March 15, 1977

LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order, please. The hon. parliamentary secretary on a point of order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION ACT, 1976 AMENDMENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION POLICY
Permalink
LIB

Arthur Portelance (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Manpower and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Portelance:

Mr. Speaker, I have never said that we should bring in immigrants to work on the James Bay project. When I say that some Canadians are sent over to work on the James Bay, and when we criticize-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION ACT, 1976 AMENDMENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION POLICY
Permalink
LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order, please. This is strictly a matter of debate. The hon. member for Villeneuve (Mr. Caouette).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION ACT, 1976 AMENDMENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION POLICY
Permalink
SC

Armand Caouette

Social Credit

Mr. Caouette:

I apologize to the parliamentary secretary if I have misinterpreted his words, and I would indeed like that these people be able to work in frontier areas like the James Bay. But first we should find employment for our people who for many years have been seeking jobs on the James Bay project but to no avail. But at least, Mr. Speaker, like all members of the House, I am aware of the importance, of the immigration issue for the future of our country.

Depending on whether our immigration policy will be restrictive or liberal-and I smile because I do not want to talk about the Liberal Party-Canada in the year 2000 will probably be completely different from what we know today. We might find ourselves in an over-populated country in which people of different ethnic and cultural origins will continuously be tearing one another to pieces. On the other hand, we could succeed in creating a country in which everybody can live a decent life without being piled up on one another and in the mutual respect of various cultural groups.

All this will depend, Mr. Speaker, upon the immigration policy which Canada is developing right now. Without trying to dramatize the situation, Mr. Speaker, I believe that of all the bills which are presently before the House, Bill C-24 is by far the most important and most dangerous for our country's future. I for one do not feel out of line when I make these statements.

The many briefs which were submitted to us from every area of this country and from all organized groups which are concerned by this issue clearly show that Canadians, from British Columbia to Newfoundland, know that the future of this country depends upon the policy which we will follow regarding immigration.

Uiio)

Mr. Speaker, among the papers I received at my office on Bill C-24, one was taken up and endorsed by more than 25 organizations which even held press conferences to denounce this bill which they said was misleading, restrictive, repressive, discriminatory and unworthy of our society that claims to be developed, liberal and humanitarian.

Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the least that can be said is that the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Cullen) failed to sell those organizations his bill. That situation is even funnier if one bothers to compare what the minister said of his bill before law students with the statement I quoted earlier, and I quote:

For the first time, the bill clearly sets out the basic objectives of immigration, and for the first time it entrenches in legislation the principles of non-discrimination, of respect for the family and concern for refugees on humanitarian grounds.

As one can see, Mr. Speaker, there is somewhat of a disagreement between the minister and the signers of the statement I mentioned earlier. The minister says that the legislation entrenches the principle of non-discrimination; the organizations, for their part, were suggesting that the legislation was discriminatory. The minister says that the legislation includes the government's humanitarian concern; those same organizations to which I referred earlier say that the legislation is unworthy of a society that claims to be humanitarian.

Mr. Speaker, I point out that gap between those two interpretations to show how it is possible to come to contradictory conclusions on the same bill; it all depends, of course, on the point of view from which that same bill is examined. So the minister says he is very proud of eliminating certain provisions of the old act forbidding entry in this country to certain groups of individuals such as homosexuals and alcoholics. The minister is pleased with the fact that the legislation eliminates mentions of what was termed to be "moral turpitude" and resulted in the deportation of certain people.

Does that mean, Mr. Speaker, that the conduct of people who apply for admission to Canada should not be considered any more? Does that mean that as far as this government is concerned, the most vicious persons should be welcome as much as those who show respect for the rights of others as well as their own and abide by the basic rules of decency and good manners?

That is why I think moral turpitude is a criterion we should use to turn down, after investigation, undesirable applicants who could not make any worthwhile contribution to the development of this country.

Maybe it is because this government's moral standards are not high enough that it expects so much from prospective immigrants, but I cannot help wondering. As for the document I mentioned earlier, which is sponsored by more than 25 agencies, I had to admit after reading it, that it would be possible to have a government worse than the one we have at present.

Mr. Speaker, if the principles and suggestions proposed by such organizations as the Labour Council of Montreal, the Service de la Pastorale et d'echanges spiritains, the Office for Chilean political prisoners and several other organizations which support this bill, if the principles advocated by those groups were followed Canada would have no more control over its immigration and I think it would be a real mess.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to avoid any misunderstanding. I am not enthusiastic about the bill proposed by the Minister of Manpower and Immigration and I have the opportunity for a few moments to make specific comments on some provisions of

4018

March 15, 1977

Immigration

that bill. However, I should like to underline the responsibility shown by some organizations that I mentioned earlier. A logical and rational immigration policy should, of course, be in the interest of the public, this is in the interest of all Canadians. If that priority is not respected and if our immigration policy is contrary to the needs of the majority of Canadians, it is anti-democratic, as obviously, Canadians want legislation to protect them and their social and economic interests.

The organizations that I mentioned earlier-including CUSO, an agency largely financed by Canadian taxpayers- suggest that anybody be accepted as an immigrant at any time. In their brief they say that the government's bill is and I quote:

Restrictive because its purpose at every level is to limit very strictly the number and type of immigrants according to our economic needs.

What is wrong, Mr. Speaker, in restricting the number of immigrants according to our economic needs? No country, no nation can survive if it deliberately bungles its economic stability by opening its door to everyone. It is absolutely essential to take into account the economic potential of a country to determine an immigration policy. We must know if we can offer to those immigrants suitable jobs and a decent living. If it is not possible because of lack of employment or because the country has trouble giving its own citizens a decent way of living, it would be irresponsible and criminal to open our doors to immigrants and make the problem even worse.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, this is exactly what the signers of this document are demanding. I feel it would be cruel to open our doors to people who could not be hired and to whom we could not guarantee an acceptable standard of living. We would be showing contempt if we let them come in Canada but could not assure them a decent life.

Further, the same document states that the bill is discriminatory as follows:

It is discriminatory both in its point system which systematically favours immigrants from developed countries over those from the Third World, the educated people over those who are less educated, etc., and in the introduction of the notion of conditional immigrants (who can immigrate provided they accept to live in remote areas or fill second-rate jobs unwanted by Canadians).

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I cannot get over the irresponsibility of these people and groups. They criticize the bill for taking the vocational training of immigrants into account. But is that not the most basic rationale? We live in an industrialized country where jobs require increasingly greater skills. It is only normal that Canada should seek immigrants who can adjust to our society and play an active role in it. There are more than one million unemployed in our country. I believe that is more than enough. If we allow unskilled or uneducated people to settle in Canada, we doom them to unemployment and poverty. It would be cruel to allow them to settle in Canada and to cast them aside later on because of a shortage of job opportunities or their lack of training. Just as it would be logical to accept certain immigrants on the condition that they settle in frontier areas where certain jobs are easier to find. This would prevent a concentration in the major urban centres of welfare recipients and unemployed.

It is absolutely essential, Mr. Speaker, that our immigration policy take into account the social and economical facts of our country. Those who claim the opposite are either irresponsible or foreigners afraid that they will not meet the standards set by the government.

I should like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that of the various organizations which have signed the document in question, more than half represent foreigners, Chileans, Argentines, Haitians, Iranians and so forth. It is easy to understand that these people would like to settle in Canada and become Canadian citizens. We live in a remarkable and tremendously rich country, with one of the highest living standards in the world. It is therefore understandable why so many people would like to share in this prosperity and in the promising future of Canada.

But, it must be kept in mind, Mr. Speaker, that our country could not maintain such a high standard of living if it threw its doors wide open to welfare recipients the world over. Our million unemployed represent a heavy enough burden for the Canadian taxpayers. Our duty and responsibility as legislators is above all to solve this problem. Having done so, we could welcome the immigrants who wish to settle in Canada and are able to provide the Canadian people with the required services and skills.

Mr. Speaker, I feel that the foreigners who signed the document I mentioned a while ago are meddling with the internal affairs of Canada. We certainly can do without foreigners dictating to us what our immigration policy should be. On the other hand, we must realize that Canada would do potential immigrants a great disservice if it welcomed them with open arms, and then condemned them to poverty and unemployment, for lack of proper jobs for them to do.

Mr. Speaker, I feel that the only way to set up immigration policies which take into account the interests of all parties concerned is simply to base them on the social and economic circumstances of the country, and to choose among prospective immigrants on the basis of these social and economic circumstances. Mr. Speaker, I am not referring here to the special cases where Canada has accepted political refugees. In some specific cases, the conditions must include humanitarian grounds.

With respect to the charges of discrimination laid by the groups I mentioned earlier, I find that kind of verbal exaggeration another sign of irresponsibility on the part of their authors. To choose among prospective immigrants those with the best occupational training is no more discriminatory than to put heavier taxes on the rich, or to hire the most qualified candidate for a job. Is the employer who hires the best man among the applicants being discriminatory? I, for one, do not believe that.

In any case, Mr. Speaker, I want to invite the minister not to take into consideration those who, like the groups I talked about a moment ago, bring forward policies which are against the most fundamental interests of Canadians. It is clear that the bill introduced by the minister is not perfect. More specifically, I see two possible changes that could be made. First, it

March 15, 1977

would be desirable that the text of the legislation establish different sets of criteria for refugees and ordinary immigrants.

Clearly, as I said a while ago, the case of political refugees should be studied with more broadmindedness than ordinary applications. It therefore seems logical and desirable to me that the bill should set up a list of criteria for the eligibility for refugees that is different from that which applies to ordinary requests.

Still with regard to refugees, Mr. Speaker, I feel it might be well to set up a special committee to hear the people who request political refugee status. A committee could perhaps be set up along the lines of the arbitration boards in the field of unemployment insurance. It might be more equitable, at least with regard to natural rights, for people who want to be recognized as refugees to be heard by a body that is independent of the department, a bit as I said a minute ago comparable to the boards of arbitration and the umpires who are independent of the Unemployment Insurance Commission. Those then, Mr. Speaker, are the few suggestions I want to make to the minister with a view to improving Bill C-24.

I trust I shall have the opportunity of coming back to this matter at the next stage in the debate. In closing, Mr. Speaker,

I should like to ask the minister not to allow himself be influenced too much by the minority which is trying, by shouting louder than everyone else, to get an immigration policy that is contrary to the fundamental interests of the vast majority of Canadians.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION ACT, 1976 AMENDMENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION POLICY
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Haidasz

Liberal

Hon. Stanley Haidasz (Parkdale):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity of speaking on the second reading of this debate on Bill C-24, the new Immigration Act for Canada. I do this not only because of the great interest displayed in immigration policy by hon. members on both sides of the House but by many Canadians, especially Canadians in the constituency of Parkdale which I represent in the House of Commons.

Canada today has a population of some 23 million, and I believe it is very pertinent in debate on this bill to recall that more than ten million immigrants have come to Canada since Confederation. This is why we often hear hon. members and others, along with ministers in charge of immigration, state that Canada is a land of immigrants and that at least 50 per cent of Canadians are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants who have come to Canada since 1867. Many of these immigrants have achieved prominent positions and rendered great service to the development of this country over the last 109 years. In fact one of the members who sat in the House of Commons in 1867 was an immigrant from Poland. He represented the constituency of Saint-Hyacinthe in the province of Quebec and his name was Edward Kierzkowski. He came here after the defeat of the uprising of the Poles in 1830.

I welcome, as all hon. members did in speeches before me, the provisions in the bill which mainly have to do with removing iniquities in the present law and those which estab-

Immigration

lish a modern and flexible framework for the future development of immigration policy, along with other items which will help the government to achieve its economic, social and demographic goals.

My intervention this evening has to do with the treatment of refugees. I should like especially to deal with the question of refugees from eastern European countries. This is a subject of great importance to constituencies where there are citizens who wish to bring to Canada relatives and friends who have difficulty in emigrating from their countries of origin, in particular from the countries of eastern Europe. I think to set this problem in perspective we should recall that after the second world war Canada accepted almost 100,000 refugees from all over the world, mostly between the years 1949 to 1953.

A great amount of interest was generated in 1951 when the United Nations Convention on Refugees was passed. It is of interest to note that Canada became a signatory to that convention only in 1969, and from then on complied in practice with both the exact letter and spirit of the United Nations Convention on Refugees. Since that time Canada has had an enviable record of helping people who have come to this country seeking the status of refugee, or seeking political asylum because of the threat of persecution or other forms of oppression which existed in their homelands.

When I speak of the enviable record of Canada in the matter of refugees, it must also be put on record that in 1957 Canada accepted 38,000 Hungarian refugees after the uprising in that country, followed by 12,000 Czech and Slovak refugees when the U.S.S.R. invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. Since that time there was also the arrival of 228 Tibetan refugees in 1970, 4,420 Asians from Uganda in 1972, approximately

4,000 refugees from Chile in 1973, 1,000 refugees from Viet Nam in 1975, and 1,000 Lebanese refugees in 1976.

However, there are people who, as I mentioned, come from the countries of eastern Europe seeking the status of refugee after having arrived on Canadian soil. Up to the year 1969 the treatment of these people was what I would call very fair. However, since that time, and especially since the year 1974, the policy on refugees from eastern Europe has been tightened, and in 1974, of 345 east European applicants to Canada, only 30 were accepted, which means a rejection rate of over 90 per cent. In 1975, of 550 refugee applicants about 80 were accepted, which is a rejection rate of 85 per cent approximately. In 1976 we estimate that the rejection rate in this category will come to about 90 per cent. It is very frustrating, not only for these people, but also for their sponsors and for members of parliament who try to act as ombudsmen to help these people remain in Canada, when the interdepartmental advisory committee on the status of refugees in Canada is rejecting between 80 and 90 per cent of the applicants from east European countries.

In view of this evident hardship, Mr. Speaker, I hope the provision in the bill as well as the regulations, to which we are

80010-48'/2

4020 COMMONS DEBATES March 15. 1977

Immigration

looking forward with great expectation, in fact with a lot of impatience, will help ease the situation in which these people find themselves. As you know, Mr. Speaker, we do not have many immigration consular staff in the countries of eastern Europe and the only way for them to emigrate to Canada, in many cases, is to come here, see the country, and try to make their decision to remain in Canada while on Canadian soil. As all hon. members know since November, 1972, it has been almost impossible to make application for landed immigrant status in Canada while here on a visitor's visa. So I hope that the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Cullen) will take into consideration this category of refugee consisting of people seeking a better life in Canada who have close relatives in Canada, relatives who very often are disappointed at the way their sponsored applicants are being treated under the present strict regulations.

I appeal to the minister on humanitarian and compassionate grounds to review these cases now, with the objective of showing that Canada really does care about these people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a web of various difficulties. These people and their relatives fought against Nazi tyranny and alongside the Allied armies during World War II, and it is none of their fault that they find themselves today on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Another point I want to raise during this debate has to do with the report of Judge Claire L'Heureux-Dube, who was appointed special commissioner to conduct an inquiry into certain problems in the Department of Manpower and Immigration. In January, 1976, the commissioner submitted a report outlining just a few flagrant shortcomings and recommending ways in which the minister should, on an urgent basis, put some order into the application of regulations and practices current in the department. The commissioner, among other recommendations, urged improvements in the legal representation available to visitors in Canada and recommended the expansion of legal aid plans, as well as the establishment of a system of control over those who are representing persons dealing with the immigration department in order to ensure a standard of competence and ethics.

Unfortunately, many of these visitors are directed to high-price lawyers and to so-called immigration counsellors who charge exorbitant fees and promise to help, but very often fail to help these poor immigrants or these poor visitors seeking landed immigrant status in Canada. I do not know what the minister is doing to curb the unethical practices that are still being conducted in Canada, especially in the large urban centres. No wonder there are so many complaints about the department, and so many people in this category of visitors in Canada who seem to go into hiding because of the fear of what can happen to them, not to mention the amount of money they have lost in trying to obtain landed immigrant status.

I want to conclude these remarks by saying that I welcome the provisions of the bill, and I congratulate the minister and the previous minister for making such a tremendous effort in

coming up with Bill C-24, a modern immigration act which, I hope, will serve the best interests of Canada. I hope that the members of the commitee on immigration which will study this bill will take into consideration the remarks that were made by hon. members, as well as the briefs, that were presented to them during the study by the committee on immigration which travelled across Canada and heard representations on the so called green paper. I also invite the various ethnic groups which have a deep interest and concern about Canada's immigration policy to come forward with briefs and representations to the committee so that in the end we will have the best possible immigration act for Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION ACT, 1976 AMENDMENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION POLICY
Permalink
PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Marcel Lambert (Edmonton West):

Mr. Speaker, I certainly welcome the opportunity to speak at this stage of this bill. The subject of immigration has been one with which I have had a great deal to do as an individual member, and I am sure that my letters, some of them somewhat caustic, some of them downright rude, and some of them written on fine grades of asbestos because they were so hostile, are well known to various departmental officials in the Department of Immigration.

I have not been at all reluctant to express my ideas and disapproval of the way in which some of the regulations have been interpreted, and of the existence of other regulations. What I feel now is a sort of manic fascination in that department with the requirements of manpower. People have become ciphers, they are pushed about as so many statistics, and they can be brought to this country in much the same way as we import live cattle, in numbers set by quotas year by year. I do not like that. I do not like the philosophy that immigration, which affects human beings, family relationships, and the aspirations of individuals, should be treated as though it were just an importation of another skill.

I have had a great deal to say about what I consider the wrong philosophy with the points system, that it was a cream skimming operation of populations in other countries. No wonder our immigration offices in many instances were not welcome in these countries because our points system was a clear indication to other countries-particularly in latter years to Third World countries-that "we will take your skilled and most intelligent people", but those others from all walks of life, even though their chief asset was a desire to work and an ability to work, were not wanted because somebody said, "Oh yes, but they had only grade four or they had only four or six years of education" so that did not qualify them to come to Canada. It seems that our standards should be somewhere around nine to 11 years of education.

Let it be said that in many European countries six years of education is fully equal to nine years of education at some schools in this country, and this applies to preparation in trades also. The application of the points system, as it has been applied until now and is likely to continue, is a negative reflection on every immigrant who has come to this country since World War II until 1967, because those immigrants did not come under a points system but were admitted for many other different reasons. They were not graded. They were

March 15, 1977

given what I felt was an arbitrary assessment by an immigration officer whose decision could not be appealed.

I remember looking at the files and questioning the ratings, but after we managed to upset some of the ratings, the files were closed off. Why? Because decisions were being questioned. That is something that must stop in the Department of Immigration. There has been far too much refusal to disclose proper information, even to the individual concerned. I realize that there are limitations with regard to security, but it used to be carried out. How? To ridiculous lengths. My colleague, the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin), has been strongly advocating open government. Those are things that must come out if an individual is to be refused admission. If he suffers from some malady or some infirmity and we do not want to include him among the people coming to this country, we must tell him so. But merely to say that this individual does not meet our standards is an insult to that person. That is why I say that this bill cannot be accepted in principle because it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Clause 3 is merely for cosmetic purposes. The real guts or workings of an immigration program are the regulations, but the regulations will not be published until the bill has been passed carte blanche at third reading, and then we will be told afterwards, as we are already told all too often, that parliament approved these regulations and that the administration of this immigration legislation is merely carrying out the will of parliament. That is eyewash; it is false and misleading to say that, because the regulations will have never been the subject of study and approval by parliament. The interpretation of the regulations will not be the subject of parliamentary scrutiny. From time to time, as certain types of decisions are called into question, there is a shift to close the door.

I am being very critical tonight, but in saying what I have said I do not mean to attack immigration officers personally because over the years I have received great co-operation from, I would say, all of them. Granted, my views have differed very strongly with theirs, but that is not unknown. I have been known to differ very loudly and emphatically, but I think not more than I have with the concept of our regulations and with the administration of our immigration.

There are many things we want to talk about, but all too often we hear that immigration should be tightened up. From time to time we hear the cry: "Tighten up on immigration; send them back." People who say that are despicable economic rednecks. One sometimes might wish that abortion could be made retroactive, and that deportation or non-admission could also be made retroactive. Some people who came to this country as immigrants only a few years ago tell me that we should tighten up on immigration, and that reminds me of what I call the lifeboat society. That is a polite term. The philosophy is, "Shove off, boys, I am all right, I am aboard". That in itself should not motivate immigration restrictions.

There are some immigrants who are members of this House, and some who are sons and daughters of immigrants. These

Adjournment Debate

people possessed a degree of desire, a desire which most immigrants have, because it takes a great deal of gumption- and I am not talking about refugees now-and motivation, to leave one's homeland and family to strike out for a land which is much different, to form new friendships, to struggle, but to get there.

I am sure hon. members have all known families which came to this country in years past. All they had was what they could carry, and beyond that it was what I call that most admirable quality which we should have in Canada, the willingness and the ability to spit on our hands, to find a job and to get on with it. The job need not necessarily be the one a person is cut out for. Immigrants do not displace anybody. In most cases they fill a void.

I do not care a whit for the cluck-clucking which goes on about these people having to take jobs at lower levels. Floors have to be swept and vegetables have to be cleaned. These are all jobs which have to be done, and why should we look down on a man who is prepared to do these jobs? Do we look down on university students who are prepared to take those same jobs on a part-time basis? No, we admire them because their objective is to earn money to help them get to where they are going, and to improve themselves.

There are thousands upon thousands of families in Edmonton and in many other parts of the country which have been prepared to work hard in order to improve themselves, and their children succeed at university.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION ACT, 1976 AMENDMENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION POLICY
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Ten o'clock.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION ACT, 1976 AMENDMENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION POLICY
Permalink
PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert (Edmonton West):

These people become our leading citizens. Mr. Speaker, may I call it ten o'clock, without the assistance of others?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   IMMIGRATION ACT, 1976 AMENDMENTS TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION POLICY
Permalink

PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 40 deemed to have been moved.


FINANCE-ACCURACY OF STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO QUEBEC-REQUEST FOR STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO OTHER PROVINCES

LIB

Frank A. Philbrook

Liberal

Mr. F. A. Philbrook (Halton):

Mr. Speaker, in a country like Canada, which is characterized by regionalism geographically and a federal system politically, we seem to have evolved the relationship of have and have-not provinces, or to put it more bluntly, who is getting what out of Confederation. This issue tends to become emotional sometimes, but certainly events like the Quebec election focus on the issue of federalism vs. separatism more acutely and included in this problem is the business of federal-provincial balance of payments.

March 15, 1977

Adjournment Debate

Maclean's magazine, which I personally consider a Canadian asset, recently published an article which made the statement that Quebec made $3 billion in profit out of Confederation in 1976.

On March 3 I asked a question of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Macdonald) regarding this article. The question is reported at page 3606 of Hansard. I specifically questioned the accuracy of this figure, whether any government statistics were available on the subject and whether such statistics were available from other provinces, out of fairness to our sister province of Quebec. The minister's answer was essentially that there were serious statistical problems in this area, especially when trying to compare ont province with another. The minister was personally against the balance sheet approach to national unity. I agree wholeheartedly with that.

There are two issues then: first, the feasibility of statistics; second, the relevance of the balance sheet approach, in other words, who is getting what from Confederation? For weeks in my office we worked on the matter of feasibility, without much success. It is a difficult subject. For example, if one talks about total transfers, not net flow, one notes the following discrepancies: Maclean's quotes the figure of $4.7 billion; the tri-level task force on public finance, $1.9 billion; and Treasury Board, in its annual blue book "How Your Tax Dollar is Spent", $2.2 billion.

A basic difficulty is this: where there is statistical doubt, the result is very different analyses. I am thinking, for example, of the value of federal employee pay rolls and, second, of the division of national debt as among the provinces. An examination of these figures leads, obviously, to some disagreement of the meaning and relevance of this entire question and begs for thorough study. Since others have already raised this question and broken the ice, the possibility of misunderstanding exists.

Referring to the matter of relevance and comparability, no matter whether comparisons are difficult or easy, it is important to make them once the subject has been raised. We should consider the special aspect of trade and investment in the private sector. This, even if not precise now, becomes even more important with the prospect of separation. There are presumptions in all economic analyses. As I mentioned before, this is similar to the question of public sector practice with regard to pay rolls and national debt.

The issue on the one hand is separatism versus the economic well-being of all Canadians and, on the other, conflict between the provinces. There is also the situation of the Maritime provinces to consider, not just of Quebec.

I think we are all against the balance sheet approach, the approach which says don't rock the boat with the "have"-provinces, for example Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Some suggest that these provinces might be upset when they know how much money they pay to poorer provinces. But others will learn of this, the media, bigots and so on. We know this now. The important thing is to clear the air, to understand our country better, and to expose narrow regionalism for what it is.

(Mr. Philbrook.]

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FINANCE-ACCURACY OF STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO QUEBEC-REQUEST FOR STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO OTHER PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Robert Phillip Kaplan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Bob Kaplan (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, having heard the excellent, commendable statement made by the hon. member for Halton (Mr. Philbrook), I say there is not much of a question to answer. But I want to use the three minutes which are traditionally available to agree with him enthusiastically, to agree with his statement about the relevance of the balance sheet approach to Confederation. I remind the House of the Prime Minister's (Mr. Trudeau's) statement on the subject.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FINANCE-ACCURACY OF STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO QUEBEC-REQUEST FOR STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO OTHER PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

What is this, an election speech?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FINANCE-ACCURACY OF STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO QUEBEC-REQUEST FOR STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO OTHER PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Robert Phillip Kaplan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Kaplan:

He said as long ago as October 6, 1970:

I do not believe that anyone can accurately measure in dollars and cents the benefits involved in belonging to a United Canada.

There are great difficulties in any attempt to unravel the complicated financial transactions in the public and private sectors which, together, make up the fabric of the Canadian economy. Mr. Ian Urquhart is the author of the article to which my colleague referred. He must have obtained much of his data on federal expenditures and revenues in the province of Quebec from the Department of Finance. The information he was given is generally available to all Canadians who ask for it. There are many other figures on federal expenditures and revenues available, by province, from published sources, information on such topics as intergovernmental transfers and payments to persons, such as family allowances and old age pensions for example.

For most other items Mr. Urquhart must have used his own assumptions in order to allocate federal revenues and expenditures to the province of Quebec. This is a most difficult exercise and many people will try it, but the problems involved cannot be overemphasized. For example, how would one distribute defence expenditures among provinces? Should it be on the basis of where the Department of National Defence spends its money, or on the basis of who benefits from national defence? Money goes to communities in which there are defence establishments or defence production plants, but all Canadians benefit from this activity, although not necessarily equally.

Similar problems arise on the revenue side, problems of what are called the incidence of taxation. Who actually bears the taxes collected from a particular business? Are the taxes borne by the shareholders where they are, by the wage earners where they are, by consumers where they are, or by other levels of government? Therefore, it would be very difficult to comment on the accuracy of the study published by Mac Lean's magazine.

As I said earlier, some of his data are publicly available, but since he has not specified his methodology it would be difficult to comment on them. We can only note, as the author himself indicated, that the province of Quebec has produced its own studies with very different results regarding federal expenditures and revenues in Quebec. The fact that the, province of Quebec produced different results only shows that the results of such studies depend very much on the methods and assumptions that are used.

March 15, 1977

I had to note also that similar difficulties would be encountered by making parallel analyses and observations about any of the provinces of our Confederation.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FINANCE-ACCURACY OF STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO QUEBEC-REQUEST FOR STATISTICS ON PAYMENTS TO OTHER PROVINCES
Permalink

AGRICULTURE-PESTICIDES-GOVERNMENT POSITION ON IMPORTATION-SUGGESTED STRICT ADHERENCE TO LABELLING REGULATIONS

PC

George H. Whittaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. H. Whittaker (Okanagan Boundary):

Mr. Speaker, on March 7 I questioned the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan) with respect to his policy regarding the importation of pesticides and herbicides from the U.S.A. by Canadian farmers for their own use.

This capitulation to the multi-national companies at the expense of the Canadian farmer was disguised as an environmental safety precaution. Moreover, the monitoring system which would ostensibly protect the farmer and ultimately the consumer will be headed by a toothless, bureaucratic body. Under the past system, some farmers were effecting real savings by banding together and going south of the border for their purchases of agricultural chemicals. This in turn forced Canadian distributors of the American products to cut their prices.

Suddenly we find that regulations under the Pest Control Products Act have been amended to revoke an exemption previously given to the farmers. This is supposedly the result of an in-depth study that concluded that the "own use" exemption was inconsistent with the intent of the act to ensure safe and effective pesticides use in Canada, apparently safeguards on imports by a producer for his own use were weaker than those on Canadian registered products.

The minister claims that protection of a domestic industry was only a secondary consideration. The move gives every appearance though of being a canny manoeuvre to impose an embargo on pesticides in favour of multi-nationals distributing their products in Canada through dealers.

Of Canada's 300,000 farmers, the minister claims that 2,000 will benefit from the monitoring system. From past experiences, I am skeptical. Studies, reports to the minister, negotiations with the companies, procrastination, will frustrate the farmer and increase his production costs, which can only be reflected in higher food costs to the consumer.

The minister admits that 99.6 per cent of prairie farmers already buy a Canadian produced and distributed product. Was the embargo called for by the remaining .4 per cent or by Ontario corn farmers? Not highly likely! The pesticide companies became acutely aware of the benefits accruing to farmers who imported their own chemicals. They were forced to lower their prices to offset inventory surpluses and to attract their customers back. They asked for action, and were of course satisfied. The minister cannot honestly believe, and expect us to believe, that the embargo will foster a truly domestic pesticide industry, one where the decisions will be made by Canadians, in the interests of Canada.

In a speech to the Ohio Pesticide Education Association, the minister admitted that almost all pesticides used in Canada

Adjournment Debate

originate outside the country. The Canadian industry then is mostly a distribution business, almost completely dependent on active ingredients produced in the U.S.

Does the minister have any evidence he would like to share that, under the present circumstances, new industries are going to proliferate in Canada? My suspicions are that this is just another way the govermment has allowed multi-national companies to gain more control over our country.

The farmers' practice of importing their chemical directly, at a lower cost, was deemed an inequity partly because farmers living farther from the border could not profit in the same way. I maintain that the real price inequity was created by the middlemen, the distributors of the chemicals in Canada. This embargo will leave pricing totally in their hands. The farmers will be at their mercy. The watchdog committee does not impress me as an instrument to protect us from the gouging I foresee.

If the minister were truly concerned about protecting domestic agriculture, why did he not select one segment already established, one which is clearly in need of help-the food processing industry, for example? This industry has long suffered at the hands of the government's agricultural policies. This has had widespread effects on the survival of many segments of agribusiness. But the minister insists on promoting a domestic pesticide industry.

The fruit and vegetable processing industry has no guarantee of assistance beyond the arrangements provided for under the Customs Tariff Act and the Anti-Dumping Act. Overproduction in other countries frequently results in prices below cost of production, which can seriously affect industries here. Take, for example, the tomato industry in southern Ontario. Once a healthy canning interest, this segment has been continually jeopardized by cheap imports from Taiwan and Mexico. Now only a ghost of the former industry remains. Farmers, labourers, and the canneries have suffered.

Another example is the importation of "stripper potatoes" into Canada last fall. In the U.S. these substandard potatoes, culls from the regular harvest, are treated as secondary produce. But they were not so treated by the government here. Subsequently these imports enjoyed a favourable price position vis-a-vis domestic harvest. Why was there no embargo on these?

Low cost imports from the United States and Australia have cut into domestic peach and pear production as well. Processors have been forced out of business. Once the domestic industry is deposed there are no guarantees that foreign distributors will not raise their prices to whatever the market will bear.

The Horticultural Council has been calling for change for some time. I quote from its submission to the Tariff Board in 1973:

The inequities which currently exist in the exceptionally benign entry terms for concentrated processed fruits and vegetables, especially those used for further manufacture, have inhibited the development of major processing sectors

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-PESTICIDES-GOVERNMENT POSITION ON IMPORTATION-SUGGESTED STRICT ADHERENCE TO LABELLING REGULATIONS
Permalink

VETERANS AFFAIRS-STATUS OF PLAN FOR NEW HOSPITAL SYSTEM IN NOVA SCOTIA

PC

Robert Jardine McCleave

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert McCleave (Halifax-East Hants):

Mr. Speaker, the veterans of Canada did me a very great service a number of years back, and I hope to do the veterans of Nova Scotia some small service by taking part in the late show this evening. I can put the case for the development of a new veterans complex on the Camp Hill site in Halifax no better than it was presented on February 24, 1970, to the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), by Mr. D. A. Hartlen, secretary-manager of the Scotia branch No. 25 of the Royal Canadian Legion. In his letter to the Prime Minister he said, in part, that his members-

-do strongly oppose the phasing out of DVA hospitals across Canada and the reducing of staff at such hospitals.

Veterans stand apart in that they gave their all to their country, even through death.

For those who paid the supreme sacrifice there is little the government can do but to see their dependents are not in need.

I do not think that any words of mine could ever really add to the message which Mr. Hartlen so well presented to the Prime Minister at that time. The question was the future of veterans hospitals.

Perhaps the message did get through to the Prime Minister because the government started to develop the concept of a new veterans complex on the Camp Hill site in the centre of older Halifax. Looking at my file on this matter, which has mellowed through age but has not really achieved the results I would have liked to see, I notice that in 1971 I was engaged in brisk correspondence with the then minister of veterans affairs, Mr. Jean-Eudes Dube, over the future of the Red Cross Lodge at the Camp Hill hospital and I was assured by Mr. Dube that in the negotiation of any future agreements of transfer Red Cross Lodges would be fully protected for as long as the Canadian Red Cross continued their operations for the welfare of hospital patients, meaning veteran hospital patients.

Then I move on to the time when the veterans affairs committee met on April 25, 1972, when Dr. K. S. Ritchie, assistant deputy minister of hospitals of the Department of Veterans Affairs, said the situation so far as Camp Hill hospital was concerned was quite fluid at the time. He went on to say:

There was a task force established some two years ago-

That would be in 1970.

-to study the possibility of a joint-use hospital on the Camp Hill site which will involve the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of National Defence, the university-

That would be Dalhousie University.

-and the community in a community hospital, and also for rehabilitation.

March 15, 1977

Then let me march on briskly without further comment to October 22, 1974, when again the veterans affairs committee is meeting. At that time I raised certain questions, and Dr. A. F. Jones, director general of treatment services of the Department of Veterans Affairs, was answering. He said:

Mr. Chairman, with respect to the consultants, there are four local Halifax firms under consideration by the Department of Public Works, which is charged with the responsibility for designating them with the concurrence of our minister, and this designation is to be made hopefully in the very near future. The target dates for the planning are one year from September, and hopefully the tenders will be let a year from September. This was the target frame proposed at the time the announcement was made.

MR. McCleave: A year from last September.

Dr. Jones: That is right.

That was the exchange which took place almost three years ago. Perhaps even before that time-I am not quite sure, memory tends to fade over the years-there was a very beautiful brochure presented showing what Camp Hill hospital should be like. There were negotiations, discussions, and a great beating of drums between the federal and provincial governements; there were visitations back and forth, statements by the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. MacDonald), and statements by the provincial minister of health in Nova Scotia, and still nothing concrete has been realized.

I suspect-I do not know-that the hospital perhaps has become a victim of a retrenchment program of the present government practised both here and on occasion by the provincial government of Nova Scotia, but I do not know, and that is the purpose of my speaking here this evening. I want to find out when we might expect either some meaningful activity, or a statement that it will not take place and that the veterans of Nova Scotia will not get what has been promised to them over the years.

It seems shameful in a way that these people should be treated in such a fashion. It has been a long, long time, and I could make the situation seem much worse by an outpouring of hot, heavy abuse. One might call it a dereliction of duty toward people who, after all, when they served us did not spare their efforts. But I am not going to do that. I simply want to know: is it going to be or is it not going to be?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS-STATUS OF PLAN FOR NEW HOSPITAL SYSTEM IN NOVA SCOTIA
Permalink
LIB

Samuel Victor Railton (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. S. Victor Railton (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Veterans Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to answer some of the important questions that the hon. member for Halifax-East Hants (Mr. McCleave) has raised with regard to the transfer of Camp Hill hospital. I think we should first realize that the principles under which the Department of Veterans Affairs has entered into this transfer business have been thrashed out in parliament over many years. It seems fairly obvious to many of us that the worry about not giving veterans proper care is not really supported by the facts that have taken place. It is our duty to care for veterans properly and creditably. Acute care is better carried out in acute hospitals which are under provincial jurisdiction, as the hon. member knows.

Adjournment Debate

The care of veterans who have been disabled in the service of their country is assured. Veterans who have reached the age of infirmity, or have some handicap for reasons other than service, have some priority in access to beds. These are the principles under which we are working. Of course the hon. member will realize that these are the principles, plus the fact that it is important that the people who have looked after the veterans for many years as employees of these hospitals be not turfed out. The rights of these people should also be protected.

There is a certain amount of criticism. I do not want the hon. member to think that I am criticizing him for the sake of criticism. I think it is his duty to inquire and to make sure that veterans have proper care, but I assure him that we are giving proper care.

In the case of Camp Hill hospital, in 1974 a plan was developed to build a new active treatment hospital on the Camp Hill site, which would have involved the participation of both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence. I think the hon. member realizes that.

In 1975, the very next year, the Department of National Defence was unable to participate in the development of the planned 250-bed active treatment hospital, leaving only a 150-bed requirement for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and this is not a viable unit for active treatment from the point of view of size.

There have been very recent discussions with officials of the department of health of the province of Nova Scotia with a view to the transfer of Camp Hill Hospital to their jurisdiction, and I expect a final decision on the matter will be made quite soon. In the event of such a transfer materializing, the amount of money which previously would have been the department's share of the new hospital development will form the capital grant on transfer, to be spent in developing facilities for the benefit of veterans. I think that should be reassuring.

In the event of a transfer occurring in Halifax, the terms and conditions required by the federal government will be in full effect-this is what I have talked about-as they have been in all previous transfers.

There will be a guarantee of priority access beds for active treatment of all veterans for their service incurred disabilities. That is the first category. In addition, it will be established that regional health facilities can fully respond to the requirement of other than pensioned veterans as far as active care is concerned. In other words, we have to be absolutely persuaded that this will be properly taken care of.

Full arrangements will be made for satisfactory transfer of all federal employees of the hospital so that they will have, under the new jurisdiction, globally equivalent rights and benefits to those which are now enjoyed in the federal Public Service. I might add that both veterans' organizations and staff associations have been kept informed of developments.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS-STATUS OF PLAN FOR NEW HOSPITAL SYSTEM IN NOVA SCOTIA
Permalink

March 15, 1977