March 17, 1977

LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. Would the hon. member please refer to the minister by his title?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brisco:

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. I was referring to that hon. gentleman from Vancouver. Can you imagine what a crushing disappointment this meagre funding was, what an insult it was? I appealed personally to the Minister of Manpower and Immigration, and told him his own officials in Kootenay West disputed his figures and disagreed with him. I approached him twice, personally, on this issue. What was the minister's response? What did he say? He said no. He shook his head. He did not care and does not care now. Mr. Speaker, he said no to the 2,000 unemployed in the Trail area, which has a population of 12,000; he said no to the 2,000 unemployed in the Nelson area, which has a population of 12,000. He gave us some $66,000. If I could, I would hand the money back to the minister. He probably needs it more than we do.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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LIB

Anthony Chisholm Abbott (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

But you have it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brisco:

Mr. Speaker, this government has weasled on the unemployed, on the young people in Kootenay West and across Canada.

Unemployment among those between the ages of 14 and 24 has been rising steadily since December, 1973. This process did not begin last year, or the year before. It began in December, 1973. The government has had ample notice. How much more notice do you want than four years? Can you not

Economic Policy

read your own figures? Are you blind? Are you deaf? Or do you not care?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

They do not care. They are heartless.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brisco:

Today young people between 14 and 24 make up 47 per cent of our unemployed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Shame!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

They will never vote Liberal again.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brisco:

Those young people are proud to be Canadians, are proud of their country; they want to work in their country and for their country. And what is the government doing for them? It has given my riding $66,000. That is supposed to show the 2,000-plus students of my riding how willing the government is to help. Mr. Speaker, I would rather the government took a rest for four or five years. Let us stop these programs. Let us stop funding projects of this kind until we can introduce some permanent solutions. I would rather they stopped the LIP programs, the Canada Works and Young Canada Works programs, if only they could come up with long-term, permanent solutions.

Let me make some suggestions. I make them because, God knows, we often hear the government say that we criticize but we do not suggest alternatives. I see no reason why we cannot, even without provincial co-operation, undertake programs of training in trade schools and vocational schools, and upgrade some of the trade skills required by the labour market. That is my first point.

Second, I suggest that, as a nation, we should follow the example of Quebec. Let us provide funding for existing industry and new industry; let us provide a kind of accelerated DREE program which could be instrumental in taking the unemployed off the unemployed lists. Although in the past I have been unhappy at the amount of DREE funding going to Quebec, I must concede that the program in that province has succeeded well. The people of Quebec knew how to make it work, and they generated significant numbers of jobs. That option is open to the government, among countless others. I know that you will hear the NDP complain about money being given to private enterprise, to those capitalist rip-off artists. But they forget how much money is returned in taxes from the end product, in taxes from the employee and taxes from the employer. Those grants are returned a thousand-fold, but that never crosses the minds of those on my left.

Earlier today the Leader of the NDP (Mr. Broadbent) waxed eloquent about unemployment in Canada, and singled out that bastion of free enterprise, British Columbia, that province which has finally shaken off the mantle of socialism. He said unemployment in British Columbia is just terrible. Obviously he did not bother to look at the Statistics Canada Figures, for they show that as of February 19, 1977, unemployment in British Columbia is down, by some 7,000 jobs, and that the province has the highest employment rate in Canada. I wonder what the NDP's answer to that is.

March 17, 1977

Economic Policy

I recall a little mill in Jenpeg, Manitoba, which made Jenpeg logs. God knows, the people of the north need those Jenpeg logs to build their log houses. Then we saw government become involved with private enterprise. It was decided that the government of the province would operate the Jenpeg mill, and operate it better than private enterprise had done. So, the government of the province put one of its political appointees in charge. He hired 14 more people to do the work of five, and the whole operation was a disaster. It has gone down the drain. Taxation levels in Manitoba are the highest in Canada. Mr. Speaker, provincial taxes in Manitoba are higher than anywhere else in Canada.

That is why, for example, Saskatchewan is having some difficulties. They do not even audit their own books. The various departments were supposed to be audited. The premier of Saskatchewan stood up before the recent by-elections and said that the books had been audited. They were not audited at all. All of a sudden the premier of Saskatchewan comes up with egg all over his face, a not unusual circumstance for NDP'ers. He discovered that he had not audited his own books.

Let us go to the job opportunities created in British Columbia.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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NDP

Reginald Cyril Symes

New Democratic Party

Mr. Symes:

Tell us about Ocean Falls.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brisco:

I will get to that in a minute. Ocean Falls is an old pulp and paper mill on the west coast of British Columbia. The private enterpriser who owned that mill was not making a dime. In fact he was losing money. It would have cost a lot of money to make it work properly. The Barrett government took over and made it work. More power to them! I am quite prepared to hand out accolades where they are deserved. However, what is the comparison between one little pulp and paper mill on the west coast of British Columbia and the disaster wreaked upon British Columbia in the mining community? Thousands were thrown out of work as a result of the stupid policies of the NDP minister of mining, Leo Nimsick. He shut down the entire mining industry in British Columbia.

My constituency of Kootenay West is rich in mineral potential. Where is the development? It is gone. Where did the development in the east Kootenay's go? Where did the miners go? They went to Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, all over the maritimes. That is where the mining companies went looking for ore. They went to the Territories and the Yukon. They knew darn well there was no point trying to find ore in British Columbia under the regressive taxation policies of the NDP government.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
Permalink
LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. 1 regret to interrupt the hon. member, but his allotted time has expired. The hon. member may continue with unanimous consent.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

No.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brisco:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
Permalink
LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. I distinctly heard a no. The hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Symes).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
Permalink
NDP

Reginald Cyril Symes

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cyril Symes (Sault Ste. Marie):

Mr. Speaker, in this debate on the state of the economy I would like, in the few minutes remaining, to focus on the problem of unemployment. As most Canadians know, under the present Liberal government we now have the worst unemployment since the great depression of the thirties, with over one million Canadians unemployed and only about 37,800 job vacancies. We know that about 13 per cent of the labour force is without jobs. These figures do not include the ones that go unreported by Statistics Canada.

What are the characteristics of unemployment today? I would like to zero in on that. Unemployment among women is higher than among men. We find today that women account for about 40 per cent of the total labour force in Canada, or about four million jobs. Women make up about 40 per cent of the unemployed today.

We find also that unemployment is disproportionately concentrated among young people, with 46 per cent of the unemployed in Canada under 25 years of age.

Unemployment is much higher in certain regions in Canada, especially in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, northern Ontario, and areas in northern British Columbia.

On past occasions I dealt with the problem of unemployment, its causes and solutions. Today I would like to zero in on the problem of unemployment among women and young people. It is sad to relate that women are the lowest paid and usually the first laid off in times of economic difficulty. They face discrimination in job availability. They often get less pay for the same job than a man would get.

Job opportunities are limited for women, especially in my area of the country, northern Ontario, where they find work mostly in the service industries in jobs such as waitresses, clerks, secretaries or nurses.

Many women today do not want to have a role solely as a homemaker. They want to branch out toward a fulfilling career. Times have changes as have attitudes and, of course, the educational qualifications of women.

We find as well that women with their skills are carrying out jobs that help keep the economy functioning, jobs which provide important services to people.

I would like to put to rest the myth which is perpetuated by some, including the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Cullen), that women in the work force are a luxury rather than a necessity, that somehow high unemployment among women can be tolerated because they are not really the breadwinner of the family and that the family can get along quite nicely without their income.

The fact is that about 43 per cent of women who work do not do so primarily because they want to pursue careers. They

March 17, 1977

work because it is an economic necessity. The female spouses have to go to work today to make ends meet. With the high cost of living, they have to work to help pay for the cost of food, shelter, clothing and fuel. Young women must work to help pay for their education, job training, or to support themselves as they come to the age of majority.

There is another myth that women are taking jobs away from men. The fact is that most women are still limited to service industry jobs such as maids or waitresses, or jobs with particular skills that men do not have, such as nurses, secretaries, or those who work in the garment industry. Very few women are in the executive, professional or industrial work force.

The rate of unemployment among women over 25 years of age is about 60 per cent higher than for men over 25 years of age. According to figures published by Statistics Canada, most of the unemployed working women who are spouses come from low income families. In 1973, the last year for which we have statistics, 21 per cent of unemployed wives came from families with incomes between $4,000 and $7,000 a year. In other words their income was crucial for the total family income.

This government, because of its economic policies, particularly its anti-inflation program which has taken over $300 million in wages out of the hands of workers through wage rollbacks, and has reduced consumer demand and caused business to lay off workers, is still not doing anything meaningful in terms of getting people back to work, especially unemployed women and unemployed young people. The figures of high unemployment among women indicate that the government in its job creation program has not addressed itself to the acute problem of jobless females. The same could be said about its lack of attention to the plight of the unemployed young.

The young Canadian who wants to work is becoming increasingly desperate and cynical about society and its failure to provide jobs. It has become a demoralizing process for those with education or job training to go out into the world of work only to find there is no employment available. Consider, for example, the experience of a young welder who had completed his course at the top of his class. He told me, when he came to see me in my office, that the first question prospective employers asked him was whether he had any previous job experience. When he replied that he had no previous experience, the door was closed in his face. In addition, employers told him there was a waiting list of 20 welders at the local Manpower office who could not find work.

Many of these young workers are classified as underemployed. In 1975, for example, 54,000 young people held part time jobs, not because they wanted such jobs but because they were the only ones they could find. Today large numbers of university and community college graduates are working at jobs far below their qualifications. The example of a Ph.D. driving a taxi is no longer a joke.

Economic Policy

Summer job prospects for high school and university students were dismal last year-2,519 young people were seeking jobs in my constituency through the local Manpower centre. However, by the end of the summer the centre had only managed to find jobs for 982 of these students. This coming summer things will be far worse. The government has put forward a Young Canada Works program, offering this as a solution. But we all know the program is not adequate. The allotment in the Sault is $120,000, based on an unemployment formula and the limited funds available. To date applications submitted to me total $270,000. There is just not enough money to fund all the worth-while projects which are being submitted.

Just as there are myths about women in the work force, so there are myths attached to the unemployment of young people. It is assumed by many that the young today are over-educated. The fact is that of those in the 15-19 year bracket who are out of school and in the labour market, 60 per cent have no more than grade ten education, and that in the 20-24 year old group 40 per cent have no more than grade ten education. Their job prospects are dismal. We also hear that unemployment among youth is of short duration. The record shows that in 1975, 27 per cent of all those out of work had been unemployed for 14 weeks or more. The corresponding figure for young people was only slightly lower at 23 per cent.

There is also a myth that unemployment among the young really amounts to paid leisure thanks to unemployment insurance benefits. The reality is that most of these young people are first time job seekers who have not worked for long enough to qualify for extended unemployment insurance benefits. Many do not qualify at all because they cannot fulfil the minimum eight week work requirement. The government is now introducing legislation which will increase the qualifying period from eight weeks to 12 weeks, a measure which will come down hard on young people trying to find summer jobs or short term jobs, and which will disqualify completely another 330,000 Canadians from receiving unemployment insurance benefits, throwing them on to the municipal welfare rolls.

There is a further myth that the youth unemployment problem will disappear as the population ages. In reality the result will be that their poor job experience early in life will be transmitted to the future, helping to create a generation of working poor.

The New Democratic Party has proposed a full employment plan, and my hon. friends and I have elaborated on this subject on other occasions. Surely, though, part of any national employment strategy must be directed to increasing employment opportunities among women and young people. I have some suggestions to put forward at this time specifically to meet the needs of these two groups. For example, I suggest that the government introduce effective laws prohibiting discrimination because of sex or marital status in recruitment, classification, promotion and advertising of jobs. There should also be a mandatory program of affirmative action to achieve sexual equality in all public service departments and agencies.

80010-S 3

March 17, 1977

Adjournment Debate

We need tough laws, strictly enforced, to provide equal pay for work of equal value, and incentives to achieve this goal. We need expanded opportunities for maternity leave with pay and the right of women to return to their positions without penalty as to salary or seniority. We need changes in the labour laws to provide collective bargaining rights and fringe benefits for domestic and part-time workers.

For youth, I believe we need closer integration between the world of education and the world of work. There should be an increased number of work study programs during the school year, and more vocational counselling services both in schools and in a family context. We need special government funded projects, for example, environmental clean-up, emergency capital works projects for municipalities which involve the hiring of students and young people, and the subsidization of farm salaries, thereby enabling Canadian farmers to hire more employees. These are emergency measures.

What we need in the long run is planning and goals designed to promote economic growth and bring down present unemployment levels which are costing the economy billions of dollars in lost production and lost consumer spending, not to speak of hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenues and extra contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Commission. I submit that expenditures now will reap huge returns in the long run through full employment. The human and economic misery faced by one million unemployed Canadians, especially by women and young people, demands action now, and the government should be doing some meaningful work to get these people employed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order. It being 10 p.m. it is my duty to inform the House that, pursuant to Standing Order 58(11), proceedings on the motion have expired.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY S.O. 58-SUGGESTION THAT BUDGET CONTAIN PROVISIONS TO STIMULATE EMPLOYMENT AND CONTAIN INFLATION
Permalink

PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


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


March 17, 1977