March 19, 1970

?

Mr. J.-A. Mongrain@Trois-Rivieres

Mr. Speaker, I have great esteem for the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) and for the leader of the New Democratic party (Mr. Douglas) and usually I listen to them attentively as I did this afternoon. But I must honestly admit they disappointed me by put-

5242 COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Mongrain ting me in a position where I could see the emptiness of their interventions, when they said only that there was unemployment- everybody knows that, of course-that the economy is going through difficult times-we are all aware of that also-and that the government is doing nothing. I would have expected really constructive criticism and that instead of blaming the government they would have made useful suggestions.

I was listening earlier to the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Lambert) who made quite a vigorous speech. I agree with a good many of his views but not with all. For instance, when he repeats constantly that the Bank of Canada could solve our problems, he may be right to a certain extent but that institution is certainly not a gold mine; it cannot cure all our ills.

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

However, I do not want to dwell on that too long. Instead, I wish to take him to task, he who denied earlier indulging in demagogy or electioneering, claiming that he was doing rather something constructive, for having suggested that the $100 million in subsidies that the government will grant to western farmers would be somewhat unfair, at the expense of the rest of Canada. I think that was a mean remark. However, I appreciate the intellectual honesty of the hon. member for Bellechasse-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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RA

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do not wish to interrupt the hon. member-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bechard):

Order. The hon. member for Bellechasse rises on a point of order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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RA

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to interrupt my colleague from Trois-Rivieres, but if my remarks have been interpreted as a reproach to the government about western farmers, it is very unfortunate.

I never thought so. I said that it could be interpreted by our own people or exploited by others who are seeking to spread discord as likely to create dissension and give rise to prejudice. I want to make myself clear on that matter.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Mongrain

Liberal

Mr. Mongrain:

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Bellechasse for his explanation, ibut I add that if he had wanted to show absolute intellectual honesty, he would have told the population why the government has granted a $100 million subsidy to western

IMr, Mongraln.]

DEBATES March 19, 1970

farmers who, this year, will face an unusual problem which does not occur every year.

In extraordinary and disastrous situations such as this one, any government must take unusual measures. Then it must be explained to the Canadian people, especially those in Quebec-where there are so many demagogues who take advantage of such things and misrepresent them totally and unrealistically- that the ten provinces are interdependent and that if some of them, for example, are deprived of a decent standard of living, all the others must suffer for it.

Besides, that is why was established the equalization system under which the province of Quebec will be receiving this year $350 million, and more next year. Those are the things which must be stated when one wants to be honest. I do not suggest that the member for Bellechasse did it intentionally. It is probably because, as he was running out of time, he knew he could not say everything he wanted to say. I feel that those facts must be told.

I think, personally, I would be remiss if at the beginning of my remarks I did not convey to the government the gratitude of my fellow constituents, and especially of the three municipal councils that represent the three municipalities which form my riding, for having decided to designate our region, and also for having decided that our region would be specially designated. That is another thing that the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Lambert) could have mentioned since his own riding was designated, and specially designated. He could have added a word of thanks to the federal government, even if it is what we call justice distributive in French. It is a fact that the government has made a decision which probably represents the difference between poverty continuing for years and years and the achievement of a certain measure of prosperity, increasing little by little in succeeding years.

As far as the metropolitan area of Trois-Rivieres is concerned, it is in a rather strategic position since it constitutes the core of the province of Quebec. It has resources and an economic and industrial potential that are rather important.

For various reasons that I could not enumerate this afternoon, we have experienced during a few years some kind of stagnation. Now, the government has agreed to designate

March 19. 1970 COMMONS

our area and even make it a "special area". This augurs well for a future of real prosperity. When reading the newspapers from my area, one finds how pleased are some organizations, such as the Chambers of Commerce, including the Junior Chamber of Commerce, labour organizations and industrialists' and businessmen's associations, to see that the government has made this gesture. They are ready to do everything possible to take fullest advantage of the benefits made available by the government.

I therefore thank the government for I am convinced that I speak for all the taxpayers, for all my fellow-citizens in my area who are happy with the situation.

The hon. member for Bellechasse has said earlier that the federal government was not doing anything to help the farmers. Even if the federal government does not hand out all the grants to dairy producers-and I will not embark on that topic where I would be at a loss, since there is no farming in my riding- it has suggested alternatives for some rural areas in the province of Quebec. If the Quebec government would accept one or other of those solutions, the province would become highly prosperous, especially in the field of farming which is now stagnating.

For instance, when the federal government offers to develop a national park in the Gaspe peninsula or in the St. Maurice valley, they should rejoice, as a few million dollars investment could draw from tourists $15, $20 or $25 million a year, which would benefit people of these rural and surrounding areas. All people living along roads travelled by tourists would enjoy an increased annual income.

The member for Bellechasse is right when he contends that the present problem is an economic one. We must put an end to our barren quarrels on all aspects of the constitutional reform, as most of the time these are empty words spoken by lawyers striving for influence.

It is important to ensure to all Canadians their three meals a day. It is for this reason that the government is taking concrete measures such as the designation of special areas in order to erase regional disparities, to assist municipalities and to create conditions that will promote the setting up of new industries or the development of existing ones.

That is why the federal government is prepared to create national parks in Quebec, why it has implemented a retraining program designed to give a minimum of academic

DEBATES 5243

The Budget-Mr. Mongrain background to those who lack it, to provide those whose skills have become obsolete with new ones, to teach skills now in great demand to those who have none at all. Those are concrete measures for the ehmination of unemployment. The people do not want charity. I commend the government's decision to review its social legislation in order that, as soon as possible, all Canadians may have a minimum guaranteed income allowing them to live decently.

The hon. member knows the government is concerned with doing all these things. He will have become aware that government policy aims at the goals so well spelled out by the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) when he said, in his own colourful style: If my neighbour is hungry and I give him a fish, there is no doubt that I have helped him but if I also give him a fishing-rod, he will be able to help himself.

This, in a way, is characteristic of this government's policy. To suggest that the present government is not doing anything to solve the present situation, is not true. Indeed, we should not forget that a cold wind of inflation is blowing on the whole world, including countries which were more prosperous at one time than Canada.

I am thinking, for instance, of England whose government has a philosophy that is very close to that of the NDP, of England that has a great deal of trouble trying to maintain some kind of stability. In fact, from time to time the workers protest. France which is a very prosperous country has succeeded due to a certain economic uncertainty, in overthrowing a giant named de Gaulle.

I might also mention Italy which is unable to form a government at the present time.

In Canada, we have succeeded at least in maintaining some sort of stability and in preventing the worst. It is true that there is unemployment in this country. However, if the government had not taken with our help the steps we know, the situation would be far more disastrous.

The opposition co-operated with the government about the implementation of social measures in Canada. In fact, the federal government spends billions of dollars throughout this country, all the year around, in order to maintam some economic stability. Were it not for this initiative and taking into account the crisis that prevails everywhere in the world, the situation would be very much worse.

March 19, 1970

The Budget-Mr. Mongrain

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

I do not think it is correct to say that 6.7 per cent of our workers are unemployed compared to 5 per cent last year. We must ask ourselves if the international situation is not a little bit responsible for that. If no steps had been taken, would things be better or worse?

It is obvious that the government has failed up to now to eliminate unemployment. It is certain also that it will not succeed without the co-operation of provinces, manufacturers and labour unions. But at least it took steps to prevent the situation from becoming worse and even to improve it in several fields.

For my part, I am sure that I speak for all my fellow-citizens when I thank the government for its efforts in order to reduce unemployment. As a positive suggestion, one could perhaps ask the government to organize, if possible, summer camps for university students who want to work. Two birds could perhaps be killed with one stone. These students would first of all be given the opportunity to earn some money with which to pay their tuition fees. In this way, instead of loafing through the summer, they could work for the municipal, provincial or federal governments, helping to develop our natural resources, such as our forests and our lakes, and also to reduce air and water pollution.

The youth of today would like to see such an organization being set up. I recall that there was at one time in the United States an organization known as the Civil Conservation Corps, which was devoted to keep university students busy in summer camps. If I remember well, that was at the end of the economic recession of 1930-39. Outstanding results were achieved by that organization.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague the hon. member for Bellechasse for having mentioned the chaos in the textile industry, and I agree with his remarks. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Pepin) and the Minister of Finance (Mr. Benson) as well as their experts are looking after that problem. Indeed, I had the opportunity to meet them on many occasions, and I would like to repeat what the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe (Mr. Ricard) has already said, and confirm what the hon. member for Bellechasse has just said. I therefore wish to remind our government that the situation is urgent.

There is in my constituency a textile industry which has 2,100 employees. When I meet the management, they tell me how much they

are concerned about the present conditions and they suggest some solutions which seem satisfactory to me. I would therefore ask the government to consider as positively as possible this urgent problem which is in danger of increasing unemployment.

Some companies, because they did not retrain their employees or did not modernize their equipment on time, are condemned to disappear. We have to resign ourselves to that fact. But there are others, and I am thinking of Wabasso Cotton in my constituency which has always had the latest equipment and the best working conditions. It deserves, on account of its efforts, some consideration from the government for itself and its employees.

It seems there are some 85,000 workers in the textile industry in Ontario and Quebec, a substantial figure. I will read part of a communication from the Canadian Institute of Textiles which I have here:

-the Canadian industry of yarns and cottons invested an estimated $10.9 million as capital or maintenance expenditures in 1968. The amount was $21.7 million in 1967 and, according to estimates by investors it will be $11.2 million in 1969.

Therefore, the textile industry made efforts to modernize its equipment and to give new training to its workers in order to meet the competition of countries where wages are 15 to 25 times lower than in Canada.

In spite of all these improvements, the textile industry is in deep trouble. Statistics show that in 1965, woven cotton and synthetic fibres produced by Canadian mills accounted for merely 57 per cent of the Canadian consumer market. The rest came from abroad. In 1969, this figure had declined to 52.5 per cent. According to the leaders of the textile industry, this is an alarming rate of decrease, and they suggest, after conducting studies on what is done elsewhere, that Canada is probably the only country which does not enforce quotas high enough to protect its industry. In their opinion, at least 65 to 70 per cent of the Canadian textile production should be absorbed by the Canadian market. In Japan, there are laws, they say, requiring those who import textile products to secure special permits from the government which grants them only if it is deemed essential to the development of the Japanese industry.

The problem is not that simple, Mr. Speaker, for we have to consider international trade and maintain a trade balance in this field. Japan buys more goods from Canada than we buy from that country, but it is inconsistent to let our textile industry deteri-

March 19, 197C COMMONS

orate and its domestic market decline, when we are spending millions of dollars to try to boost the economy and set up new industries. It would be wise to maintain our existing industries. I therefore ask the government to take steps in order to increase the quota of Canadian consumption supplied with Canadian production. It is now roughly 55 per cent, including all products available. It should be increased to 65 or 70 per cent.

When it is intended to establish quotas, the industry should be advised a few years beforehand, so that it will know where it stands, and will be able to plan their investment budgets and have some idea of the kind of market it can count on. We would render it a tremendous service. In fact, we would prevent it at least from dying; it is a vigorous and open-minded industry, which managed to retrain its workers and modernize its equipment in good time. The others, of course, are still living under that basic law, that is, the survival of the fittest. Some people will always have to give up, as some farmers have. Indeed, while some farmers continue to prosper others are going bankrupt, because they are unable to manage with the means at their disposal.

I have another request to make to the government. At a time when my area, that of Trois-Rivieres, located in the heart of the province of Quebec, is on the threshold of a considerable industrial revival, having been designated as a special zone, when the federal government is prepared to give us also a national park, and when we are awaiting the decisions of a Quebec minister who is looking for periods and commas, when we need millions of dollars to get jobs for our people, I wish to call the attention of the government to the fact that Air Canada intends to curtail its daily service to Trois-Rivieres.

In the name of the municipal councils, Chambers of Commerce and businessmen at home, I wish to oppose Air Canada's decision very strongly, because we have built an up-to-date 6,000-ft. runway specially for Air Canada. The city has erected an air terminal that numbers among the most beautiful in Canada, whose design is probably the most modern yet. The government has spent considerable amounts of money to install an electronic control tower system designed to guide the landing of big aircrafts.

Many sacrifices have been made for Air Canada. That corporation is not justified, just because its operations are showing a deficit, to cancel its daily flights, and that for the

DEBATES 5245

The Budget-Mr. Mongrain following reasons: first, the federal government as well as the Trois-Rivieres municipality have invested huge amounts of money so that Air Canada would come into that area. Furthermore, the profits of the corporation must not be computed simply on the basis of the tickets sold in Trois-Rivieres. Finally, Air Canada certainly brings a large number of people from the metropolitan area of Trois-Rivieres, which has a population of 350,000 to 400,000, to go to Montreal by air rather than by car when they go on holidays for one, two or three weeks.

These are profits accumulated by Air Canada but which are not taken into consideration in its computation to see whether the Trois-Rivieres air terminal is economical or not, while they should be included because otherwise people will travel by Air France, Eastern Airlines or CP Air. People are under no obligation to travel by Air Canada but the fact that this corporation is there induces them to use its services.

I admit that when I started to travel along distances by air I used Air France planes with much pleasure but today when my friends and I travel by air, we go by Air Canada.

Air Canada has incurred obligations on account of government investments. It gets something out of the advertising made in foreign air terminals as it is a company which is to a certain extent financed by the federal government. Therefore, it should help designated areas to prosper by maintaining its service there.

I ask the Minister of Transport (Mr. Jamieson), as well as the whole cabinet, to use their influence in order that the Trois-Rivieres area may keep its airport and so that Air Canada will maintain its daily service there. Moreover, schedules should be drawn up so as to make air travel even more attractive to business men, for instance, who wish to make connections with flights to northwestern Quebec or to other countries.

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

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take too much of the time of my colleagues but I would have had things to say about the famous $200 million. Quite a fuss is made about the whole thing in the province of Quebec and it is used as a means of stirring up the province against the federal government. Such utter irresponsibility.

This is not only irresponsibility but criminal dishonesty in many cases because those

March 19, 1970

The Budget-Mr. Mongrain $200 million were distributed to the citizens of the province of Quebec. That amount was not given as a lump sum to the government so that it would use it as it thought best. It was distributed to all the Quebec citizens, under the form of pensions or welfare measures of all kinds, the cost of which goes up every year. One will recall that that was precisely the objective of that social development tax. If we have no medicare in the province of Quebec at the present time, it is not the fault of the federal government which is ready to pay half of it. It is the fault of the Quebec government, it could have implemented it last July. Indeed, the government intends to levy a premium in order to implement it. It will therefore not cost the provincial treasury very much. The taxpayers in Quebec will pay the share Quebec should pay.

It is therefore unfair to accuse the federal government without explanation, of fiscal violation, or even of theft. That is irresponsibility! That is criminal demagoguery, when arguments are used that only serve to stir the ill-informed, the naive souls in Quebec, against the central government which tries to maintain reasonable prosperity in all the provinces.

The province of Quebec is the first to benefit, thanks to equalization payments, and also to the direct or indirect contribution of the Department of National Defence which spends hundreds of millions of dollars in Montreal. If Quebec were to separate, it would no longer benefit from that financial contribution, nor from the subsidies to hospitals, to CEGEPs, and all the other things it accepts without a word.

I cannot deal with everyone of those points for I see my time is almost up. I thank my honourable colleagues for their patience and I conclude by saying again that my own electors are most grateful to the government for having given us the advantage of those special measures, thanks to designated areas and "special areas."

In addition, my electors express their deep gratitude to the federal government for having thought of having a national park in the St. Maurice Valley.

I also ask the government to protect the textile industry, which is a very important one in my area, and to consider that problem as urgent as that of the farmers out west.

Now, I should like to speak with every precaution, because I should not like to show the weakness I have reproached to others.

Although I am in favour of the $100 million that will be spent out west, I say the textile industry in Ontario and in Quebec need help.

As for Air Canada, I trust the members of the government will be firm enough to see to it that it does not disappear from the area, at least not before we have alternative service as convenient as the one we already have.

I forgot to say that another service has been added to that of Air Canada which is financed by the federal government, namely a meteorological service which is useful to us in many fields and which we may not be able to keep if Air Canada leaves us.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PC

William C. Scott

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. C. Scott (Victoria-Haliburlon):

Mr. Speaker, my first reaction to this budget was that the government had missed the boat, if indeed it had any intention of ever trying to catch the boat in the first place. After listening for three days of debate on the budget, I realize that the government has not just missed one boat, but several boats. They have missed so many boats that I am inclined to wonder if they are going in the same direction as the rest of us. I wonder if the government is even remotely interested in going in the same direction that the Canadian people wanted to go. It is obvious that the government is going to continue to go its own way regardless of whether the Canadian people benefit from the exercise.

One thing that comes through loud and clear in this budget is that the government has decided that prosperity is too good for the average person in Canada. In this land of plenty, this land of lush forests, untold mineral resources, great challenge and unlimited opportunity, the Canadian people are given a choice between a demagog or nothing. Even as we debate this budget the government has brought in new legislation which it says will solve the problems of our agricultural industry. It is another smoke-screen. Anyone who takes the trouble to read the bill will see that this is more clear evidence of a demagog under the guise of helping the farmer find markets more readily for his produce. The bill contains provisions for the eventual takeover by the government of the means of production and absolute control over where and how the producer will market his produce.

Today's headlines state that there are 526,000 people unemployed in Canada. While unemployed workmen in the hundreds of thousands and elderly people on fixed incomes cry out for some small measure of

March 19, 1970

March 19, 1970

The Budget-Mr. Scott almost a hundred years we had a Post Office which delivered letters and parcels. When I was growing up, the postman was a respected member of the community who seemed to be above partisan politics and organized violence. The village post office was often the centre of social activity in the small communities across the country. Now, Mr. Speaker, we find that one of the defeated candidates for the leadership of the Liberal party has reorganized the Post Office. While he was in the process of making a shambles of the Post Office system he made such profound observations as "The practice of sending letters from one person to another person is becoming outmoded. Such things belong to a bygone era." Well, Mr. Speaker, he has proven that point beyond doubt. Mailing a letter in Canada from one person to another, and getting it delivered, does indeed belong to a bygone era.

The minister also closed many of the village and town post offices across the country-as a matter of fact he has closed some 1,200 of them-and told us this saves the Post Office some $2 million a year. We learn, however, that the Company of Young Canadians is getting almost $2 million a year to spend doing their thing. I wonder which is more important. We could go on and on, Mr. Speaker, calling attention to such examples of government efficiency as the recent reorganization of the Unemployment Insurance Commission, but in the face of the power-mad group sitting across the chamber any observations we make regarding the inefficiency of the government amount only to painful reminiscence.

This budget is just another straw piled on the back of the Canadian individual, the Canadian voter. Over the next two years we can expect to see more of the same, and the people are already getting tired of excuses in place of answers. We on this side of the House will continue strenuously to oppose the trend to government takeover of Canadian institutions and the suppression of individual freedom. It is not unlikely that two years from now those same voters will decide to cancel the present government's mandate and restore the concept of parliamentary democracy to this country.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Winona Grace MacInnis

New Democratic Party

Mrs. Grace Maclnnis (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, this budget reminds me of a story I heard about a man who was undergoing an examination after applying for life

insurance. The doctor asked him the usual routine questions before inquiring, "Have you ever had a serious accident?" The man replied that he had not. The doctor then asked him to undress for a physical examination, and in the course of it he was astonished to find a very long scar running down the man's side. "What happened?" he asked. "I was gored by a bull", the man replied. "I thought you said you had never had a serious accident", said the doctor. "I didn't", the patient replied, "The bull did it on purpose."

This is exactly how it is with the budget, now before us. At first sight, people are apt to believe that it could not have been done on purpose, that it was an accident. Large groups of citizens have been waiting and waiting for it with high hopes. They have been told over and over again that the government was reviewing the position of the various social security measures, that a review was in progress. They have been bombarding us with letters asking when this review would be completed. Surely, they thought, when the budget comes down it will contain measures to help us until the review is completed and long-term decisions are made.

People were stunned to hear the minister make the budget speech he did. Here are some of the points the hon. gentleman made. I myself was startled to hear them expressed in one short passage of the budget presentation. All this happened in 1969: (1) the rate of economic growth declined, (2) unemployment increased, (3) housing starts were fewer, (4) interest rates rose, (5) consumer debt rose, (6) wheat sales declined, (7) the cost of living climbed steadily and (8) the problems of the cities grew apace.

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

The startling thing is that the minister forecast that all this would continue into 1970 and he did not limit the period of its continuance. The minister himself forecast that all these ills would continue to get worse in the period ahead. He knew what he was talking about, because the policies of the government have made certain that this state of affairs will continue in the way it has for the last two years. The budget is the result of a complete lack of leadership over the last two years on the part of the government; and the people of Canada who need help have been looking in vain to the government to give this leadership.

March 19, 1970

What does this kind of budget mean? What will we be faced with as a result of the budget? Put briefly-others of my colleagues have dealt with this question at greater length-it means that this government is leaving the private sector of the economy free to continue to expand and to make larger profits regardless of the value to the public of that expansion. At the same time, government services such as health and welfare, assistance to education, pollution control and many other very necessary and essential services of value to the public are going to be restricted. That is what the policies contained in the budget are designed to do.

In the second place, this budget will bring on increased unemployment. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Benson) said this was so in his budget speech and the most recent unemployment figures confirm it right up to the hilt. I do not know whether even the minister is prepared for the rapidity with which unemployment is increasing and is likely to increase. Here is the proof that unemployment is not an accident; that the minister's policies are designed for that purpose. I should like to refer to a clipping from the Globe and Mail that deals with some remarks made by the Minister of Finance outside the House. In addition to other unpleasant and unusal habits, the government has developed the habit of making its most important policy statements outside the House to the media without giving the members of the House the benefit of hearing them within these walls. Speaking to the Canadian Press on March 16, the Minister of Finance is reported to have said:

Unemployment slightly higher than that of 1969 may be necessary "if we are really going to beat inflation"-

His comment was made on a public affairs television program taped for broadcast yesterday.

"I certainly hope the steps we are taking will mean that unemployment won't be concentrated as it has been in the past in certain areas of Canada," Mr. Benson said.

"We are certainly taking all the steps we can to help areas in eastern Canada and eastern Quebec where unemployment is high."

The things the government has been doing to help-and I put the word "help" in quotes -are the very things that are causing unemployment and will continue to cause unemployment to increase in this country. I say this because the policies contained in the budget will mean increased unemployment. They will mean more lay-offs, just as there have been increasing lay-offs in the public

The Budget-Mrs. Maclnnis service. They will mean lay-offs in private industry, too. This past week unemployed rubber workers in one of the big plants near Toronto visited Ottawa. People are being laid off in industry after industry, yet the government feels there is no responsibility on its shoulders do to do anything concrete or worth while to correct the situation. This is why unemployment is mounting.

In the third place, these policies mean that the cost of living will continue to go up and up and up. It was up 5 per cent last year. I have already told the House what this means in terms of facts and figures, cold statistics, but what does it mean to the lives of men and women across the country? I wish at some time in this House we could have a day when members were permitted to say nothing except to read the kind of letters they receive. I know other members get them; I get them all the time. I should just like to read two of these letters this afternoon. Both are from Vancouver. I should like to read an extract from the first one, dated March 12, from a veteran of the second world war. He says in part:

On February 14th last, Mr. Les Benjamin and Mr. John Diefenbaker tried very hard to get Mr. Dube, Minister for Veterans Affairs, to give some sort-any sort-of answer as when-if ever-the government is likely to implement at least a small part of the Woods report as far as needy ex-servicemen are concerned but met with complete and utter evasion!

How cynical can some politicians get? How cynically disillusioned must any and every war veteran be! What faith in any politician's statements and promises can we place in them?? What sort of faith and belief in our governments can we pass on to our children and our grandchildren???

I have a much briefer letter from another veteran who resides in my riding. I received it the other day. He said: "As my member, you have a duty to get down to the House again and demand from the government to know when they are going to table the Woods report". He seems to feel that tabling the Woods report will be a step toward bringing about an increase in the pensions of veterans and their families.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Getting it implemented.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Winona Grace MacInnis

New Democratic Party

Mrs. Maclnnis:

Getting it implemented

would. We have been receiving dozens and dozens of letters from people who are desperate. These are people who are the salt of the earth. They have devoted their lives to this country and they want to dedicate their children to this country, but all in vain. If it is in

March 19, 1970

Limiting of Foreign Ownership order, Mr. Speaker, I should like to leave the reading of the second letter until after the dinner adjournment, as I see it is now six o'clock. May I call it six o'clock?

At six o'clock the House took recess.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 8 p.m.


LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order, please. I

understand the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Greene) seeks leave to revert to motions for the purpose of making a statement. Does the minister have the consent of the House?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

THE CANADIAN ECONOMY

LIB

John James Greene (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. J. J. Greene (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources):

Mr. Speaker, I should like, pursuant to the Prime Minister's statement of March 2, to inform the House of the government's position with regard to ownership in the Canadian uranium industry. That position rests upon the special importance of this industry in relation to the national interest, as reflected, for example, in the Atomic Energy Control Act and in a number of statements of general policy of which the most recent was made in the House on June 19 of last year. In light of that special importance, the ownership and control of enterprises in Canada engaged in the extraction and processing of this vital mineral are matters of important concern to the national interest and to Canadians generally. For this reason we propose to limit, by regulation, the extent of ownership of uranium-producing enterprises in Canada by non-residents of Canada.

The regulations will apply to any uranium property or plant in Canada which the Atomic Energy Control Board may determine to be producing, or to have the capability of producing, a specified quantity of uranium oxide per annum. They will require that by a specified date following such a determination by the board the property or plant be owned

legally and beneficially by a company incorporated in Canada.

The regulations will limit foreign ownership both in the aggregate and on the part of any individual or group of foreign investors. They will distinguish between existing properties of demonstrated productive capacity and those developed in future on the basis of exploration. Specifically, the regulations will set a limit of 33 per cent upon the aggregate foreign ownership of any uranium property of established productive capacity, and a limit of 10 per cent on the ownership of such a property which may be held by any one foreign investor or group of associated investors.

It is not our intention to limit the ownership of enterprises engaging in exploration, but when such exploration leads to the discovery of a commercially exploitable uranium ore body, the foreign ownership of the company bringing it into production will be limited to 33 per cent. In this case of a new mine, however, the regulations will allow the permissible 33 per cent of ownership to be held by the single foreign investor or group of associated investors which held it through the exploration and development phase.

With regard to existing mines, our regulations will be effective as from the date of the Prime Minister's statement on March 2, but will not be retroactive in the sense of requiring foreign interests then holding more of the ownership than the prescribed limits to divest themselves of those surplus holdings. However, any transaction which would bring either individual or aggregate foreign holdings above their prescribed limits, or if they are already above them would increase the amounts by which the limits are exceeded, will be precluded. Present foreign owners will be permitted to retain their existing holdings, but if they reduce them by sale to Canadians with a consequent reduction in the percentage of ownership in foreign hands, that reduced level of ownership will become the new permissible ceiling down to the prescribed limits of 10 per cent and 33 per cent.

Furthermore, we shall require, in the case of foreign holdings by an individual or group of associated investors amounting to 50 per cent of total ownership or higher, that while such holdings may be retained by their present owners, any transfer of them must be to Canadians only, down to the 33 per cent aggregate foreign ownership limit. Where individual holdings by foreign interests are now below 50 per cent, however, their trans-

March 19, 1970 COMMONS

fer to other foreign investors will be permitted.

[DOT] (8:10 p.m.)

A further point concerns foreign enterprises now engaged in uranium exploration which have not yet established the presence of commercially productive uranium deposits. Such enterprises will be given a certain period of time within which to establish the commercially productive capacity of their properties in order to qualify for the exemption from the ceilings which will be available to present foreign owners of existing mines; otherwise they will be regarded as new mines. Finally, the government may wish to bring forward special conditions applicable to enterprises in which one or more foreign governments may have a substantial interest.

In this statement I have sought to inform the House as promptly and as fully as possible of the criteria which the government will apply in this matter. The preparation of detailed regulations reflecting these criteria, in the course of which there will be consultation with interested parties, will go forward with all possible speed and we shall make the results known as soon as possible.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   URANIUM INDUSTRY-REGULATIONS LIMITING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, this is another occasion on which one is supposed to make an instant comment about something upon which the minister, hopefully, has reflected for some time. Let me just say for this evening that it has not yet really been made clear why the government should announce a particular policy with regard to uranium.

I think the House and the country are entitled to a more adequate explanation than has been given so that the question can be adequately judged in respect of why special regulations are required concerning uranium as distinct from other natural resources because, rightly or wrongly, it is generally assumed the government has other methods by which to ensure the regulation of uranium mining in Canada. Whatever differences of opinion there may be concerning whether there should be restrictions in respect of foreign ownership of resources in Canada, I do not think the government has yet made clear why special measures are taken with regard to uranium. The only explanation that has been available to any of us is that a transaction has taken place which provoked, or at least induced the government to interfere in a transfer that was proposed.

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Limiting of Foreign Ownership

I think the government ought to give the country a more adequate explanation concerning the step that is being taken, not with regard to the control of uranium mines but with regard to the control of the companies mining uranium as distinct from the control of companies mining other minerals in Canada. Second, I thought the minister would have given some explanation tonight concerning why 33 per cent is the magic figure to be used in limiting the extent of foreign ownership of a company mining uranium in Canada. It is not obvious to me, for example, why 33 per cent should be the limit when generally speaking, as a matter of arithmetic, something over 50 per cent represents actual control and there may well be circumstances in which something less than 33 per cent could actually provide working control.

We all know there are large corporations in North America and in the world in which less than 33 per cent control of the shares actually gives working control for all practical purposes. So I would think that in the very near future the minister ought to give a more adequate explanation concerning why 33 per cent is the magic figure. On the one hand, it might be high enough to permit the defeat of the purpose the government has in mind; in other words, it might be high enough to permit people from outside the country obtaining practical control over a company. On the other hand, it may be restrictive in respect of enabling a Canadian corporation which has a 51 per cent interest obtaining sufficient equity participation to make possible the opening of a mine even though it does not involve control. The 33 per cent might be unnecessarily restrictive.

As of tonight there does not seem to be very much sense in this particular figure being chosen. These are about the only instantaneous remarks I should like to make, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   URANIUM INDUSTRY-REGULATIONS LIMITING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
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NDP

Max Saltsman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Max Salisman (Waterloo):

Mr. Speaker, I too am somewhat uncertain why the minister chose to make this statement in the rather cryptic way it was made today. The whole issue of the government's concern about uranium leaves more questions unanswered than answered. I do not wish to argue about this. To begin with, however, I am sure there is a good reason for the government's move in this case. I am pleased that some action is being taken in this regard. I am somewhat unhappy that the government has not been more frank with us on this issue, because as

5252 COMMONS

Limiting of Foreign Ownership all of us know the government now has control over the export of uranium to an extent that it does not have over other industries. In many ways a better case could have been made for Canadian ownership of other industries rather than uranium.

I hope that if unanimous consent could be obtained for him to do so, the minister would fill in some of the details tonight since he has raised the question tonight. There are many questions in everyone's mind concerning why he has taken this extraordinary step. The only reason that comes to mind is that this measure would be a way to escape the extraterritorial conditions which might be imposed upon our industry if United States investors who would be subject to United States law came in at a time when the government might have in mind exporting uranium to a country of which the United States might disapprove. This is the only reason I can see for such a measure.

There does not seem to be any sense in it on the ground that the government does not have any control: the government obviously has control. I do not know what type of approach should be taken in this regard, but I should like the minister to be given an opportunity to answer tonight some of the questions which arise out of his statement, because it does not deal adequately with the problem.

I am disappointed that the minister did not see fit to provide us with a copy of his statement in advance. The members of the press gallery have copies of his statement, but Members of Parliament do not. This is a most serious matter and one in which the opposition is vitally concerned. We think the minister ought to take this House into his confidence and say something further. Although this probably is an unusual procedure, I believe it to be necessary. I think he should indicate the reason the government feels it should take such an extraordinary step. I hope there will be unanimous consent of the House to the minister being granted the right tonight to explain the situation.

[DOT] (8:20 p.m.)

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   URANIUM INDUSTRY-REGULATIONS LIMITING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
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RA

Gérard Laprise

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Gerard Laprise (Abitibi):

Mr. Speaker, I was greatly astonished to hear this unexpected though important statement.

As the previous speakers, I was shocked that copies of this statement had been released to the press while opposition mem-

DEBATES March 19, 1970

bers were forgotten as usual. Tomorrow we will be able to read the minister's statement not in Hansard, since we will only receive it after the first sitting, but in the newspapers.

However, it would have been preferable to discuss briefly this government decision. I gather that the minister wanted to make this statement after the closing of the stock exchanges, so as to prevent speculation. But he might have trusted the opposition members and given them a copy of it.

The proposed measure designed to regulate uranium mines or production under foreign control does not seem to me to be a step in the right direction.

However, I was led to believe that the minister had left several doors open by allowing foreign interests to circumvent whatever regulations the minister or government wishes to apply.

I think we will have the opportunity of studying and analyzing that decision more thoroughly. We should therefore have the possibility of discussing this matter more fully with the minister in the very near future, perhaps before the House adjourns for the Easter recess.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   URANIUM INDUSTRY-REGULATIONS LIMITING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
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NDP

Max Saltsman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Saltsman:

I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wonder whether you would ask the House for unanimous consent to allow the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Greene) to elaborate on the statement.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   URANIUM INDUSTRY-REGULATIONS LIMITING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

We would be perfectly willing to agree to that, Mr. Speaker. I suggest, however, that we are now engaged in a debate and that this would be the proper forum for the minister to speak. If the minister wants to reply, that is fine. I would be willing to allow him the time which normally would be allotted to another member of his party, if he wants to speak. However, far be it from me to urge a minister of the Crown to speak.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   URANIUM INDUSTRY-REGULATIONS LIMITING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
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March 19, 1970