Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):
I will tell hon. members how this relates to the bill. There is not another member of parliament who would wish more than I that the $179 million which was wasted on Les Terrasses de la Chaudiere, the money spent on things which are going to be found out in the investigation of York Place, the glass monstrosity of the Bank of Canada which will cost us millions and which is a monument to the architect rather than to good sense, and the $210 million blown on the unemployment insurance program, could go to the objectives spoken about so eloquently by the Minister
October 27, 1978
of National Health and Welfare (Miss Begin) when I heard her speak yesterday.
That is the tragedy of all this. We speak of what we have done about redistributing income in Canada. From 1968 to 1978 the budget in Canada has grown from $10 billion to almost $50 billion, and yet the proportion of Canadian families below the poverty line is just about the same as it was in 1968. We have not succeeded in redistributing income successfully at all. Perhaps it is because we have concentrated so much on redistribution and not on developing the economic pie upon which redistribution could be based and on which a change in it could be based.
That is why I feel sorry about the situation our country is in today. I do not pretend to be any more compassionate than any other member of this House, nor do I take second place to any other member. But I wonder when the day is going to come when we are going to be asked to support proper social programs, and when we will have a government which has a real commitment to restraint and to priorizing in terms of where our country is going, so that we will not waste as we have, so that we will not dissipate the riches we have, so that we can give our children and our children's children some opportunities, so that we can do something about unemployment which now stands so high and so that we can do something for senior citizens who, when they speak to me about the benefits of this bill, as good as they are, say, "Mr. Baker, that still does not get me out of the problem in which I find myself'. They tell me that they are worried about their future and still feel insecure.
We support this bill. The minister tried to say that I was insecure about my future. That is not in my hands. I am talking about the senior citizens who have spoken to me. They still say that, as commendable as these steps are-I commend the minister for taking these steps, and this party intends to support the bill and allow it to go to committee today-the government ought not to break its arm patting itself on the back. It has our support with respect to every worth while program. It has the support of all sides of the House. We just wish that in terms of the management of the business of the country the government would give us an equal dose of common sense. The Canadian people are sick and tired of waste and of seeing large tax increases month after month and then finding themselves further and further behind. When we put this bill through today, perhaps the government will bend its efforts to get to the root of many other problems. We will support appropriate social programs in Canada.
Subtopic: OLD AGE SECURITY ACT
Sub-subtopic: AMENDMENT TO INCREASE GUARANTEED INCOME SUPPLEMENT