Hon. George H. Hees (Minister of Trade
and Commerce): Mr. Speaker, I am tabling today the report "Private and Public Investment in Canada-Outlook 1961", which summarizes the results of a recent survey of capital spending intentions. The survey, conducted annually, is designed to cover the anticipated outlays for new plant and equipment, institutional and government facilities and housing.
Capital expenditure plans for all sectors of the economy, as outlined in this report, involve total outlays in 1961 of $8,336 million. This anticipated expenditure exceeds actual outlays of last year by more than $100 million and represents a continuation of the high and relatively stable level of capital spending realized in recent years.
Within the total program, the principal increases are anticipated in institutional building and government projects. New hospital building in particular will be sharply expanded. There is also the expectation of a somewhat higher level of house building activity. On the other hand, capital outlays by business establishments on the basis of stated intentions will be a little lower than in the preceding year. This reduction reflects mainly a smaller program in the transportation industry, with requirements for both permanent facilities and equipment being
down. Outlays by commodity producing industries in total are approximately unchanged; larger expenditures related to natural gas developments are offset by reductions in certain other industries, notably iron and steel. Commercial construction for stores and office buildings is likely to continue at the high rate of 1960.
I should like to indicate also that it has been possible to include in this report a breakdown of the capital expenditure figures for provinces and major cities. In preceding years this regional material was not available until some time after the release of the national figures. The regional statistics indicate increased capital programs for 1961 in most of the provinces. In those provinces for which somewhat lower outlays are indicated, notably Manitoba and New Brunswick, unusually large expansion programs were completed last year.
The anticipated level of capital spending, if realized, will result in some net increase in demands upon the economy. An increase of 4 per cent in outlays for new construction is indicated. This will involve greater activity in the construction trades and related industries. On the other hand, the 2 per cent reduction in total outlays for machinery and equipment will affect mainly import items. Demands on domestic equipment producers should remain at about the 1960 level.
The results of the survey indicate that planned capital outlays, considered in relation to national output, will remain at a high level and will involve the continuing build-up in the capital stock of the economy.