March 7, 1979

THE CANADIAN ECONOMY

PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Sinclair Stevens (York-Simcoe):

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, I will put my question to the Prime Minister. It touches on the record current account deficit which was run up in 1978, and the record fourth quarter deficit of last year.

Would the Prime Minister indicate whether he feels that this is a satisfactory performance for Canada and, if not, what does he propose to do to rectify this huge deficit?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

I am advised that the Minister of Finance is presently attending IMF meetings in Washington and that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce is addressing the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineers in Toronto. I will be very happy to take notice of the question.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. I do not know where the Prime Minister has been since the last quarter of last year: surely he knew we were running up a current account deficit. The point is that it is $700 million higher than anybody expected. Last year the Prime Minister said we were a healthy economy in a difficult world, but it turns out that we are in difficulty and we have a healthy world around us.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
LIB

Donald Campbell Jamieson (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Jamieson:

Oh, come on.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

In view of the fact that 80 per cent of the current account deficit is made up of interest and dividends going out of the country, does that not at least alarm the Prime Minister? If so, will he speak to the Minister of Finance and suggest that he take certain other measures rather than this continuing borrowing of foreign funds that will only aggravate our problem?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, now the suggestion is that I speak to the Minister of Finance. That is exactly what I said in answer to the first question, that I will speak to him about the hon. member's concern.

Oral Questions

As to the preface, to the effect that it was much higher than expected, I would remind the hon. member that he and his leader were suggesting a deficit of some $18 billion for the current year. They were merely $6 billion or $7 billion off.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe it. The Prime Minister-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. Does the hon, member have a supplementary question?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hnatyshyn:

I cannot believe it either, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

I am referring to the current account deficit that arises with the rest of the world, and the Prime Minister is talking about a budgetary deficit within Canada.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
PC

Charles Joseph Clark (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Clark:

He does not know the difference.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

I will come back to the current account deficit, Mr. Speaker. Some $2 billion of capital has gone out of the country in the last year. That represents possibly 40,000 homes that could have been financed with that kind of money. Is the Prime Minister aware of that, and will he at least try to do something about the exodus of capital from the country?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, I told the hon. member that I had not seen these figures and that I was going to discuss them with the Minister of Finance who is at IMF meetings in Washington.

As to the hon. member's disbelief, all I was indicating was that in the estimates of our cash requirements they were exaggerating by $6 billion or $7 billion, and therefore they are not reliable, this opposition, when they are talking figures.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Yorkton-Melville.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

Mr. Speaker, my question is to that tame pussycat, the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. The hon. member for Hamilton-Wentworth.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURES TO REDUCE CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT
Permalink

TOURISM

PC

Geoffrey Douglas Scott

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Geoff Scott (Hamilton-Wentworth):

Mr. Speaker, following up on the question asked by my colleague, I wonder if in the absence of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce and the Minister of Finance I can ask the Prime Minister a question on a subject that he does know something about, which is travel.

The fact is that the current account deficits show a one billion, 700 million dollars shortfall on travel. This is the highest record ever, in any year. Could the Prime Minister indicate why the government has been unable to grapple with this problem?

March 7, 1979

Oral Questions

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   TOURISM
Sub-subtopic:   CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT-GOVERNMENT POSITION
Permalink

March 7, 1979