April 10, 1970

?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
PC

Robert Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Muir (Cape Breton-The Sydneys):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to thank the members for their kindness. I will not be very long. This Part of the report of the United Community Services of the Greater Vancouver area reads:

Perhaps the most alarming statistic in this study is that of 27 per cent of registrants in the age group up to and including 19 who "want and could use upgrading" only 5 per cent were given manpower training courses. Present manpower regulations militate against this age group. Only those who have been out of school at least one year are eligible for enrolment in training courses, and three years must elapse before they can qualify for maintenance while training.

The member who introduced this motion today mentioned that the government had now increased to three years the time that an individual must be on the labour market before he or she can receive training. It is often the case, particularly with young peo-

DEBATES April 10, 1970

pie, that they must just walk the streets for three years with nothing to do. They sometimes lose their ambition in that period while waiting to receive training. The report continues:

The absurdity of these regulations is illustrated by a Vancouver woman given an academic upgrading course by the social welfare department to help her on the road to independence; she found herself disqualified for manpower training allowances for the next three years.

Of all the applicants for occupational training courses, only one in ten is accepted. It is obvious that since the primary object is to satisfy the employer, training is almost unavailable to those whose skills are least and whose income is most likely to be well below the poverty level.

In the Atlantic provinces, the unemployment rate is almost twice the rate for the rest of Canada. In certain regions, particularly in Newfoundland, it ranges as high as 20 to 22 per cent unemployment. This is not good, Mr. Speaker. It is a very sad situation. This situation is not helped by the government's policies with regard to freight rates in the Atlantic provinces. As a result of this freight rate policy prices are rising in the Atlantic provinces and, in many cases, industry is being driven out of the area because it cannot cope with the increased rates. Questions have been directed to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Jamieson) regarding this situation. He is always most co-operative and in my opinion works well with all members. I hope he will prevail upon the CNR to roll back these increases in order to assist the economy of the Atlantic provinces.

I completely agree with the motion that has been put forward. In fact I go a little farther than that. I would like to add a few words to the final line of the motion moved by the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent). Therefore, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe (Mr. Ricard) that the motion of the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby be amended by adding thereto the following:

-and particularly the failure of the government to provide freight rate subsidization in the Atlantic provinces, where unemployment rates are twice the national average, in order to relieve against the hardship of high prices and unemployment.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bechard):

Mr. Muir, (Cape Breton-The Sydneys), seconded by Mr. McCleave, moves that the motion be amended as follows:

-and particularly the failure of the government to provide freight rate subsidization in the Atlantic provinces, where unemployment rates are twice the national average, in order to relieve against the hardship of high prices of unemployment.

April 10, 1970

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
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PC

Robert Jardine McCleave

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McCleave:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The motion was seconded by the hon. member for Saint Hyacinthe (Mr. Ricard). I would have been very pleased to have been identified with it, he is the seconder.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bechard):

The

record will be changed accordingly.

[DOT] (2:20 p.m.)

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
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PC

J.-H.-Théogène Ricard

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Theogene Ricard (Saint-Hyacinthe):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to start my remarks by reading the motion under consideration:

That this House condemns the Government (a) for its failure to provide a program of full employment, (b) for its discriminatory and ineffective manpower policies, and (c) for its destructive labour relations with its own employees.

Mr. Speaker, in the light of existing conditions, I believe it would have been difficult to find a more appropriate motion than this one which is complemented by the amendment moved by my friend from Cape Breton-The Sydneys (Mr. Muir).

Mr. Speaker, in 1965, three new men arrived on the federal political scene to join the Liberals. Until they took their final decision, these three doves, as they are called, were not known for their unflinching faith in the ideas of the Liberal party. They were identified rather with the CCF party or the NDP.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Or with the Progressive Conservative party.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
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PC

J.-H.-Théogène Ricard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ricard:

Considering the past of these three newcomers, the workers could have rightly expected that their problems would be rapidly solved in the future.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), for one, played a very active role, as everybody knows, in the famous strike of the asbestos miners. He identified himself at the time with the interests of the workers and once arrived here, as Prime Minister, the workers would have had the right to expect from him that he would take care of them in a very special manner. As far as the Secretary of State (Mr. Pelletier) is concerned, he also is recognized as an old trade-unionist because of the part he took in the CBC strike. And the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (Mr. Mar-chand) made his first appearance in public life with the CNTU and achieved an enviable reputation which is recognized by everyone.

Alleged Failure of Employment Policies

Those three newcomers on the federal scene held important positions with the unions. They therefore owe much to the working class. It is surprising, Mr. Speaker, to note that in 1970, the three doves, as some took pleasure in calling them, instead of helping the working class which had supported them, so to speak, for so many years, should have decided to turn their backs on them. Is it any wonder then, Mr. Speaker, that the reputation of those three gentlemen, each of whom holds a very important post within the Canadian government, should deteriorate constantly. Most of the workers are sorry they trusted those three gentlemen. Several of them even see treachery in the present attitude of one of them in particular, namely the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion.

I am sorry he is not here in the House now, because I have a message to convey to him on behalf of the workers of my riding which is going through a depression such as it has never known before. The words I will use might be a bit harsh. However, this must be made known, and I would not change them if he were here. I am even sorry he is not in the House, because it would give me some pleasure in saying them in his presence. Because of the roster system which has been adopted, this is not one of his days to be in the House. But I must not, because of that, be deprived of making my remarks.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to dwell for a few moments on the present situation of the working class. The most recent statistics, as published by the Federal Bureau of Statistics on February 21 last, reveal that there were at that time 526,000 unemployed Canadians. In the province of Quebec alone, there are 195,000 unemployed at the present time, which represents 8.7 per cent of the Quebec labour force. The unemployment rate for Canada as a whole is 6.5 per cent.

According to an inquiry made by the JOC (Young Catholic Workers' Association) among the young workers in the province of Quebec, there are 57,000 unemployed young people. Which means that one young Quebecer out of ten is unemployed at the present time and that young people represent 42 per cent of the unemployed in Quebec. What will happen in a few months from now? Students will begin their holidays and will also invade the labour market, looking for a job so as to be able to pay a part of their fees. It is just too bad, but many of those 640,000 new job seekers

April 10, 1970

5734 COMMONS DEBATES

Alleged Failure of Employment Policies throughout Canada will not be able to achieve their goal which is to pay much of their tuition.

[DOT] (2:30 p.m.)

The only ones responsible for that are those who sit at the present time on the treasury benches. And just to emphasize their responsibility, I just have to go through the 1965 Index of the debates of the House to see that those who were then in the opposition blamed unemployment on the ministers of that time, on the Progressive Conservative government.

I will simply mention four speakers from the Liberal party: the hon. Chevrier, Martin, Pearson and Pickersgill. You will notice at a glance that during the third session of the 23rd Parliament, the hon. Chevrier made 38 contributions about unemployment, blaming the government for not providing the necessary jobs for the Canadians who were able to work.

The hon. Paul Martin, whom I need not present, made 123 contributions here in the House to condemn the government headed by Right Hon. Mr. Diefenbaker for not taking the necessary steps to check unemployment.

I remember the Right Hon. Mr. Pearson, the Leader of the Opposition at that time, who on 34 occasions, took part in the debates of the House to upbraid the Progressive Conservative members for not providing the Canadian workers with jobs. He was supported by the hon. Pickersgill who took the floor on 34 occasions also to blame the government for the ills that plagued the Canadian workers because of lack of jobs.

I shall not mention the remarks made by other members. I was here at that time and unemployment was the curse of the day then. Today, we are witnessing a situation which is strangely similar to that which prevailed when the Liberals were on this side of the House. What answer do they suggest?

What is the Cabinet doing now to fight unemployment? Nothing at all. They leave to their own devices heads of families who lose their jobs because the government is failing in its duty.

Mr. Speaker, I should like to take a few minutes to deal more particularly with the sorry plight of our workers. I do not want to overdo it, but I shall simply relate the facts as they are.

At Saint-Hyacinthe, in my riding, conditions are so serious that people attending

[Mr. Ricard.l

church services last Sunday were urged to pray so that unemployment will end and that our leaders will be successful in their fight against it.

Furthermore, I want to put into the record a letter signed by the highest religious authority in the Saint-Hyacinthe diocese, his Excellency Bishop Sanschagrin and sent to the hon. Jean Marchand, Minister of Regional Economic Expansion. The letter reads as follows:

The priests of the Saint-Hyacinthe area deplore the stagnation which affects the workers of the area. As shown in the briefs submitted by the Confederation of National Trade Unions and the Goodyear retraining committee, 20 per cent of the labour force is unemployed and therefore up against a situation of poverty detrimental to the workers themselves, their families and their community.

We believe it is most urgent for us to make representations to your department so that measures are taken to remedy the situation. We join the two bodies mentioned above, as well as municipal authorities and intermediary bodies in asking that the economic subdivision of Saint-Hyacinthe be designed as a special area or in any other way, or that other effective steps be taken to cope with that serious problem which can only deteriorate if nothing is done.

And we have signed,

The signatures follow.

Up to 1954, the conditions in the city and area of Saint-Hyacinthe had always been rather satisfactory, and the area was known for its prosperity. But since 1964, things have gone from bad to worse.

I have tried as often as possible to draw the government's attention to that problem, but I must admit that it was apparently to no avail. Nobody heeded my warnings, and yet they were only made in the best interests of my fellow-citizens.

In 1964, there were 6,059 jobs in the Saint-Hyacinthe area. In March 1970, there were only 4,944. What happened to those people who lost their jobs? They joined the increasing number of unemployed; they often had to leave their own country. In some cases, they had to put up for sale the house they had built with the help of members of their family. To sum up, for many families, the worsening of unemployment in the Saint-Hyacinthe area as a result of the lack of planning on the part of our governments has spread panic and want everywhere.

I have here the report of a study prepared by University of Montreal students. It has been published in the Wednesday, March 18, 1970 issue of Le Clairon, and here is what it reveals:

April 10, 1970 COMMONS

[DOT] (2:40 p.m.)

A staggering document

-Unemployment: 20 per cent-employment reduced by 18 per cent-

-the lowest salaries-brain drain -1,000 people have left the Saint-Hyacinthe area -serious anemia

If a city or a region is to experience continued prosperity, it is necessary for new industries to come and settle there.

I have on hand a table of the industries that went into operation and folded up in the period from 1964 to March 1970. A total of nine new industries settled in Saint-Hyacinthe and they created 153 new jobs. During the same period, nine industries closed shop depriving the area of 484 jobs. We are therefore short of a great number of jobs.

From 1945 to 1970, the number of jobs at the Goodyear Tire Co. went down from 1,250 to 400. According to my information, this number will be further reduced. At Yamaska Shirt, there were 300 employees in 1945; today there are only 75. Penman's had 700 employees in 1959; it has 325 today.

Just a few weeks ago, 30 workers were laid off at the Volcano Ltd. plant. Last week, Penman's laid off 50. Casavant Freres also laid off some workers. Goodyear Tire has, I believe, fired 147 workers recently.

If that is not a sufficiently sad picture of what is happening in the town of Saint-Hyacinthe and the adjacent area, I wonder what is needed to stir up the ministers whose responsibility it is to do something to solve the problem.

I have made representations to the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (Mr. Mar-chand) which were, I repeat, supported by the bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, by intermediary agencies by municipal authorities, but all to no avail.

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate to see a minister who owes everything to the labour force turn his back on those who made him. I am anxious to have him take note of my representations which have been forwarded to me to be brought to the minister's attention.

Mr. Speaker, those people, when they belonged to the opposition, when their political "fathers" belonged to the opposition, always managed to blame the then Conservative government for the ills that existed-

DEBATES 5735

Alleged. Failure of Employment Policies

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bechard):

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but his time has expired and unless he has the unanimous consent of the House, he will not be allowed to continue his remarks. Does the House agree?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bechard):

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
PC

J.-H.-Théogène Ricard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ricard:

Mr. Speaker, I only have a few words to say before I am through.

As I was saying, their "political fathers", who were here a few years ago, blamed the Conservative government who had inherited an unemployment problem from the previous administration, and they should try to take a few minutes every day to advise the government, as they used to do in the past when they were in the opposition. They should make a point of urging the ministers to take their responsibilities and to do something for our workers who deserve better than to see their ministers turn their backs on those who "made" them.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
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?

Mr. Chas. L. Caccia@Parliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I have to speak in English, because I did not have time to prepare my speech in English and even less in French. I intend to discuss the main part of the motion introduced by the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent)

-the central portion dealing with discriminatory authority and policies of the government.

These are, of course, big words, that are dropped now and again against a background of a biblical wrath that one fails to relate to modern language and to our modern society.

When one speaks of discriminatory policies one would also have to understand what is meant by that. It was unfortunate I was not able to be here in the morning to listen to the speech made by the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent). I wonder whether he considers it a discriminatory policy for manpower officials to go into federal penitentiaries and set up a training program for convicts to prepare them for the time when they will be released. There is an outstanding example of this program, at Kingston penitentiary, for instance where training is being provided in computer and business machine services. Is it discriminatory then, to provide this kind of service? Is it discriminatory to provide services for the

5736 COMMONS DEBATES April 10, 1970

Alleged Failure of Employment Policies thousands of immigrants every year who come here to settle? Is it discriminatory to offer them training for a period of six months to enable them to learn one of the two official languages of the country, thus providing them with an opportunity to better understand the new society? This policy has been devised by the department of manpower. Is it discriminatory to work out arrangements with our Indian people, in spite of all the difficulties resulting from arrangements made by other departments which perhaps do not permit such a quick approach to that type of training as one might wish, particularly in view of the weaknesses the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby indicated this morning? I think there is no question about that.

When it comes to the manpower policy of any nation, we are speaking of the philosophy underlying the approach to the development of human relations in a nation. Therefore, it provides a background against which dialogue and debate will take place as to priorities and techniques. Of course, because of this, this is one of those policies which lends itself to criticism no matter what approach you are going to take. There will never be sufficient resources in the minds of politicians when it comes to the allocation of funds for the development of the human resources of a nation.

[DOT] (2:50 p.m.)

I understand that $250 million was spent last year for the development of human resources in our country. This is three times the amount spent during the last year of the previous program, and has permitted thousands of people to be brought into a scheme of retraining. The program has increased the average earnings of trainees in one year by $16 a week over the amount they earned prior to receiving training. According to statistics, almost 85 per cent of those retrained were able to find employment right after receiving their training. Whereas 55 per cent of the trainees previously were unemployed, after training only 15 per cent could be considered to be still unemployable. So, this program has brought about a sharp decrease in the percentage of those unemployed. Is this inefficiency, as has been suggested by the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby? Would an increase of $16 a week in the earning capacity of the trainees and a reduction in the unemployment figure from 55 per cent down to 15 per cent, be the result of an inefficient approach to manpower training?

What is the meaning of the big words used by the hon. member? These words should be

[Mr. Caccia.l

accompanied, of course, by some selective explanations. In every system of such a broad scope there will be built-in weaknesses and there will be certain examples of problems and inaccuracies on the part of the administrative arm. But this is no reason to totally condemn the program. The criticism, of course, becomes useful when it helps the administrative arm detect and rectify the weaknesses. I presume that in his cricitism of ineffective manpower policies the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby included a lack of imagination. If so, then this should be corroborated by facts. Our experience has been to the contrary. We have seen instances in which the manpower policies have been adopted with a substantial degree of flexibility and imagination. I might cite the following examples.

In winter time there usually is a greater number of men belonging to labourers unions who are unemployed. A year ago representatives of a labourers' union approached manpower people and asked what could be done during the idle winter period to retrain some of their members. A scheme was devised whereby over a period of 12 or 16 weeks-I am not sure of the exact period- these men were upgraded within their own trades from a totally unskilled level to what one might describe as a semi-skilled or higher level. The scheme not only was successful but was repeated this winter. I would agree with the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby if he means-as I did not understand him to mean-that perhaps our manpower policies should be aimed more intensively at training people who are already employed in order to bring them to their full potential. In this way vacancies would be created at the lower unskilled and semi-skilled levels in which there are large numbers of unemployed people and members of our labour force would be moved up as their potential permitted. If this were the hon. member's suggestion, personally, I would agree with him. This is a highly desirable objective in respect of Canadian policy or the policy of any nation.

There is the question of whether the resources of the manpower department should be devoted to this end or merely to the retraining of unemployed people or divided between the two programs. I presume that would be a difficult decision for any department or any minister to make. This, however, is not what the hon. member suggested. He condemned the whole system and described it as discriminatory and ineffective. If one takes

April 10, 1970 COMMONS

a look at the ads in the newspapers, it becomes obvious that there is developing in our country a chronic shortage of skilled people. I refer to those who have the ability to meet the increasing demands of industry and commerce. These ads continue to appear. We do not seem to be able to meet this type of demand. For the total expense of 10 cents one can carry out a survey in this respect by looking at these daily ads. It is a costly process to upgrade the training of those who are already employed in order to enable them to fulfil their potential and thus reduce the pressure on those who are most vulnerable at times of economic recession, those who become unemployed at the first signal.

Had the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby referred to the necessity for a stronger policy in respect of training handicapped people, I would have agreed with him wholeheartedly. Our agreement with the provinces in this regard requires not only close attention but also a very thorough review. In Canada there are several hundred thousand people who might be described as handicapped. These people are unable to contribute to society to their full potential because we have not yet been able to develop a comprehensive policy, federally and provincially, to bring these people into the mainstream of productive society.

I agree in some respects with the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby concerning the three-year clause. The restrictive effect of this clause can be seen in some areas, but it has very great merit in others. This is the reason,

I presume, the matter stands where it has stood for some time. There certainly is great merit in leaving it as it is now in order not to encourage school drop-outs. This, however, has a negative effect in respect of our immigration policy if it is our intention, as it is, to try to attract to Canada young immigrants who have just graduated from technical schools. If upon arrival here these young immigrants could receive some type of adaptation training, they would benefit tremendously. Such training is not available at the present time, and this is one area in which perhaps this clause has a negative effect.

o (3:00 p.m.)

I would suspect that the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent) could not resist the temptation of pointing at Sweden as the country whose example is so legendary that everyone has to look to it for inspiration and guidance. But I wonder whether in so 22218-17

DEBATES 5737

Alleged Failure of Employment Policies doing the hon. member took the trouble to look at the inflation index in Sweden in the last 10 to 15 years during the process of economic planning which they have introduced.

It is very true that the Swedes have been quite successful in achieving a very high rate of employment, but they have done so at the expense of those who are living on fixed incomes and of those who have suffered and still do-I saw this last year when I was over there for a short visit-from an inflationary trend which is by far the highest of any western nation. All I am saying is that when we praise another system, although it is highly desirable that we look at other nations we should take the trouble to put forward all the facts.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

Would the hon. member permit a question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
LIB

Charles L. Caccia (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board)

Liberal

Mr. Caccia:

Yes, Mr. Speaker, at the end of my speech. I do not know whether the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby took the trouble-I hope he did-to mention the necessity of a manpower policy aimed at older workers. This area deserves attention in our society which makes obsolete people who do not have the benefit of certain training.

We also see in some segments of the industry a pattern, which seems to be repeating itself, whereby certain industries are not able to remain competitive and have to close down and put out of work a high percentage of older employees. I believe this area requires our attention if only to ensure that we do at least the minimum in helping those who have not been able to secure employment so far because of limited education and a modest technical background.

In conclusion, one can only assume that the motion put forward by the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby is based on isolated cases. That may be quite legitimate, but it does not give the total picture of the effect the manpower policy has on the development of the human resources of our nation. In this respect, altnough no politician would ever be able to say that $250 million a year is enough or will ever be sufficient, with the resources available and within the limitations that exist I think the record of the Canadian nation in the field of manpower training is pretty outstanding.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

I will be very brief, Mr. Speaker, because other members wish to speak. The hon. member referred to the rate of inflation in Sweden. He may find in his notes which someone picked up this morning

5738 COMMONS DEBATES April 10, 1970

Alleged Failure of Employment Policies for him that this is precisely the issue about which I was talking. You have to choose between inflation on the one hand and stable prices and unemployment on the other. I admit that if you are to have an economy geared to full employment there will be some inflation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bechard):

Order, please.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
Permalink
NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbeni:

My question is: Would the hon. member not agree that it is better to have some inflation and 1J per cent unemployment than an economy that is geared to beat inflation and 6 per cent to 10 per cent unemployed?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
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LIB

Charles L. Caccia (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board)

Liberal

Mr. Caccia:

The answer cannot be as short as the question, but it would seem to me the question is based on the assumption that one policy excludes the other and that therefore we have a choice between one or the other. I do not believe it is a choice between black and white many other factors have to be taken into consideration.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Real Caouetle (Temiscamingue):

Mr. Speaker, while we are wondering whether it is better to have inflation when there are fewer unemployed, or to have inflation with more unemployment, the unemployed are still without work.

Meanwhile, economic conditions are unchanged. As we talk, entire families are deprived of the necessary commodities, not only in a given region but throughout Canada.

Earlier, I heard the member for Saint-Hya-cinthe (Mr. Ricard) relate facts such as, for example, the aggressivity of Liberal members against certain ministers when the Progressive Conservative party was in office in Ottawa about the number of unemployed in Canada. Indeed, there were nearly 1 million people out of work in 1961-62 under a Progressive Conservative administration. It is true that at that time the former ministers or members were putting questions to the ministers and defying them to find jobs and pass legislation that would ensure full employment in Canada.

Today these same Liberals are in power. The Progessive Conservative members now question the Liberals who have become Cabinet members. They blame the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (Mr. Mar-chand), the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), all

[Mr. Broadbent.l

the ministers, and say: There are as many unemployed in the country as there were under our administration. Problems are as numerous. This shows therefore that the two parties are exactly alike. The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe proved it a short while ago when he stated that the government had problems in 1961. It is just as true that the government has problems in 1970. These two governments do not want to solve their problems. They do not want to do anything against a system which is responsible for the situation. Within that system nothing would be changed even if the New Democratic Party came into power. Even if the Creditistes were in power, we would be in the same dead-lock.

Some think of financing production instead of consumption. People are told to produce more, but they are also told to tighten their belts.

To increase the standard of living it is necessary to increase productivity and in a trice the wheat producers are told: We will pay you if you do not produce wheat. As far as the Quebec milk producers are concerned, they are told: we will punish you if you produce too much milk. The corn producers in Ontario are told the same thing.

And in the face of such penalties and such stagnation, our friends from the New Democratic party are presenting a motion. I forgive them however for failing to supply me with a French text, as my N.D.P. friends are not used to the French language. The hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway (Mrs. Maclnnis) could very well have translated it as she knows French very well, but it seems that her colleague did not ask her to do it.

But here is the wording of the English motion, since English is one of the official languages in Canada.

[English~\

That this House condemns the government (a) for its failure to provide a program of full employment, (b) for its discriminatory and ineffective manpower policies, and (c) for its destructive labour relations with its own employees.

[DOT] (3:10 p.m.)

Mr. Speaker, I will deal with part (a) since I am not so much concerned about part (b) which says:

-ineffective manpower policies-

Part (b) is linked to the first. But the first part says: The government's failure to estab-

April 10, 1970

lish or provide a program of full employment in Canada. Talk about full employment in Canada! I was told that certain members and even the leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Douglas) asked the government to assist western farmers who have to cope with a wheat surplus. The solution proposed is to pay the wheat producers for not producing wheat, as there is too much of it already.

So, they are told: Sit quietly at home and we shall give you $6 per acre left idle, up to a maximum of 1,000 acres. That means $6,000 so that they will not produce any wheat. On the other hand, the members of the New Democratic Party suggest a full-employment policy.

On the one hand, assistance is requested in the form of grants so that some people will not produce and, on the other hand, full employment is advocated. Workers have jobs but we have too many products in all fields.

In the automobile industry, for instance, thousands of workers are being laid off because there are too many automobiles.

The problem is the same in the clothing and food industries: There is surplus production. Yet, at the same time, there are some who would introduce a motion to create more jobs, who would call for more production. But why produce so much? We cannot even now keep up the production in our plants because of excess goods. Yet some clamour for full employment.

Mr. Speaker, whoever advocates full employment is bluffing. It cannot be achieved if we accept automation. The only way we can achieve full employment is by setting aside science, progress, machines, development and going back to the days of the ox, small ploughs and oil lamps. Let us turn the clock 75 years back; and then perhaps, in view of our needs, we can achieve full employment. But with the use of machines, never.

That reminds me of a story I used to tell a few years ago. Some people wanted full employment and intended to fight the machine. For instance, we have seen under certain winter works projects, some municipalities keep machines and mechanical ploughs stowed away in their garages and warehouses in order to be able to give work to the unemployed in winter. The streets were cleared of snow with small shovels. Man was not smart enough to use the machine to improve the lot of man. The machine was stored and men were put to work like beasts of burden. And that was supposed to be reasona-22218-17J

DEBATES 5739

Alleged Failure of Employment Policies ble. There will still be some in Quebec, on April 29, who will vote for the Liberals or the Union Nationale. That is good enough for them.

There was once two men around a gravel pit watching a crane loading trucks. The trucks then drove away to unload this gravel which was used for road construction. One of the two unemployed, who were both carrying their own small shovels, said to the other: "Well, joe, without big crane, you and I might get a job as well as 50 guys like us. The machine punishes us."

The other one, who was far from stupid, answered: "Well, if it is only a matter of providing employment, instead of two guys like you and me, or even 50 guys each with a small shovel, why not hire 250 men with teaspoons? They would do just the same amount of work, and everybody would get a job."

As for me, I suggest that motions or resolutions such as the one now before us are just about as sensible as the reasoning of the man who wanted to replace the machine with teaspoons.

Mr. Speaker, the machine was devised to serve man and not to punish him. There is only one answer to the problem: it is to give to those replaced by machines enough purchasing power to enable them to buy the products made by the machine. It is as simple as that. However, people do not understand yet.

In the House, they talk about increasing productivity. As concerns the unemployed, we have not determined yet how many of them there are. The hon. member for Saint-Hyacin-the (Mr. Ricard) said a while ago that there were 540,000 unemployed, whereas I read in yesterday's newspaper that they number 653,000, while some civil servants say 438,000. Anyway, we know that there are people out of work and that, on the other hand, there are too many products; nevertheless, some would like to find jobs for the unemployed in order to increase production. That is contrary to common sense.

In 1970, our national production will be worth $72 or $75 billion. Yet Canada's national income will total only $52 or $55 billion. This means a discrepancy of $20 billion between our national income and our national production. The goods are there, but not the money.

And whenever we say that a dividend must be distributed to everybody to allow them to purchase such goods-which would allow industries to manufacture other goods,

April 10. 1970

5740 COMMONS DEBATES

Alleged Failure of Employment Policies because those they had already manufactured had been sold-we are told that this would bring about inflation. However, quite the contrary would be true, and everybody knows that.

Mr. Speaker, if you go into some store to buy something and you pay cash, any merchant will grant you a discount of 15 to 20 per cent. If I buy $1,000 worth of furniture and can pay cash, I shall certainly get a discount of 20 per cent. This means that I would pay $800 for goods marked $1,000. On the other hand, if I have no purchasing power and cannot pay cash, instead of getting a 20 per cent discount, I will have to pay a 20 per cent charge, representing $200 in interest. This means that I would pay $1,200, instead of $800 for the same merchandise or a difference of $400 according to the purchasing power I have or do not have. That is called inflation.

a (3:20 p.m.)

We are not asking the government to grant a national dividend so that everyone will be rolling in money, but for a dividend based on the difference between what we produce and what we earn.

Some fear that people will become lazy. However, the unemployed who actually receive $40 a week although they have a family, or those who get welfare allowances of $125, $130 or $135 a month to support their wife and children, cannot make ends meet. They merely exist, they do not live, at a time when goods are available because stores are full of goods of all kinds.

In Montreal, Ottawa, Hull, Rouyn-Noranda, Val d'Or, Winnipeg, stores are over stocked. Nobody is afraid of not finding tomorrow something he needs. There are all kinds of things, but the only solution to the problem does not lie in production, but in consumption. Indeed, it is not a matter of producing more. Instead of insisting on full employment, why not insist on full spending, that is, on what we spend to buy what we produce. To achieve full spending, we must plan the purchasing power accordingly.

Let us not take anything away from the wage-earner, but let us pay him a dividend. The standard of living of the individual with only his dividend will naturally not be as high as that of the wage-earner, and that is normal. Indeed, if I earn $100 a week and get ;a $50 dividend, I will have $150, while the unemployed will only have $50. fMr. Caouette.]

The national dividend would be in itself an incentive to work. No citizen would refuse to earn $100 a week because he would receive a $50 dividend. And this is so true, Mr. Speaker, that the experiment should be tried. After all, if those on welfare or who receive unemployment insurance benefits up to $53 a week were told: a job has been found for you which will allow you to earn $45 a week, but if you accept it, you will no longer get your allowances or your benefits, I believe that most of them would refuse it. On the other hand, however, if they were told that they could still draw their $53 benefit and a salary of $45, totalling $98 a week, they would not refuse to work. Everyone of them without exception would be willing to work, even for less than $45 a week, were they to receive on top of that their unemployment insurance benefits.

Now this is not what is happening. If an unemployed person who is drawing benefits finds some casual work for two or three days, and tries to keep it a secret, he runs the risk, if caught, of losing his unemployment insurance benefits, in order to earn $18 or $20. Then, Mr. Speaker, he is punished. And so the man says: they won't catch me again. Before losing my unemployment insurance benefits, I will make sure I have a paying job. The Canadian legislation is to blame rather than the worker.

To come back to the point I was making, the national dividend would not encourage laziness, but would be an incentive to work. In fact, it would allow the individual to develop a creative mind. But we are afraid of that type of dividend. We are thinking all the time of production. Let us finance production! Let us finance production! And this when the consumer is unable to buy that production.

And what is the result of this? The great number of bankruptcies taking place in Canada at the present time. It also brings about economic stagnation and chaos such as we are now experiencing, as well as worries and hatred between employer and employed.

It also breeds hatred between labour unions and governments, as was seen yesterday on Parliament Hill where Marcel Pepin, Char-trand and others gathered. Are we to believe that the boys from G. Lapalme Inc. of Montreal came here for fun?

Obviously, these people do not like to do what they did yesterday. What do they want: the right to a decent and safe life. Yesterday's demonstrators all know that production of goods is abundant in Canada. Everyone

April 10, 1970 COMMONS

knows it. Purchasing power is not great enough. Is not every dispute between management and labour essentially a question of money? As a matter of fact, discussions cover vacation leave, leave without pay, sick leave, bereavement leave, maternity leave, etc. When things are no longer going right, there is always a financial problem.

All the time, a $1 raise is asked for in order to get 25 cents, or a $3 raise to get 75 cents. More is asked in order to obtain the largest amount possible. That is what labour disputes are all about. Hatred and destruction are becoming prevalent. People no longer get along. Property is damaged, no one is safe. This is not surprising.

Meanwhile, legislation is introduced to create full employment. The demonstrators yesterday were not asking for full employment but for security and freedom. In my opinion, we can only assure security and freedom by granting citizens sufficient purchasing power to buy what they need, consumer goods, houses, cars, clothes or services, including drugs.

The Aciing Speaker (Mr. Bechard): Order. I regret to interrupt the hon. member, but his time has expired. Does the House agree to let the hon. member finish his speech?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-ALLEGED FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT, MANPOWER AND LABOUR RELATIONS POLICIES
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April 10, 1970