March 16, 1979

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

A final supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. We are simply interested in dealing with unfair increases in prices. For example, other companies in the business sector have brought to the minister's attention the fact that textile companies in Canada have increased their prices to correspond with increases in the prices of Japanese imports because of the declining value of the Canadian dollar. That makes sense for imported textiles, but it makes no sense for Canadian-produced textiles.

According to Canadian manufacturers of clothing, the textile companies are making rip-off profits. Will the minister take some action so that the Canadian consumer may receive some benefit?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF CLOTHING
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LIB

Anthony Chisholm Abbott (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

Again, Mr. Speaker, I do not think the hon. member offers any substantiation for his point that there have been rip-off profits by Canadian manufacturers of clothing.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF CLOTHING
Permalink
NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

Textiles, not clothing.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF CLOTHING
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LIB

Anthony Chisholm Abbott (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

He spoke of a 34 per cent increase for Dominion Textile, without any reference to their profits a year earlier and whether they were adequate. I simply state that this is a complex question. In 1978, our departmental officials initiated an investigation. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong were notified of the proper, fair market value. As to the Japanese portion of the review, our officials have carried out further investigations but a decision has not yet been made.

The hon. member should realize that these are not easy problems to deal with. The whole pricing apparatus in respect of goods from these countries is extremely complex. For us to

Oral Questions

act arbitrarily, just because a brief has been brought in, without having the facts would be as irresponsible as some of the statements the hon. member repeatedly makes in this House about increased profits.

[ Translation]

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN PRICE OF CLOTHING
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SOCIAL SECURITY

SC

Gérard Laprise

Social Credit

Mr. Gerard Laprise (Abitibi):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct a question to the Minister of National Health and Welfare. When it held its 8th annual convention, the Federation de l'Age d'Or du Quebec drafted a resolution calling on the minister and the Canadian government to provide old age security pension payments to all single senior citizens between the ages of 60 and 65. Could the minister indicate to us what her position is concerning this resolution and these senior citizens who I feel should be paid this pension?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST THAT SINGLE PERSONS BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR OLD AGE PENSION AT 60-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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LIB

Monique Bégin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Hon. Monique Begin (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, I do not see why the hon. member is asking such a question at this time, in this pre-election period, unless he wants me to say that funds are available, when in fact none are. He is aware that I took part in this convention which was held in late September, that several of the resolutions made by FADOQ have been accepted, that the federation supported Bill C-5, which increased considerably income supplement payments for 60 per cent of older Quebeckers, which represents $82 million more for senior citizens in Quebec. But lowering the age of entitlement for needy Canadians from 65 to 60 is unthinkable, at this time anyway.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST THAT SINGLE PERSONS BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR OLD AGE PENSION AT 60-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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SC

Gérard Laprise

Social Credit

Mr. Laprise:

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary for the minister. I would like to know why they are trying to ignore the issue since that seems to be the general consensus not only among people between 60 and 65 but among all Canadians as well. And I would like to know whether rejection of that demand is due to a lack of money or the fact that the minister did not believe the goods and services industry in Canada can meet the needs of those people?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST THAT SINGLE PERSONS BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR OLD AGE PENSION AT 60-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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LIB

Monique Bégin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Miss Begin:

I do not know exactly what the hon. member means by the goods and services industry. If he is referring to private pensions, it is clear those pensions of Canadians are unfortunately very disappointing in most cases. Nearly all of them have no form of indexing to reflect the value of the dollar, and they are not even universal. Of course, there are still many that discriminate against women. They are not portable when the employee leaves his job. From that point of view, there are many things the private sector could be doing to update those pensions. On the government side, as the

March 16, 1979

Oral Questions

economic resources of the country are always limited, we are concentrating our efforts on helping most disadvantaged senior Canadians. Such are our first priorities. So I have not rejected the FADOQ recommendation, as the hon. member is suggesting, I simply said that our efforts are going to go where they are most urgently needed. It is very urgent to improve even more than we have done the lot of older people getting the supplement because some of them are still below the poverty level. I will look after those over 65 first.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SOCIAL SECURITY
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST THAT SINGLE PERSONS BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR OLD AGE PENSION AT 60-GOVERNMENT POSITION
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THE CANADIAN ECONOMY

PC

James McPhail Gillies

Progressive Conservative

Mr. James Gillies (Don Valley):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Is it the position of the Deputy Prime Minister that because the Canadian dollar is selling at a discount, this has no effect on domestic beef prices?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   DEVALUED CANADIAN DOLLAR-EFFECT ON DOMESTIC BEEF PRICES
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Deputy Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Allan J. MacEachen (Deputy Prime Minister and President of Privy Council):

No, Mr. Speaker, that is not my position at all. The commodity about which we exchanged questions and answers has a history and a life of its own that may be influenced by the exchange rate, but the main influence comes from the forces of supply and demand.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   DEVALUED CANADIAN DOLLAR-EFFECT ON DOMESTIC BEEF PRICES
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PC

James McPhail Gillies

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gillies:

Mr. Speaker, given the fact that beef today is selling at $70 per hundredweight in Omaha and $84 per hundredweight in Toronto, the difference is exactly the difference in the exchange rate. Surely the minister must understand that the depreciation of the dollar is one of the major reasons for the increase in the price of beef in Canada today. It is exactly the differential.

I ask the Deputy Prime Minister, and I ask him in terms of his previous reincarnation as an economist, is it the position of the government that we can get inflation under control in this country as long as we have a stance on monetary and fiscal policy-I notice the increase in the money supply is 10 per cent, year over year, with real growth at 3 per cent-that leaves us with an exchange rate at 85 cents? I am not talking about pegging the dollar; I am talking about a change in the structure of monetary and fiscal policy to get the dollar up in order to control inflation. Is it the government's position that they need do nothing about that?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   DEVALUED CANADIAN DOLLAR-EFFECT ON DOMESTIC BEEF PRICES
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Deputy Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has asked me quite a number of questions-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   DEVALUED CANADIAN DOLLAR-EFFECT ON DOMESTIC BEEF PRICES
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hnatyshyn:

Answer any one of them.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   DEVALUED CANADIAN DOLLAR-EFFECT ON DOMESTIC BEEF PRICES
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Deputy Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

-in his statement. I want to tell him that the recent strength of the Canadian dollar, which I am sure the hon. member applauds, will to some extent moderate the force on inflation that arises from imports. It is clear that it will have its effect on Canadian prices. I should advise the hon.

member that whatever differential exists between the price of Canadian beef and American beef, that price differential has been registered in an increased movement of American beef into the Canadian market.

With respect to his question on inflation, was it the position of the government that one could contend with inflation entirely through fiscal and monetary policy, it is certainly not my position or that of the government that, in itself, fiscal and monetary policy can counter the forces of inflation. I believe the experience of this country and other countries shows that the harsh application of fiscal and monetary policy in the battle against inflation can be quite counterproductive as a sole weapon; that there are other instruments required as well.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Sub-subtopic:   DEVALUED CANADIAN DOLLAR-EFFECT ON DOMESTIC BEEF PRICES
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REQUEST FOR PREDICTION OF FUTURE RATE OF INFLATION

PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Halifax):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister who said he was interested in facts relating to inflation. One fact is, of course, that two or three years ago the government predicted that the rate of inflation by last October would be down some 4 per cent. Unfortunately, it is not.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister indicate what the rate of inflation will be in the coming months? Is it still his position that the rate of inflation is going to settle down, that it is going to reduce, and what does he think will bring this about? Can he give us something firm to go on, in view of the unfortunate predictions and assurances that have been given in the past?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR PREDICTION OF FUTURE RATE OF INFLATION
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hnatyshyn:

Over the next three months, for example.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR PREDICTION OF FUTURE RATE OF INFLATION
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Deputy Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Allan J. MacEachen (Deputy Prime Minister and President of Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, I would say, first of all, that there are some positive signs. I do not for a moment believe that in the next several months, as the hon. member has requested, the price of beef, for example, will show a noticeable decrease.

We have noted in the past week that the price of fresh vegetables has decreased, according to newspaper advertisements. I know that the price of coffee in the commodity markets has decreased, and that will have some effect on the consumer index. I believe, also, that the strength of the Canadian dollar gives us some reason to believe that inflation may ease a bit. I believe a change in consumer buying and the reaction of consumers to the price and supply situation will have some effect as well. I believe there are some positive signs showing for the next few months, but I certainly cannot give the hon. members any precise indication as to what the rate will be three or four months from now.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR PREDICTION OF FUTURE RATE OF INFLATION
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March 16, 1979