January 19, 1973

PC
LIB
LIB

Leonard Donald Hopkins (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. Hopkins:

I am here today. I have travelled from farm to farm with delegates visiting these farmers, not only in my riding but elsewhere. We did receive some input and I would be willing to supply the hon. member with letters I received from satisfied farmers in the area. Those letters are one indication why I am back, contrary to what the hon. member across the way said a moment ago.

The chairman of this special committee must be a good diplomat, a fair-minded person who will have to know all the rules and operations of a committee. I think it will behove every member of the committee to try to give him respect in return for his or her fair play, just as it behooves us to give the same respect to the Chair in this House under similar circumstances.

The study of food prices in Canada will undoubtedly greatly be affected by what is happening in many Asian countries today. Right from the time western Canada started producing No. 1 wheat we have heard it said that Canada is the breadbasket of the world. Some nations of the world will obviously face great difficulty in the immediate years ahead. Surely there should be some international agency more effective than any to date

which will provide, on a multinational level, funds for the production of food to help these needy nations over their difficult times. We cannot expect the farmers of Canada to produce food that is to be given away, with no return to them on their cost of transportation and operation within Canada as a whole.

As a nation highly respected in the eyes of the world, we have a responsibility to help nations that are in difficulty and this we have done over the years. In comparison with other nations of the world, I think Canada, by and large, has a pretty good record of being our brother's keeper. If we are to be sincere in our international relations and if other nations want to be sincere with us, we must find ways and means at the international level of getting food to areas in need, at least if we have any Christian, Hebrew or other ethics left in this country. And they are here, despite all the pessimistic views expressed about churches today.

In closing, I congratulate the government for bringing forward this motion. At the same time, I emphasize how important it is that the committee operates efficiently. Secondly, all elements of the food industry should be able to make representations to the committee. Thirdly, the cost of distributing food throughout Canada must be examined carefully. Lastly, we must bring back a report to the House that is not only logical and credible in the eyes of the House but also in the eyes of the Canadian people at large. Having brought back that report to the House, I know that the government will be prepared to consider it in all seriousness, as I am sure will all members of the House. Let us keep our eye on the basic interests of John Q. Public, not on John Jones, MP and on what we might gain in a cheap manner through political action.

I have many friends on both sides of this House, Mr. Speaker. When the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the throne speech spoke the other day, they reminded me of some words that I used in my maiden speech in this House-that if we can lay aside personalities, say the things to one another that we have to say and then walk out of the House as friends prepared to come back the next day and work constructively for the nation, then we can make this parliament work. We will be able to produce a good report on food costs, and if we give it a fair chance we will have probably one of the most effective committees in this twenty-ninth parliament.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AFTEB RECESS
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PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Don Blenkarn (Peel South):

Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of humility that I come to this House. The county of Peel and the riding of Peel South are once again represented properly by members on this side of the House in this party. The county of Peel is again happy and proud to be represented by a party that has been charged with greatness in the past. I have not had the chance to speak before in this House, so may I first of all congratulate you, Sir, on your election as Deputy Speaker, as well as the hon. member for Stormont-Dundas (Mr. Lamou-reux) on his election as Speaker of the House.

A lot has been said in this debate, and I agree with the hon. member for Ottawa West (Mr. Reilly) that perhaps we are spending too much time talking rather than getting down to business. I should like to use some of my time to

January 19, 1973

thank Mr. Alistair Fraser, the Clerk of the House, for the assistance he has given me as a new member.

Some months ago all of us here walked around our ridings, knocking on doors and hearing continual complaints about the price of a jar of coffee, a can of peas, a jar of Cheez-Whiz to make a sandwich for the kids' lunch, to say nothing of the cost of a pound of hamburger and other meat. The people of this country are pretty darned concerned about the prices they are having to pay for food and groceries, the necessities of life. If this government does not take more legislative action to deal with the rising cost of living in this country, and do so very quickly, I am sure the people will tell the government, more seriously than they did on October 30, what they think of it at the next election.

There is really no need for a protracted debate on the matter of setting up a committee to inquire into food prices. We have all been around and know pretty much what the problem is. We have had enough royal commissions and committee studies; but if we are to have another committee, let me say a few words about what that committee should explore.

A great deal has been said about farmers. Unfortunately, in my riding there is no longer any farmland; it has all been used for housing lots. As a lawyer, I have dealt with farmers for a long time and I say this to members of this House: I know of no business or industry which uses so much capital and labour for so little return. It is no wonder that the sons of farmers are leaving the farm to drive trucks and work in factories, and it is no wonder that some of the best agricultural land in Ontario lies fallow, growing weeds and producing no food.

No one can accuse those who produce farm products, in this province in particular, of creating the high price of food at the grocery store level. This committee inquiry must treat the words "price" and "food" in their broadest sense. The inquiry should consider all those things that are necessities of life, including shelter, clothing, services and, indeed, all costs to consumers.

I was amazed at the hon. member for Vancouver-Kings-way (Mrs. Maclnnis) when she asked, "What about consumers?" Every member of this House, every person in the galleries-in fact everyone-is a consumer. What we must consider is the cost of production and the price of food. The hon. member for York South Mr. Lewis; and his gang are often yelling and talking about the extortionate prices which supermarkets charge. Every indication I have is that the profit of supermarkets is less than 1 per cent of gross turnover. Let me remind hon. members of this House that if the price of an article was $1 and the profit was reduced by 1 cent, the market would just break even. If the price was reduced by 2 cents, the retailer would go broke.

We have had enough business failures in this country and we must consider why some of them have occurred. Perhaps some of these failures are the result of our cost-price structure. Some have said they should be blamed on labour. My inquiries would indicate that this is a highly labour-intensive industry and that most of the people are not well paid. Grocery store clerks, the people who move

Food Prices Committee

the produce and others in this industry are not well paid or wealthy, yet this is a highly labour-intensive industry. Every small pay increase is immediately reflected by an increase in price.

I think we must look deeper than the cost of labour, the cost of farming, the cost of distribution and transportation. We must consider the cost of incompetence on the part of the government which sits opposite. This government has saddled the Canadian people with incompetence which is reflected in the price the people must pay for everything they purchase.

During the election campaign I travelled throughout my constituency and talked to a number of operators of small businesses, as I am sure all hon. members did in their ridings. I am sure most hon. members have seen the statistical forms sent out to businessmen with a demand that they be completed and returned, or else. The cost of these forms, the red tape and the time involved is added to the overhead and passed on to the consumer. If the committee ever gets started, it should inquire into this type of cost because it also drives up prices.

There is a company in a neighbouring riding named Maple Lodge Farms. It is involved in processing chickens. A short time ago a health inspector closed down this operation because of a small dispute with management. The hon. member for Peel-Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Madill) went to work on the matter and managed to get the plant back in operation within two hours. In the meantime 250 people stood around doing nothing while production in the plant was held up. There was nothing actually wrong and the issue involved only interference by a bureaucratic inspector. This is the kind of interference businessmen in this country face today. As long as this type of interference by this and other governments continues, prices will increase, because if a man is to stay in business he must pass the cost of interference and control on to consumers in the cost of production.

This government has interfered in another way. Less than a year ago it authorized the slaughter of a large number of chickens in order to increase the price of eggs. This is the kind of action that creates an increase in food costs. Only two years ago this government told the farmers of this country not to plant wheat and said it would pay them to reduce wheat acreage. How much government interference of this kind can the business community or the economy stand? This is the type of thing that continues to force prices up; I refer to inefficiency and bad decisions. If this committee inquires into the cost of interference by government in the business sector, it may do some good.

Another matter which is more dramatic than wages in relation to food prices is the government's vested interest in inflation, in terms of income tax. We have 5 per cent inflation today. Does the consumer need 5 cents extra on the dollar in order to pay the increased cost? I suggest the consumer must have at least 7 cents or 8 cents more, because of rapidly accelerating income taxes. The consumer needs this extra money just to stay even. This government continues to collect income tax on the basis of a vested interest in inflation, yet its members stand here in the House and suggest we should have an inquiry into prices. This matter was clearly discussed by the

January 19, 1973

Food Prices Committee

Leader of the Opposition iMr. Stanfield; in May, yet nothing has been said in the Speech from the Throne and nothing has been proposed to date to reduce the vested interest of this government in inflation.

It is easy for all parties to attack someone else. It is easy for the New Democratic Party to accuse the corporations. It is easy for us who live in the cities to say that the farmers, the producers or the transport people are responsible. It is easy for us to blame the developers for the high cost of rent. What this House must do, however, is look at itself and some of the legislation it has passed, as well as some of the red tape and regulations which have been created, and the effect this has on prices.

I suggest we should look at the incompetent government we have on the other side of this House. We have personal income taxes which start at 20 per cent and increase to 60 per cent or so. We have corporate taxes of 50 per cent or more. This government takes 20 per cent of the gross national product, and all other governments together increase that percentage to 37 per cent or 38 per cent. It is no wonder that those Canadians who rake asphalt for a living or serve in stores, as well as other Canadians, do not have sufficient money with which to buy the goods they require.

We must also inquire into the work ethic situation in respect of unemployment insurance and the welfare system in this country. The cost of welfare, the cost of payouts and handouts are all passed on in the tax system. All these costs add tremendously to the prices which must be paid. I do not say for a moment that we do not need to look into this aspect, because we do. We must look into the situation of the elderly people, the sick and the disabled in our community. We must realize, however, that the welfare system and the attack on prices does not require a commission or a committee in order to accomplish this.

In reference to the question of time, an amendment has been moved to the effect that this committee report in three months. A subamendment has been moved that an interim report be filed in 60 days. I do not know what the committee and its reports will establish, but I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that this matter is one of urgency. This debate has been carried on and on. I suggest that it be terminated next Monday at the latest and that the committee be forthwith appointed.

I would be delighted if the committee, as suggested by the New Democratic Party, could report in 60 days. We had the slogan "60 days of decision" by a previous Liberal government but I am not sure that those 60 days of decision produced anything. So while I am quite prepared to vote on the basis of a report in 60 days, I suggest that it should be a final report and that this House and the government get on with producing legislation which will solve the urgent economic problems of this country.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AFTEB RECESS
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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Frank Howard (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker, in commencing my remarks perhaps I should say I listened with a tremendous amount of interest to the comments of the hon. member for Peel South (Mr. Blenkarn) who just resumed his seat. He made some valid points which I believe deserve looking into, one concerning the tons and

tons of paper which Statistics Canada, or whoever is responsible, sends out to businessmen, which must be filled out and read but then is made little use of.

Incidentally, this is a situation which almost reached a peak during the time the right hon. gentleman from Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker) was prime minister. So be it; it is a valid point. This is an harassment particularly of small businessmen. If we can do anything to eliminate that problem we will be making a contribution at least in respect of making life easier for small businessmen. Quite frankly, I do not think it will have any effect on the price of food. I do not believe the hon. member thought it would; it was window-dressing on his part. But it will ease the burden of the businessman.

I also have some comments which I was enticed to make in respect of the speech, if I can call it that in polite terms, of the hon. member for Ottawa West (Mr. Reilly);but inasmuch as he is like a hit-and-run driver, or slightly like a vulture who leaves his carrion and his droppings, and has left the chamber, I will wait until Monday in the hope that he will be here to listen to what I have to say concerning his attitude in this matter.

I see that you are becoming restless in the chair, Mr. Speaker, and I wonder if you are inclined to call it four o'clock. If so, I shall accede to your wishes in that regard.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AFTEB RECESS
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LIB

Prosper Boulanger (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Boulanger):

It being four o'clock, the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper, namely, notices of motions, public bills and private bills.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AFTEB RECESS
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PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS

PC

Jack Marshall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. lack Marshall (Humber-St. George's-St. Barbe) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient that the government consider the advisability of establishing a ministry of state to formulate new and comprehensive policies in relation to youth affairs.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased at last to have an opportunity to make some representations on behalf of the people in my district and the country. I am particularly pleased to have the opportunity to introduce my private member's notice of motion which states:

That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient that the government consider the advisability of establishing a ministry of state to formulate new and comprehensive policies in relation to youth affairs.

To my mind, governments have been groping in the dark about the problems in our country. We continue to react to emergencies that exist and then introduce ad hoc programs to try and combat the particular problems which exist. It is interesting to note that we have in this

January 19, 1973

country five million poverty-stricken Canadians out of a total of 22 million. Many of them are children.

Here we are, in the year 1973, with problems which governments have not been able to cope with over the years and only grant more money to try to stop the cancer of poverty and sickness which keeps growing in spite of the efforts of governments to stop it. We keep reading and hearing every day about our inability to cope with the cost of medical services, and the experts cannot find a way to cope with these increased costs. We pour millions of dollars into studies to find out why people are getting cancer; studies on mental health problems, studies on nutrition, studies on the use of drugs.

We debate here in the House of Commons, in embarrassment, the problems of national unity, and we are at a stage today where the senior citizens of our country cannot cope with the cost of living. We have citizens in our country who in their later years cannot cope with society because of lack of education or because of the deterioration of their bodies. We are wondering why teenagers are reacting to the establishment, the supposed experts who are supposed to have all the answers about the future of our country. But we have failed miserably and are now at the stage where we must try to cure the ills with stopgap measures which are only temporary preventatives.

The problem is that we as legislators cannot see the forest for the trees. We are trying, through political bumbling, to direct efforts to ease the burden by an approach which will never solve the problem because we do not get to the source of the problem. To my mind, the answer is to concentrate our efforts toward our youth. We will never do it by creating programs with fancy names such as we have in our Department of National Health and Welfare- programs like Recreation Canada, Sports Canada, Hockey Canada, or by directing funds to create a few teams which will win championships. Neither will we do it by creating a few athletes who happen to have had the advantage of having the facilities provided because of political patronage. The answer is in youth development, the true development of the bodies of all our youth, whether they live in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or in the smallest hamlet in rural Canada.

It is a wonder to me why we seem to have such a hangup about becoming champions. I wonder what benefits have been derived from winning, for example, Olympic gold medals, and then we wonder why we cannot win a medal in spite of all the funds that are poured in. What have the great Olympic games proved over the years? To my mind, they proved in Germany last year that the competing countries of the world have no other objective in sending their athletes to the Olympic games, which are supposed to cement world unity, peace and understanding, than selfish, narrow aims. What did we accomplish in Germany other than the fact that some people of warped minds were able to ruin the games by the massacre of innocent athletes?

The answer, I say again, is youth development in Canada; it is to direct our efforts to the development of the bodies of our youngsters at primary school age. The answer is to provide a program to satisfy every child in

Youth Affairs

our country, whether he lives in the largest city which provides many advantages or in the smallest hamlet where these advantages are all too few.

There is no one here more interested in the education of our youth than I am, but there is more to education than improvement of the mind. We must at the same time and coincidentally try to improve the development of the bodies of our children through a co-ordinated effort in education programs-to improve minds and bodies alike, not to create hockey champions or track champions to compete for the sole purpose of winning medals. We should direct our activities toward a co-ordinated effort to produce more healthy Canadian citizens for the good of the country.

The answer lies in creating a ministry of state for youth affairs to co-ordinate and direct an effort with the provinces to set up a youth program which would achieve the objective of developing better and healthier Canadian citizens. Under this ministry we could provide the leadership and the guidance that is necessary for all our youth, not only in direct sports but in physical fitness. We must teach the child teamwork, give him leadership training and teach him comradeship. We must let the child follow his natural instincts and prove his leadership qualities, instead of being left in the background because he does not have the attributes of the hockey player.

The future of our country lies in our youth, but we will not correct the problems of our youth by stopgap measures. We must get to the source of the problem. We must provide leadership and guidance to the youth at primary school age by a program designed to develop each individual's attributes toward his greater pride and distinction and, most important, make him feel that he is contributing as much as his comrades who have greater advantages.

Heretofore, Mr. Speaker, our program was narrow and downright stupid. Instead of using our common sense we have been listening to the supposed experts in the sports world who could not care less about our youth and our country other than to write a controversial column in the sports pages for their own selfish aims. They have all the answers because they are charged with the responsibility of preparing a sports column, but it is obvious, to me at least, that they could not care less what happens to the vast majority of the youth of our country.

There was no one more proud than I when Team Canada struggled to victory over Russia in the hockey series last year. But what did we accomplish other than the false pride of those few with advantages, while those who cheered in every nook and cranny of our country are suffering due to the lack of foresight of the leaders of our country in developing all of our youth rather than a chosen few.

I was dismayed last year when one of the best programs in physical fitness for youth, sponsored by the Canadian Legion, was discontinued by the federal government because of lack of finances. I was still more amazed at the fact that the Canadian Legion accepted the decision of the Department of National Health and Welfare to discontinue contributions. The discontinuance of this program is another example of the stupidity of our experts who seem to think that they know what is right for our country.

January 19, 1973

Youth Affairs

All provinces have departments concerned with correcting the problems of the youth of our country. Constitutionally, it is incumbent on the central government of Canada to co-ordinate these efforts by participating in discussions and negotiations with the provinces, and in particular those provincial departments which are concerned with youth programs, in particular employment of older youths and the development of other policies for the betterment of our youth.

A program should be designed, under a new federal department of youth affairs, to ensure that in future years our country will produce better citizens, so that we will not face the problems which we are facing today concerning the aged, the poor, the blind, the sick and the maimed. Programs concerned with aiding these poor people are poorly administered because those who are in charge of them have only their own selfish interests at heart.

If we create this ministry, we will be developing a healthy individual who is able to take his place in our country and in our society and is able to take advantage of the opportunities that are offered him. If we create this department, we will not be faced with the problems with which we are faced today. In the future, our senior citizens will not have to ask the government for assistance and will not have to cope with health costs, but will live in comfort as participants in our great country.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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LIB

Gilles Marceau (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Gilles Marceau (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State):

Mr. Speaker, for a parliamentarian, one of the best opportunities of realizing the importance of his office is no doubt when he has the opportunity, like I have today, of expressing in the House opinions and views on current topics.

Mr. Speaker, far from me the thought of suggesting that my remarks will have the importance and quality they ought to have. They come however from a Canadian who is deeply convinced that tomorrow's problems will be solved with the co-operation of all those who believe in a better Canada where all Canadians, regardless of their age, will have attained a proper standard of living.

When in addition to being a Member of Parliament, the speaker has the opportunity, through circumstances much more than because of his competence, of playing a rather important part in the government of his country, he is aware of the importance and seriousness of his remarks.

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister did me the honour of appointing me Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State (Mr. Faulkner), I felt quite unworthy considering the ability required from the holder of such an important office. I accepted, Mr. Speaker, counting mainly on the indulgence of my colleagues and being impressed by the person chosen as Secretary of State.

I did not know, Mr. Speaker, that I would be delivering this speech in the presence of the minister. I would not want my words to be construed as the expression of a wish to replace him. On the contrary. I believe he has the talent and, should I say, fortunately or unfortunately for those who wish to replace him, the youth and the compe-

tence to remain in his position as long, of course, as we have the confidence of the House and the electorate.

Mr. Speaker, I am particularly happy to take part in this debate on a subject which has been and will always be of prime importance for me. For many years already I have had the opportunity of taking part on a somewhat intensive scale in young people's activities in the Chambers of Commerce, Richelieu Clubs and youth associations, so I have been in a good position to understand young people's problems, their anxiety and their hopes. I am not one of those, and may God preserve me from ever being one, who are satisfied with making general judgments on young people and condemning them. I know, for having been young myself, that young people do not always fulfill the hopes we place in them. But there is nevertheless hope in that youth, hope which we must, not only as a government, but also as parliamentarians of any political association, channel, use and orient towards the best interest of our country.

Mr. Speaker, in spite of fairly numerous responsibilities, the Department of the Secretary of State devotes quite a lot of attention to that field. I believe I can say on behalf of my government, that it is not by showing a lack of understanding towards the young, by trying to isolate them from the world of today that we will solve their problems. The problems of they young are our problems. Their aspirations are those of people like us. The wishes of the young are those of people of all ages, of citizens of all categories who wish to live in a society that can give them the comfort, the happiness and the security to which we are all entitled.

Mr. Speaker, to my mind, it would be a mistake-and I do not believe the government is willing to make that mistake-to accept that the young be isolated, that they not be considered as part of our society. With all due respect for my hon. friend who spoke before me, and whom I congratulate on the tone of his remarks, which were not agressive but constructive, I am not willing to accept his solution as being appropriate, even though I do agree with his remarks which did contain some elements of truth and some constructive suggestions, and which at the right moment will inspire us.

Mr. Speaker, as the Secretary of State was really and sincerely anxious to meet the needs of our young people, it established a committee a few years ago. As parliamentarians, we are often blamed for sitting on too many committees and doing too little. That committee on youth created a few years ago worked steadily I believe in an attempt to represent the wishes, needs and yearnings of our young people. As most hon. members know, its report was submitted to the Secretary of State and it will no doubt be the basis of a policy which we will submit to this House.

It is rather important to emphasize that the report, which was prepared by young people, is clear; the comments from those young people should bring enough pressure to bear on the government to guide its policy. The young people themselves were absolutely against the creation of a ministry of youth, the immediate or far-reaching result of which would have been to isolate them from the

January 19, 1973

present and future society in which they want to participate fully.

And I can only rejoice at this firm response from the young people who, despite their uncertainties and problems, are willing to participate fully in our society of tomorrow and to contribute in a constructive way to the evolution towards which our efforts should lead and which will provide them, as well as other Canadian people, with the welfare they are entitled to.

Mr. Speaker, apart from that committee which was created and to which I just referred, we had the opportunity during this week, thanks to the initiative of a minister who was called to office only recently, to learn about measures that were not entirely new but improved, and which affect all young Canadian people. You have undoubtedly heard, Mr. Speaker, the statement made this week about some programs in which the government has invested and will invest $85 million this year in order to enable young people not only to earn money to carry on their studies but also to take active part in the improvement of various community services.

I am not suggesting, Mr. Speaker, that the policies which we devised this week will meet all the needs and aspirations of young Canadians, because this has never been achieved and never will be. But the important thing is that governments are trying to find practical, viable and effective solutions so that young people, instead of feeling isolated, instead of feeling rejected by our society, may realize they can play a genuine role that not only would improve the society in which they live but also would provide them with an opportunity to experiment and to earn some money for their education.

Mr. Speaker, among these programs, the most prestigious,-if I may use this expression-is the Opportunities for Youth program. It may be interesting to recall that this idea, which was put forward two years ago already, is unique in the world. This year we have tried to make correction to it in the light of suggestions made by the people a few months ago. I hasten to add that the improvement of the Opportunities for Youth program will not meet with the approval of all citizens. But as a government we are prepared to meet-and that is our duty-the challenge of facing the problems of youth, and I think that we are in a position, in co-operation with all our colleagues in this House, to bring solutions which reflect the confidence that young people entertain toward Members of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, this policy of Opportunities for Youth is becoming so interesting-and I do not believe that I am betraying a secret by saying so-that people from the United States, Australia and Europe have inquired regarding our way of proceeding because they became interested in this new formula under which some 67,000 young Canadians will have, one way or another, the opportunity to take part in the improvement of our community.

It is obvious that the Opportunities for Youth program, for which $40 million will be earmarked this year, is part of a comprehensive program providing, for example, employment in the civil service. Out of this budget of $85 million which I mentioned earlier, $30 million will be allotted to hire young people for civil service jobs.

Youth Affairs

We were once blamed because the work of those young people was not always satisfactory. This year, we shall try to avoid such comments which are sometimes justified. That is why, instead of instructing the Public Service Commission to hire a certain number of students, we have asked the commission to define its needs. As a result of that assessment, the public service will perhaps be employing a smaller number of students, but on the other hand they will be performing more efficient, more positive work.

Thus, Mr. Speaker, it has been possible to devote $5 million more than last year to the Opportunities for Youth program which, incidentally, according to the evaluation of the Treasury Board, has been recognized as being the most efficient and productive of all the summer programs for young people.

Mr. Speaker, I feel that what should be retained from a speech like mine is that we want to impress the people of Canada and our colleagues with the fact that we, as a government, are prepared to recognize our mistakes, to face challenges and to work with all parties, and with the people as a whole in the interest of really integrating young people into our future society and in order that those who will be called upon to replace us may start their preparation and training right away for their leadership role. We have confidence in our youth, Mr. Speaker, a confidence shared, I am sure, by the people of Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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NDP

Reginald Cyril Symes

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cyril Symes (Sault Ste. Marie):

Mr. Speaker, I was interested to hear the remarks of the hon. member for Humber-St. George's-St. Barbe (Mr. Marshall). When I first read his private members' notice of motion I thought his proposal was more comprehensive than his detailed explanation suggested. According to his motion, he wants the government to consider the advisability of establishing a ministry of state to formulate new and comprehensive policies in relation to youth affairs. When describing the ministry of state that he wished to see set up, he tended to concentrate more on sports, on the development of the bodies of young people, on the development of healthy Canadian citizens, and he seemed to put the emphasis on the primary school level.

I think his motion has merit, but needs expanding. May I give a few reasons for my opinion. My background, before becoming a member of this House, was that of a high school teacher. I was greatly concerned about the increasing disillusionment on the part of many young people, especially my senior students. I would see many of them walking the streets after they had graduated from grade 13, and would be puzzled as to why students of such ability and intelligence had not gone on to university. They would say to me, "What is the use?" They became disillusioned over their prospects of finding a job and their future prospects in a country governed by Liberal and Conservative governments which seemed to do little to alleviate unemployment. This alarmed me, because I can think of no more dangerous or frightening prospect for our country than that of our young people becoming disillusioned.

January 19, 1973

Youth Affairs

I think the government began to realize this back in 1967. In that summer we began to witness the phenomenon of alienated youth. We saw thousands of young people forsaking their traditional role of working, and hitchhiking, instead, across the country. Also, the public became aware of the increasing incidence of drug use. In 1967 and in following years we saw college disturbances. There were riots in United States colleges and at Sir George Williams University in Canada. Learned gentlemen in the press and through the media spoke of the generation gap. We heard this often.

People began to wonder what was happening to young people who embarked on the new lifestyle and harboured new attitudes toward pollution. The government became worried. I would like to think it became worried out of a sense of genuine concern for young people. Perhaps there may have been concern on the part of some hon. members, but there was also the fear of social unrest. So something was done to placate these young people who seemed out of place in our society.

In 1969, the then secretary of state set up a committee on youth to investigate the problems I have just described. As the committee was investigating these problems it became apparent to all that rising unemployment involving young people had to be cured. In 1972, 11 per cent of those between 14 and 24 years of age were unemployed. So when we were witnessing this problem of alienation and unemployment the Department of the Secretary of State came forward with a program called Opportunities for Youth. On examining the history of that program we find that it has merit, although there are some great flaws in it. One of them is this: it has become an opportunities for students program, not necessarily an Opportunities for Youth program.

I am glad to see the Secretary of State (Mr. Faulkner) and the parliamentary secretary present in the chamber this afternoon. A few days ago, during the question period, I asked the Secretary of State a question about the Opportunities for Youth program. Was it designed for students or was it designed for youth? In my opinion, I did not receive a satisfactory reply and intend to pursue this matter further on the "late show" in days to come. On examining the Opportunities for Youth program, we notice that the acceptance rate for projects submitted by university students is 31 per cent, or thereabouts, whereas the acceptance rate for programs submitted by non-students falls to about 18 per cent. One can appreciate what has been happening.

We should have a program that stresses youth of all income brackets and all backgrounds in life. As the program is now constituted, I am afraid the Liberal government is preoccupied with providing assistance to upper and middle-class students. Why is this, Mr. Speaker? The reason, I am afraid, is that upper and middle-class students are most articulate in designing their programs. They have a distinct advantage, therefore, over young people from disadvantaged families or socioeconomic environments. We may also surmise that it is the articulate, educated young people who will react most demonstrably if something is not done to alleviate the problems I mentioned earlier.

Therefore, I suggest that the motion proposed by the hon. member for Humber-St. George's-St. Barbe for setting up this ministry of state ought to be comprehensive enough to include all youth, not just youth at the primary youth level on whom he seemed to concentrate. The motion should include young people of all ages right up to university level and from all social and economic backgrounds. If such a ministry were established, and if its activities encompassed all our youth as I suggest it should, then I think we should be going a long way toward dealing with the problem of alienation that affects so many of our young people.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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NDP

Reginald Cyril Symes

New Democratic Party

Mr. Symes:

If we are interested in young people, I think we will find that there are great opportunities for putting their enthusiasm and talent to good use. I find that young people are much concerned about the quality of life, about our environment, about pollution and about all the destruction that they see. I am sure a ministry of state concerned with youth could put young people to work on programs such as cleaning up the environment and making this country a better place in which to live. I know young people are also concerned about social services and are willing to help others such as the disadvantaged and those living in slums. I am sure their expertise and enthusiasm could also be used in social services involving day care centres and the like. Young people are interested in peace and harmony, not only in the world but in our nation.

Such a ministry, Mr. Speaker, would give the young people of Canada an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with one another. I am thinking especially of young people of French Canadian or English Canadian backgrounds. Perhaps, if they come to know one another, we can overcome some of the differences that are the bane of adults in Canada. So if we are to provide opportunities for work in those areas, I think a ministry of state along the lines I have suggested would be very profitable.

If such a ministry is to be set up, it is essential that young people become involved in it. This is one of the merits of the Opportunities for Youth program. I commend the Secretary of State for the degree of involvement of young people in this program. If such a ministry is set up, the only way it will be a success is to involve young people in the planning, organization and execution of the projects that they themselves design.

In conclusion, the motion does have some merit but only if it is expanded to include young people and to the point of concentrating on providing meaningful jobs for these young people and not, as the mover seemed to express, a desire to concentrate on sports.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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PC

David Samuel Horne MacDonald

Progressive Conservative

Mr. David MacDonald (Egmonl):

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to speak on this very interesting motion put forward by my colleague, the hon. member for Humber-St. George's-St. Barbe (Mr. Marshall). I am pleased to note that the Secretary of State (Mr. Faulkner) is here to listen to this debate. I hope he is establishing some kind of precedent, and other ministers will be present when we debate private members' bills which

January 19, 1973

concern them. I am very serious about this suggestion. I specifically mention the Secretary of State because until now most of these matters have not been correctly placed under his department.

If we are to upgrade the importance of private members' hour, it is of real significance that, when possible, ministers be here to listen to comments which are made and, hopefully, from time to time to respond. I do not mean they should tie up a large section of private members' hour, but it might be useful to have even a brief comment from ministers somewhere near the conclusion of the debate so there can be some real interaction between private members and the government with regard to the proposals put forward.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary of State for responding to some of the suggestions made by members on all sides of the House with regard to the Opportunities for Youth program. This week we received an outline of the format for the development of Opportunities for Youth projects. In the initial reading I have given to the proposal, I find great merit in it. It follows closely along the lines we pursued with interest during the past two years. However, there is still a major shortcoming. Perhaps it is best reflected in the proposition put before us this afternoon. That is, a basic lack of any kind of over-all policy, strategy or comprehensive approach to both the problems and opportunities of youth today. The comments made by the immediately preceding speaker are very much apropos the situation.

There are many tangible reasons why the government has moved to develop programs like Opportunities for Youth. Some of them obviously reflect a very serious situation that exists in the country today with regard to young people. Even though my life is not very long on the vine, I cannot recall a situation where young people of various classes and vocational opportunities have faced the kind of frustration and uncertainty, both vocationally and economically, that they face today.

Just last week we received the latest report of Statistics Canada with regard to the number of unemployed people under the age of 24. There are now some quarter of a million young people unemployed. Added to this, of course, will be an immense outpouring of young people as universities, technical colleges and high schools close their doors for the summer season. We have not faced, in a serious way, how we are going to deal in a constructive fashion with young people seeking to integrate themselves into the over-all pattern of Canadian society.

The parliamentary secretary issued a word of caution with regard to the hon. member's motion. He would not like to see the young people isolated. We have to be very frank and realize that, because of the situation, many hundreds of thousands of young people in recent years have found themselves to be very much isolated. It becomes a matter of very great isolation when young people are not able to find work, employment and a livelihood when they complete many years of training and education.

I have been a member of this House since 1965. During that time a variety of programs, suggestions and activities were put forward by both the Pearson government and the Trudeau government. In 1966 we were deeply involved

Youth Affairs

in the establishment of the Company of Young Canadians. Who, here, remembers the Company of Young Canadians? I am told that it is alive, well and functioning in some areas of bureaucracy in Ottawa, but its shape and nature have changed drastically since those early years. As stated by the parliamentary secretary, we have since had the report of the committee on youth. He stated there will be some organized policy approach from the government on the report on the committee on youth, but to date we have not seen any evidence of that.

In the past two years we have had the development of certain programs directed basically toward summer employment, the principal of which, both in notoriety and expenditure, has been the Opportunities for Youth program. In that period we have not had any attempt at a comprehensive establishment of policy. Indeed, in its very impact the economic management of this country has created such a serious dislocation for so many of our young people that if we can call it a youth policy it has been in one of the most negative tones possible. Therefore, it becomes extremely important that there be an immediate approach on the basis of the hon. member's motion.

Some suggestion has been made that it has not been the request of young people that a separate ministry of youth be established. If the motion is examined, it will be seen that the hon. member is asking for a ministry of state, which is somewhat different. It would attempt to bring together a comprehensive approach to policy in relation to youth affairs. This is what we obviously and desperately need. I cannot understand why the government has resisted for so long and so strongly the development of such a youth policy. Members on this side of the House have suggested means whereby we might pursue this matter. Indeed, I have moved motions and suggested until I was blue in the face during the past year or two that we should establish a committee or use one of the committees available to this House to examine the various documents that have been presented to the Secretary of State, the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde) and other ministers of the government, as well as an opportunity for general public reflections on how we should look at the chronic problems which face young people in our society today, the principal of which is tremendous economic dislocation.

On my way here this afternoon, just a few minutes ago, I met a young chap who told me that he was completing his course. When I asked him what he planned to do after completing that course, he replied, "I have no idea." He is not taking a trades course, or coming out of grade 7 or 8, or taking an upgrading program sponsored by the Department of Manpower; he is taking a post-graduate course in law. This man is regularly articled to the bar of Ontario, and he tells me that there are 500 others like him who have no real idea of the opportunities there may be for them.

When the hon. member to my far left suggests that the preoccupation of the Secretary of State's program has been toward the upper and middle classes, he is correct. The dislocations of unemployment now extend right through the whole range of society and have been creat-

January 19, 1973

Youth Affairs

ing problems for governments and politicians generally. The wonder of it is that the problems that have been created have not been greater.

If we were to argue only on the basis of fear, we might suggest that if we do not soon attend to these very serious problems, we may be faced with difficulties that are well beyond proportions easy to handle in a responsible and rational way. We are faced with a situation in which we have allowed through a policy of drift, training institutions, particularly universities, to carry on year after year without giving any real thought to the changing nature of society and of the economy in particular.

There has been no attempt to co-ordinate, either on a federal-provincial basis or directly with institutions of training across the country, the needs and requirements of society as at the present moment and as they will be over the next quarter of a century. More and more young people, we find, are increasingly becoming disillusioned. They find they have followed what they thought was the appropriate route to becoming positive and responsible members of society, only to discover that the door is slammed in their faces when they complete an extensive program of education. There is a most desperate need in this country for a comprehensive policy that is geared to youth, their education and employment. There has been no recognition given to that fact by the government.

I am pleased that we now have a new and young Secretary of State. I hope that in his brief time in office he will be able to provide some leadership in this very vital area. Even though his time may be short, his contribution may be great if he can deal with what is a very crucial area of social and economic difficulty facing Canadian society today.

I do not want to speak at further length because I am most anxious-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Faulkner:

You still have another five minutes.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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PC

David Samuel Horne MacDonald

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacDonald (Egmonl):

Yes, there are another five minutes before the debate terminates at five o'clock, unless of course we have a vote. But I would be most anxious to give the Secretary of State this opportunity briefly to indicate to the House how the government is going to move forward on this question and, hopefully, allow members of the House to engage in a serious way in the discussion of a comprehensive youth policy. I should also like him to indicate in what way his department's policies and plans will be moulded to deal with this problem.

All hon. members have had occasion to agonize during the past two years at the continued and increasing problems facing youth, at their inability, in all classes and in many different places, to become part of the economic

and social life of the community. I hope that the Secretary of State might be able to indicate briefly this afternoon some ways in which he will provide leadership in this very vital area.

Mr. Eymard Corbin (Madawaska-Victoria: Mr. Speaker, along with all the hon. members who have spoken over the last two weeks I would like to pay my respects to the Chair on the occasion of my first speech in this parliament.

I think I have a special reason for taking part in the debate on this motion since I have had some experience with a department of youth affairs. I would like to state briefly how this department met with much success in my province of New Brunswick.

It was the government of Hon. Louis-J. Robichaud which undertook during the election of June 1960 to establish in New Brunswick a Department of Youth Affairs which was of course the first in the history of this province and among the first in Canada. This commitment was kept as soon as the Liberal government took office but the Department of Youth Affairs was connected with the Department of Welfare. I joined that department shortly after it was established first as information officer and later as assistant director. I thus gained some experience from the growing pains of the department and also had moments of deep satisfaction.

The department was initially responsible for the administration of a loan and scholarship program for students at the post-secondary, university and postuniversity levels and thousands of New Brunswick students took advantage of it. Later on we submitted to the provincial government a policy to develop amateur sport and to provide financial assistance to the recreational associations of many communities. This policy was implemented and a sports director was hired. A network of local offices connected the department to the communities through a degree of decentralization. Vocational guidance services were then established locally particularly to help the young victims of a high rate of school-age mortality, and in this matter as in the cases of other programs, we had problems of jurisdiction with the provincial department of education. In a new experimental field, it is quite normal that problems should be encountered, but we managed to find solutions afterwards.

Mr. Speaker, may I call it five o'clock?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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LIB

Prosper Boulanger (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Boulanger):

Order. The hour provided for private members' business has now expired.

It being five o'clock this House stands adjourned until Monday at two o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 2(1).

Monday, January 22, 1973

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED ESTABLISHMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS
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January 19, 1973