February 27, 1978

PC

John Carnell Crosbie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John C. Crosbie (St. John's West):

I have a question for the Prime Minister, who seems to be full of electoral beans today. Does the Prime Minister realize that the Canadian dollar has been devalued by 26 per cent as against the Zambian kwacha?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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PC

John Carnell Crosbie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crosbie:

Last year, I pointed out to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce that devaluation of the dollar was not a permanent solution to our trade ills, but the minister rejected that and said that the devalued dollar, the "Chretien dollar", the dollar with the backside gone out of it, is the answer to our trade ills.

The Conference Board of Canada put out a report last week. I ask the Prime Minister whether he agrees with the conclusions in the report of the Conference Board that devaluation of the dollar is no permanent solution to our trade ills, and that growing deficits in manufactured goods, future large shortfalls in the oil and gas trade, deficits in service payments, including tourism, and the impact of negotiations with GATT, will have an adverse impact on our economic future.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister):

Not only do we agree, but I said that very thing in my speech in the House last October when I indicated that devaluation of the Canadian dollar might be a temporary solution, provided we accepted the judgment of the world markets that this meant we have to work harder to perform better, and thus be more competitive. It is good that the hon. member understands this; it might lead him to the conclusion that he would be unwise to speculate on Zambian currency as against Canadian currency. But if he wants to do it, it is his own dough and he can do it.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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PC

John Carnell Crosbie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crosbie:

I do not intend to do the cha-cha with the kwacha with the Prime Minister. I am glad the Prime Minister understands these matters, but it is too bad he does not act on them. I ask the Prime Minister this question. Statistics Canada, in their advance estimates for 1978, show that the total of capital expenditures this year in all sectors of the Canadian economy will increase by only 4.8 per cent above 1977 figures. The figures for 1977 were 7 per cent higher than those for 1976, that is, less than the inflation rate; new construction will have a 4.8 per cent gain over 1977-and 1977 was a desperate year- and this increase is below the 8.1 per cent advance in 1977. The same with capital expenditures-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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PC

John Carnell Crosbie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crosbie:

This is not the Liberal convention. We have Mr. Speaker here to keep order. These forecasts paint a very grim economic picture for this year. Has the Prime Minister any response to these very disturbing forecasts by Statistics Canada? These are not Liberal party statistics.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, in order to interpret those figures, I would have to know if the percentages the hon. member gave are in real terms or in money terms. If they are in real terms, that is good, and I thank the hon. member for bringing them to the House.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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PC

John Carnell Crosbie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crosbie:

They were in money terms.

February 27, 1978

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR-CONCLUSIONS OF CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
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JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa-Whitby):

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to help the Prime Minister in interpreting this question. The figures given refer to a forecast by Statistics Canada in real terms and indicate a net decline in investment for 1978 of about 3 per cent. Considering that the government's own document produced for the first ministers' conference said that an average of at least a 7.3 per cent increase was required in 1978 to produce the 300,000 new jobs which are necessary, can the Prime Minister indicate whether the government intends to bring any new job-creating programs before parliament?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I have not seen this forecast: I will gladly look at it. If it is only just out, I suppose it was available in some form to the government two weeks ago when we spoke to the first ministers. Therefore, I think the actions and policies we have brought forward are meant to deal with this precise situation.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

Mr. Speaker, by his answer the Prime Minister has compounded the problem. If the figures were available to the government two weeks ago at the time of the first ministers' conference, why did the Minister of Finance forecast that we would have an increase in investment of 7.3 per cent? In real terms, Statistics Canada says there will be a net decline in the neighbourhood of 3 per cent. The government has indicated that we need a minimum of 300,000 new jobs a year to bring unemployment down to 5 per cent by the beginning of 1982. With this level of investment we will clearly not do that. Manufacturing is operating at only 80 per cent capacity. The private sector did not respond to give-away programs last year, for obvious reasons: businessmen are not stupid; they are not going to expand operations if there is 20 per cent unused capacity.

Considering this very real and serious situation, will the government now allow tax cuts for consumers in order to stimulate demand for manufacturing? Will the government bring forward public investment programs for a shipping fleet on the east coast and for urban transit programs for our cities to produce jobs?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is repeating the same lesson he has been giving us for the past month. The Minister of Finance and I have indicated to him that he is making the mistake of looking at this question in static terms. We had a first ministers' conference precisely because the situation was serious. All the first ministers, as well as myself, felt it very urgent to adjust our policies and to create a measure of confidence in falling price levels, in increased productivity and in a more competitive Canadian economic position. That is why we had that conference and that is why we are more optimistic than the hon. member, who prefers to look at past figures and present figures as though there has been no policy change.

Oral Questions

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

It is clear that the Prime Minister and his party are not at the radical centre of Canadian politics; they are at the dead centre.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

I am using Statistics Canada figures, which show that the private sector will not obtain the investment that is absolutely essential if we are to create jobs. Is the Prime Minister saying he would rather spend $4 billion-which is what we will spend on unemployment insurance next year in pay-outs to people for doing nothing-than invest so that people will have the opportunity to work?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Of course, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that this government is bringing forward policies and legislation which will create investment and jobs.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

Where are they?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   JOB-CREATING PROGRAMS-GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO INTRODUCE
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February 27, 1978