same as for everybody else in the
However, we received this report. It has been referred to a
commission that is always there. After every election it reviews
problems of compensation for members of Parliament.
At this moment we said very clearly in the budget that salaries
for members of Parliament are frozen.
Mr. Darrel Stinson (Okanagan-Shuswap): Mr. Speaker, in
this report and as was stated there will be consultations with
Would the Prime Minister consider consulting with the
hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have been laid off in
the last three years without generous severance payments or
gold plated instant pensions?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
we have discussed this many times.
Members' salaries are frozen at this time. A commission has
been established by the Parliament of Canada to look at this
problem neutrally. It will do its work and report to the House of
I can understand that this member feels that he is paid too
much and I agree with him.
* * *
Mr. John Finlay (Oxford):
Mr. Speaker, my question is for
the Minister of Finance.
Before I ask my question, Mr. Speaker, I would like to
acknowledge that most of my constituents, most of the people of
Canada, and most hon. members in this House would
congratulate the Minister of Finance on a masterful and
Canadian press in the London Free Press of February 7, 1994
reported that 20 Canadian millionaires paid less than $100 each
in income tax in 1991. The report goes on to state that 190
Canadians who earn more than $.25 million filed non-taxable
returns for 1991.
Will the hon. minister assure this House that such tax
loopholes will be closed in this taxation year?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development
-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has made both a
comment and a question. I want to congratulate him on his
comment which has certainly elevated the debate in this House.
The answer to his question is very clear. He indicates the
degree of interest we have in building fairness into the system.
As he knows there are some people who did not pay taxes
because they had business losses or interest on loans. The single
biggest reason would appear to be the $100,000 capital gains tax
exemption which we eliminated in the budget.
Mr. Osvaldo Nunez (Bourassa):
Mr. Speaker, my question is
for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. On January 26,
I asked a question to the Minister regarding the deportation of a
group of about fifty Salvadorian refugees from Montreal. The
Minister has not dealt with the problem yet.
Today, this group of Salvadorians travelled to Ottawa, and
several are here in the gallery, to demand just and equitable
treatment from the Minister, given that the political situation in
El Salvador has significantly deteriorated recently.
The Speaker: Order, please. This is getting a bit long, would
the hon. member put his question.
Mr. Nunez: Mr. Speaker, what is the Minister waiting for to
exercise the powers he has under the Immigration Act and grant
permanent resident status, for hamanitarian reasons, to this
group of individuals?
Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration): Mr. Speaker, I find the statement by my friend a
bit difficult to swallow. He asked me to meet with this group of
50 Salvadorian refugees. My officials have already met three
times with the group in Montreal. I should also say that the hon.
member who requested that this meeting not be held here in the
As a result of the three meetings of those refugee claimants
and my officials and because of the concern after the automatic
review of cases from El Salvador an automatic review on top of
that will be given to all failed refugee claimants. In that way we
can make doubly sure through due process that has rendered an
adjudication that it is in fact safe for those individuals to return
to El Salvador.
* * *
I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to
the presence in the gallery of the Hon. John Todd, Minister of
Economic Development and Tourism, in the Government of the
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
The Speaker: I also wish to draw to the attention of hon.
members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency
Monseigneur Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Mr. John Nunziata (York South-Weston):
Mr. Speaker, I
rise on a question of privilege regarding the 10th report of the
standing committee on House management which deals with
Private Members' Business. I would submit the process that has
been followed infringes upon my right as a member of
Parliament to advance Private Members' Business.
The House has been in session for almost two months and we
have yet to begin debating or discussing Private Members'
Business. Standing Order 94(1)(a) reads:
The Speaker shall make all arrangements necessary to ensure the orderly
conduct of Private Members' Business
It is your responsibility, Mr. Speaker. I would submit it is your
responsibility as well to ensure that the process is fair to all
The process that has been followed thus far is unfair. It
infringes upon the rights of certain members of Parliament,
particularly my rights as far as the private member's bill I
introduced on February 17 dealing with the Young Offenders
In effect, as a result of the 10th report of the committee, the
private member's bill I introduced-and I undertook to my
constituents during the election campaign to advance it in this
Parliament-has effectively been blocked by a small committee
of individuals meeting in camera to decide for whatever reason
what bills and motions to pick as votable items in the House.
I would ask Your Honour to consider the following. The
committee was required to select five bills and five motions to
be debated, discussed and voted upon in the House. The
committee was required to consider certain factors in its
After these behind the scenes, in camera proceedings, which I
as a member of Parliament was not entitled to attend, a decision
was made on which bills were in the national interest and which
bills would be given three hours of House time, plus committee
time, plus the opportunity to be voted upon by members of
Parliament. What are those bills?
The committee in its wisdom decided that designating hockey
as the national sport of Canada was a more important piece of
legislation than amendments to the Young Offenders Act. The
committee also decided that it was more important to devote
House time to a bill that would deal with the witness protection
plan as if it affects a lot of Canadians.
The Speaker: I am sure the hon. member will come to the
point of precisely which privilege has been somehow impeded
so that he cannot practise in the House. I would invite the hon.
member to please come to his point.
Mr. Wappel: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker: I will deal with the question of privilege first
and then I will come back to the member.
Mr. Nunziata: Given the commitment of the government and
opposition members to reforming the House of Commons,
surely we have the right as private members to present a piece of
legislation and to expect that the piece of legislation will be
considered by the House in a meaningful way, if our
commitment to parliamentary reform is genuine.
The Speaker: Order. I think the hon. member will know the
report has been adopted by the House. I suggest he may wish to
take this particular grievance to the committee. I would
recommend, at this point at least, that he give some
consideration to doing that rather than raising it as a question of
privilege in the House.
If the hon. member wishes me to rule on the question of
privilege, I will take what he has said today under advisement
and I will consider it.
Mr. Nunziata: May I finish my submission, Mr. Speaker?
The Speaker: I thought you had finished your submissions.
Mr. Nunziata: No, I have not.
The Speaker: Could you please make it very brief.
Mr. Nunziata: I did not realize, Mr. Speaker, that when
presenting questions of privilege we were required to make
them brief. One would expect we would be given the opportunity
to explain fully our questions of privilege.
I will conclude. I would ask you, as the Speaker of the House
and the person responsible, to ensure fairness and to ensure that
private members have the opportunity to be meaningful in the
House. I ask you to review the process.
To ask a group of individuals who have already made these
patently unfair decisions to rule again on the same question is
I would ask you, Sir, as Speaker of the House, to rule on the
The Speaker: I thank the hon. member. I will at this moment
reserve judgment. I will come back to the House very soon.
Mr. Tom Wappel (Scarborough West): Mr. Speaker, really
The Speaker: Is this the same question of privilege?
Mr. Wappel: It is and it affects me personally. It arises out of
the comments the hon. member made and it relates to them
The Speaker: I will hear the question of privilege arising out
of the same question of privilege.
Mr. Wappel: Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member very
carefully. He made mention of the witness protection bill which
happens to be my bill. I did not even know it had been chosen to
However, I want to tell the hon. member and other members in
the House that I too committed to my constituents during the
election that if I were re-elected I would attempt to bring
forward a national witness protection plan. I told tens of
thousands of people who signed petitions across the country,
which I presented to the House, that I would do so. I take great
personal umbrage in the member's comments disparaging the
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons): Mr. Speaker,
with great respect to the difficulties that have been raised, I
think Your Honour will appreciate that the argument advanced
by the hon. member for York South-Weston is not a valid
question of privilege in the House.
Frankly he is complaining about the decision of the
committee. We have heard the opposite side in effect from the
hon. member for Scarborough West. I recognize the committee
has a difficult decision to make with respect to votable items,
particularly on the first selection when it has to choose 10 items
out of the 30 on the order of precedence.
The hon. member for York South-Weston first complained
about the length of time it has taken to get to this point. If he
reads all of the rules relating to Private Members' Business, he
will know that Private Members' Business cannot begin until
there are items on the Order Paper from at least 30 members of
the House. There was a lengthy delay in the early part of this
Parliament in getting the requisite number of members to table
motions or private members bills in order to reach the point of a
That point was finally reached. A draw was held and the
committee which I chair met promptly through its
subcommittee. The subcommittee has met three days this week.
It submitted its report this morning to the committee. That
report was adopted by the committee, tabled in the House earlier
this morning, and was concurred in on tabling.
The hon. member for York South-Weston was here in the last
Parliament. He has known of this procedure for years. That has
been the practice in the House for many years, certainly since
before 1988 when I was first elected. I cannot say when the
procedure was first adopted. It was modified a bit in the last
Parliament to increase the number of opportunities for members
to present private members bills and have them voted on in the
The fact that his bill was not selected is regrettable. All the
bills the committee considered were important, and it came to
the conclusion that certain ones would be considered in priority
to others, that is they would be given a vote.
His bill will be debated in the House. It will receive an hour of
debate. It may be that at the end of the time the House will be
willing to allow him to go to a vote on it. I do not know; that is
not a decision that I can make.
I can tell the hon. member that first of all it is not a matter for
Your Honour to decide. In support of that proposition I cite page
222 of Beauchesne's sixth edition, citation 760(3):
The Speaker has ruled on many occasions that it is not competent for the
Speaker to exercise procedural control over the committees. Committees are and
must remain masters of their own procedure.
That is the citation and I invite Your Honour to direct the hon.
member for York South-Weston to direct his criticisms, if any,
to the committee. He can go there and make his submission
again. He and every other member had an opportunity to appear
and make their submissions before the subcommittee, which
then rendered a decision.
I submit the decision was fair. He had an equal opportunity
with every other member of the House who had been in on the
draw to make his submission. The committee did not happen to
agree with him and so he is here today complaining.
I also submit it is not a question of privilege. The committee
has acted entirely properly. Its report has been tabled in the
House and adopted. I suggest there is not a question of privilege
here. In fact the committee has acted extremely carefully in this
matter and with due consideration to all factors it is required to
take into account.
The Speaker: Submissions have been made to the Chair with
regard to privilege. I suggested the hon. member for York
South-Weston might want to appear before the committee. The
fact is that the report has been adopted by the House of
Commons and it cannot be reversed by the Chair. That does not
negate the chance of the hon. member appearing before that
committee at some future date to plead his case.
At this point it is clear to me that I would rule there is no
question of privilege, that the report has been accepted and that
it cannot and will not be reversed by the Chair. I would like to
put this question of privilege to one side.
An hon. member: Oh, oh.
The Speaker: Order, please. A decision has been taken by the
Chair. I have made my ruling now and the ruling will stand. This
question of privilege is over.
Are there any other questions of privilege or points of order
hon. members would like to raise? On a point of order, the hon.
member for Beaver River.
Miss Grey: Mr. Speaker, let us perhaps sum this up by saying
that there is a process in place. The parliamentary secretary just
went through it.
The Speaker: Order, please. I am sure the hon. member will
understand that this question of privilege is over. Unless the
hon. member has another point of order or question of privilege I
would like to proceed with the affairs of the day.
If there are no other points of order or questions of privilege I
will proceed from here to House business.
* * *
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval):
Mr. Speaker, I would like
the Government House Leader to tell us what the business of the
House will be for the next few days.
Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada): Mr. Speaker,
today the House will conclude the budget debate.
Tomorrow, Friday, the House will consider Bill C-5 regarding
the customs tariff and Bill C-6 concerning oil and gas
Next week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday shall be
allotted days. On Tuesday of next week the House will consider
a motion by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to establish a special
joint committee of this House and the other place to review
Canada's foreign policy.
The business for Friday, March 18, next week will be
legislation to be announced later.
Having given that statement of House business, I would like
to say that there has been consultation and I believe if you seek
the view of the House you will find agreement that the Minister
of Foreign Affairs be allowed to revert to the period of
Statements by Ministers to make a statement and opposition
critics can reply. Therefore, considering the consultation that
has taken place, I would like to seek unanimous consent for my
colleague the Minister of Foreign Affairs to make his statement.
The Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous consent for the
Minister of Foreign Affairs to make a statement at this time?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs):
Speaker, first I would like to thank the hon. members of this
House for allowing me to make this statement at this time.
I would like to inform the House of a decision the government
made in this morning's Cabinet meeting regarding the presence
of Canadian troops in the former Yugoslavia.
You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that last January, the
government consulted the House on the future of our troops in
that part of the world. During the debate, a majority of hon.
members stated that they were in favour of maintaining a
Canadian presence within the United Nations Protection Force
in the former Yugoslavia. The House decided that Canada was
making an important contribution to the objectives of
preventing the war from escalating and getting out of hand,
trying to negotiate an end to the conflict and participating in the
humanitarian effort. The House also reaffirmed Canada's
commitment to its traditional role of peacekeeper, the
promotion of stability and security in Europe, and the quest for a
negotiated solution to the situation in the Balkans.
I am pleased to announce today that in light of that debate and
the developments that have taken place in recent weeks, the
government has decided that the Canadian troops, whose
mandate was set to end on March 31, will remain in the area for
another six months.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Ouellet: The number of troops will not change. In
connection with this decision, the government will consider the
possibility of redeploying some Canadian troops to the Balkans
theatre, if that is what the United Nations Protection Force
Command wishes, to provide maximum support for the current
effort to achieve peace.
In making its decision, the government took into account the
encouraging progress that has been made in the area.
Specifically, ceasefires have been negotiated and observed in
Sarajevo. The Archbishop of Sarajevo was here in this House a
moment ago, and this seems an opportune time to make this
statement when all parties involved are trying to find a peaceful
solution to the conflict in Sarajevo. We should also say that
ceasefires have been negotiated throughout Central Bosnia, the
parties in the conflict have begun serious negotiations, the
airport in Tuzla has been turned over to the United Nations, and
our unit in Srebrenica has managed to leave the enclave and
rejoin its battalion in Visoko.
I can say today that Canadian soldiers carried out in
Srebrenica an outstanding mission that brings credit to the
Canadian armed forces.
We are now in a situation where major steps have been taken
toward a peaceful solution, in particular the agreement between
Croats and Muslims in Bosnia to form a Confederation. It is
important to underline the vital diplomatic intervention of the
Americans, who invited Croatian and Muslim representatives to
Washington and helped them take this very big step toward
Ceasefires have helped create an atmosphere of negotiation,
facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid and reduced the
danger for the troops stationed in the area.
Canada has been a full participant in the diplomatic talks
surrounding these developments in NATO, the United Nations
and other forums. On the international scene, Canada has a duty
to speak up whenever it does not agree with something but it also
has an obligation to protect the unity of the allies. That is what
the Prime Minister of Canada did at the NATO summit in
Brussels when he vigorously opposed a military escalation in
favour of diplomacy. Canada delayed the use of air strikes that
could have been launched last January.
Today, without the use of air strikes, the airport in Tuzla has
been liberated, our soldiers have left Srebrenica, and the peace
process is resolutely moving forward. In its own way, Canada
has served the cause of peace.
Under these circumstances, the presence of Canadian troops
is more important than ever. We have an obligation to continue
supporting the efforts being made by the international
community under the direction of the United Nations in order to
consolidate what has been accomplished in the past few weeks
and clear the way for more progress in implementing the
ceasefires and agreements. Canadian troops will be used more
and more to carry out their traditional role as peacekeepers and
will continue the task of helping ensure that humanitarian aid
reaches the area.
I should also point out that Canada will continue to be an
active player in the international effort to help in many ways. We
will continue to provide financial support for various
international humanitarian aid agencies and make military
flights available to the United Nations to deliver that aid. We
will continue to facilitate implementation of the United Nations
sanctions, particularly through our naval units that are there.
Canada is also prepared to continue its effort in other
non-military sectors, such as the presence of a large contingent
of Royal Canadian Mounted Police and civilian experts. We will
also continue our efforts to find an overall diplomatic solution to
the current conflict.
In closing, I would like to draw special attention to the
outstanding job the Canadian military is doing in the former
Yugoslavia. Despite conditions that at times have been very
difficult, its contribution to peace is something that Canadians
can be proud of and something that we in this House of
Commons should commend.
Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg): Mr. Speaker, last
January 25, the Official Opposition actively participated in the
debate held in this House on the future of peacekeeping
operations and of Canada's commitment in Bosnia.
The Bloc Quebecois was totally sincere in deciding to reverse
its position on this thorny and pressing issue. For a while, public
opinion was shaken by the apparent futility of our efforts, the
danger to which our soldiers were exposed, the costs of the
operation, and the complexity of the political and military
situation in Bosnia. However, the encouraging results achieved
in recent days in Bosnia are restoring Quebecers' and
Canadians' confidence in our commitment in that country.
In the opinion of the Bloc Quebecois, Canadian missions and
CIDA are great sources of pride in Quebec and in Canada. Both
have helped to establish Canada's credibility in the world.
It would have been easy to give up, to pick up all our
equipment and leave, but it is not how Canada earned a solid
reputation as a peacekeeping nation ready to make the extra
effort to preserve it, as the Leader of the Opposition said earlier.
The truth is that the Prime Minister was at least careless when
he mentioned, on leaving Brussels at the beginning of January,
the possibility of a unilateral withdrawal of Canadian troops
from the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. Today, the
government is at last reassuring its allies, with whom it must act
in concert. It could not break the solidarity pact that Canada was
courageous enough to draft with its NATO partners.
The government then decided, after alarming all its partners
involved in the United Nations Protection Force in the former
Yugoslavia, to extend the presence of Canadian troops, whose
mandate was set to end on March 31, for another six months.
However, Canada refuses to respond favourably to the urgent
appeal made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who is asking for more peacekeepers in
Bosnia. Since strengthening the peace process requires a larger
number of peacekeeping contingents, the Bloc Quebecois asked
the government on many occasions to reconsider its decision not
to send more Canadian troops to Bosnia.
Incidentally, on this issue, today's newspapers widely report
the opinion of Canadian General Lewis McKenzie, who
commanded UN forces in the Sarajevo area at the beginning of
In his opinion, if the UN does not succeed in convincing
member states to provide extra troops within a month, the
opportunity for peace will be lost.
The government must reverse its decision and respond
favourably to the urgent appeal it received, so that peace
achievements to this day can be built on and moved in the
direction of total peace.
Finally, I would like to point out once again the courage and
dignity with which our soldiers carry out their difficult task
overseas. They deserve our admiration and full support. We also
think of their loved ones who are also going through a very
Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer): Mr. Speaker, I extend our
appreciation to the minister and to this government for allowing
this House to discuss the Bosnian issue in January. We have
received many comments from our constituents about the
excellent state of those statements. I want to extend our thank
This not only allowed the MPs to have input, it also gave the
people of Canada the opportunity to have input. It got people
listening, reading and discussing the issue. This form of
consultation is not only appreciated but helps return some
credibility to this parliamentary process which has been
tarnished by previous governments' lack of consultation.
The situation in the former Yugoslavia is not one which has an
easy solution. As we expressed during the debate, none of the
warring factions are totally right or totally wrong and an easy
settlement is not possible.
Like the minister we appreciate the level of service our troops
have shown and continue to show. Certainly their actions are
what build the national pride in this country and make us the
proud Canadians we are. The level of humanitarian aid which
has been provided is unquestionable and the fact that our
presence has made a difference is obvious.
Because a tenuous ceasefire has been in force for some two
weeks now it appears that the will of the people to settle their
differences may exist and we should help to make it happen.
Because some light appears at the end of the tunnel, we agree
with this announcement today. I wish, however, this
announcement would have included a cost estimate for this
decision. We simply cannot keep making statements in the
House and not include what it costs.
As I understand it, we will incur an additional cost for such
things as delivering more humanitarian efforts, more military
flights, enforcement of the UN sanctions, the RCMP, civilian
experts, and so on. The depth of our financial crisis must be
recognized and must be foremost in every decision we make.
The Deputy Speaker: I see the member for Kamloops rising.
Is there unanimous consent to have the member for Kamloops
give a position on behalf of his party?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops): Mr. Speaker, I thank my
colleagues in the House of Commons for this generosity.
I feel today it is appropriate to join with others to thank the
Minister of Foreign Affairs for his statement in the House today
following up on the tradition that was first introduced in the
debate in the House of Commons. As my friend in the Reform
Party indicated, we appreciated the opportunity to share our
views on behalf of our constituents and our political parties as to
what the course of action ought to be in our judgment.
At that time our spokesman, the hon. member for Burnaby,
indicated a Canadian presence ought to be maintained, the
traditional role of Canada in its peacekeeping tradition ought to
be maintained, and it was crucial that our presence be there.
I am pleased that the minister has taken time in the House
today to announce the government's decision. We support that
and encourage that.
In conclusion, I simply want to say that we want to
acknowledge the extraordinary contribution Canadian troops
have made to bring peace to this troubled part of the world. We
also recognize, as my colleague in the Bloc earlier indicated, the
support for the families. They also have borne a tremendous
burden in this effort as their friends and loved ones were serving
in the former Yugoslavia area.
There is a cost associated with this initiative. While we must
be sensitive to that cost, if our contribution along with others
representing the United Nations can be there and can bring peace
to a part of the world where we have seen what can only be
described as barbarism, it is a worthwhile cost.
I thank the minister for his statement in the House today. We
support it and are very pleased that our troops will be there to
assist in peacekeeping and making the peace for the next six
The House resumed consideration of the motion.
The Deputy Speaker: Before the member for Crowfoot
begins his maiden speech-
-I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial
statement, Government Orders will be extended 14 minutes,
pursuant to Standing Order 33(2)(b). The hon. member for
Crowfoot has the floor.
Mr. Jack Ramsay (Crowfoot): Mr. Speaker, as I rise to give
my maiden speech in this House I would like to extend my
personal congratulations on your appointment as Deputy
Speaker. I would like to express my feeling of respect and
honour for the career that you have had in politics. It is truly an
honour for me to be making my maiden speech in this House
with you, a fellow Albertan, in the chair.
I would like to begin by taking this opportunity to thank the
people of Crowfoot, my constituents, for giving me the privilege
of representing them in Ottawa. The Crowfoot riding is
comprised primarily of farmers, ranchers and people in the
service industry who are hard working, honest and frank.
I have pledged to represent their views in the same open
manner in which they conduct their lives. I live in Camrose, the
largest urban centre of Crowfoot, with my wife, Glenna, and our
four children Anne-Marie, Jackie, Spencer and Sterling. I
would like to put it on record that I love them very much and I
miss them very much. I appreciate the position of all hon.
members who are separated from their families for long periods
of time and the position of their families as well.
I am proud to represent this riding which is named after the
great Blackfoot chief, Crowfoot. Although the Blackfoot band is
no longer in my riding, its present chief, Striker Crowfoot, is a
direct descendant of Chief Crowfoot. We met with him some
time ago as a caucus committee and it was wonderful to sit in his
presence and listen to his wisdom.
Given that my riding is larger than the province of Nova
Scotia, it is a real task to travel to each part of my riding to
consult with my constituents but I am committed to listening to
the numerous opinions and concerns of the people of Crowfoot
and to making their voices heard in the nation's capital.
During the election I encountered a great deal of anger,
frustration and a feeling of betrayal from the voters that stem
from a belief that the politicians and government had violated
the faith and trust that people had placed in them, that members
of Parliament had exceeded the parameters of fair play and
common sense and that they had been irresponsible in the
manner in which they had conducted the affairs of this country.
The people of Canada know that the stability of every
organization, whether it is the family business, church or
community organization, is governed by the fundamental law of
economics which simply states that one cannot continually
spend more than one brings in. If one does, one's organization
will cease to exist.
For more than 20 years the people of Canada have seen their
government violate this fundamental law of economics. By
doing so, the government has left the impression it is beyond the
law and immune to the consequences of non-adherence to the
economic principles that govern the private sector.
The federal government has not balanced its budget in 20
years. It has simply refused to live within its means. This
government's budget has shown that it is no different than the
past Tory and Liberal governments that have brought us to the
brink of financial despair.
It has ignored the enormous danger that overspending and
over taxation poses to the economic well-being of our people
and our nation, and by doing so has displayed contempt for the
principles of economics that govern the private sector and that
ultimately hold such dire consequences for every citizen of this
The greatest threat to the economic stability of the individual
and the family is the unrestrained power of government to tax
away our wealth. The federal government has increased taxes
more than 35 times in the last 10 years, adding a tax burden of
close to $1,900 to the average Canadian family.
The Fraser Institute claims that over 50 per cent of all we earn
now goes to the three levels of government in the form of
taxation. In spite of the enormous amount of wealth the federal
government has taken from the people each year, we find
ourselves in a debt hole of over half a trillion dollars and
plunging another $40 billion into debt this year.
This represents a colossal mismanagement of Canada's fiscal
and monetary affairs and a degree of irresponsibility unheard of
in the private sector. While the politicians have been plunging us
into debt the people of this country have watched as the same
politicians gave themselves pensions so extravagant and
outrageous that Mr. Clark, for example, will receive over $3
million in benefits by age 75 and Perrin Beatty will receive close
to $5 million.
These politicians take home a pension cheque each month
greater than the paycheque of the average Canadian worker. This
is unfair and unacceptable.
The perception that politicians ignore proper practices and
procedures has been reinforced in the past five years by the
almost daily violation of the rule of law that governs the
procedure of the House of Commons by members of Parliament.
On almost any day during the previous Parliament, Canadians
could have tuned in and witnessed a violation of Standing Order
16 when hon. members interrupted procedures by shouting,
hollering and hurling insults at each other. Canadians watched
the complete disregard for the rule of law that governs the
procedure of the very institution that creates the laws of this
When hon. members show contempt for the rule of law in this
House, why should we be surprised when those outside this
House show a similar contempt for the law?
If we as members of Parliament cannot govern our own
feelings and emotions, why should the people trust us to govern
the affairs of this nation?
No wonder people have lost faith in their government and no
wonder politicians are held in such contempt across the country.
The faith and trust of Canadians have been violated and they feel
What has been the result of this feeling of betrayal on the part
of Canadians? The reaction has been two-fold. The political
reaction of Canadians has been the complete destruction of the
Tory government, the decimation of the NDP caucus and the
election of 52 Reform MPs who campaigned on a platform of
fiscal restraint, tax relief and parliamentary reform.
The economic reaction of Canadians to this betrayal of trust is
much more ominous. An underground economy has developed
in this country which some estimate at $100 billion per year.
People are opting out of a tax system which they consider to be
unfair and threatening to their personal and family survival.
Canadians living near the U.S. border are shopping in the states
to avoid the GST and other taxes. The number of normally
law-abiding citizens willing to risk prosecution to purchase
bootlegged cigarettes and other products to avoid high taxes is
growing. These people are rejecting our tax system because they
consider it unfair and a threat to their economic survival.
They see government over-spending and they see the waste of
taxpayer's dollars on every side and they feel betrayed. They see
a justice system run amok; a parole system that releases violent
criminals onto the streets who continue to rape and murder; a
Young Offender's Act that cannot hold 10-year olds accountable
for their criminal conduct. They see legislation that is impotent
and unable to protect society against criminal acts; legislation
such as the ill-conceived gun control bill which is wrongly
aimed at law-abiding citizens and not at the criminal use of
Canadians have seen wave after wave of political patronage
which has such a demeaning and destructive effect upon the
integrity of politicians and government in the minds of
Canadians. Now they hear the Prime Minister telling them it is
disgusting and revolting to allow them the right to have a say in
deciding important issues, moral issues like mercy killing.
The Prime Minister repeatedly reminds this House that
Canadians knew what was best at election time. It was not
disgusting and revolting for them to participate in the election of
their representatives. However, as soon as he became Prime
Minister he suddenly knew what is best.
From this I know best attitude, the hallmark of the Trudeau
and the Mulroney administrations and now continued by the
present Prime Minister, we have a nation beset with high taxes,
enormous debt and a justice system that cannot protect the
property and lives of Canadians.
In spite of all the budget consultations throughout the country,
the I know best attitude is still evident. Canadians did not ask for
or want another $100 billion added to the debt and yet that is
exactly what the Liberal government is doing with this budget.
The government did not inform Canadians of this planned
addition to the debt and it has omitted mentioning the dangers of
adding $100 billion to the existing debt of half a trillion dollars.
Why does this budget not say a word about the consequences
this will have upon our nation and our people? What will it do to
our social programs, to our economic stability, to our
international credit rating and to the one million children
reported to be living in poverty? What will the addition of
another $100 billion to the debt do to further enhance the sense
of betrayal felt by a growing number of Canadians throughout
This budget shows a lack of concern with the debt. This
government is spending $3 billion more this year than last. It is
taking more money from Canadians and out of the economy than
it did last year. This budget shows no concern for the dangers to
Canadians posed by the ever-rising debt.
Past governments, including Liberals, showed no concern
about the dangers of debt. The Liberals left us with a $200
billion debt in 1984. The Tories could not handle that debt and
simply added another $300 billion to it.
Now this government is promising to add $100 billion to the
federal debt in the next three years with no mention of the
devastating consequences this debt poses for our nation and our
This irresponsible action by the governments of the old line
parties which is contained in this budget is absolutely
unacceptable to me and to Canadians. These governments
through the force of law have imposed a tyranny of debt and
taxation upon the people of this nation. The mismanagement of
our fiscal and monetary affairs by this and past governments is
destroying the economy of this nation.
The life of this nation depends upon the economy and it
depends upon the spirit of the people who constitute the nation.
The feelings of anger, frustration and betrayal run deep in this
country and are taking their toll upon the spirit of Canadians.
Nothing will change those feelings until Canadians are able to
place their trust in the people whom they have chosen to govern
them. This budget could have been a start. This budget could
have helped heal the broken economy and sparked the spirit and
hope of our people. It has not done this.
In closing, I would like to address the good that is in this
budget and there is good in this budget. It has been spoken of by
members on both sides of the House. From my particular
viewpoint, I view the good in this budget like adding a needed
piece of furniture to a house that is burning down.
Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Transport): Mr. Speaker,
I rise today to support the budget that was tabled on February 22
by my colleague, the Minister of Finance.
The federal budget has set out a responsible course of action
to bring the deficit under control and put Canadians back to
work. It builds on the need to tackle the deficit, reform social
programs and devise plans to assist our unemployed.
This budget reflects the government's belief that, by working
together with Canadians, we must make changes to improve the
economy. The budget's provisions will have a significant impact
on every Canadian, but I believe the Minister of Finance has
struck an equitable balance between spending restraints and
carefully-planned measures that will encourage economic
The goal of the budget, said the Minister of Finance is, and I
quote: ``- a balanced approach to fundamental reform-to
create jobs, to continue to care for those in need, and to get the
deficit down''. Indeed, the diverse nature of Canada's economy
places ever-increasing importance on a fast, reliable and
low-cost transportation system.
Transportation is the life-support system of the country's
exports and a critical factor in the competitiveness of Canadian
industry. A prime example of the importance of transportation
efficiency is the share of export prices attributable to transport
costs. Between 18 and 45 per cent of the selling price of our
primary products-coal, forest products, grain and
lumber-goes to transportation. Transportation represents an
estimated five per cent of the cost of manufactured export
goods and, in some cases, is as high as 17 per cent.
The transportation industry is a major employer, providing
for more than 442,000 direct and 378,000 indirect jobs-many
of them highly skilled.
There are many significant challenges facing the
transportation sector in our country. Changes brought about by
the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the North
American Free Trade Agreement demand an efficient
transportation system. With the globalization of markets and
new trading arrangements, Canada's focus is shifting to the
growing north-south traffic and our increasing exports and
passenger travel overseas.
Our east-west transportation demands must continue to be
met and these needs should expand in the future with the
successful completion of internal trade negotiations and
improved market access for our primary commodities through
the Uruguay round agreements.
However, our transportation industries, notably the airlines
and railways, have suffered and continue to suffer major
financial losses. Canada's two major airlines are in serious
financial difficulty. Only time will tell whether they can
Recent developments, such as the end of the Air Canada legal
action and the entanglement with Canadian Airlines
International over Gemini and other issues, illustrate our
commitment as a government to work closely with the industry
in every way and certainly to try to improve its commercial
viability and its ability to compete in the global marketplace.
We are looking forward to analysing any proposals that may
be brought forward by CN and CP to merge or otherwise
rationalize their operations in Canada from coast to coast. Our
evaluation of any rail rationalization proposal will attempt to
strike the appropriate balance between the needs of users and the
interests of workers. However, I want to stress that for me, for
the government and for the department our primary concern will
be the interests of the Canadian taxpayer.
Our decision will take into account the many dynamic
changes in the North American rail industry and the economy in
general, including the growing importance of north-south
traffic, intermodal competition and integration, the possibility
of increased competition from south of the border, which
certainly exists, technological change and any potential
economic efficiencies we may be able to achieve.
VIA Rail is another entity for which our department is
responsible and which faces a very, very troubled future. There
will have to be a remarkable combination of efficiency gains at
VIA Rail and rationalization of its operations or the cost to the
Canadian taxpayer to support VIA will escalate even far beyond
where it is now.
We have to recognize that some of Canada's transportation
systems are overbuilt and far too heavily subsidized.
Ninety-five per cent of all Canada's air passengers and cargo are
handled at only 25 of our many, many airports. Eighty-four per
cent of rail traffic is carried on 33 per cent of the lines. Eighty
per cent of port traffic passes just through 5 per cent of our ports.
We are spending a lot of money in this country for
transportation. In the main estimates we have indicated that it is
the government's intention to spend $619 million on the
Canadian Coast Guard, $710 million on the air navigation
system, $430 million on airports. We will pay $331 million for
passenger rail services, $159 million for ferry services, nearly
$650 million under the Western Grain Transportation Act and in
excess of $100 million on the Atlantic Region Freight
Assistance Act and the Maritime Freight Rates Act.
These are huge numbers, beyond the comprehension of most
Canadians, but they are numbers that are going to have to be
looked at very seriously.
We must separate the desirable from the essential-and the
essential must be the focus of the transportation system of the
future. There are tough decisions to be made. In this context, the
budget calls on me, as Minister of Transport, to discuss with my
provincial colleagues the development of a highly-effective,
integrated, affordable, surface freight transportation system,
and the redirection of subsidies to improve the efficiency of that
system. For example, it has become clear that the national
highway system in this country needs to be upgraded. The
provincial and federal transport ministers have agreed on what
has to be done. Now, the finance ministers must find a way to
pay for it.
Scarce financial resources must be redirected to the
development of an integrated, multimodal, affordable
transportation system. We must bring together many of the
components that are available to us in the transportation sector
to make sure we have the best possible system. The challenge
undoubtedly is going to be very difficult for industry to meet,
especially for the railways and airlines when they are struggling
to find more efficient ways
to conduct their business. The government too has to meet the
challenges of very limited resources.
For our part at Transport Canada, we are implementing our
own cost-cutting initiatives in keeping with the provisions
contained in my colleague's new budget. We are pursuing
approaches that involve a mix of modal integration,
pragmatism, innovation and most of all hard-nosed realism. We
are focusing on solutions that will be important for Canada's
future rather than dwelling on the romanticism and nostalgia of
the past, as important as Pierre Burton's view of Canada might
The budget provides for increases to the air transportation tax,
an opportunity to demonstrate that we want to reduce the
transportation cost burden on the taxpayer and shift costs to
those who use the various systems.
Transport Canada provides many services. Users are
contributing 42 per cent of the $2.1 billion cost of these
services, but the taxpayer is picking up the remaining 58 per
We are going to ensure that those who benefit most directly
from a service or facility pay a fair share of the cost. A better
balance between taxpayers and users was strongly supported by
the Royal Commission on National Passenger Transportation
and by the National Transportation Act Review Commission.
Let me emphasize that Transport Canada's proposed fee
increases for 1994-95 are related directly to inflation rates since
the last increase.
The time has come for government to look at new ways of
providing services. In his budget the Minister of Finance stated
that we would look at initiating the concept of
commercialization at Transport Canada.
I am a strong believer in the ability of the private sector to get
the job done. In Canada, if ever there was a time when those who
do the job best should be allowed to do just that, this is it.
We will look at every opportunity to collaborate with the
private sector to provide transportation services to Canadians.
We will not be timid about asking the private sector to do what it
can do best. We will also make sure that the role of government,
however, continues to be to set policy and to ensure adequate
services for all Canadians.
Traditional ways of the past do not allow today for quick
responses to rapidly changing needs. The government does not
have to own and operate a system in order to achieve its public
policy goals. I believe that commercialization is an attractive
option since it brings business discipline to the provision of
services often traditionally delivered by government.
Commercialization can take many forms from government
operations to non-profit entities, special operating agencies and
crown corporations and can include privatization, can include
mixes of those various components. Regardless of the form it
means we must adopt a businesslike approach which is more
efficient, more responsive to clients and less dependent on the
Canadian taxpayer. The benefits can be better capital planning,
access to private financing, faster approval, easier introduction
of new technologies and more user and client input.
There is great potential for commercialization including for
example the air navigation system, St. Lawrence seaway
activities, short line railways, coast guard. I believe that
commercialization in these and many other areas of government
activity can bring major savings to taxpayers and better service
to clients. Any move to commercialization will respect our
government's commitment to maintaining Canada's high
standards in the transportation sector.
We cannot ask more of users than we ask of ourselves so I am
pleased to tell the House today that new management initiatives
at Transport Canada with respect to overhead costs will result in
annual savings of some $50 million. This will involve the
reduction in the number of positions in our department by about
1,000 over the next four to five years.
Overhead costs will be examined every year and in this
context Transport Canada managers are aware of my very
serious and deep concern about employees who may be affected
by such changes that they must be dealt with sensitively and
fairly in accordance with the government's workforce
Over the years Transport Canada has achieved significant
reductions in expenditures in the provision of facilities and
services. Overall the net result has been a reduction, for
example, in operation budgets from 1985-1986 to 1993-1994 of
During the same period the workforce was reduced by 2,400
person years or over 11 per cent. These reductions have been
achieved despite an increase in most aggregate workload
I have discussed some of the transportation issues that must
be examined in the context of our new budget. I believe the
components of the budget and the actions we are taking together
with the co-operation of users of transportation services
represent a balanced national program to meet Canada's needs.
Our government is fully committed to helping Canadians
build a stronger economy. We intend to move forward on
policies that will bring immediate gains in transportation
efficiencies and we will try to protect jobs but we have to
maintain transportation security and safety.
Canadians want to control their future and they are very
respectful of their past. I have said on many occasions that aside
from railroads and the nostalgia of the building of this great
country, as important as it might be, we now have to look at
the realities we face today. I will paraphrase the words of
Geoffrey Simpson in the introduction of his book ``Faultlines''.
He discussed the national railway as the national dream of the
I think for most Canadians, as we go through this process of
trying to find an equitable equilibrium between our resources
and those services we want to provide for Canadians, recognize
that there is a national dream at this stage in our nation's history.
It probably has to do with taking care of people in social
programs such as medicare.
Times have changed and we are going to have to reflect that.
At Transport Canada because of the tremendous contribution
that various sectors in the transportation industry have made to
the development of Canada I know it is very difficult for many to
accept these changes.
I believe that Canadians insist that their government have the
means to maintain vital programs, policies and services and that
we must have the flexibility to respond to priorities that we have
become all too much aware of.
A national, integrated and affordable transportation system is
not the new national dream. As we prepare for the 21st century a
national, integrated and affordable transportation system is a
Mr. Benoît Tremblay (Rosemont): I can say that after
listening to the Minister of Transport, there is one point on
which I agree: if our current railway network corresponds to the
national dream, that dream is pretty obsolete.
After listening to his speech, I concluded that the Minister of
Transport had become a subsidiary of Treasury Board, because
he told us basically that we had to cut costs and raise fares. I
expected some vision of the future.
He told us that if there was a merger between CN and CP, they
would examine it. But why does the minister not make a merger
mandatory and provide clear guidelines on maintaining
essential services, cutting costs and making railway services
Why is the minister waiting for CN and CP to come up with
proposals, when today we are told this will take at least another
year. Meanwhile, they will sell off assets. A lot of this property
is on railway lines, and major assets will be transferred to real
estate subsidiaries of these companies. These assets are now
worth a lot of money and were probably acquired for a song,
with government assistance.
There is another matter that is even more important for the
future of this country, and the Minister of Transport did not even
bother to mention it. The high-speed train project for the
Quebec City-Windsor corridor, a project for the future, a project
based on new technologies that will be able to meet both
transportation requirements of a billion dollar North American
market for new technologies, and would you believe, Mr.
Speaker, the Minister of Transport did not say a word about this
Could the Minister of Transport perhaps give us some idea of
what the prospects are for the future?
Mr. Young: Mr. Speaker, regarding the hon. member's
comments about the merger being discussed by officials of CN
and CP, we said that we will certainly consider the proposal that
might be made to the Government of Canada as CN's
Of course we are willing to look at all these possibilities.
Those who know Canada's railways even a little already know
that Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island do not have any
rail service. CP will abandon its lines in eastern Canada, east of
Sherbrooke, next January.
My hon. colleague was there when all these things were
decided by the previous government. For our part, we will
certainly listen to what the two railways have to suggest to us.
We are very aware of the need to find an efficient system that can
be maintained in Canada, but we insist that all elements of the
transportation sector must be combined in a system that is
efficient and that we can afford.
Line abandonments will certainly continue. The Canadian
taxpayer is certainly unable at the end of the 20th century to
support a system that was undoubtedly efficient 30 or 40 years
ago, but we are trying to phase it out as fairly and equitably as
possible, taking account of other alternatives.
As for the high-speed train, my hon. colleague no doubt
knows that the governments of Quebec, Ontario and Canada are
now conducting a multi-million-dollar study. This study is to be
completed in the spring and I hope that a report will be available
to us this summer. I believe that it would be very wrong of me to
say whether or not we should have a high-speed train system
before listening to our colleagues from Quebec and Ontario,
because we think that they have worked hard and deserve a
hearing when they come to us with a report.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to congratulate the minister on his speech. It was
certainly positive and we need to look forward to efficiency at a
reasonable cost today.
The minister is genuinely trying to go in that direction. It is
encouraging that the ideas coming out have not been shown in
decades. I congratulate the minister for that.
Airports, particularly small airports in this country, have cost
taxpayers millions of dollars. That is unfortunate but sometimes
often considered necessary because small airports have trouble
getting revenue from landing fees, expansion, and so on.
In my own community the Abbotsford airport, home of the
International Abbotsford Air Show, has been trying for several
years to have its own airport authority which would have seen
the result of fewer tax dollars in the federal government and
local taxing authority looking after the airport.
In many discussions we had in previous years with the
previous government it seemed that we got into the bureaucracy
and there ended what would be considered a fruitful discussion.
I wonder if the minister might enlighten us as to where these
small airports are going to go eventually. Is the minister open to
trying to get some of these communities that want their own
airport authorities to get them moved from the Department of
Mr. Young: Mr. Speaker, perhaps a small airport, yes. We are
all very familiar with the activity at Abbotsford with the big air
I reassure my friend that it is the intention of the government
to facilitate the devolution of operations for airports to
communities across the country. We will probably encourage
them very aggressively to do that.
I want to indicate that the operating budgets for smaller
airports generally speaking should be manageable. We do
recognize that the capital investment is not always possible. It is
very difficult to raise capital. It is very difficult to find sufficient
capital to be able to do the things that are required to maintain
the levels of service at airports.
We want to be very even handed about it. We have said that
with respect to Pearson and other large airports across the
country. We want to be consistent. It is our philosophy to look at
the wide range of options from government operated airports all
the way out to privatization.
I suspect that we will be recommending a form of local
authority with some degree of accountability. Where individuals
from the community who best know their needs manage those
airports in a form of relationship with the Government of
Canada that will respect the interest of the Canadian taxpayer,
we intend to do that very soon.
Mr. Philippe Paré (Louis-Hébert): Mr. Speaker, I listened
very carefully to the Minister of Transport who said that some
significant investments of the order of $470 million are
expected for airports, at least in the budget, if I understood
Also, I took note of the answer he gave to the hon. member for
Rosemont earlier in which he said that he could not commit to a
high-speed train project because a study was underway. I would
like to point out to the minister, before I ask him a question, that
all the studies on the expansion and upgrading of Jean Lesage
Airport are done. They have been shelved and we are only
waiting for the Minister of Transport to release the money
needed to go ahead.
I would like to remind the minister that, in the Summer of
1993, this facility was given the status of an international
airport. However, we are under the impression that this is only a
token status, since Jean Lesage Airport is in rather poor shape,
compared to other airports in Halifax, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.
It only has a third of the space these other facilities have.
Does the minister intend to do something in 1994 to expand
this international airport so it can meet current needs? There is
consensus among experts in the field on this issue.
Mr. Young: Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of the situation in
Ancienne-Lorette with respect to Aéroport Jean-Lesage,
Quebec City's airport. You are correct in saying that studies
have been carried out and proposals and specifications have
been drawn up. I am sorry to have to tell my hon. colleague that
we have not been able to do everything in four months. When we
started to review these files, plans had been under way for some
time already. Discussions had taken place and representations
had been made. I regret that the previous administration was
unable to complete the Quebec City airport project.
However, I want to assure the hon. member that we are
working on proposals based on what it would cost to carry out
the needed work at the Quebec City international airport. I hope
that I will have an answer for him fairly soon. However, while
we are on the subject of the budget, the figures that I quoted in
my speech are generally associated with the cost of airport
operations, rather than with airport construction costs. I hope
that a decision can be reached, and that the comments of my hon.
colleague will be taken into consideration.
Mr. Antoine Dubé (Lévis): Mr. Speaker, I welcome this
opportunity to comment on the Budget brought down by the
Minister of Finance on February 22.
As a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources
and as the Official Opposition critic for training and youth, I
think, Mr. Speaker, it is only appropriate that I should address
the social impact of the Budget and especially the impact on the
future of our youth.
I would like to start by discussing the proposed changes in the
unemployment insurance plan, because I think that is where the
Liberal government has been most remiss since it was elected.
But is unemployment not our most pressing problem?
In 1989, one million Canadians were unemployed. In 1993,
there were 1.6 million, an increase of 60 per cent. Unlike what
the Liberals said when they were in the opposition and during
the last election campaign, they are applying the same policies
as the Conservatives, in other words, they would rather attack
the unemployed than try to create jobs.
For instance, they decided to maintain the increases in
unemployment insurance premiums proposed earlier by the
Conservatives. Although yesterday during Question Period, the
Minister of Finance admitted this did not make sense, he will not
make any changes for another year, apparently hoping that the
social program reforms being discussed today will provide the
necessary funding to create 40,000 new jobs next year.
Why not do it this year? After all, the government had no
qualms about cancelling the helicopter contract and
backtracking on the privatization of Pearson airport. Freezing
unemployment insurance premiums last January would have
been easier than rolling them back a year from now.
Generally speaking, the changes in the unemployment
insurance program will mean that people will have to work
longer to be eligible for lower benefits received for a shorter
period of time.
A study by professors at the department of economics of the
University of Québec in Montreal shows that more than half of
the cutbacks announced in the latest federal budget will be at the
expense of Canada's unemployed.
By introducing different benefit levels, the government is
dividing the unemployed into two categories: low income
unemployed people with dependants and the others. To justify
its decision, the government cites a supposed notion of equity,
when instead it is a breach of the universality principle which
has been the cornerstone of our social programs since the
beginning. It amounts to discrimination based on family status.
For example, what will happen to equity when both spouses
are unemployed? Which one will be entitled to higher benefits?
Time does not allow me to give more examples, but there are a
lot more. With more diversified eligibility standards, it will
become increasingly necessary to monitor claims. After the
boubous macoutes we have seen in Quebec, are we going to have
Martin macoutes and Axworthy macoutes?
Another one of the perverse effects of UI reform is the fact
that it passes the buck to the provinces. By reducing the duration
of benefits and delaying eligibility, in a time of high
unemployment, this reform will push more people onto welfare,
which will mean more expenses for the provinces and a loss of
dignity for individuals.
Furthermore, a greater number of persons who want to
participate in various training programs will be disqualified
because, as you know, most of the federal training programs are
now intended for UI recipients.
On the other hand, if the benefit period is shortened,
unemployment insurance reform will lead some people to accept
insecure, often low-paying jobs bearing no relationship
whatsoever with their skills. By forcing them to accept
low-paying jobs just to survive, we are preventing these people
from seeking more appropriate employment.
Is that this government's new philosophy on human resource
development? Being unemployed often pushes people into
insecure, precarious jobs. The proposed reform affects honest
workers who are actively looking for work and who have a hard
time finding a permanent job because of the present economic
Several studies have shown that more than 90 per cent of the
unemployed have lost their jobs through no fault of their own or
are looking for their first job. Most of them have no control over
the duration of that job. The problem is not that the unemployed
do not want to work, but rather that there is not enough work for
I also want to mention some statistics regarding our young
people, such as the fact that 17.5 per cent of young Canadians
and 20 per cent of young Quebecers are currently unemployed,
for a total of more than 600,000 individuals. In Canada as well
as in Quebec, the drop-out rate in high schools is around 30 per
cent. According to a report published by the Conseil permanent
de la jeunesse du Québec, close to 40 per cent of young
Quebecers live in poverty. Across the country, there are two
million young people under 30 who live below the poverty level.
Yet, in its budget, the federal government offers nothing
really new to young people. The Youth Service Corps, which
was widely publicized in the red book, seems to be the only
government initiative for our young. Some meetings took place
in December and in January, but a report has yet to be released.
According to the most recent information, that is according to
copies which were circulated when those consultations took
place, the Youth Service Corps would only include 2,500 young
people the first year, 5,000 the second year, and 10,000 after
three years. Is that an adequate measure, considering that there
are 600,000 young unemployed in Canada? We do not think so.
Moreover, it seems that young people participating in this
program would only receive $61 a week if they still live at
home, and $121 otherwise. Ask yourself this question: Would
you accept such an arrangement for your own children who are
old enough to work?
To make things even worse, the Youth Service Corps seems,
for the time being, more geared to occupational activities, with
no direct link to the labour market, as was the case with the
Katimavik project abolished by the Conservatives in 1986.
So far, all the organizations dedicated to helping young
people which have been heard by the Standing Committee on
Human Resources Development have said that when young
people leave school they need practical and relevant experience
to find real jobs. The federal government would be well advised
to increase its financial support to existing organizations instead
of creating another structure such as the Youth Service Corps.
Since I sit on the Standing Committee on Human Resources
Development, I would like to conclude by relating what I have
heard over the last few weeks from various groups and
individuals during our public hearings on social programs
reform. What has struck me so far is that the majority do not
seem to be in favour of a reduction of resources, quite the
contrary. Other trends are also evident. There is fairly
widespread support for a major decentralization of the
management of social programs and for greater involvement of
Also, it is increasingly obvious in this consultation that there
are two social realities in Canada and two expectations with
respect to the federal government.
Some groups in English Canada want a greater federal
presence in social security and even more national standards; on
the other hand, Quebec groups and organizations in general have
a completely different vision. They turn more to the
Government of Quebec. But the most significant trend with all
groups is deep concern about employment. Obviously, we must
bring together all available resources and target all our efforts to
increasing the number of jobs.
Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast): Mr. Speaker, I have a
question for the hon. member.
The Official Opposition talks about reducing the deficit but
continues to seek increases in federal transfer payments. The
Official Opposition talks about deficit reduction by cutting
government administration, yet federal transfer payments and
social programs amount to 60 per cent or 70 per cent of the
budget. The books cannot be balanced without cutting federal
transfer payments to the provinces.
When will the member realize that his plan falls considerably
short of doing any such thing as reducing the deficit when he
insists on having lucrative social programs supported by the
Mr. Dubé: Mr. Speaker, my answer might sound, to the hon.
member's ears, like a repetition of what has already been said,
but I believe that, at times, repetition is a good thing.
First, as far as job training is concerned, it is clearly
established-and nobody denied the validity of the
figures-that the elimination of all duplications would produce
savings of $250 million in Quebec alone, which extrapolated for
the whole country would mean a billion dollar saving. This is a
The Bloc Quebecois never concealed the fact that it wanted
cuts in military spending, but we were talking about
administrative costs. In that sense we agree with several
comments of your party. However, there is another question to
consider, and that is unemployment among young people.
Allowing young people with a university or college degree, and
very often a heavy debt load, to be without a job paying decent
wages, is denying the government revenues in the future,
revenues that could help finance its spending program. More
unemployed young people means more spending and less
revenues. It is very important that we reflect on this and that we
do it rather quickly.
Being unemployed is always traumatic, but for young people,
studies have shown that failure to find employment related to
the acquired knowledge or skills within two years can lead-and
this is a widespread conclusion-to total despondency and
erratic behaviour. This in turn could create serious social
problems and significant expenses. So, we can expect more
spending in the future and, primarily, people who will be unable
to contribute to deficit reduction.
Mr. Jean-Guy Chrétien (Frontenac): Mr. Speaker, in
response to the Minister of Finance's budget statement, I would
like to make a three-pronged retrospective. First of all, I would
like to talk about the last election campaign, about the purgatory
of the federal Liberal Party, the nine years it spent on this side of
the House, and also about the nine years the Conservative Party
was in office.
During the last election campaign, the party in office, under
its leader, created a lot of hope among the people. Quebecers, as
well as Canadians, were given the usual package of election
promises and slogans which they sincerely believed in for a
Today, we have a rude awakening. We suddenly realize that
we did not have just a bad dream, but that, once again, reality is
striking us savagely in the face. The change of direction that
Liberals were proposing is quickly becoming totally meaning-
less, and people are stuck with this monotonous, Conservative
continuity, void of all rigour and fairness.
This government, opposite, promised without any restraint a
major job renewal to the people, and here I quote a part of what it
was promising: ``We will, once and for all, put the people of this
country back to work''. What a lie!
Quebecers and Canadians fell into a trap. That party that now
forms the government is far from the innovation that it was
promising in the red book, and I quote again: ``When we form
the government, we will innovate, we will look at our problems
in a new light. We will not go for the usual recipes''. Again, what
National Defence, public service, unemployment insurance:
the same targets, the same cutbacks as those of the previous
governments, whether Conservative or Liberal.
On top of that, this government has misled the average
workers, the senior citizens and those in need by emphasizing
interesting future opportunities through a rewarding job or
through social programs which would be humane and sensible.
It is quite obvious that the people of the county of Frontenac
as well as those from the other counties in this country, once
their votes were assured, were ignored, scorned by this
government, which is quite clearly demonstrated in this budget.
As a popular song written by the great Quebecer Felix Leclerc
says: ``The day before the election, he calls him son, but the day
after, as one might expect, he has forgotten his name''.
The average taxpayers from the county of Frontenac and
elsewhere were deceived and they are the ones who will have to
pay the tab. The Minister of Finance predicts a revenue increase
of 15 per cent for 1995-96.
This increase will have to be made possible through
additional taxes imposed on the middle class taxpayers, because
of the 10 million taxpayers, almost 85 per cent declare an
income which is less than $30,000. So it is an unfair and
Older people as well are getting a taste of the same medecine
since they are progressively losing their tax credit while
dividends on shares and family trusts are still exempt from tax.
It is the very taxation system which is scorned by this
How am I going to explain to the unemployed in the riding of
Frontenac-whether it be in Thetford Mines, East Broughton,
Sainte-Méthode, Coleraine or Plessisville, that this liberal
government has no plan whatsoever to create jobs and has not
considered any-I repeat, has not considered any-long term
job creation measures?
How am I going to explain to the people of the riding of
Frontenac that this budget does not contain any measures to
stimulate economic growth or any measures regarding job
creation, in view of the fact that this governement has been
elected on a platform that proclaimed loudly and clearly its
strong commitment to the creation of good jobs to restore
dignity and hope?
Yet, Canadians, in particular Quebecers, have two clear and
well defined objectives. First, they want a gouvernment that
creates jobs and at the same time a government that has a broad
plan towards employment. Second, they want the governement
to be more responsible in its management of taxpayers money,
especially in these times of recession.
How am I to explain to the unemployed in the riding of
Frontenac that from now on, the period during which they will
be allowed to receive unemployment benefits will be shorter,
that their benefits will be 2 p. 100 less and that they will have to
work longer in order to qualify for unemployment benefits, so as
to help reduce the deficit? How do I explain to unemployed
workers that they must tighten their belts while the member for
Hull-Aylmer, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs,
spends more than $150,000 in travel costs to give a brief
speech-listen to this-on the benefits of sound management?
How do I explain to them that the Minister of Finance spent
$800,000, or nearly $1 million, on public consultations? How do
I explain to the president of the seniors club of Saint-Alphonse
parish in Thetford Mines that 800,000 people age 65 and over
will see their age credit reduced or quite simply eliminated,
depending on their income, while at the same time, the Governor
General hosts a costly reception to mark the opening of the 35th
My constituents no longer trust the old-style federal
politicians who often treat them with cynicism and indifference.
The Minister of Finance saw this for himself during the last
election campaign during a swing through Thetford Mines. At
the Balmoral, barely 30 people showed up to greet him at a $30 a
plate evening fund-raiser. Not 3,000 people, but barely 30
The budget is unfair in that it spares the wealthy, who are
often friends of the government, contribute to the election
coffers and enjoy a strong, well-organized and effective lobby
to influence the policies of the Minister of Finance.
With his half-laced Kodiac work boots, our Minister of
Finance was not a bit like our asbestos miners. He bore no
resemblance whatsoever to a good, hard-working individual. It
was a disgraceful spectacle, one that only seasoned actors can
get away with. Only, the spectators certainly did not enjoy being
the butt of this joke.
The clever tricks employed by the Minister of Finance during
the pre-budget period did not escape the public eye. No one was
fooled by the old trick of setting people up well in advance to
expect the worst in order to get them to swallow a very bitter
However, and this concludes my remarks, the medicine has
had the desired effect. My constituents are bitterly disappointed
and sick at heart. They feel betrayed and victimized because
they have been repeatedly targeted. As environment critic, I
must comment briefly on this department's budget.
The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments period. I am
willing to recognize the hon. member for Rosemont, but he
should stand in his place. I can wait for him to go back.
Mr. Benoît Tremblay (Rosemont): I appreciate your great
kindness, Mr. Speaker. If I may, I would like to ask my hon.
friend from Frontenac, who is the Bloc Quebecois critic for the
environment, to tell us what this budget means for the
Mr. Chrétien (Frontenac): I would like to thank the hon.
member for Rosemont. It is a very pertinent question, because,
as you very well know, Mr. Speaker, in 1994, the economy and
the environment go hand in hand. Moreover, it was a very
important part of the red book. Since the member for Rosemont
is also a well-informed environmentalist, he is interested in the
environment and I want to take the opportunity to denounce
what the budget does on environmental issues.
The Department of the Environment is one of the few to have
its budget increased-you will see later why I mention this. Of
course, we must be grateful for a 4.1 per cent increase, but some
measures are not so good. Listen to this: the budget for Phase II
of the St. Lawrence Action Plan will increase by $18.4 million.
Of course, I am pleased with this initiative that will implement
Phase II of the project. This increase shows that this program is
giving excellent results. So why has the agreement for this
second phase, which was to be signed with the Government of
Quebec in December, still not been signed, and even worse, has
$18.4 million been added to this part?
It would also seem that 40 per cent of the pollution in the St.
Lawrence River comes from the Great Lakes. From the latest
report of the International Joint Commission which was
presented to us less than three weeks ago, we know that
pollution in the Great Lakes affects human health. Despite that,
the Liberal government opposite is cutting $5 million from the
budget to clean up the Great Lakes, and we know that 40 per cent
of the pollution in the St. Lawrence River comes from the Great
An hon. member: Something is not working!
Mr. Chrétien (Frontenac): Yes, something is not working.
So on the one hand, the budget to clean up the river is being
increased and, on the other, the budget for cleaning up the more
polluted body of water, the Great Lakes, is reduced. It makes one
wonder what has become of the coherent approach to sustainable
development, Mr. Speaker.
I conclude with that and I thank all hon. members for listening
to me so kindly.
The Deputy Speaker: Order! Pursuant to Standing Order 38,
it is my duty to inform the House that the question to be raised
tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon.
member for Bourassa-Immigration.
Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me as the
member of Parliament for York West to participate in the debate
on the government's budget.
Budgets are about many things. Budgets are about ledgers. As
the government and specifically the Minister of Finance
approached the budget essentially two ledgers were imposed on
him, on the government and indeed on Parliament.
On the one side of the ledger was a population of Canadians
who were looking to the government and to Parliament to try to
control spending and to try to bring the deficit and the debt into
line. On the other side of the ledger were those who expressed
themselves through the recent election campaign and essentially
demanded some economic renewal, some economic hope, a
strategy and a plan to put Canadians back to work.
Those in essence were the two ledgers with which the
Minister of Finance and Parliament has had to come to grips in
the budget. I would suggest we will have to come to grips with
the two ledgers for the duration of Parliament and this mandate.
They are not two easy ledgers. Both are very real. Both are very
worthy. At the same time both are priorities as articulated by
We have talked about the budget cuts. We have talked about
the $8 billion in cuts. We have talked about the base closings.
There is a base right next door to my riding that was closed.
Those decisions are not taken easily. Those jobs that have to be
transferred from the bases to other sectors of our economy are
not easy. In fact that was debated moments ago during the
question and comment period. Yet I believe Canadians are
Budgets have to go beyond ledgers. Budgets have to go
beyond simple figures and numbers that obviously make up the
bottom line. Budgets are also about a document that should
provide and inspire a sense of hope and a sense among the
population that budget and fiscal commitments have been
honoured and kept.
I would like to spend the few minutes available to me talking
about the ledger, about jobs and about keeping economic hope
alive. Individuals in the House have suggested much more
Draconian cuts to try to bring the deficit and the debt under
control. They have a cost; they certainly do not come free of
charge. In fact the ultimate aim of the budget was to try to
balance the two ledgers.
During the recent election campaign I heard that the ledger on
the side of jobs and economic growth was not only important to
the future aspirations of Canadians looking for work but as a
long term answer to the other ledger, trying to come to grips with
the debt and deficit. Particularly as a member coming from the
region of metropolitan Toronto I am sensitive to the kind of
commitment Canadians gave to the government which had the
ability to convince them that it was in a position to offer
I come from a city that is not and should not be seen as the fat
cat city of Confederation. Yes, there is the city on the shining
hill. That is certainly a side of metropolitan Toronto and we are
very proud of it. However there is another city in metropolitan
Toronto. There is a chronic underbelly that speaks to a sense of
despair over the last number of years. We have been through a
very brutal economic recession that has also touched
Sometimes we thought that Toronto would have been
sheltered, given that Toronto and Ontario are seen as the
economic engine in terms of the manufacturing heartland of the
country. Sometimes we felt Toronto would be sheltered from the
ravages of a national recession.
Obviously the reality is there for everyone to see. There are
record line-ups at food banks and record welfare rolls.
Canadians who for the first time in their lives found themselves
on the unemployment line were embarrassed to come to see me
during my Saturday constituency days. They were actually
embarrassed to ask me how to fill out a claim for unemployment
insurance or to ask me to help them find a job that would give
them back dignity.
I am familiar with that side of the ledger. In the last number of
years metropolitan Toronto and other parts of Canada have not
had an easy time of it. As a government we have lived and seen
reality. We have campaigned largely on the question of how to
put the economy back on track and to focus on job creation and
economic growth. That bottom line dictated the outcome of the
There were many more issues than just that one, but the
national overriding concern was who had the answer, who was
able to capture the imagination and create economic growth and
economic hope. I would submit the budget that was presented
kept faith with that side of the ledger. It kept faith on what we
talked about with respect to small businesses. The budget also
kept faith on a number of areas we have talked about in the
throne speech and during the campaign.
I remember when I was sitting on the other side of the House
in the last Parliament. I moved, for instance, an opposition day
motion respecting the credit crunch faced by small businesses
because, like many members of Parliament in this House and in
the last Parliament, we ran into countless numbers of small
business and medium size business owners who simply could
not get the time of day from lending institutions.
Many individuals who had been good corporate citizens of
lending institutions, who had good ideas and good projects, who
had track records in their communities, who in the end wanted a
lifeline not only to be able to expand their businesses and realize
those ideas and dreams but to see their way through the
economic drought, were simply turned down.
I believe there needs to be a shift in the banking culture in the
country. In the red book and in the campaign we talked about
moving and encouraging our lending institutions to be better
equipped and better structured to meet the realities of the small
The Minister of Finance followed through on that in the
budget by establishing a task force of small business leaders and
with the leadership of lending institutions to come to grips with
the credit crunch. I believe that crunch is a reality. We are not
trying to suggest that the blame should be cast on the our lending
institutions; far from it. However, they have a key role in the
economic equation of our country. They have to go the extra
mile to put on solid footing the network of one million small
Why is it that banks, parliamentarians, economics professors
and economists tell us freely that 80 per cent or 85 per cent of
job growth and job creation comes from small and medium size
firms? Why is it that 25 per cent of the overall business loan
portfolios of our big five or big six banks, if we include the
National Bank of Canada, are loans to small and medium size
firms? This means that 75 per cent of business loans go to the
large multinational corporations of the country. Why is that?
Why is it so out of whack that 85 per cent of job growth comes
from small businesses, yet only 25 per cent of business loans or
thereabouts, according to the Canadian Banking Association, go
to small business?
I am not suggesting that we have to tell the banks who to
support. I am not saying that the banks should not be beholden to
their shareholders. I am not suggesting that the banks should not
worry about their credit worthiness.
I am suggesting that if politicians and Parliament have to
change the way they do business and if the world is changing
at a rapid pace, just maybe the banks have to revisit how they
Sometimes it is easy to understand why a lending institution
would rather make 10 loans of $10 million each rather than 200
loans of $200,000 each. Obviously there is a greater investment
of time and labour. Obviously the big corporations might have
the business plans all fit and proper with professional
accountants, as opposed to spending time with small and
medium sized entrepreneurs. If job growth is to come from the
small and medium sized sector there is an onus on the banking
fraternity that gets its licence exclusively from Parliament,
through an act of Parliament, to work with us and with the small
and medium sized businesses in better partnership to try to
resolve the credit gridlock.
If we were to do so, we could imagine the one million plus
small industries across the country and the kind of job creation
that would accrue through that partnership. Therefore I am
excited by a task force that tries to create that partnership. I am
excited when the Imperial Bank of Commerce appoints a small
and medium sized business ombudsman, a senior corporate
vice-president to redress and look at the complaints with respect
to lending applications of small and medium sized firms.
Some may say it is a small step, but it is an important
recognition on the road to trying to change the way the lending
fraternity does business with small and medium sized firms.
Therefore I believe the budget has kept faith with the small
business sector. In addition to the other issues enunciated by the
Minister of Finance including the premium rollback on UI, a net
creator of some 40,000 jobs with the millions of dollars that will
be saved through that program initiative, the budget keeps faith
with the infrastructure program. Some will say it is not a good
program. Some will say it is a wasted program that talks about
tinkering with construction.
During the election campaign the former Prime Minister
almost ridiculed the kinds of benefits that would accrue in
construction, trades and home industries across the country, as if
construction workers, trades people and the infrastructure of our
cities and towns were not important enough.
We should talk with the mayors of the municipalities. Many
individuals in the House were municipal politicians. I started
there. I only served two years, but I speak from experience about
the numbers of projects that would otherwise dwindle on the
shelves, that would never see the light of day because there was
no partnership with senior levels of government. For instance, I
served on the city of North York council. Given that it only gets
dollars from the local property tax base, it was not in a position
to fund many of those projects; it was not in a position to fund
100 cents on the dollar.
Now we have a partnership, one program. We are not saying
that is the nirvana of the economic miracle. We are saying it is
one program. Nonetheless it now offers the city of North York,
as it does cities across the country, the opportunity to fund some
of those projects and kick in 33 cents on the dollar. Yet, as we
contemplate that, it would be doing two things. First, it would be
upgrading their facilities, their infrastructure as a city or as a
town. Upgrading our facilities is paramount to trying to upgrade
our competitiveness. That is a variable in the competitive
equation, whether members like it or not.
Second, it would create and stimulate jobs in a key economic
sector of our country. I was in Windsor last week and,
automotively speaking, people in Windsor were very happy that
the big three would be moving positively and aggressively in the
coming months and years. The prognosis is very healthy for a
kind of recovery in the automotive industry. That is a key
So is construction in the trades and in the home industry.
Certainly in my home town of metropolitan Toronto where that
part of the economic pie has been dead as a door nail for far too
long they see this as an economic hope or a partnership that
stretches out an olive branch.
When we look at the creation of 50,000 to 60,000 direct jobs
across the country, we are putting people back to work. We are
stimulating the local economy because there are spinoffs and
indirect jobs that flow from those direct job impacts.
We are upgrading our cities and towns, our communities, our
neighbourhoods. Which country can afford not to upgrade its
cities and municipalities? We do it as a family, we do it in our
homes, and as each of us does it our neighbourhoods go up.
Look at the city of Montreal. I believe that Montreal, with all
due respect, is a classic example of how the lack of upgrading of
its infrastructure has reduced the ability of Montreal to be able
to compete aggressively. In a city like Montreal, which I visit
from time to time because my wife's family is from there, you
can see over a number of years that the inability or the avoidance
of keeping those infrastructures upgraded has had an impact in
the overall economic life of that urban centre.
Third, this budget has kept its faith with training. We also
know that we have to do a better job about how we go about
training and educating our workforce. We often have pointed out
by constituents and colleagues alike some of the European
models. Germany is often put on the table very quickly. We are
told that we need to do a better job of equipping individuals, our
youngsters as well as those who are displaced from one
economic sector and have to face a future of shifting their
education or their training.
Our budget has committed itself over the next couple of years
to investing almost a billion dollars in the area of training. It
creates youth internship and apprenticeship programs in
partnership with the private sector, not at the exclusion of some
big government program, but together with the private
industries of this country. Only in that partnership will those
training programs be the success that we all hope they will be.
It keeps its commitment to trying to equip our country and our
peoples with the right tools. That too is upgrading our national
infrastructure. As we give our Canadian people the skills and the
equipment needed, we are also upgrading the skills and the
talents of our country.
It also keeps its faith with the youngsters through its youth
corps. Again one program, but we heard countless times over the
course of the campaign and certainly after it about the
consternation that parents have about the future for their
children. Here is one project, just one, and we are not suggesting
that it is the cure-all, that once it is up and running will take
approximately 15,000 young Canadians per year and have them
do a job in a community outside their own so that they get to see
what this country is all about. It will also give them that first all
important experience so that they can hopefully get on the march
toward establishing themselves in their careers.
You mentioned, Mr. Speaker, that my time has just about run
out. I suppose I should have timed my remarks because I had
wanted to say a few other things in terms of the innovation, the
new economy and the job and entrepreneurial skills that
immigrants, for whom I have the honour of being the minister,
bring to this country.
I look forward to concluding my remarks at another time and
answering any questions if there are any.
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands): Mr. Speaker, the
minister said a number of things in reference to the budget
which I would like to address. I know that you are going to limit
my time in making those remarks so I will limit myself to two
The first point is the deficit. The minister mentioned that
cutting the deficit would impose costs on the population of
Canada. Unquestionably that is true. He also implied that more
severe cuts than the present government has made would really
impose undue hardships.
Has the minister considered the other cost, the cost of not
having taken sufficient measures to cut the deficit? This
government has admitted that over the next three years $100
billion will be added to our deficit. Even at a nominal rate of
interest of 8 per cent that means that the interest on that
additional money will be $8 billion. There is no question that
has to come from the taxpayers of Canada. I suspect that it will
entail extra taxes.
The minister also mentioned small business and the
reluctance of banking institutions to loan them money so they
can improve their business. I agree with that, but we too did a
survey of small business during the election campaign and prior
to it. What they kept telling us was that the best thing that
government could do for small business was to reduce taxes and
reduce the bureaucracy: ``Get out of my pockets and get off my
back''. They said that if the government does that they can make
a prosperous business work. It will get the economy going,
people will have more money, they will spend it more and our
businesses will flourish.
Has the minister considered the effects that this minimal
intrusion into the deficit is going to have downstream because
we will now be $600 billion in debt? We are going to have to
borrow that money because even then, if we achieve the 3 per
cent of the GDP which the government aspires to, we are still
going to be borrowing $25 billion in that final year.
Has the minister considered whether this is really the best way
Mr. Marchi: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his two
questions on the aspect that small business requests less
government and less taxes.
I think those were the very words the Minister of Finance
spoke about when he announced his budget in reference to small
businesses. The payroll deduction, the question of trying to have
less red tape and less bureaucracy for small businesses and a
consistency in trying to allow them to grow with some kind of
predictability are the very elements that underline the elements
in the budget with respect to small business.
I believe we are both on the same wave length in terms of the
budget as it treats small businesses.
With respect to the deficit and the debt, obviously he and I are
agreeing to disagree. His party certainly came at the national
campaign and since then with the feeling that we should have
moved further. There have been a number of commentators in
the country who have suggested that we cut too much and others
who have said that we have done too little. Perhaps once one gets
commentaries on both sides there is an indication that one has
probably done the right thing at the right time.
We come to this Parliament with our first budget after nine
years of a Tory administration that made it its focal point to be a
government that was going to reduce debt and deficit. We
certainly know something untoward and something very
different about that. We believe that the commitments we made
in our red book with respect to the 3 per cent that the member
alluded to is the correct approach.
This budget starts us down that road. We believe that allowing
the economy to grow, providing some job creation and some
confidence in the marketplace is certainly an impact that should
not be underestimated in order for us to address the other ledger.
It is also a question about balance. I think the budget that my
colleague, the Minister of Finance, presented spoke to the
balance between the two ledger sheets that are both, not one but
both, on the mind of Canadians. Both are priorities.
I think we can only do justice to both if we try to balance both
a responsible reduction in our costs of government and doing
government which we did and at the same time try to ensure that
the economy will certainly produce as Canadians would want it
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to try once again-I have tried this several times-to
go through this funding for the infrastructure program.
The infrastructure program is supposed to spend $6 billion, $2
billion from municipal sources, $2 billion provincial and $2
billion federal. At the end of the day through this exercise we
have spent $6 billion.
The minister has indicated that the municipalities were in
favour of this. Having talked to a mayor of a municipality his
feeling was that ``my public works program is going to continue
as it always did''. The difference here is that the residential
taxpayer will only see one-third of the usual cost because the
provincial and the federal governments are going to share.
No wonder the municipal politicians are in favour of it. We
are going to carry a fair bit of burden at the federal and
provincial levels. Nevertheless it is the same taxpayer who pays
regardless of which level provides the funding.
My question I suppose is going to be obvious. What can the
minister tell us that we have at the end of two years other than
spending $6 billion and employing 60,000 people, I believe the
number of their book was, over two years? What is left after the
two years besides $6 billion in expenditures, some kind of
capital structure and maybe a very few people employed to
maintain the structure? What is left for employment, besides a
very large bill to pay?
Mr. Marchi: Mr. Speaker, the member points out one
particular mayor in one particular municipality. He should know
that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities was a big
supporter and initiator of this program. In fact some of them
have suggested that we should have gone even further.
I do not hear too many municipalities disputing this program.
We do not hear too many provincial governments disputing this
program. I think the member puts a very negative spin on what
can come out of an infrastructure program.
Yes, there are jobs and that is important. I tried to allude to the
fact that this is but one program. We are not suggesting that the
economic recovery of Canada is simply and solely on the back of
this infrastructure program. We are saying that it is a very
important cog in the economic wheel.
Second, it will upgrade our infrastructures. Whether the
member likes it or not those infrastructures must be upgraded in
order for our cities and towns to be competitive.
Third, there are going to be infrastructures that are also going
to attract further business and further investment. There are
proposals being submitted to the city of Toronto that if in fact
realized will attract additional tourism, additional dollars in the
marketplace. It is not only a question of simply upgrading
sidewalks or bridges. Those are also important. We are also
trying to realize innovative and creative structures that are
needed and are going unaddressed in terms of trying to capture a
greater market share of that tourist dollar or of those convention
goers or of trying to provide some additional lifeline into some
of those municipalities.
I do not think we should be inhibited by the lack of creativity
that the member brings to the infrastructure program. It is an
important sector of our economy. I think if we get that sector
going, together with the automotive sector and the other sectors
of our economy in terms of the home building and the programs
that we have in terms of home ownership, the cumulative effect
and the cumulative impact of those different programs kicking
in will make our economy more vibrant and psychologically lift
the spirits of Canadians. Quite frankly we have been living
through an economic depression and a psychological
I think if people get the confidence that things are moving, the
confidence factor in an economic equation is absolutely vital for
that equation to be alive and well.
Mr. Cliff Breitkreuz (Yellowhead): Mr. Speaker, before the
House recessed almost two weeks ago my colleague from
Nanaimo-Cowichan spoke about the Official Languages Act
and reasons for cutting costs of implementing its policy.
I will be speaking on how the Official Languages Act ought to
be changed so that it is fair and just for all Canadians.
The year 1994 is the 25th anniversary of the Official
Languages Act. This law, enacted by the Trudeau government in
1969 and later revised by the Mulroney administration in 1988,
was intended to bring unity to the country, to end the unjust
treatment of French speaking Canadians and to help defuse
We learn from authors as respectable as Quebec's
distinguished Christian Dufour that: ``Some forget that it was
bilingualism that made this country, that it cannot ensure its
survival and that it could even lead to its destruction''.
Those of us who have lived and worked most of our lives far
away from the centre of power in Ottawa may have agreed with
the original intention of official bilingualism. It was described
eloquently in the 1968 throne speech of the first Trudeau
government as exemplifying the essential connection between
justice and national unity.
We also wonder whether the Official Languages Act has
actually brought justice to the area of official languages. If the
law is as badly flawed as we believe it to be, and therefore
unjust, where does that leave Canada's unity?
It is my contention that language policy cannot and will not
achieve the justice and fairness that is its stated goal until it is
I would like to draw the attention of colleagues to just one
aspect of official bilingualism in order to show how badly
flawed the present policy is and also to show how a careful and
thoughtful revision of the policy could do much to reunite the
country by removing an institutional irritant which sets
anglophones against francophones and provincial majorities
against their minority populations.
As it is presently written, the Official Languages Act requires
the federal government to provide services in English in those
parts of Quebec and in French in those parts of the other nine
provinces wherever there is sufficient demand.
However, the act fails to define the concept of sufficient
demand. Instead of providing a clear and easily understood
definition, the act states that sufficient demand will mean
whatever the federal cabinet decides it ought to mean.
The law recommends that the size of official language
minorities be taken into account but so may, and this is from
section 32 of the act, any other factors which the governor in
council considers appropriate.
What this provision of the law means is that when the Official
Languages Act was passed this House never debated-it never
had the chance-the level or the extent of minority language
service that seemed most appropriate. The provision of minority
language services is the most politically sensitive aspect of the
act and yet it was determined in virtual secrecy by order in
When highly contentious issues are developed in secret rather
than in open debate in the people's house, the House of
Commons, the resulting information vacuum opens the way to
rumour and innuendo. Conspiracy theories come to be taken
This in turn has the potential to breed suspicion, resentment,
prejudice and ultimately hatred along linguistic lines. For this
reason, section 32 of the Official Languages Act needs to be
rewritten to remove the arbitrary authority of the governor in
In its place there should be a clear, easily understood
definition of the criteria that would cause a region of the country
to be declared a bilingual district. This definition could be
debated openly so that the resulting formula would be a just and
moderate compromise between the rightful aspirations of
Canada's linguistic minorities and the rightful concerns of our
What I am proposing is hardly a new idea. It was first
recommended nearly 30 years ago by the Royal Commission on
Bilingualism and Biculturalism. Before this the concept of
openly defined bilingual districts, also known as territorial
bilingualism, had existed in the laws of Finland for several
In that country, the system has produced a sense of national
unity between the Finnish speaking majority and the Swedish
speaking minority that is enviable by Canadian standards.
Obviously it is not possible at this time to state categorically
what definition my hon. colleagues might give to sufficient
demand if they had the chance to review the concept in open
However, I do feel confident that they would not choose to
make it as loose as the definition that the federal cabinet chose
to impose by order in council on January 1, 1992. This definition
is so lopsided that it mandates services in English in Barkmere,
Quebec, which has an anglophone population of 20, and in
French on Baffin Island where 10 government departments and
agencies, including the RCMP, the CBC and the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans, must provide bilingual services for the
benefit of 220 francophones.
My guess is that my colleagues would stop the charade in
which Toronto was designated bilingual for the purposes of
federal services despite the fact that French is only the 11th most
widely spoken language after such languages as Chinese, Italian
Nor do I think they would continue to let English services be
imposed in east Montreal where they are an affront to the
homogeneous francophone population that nonetheless feels
that its linguistic heritage is gravely in peril.
I believe that my colleagues would adopt a definition of
sufficient demand very similar to the one advocated by the
Canadian Federation of Municipalities which maintains that
services should be offered in an individual town, city or rural
district only when the linguistic minority meets two statistical
The minority must be above a certain percentage of the local
population and it must also be above a certain total number. The
federation uses 5,000 as the minimum and absolute number and
10 per cent as the lowest acceptable percentage.
With these two criteria set, sufficient demand would include
the vast majority of French speakers living outside Quebec and
most English speakers inside Quebec but it would not be nearly
as much of an intrusion as the present secretive definition.
In short, both minority rights and majority rights would be
acknowledged. Canadians would be one step closer to true
linguistic justice and, by extension, one step closer to a genuine,
lasting national unity.
In closing, I draw the attention of my colleagues to another
important anniversary. The year 1994 is not only the 25th
anniversary of the Official Languages Act, it is also the 50th
anniversary of D-Day. Half a century has passed since our
fathers shed their blood on the sands of Normandy so that we
could live in a country characterized by free and open
Let us take this opportunity to honour their memory by
amending the act to remove its secretive, arbitrary aspects. Then
perhaps we may consider ourselves worthy of the legacy of
freedom that they bequeathed to us.
Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton): Mr. Speaker, let me tell
the House what official bilingualism has done for Canadians. I
am unilingual and my options were not great. The opportunities
were not great.
My children are bilingual. Language is more than just a means
of communication, it is another way of thinking. I would like to
remind the hon. member that bilingualism is not the cause of
polarization and division in this country today. It is ignorance
and intolerance, not the 200 and some odd members mentioned
who are being provided with bilingual services. That is not what
is causing the divisions in our country today. It is intolerance.
Mr. Breitkreuz (Yellowhead): Mr. Speaker, I am unilingual
like my hon. colleague. My children as well took French in
public school. Certainly the more languages one can speak the
more rounded an individual one is. At the same time, when
official bilingualism was instituted in this country we did not
have two full blown separatist movements in this country. We
had them after official bilingualism was instituted.
I believe that the Official Languages Act has gone a long way
to bring this country to the state it is in. All we have to do is look
across the way to see our 54 hon. members from Quebec.
Mrs. Pierrette Ringuette-Maltais
(Madawaska-Victoria): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my
English-speaking colleague from Ontario for her comments.
But first, I would like to make a correction.
In the Official Languages Act the wording is not ``where
sufficient demand''. The wording is ``where numbers warrant''.
I would also like to point out to my colleague that a few years
ago I was in Calgary and I was invited to be part of a festivity
commemorating St. Jean Baptiste. That francophone
community in Calgary, the home province of the member for
Yellowhead, was so vibrant with life, happy to be together,
happy to have cousins from elsewhere in Canada at its festivity.
It was happy also to invite other Albertans to its festivity to be
part of the culture.
In French, we say ``enlever les oeillères'' to take off one's
blinkers or ``regarder plus loin que le nez'', not to see the end of
one's nose. When the hon. member says the Official Languages
Act was never debated in this House, he should go back and
reread the newspapers. Besides, when the Constitution was
patriated in 1982, a nation-wide debate went on for months, not
only in this House, but all over the country. Canadians from
coast to coast reaffirmed their commitment to bilingualism.
I would also tell the hon. member that my father-in-law, Mr.
Maltais, a French-speaking New Brunswicker, was in Holland
on D-Day. He was a proud participant in a war which brought
democracy and tolerance to Canada, the Commonwealth and
If the hon. member in unhappy about the kind of Official
Opposition we have got, I can tell him that I do not like the
philosophy of his party either.
Mr. Breitkreuz (Yellowhead): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the
hon. member's emotions and comments. I can also appreciate
that our philosophies do not agree.
The hon. member talked about blinkers and not seeing to the
end of our noses. I would point out that Alberta did not
implement bills 101 or 178, if the hon. member wants to talk
about blinkers and not seeing beyond our noses.
I would suggest that the Saint-Jean Baptiste days she enjoyed
in Calgary would have transpired even if we had not had official
bilingualism. Those festivities were there before there was
official bilingualism in this country and I would suggest that
even if we rewrite the laws of the Official Languages Act they
will be celebrated for many years thereafter as well.
Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River): Mr. Speaker, I rise today
to add my voice to those of my colleagues who lament the
government's budget of February 22. This budget is not a
disappointment as some members have suggested. It is a
The government says it wants to create jobs, yet this budget
is disastrous for job creation. The reason for this is the heavy
burden of taxation everyone in Canada faces now and in the
future as a direct result of the failure to curb government
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says that taxes are job
killers for its 170,000 members. For every dollar the
government taxes away, it is another dollar lost which could
have gone toward job creation. Furthermore, the budget is
disastrous for export trade because it stunts our ability to take
full advantage of a golden opportunity.
We have just signed two very important trade agreements,
NAFTA and GATT, that lower tariffs for our products around the
world. I heartily commend this government for its role in those
Our Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
has been doing an excellent job in developing markets abroad.
Canada has gained a good reputation as a leader in helping the
GATT to be established after the second world war and now the
new world trade organization.
However our efforts are futile if we cannot give our industries
a fair chance to compete. Our companies, small, medium and
large, which have to break into and develop these foreign
markets cannot do so effectively. They are hampered by
disappointing results at home. They are hampered because our
government will not act responsibly in fiscal management. They
cannot sell strongly into their domestic market because their
consumers are overtaxed and the cost of doing business is so
high. That leaves them with limited resources to operate
At the moment our major trading partner, the United States, to
whom 80 per cent of our exports go, is experiencing incredible
growth. Our economy is also starting to pick up, led by
promising increases in our exports.
If only this budget could have given a strong signal that we
were getting our fiscal house in order the response from our
business sector would have been incredible. The incentives
would have been there to invest and take risks. The incentives
would have been there to expand and hire new employees
because the promise of tax relief would have been just around
By failing to deal with the deficit we are missing a golden
opportunity to move further and forcefully into export markets.
Canada is a trading nation. We simply do not have the
population to warrant economies of scale that many businesses
need. Our ability to be competitive internationally is crucial to
our ability to grow and create jobs.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is presently doing a
massive poll of 2,000 corporate members and 1,000
entrepreneurs. The purpose of this poll is to identify obstacles to
job creation. Business people have been asked to list the five
things that would improve their ability to create jobs. Guess
what heads the list of responses: getting the federal debt and
deficit problem under control.
The reason for this is that deficits and debt have caused the
government to overtax our citizens. In fact personal income
taxes have more than doubled in the last 10 years. Excise and
sales taxes have gone up by almost 75 per cent. That means
consumers have less disposable income. It also means Canadian
companies face a smaller demand at home.
It was reported in the Globe and Mail this morning that
Canadian individuals and corporations are the most heavily
taxed in the industrial world, with the exception of France. This
statement comes from our own Deputy Minister of Finance.
What is more, the $500 billion debt and the burden of
refinancing approximately half of that every year crowds out
other borrowers. When the federal government borrows huge
sums of money it competes with private industry for the
available capital. That reduces the amount of money available to
finance private business expansion. It also drives real interest
rates far higher than they should be.
Seventy per cent of the businesses reporting to the Chamber
of Commerce survey are saying that the cost of business in
Canada right now is much higher than in other countries. That is
alarming. What is worse is that preliminary findings show that
22 per cent of the respondents intend to relocate all or part of
their businesses outside of Canada because of high taxation and
the cost of government regulations.
When taxes are too high businesses simply cannot survive and
be competitive outside Canada. Many are forced to pass these
taxes on through higher prices. If that means they cannot sell
their products abroad they might as well move to where the cost
of doing business is less.
This budget should have started the process of lowering
government spending. That did not happen. Instead government
spending increased. The promise that next year it will happen or
maybe the year after it will really happen is not good enough.
There are lots of areas where cuts should have been made.
Obviously social programs which consume a major share of the
federal budget should be targeted to those who need it the most.
The leader of the Reform Party and others in the Reform Party
have spoken of this already. This budget should have shown
Canadians that government was really serious about job
creation. We all know, or at least we should know, the private
sector, particularly small and medium sized businesses, creates
jobs, not government.
This budget should have shown Canadians and the
international community that the government is serious about
tackling its huge deficit. If the government cannot bring its
spending into line with revenues, how on earth are we ever going
to handle the growing debt? In fact the international community
is now responding to its concern about our failure to control
government spending and overspending.
Canadian interest rates are rising. A good part of the reason
for this rise in rates is the lack of confidence internationally in
our ability to finance our debt. Higher interest rates mean it will
cost more to refinance the federal debt and this will only
compound our problem.
The way to job creation is to stop overtaxation. Let us not
make our Canadian businesses have to compete with one hand
tied behind their backs. The way to tax relief is to stop
government overspending, not next year or the year after, but
Mr. Paul Zed (Fundy-Royal): Mr. Speaker, it is with great
pride and deep humility that I rise today to speak in this House of
Commons as the Liberal member for Fundy-Royal. It is with
pride because the Minister of Finance has continued the Prime
Minister's commitment to all Canadians. That is the
commitment in this budget which offers a balanced plan for
governing our country. It is a plan about economic renewal,
deficit reduction and necessary reforms to social programs.
This budget invests in the skills of Canadians and supports the
small and medium sized business sector which has been and will
continue to be the number one job creator in Canada.
This budget and this government are being watched by the
people of New Brunswick particularly the people of
Fundy-Royal. That is because for the first time in the history of
the riding of Fundy-Royal they have chosen a Liberal to
represent them. It is an honour to represent the people of
I am delighted today to tell the Minister of Finance that the
people of my riding like this budget. I join them in offering the
minister congratulations and support from one of the most
diverse ridings in Atlantic Canada. More than half of the
population of this bedroom community works in one of the three
major cities of Saint John, Moncton, and Fredericton.
This riding includes the oldest industries on our continent like
coal mining in Grand Lake and farming in King's and Queen's
counties. There are the newer industries of potash and food
processing and traditional industries of fishing, lumbering and
wood lot management. Then of course there is our tourism
industry. We have the powerful Bay of Fundy and Fundy
National Park with some of the most beautiful scenery in New
Brunswick, Canada's picture province.
The people of Fundy-Royal are a people of faith, faith in
God, faith in themselves, faith in each other and faith in Canada.
I am proud of the people of my riding. They offer a fine example
to the rest of Canada. I am committed to them and committed to
political leadership that protects family values, family farms,
and family business.
Small business people and self-employed New Brunswickers
are the lifeblood of our economy in Fundy-Royal. This budget
offers a realistic plan for them.
It is unlike any other budget in Canadian history because it is a
people budget. It is the result of an unprecedented consultation
with the people of Canada from coast to coast to coast. This
budget reflects the concerns of people. It addresses deficit
reduction today and sets us on a clear path of further deficit
reduction in the future.
This budget saves $300 million in unemployment insurance
premiums. That $300 million can be reinvested by small
businesses to create new jobs. This budget revives the
residential rehabilitation assistance program for home
renovations and boosts the construction industry. This budget
makes the temporary home buyers plan permanent. This budget
will improve access to capital for small business. This budget
will establish Canadian business service centres in every
province to provide one-stop shopping for government services.
With this budget we begin a process that will replace the
unpopular GST. Nothing will please the people of my riding
more than the demise of the GST. Nothing has hurt them more.
Governments cannot solve all our problems. But this
government knows that governments must lead and must lead by
example. The people of Fundy-Royal like all Canadians are
tired of governments saying one thing but doing another.
In my travels throughout Fundy-Royal I have found there
are two key areas of concern, lack of jobs and the government
debt. Most people agree that these problems are related. With
approximately 37 cents of every federal tax dollar going to serve
the debt, our government resources for investing in education,
infrastructure and social programs are very limited.
While it is easy to recognize that excessive debt and deficits
impact negatively on our country, what is not well understood is
that about one-third of the federal debt is owed outside of
Canada. In simple terms that means we are paying millions of
dollars per year in interest to non-Canadians. This means we are
losing Canadian taxes and losing control of our own destiny.
It is time to do something about this problem. I believe it is
time for Canada Savings Bonds to be replaced with Canada
deficit bonds. The revenues raised by the sale of such bonds
could be applied directly to the foreign debt with a plan of
repatriating the debt from the current level of 33 per cent to a
level of about 20 per cent over a five year period.
Significant benefits would flow from such a proposal.
Canadians would own more of our debt and interest payments
would be made to Canadians instead of to the Japanese or the
I strongly agree with the Minister of Finance's plan to cut $3
billion in government operations over the next three years.
However, I believe that we must cut further and deeper. I believe
we can achieve this by passing legislation in this House that
would mandate expenditure reductions in government
departments by 5 per cent per year to a maximum of 20 per cent.
Perhaps the last five years of the Auditor General's report
would provide a good beginning to identify sectors in need of
I would like to say a few words about free trade in Canada.
Since the federal election Canada has joined in forming the
world's largest trading bloc, yet we still do not enjoy free trade
within our own borders. Interprovincial trade barriers must be
removed. While I am encouraged by the progress we have made
on this issue, we still need to do some significant work.
Atlantic Canadians have grown accustomed to the boom and
bust cycle that often grips our world and more often chokes our
region. When the world sneezes we in Atlantic Canada get
pneumonia. We in Atlantic Canada are prepared to shoulder our
share of the burden when it comes to leading the Canadian
economy into the new world economy. We know the importance
of information management, of vigorous national science
education programs and the development of energy
We will shoulder our burden but we also want our share of this
As we rationalize government expenditures and services in
our province I believe we must have a commitment for a strong
port in Saint John. These past two years have shown that even
with icebreaking in the St. Lawrence, Mother Nature proved too
much for that river and Saint John filled an important national
We also must have first-class trans-Canadian highways in
New Brunswick from St. Stephen through Saint John, Sussex
and to Moncton. These days in Canada we hear a great deal about
the information highway. In southern New Brunswick we want
to hear more about an economic highway, an economic highway
that links communities together and enables them to prosper.
I will commit all of my effort and energy to make sure that
southern New Brunswick, the engine of economic growth in
New Brunswick, gets its fair share from this government, a fair
share for ports and a fair share for highways.
I have a great deal of faith in our transport minister to be a
strong advocate for these interests. This budget is only the first
of many steps Canadians must take together, arm in arm on the
road to a future that delivers dependable economic growth and
better and more secure employment.
I believe Canadians can fashion such a future but it will
require hard work. It will require a resurgence of the Canadian
tradition of looking out for our neighbour and working for those
who cannot work or who cannot find work.
Fundy-Royal as one of the oldest settled communities in
North America has fostered those traditions for centuries. I
know the people of my riding value the realistic approach of the
finance minister and the courage and the decisiveness the Prime
Minister has shown since the election, a leadership that is
decent, fair and responsive.
In closing, I offer a humble thank you to the voters of
Fundy-Royal who placed their confidence in me and gave the
Liberal Party their trust for the first time in Canadian history. I
promise these people I will continue to work hard, to listen well
and to act decisively on their behalf.
Mr. George S. Rideout (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Natural Resources): Mr. Speaker, I congratulate
my neighbour. One of the things that makes his riding so great is
that it happens to be next to mine. It is a pleasure to hear him
extol the virtues of southern New Brunswick and the
contribution that is made by that part of our country to Canada.
In listening to what the member for Fundy-Royal had to say
about how good this budget is, and we on this side recognize the
benefits of a balanced approach to getting the economy working,
I am sure that because of the shortness of time he wanted to take
some time to talk about the tremendous infrastructure program
and the importance that it is going to have to all of the
municipalities in his riding.
They offer the opportunity for smaller communities to be able
to do that minor work but for important work like the sewer
programs, water programs, recycling programs and those types
of things and I am sure that had he had more time he would want
to talk about that.
I want to give him an opportunity to extol the virtues of both
the benefits of putting Canadians back to work that the
infrastructure program offers and also the benefits to the many
smaller communities in his riding that will be able to have the
types of programs that are essential to small communities for
their economic development and growth.
Therefore I ask the member whether he is supportive of the
position that this government has taken with respect to the
Mr. Zed: Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure program has been
very positively received.
In fact in Fundy-Royal there are 32 municipalities and as
one can imagine the difficulty is to balance those various
municipalities and their interests in receiving this important
program. Most of the municipalities expressed their interest in
this program through the Canadian Federation of
As the hon. member for Moncton knows, the members of the
Canadian Federation of Municipalities had an opportunity to
express to the then opposition their interest in this program. The
Liberal Party listened to that and adopted it. I can tell the hon.
member that it is very positive. If anything I will be one of those
people who will be back here next year hoping that the program
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands): Mr. Speaker, I
became excited a few moments ago when the hon. member was
mentioning his appreciation that about a third of our national
debt is offshore. Therefore it entails a whole bunch of interest
dollars leaving Canada and being unusable for our economy. I
got really excited when he said the elimination of provincial
trade barriers would be a tremendous bonus and benefit to
I was about to offer him a membership in the Reform Party
until he responded to his colleague who said: ``How about this
infrastructure program''? He endorsed the infrastructure
program. Here we are with $6 billion of borrowed money that
may create 60,000 jobs that will be gone after the end of two
years. Now what do we do? We just pay the interest on the
money we borrowed.
An hon. member: For years and years and years.
Mr. Zed: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member will let us all
know whether any of the municipalities in his riding take
advantage of this important infrastructure program.
It will be interesting to see how many communities in the
member's riding benefit from it and it will be more interesting,
of course, to see how the member's party responds to some of
the other important initiatives in this budget.
I want to tell the hon. member that I am pleased to hear he is
interested in at least some of the things I had to say. I look
forward to working with him on those things we agree on.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for Fraser Valley West,
briefly please. Again I would ask members to say ``the member''
not ``you'', especially with the Speaker standing nearby.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, I must
come back on that comment as to how many municipalities and
ridings will get involved with the infrastructure program. Why
would they not want to because one third of the cost only is
going to be attributed to residential taxation. They are going to
pass the other part off on federal and provincial taxes.
I must remind the hon. member that there is only one taxpayer
paying three portions at three levels of taxes.
My question is what is left after the two years of the
infrastructure program after $6 billion has been paid out? What
is left for the Canadian taxpayer other than some form of capital
Mr. Zed: Mr. Speaker, I will tell the member what is left. We
will have billions and billions of dollars worth of necessary
sewers, safe water systems, bridges, roadworks and other
community projects throughout this country that but for this
program these projects would not be there. It will be interesting
to see whether in the hon. member's riding there will be projects
taken up by that one taxpayer and whether the program is being
positively received in your riding, Mr. Speaker.
An hon. member: You tell them.
Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod): Mr. Speaker, I want to give the
members two specific examples of how municipalities are in
fact handling the infrastructure program. When I was in one
community in my riding not so long ago, I was told: ``Well, we
are going to look after our sewers on the main street''. The
councillor admitted to me that this work would be done next
year but they were pushing it ahead one year because the
infrastructure program was there.
A second community in my riding, and these are communities
that have no reason to tell me other than the truth, said they were
going to modify their beautiful ice arena equipment so that it
would be upgraded, work they would do simply two years down
My comment is that I do not believe that many of the things
that are being done with the infrastructure program should be
done with borrowed money. I would be more than willing to
have the member's comment on that.
Mr. Zed: Mr. Speaker, my comment is simply the fact that
both of the municipalities have indicated that they are advancing
work ahead of schedule is precisely what the program is
supposed to do. It is not a single program. One cannot look at
this infrastructure program as a single initiative. It is part of a
broad initiative that this government is moving forward with.
You have just given us, Mr. Speaker, the evidence that we
need, the fact that both of the communities that you have
mentioned, but for being involved with our program, would not
go with the program for some other time in the future. That tells
me that jobs are being created now rather than being created at
some other time.
The Deputy Speaker: It seems that another member of the
Liberal Party wants the floor, the member for
Hamilton-Wentworth, as well as two other members. Is there
unanimous consent to give them ten minutes each, for a total of
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth): Mr. Speaker, a
fundamental change is sweeping this country and this
government's budget reflects it. It is a change that more than any
other will determine a united Canada's prosperity for the next
Others have spoken in this debate on the budget's fiscal
provisions, the changes in unemployment insurance, cutbacks in
defence spending, new rules for capital gains exemptions, and
so on. I propose to draw attention to two other areas which I
believe when linked are to me more significant than all the
I look to new incentives for small businesses on the one hand
and reallocation of spending on research and development on
the other. Put these two concepts together and I believe we see a
fundamental truth about today's economic reality and a glimpse
of the economic opportunities of tomorrow.
On the historical perspective, for the better part of this
century Canadian industrial production has been dominated by
major foreign owned companies, principally those based in the
United States and Britain. Research and development, industrial
scientific research, if you will, was concentrated in the parent
companies rather than in their Canadian subsidiaries. The
ability to do quality industrial scientific research is a national
asset which is not willingly shared by the United States, Britain,
Japan, Germany, France or any other major economic power.
That is a fact of international life.
Canada's answer to the problem in 1916 was to set up
government funded laboratories grouped together as the
National Research Council. I wish hon. members would take
time some day to visit the old NRC building at 100 Sussex
Drive, built during the depression in the 1930s. Not only is it one
of the most interesting architecturally of the buildings in Ottawa
but it also speaks through its bricks and mortars, through its
terrazzo floors, its tiny laboratory rooms, of that moment in
history when Canada finally invested in the brains of Canadians,
in our ideas. It is a place that evokes the era of Banting,
Rutherford, Best and the Canadian pioneers of this nuclear age.
The Canadian version of the National Research Council was
an experiment that had no parallel in Britain and the United
States, but it began poorly. Scientists are like artists. If funding
is unconditional, they would rather work on pure research. They
would rather explore ideas for the sake of them instead of what
they might mean in terms of a country's technological progress.
Most would prefer to be Einsteins, not Edisons.
The research in the early days of the National Research
Council merely wandered through the woods of scientific
inquiry and rarely glimpsed the sun.
The Second World War changed everything. In 1940 France
collapsed. All Europe echoed to the measured tread of Hitler's
armies. The United States was still neutral. The night sky over
London flickered with the flashes of exploding bombs. Britain's
only remaining ally of consequence was Canada. Now the
National Research Council really came into its own, for Britain
needed more than men and weapons, it needed science.
In co-operation with Canadian universities, the National
Research Council led an incredibly varied program in applied
research: new explosives, radar, sonar, chemical weapons, high
altitude research. No other country, I firmly believe, given its
economic size and population, contributed as much brain power
to the war as Canada.
I apologize for speaking so much of the past rather than of the
present, but surely our actions and attitudes of today are
governed principally by what we know and what we do not know
of our own history.
My colleagues in the Bloc for example embrace separatism
because they perceive the historic threat only as it pertains to
Quebec. Yet we all move forward, Canadians of all provinces,
we all have been moving forward together. The fault is that none
of us, Quebecers, Albertans, Nova Scotians, pay serious
attention to our collective past, to our own accomplishments as
How many of the 295 MPs in this House know that Canada
was the second country in the world to achieve nuclear power?
The first nuclear reactor outside the United States to go critical
was built just upstream from Ottawa at Chalk River. We were
ahead of Britain, France and even the Soviet Union. That was in
1945. We declared then that we would use nuclear energy only
for peaceful purposes and we have kept faith with that promise.
The National Research Council was instrumental in the
development of Canada's nuclear program. However after the
war both nuclear and military research were spun off to other
agencies or to the Department of National Defence. The
National Research Council reverted mainly to pure research.
Meanwhile Canada's branch plant economy boomed while
applied science, industrial research and development,
languished. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the foreign parents
of Canadian subsidiary companies had for the most part little
interest in promoting research in Canada.
Now everything has changed again just as dramatically as
with the advent of the second world war. This time however the
two instruments of change are computers not weapons, and a
global recession not war.
Think of it. Up to about 10 years ago a scientist had to have
access to a multimillion dollar computer that only a large
corporation could afford if he wanted to work out complicated
equations or do deep statistical analyses. Now he can do the
same thing with a 486 computer worth $1,000. If he links that by
modem to other computers and other information systems he has
power at his fingertips which exceeds the largest supercomputer
and he can work right at his own desk or even in his own home.
As for the large corporation either foreign owned or domestic
they are everywhere retreating. Like the giant department stores
of old they are subject to relentless competition from small
enterprises which are unfettered by the leaden bureaucracies of
large corporations. Even IBM long seen as the bluest of blue
chips is downsizing as it contemplates diminished bottom lines.
I cannot resist citing an opposite example in my own riding.
The company is called Westcam. It occupies an unprepossessing
collection of old buildings next to a rural bush lot. It employs
less than 100 people. Its product is spy cameras, the kind of
devices that can photograph a postage stamp from miles away.
Its market is highly specialized but it is worldwide. It is a small
High technology, small business. That is where this budget
rings with a clear pure note. Out with the old, in with the new.
The large corporations no longer have the lion's share of
research and development. Technological innovation is going to
come from the little companies, not the big ones. This
government's budget addresses that fact.
Consider what the budget says. Free up capital for small
business through the Canada investment fund and by putting
pressure on banks. Simplify paper work. Provide funds for small
businesses to hire scientists and engineers. Establish networks
to share technology and business savvy. Set priorities for
research directly funded by government.
There are casualties: the funding for the KAON nuclear
accelerator project in British Columbia for instance and
Canada's participation in the U.S. Space Station Freedom. That
is another prestige project many in the American scientific
community consider a wanton waste of money in terms of the
return on scientific knowledge.
Canada should be getting out of that, and so we are. What are
we doing instead? Canada is putting $800 million into a new
space program centred on remote sensing and satellite
communications. This historically is where Canadian
technology has shone. We are known the world over for our
prowess in this field. This expertise has largely come from
medium and small businesses, not from the multinational
The National Research Council also has been revamped. For
years under the previous government it has endured a steady
erosion of financial support. While the Tories proclaimed to the
press their dedication to science, they starved the institution that
has done more for Canadian science than any other.
This government in this budget has thrown out a lifeline to the
National Research Council. The schedule of cutbacks instituted
by the Tories has been halted. The National Research Council
can breathe again.
The future is bright. Canadians have an incredible talent for
innovation. I do not care if we categorize ourselves as
Quebecers or Torontonians, easterners or westerners; the fact
remains we are one of the most versatile peoples on earth.
Our strength is in our tolerance, our diversity, our constant
search for new ideas. These are qualities we all share. We share
them in this House on all sides, not just the Liberals, but the Bloc
and the Reform. In that sense, to all my colleagues I say we are
Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe): Mr. Speaker, in
reply to the Minister of Finance's budget, I wish to underline
that the government totally ignored the recommendations found
in the Auditor General's report.
Canada is going through a major crisis. The accumulated debt
exceeds $500 billion, and the annual deficit now totals $41
billion. In other words, each year, this unmanageable country
earns less than it spends, and is inevitably heading toward
Big corporations and capital holders say that a decrease in
their profits resulting from a fairer tax system would cause
irreparable damage to the economy.
So, they argue that the government must slash budgetary
expenses. The business community, the decision-makers in the
world of high finance suggest that the time is right to dismantle
what is left of the welfare state. The neo-conservatism of the
1980s is now the philosophy of the Minister of Finance in the
present Liberal government, since he fully approves of the big
corporations' approach, and his budget proves it.
In fact, this budget speech announces that the government
will, during the next three years, cut more than $7.5 billion from
social programs, particularly unemployment insurance. Thus,
the government has avoided launching a frontal attack on major
great financial interests, while it has ignored waste within its
bureaucracy and mismanagement by senior civil servants and its
First of all, I would like to remind the House of some of the
comments the Auditor General made in his last report about
waste and mismanagement of public funds, which comments the
Minister of Finance totally ignored while preparing his budget.
The government is doing absolutely nothing to reduce the
structural deficit, since it avoids dealing with waste and
mismanagement. Let me give you some examples of waste. The
federal vehicle fleet costs more than $500 million and 4,000 new
vehicles are added every year; Investment Canada has spent
$132,000 to set up a new office, complete with a kitchen and a
bathroom, for the new president, even if the office of the
previous president, located in the same building, provided all
those amenities. The cost of the use of the Challenger aircrafts
reached $54 million, more than half of which was spent for
transporting ministers. According to the Auditor General, this
comes to $19,650 per hour of flight. More than 800 civil
servants who received a cash out to retire were rehired
afterwards. About $30 million was wasted that way.
The Canadian Grain Commission has made an ex gratia
payment-and I remind you that an ex gratia payment is one that
is made as a gift, in the public interest, and not because it is
legally necessary-in the amount of approximately $657,000 to
some producers as compensation for losses incurred because a
seed cleaning company that had obtained a licence from the
Commission went bankrupt.
What measures in this budget tend to eliminate such waste,
which is only the tip of the iceberg? None. And what about the
mismanagement that has become generalized within the Public
Service since the Liberal Party was in power at the end of the
1960s and beginning of the 1970s? The Auditor General has
given several examples of this, which we have grouped
according to three types of problems: program assessment,
identification of program overlapping, and a more general view
of certain expenditures reflecting poor management on the part
of the government.
On the subject of program assessment, in his 1993 report, the
Auditor General especially blamed mismanagement of public
funds on a glaring lack of close examination of government
spending. He recommended that programs be judged on their
results so as to guide policy decisions. The Bloc Quebecois has
already raised this point, but it is worth repeating that nowhere
in this Liberal budget is the problem of program assessment
From a quantitative standpoint, between 1989 and 1992,
program evaluation spending fell by 28 per cent, resulting in a
much smaller number of program evaluations being performed.
In 1987-88, 99 program evaluations were conducted, compared
to only 80 in 1992. Again according to the Auditor General's
report, in 1991-92, the government spent $125 billion on 16
programs, only two of which were thoroughly evaluated. It is
not the most expensive programs which are evaluated. It is
estimated that twice as many programs worth less than $250
million are evaluated compared to those worth more than $250
From a qualitative standpoint, since the responsibility for
program evaluation rests with the department, the immediate
needs of managers prevail over the government's needs and the
public interest. When interviewed by the Auditor General, the
persons responsible for program evaluation within the
department said that the most important role of an evaluation is
to assist managers in solving organizational problems. So they
pay no attention to the fundamental function of program
evaluation, which is to measure the effectiveness of a program
and to question its relevancy if necessary in order to achieve
optimal resource allocation. It is to be noted that this type of
information would be most useful to Parliament in allocating
resources and to Canadians in rating government performance.
In fact, parliamentarians are asked to work blindly, to allocate
resources without knowing the facts.
In his report, the Auditor General says, and I quote: ``In the
1990s, program evaluation should be seen as crucial to the
management of government expenditures, because it can help to
arrive at informed decisions aimed at controlling growth of the
public debt''. In spite of that warning or, if you prefer, of that
suggestion by the Auditor General, nothing in the budget would
lead one to believe that the Liberal government is heading in that
Overlapping remains one of the main causes of waste and poor
financial management. The federal spending power in areas of
provincial jurisdiction accounts for 24 per cent of overlapping
and the power to legislate in areas of shared jurisdiction
accounts for 76 per cent of overlapping, but, again, nothing in
the budget shows that there is a will to change the traditional
Liberal way of thinking in this regard.
Program duplication is partly to blame for the
mismanagement of public funds and is therefore responsible for
the increasing cost of government action. Since it is more
cal to give to only one administration exclusive jurisdiction over
services provided simultaneously; since duplication often adds
nothing to the quality of government interventions, quite the
contrary; since affected employees and facilities could be used
in a much more rational and relevant way; and since also the
measures put in place by both levels of government often cancel
each other out, the competing if not conflicting nature of
federal-provincial relations makes it difficult to co-ordinate
programs because neither level of government is ready to make
major concessions about their own objectives and priorities.
Finally, program duplication is an inflationary factor in the
Canadian economy since an increase in the amount of
information citizens must have to be able to take advantage of
the services and financial aid available, or to conform to laws
and regulations, results in a multiplication of the steps required
to get that information and thus, in an increase in the number of
employees involved in a somewhat unproductive task.
In conclusion, we find it hard to understand that the Minister
of Finance, who seems to have made the fight against deficit his
priority, has ignored the recommendations of the Auditor
General about waste and mismanagement of public funds. In
order to eliminate waste, unnecessary spending and
mismanagement in government, in the name of the Bloc
Quebecois, I request again that the government create a
parliamentary committee to analyze and review budget
spending, item by item.
Mr. Philippe Paré (Louis-Hébert): Mr. Speaker, before
dealing with the budget presented on February 22, I think it is
appropriate to remind everybody that a budget is an instrument
that a government uses to pursue its objectives. To recall the
objectives that the Liberal Party had set for itself, I should point
out what the leader and his candidates said during the campaign.
What did they say? They said that it was necessary to give
hope back to Canadians, to get people back to work and to bring
the deficit back to 3 per cent of the GDP. They said that they
would protect the universality of our social programs and our
health care system against the severe cutbacks announced by the
Tories and requested by the Reform Party. They said that it was
necessary to invest $20 billion in the infrastructure.
Let us pursue our search for coherence. Immediately after the
election, the Prime minister announced the cancellation of the
helicopter contract, thus causing the loss of hundreds of high
technology jobs in Quebec without compensation, in spite of the
traditional inequity of the National Defence spendings in
Quebec: $538 per capita in Nova Scotia, compared to $62 in
Another way to judge the objectives of the government is to
refer to the throne speech. Allow me to underline the lack of a
real will to deal with real problems.
Apart from the infrastructure program, which was slashed
from $20 billion before the election campaign to a mere $6
billion, no concrete measure was taken to revive the labour
market on a durable basis. On the contrary, the government
announces the loss of 40,000 jobs due to the unemployment
insurance premium increase in 1994.
There is no will to reduce operating expenditures. There is no
will to reform the Canadian tax system. Just like the former
government, the new government announces that it will
undertake in the next few years a reform of our social security
After such a weak throne speech, how could we expect a
budget different from the one that was presented in the House on
February 22? Could we hope for a miracle? Let us recall the
discussion we had in the House in the weeks preceding the
Every time the official opposition asked the government
questions on important matters such the national debt, the
deficit, the tax system, the preservation of our social safety net,
family trusts, job creation, the fate of young Canadians, we were
told to wait for the budget, that it would give all the answers. It
was to be the cure-all, the nirvana of the finance minister. What
a sham. What a cruel parody.
Last week, on February 28, I experienced a truly democratic
exercise with my constituents whom I had invited to come and
share their concerns with me.
Among the forty or so persons present, there was a large
consensus on family trusts and tax loopholes, shelters and
havens. These constituents are shocked by the government's
inaction and the absence of adequate measures in the budget
tabled by the Minister of Finance.
These voters do not understand why, after having fought
against the Valcourt plan, the Liberal Party would come down so
ferociously on UI benefits. According to three economists of the
Université du Québec at Montreal, who certainly have more
credibility than the Minister of Finance, the unemployed alone
will contribute 60 per cent of the savings the federal government
says it will make in its financial commitments.
People in my riding compare the way those less fortunate
people are being treated with the extravagant expenditures of
our embassies. They think of the generals and ambassadors who
are still driven around in limousines and the army, where there
are more officers than soldiers, more generals than tanks.
People I have met in my riding do not understand why the
Minister of Finance is reducing tax exemptions for seniors while
refusing to review the entire tax system. They do not admit that
the federal government, which has often said it was responsible
for defending minorities in this country, would close down the
only French-language military college in America in spite of
the advice given by all stakeholders, including those of the
Department of National Defence. With this decision, the
government is showing its real personality.
Now let us talk about assistance to developing countries.
Given the present economic context and our financial state, it is
fitting to analyze the budget and administrative decisions taken
by the government regarding aid to developing countries.
Such an analysis is made all the more difficult as the
government announced, a while ago, that it was going to review
Canada's foreign policy as a whole. It is rather awkward to study
the budget, public expenses and development assistance in
relation to these new objectives, since they have not yet been
Another problem comes from the fact that CIDA only tabled
its 1991-1992 annual report in January 1994. It has not yet been
critically analyzed by the Standing Committee on Foreign
Affairs and International Trade.
In this respect, we have every right to question the criteria
used by the government to cut its development assistance
The Bloc Quebecois expected to see in this budget a
substantial increase of non-governmental organization funding,
even if it meant a reduction of bilateral assistance programs,
often criticized by people in the field.
We believe that the NGOs' share should be much greater than
it is now, since they work directly with the poorest people of the
world, with one of the highest success rate in the area, and the
lowest administration costs. Only 10 per cent of Canadian
assistance to developing countries goes to NGOs.
It is too little and the Minister of Foreign Affairs agrees with
you since he said in the House on February 9 that the
government would do everything in its power to not only
maintain but increase this percentage.
The minister did not keep his promise. Neither will the
Minister of Finance be able to keep his promise to allocate to
development assistance 0.7 per cent of GDP, an internationally
recognized standard, given the measures announced in this
budget. How can he increase this ratio, which now amounts to
0.4 per cent of GDP, with a 2 per cent reduction in international
assistance funding and resources frozen at this level for the
Can the government reveal its magic trick, unless its solution
lies in reducing Canada's GDP in the next few years?
The Bloc Quebecois feels that the government should look
beyond the economic reasons to cut development assistance and
reconsider the cuts made in recent years. Our position is based
on several reasons.
The first reason has to do with Canada's international prestige
and reputation with respect to its development assistance
efforts. This is an essential element of the whole thrust of
Canadian foreign policy. Cuts in development assistance
funding will surely have a very negative impact on Canada's
international image, as well as a potential ripple effect on other
Another aspect, the most important in our opinion, that the
government should have considered is the humanitarian
dimension of international assistance.
In short, Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois feels that the
measures announced by the government in its budget regarding
international assistance are not very consistent. We are now
waiting for the review of our foreign policy, which hopefully
will not be as disappointing as this budget.
We particularly hope that the new direction of Canada's
international assistance policy will not be affected by the
negative aspects of this budget, and that the federal government
will set objectives which will take into account the needs of the
poorest countries as well as the expectations of Canadian
organizations and individuals involved in international
The Deputy Speaker: It being 6.29 p.m., pursuant to
Standing Order 84(6) it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings
and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of ways
and means Motion No. 6.
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will
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 yeas have it.
And more than five members having risen:
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to order made Tuesday,
March 8, 1994, a recorded division stands deferred until 6.30
p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, 1994.
The Deputy Speaker: It being 6.30 p.m. the House stands
adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order
(The House adjourned at 6.30 p.m.)