April 11, 1974

PC

Almonte Douglas Alkenbrack

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. D. Alkenbrack (Frontenac-Lennox and Addington):

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture which arises from complaints I received from milk producers in my constituency who state that there is a critical need for help in that industry which is not available. Manpower offices are unable to provide qualified and experienced help for these dairymen and persons out of work will not apply for this work. Has the minister any plan for a solution of this problem.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   SHORTAGE OF HELP FOR MILK PRODUCERS-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO ALLEVIATE
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LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. E. F. Whelan (Minister of Agriculture):

Well, Mr. Speaker, in our society as yet we do not indenture anybody into any position at all. All we can do is ask them, coax them and beg them. I think also, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member could point out some of the problems to his colleague from St. John's East and point out, that this fact is to some extent why some of the dairy products are going up in price.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   SHORTAGE OF HELP FOR MILK PRODUCERS-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO ALLEVIATE
Permalink
NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

Perhaps the Chair might be allowed to recognize the hon. member for Brandon-Souris for a supplementary, because I failed to see him a moment ago, after which I will call orders of the day.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   SHORTAGE OF HELP FOR MILK PRODUCERS-GOVERNMENT ACTION TO ALLEVIATE
Permalink

PUBLIC SERVICE

PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Hon. W. G. Dinsdale (Brandon-Souris):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the President of the Treasury Board. It relates to the questions asked by the hon. member for South Western Nova and arises from the growing number of strikes in the public service. In view of the fact that the problems in the Post Office Department arise from sagging morale which is directly related to the emphasis on machines rather than men, as indicated by the difference in the pay classification between sorters and coders, would the President of the Treasury Board now review this discriminatory classification so that we might restore good morale to the Post Office Department.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF PAY DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN SORTERS AND CODERS IN POST OFFICE-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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LIB

Charles Mills (Bud) Drury (President of the Treasury Board)

Liberal

Hon. C. M. Drury (President of the Treasury Board):

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the analysis to which I just listened. It does not happen to correspond with the facts.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF PAY DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN SORTERS AND CODERS IN POST OFFICE-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dinsdale:

In view of the fact that there is a wage differential in the classification laid down by Treasury Board of about 71 cents between sorters and coders, and the fact that this is like paying a person who drives an automated bus a lower wage than one who drives a manual bus, would the minister look into this very vital and important issue?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF PAY DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN SORTERS AND CODERS IN POST OFFICE-GOVERNMENT POSITION
Permalink
LIB

Charles Mills (Bud) Drury (President of the Treasury Board)

Liberal

Mr. Drury:

Unquestionably there is a problem. I am not sure I would agree with the hon. gentleman's perception of it, but we will look into it.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF PAY DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN SORTERS AND CODERS IN POST OFFICE-GOVERNMENT POSITION
Permalink

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY


The House resumed, from Wednesday, April 10, consideration of the motion of Mr. Turner (Ottawa-Carleton) that Bill C-14, to amend the Farm Improvement Loans Act, the Small Businesses Loans Act and the Fisheries Improvement Loans Act, be read the second time and referred to committee of the whole. April 11, 1974


PC

William James Kempling

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Kempling:

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had just started my remarks on this bill when we were interrupted for the purpose of going to the other place to attend some of their deliberations, and when we returned it was six o'clock. Therefore, I will continue my remarks now. As I recall, I had read a letter from one of my constituents in which he recounted the problems he had when he went to the bank to try to get a loan under the Small Businesses Loans Act. I believe I related the fact that I had sent a circular to all the small businesses in my riding acquainting them with the Small Businesses Loans Act and telling them that if they so desired they could get a loan from the banks at 8V4 per cent interest. Of course, when I did that I realized that no bank manager in my riding would be friendly toward me, but I thought that that information would be of assistance to small businesses in my community.

I found, on talking to businessmen, that chartered banks use various tactics to discourage them from borrowing money under the Small Businesses Loans Act. As I read from the letter I had received, one bank manager said he had never heard of the act. I found that some of the chartered banks use other tactics. For instance, in some areas they will assign one of the branches, perhaps in the most remote residential part of an urban area, to handle small business loans. The object, of course, is to make it as difficult as possible for the businessman, to put another obstacle in his way and to make him change the bank with which he deals.

We know that bank managers come back in a hurry and say, "We will lend you money at 11 VS per cent or 12 per cent." We also know that some bank managers may be frightened of the risk and will direct the customer to the Industrial Development Bank, where a person will pay 11'/2 per cent, 12 per cent or 13 per cent. It is usually higher than the going bank rate. We must look into these matters carefully.

In the 1972 bank report, in the column setting out loans under the various banks, we find that the Bank of Montreal-which advertises on television that it helps people- made 433 loans in the whole of Canada under the Small Businesses Loans Act. The Bank of Nova Scotia made 134 loans. It seems that the Royal Bank outdid everybody and made 952 loans. The Toronto-Dominion Bank found it in their heart to make 181 loans. The Mercantile Bank of Canada made one loan, so it must have made a mistake there. The Canadian National Bank made 741 loans. The Provincial Bank of Canada made 41 loans. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce made 358 loans. The Bank of British Columbia made 4 loans. Credit unions made one loan. This is a total of 2,846 loans in all of Canada in 1972 under the Small Businesses Loans Act. I submit that in any city in Canada with a population of 200,000 or more any one bank could have made 2,846 loans.

It is all very well for the government to make loans available at a low interest rate, but the fact is that banks have not been interested in this program. I have asked the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) many questions in the House and in the committee regarding this matter and I have always received one of his usual cryptic replies, the type to which I think we can almost assign a number-it could be called reply No. 27: I will take the matter up with

Loans Acts Amendments

the chairman of the Canadian Bankers' Association when we have lunch next week.

That is the type of practice that we would like to see stopped. We would like to see the minister and bank managers get together. I appreciate that one of the problems the banks are facing is lack of liquidity: they are short of funds. I am sure that if they have money to lend, they want to lend it at the highest possible rate of interest; and as a businessman I cannot fault them for that because it is the normal course of commerce. But the liquidity situation has not always been as it is today. If we go back to 1971 and 1972 and look at the statistics produced in the report, we see that the highest number of loans ever made under the Small Businesses Loans Act is 2,977, and that was in 1961. Eleven years later, in 1972, the latest report that we have shows the banks only made 2,846 loans. This makes me question the sincerity of the minister and of the banks.

Something should be done for small businesses in this country. I am sure that all hon. members recognize weaknesses in small businesses. Some of them are specialists in everything but financing. I also recognize that they have many problems. But, as I said at the beginning of my remarks, small businesses are the backbone of and provide stability to Canadian commerce. They create over half of Canada's gross national product and employ over half of the working people in Canada. They rarely have lay-offs; they rarely have strikes. They pay their taxes and they pay their employees. They are the ones who keep the country going when other things go wrong.

When you look at the facilities that are available to small businessmen in the conduct of their businesses, you understand that if the government is really going to make a meaningful contribution toward helping small businesses it will have to amend the Bank Act in the near future. One of the problems of small businessmen is acquiring working capital. Small businesses are not labour-intensive and are usually not capital-intensive. But they are working capital-intensive. This is particularly important today in a situation of tight supply of materials. I have discussions with many small businessmen regarding the supply of steel, for instance. We find that the standard angles, channels and shapes are not available in the normal course of events, and in part this is because wholesalers are using the shortage of supply and tight money situation to their own advantage.

The small fabricator finds that if he places a c.o.d. order with a supplier, he gets the material right away; but if he places an order under the normal terms, in most cases the warehouse tells him to call back tomorrow and they just might have something for him. This all relates to the problem of working capital. The small businessman cannot exist unless he has money available, and if the prevailing situation requires him to pay cash for the supplies he needs in order to operate, he is soon in serious trouble.

I am glad the suggestion made yesterday to deal with this bill in committee of the whole, rather than sending it to the standing committee, was adopted. This will ensure getting the legislation into operation sooner than if it

April 11, 1974

Loans Acts Amendments

went to the finance committee, in view of the backlog of work of that committee. I hope the minister will read the remarks made by members of his own party regarding the difficulties encountered by fishermen, farmers and small businessmen when they apply for bank loans. It is all very well to increase the limit to $50,000, but with the present limit of $25,000 the average loan across Canada is only $9,500. I hope we will see a substantial increase in this respect and that many small businesses will be able to take advantage of the Small Businesses Loans Act provision for new businesses which is not available in the act as it now stands.

With those remarks I shall conclude, Mr. Speaker. I hope we can bring this debate to an end before whatever is going to happen, happens-I think you know what I mean-so that we will be able to pass on to the small business community whatever advantages will accrue to them from this amendment to the Small Businesses Loans Act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Frank Howard (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a couple of very brief remarks with respect to this bill. Because it is divided in three, part of my remarks will relate to that section of it which deals with the Fisheries Improvement Loans Act. At the outset I should say that I wonder why the House is taking this tack and exerting its energy and consideration on something so insignificant and of so little value to fishermen as this bill. It just seeks to amend in a very slight way the amount of money that a fisherman may borrow from a bank or other lending institution for the purposes contained in the act. It seeks to extend from $25,000 to $50,000 the limit that a person can borrow. Anyone not familiar with the fishing industry could argue that this is a substantial alteration, but let me make a few comments with regard to the salmon fishery on the west coast for the sake of argument.

Five or six years ago the Minister of Fisheries instituted a licensing limitation program in the salmon industry. With the continual "early morning upon arising" changes that the minister announced respecting that initial program, to the point that very few fishermen knew what it was all about-because the change obviously was the result of a heavy meal before bedtime, which produced a rather nightmarish situation for the government-things have gradually cleared to the point that on the west coast there is a limitation on these licences: only a certain number are issued and no new ones are allowed. This has been the case in the taxi industry, in the forest industry and in every other industry where franchises are involved.

In the case of the fishing industry, the cost of the licence is more than the value of the boat to which it applies. The current selling price for a salmon licence on the west coast ranges from $3,500 and $4,000 per ton of fishing vessel. A very small troller of 36 feet to 38 feet which has a salmon licence can cost a fisherman from $65,000 to $75,000. He pays more for the licence than for the boat: the larger the boat, the greater its tonnage and therefore the higher the price. In that type of atmosphere a $50,000 limit under the provisions of this act is meaningless to the average fisherman. Therefore, it is hardly worth the House taking the time to listen to what the government has to say on the matter.

The other matter I want to mention is broader in application and relates to interest rates. All three of the acts being amended by this bill, the Farm Improvement Loans Act, the Small Businesses Loans Act and the Fisheries Improvement Loans Act, contain a provision relating to the rate of interest a financial institution or chartered bank may charge on a guaranteed loan. The rate may fluctuate. I do not know the current rate: one can ascertain this by 'phoning the bank. Probably the current rate is in the neighbourhood of 714 or 7Vi per cent.

Because interest rates are limited, the government guarantees the loan. No matter whether the default is by reason of insolvency or any other reason, the loan is guaranteed absolutely by the government of Canada. Therefore there is no possibility of the bank losing any of the capital involved. Originally, I suppose, the saw-off came in this way; the government said to the banks, "If you will agree to limit the rate of interest you will charge on these loans, we will guarantee the loans unconditionally."

I would argue that we should limit interest rates on moral grounds rather than on financial grounds. What are these moral grounds? The people with whom these acts deal are probably in the most vulnerable position in the business world. Being farmers and fishermen, they are primary producers who are subject to a great deal of economic pressure. They have little control over the price they receive for their produce and no control at all over the price they must pay for materials, commodities and services which are necessary if they are to maintain their farming, business or fishing operations. In short, they are at the mercy of large forces in society and are caught in this squeeze. Somebody else dictates what they will pay for their supplies and somebody else dictates, to a great degree, the price for which they can sell their produce, whether it is the produce of the farm, of the sea or of our fresh waters.

The small businessman is in the same position. He is not so much a producer as a provider of services which involve, for instance, retail distribution and things of that kind. He is at the mercy of the large pressure groups in our economy. My argument is this: because these people cannot exercise much leverage in the economy, it behooves us to pay greater attention to their economic position. Therefore we should limit the interest rates they must pay. Because interest rates are limited, banks, other lending institutions and credit unions-which, although more sympathetic perhaps than chartered banks, are still caught in the cost squeeze for money-are reluctant in some cases to lend. Lending institutions say to themselves, although not in public, "Why should we lend money under the Fisheries Improvement Loans Act at 7 !4 per cent when we can lend money to the fellow next door at 11 per cent?"- or whatever the going rate is.

If the prime bank rate is 9 Vi per cent, the most advantageous rate for a borrower would be 1 per cent higher. We are talking about a rate in the 10 Vi to 11 per cent bracket. The bank says to itself, "Why should we lend money under these acts at 7!4 per cent when we can lend it to somebody else at 10 Vi per cent? Why should we forgo 3 per cent interest?" Considering the fact that banks were estab-

April 11, 1974

lished in the first place to lend other people's money and not to provide any beneficial service except to themselves, one can understand that attitude. Why should they not operate on that basis? The person who suffers from that attitude is the individual fisherman, small businessman and farmer. The acts may guarantee loans and limit interest rates, but the farmer, businessman or fisherman finds it difficult to obtain money.

In a previous session, and again in this session, I brought forward a bill which would establish a different principle and concept with respect to lending under these acts. I submit that if it is public policy, and good public policy

which I submit it is-to limit the interest which lending institutions can charge, then we as the parliamentarians who have imposed that limitation must make sure that lending institutions do not discriminate against those entitled to borrow under these acts.

The bill I introduced contains a provision which ought to be incorporated in the bill before us. That provision is that lending institutions should be required to make available sums of money for lending under these acts which are not less than the average they have lent, say in the last five-year period. It really does not matter what period you use so long as you are consistent. That is to say, they should be required to make money available under these acts to potential borrowers, and they should not be allowed to refuse to lend money on the basis that they are not making a large enough profit on the loan. If an individual entitled to borrow under these acts goes to the bank, applies for a loan and on a logical and reasonable basis is refused a loan, that individual should have the right to appeal the decision of the bank to the Department of Finance or some structure within it. This body would assess the potential of the borrower and either say he was a poor risk and the bank was right, or he was a good risk and the bank was wrong, in which case it would direct the bank to make the loan.

It must always be kept in mind that these loans are underwritten and guaranteed by the people of Canada through the minister of finance and the government of Canada.

Unless we make some kind of effort in this direction we will find that the higher interest rates-and they will go higher-will work to the disadvantage of potential borrowers under these three acts. It will be more attractive for the banks and lending institutions to lend money at the higher going rate than under these acts.

At the moment, a number of banks are engaged in the practice of borrowing money from private individuals by means of term deposits. The banks borrow this money for a term of five or six years at an absolute guaranteed rate of 8'/2 per cent. There was an ad in yesterday's Ottawa Journal by some trust and loan companies. In letters six to eight inches high they guarantee an interest rate of 9 per cent for term deposits of up to five or six years. If lending institutions are going to commit themselves to carrying an 8 'A or 9 per cent liability on money that they borrow for five or six years, they are also going to commit themselves to charging higher interest rates on the money they lend.

Loans Acts Amendments

This will be necessary in order to obtain the money with which to pay the high interest rate.

The longer this situation is permitted to continue, the more we will be looking at a continuation of potentially higher interest rates. The more that happens, the more the general public will suffer with regard to interest rates on loans for housing and other things. However, because this bill is before us we have to relate our concern to it. The more that happens, the more our farmers, fishermen and small businessmen will be disadvantaged. They are now disadvantaged more than any other group in the entrepreneurial field which produces by its own efforts. In spite of the limitation increase from $25,000 to $50,000 for fishermen-regardless of how little value that is with today's costs, the value of fishing boats and the like-they will still be disadvantaged by the banking and lending institutions.

I have not considered the bill in any detail. I will do that at the committee stage. Because of the recommendation of His Excellency which confines the area to be considered in committee, I am not sure whether procedurally we can move amendments. I do not know whether the concepts I have included in a bill now before the House, and which I advanced a moment ago can be fitted into this bill. If it can be done at the committee stage, or possibly at the report stage, I hope to introduce these types of amendment so that the House and the committee will have an opportunity to express a view about the concepts I have advanced. That is supplementing the morality aspect and the recognition this parliament is giving to the needs of farmers, fishermen and small businessmen by the guarantee procedure and saying they will not be disadvantaged because some loan shark thinks it is more profitable to lend money other than under this act. If I can fit those amendments into the committee stage or the report stage, I will certainly do so.

I hope that with that brief introductory comment, members will give some thought to the ideas I have put forward. Hopefully, something of this nature will be written into the legislation to further protect the position of people who borrow under these acts.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
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PC

Charles E. Haliburton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charles E. Haliburton (South Western Nova):

Mr. Speaker, I intend to speak only briefly on this bill. However, often when one intends to speak briefly he gets carried away. Certain aspects of this bill are beneficial. On the whole, it is legislation we can endorse in principle and I hope it will be speedily passed by this House.

I would echo some of the remarks of the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Howard) with regard to lack of real content in the bill in terms of what it will do for the fishermen of Canada. This legislation was first put into place in 1955 with a lower lending limit to fishermen. That limit was increased, and is to be increased again so that fishermen may obtain a maximum loan of $50,000. I suspect that with the degree of inflation we have experienced in this country, that increase in the ceiling is not as beneficial as the amount was when the legislation was originally conceived, in terms of total buying power.

As the hon. member suggested, the limitation does not take into consideration the changing nature of the fishing industry since 1955. In this day and age, fishermen operat-

1370

April 11, 1974

Loans Acts Amendments

ing a $50,000 boat are really confined to the inshore fishery. By "inshore" I mean within about 15 miles of the sea coast. On the coast of the part of Canada from which I come, fishermen find it necessary to range 200 to 300 miles in order to make a year's pay in dragging and long-lining operations.

The Department of the Environment enunciated a program for the fisheries that seems to be at cross-purposes, to some extent, with the measures proposed in this bill. The department is attempting to encourage fishermen on the east coast to think in terms of more far-reaching vessels in order to fish off the coasts of Labrador, Greenland, the Flemish cape and in southern waters where there are species of fish available which are not being harvested to the fullest extent. Such a vessel costs from $1 million to $1.5 million.

A fisherman interested in engaging in the fishery that is now the major push of the Department of the Environment would be excluded from participating in it if he were to rely for his financing upon commercial banks lending money under guarantees authorized by this act. If the resources of the fishermen are limited and there are very few who can put up the difference in capital between what they can borrow under this act and what such a vessel costs, then to that extent they are precluded from owning such a vessels in which to fishing.

It is encouraging to see that this government which has been prone to regulating and restricting production and unable to assist farmers, fishermen and small businessmen, that has been so intent upon regulating the fishery to the point where it is very difficult to make a living or to have the diversification necessary, because of restrictions on licences, and so on, is at least thinking in terms of making credit a little easier for the fishermen to obtain.

There may be a substantial gap in the intent of the statute and the result it will produce. One of the members of the party to which I belong spoke yesterday of the success, if you like, of this plan as a means of financing fishermen in the Atlantic region. I would point out that each of the Atlantic provinces has its own loan board which advances money to fishermen at various rates of interest. In Newfoundland the rate of interest is very low. In Nova Scotia it is high in relation to the income a fisherman borrowing money under this proposal could earn.

In Nova Scotia there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of money lent to fishermen under this scheme in the past year compared to the previous year, but even in that province more than twice the amount of money was lent by the Nova Scotia fishermen's loan board to fishermen as was lent by commercial banks under this program. It has been suggested by speakers before me, and I think it is an easy conclusion to draw, that there are good reasons for this situation. One is that the banks are more willing to lend at a much higher rate of interest to other borrowers, or to fishermen borrowing on a straight loan. And, of course, as far as loans by the Nova Scotia fishermen's loan board are concerned, the arrangements are a little more realistic. The repayment term under this legislation is ten years, but a slightly longer term is provided under the

Nova Scotia fishermen's loans act. The time during which the debt can be repaid corresponds more or less with the productive life of the fishing vessel.

Under this legislation, though, only fishermen acquiring small boats, or prepared to carry out no more than minimal repairs, are able to borrow funds adequate enough for their purposes. Under the Nova Scotia fishermen's loan act a fisherman is able to borrow whatever money he needs, less 25 per cent. Thus, in the case of a vessel costing $1 million, if a fisherman is able to scrape up $200,000 or $250,000 he can purchase a ship capable of ranging in the offshore areas.

Under this scheme, if he arranged for a loan from the bank repayable in ten years, he would still be looking for a further $950,000. It follows that anyone who is interested in this kind of fishing would find such arrangements prohibitive. To give hon. members some idea of the costs involved in my area, let me say that the cost of a motor alone, of the kind commonly installed on an inshore fish dragger, is about $40,000. This alone would exhaust the amount one might borrow from a bank, even taking the present amendments into account. The provision of salt water cooling facilities in the hull of a vessel would account for $75,000 or more. A boat capable of fishing in a number of fisheries, sufficiently diversified to enable it to operate as a midwater trawler engaging in the herring and groundfish fisheries, would cost between $300,000 and $500,000.

Thinking in these terms, the act is obviously way behind the times. It will not help in any meaningful way fishermen such as I have just mentioned. I suggest it runs at cross-purposes with an objective which the Department of Fisheries' is seeking to achieve, since the act will not help our fishermen to compete with foreign vessels which are fishing in inshore areas and stripping our fisheries of their marine resources.

A striking divergence exists between amounts loaned under the act in various areas. Nova Scotia and British Columbia have fishing fleets which I assume are of approximately the same size. The value of fish landed is approximately the same in Nova Scotia as in British Columbia. Yet British Columbia fishermen had borrowed under this act, up to December, 1973, more than $2 million, while Nova Scotia fishermen had borrowed only $420,000- approximately 15 per cent of the amount of money loaned. Almost 80 per cent has been going to the coast of British Columbia.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Speakman Barnett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Barnett:

Would the hon. member permit a question on that aspect?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
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PC

Charles E. Haliburton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Haliburton:

By all means.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Speakman Barnett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Barnett:

Is the hon. member aware that figures under the Fisheries Development Act, which is a grants program, show that the proportions of funds received as between Nova Scotia fishermen and British Columbia fishermen are reversed? In point of fact, most of the fishermen in British Columbia are not eligible to receive grants under the Fisheries Development Act. This may explain their resort to borrowing.

April 11, 1974

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
Permalink
PC

Charles E. Haliburton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Haliburton:

I thank the hon. member for drawing this to my attention. The point I was attempting to make in my timorous way was this: aside from any other legislation, the need to borrow on the east coast under guaranteed loan provisions is surely as great as it is on the west coast, yet for some reason fishermen on the west coast have been taking greater advantage of this act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
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NDP

Thomas Speakman Barnett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Barnett:

British Columbia fishermen have no alternative.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
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PC

Charles E. Haliburton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Haliburton:

I would suggest that the alternatives provided for the benefit of fishermen are not as numerous as they might be. It is encouraging that the government should be considering ways of enabling fishermen to finance the upgrading of their equipment and to purchase new equipment. It is, however, discouraging that the minister should have acted in such a penny-pinching way. The object should be to put into fisheries as much money under the provisions of this act as is currently being put into small businesses of other descriptions.

The concept put forward by the hon. member for Skeena would require the banks to lend money to the fishermen. That is an interesting concept. It would have an obvious difficulty in that it would require additional regulation, and it is apparent to everyone that the banks are reluctant to lend money under guaranteed lending schemes with fixed interest rates. Bank managers and the banking institution as a whole are reluctant to make such loans because they know low interest rates limit the amount of profit they can generate.

I suggest to the minister that in considering revisions to this act it would be worth while to consider making money available under its provisions for the purchase or upgrading of equipment used by fish dealers and small fish plant operators. I suppose they can qualify under this legislation, but such provision would seem to fall more readily, for administrative purposes, under the provisions of the Small Businesses Loans Act.

This bill does contain encouraging aspects and I hope it will be dealt with by the House in the manner suggested by other members of this party.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT, SMALL BUSINESSES AND FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACTS AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
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April 11, 1974