March 25, 1969

?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION-DEVELOPMENT AND RETENTION OF MANPOWER RESOURCES
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbeni:

Mr. Speaker, I realize the minister has limited time but would he do me the honour of dealing with some of the questions I raised before he concludes his remarks?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

I hope I have been demonstrating to the hon. gentleman that the policies of the government have already anticipated his amendment. All the programs I have been mentioning are really efforts in the public sector to develop manpower resources. I have also referred to the hon. gentleman's proposal having to do with a special corps of young people. Before I finish I hope to speak about other subjects. If the hon. member wishes to ask questions at the end of my remarks, 1 will do my best to answer them.

[DOT] (5:00 p.m.)

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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

Mr. Speaker, would the minister care to comment on the central thrust of my argument, which is that we need to shift the balance of investment? We need to invest much more in the public, productive sector of our economy, and the shift must be away from the private sector.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Donald Campbell Jamieson (Minister of Defence Production)

Liberal

Mr. Jamieson:

Is the hon. member referring to the automobile industry?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

If I had statistics with me here I am sure they would demonstrate to my hon. friend that this shift has been going on and undoubtedly will continue to do so. We are concerned not only about developing resources in Canada. We also want to retain in Canada the resources we have and we want to stem the drain of highly qualified workers to the United States in particular.

With this in mind we have, since 1966, taken over the organizing and full financing of a continuing program internationally known as "Operation Retrieval", the specific

March 25, 1969

Business of Supply

purpose of which is to help Canada to retain her educated young people. The operation has two objectives which are, first, to keep Canadians studying at universities abroad informed about economic developments at home and job opportunities open to them here and, second, to ensure that they are as actively considered for these openings as they would be if they were resident in Canada. In carrying out this program the department has worked closely with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Public Service Commission, industry, and other interested organizations.

Prior to the program Canadians studying at foreign universities were not actively recruited for employment in Canada. Canadian business, universities and government showed little interest in them. But that has changed. As the Financial Post reported on March 16, 1968:

Because of the Department of Manpower's "Operation Retrieval", many of these students are likely to get job offers from Canadian employers.

In a nutshell, "Operation Retrieval" functions as an honest broker between Canadians studying abroad and employers in Canada who need highly trained manpower. It is a bridge which permits employers in Canada and Canadian scholars abroad to communicate with each other to their mutual benefit. For example, early in 1967, at a cost of about $60,000 it set the pattern for its subsequent annual operations by sending six teams made up of academics and other professionals to 35 universities in the United States, Britain and Europe to speak with some 900 Canadian students who attended the scheduled meetings. It distributed to students abroad some

7.000 copies of a directory of employers and job opportunities available in Canada and provided prospective employers with some

4.000 resumes listing the names and individual qualifications of Canadian scholars abroad who had asked "Operation Retrieval" to help them find jobs in Canada. As a result, Canada manpower centres made some 6,000 referrals to employers.

Since then the program has continued and expanded. In the 1967-68 academic year 742 Canadians studying abroad asked "Operation Retrieval" to distribute their resumes to 2,500 employers who were then participating in the program. During the current academic year the teams completed their visits to United States universities last fall. As a result some

1.000 students have asked the department to

distribute their resumes to some 2,700 employers currently involved in the scheme.

Canada does well and has recently been doing much better both in retraining Canadians at home and in attracting educated and skilled foreigners from other countries. Traditionally our brain influx from other countries has much more than made up for our brain drain to the United States. Recently we have also been doing much better with respect to the United States. Emigration from Canada to the United States fell from about 50,000 in 1962-63 to 35,000 in 1966-67. Immigration from the United States to Canada rose from

12.000 in 1963 to 19,000 in 1967 and to 20,000 in 1968. Our net deficit with the United States has thus fallen from about 39,000 in 1963 to about 16,000 in 1967. I am not suggesting, Mr. Speaker, that this result is entirely due to "Operation Retrieval". Nevertheless, I think hon. members will be pleased to know that our performance in this respect generally has been improving.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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PC

Donald MacInnis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Maclnnis:

You are admitting a lot of draft-dodgers.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

I doubt very much that the source my hon. friend has alluded to is a major one. I have been talking for quite a long time, Mr. Speaker, and have devoted myself entirely to the student aspect. I have talked about post-secondary education aspects affecting students, approvals with respect to the student loan fund, the summer employment problem and "Operation Retrieval". I would not wish to conclude my remarks without referring to the development of our manpower resources in the adult labour force. I am sorry the Leader of the Opposition did not pay some attention to our adult labour force. I know our students are important-we all understand they are important-but the adult Canadian labour force is also important, especially since it is made up to some extent of persons who have been passed by in earlier educational opportunities that may have been available and who in their later life have had to pick up the threads again. They are taking up the threads again either by taking upgrading courses or educational training.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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PC

Georges-J. Valade

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Valade:

Will the minister permit a question? Before leaving the subject of student employment could he inform the house of the number of students in each province who will be seeking employment this summer? I believe he gave up a total figure of

360.000 students seeking employment all across Canada. Could we have this figure

March 25. 1969

broken down, province by province. Also, is there any provision under which needy students coming to the department for assistance will be given preference over students from wealthy families in seeking employment?

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

I do not have the statistics or the breakdown for our provinces, but I will try to obtain them. To reply to the hon. member's second question, C.M.C. does not conduct means tests to determine in any job placement whether a student comes from a needy or a wealthy family. We do not have instruments at our disposal. The suggestion has been made that in job referrals we ought to consider needy students first. It has been suggested that students coming from well to do or influential families find it easier to get jobs than those coming from poorer families. We have not considered in the department whether it would even be possible to take this factor into account.

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NDP

Edward Richard Schreyer

New Democratic Party

Mr. Schreyer:

Will the minister permit a question? He has just said that in his department there is no administrative machinery to conduct means tests and to determine whether students come from poor or wealthy families. Does the minister not agree that under the student loans program the administrative authority may determine whether a student is needy?

[DOT] (5:10 p.m.)

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Yes, I agree this may be possible under the student loan program. This is one of the suggestions that has been made. A person, for example, with an obligation under a student loan might be given preference. We have this under consideration. It is a fact that it is some indication of need from a student point of view.

I want to say a few words about occupational training for adults. The federal manpower training program had in 1968-69 the best year in its history. In the fiscal year which is coming to a close the program enrolled some 430,000 adults, 301,000 of them on a full-time basis. Relating these enrolments to the population, the Canadian program, apart from the retraining program of Sweden, is the largest program of its kind in the world.

The program started from very modest beginnings only a few years ago. In 1961-62, under the federal Technical and Vocational Training Assistance Act, the program enrolled only 26,000 unemployed persons. The numbers of unemployed receiving training

Business of Supply

have been growing steadily. In 1967-68, the first year of the occupational training for adults program, the enrolment of the unemployed rose to 196,000, and in the current fiscal year the program will serve some

246,000 unemployed workers. In addition, the program caters to many thousands of apprentices as well as employed workers taking fulltime training in industry or part-time training in the evening.

The increased effort of the federal government in the development of our skilled manpower in the last few years is dramatically expressed in financial terms. In 1961-62 the federal government spent a mere $18 million on all training programs combined, many of them catering to young people of school age. In the current year the federal government expects to spend $197 million, all of it for the benefit of adult workers. This is 11 times as much as eight years ago.

I wanted to make this point because I think we ought to maintain a certain balance in the development of our manpower programs. There has to be a balance between the young people and the adult members of the labour force. We believe that this additional expenditure not only indicates that the proper emphasis is being given to the adult training course but that the money is being more effectively spent and is yielding even greater benefits than ever before. We tried to gear our training to the unemployment situation this winter. In January of this current year there were about 30,000 unemployed persons in training. That is rather good from my point of view.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Benjamin:

May I ask the minister a question with regard to the retraining of unemployed? Are instructions or policy directives sent to the staff in the manpower offices regarding those who wish training for an occupation in which it is felt there are no job opportunities? Do they refuse to accept such applications?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

We try to provide training for job opportunities. We do not see much point in spending a lot of money to train a person for a non-existing trade or occupation. We try to gear our training to job openings that are current or near-current.

The Leader of the Opposition made one or two comments. He referred to the manpower and immigration advisory council. I certainly think it was appropriate for him to mention the fact we have not yet appointed a general advisory council. Nor have we appointed the

March 25, 1969

Business of Supply

four subsidiary bodies or boards that operate in conjunction with the advisory council. I could have taken action on this series of appointments, but I wanted a full representation of all organizations on these boards. I am still waiting for one very important organization to make its nominations. I hope when that is done this council and advisory body will come into operation.

I think that all I have had to say, Mr. Speaker, has demonstrated rather clearly that the government of Canada has provided for the development of manpower resources in this country. Our program of manpower resources stands up well in comparison with that of any other country in the world. We have shown interest and attention to the problems of our youth and have provided aid to the students themselves. Their employment problems are real and significant. Upon consideration, the opposition house leader, acting for the absent Leader of the Opposition, might agree to withdraw the motion.

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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

The minister will need a much more convincing argument than he has given US' today.

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PC

Robert Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert Muir (Cape Breion-The Sydneys):

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in this debate on the motion introduced by the Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. Stanfield). Before proceeding may I say how pleased I am to see the minister in the house, fully recovered from his illness. I wish him well in the future so far as his health is concerned. It is good to know that he is alive and well.

I have always admired the minister's facility with words. To use an old expression, he can charm a bird out of a tree. Unfortunately, Canada's critical unemployment situation requires more than honeyed words, and the minister's responsibility is to find jobs for Canadians, not for the birds. I was amused to hear him say a few moments ago it is not a federal responsibility but a joint responsibility. How he has changed! I can recall that when he sat in a certain section of this chamber he and his colleagues always insisted that unemployment was the responsibility of the federal government.

The minister has been very wordy. However, no matter how many words are employed to slough off responsibility or to cover up the Department of Manpower's obvious inability to cope with current unemployment problems, the hard and brutal fact remains that there are close to half a million Canadians out

[Mr. MacEachenJ

of work today. Much has been made by the government of the fact that this year's mid-February unemployment figure of 6 per cent is below last year's figure of 6.4 per cent for the same period. But this sort of thing will not impress the 473,000 Canadians who are unemployed. Nor will it impress many Canadians who wonder why this country should tolerate a high rate of unemployment in the midst of affluence and plenty.

[DOT] (5:20 p.m.)

It would be interesting to hear further from the minister's own lips the reason that his new and modernized department has been so unsuccessful in coping with the problem of providing jobs for Canadians. When this department was set up we were assured that it would make Canada's labour force mobile, skilled, and flexible enough to overcome the old difficulties created by seasonal unemployment and regional recessions. So far the department and the minister have been indistinguishable from the old Department of Labour and the minister's predecessors in office.

It is good, Mr. Speaker, to see that the minister is alive and well. This house has seldom had the pleasure of seeing or hearing the minister since the last general election gave us a new Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and a reshuffled cabinet. In the old days scarcely a day went by but the minister was on his feet, spreading wisdom and reassurance on the troubled waters of the house. Indeed, he spoke on almost every conceivable subject and seldom felt confined by his own particular portfolio.

How things have changed! Today we hardly ever see him and almost never hear him. His name is absent from the press that once knew it so well. The air waves are silent in regard to him and his department, despite all that happened at the leadership convention of the Liberal party. Perhaps it is the new system of rotation of ministers that has clipped his wings. Or perhaps it is the new system of cabinet discipline that has been imposed by the iron hand of the Prime Minister. Some hon. members across the way laugh at that, but it is not unusual to hear certain individuals on the government side say, "Boy, he is the boss, and that is it. You must not step out of line or you may lose your portfolio." At the moment I am not looking at the Minister of Manpower and Immigration when I say that. Whatever the fact may be I hope that before we come to the end of this debate the minister will give us the benefit of his views. He has

March 25, 19G9

already spoken for a long time but, frankly, his speech was nothing more than a lot of words with some statistics. I hope he will give us the benefit of his views frankly and honestly, bereft of propaganda.

I believe that the most important thing this motion does is to focus attention not only on the government's failure to provide jobs for Canadians but on the obvious lack of co-ordination in the workings and policies of various governmental departments, and on the daily economic havoc being wrought by this lack of organization and purpose. I have in mind in particular the dramatic widening of the economic gulf between various regions in Canada. We have just been debating the setting up of a new department to deal with this very problem of regional disparity, but even while we have been doing so the problem has been allowed to grow unchecked to mamoth proportions. That is what I meant when I referred to the lack of co-ordination between departments and the lack of organization and purpose.

The unemployment figure with which we are all most familiar is 6 per cent. But we should remember that this figure is the national average for the whole country. The real picture escapes us until we break it down into its regional components. For instance, while the national unemployment figure stands at 6 per cent of the labour force, in the Atlantic region, an area that comprises four of Canada's ten provinces, it is an appalling high of 10.5 per cent, and I dare say it is away above that in the province of Newfoundland. The figure for the province of Quebec stands at 8.4 per cent. Yet in Ontario and on the prairies unemployment is moderate, standing at 3.9 per cent for each area. In British Columbia it is 6.6 per cent.

These figures give a more stark and shocking picture of what unemployment means to Canada than does the national one of 6 per cent. These figures indicate that to those who have more will be given, and from those who have not more will be taken away. This is the very essence of the grave national problem of regional disparity, a subject which was introduced at the recent federal-provincial conference by the Premier of Nova Scotia and which had not even been thought of prior to that by the federal government.

Until the Minister of Manpower can translate his theories into fact and provide the training and mobility for Canadian workers promised by the government of which he is a member, regional disparity will continue to

Business of Supply

sap our national strength. Regional unemployment, which is tangible proof of regional injustice and regional inequalities, is a cancer furtively eating away at the economic body of Canada. We cannot be an entirely healthy nation in an economic sense until we can do better than to have 66,000 out of 626,000, better than one-tenth, of the Atlantic labour force unemployed.

If such conditions were general it might be a different story. But while the Atlantic region, Quebec, and to a lesser extent British Columbia, are staggering along with a tremendous burden of unemployment, Ontario and the prairies are relatively well off in this regard. The disparity between regional unemployment rates is like a hurricane or a holocaust of fire that creates a tremendous suction, drawing everything into the centre and exaggerating an already bad situation. If this disparity continues, skilled workers and highly trained graduates from the Atlantic region and from Quebec will continue to be sucked into the central areas of greater opportunity at an ever-increasing rate and in ever-increasing numbers. This may be excused on the ground of the working of immutable laws of economics, but it can never be excused from the point of view of national development, national unity or national prosperity.

When we consider that the majority of our gravest problems are direct outgrowths of regional disparity we can see plainly the absolute necessity to develop a balanced economy and a balanced national life. Regional disparity is a curse in many ways. It is the mother of strained federal-provincial relations, of a whole series of financial problems, and contributes in no small way to our difficulties in relation to national unity and national progress. To achieve this balance ways must be found to check the flow of bodies, brains and brawn from the have-not to the have regions. Somehow we must make the far pastures of Ontario and the prairies appear less green. By this I do not mean that we should deceive anyone. I mean we must make it economically more attractive to stay in our own backyard. Certainly we can never demonstrate this with unemployment figures as they stand today. No amount of words such as we heard from the minister this afternoon, no amount of eyewash, can persuade anyone from the Atlantic region, where the unemployment rate is 10 per cent, that it is a better spot economically than Ontario where the rate is only 3.9 per cent.

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Business of Supply

In this regard one of my particular concerns is for our student population, both those who will be graduating this year and those who hopefully will be returning to university in the fall. This group embraces many thousands who depend on the few dollars they can earn during the summer months to enable them to go back in the fall. At the rate we are going at present a great many students will not be returning in the fall because they will not have the money.

[DOT] (5:30 p.m.)

This year's graduates are trained and ready to find permanent places in Canada's labour force. But by all indications from university placement officials, industry, and even the Department of Manpower the outlook for them is bleak this year. As far as I can perceive nothing has been done by the minister or his department to prepare adequately to meet this problem. They have shown no awareness that I can see that these young people, highly trained, highly skilled, enthusiastic and dynamic are one of the country's richest natural resources. If they cannot find a place in our national scheme of things they will look elsewhere. Who shall blame them? The gain of the United States or of Europe will be Canada's loss. Last but by no means least, we have students who depend upon summer employment in order to continue their studies. Literally many thousands depend upon summer employment to further their career. I am speaking now particularly of university students, but this also includes many at the secondary school level. I believe this area of employment for graduates and students should have priority within the department of manpower at this time. If nothing is done within a few short weeks the damage done as a result of student unemployment will be irreparable.

It is for the reasons on which I have touched in my remarks that I support this motion with fervour and conviction. I believe it can be truly said that this government has failed utterly to capitalize on our national manpower resources and has irresponsibly endangered the careers of countless young Canadians who would normally have every right to expect a smooth transition from the long years of learning to the laying of a career foundation.

This government has failed to discharge its responsibilities to the older generations of Canadian workers and most particularly to the people of Canada's "have-not" regions. The minister of manpower comes from, I

would suggest, the most depressed rural area, a county which was used for the purpose of a study by the commission which studied poverty in Canada. He, above anyone else, should know how serious and how terrible unemployment is in the Atlantic region. I hope he will take his responsibilities seriously and not change his song or theme from what it was a few short years ago when he said that unemployment was the responsibility of the federal government.

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LIB

Charles L. Caccia

Liberal

Mr. Charles L. Caccia (Davenport):

Mr. Speaker, the motion before us today is broad in scope. Speakers from the other side of the house who have expressed their views so far have proceeded to make a series of criticisms in respect of things the government has failed to do. At the same time, they have outlined the problems. The problems have been defined by various speakers, yet in the course of the debate so far members opposite have produced very few suggestions in the way of solutions. I always thought the function of any opposition to be to demonstrate to the government and the people of Canada that it has better solutions, better ideas and better means to arrive at certain goals in our society.

The Leader of the Opposition, who drafted the motion, included in his motion a reference to students and concentrated his remarks on students for almost the entirety of his speech, as if the manpower of the country consisted of students alone. Where are the labourers, where are the semi-skilled, where are those who have a skill which is becoming obsolete; are they not important? Where are the migrants and immigrants and those who need rehabilitation and need mobility programs; are they not important? They have not been mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition,

Whatever suggestions the Leader of the Opposition has put forward can be indicated in two points. First, the department ought to cut across every federal department in order to co-ordinate and play a greater role whei ever there are cut-backs or changes in governmental policies which affect manpower and employment. In other words, he is telling the department to intervene every time another department wishes to reduce certam programs in an attempt to reduce government spending. If this is what the Leader of the Opposition means, how does he reconcile this with his concern about inflation and the speeches he has made concerning increasing governmental spending? Surely, there is a

March 25, 1969

contradiction in terms here. Secondly, he was critical in respect of the failure to create an advisory board according to the legislation which was introduced in 1967. Well, we certainly need advice. As the Minister has indicated, the consultations are now coming to a conclusion. Apart from these two points, however, there is nothing which has come from the benches across the way which has added to the knowledge, experience or the policies which exist at present and which are being carried out in this country.

It is interesting to note that after the speeches are made and the criticism is levelled, those who have made the speeches disappear from the house. This would not seem to indicate any interest on their part in knowing perhaps what the position might be of the government responsible for the present state of affairs. The hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent) took an entirely different position. I wonder how realistic he is about the present shortage of employment opportunities in suggesting a shift in governmental orientation. Our Minister has already indicated that this shift is in existence. If he wants an acceleration whereby the government would intervene, carry out and direct more of the activities of private enterprise, then apparently so far the Canadian people have not indicated they share the same opinion and his views are not realistic in terms of providing a solution during the life of this parliament.

The other solution the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby put forward was the creation of a young Canadian service program. While this perhaps is something which has a future, the question which might be asked is, how many students could and would take advantage of a scheme of this particular type? Here again, the member of the New Democratic Party completes his statement about Manpower policies without making any mention of whether within Manpower policies there is a need for a program relating not only to students but also to the many other segments of the Canadian population which are immediately in very acute need of assistance because of increasing automation in our society.

The hon. member for Cape Breton-The Sydneys (Mr. Muir) developed certain generalities. He has also disappeared immediately afterwards. He produced a certain number of well-known cliches on the subject. He spoke about the lack of co-ordination between departments which is something that is as old as the existence of any government. He spoke

Business of Supply

about unemployment statistics which we all know. He spoke about regional disparities which are also quite familiar to us and about housing on which there has been a comprehensive debates for the past ten days. But where are the alternatives, where are the proposals which would reflect the half hour of concern and criticism of the policies of the government as expressed by the Leader of the Opposition? It would seem that the opposition has no alternatives to propose. It would seem that the opposition is in a position to describe problems but is not in a position to improve upon existing policies. This seems to me to be a state of bankruptcy of ideas.

[DOT] (5:40 p.m.)

If we look at the present and see what we have, I submit that we are a most fortunate country to have a manpower department. Not many countries of the western world have such a department. We are fortunate that we do have a policy and specific plans and programs such as the mobility program which is endeavouring to bring Canadians to jobs. We are fortunate in that we have programs such as O.T.A. which is endeavouring to keep people up to date with the changing industrial environment and enable people to develop necessary skills.

This is what we have at present. In my opinion, it reflects a great deal of foresight on the part of those who in past years took the initiative and produced the legislation we have on the statute books. This was not the result of the efforts of hon. members opposite. While we find comfort in the fact that we have worth while programs for the Canadian people in this respect, let us look to the future and see what can be expected then. At least those of us on this side of the house look to the future to see whether we can further improve the programs we have, whether we can perhaps one day arrive at a time when Canadians will not only be brought to jobs but when jobs will be brought to Canadians whether they are living near the sea coast or in the mountains of this country. This would be a highly desirable ultimate goal to achieve one day in order to maintain an even spread of the Canadian population from coast to coast. While it is not possible today, we all hope it will be possible in a few years.

We look forward to several things which will improve our ever-changing industrial requirements. We look forward, for instance, to the development of manpower resources which one day, perhaps before the turn of the

March 25, 1969

Business of Supply

century, may even be called the development of human resources, because this is what it is all about. "Manpower" is perhaps a rather narrow term. It refers to man as an economic and productive unit. But with the reduction' of the number of working hours in the week it is quite possible that the next generation in this house will not only be speaking about manpower resources but about Canadian human resources. This will be for the good, I submit.

We also look forward to better resolving some difficult areas in relation to manpower. For instance, there is the question of rehabilitation of those who have been injured at work, the whole question of the services to be made available to people who have to learn a new skill because of an accident at work. These men who are usually middle aged, who have a modest education or perhaps none at all, are at a stage in life when they must adjust to a new physical condition, a new environment and again become the breadwinner of the family. This is a question which probably affects several thousand Canadians from coast to coast.

I cite another example, Mr. Speaker. We look forward to the development of new techniques in the training of immigrant tradesmen, immigrant technicians and professionals in order that they may make a more rapid adjustment to Canadian methods so their abilities may be absorbed into our industrial environment at a faster pace without the loss of talent, without underemployment and so forth.

We look forward to amendments to the Adult Educational Training Act. Amendments may be necessary as we gain experience through the yearsi, as we realize certain weaknesses and can see that certain improvements can be introduced; for instance, with reference in particular to the three-year waiting period required to become eligible for training after having left school unless one has dependants to support. Other amendments may also be necessary.

We look forward to the role of Canada manpower centres in large urban communities. This is a role which perhaps can be expanded, made broader than it is at present, in which these manpower centres would reach out into the neighbourhood. A number of services could be generated from these centres. We have over 300 centres from coast to coast and their potential is substantial. They could be made the focal centre of the communities when it comes to searching for

jobs, obtaining guidance counselling and other services.

We look forward to new pilot projects. One was completed just recently in the city of Toronto for the training of labourers during the winter in order to make them more flexible and adaptable to the requirements of their industry. This was a very successful training scheme and it might set the pattern for future ones. We look forward to experimenting in the field of tradesmen training, particularly those who come from overseas and for whom there is a very great demand. These people have to adapt to provincial laws and requirements.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, we also look forward to learning from those countries which have progressed even further than we have. We look forward to gaining from them experience and techniques which may be adapted to Canadian conditions. These are the things we would like to add to the context of this debate. We would like to hear proposals and suggestions as to how this program can be improved. Where are the ideas from members of the opposition? They have criticized. Let them not limit themselves to outlining the problems. That is the easiest approach. Let us hear from them what they would do if the responsibility were theirs.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION-DEVELOPMENT AND RETENTION OF MANPOWER RESOURCES
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NDP

Edward Richard Schreyer

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ed Schreyer (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. Caccia) has challenged us on this side of the house to propose some concrete ideas and suggestions to the minister and the department. I intend to do just that. I do not regard it as a particularly difficult assignment inasmuch as the Department of Manpower and Immigration has been in operation now for a few years and in my opinion has made mistakes in the administration of the legislation passed by this house. I also believe there are serious flaws in the existing manpower legislation. I have in mind in particular the Occupational Training for Adults Act, to which I shall refer in some detail in a few minutes.

By way of introduction, I say that Canada is fortunate in not being one of those countries which faces a crisis in the sense that it has a serious problem of underutilization of manpower. There are some countries, even in the so-called western industrialized world, that have facing them imminent prospects of almost a civil insurrection because there exists in the ghettos of their bigger cities a large pool of unused, unemployed and underemployed manpower allowed to waste away

March 25, 1969

with each passing year. Canada does not have this kind of problem in those dimensions. That does not mean that we are being over critical or are in any way exaggerating when we say that the problem of rising unemployment in this country is becoming serious and that the minister must show more initiative in grappling with it.

[DOT] (5:50 p.m.)

As other hon. members have pointed out, the rate of unemployment in this country has increased over the past several months and this is reflected in particular in terms of the projected unemployment rate for students during the coming summer months. It may be that the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. MacEachen) got some satisfaction out of twitting the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) for showing a preoccupation in his speech with the particular aspect of unemployment facing students this summer. Whether or not it gave the minister any satisfaction, the fact remains that even last summer the problem manifested itself in that a large number of young people were very concerned. We understand that this summer the problem will be worse.

But in the interval between last summer and now, the minister gave no indication of any specific new ideas as to what to do to cope with the problem. I cannot accept the minister's suggestion, which he made about half an hour ago or so, that the idea advanced that certain students should be given assistance in job placement on the basis of priority according to need is not feasible because his department does not have the administrative machinery to do it. I suggest that that argument is very weak because my understanding is that there exists at the present time at the federal level administrative machinery for assessing student needs with respect to applications for student loans, and it has worked. Why cannot that machinery simply be made available to the Department of Manpower and Immigration to assist students in finding jobs this summer, the next summer or whenever the need arises? That is one specific suggestion which I put forward in response to the challenge from the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. Caccia).

The second suggestion concerns the matter of the educational training of adults. I think the government should admit now that it made a mistake at the time of the passage of the bill and ask this house to pass amending legislation to remove those clauses in the act which are a serious obstacle to all

Business of Supply

young people who, upon leaving high school and enrolling in different courses of manpower training, find they are not eligible for manpower training allowances. The transitional period of three years specified in the act is entirely too long and entirely unjustified. I can recall so well the words uttered in the house, at the time the act was passed, by my colleague the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Orlikow). He said that this was a most unwarranted section which would cause much difficulty and unhappiness to many young people. This is also my experience as a member of parliament trying to deal with case problems brought to me by young people having difficulty in qualifying for manpower training allowances.

I have another suggestion which I should like to put forward, and I invite the hon. member for Davenport to help me in making representations to the minister and to other members of the cabinet to get rid of that obnoxious section in the act which provides for the occupational training of adults. This would be another small, concrete and tangible step toward helping to ease the problem of unemployment and of manpower training in this country.

I also think the minister is well aware of the fact that under the present provisions of the act a hardship is experienced by people enrolled in manpower training courses in that when their instructors go on holiday no matter when that may be, no matter what the financial circumstances of the trainee may be and no matter how many dependents he may have, the person in training has his allowance discontinued. It can happen at the most unexpected time and in the most inopportune circumstances. I believe some action should be taken by the minister to change this. This is a second section of the manpower training policy and of the legislation that should be changed in my opinion.

The third suggestion I should like to make is that, as may be expected, when some people choose the courses that are offered under manpower training which make them eligible for a training allowance, they find that the range of courses is limited or does not suit them. They may then enroll in courses that go beyond 40 or 44 weeks or that are of 52 weeks duration. They may find that it is better for them, in the long range, to enroll in a course that may be of two years duration at an institute of applied arts or an institute of technology, but the moment they enroll in a course that is of a longer duration than one year, which is effectively 44 weeks, they

March 25, 1969

Business of Supply

cease to be eligible for manpower training allowance. I suggest this is an outmoded restriction of provision in the act.

Mr. Speaker, before you rise I suggest that I will be able to conclude my comments on this motion in three minutes, unless some hon. members object.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION-DEVELOPMENT AND RETENTION OF MANPOWER RESOURCES
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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is that agreed?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION-DEVELOPMENT AND RETENTION OF MANPOWER RESOURCES
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION-DEVELOPMENT AND RETENTION OF MANPOWER RESOURCES
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March 25, 1969