December 5, 1978

LIB

John Mercer Reid (Minister of State (Federal-Provincial Relations))

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

I want to thank hon. members for their expression of confidence. I say to the hon. member that I do not know the answer to his question, but I will make inquiries.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INVOLVEMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INVOLVEMENT OF MINISTRY OF STATE FOR FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS
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EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Mr. Ralph E. Goodale (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Prime Minister. In view of the representations which I, and no doubt other members, have received with respect to Canadians presently in Iran, and in view of proposals which the Secretary of State for External Affairs apparently now has under consideration to assist citizens of Canada who may be in some difficulty in the tragic events now unfolding in Iran, can the Prime Minister indicate more specifically what contingency plans are being prepared to ensure the safety of Canadians caught in this conflict and, particularly, what steps their relatives and friends in Canada should take to ascertain their whereabouts and their circumstances?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SAFETY OF CANADIANS IN IRAN
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am informed by the Secretary of State for External Affairs that he is preparing such contingency plans, but that at the time being there is no cause for alarm. The embassy is in touch with the some 1,200 Canadians who are in Iran. About one-third of them are in Tehran. The others are either on the Caspian or in the south where there is no immediate danger. Because of the fact that the embassy does know their whereabouts, we are convinced that the government will be able to

act, if action is necessary. However, at the present time there is no cause for alarm.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SAFETY OF CANADIANS IN IRAN
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FINANCE

NDP

Max Saltsman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Max Saltsman (Waterloo-Cambridge):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Finance: it is in connection with the worsening unemployment figures which were released today.

Since the minister does not seem to have any concrete proposals to put forward to reduce the level of unemployment in Canada, and since unemployment in the Ottawa-Hull area has increased almost 30 per cent in one month as a result of government cutbacks, would the government reconsider its policy and put off the cutbacks in order to ensure that we do not reach double-digit unemployment in the winter months?

[ Translation]

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST POLICY ON CUTBACKS BE RECONSIDERED- WORSENING UNEMPLOYMENT PICTURE
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LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Chretien (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, in our budget policy last month we announced that we were hoping for economic recovery through higher investments in Canada and that, to our mind, was the best policy to adopt at this time. I think that because of a major improvement in our competitive position on world markets, our economy should pick up in the next few months. As for our cutbacks, that policy was announced last August. We thought it was essential to lessen the government deficit, and in so doing we have tried to minimize staff cuts. That, of course, may be too much for the hon. member, but it is still four times less than what the Progressive Conservative party proposes at this time.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST POLICY ON CUTBACKS BE RECONSIDERED- WORSENING UNEMPLOYMENT PICTURE
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NDP

Max Saltsman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Saltsman:

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that whatever the intentions of the government were, its policies are not working, unemployment is increasing and it looks as if it will continue to increase. Just to give the minister another figure from the labour force statistics which were released today- rather startling statistics-the service sector lost 22,000 jobs in November.

As this is unquestionably a result of the reduction in consumer spending, at the very least will the government reconsider its position to withdraw the $250 million in purchasing power from the economy in the first months of 1979 as a result of the reduction in family allowance payments from $28 to $20? Will the government at least defer that proposal in order to ensure purchasing power is maintained at a high level?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST POLICY ON CUTBACKS BE RECONSIDERED- WORSENING UNEMPLOYMENT PICTURE
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LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Chretien:

Mr. Speaker, parliament was called upon last night to vote on that proposition. Almost every member of the House voted in favour of the bill. A clause was proposed by the

December 5, 1978

New Democratic Party and three members voted in favour of it.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST POLICY ON CUTBACKS BE RECONSIDERED- WORSENING UNEMPLOYMENT PICTURE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST POLICY ON CUTBACKS BE RECONSIDERED- WORSENING UNEMPLOYMENT PICTURE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST POLICY ON CUTBACKS BE RECONSIDERED- WORSENING UNEMPLOYMENT PICTURE
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REASON FOR INCREASE IN WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX-VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR

PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Sinclair Stevens (York-Simcoe):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Finance: it deals with the wholesale price index.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASON FOR INCREASE IN WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX-VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

The three good guys voted in favour of the clause the minister referred to.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASON FOR INCREASE IN WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX-VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASON FOR INCREASE IN WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX-VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR
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PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

1 will wait until the Liberals and their socialist cousins calm down.

Today, the wholesale price index indicated that in October prices rose 2.1 per cent, or at the rate of 25 per cent per year. Would the minister explain to the House why this rapid increase should be occurring? Would he agree that this is another example of the disastrous effects on prices of the cheap dollar encouraged by the minister?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASON FOR INCREASE IN WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX-VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR
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LIB

Alexandre Cyr

Liberal

Hon. Jean Chr6tien (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, we receive the total picture every month when the consumer price index is produced in order to reveal the real reason for it. In the last three months, inflation in Canada increased at the rate of 1.1 per cent, which was the lowest three-month period of inflation we have known for many years.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASON FOR INCREASE IN WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX-VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR
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PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

Mr. Speaker, again my question is directed to the Minister of Finance. So far this month the government has lost $200 million in attempting to defend the dollar, on top of the $500 million which was lost last month.

Would the Minister of Finance indicate if the chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs was stating government policy at the Skyline hotel when he was reported as calling for the pegging of the dollar at approximately today's value?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASON FOR INCREASE IN WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX-VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR
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LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Chretien:

Mr. Speaker, I cannot accept the figures given by the hon. member concerning what happened to the reserve this month. It is not known. It will be known by the public at the end of the month. It is not very useful to throw around figures like that just to create more speculation concerning the dollar.

In terms of the policy of the government, the hon. member made a speech at noon. He is entitled to his opinion. The policy of the government is a floating currency and we have no intention of pegging the Canadian dollar.

Oral Questions STATUS OF WOMEN

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASON FOR INCREASE IN WHOLESALE PRICE INDEX-VALUE OF CANADIAN DOLLAR
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December 5, 1978