October 15, 1979

PC

Charles Joseph Clark (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, under the provisions of Standing Order 41(2) I wish to table, in both official languages, copies of the report of the Task Force on Petro-Canada.

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SPEECH FROM THE THRONE


The House resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Fretz for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto (Mr. Trudeau) (p. 37).


LIB

Jesse Philip Flis

Liberal

Mr. Jesse Flis (Parkdale-High Park):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize a Miss Jasmine Hubjer in the gallery.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Order!

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LIB

Jesse Philip Flis

Liberal

Mr. Flis:

I am sorry, I am learning the rules, as you know, Mr. Speaker. The young student, whose teachers are on strike in Peel County, is here in this classroom to get a first-hand education.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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LIB

Jesse Philip Flis

Liberal

Mr. Flis:

In this, my first speech as the representative for Parkdale-High Park, I would like to extend my congratulations to the hon. member for Sudbury (Mr. Jerome) on his reappointment as Speaker of this House of Commons. The wisdom of the members here in showing this confidence in him has been demonstrated amply in the past, as it will continue to be in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I extend similar congratulations to you as the Deputy Speaker. Congratulations are also in order to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Clark), and I am very honoured that he is here in person to hear my maiden speech. Though the criticism from this side of the House will oftentimes be pointed and harsh, I need not remind him that we share the ultimate objective as members of this House of Commons which will guide us in our deliberations, that being the good government of this nation.

Parkdale-High Park is situated in the west end of Toronto and was created out of two federal constituencies, High Park-Humber Valley and Parkdale. Our constituency houses the Canadian National Exhibition, Ontario Place, Sunnyside Swimming Pavilion for which we hope the new government will give us some funds to restore its historical nature, and the famous High Park.

For my own part, I very much identify with the mosaic concept of Canada as it is often described by our leader, the right hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. Trudeau). Boasting more than two dozen identifiable ethnic strains, Parkdale-

October 15, 1979

High Park easily touches all corners of this planet. Its inhabitants include Canadian Indians, English, Polish, Ukranian, Germans, Austrians, Lithuanians, Maltese, Italians, Spanish, Serbs, Croats, Slovenians, East Indians, West Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Greeks, Portuguese, Irish, Scots, Filipinos, Latvians, Estonians, French, and many others, including Inuit. There are Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, and other religions too numerous to mention. There are some that are very wealthy and some not so wealthy. I have so far enumerated only the differences.

What binds these people together? They are bound by a common bond of being Canadians. They each have a personal identity based on their ethnic heritage which they have been encouraged to preserve. My identity happens to be Polish. I am proud to be a descendant of a culture that has a 1,000 year history of Christianity, and a culture that has been blessed with producing today's Roman Catholic Pope, John Paul II.

To answer the question further what binds these people together, I would like to quote from a speech made in this House 22 years ago by a gentleman who now sits in the other chamber after many years of distinguished service. The hon. Senator Stanley Haidasz said of the constituency which I now represent:

This enviable mosaic, composed of different shapes, sizes, and colours is, may 1 assure you, strongly cemented by a common allegiance to the Crown and a common Canadian citizenship but also by convictions of loyalty, pride, and faith in the past, present, and future of Canada.

As the present member for Parkdale-High Park, I would not hesitate to offer my riding as a model of co-operation amidst diversity for all of Canada. Racism is a reality in many communities today, a reality based on ignorance of the changing nature of Canadian society. Co-operation and living in harmony such as I see in Parkdale-High Park are based on knowledge, understanding, appreciation, and respect for each other.

I would be remiss if I did not at this time offer my congratulations to the community of Parkdale on this, the occasion of its centennial. The Parkdale crest bears the words "Progress and Economy", words which will be a guiding influence for the community during its next 100 years. Perhaps the present government would consider adopting them as its motto also.

A Speech from the Throne in essence is a blueprint for the future. The role of the government is therefore to lead us into that period. 1 regret that the Speech from the Throne which opened this Thirty-first Parliament is long on verbiage and magnanimous exhortations, but lacking in genuine commitment to action by this government.

One province is about to vote on its continued existence within the Canadian federation. This is not considered important enough by the government to require mention in the Speech from the Throne. We have a promise to amend the preamble to the Immigration Act to acknowledge the multicultural reality of Canada. If the government is serious about a commitment to multiculturalism, I challenge it to entrench the principle and support of multiculturalism in a revised Canadi-

The Address-Mr. Flis

an constitution, and I challenge the new government to bring the constitution home where it belongs. My constituents and I are insulted that a mature country such as Canada does not have ultimate authority over its own constitution.

The Prime Minister has said that he has contributed more to federalism since coming to power than the right hon. member for Mount Royal accomplished in 11 years. Ignoring the dubious nature of this statement, I would urge the government to put forth proposals leading toward the renewal of the federalism so as to convince Quebeckers that there is a new image and new substance to federalism as the Prime Minister indicated in Montreal last month. The time for action is now, in this Parliament.

The intent of the government with regard to Petro-Canada remains a puzzle even after the Speech from the Throne. Its fate was a major plank in the electoral platform of the present government, but no mention of it appears in the speech. The persistent equivocation which has been the hallmark of this ministry is most clearly demonstrated in regard to PetroCan. Let me read a few quotations. As quoted on March 24, 1977, in the Calgary Herald the hon. member for Calgary Centre (Mr. Andre) stated:

Obviously, if it's a thriving operation, we'd be crazy to shut it down.

Given the multi-million dollar assets of the firm at this time, Mr. Speaker, I will resist the temptation to editorialize on that observation. On April 6, 1979, in Winnipeg, the hon. member for Rocky Mountain, now the right hon. Prime Minister, stated, "I believe that it's a dud". Well I believe that we have a "dud" of a government if that is his assessment of PetroCan. On July 20, 1979, in the Calgary Herald the headline read:

Andre easing PetroCan stance.

Again from the Calgary Herald on August 11, 1979, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Hnatyshyn) was reported as follows:

The minister said that the concept of the need for a state oil company had changed dramatically since 1974 when Petro-Canada was created. Since then, dwindling oil supplies have underscored the need to ensure security of supply, he said.

Pity the Montreal Star. Two days after reporting the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources as saying "PetroCan will stay", the Prime Minister said "PetroCan still goes". Who's on first? What's on second? The Canadian taxpayer-out at third! The new government had better stick to football.

One wonders why myopic party dogma should stand in the way of Canada maintaining its own national oil company, just as Britain and most other industrialized nations do. The multinational oil companies that would control our energy future in the absence of Petro-Canada have demonstrated that their supply objectives do not coincide with those of the Canadian people. Petro-Canada must answer to its owners. Its owners are the Canadian people.

The leaders of our new government have expressed a concern in the past over an alleged abrogation of the powers of Parliament during the last few years. This is certainly an

October 15, 1979

The Address-Mr. Fits

impressive statement to make inasmuch as no democratically minded person would argue that the elected legislature should be anything else but the focus of initiative and review in government policy. Is the new government acting in accord with this lofty ideal? I think not. The reason given for the longest delay in Canadian history between election day and the summoning of Parliament was for the ministers to become expert in their respective portfolios. Judging from the responses that we have been hearing to opposition questions in the last few days, one is left to wonder why it was assumed that five months would be sufficient.

By the appointment of a freshly defeated and unproven, novice politician to a senior economic portfolio, the Prime Minister has made a blatant end run around Parliament and the democratic process as we know it.

Had Parliament the opportunity to debate it in advance, perhaps the government could have been dissuaded from its unfortunate policy on the Israeli embassy question. Under the guidance of prime minister Trudeau, Canada acquired a reputation of considerable stature in foreign affairs. This reputation has been seriously eroded in an ominously brief period of time, and all before a single member of Parliament was afforded the opportunity to ask who, what, where, when or why.

The revelation of budgetary substance by way of a press conference is an unacceptable affront to Parliament. The House of Commons is very jealous of its primacy in the knowledge of such matters. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Crosbie), who is as quick with his wit as he is slow with his answers, continues to mock the intelligence of all members with his evasiveness. Perhaps he was named to that portfolio because of his dexterity at passing the buck. Only last week we witnessed confusion by the President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Stevens) over responsibility for the estimates after presenting them on behalf of His Excellency the Governor General. The lack of organization apparent within this government is alarming.

The formation of the several parliamentary committees is a positive step. Parliament should have accurate data when reviewing the estimates, and it should have a major voice in the determination of such major policy areas as foreign investment, nuclear energy, cultural policy and the several other important matters cited for examination. To broaden the activities of Parliament, however, is not necessarily synonymous with broadening its powers. I truly hope that in this session we begin to witness a convergence of the two.

The importance of instilling confidence in the Canadian economy was stressed in the Speech from the Throne. The behaviour of the Toronto Stock Exchange last week suggests that this objective is not within reach at the moment. If the government wishes to restore confidence in the economy, it must withdraw such misdirected and hackneyed schemes as the mortgage interest and tax credit plan. Though conceived with an honourable motive, the plan is inadequate, as many Canadians such as renters and full home-owners cannot participate. Given the impact on increases in the interest rate

permitted by the present government, all benefits of the plan have become extinct. Unfortunately, the costs of the plan will outlast the benefits by several years.

In other matters pertaining to the economy, it is heartening to see the effects of the last budget continuing to moderate the inflation rate and unemployment. 1 believe that governments should channel a great deal more resources toward youth and their interests than has been the case in the past in Canada.

In 1976, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development-we see it in the media as OECD-completed a study on educational policies in Canada. Our system was harshly criticized for lacking unity of purpose or any orientation toward the future in the face of overwhelming arguments in favour of some kind of central direction. The report made the following points in favour of a national authority to involve itself in education:

Education is a right of each citizen, due to each system irrespective of his place of residence... The standards maintained by schools, community colleges and universities are of national interest, because a large part of scientific-technical achievement, and hence, economic and social well-being may depend on them ... unity of the educational system is a national interest, in order to maintain and guard the freedom of choice (via mobility) of citizens... the educational philosophy of an educational system and the principles underlying its operation are matters of national interest, because cultural and national consciousness depend on it.

No political party in Canada has had the guts to infringe upon the provincial jurisdictions in education, but I believe the time has come to amend the constitution to allow for a federal ministry of education which would set national goals and national standards.

I applaud the initiatives of the government in assisting young Canadians in the work force. My own background is heavily oriented in education-equipping young people to cope with situations that they will encounter outside school. In this Thirty-first Parliament there are at least five dozen others who have been involved with education either through teaching or through school administration. As an educator I have witnessed first hand the value of, indeed the need for, a positive esprit de corps, be it a school spirit or a national will. Just as a winning team enhances the spirit of a school, a strong national pride enhances a country.

The Liberal government provided strong leadership based on winning ideas such as Petro-Canada and the plan of national health care. Both of these ideas are being undermined by the current excess of Tory governments in Canada. By shedding all of its powers to the provincial governments, this federal government is neglecting its responsibility to act on behalf of the national fact known as Canada.

My parents emigrated from Poland at the height of the depression. The fact that they settled in Saskatchewan as opposed to Manitoba or New Brunswick was only incidental to them-they considered their destination to be Canada. As a citizen of Canada by birth, I cannot help but be alarmed when I see the federal government jettisoning its responsibilities, left, right, and centre, to the provincial governments. These several provincial governments are answerable to and must act on behalf of the residents of their respective provinces. None of

October 15, 1979

them appear incapable of acting on their own behalf, but this federal government, this Prime Minister, under the guise of co-operation, is handing over lock, stock and barrel, the very elements that bind these provinces as one country.

The notion of regional interests is not alien to the concept of Canada; in fact, the presence of a federal government that bends like a willow in the wind to provincial demands as this government does, causes worry for my constituents and, 1 am afraid, for all Canadians.

It is Premier Lougheed's job to fight for Alberta's interest, Premier Lyon's to fight for Manitoba, that of Premier Davis for Ontario. I pray that the Prime Minister gives serious reflection as to what constituency he should be fighting for.

I would like to thank the residents of Parkdale-High Park for bestowing upon me the greatest honour 1, as the child of immigrant parents, could ever hope to achieve. To this role of member of parliament I bring with me experience as a farmer, small businessman, labourer, and educator.

1 cherish the opportunity to convey the interests of my constituents to the federal government-constituents such as Dr. Ven who advised me on the maximization of research moneys. Mr. Czubak advises Mr. Clark that if he must sell off PetroCan, to sell only 45 per cent to the private sector, and retain 55 per cent control in federal government hands. This is not my stand; this is the stand of one of my constituents and I feel it is my duty to share it with you. Mr. Primicius, who comes from the Philippines, recommends that the new government call a constitutional convention. I bring to this House Mr. Wotton's concern of using foreign designers for publicly funded Canadian projects. Mr. Field, Mr. Szymanski, and over one hundred other constituents are irate over the present government's immigration policy. Several petitioners wish me to draw to this Parliament's attention that Canadians do not want the legalization of marijuana use.

The constituents of Parkdale-High Park whose parents come from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and other eastern European countries want this government to challenge the Soviet Union's dual citizenship policy.

Another constituent, Mr. Cozzi, helped me appreciate the contribution made to Canada and the world by our senior veterans and the present personnel in the armed forces.

Miss Milne requests that the External Affairs Department disband Canada House or force it to improve its service to Canadian travellers.

Mr. Bosley, like many other residents of Parkdale-High Park, is furious over the misuse of our social welfare services. Many people are worried about the low morale in the immigration department caused by public statements made by the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Mr. Atkey).

Mrs. Plesha, Mr. Hanzlik, Mr. Tiwari, Mr. Previlon, Mr. Palaniandi, Mrs. Paech, Mr. Singh, Mr. Halaby and Mrs. Baptista would like the ministries of immigration and external

The Address-Mr. Blenkarn

affairs to get off their bureaucratic high horses and allow these people to reunite with their families while immediate families, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and parents, are still alive, and not after they are dead.

Mr. Kolev wants to know why the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Miss MacDonald) refuses to meet with him to discuss the release of his ailing 69 year old father from a Bulgarian concentration camp.

Mr. Manat wants to know why he has to pay $3,000 for a patent on an energy saving engine which could save Canada millions of dollars in lowering fuel consumption.

In the past it was often assumed that elected officials were more knowledgeable than the constituents in many strategic areas. My brief experience as a member of Parliament has demonstrated to me that this is not the case now, if in fact it ever was. As the elected representative, I depend on the collective expertise of my constituents. It is my responsibility to convey their opinions, suggestions, needs and know-how into this House of Commons. Upon reflection, we must all realize that no one of us has a greater responsibility than this.

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PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Don Blenkarn (Mississauga South):

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne in broad general terms is a speech designed to outline the government's proposals for the session. It is my view that the speech of a member speaking in the throne speech debate should outline that member's intention, his philosophy, and how he proposes to act during the parliamentary session.

I was a member of this House in the Twenty-ninth Parliament and spoke many times during that time. But in a sense this is my maiden speech because at no time in that Parliament did I really have an opportunity to talk about some of the matters that I would like to talk about in this address.

I bring to this House some basic principles which 1 think are important in the way that I will perceive my role as a member of Parliament and which I think are important in outlining to members here how they can understand the member from Mississauga South.

There is only one kind of Canadian, a very ordinary Canadian. That is my first principle. There is nothing special about being a black Canadian, a yellow Canadian, a red Canadian, or a white Canadian. There is only one kind of Canadian.

I am perhaps slightly colour blind. A lady came to my constituency office the other day and asked me if I knew she was a black Canadian. I thought she was chocolatey-brown, but I told her that I didn't care what she perceived her colour to be, I perceived she was a Canadian. I told her that that was all I was concerned about, and that she was entitled to the same rights and privileges in Canada as anyone else, no more, no less.

Over past years we have had a tendency to develop a description of Canadians by calling them Francophones, Anglophones, Irish Canadians, French Canadians, and Polish Canadians, and so on. By doing this we have got away from the spirit of the late Right Hon. John G. Diefenbaker who

October 15, 1979

The Address-Mr. Blenkarn

stood up and said that there was but one kind of Canadian, in Canada, an unhyphenated Canadian. My executive assistant in my constituency office was born in Hungary. She told me the other day that it was not until Mr. Diefenbaker said to her- and her name was Berkovits at the time-"you are a Canadian; you did not have to be born here and you don't have to have a WASP name, you are a Canadian," that it was not until that point that she felt she really belonged.

Throughout the election campaign a candidate opposed to me from a party on the other side of the House proposed that there were four kinds of Canadians, namely, French-Canadi-ans, English-Canadians, native-Canadians, and immigrant Canadians. That is not the kind of Canada I will speak for, nor should it be the kind of Canada that this government should speak for.

It should not matter when we, in government, appoint people to offices in the civil service or wherever to make our country work, whether the person is a Baptist, or a Moslem or a Jew, a woman, a Francophone or from an underprivileged minority. Surely we should treat all our citizens in the same fashion without attempting, by virtue of colour or whatever, to say that one is better than the other.

Since the election, some members in this House may have said things in certain letters with regard to a letter I wrote to the president of the National Indian Brotherhood. The president replied by saying "your white immigrant government this, and your white immigrant government that." I had the opportunity of sitting on a white immigrant airplane with him. Each of us were enjoying a white immigrant alcoholic beverage. 1 put my fist up against his and discovered that my colour was a little browner than his. Perhaps he has been under the colour of the neon lights too long.

Our attempts to try to balance race, religion and sex are in many cases an attempt at reverse discrimination so we have the nominal woman, the nominal new Canadian, or the nominal WASP on a board. That is reverse discrimination, and my actions will be to oppose that type of thing. In the very same way I will be opposing anything that insists that because you were born as a UEL and can trace your heritage to indicate that, somewhere along that line you may have some privilege in Canada. That is the kind of thing members of this House must convey to all of Canada.

Last evening I was at the home of the Consul General for Poland. I was at a reception in connection with a mutual exchange between a Polish city, and I am having a hard time pronouncing it, Wroclaw, and North York. A gentleman there told me he had been in Canada seven years, that he was a Polish and Canadian. I said, "No you are not. If you are a Canadian you are a Canadian and Polish is your culture, and that culture is part of Canada. That is the kind of thing we must preserve." I told him that just because he had a Polish culture that did not make him Polish because he had decided to be a Canadian. Culture, whether it is Polish, Ukrainian, or Italian, preserved in its panoramic sense, makes Canada the

kind of place in which we want to live. Differences of culture and race cannot be allowed to be the basis for differences between our people. They must be the uniting force for our people because we have one Canada, one people.

My second principle is that we in Canada are over governed and the least government we can have is probably the best. In that sense I am in agreement with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Trudeau) when he says we have been expecting too much. Canadians have been expecting far too much from government. No organization of government can do anything other than try to regulate and control in human terms the activities of one person to another.

Too often we ask government to do the impossible. We ask it to regulate, control, and redistribute. To a large extent the efforts of government have not proved very satisfactory. In the 25 or 30 years since the last war we have been trying to eliminate poverty in this country. Massive redistributions of money have not done very much to equalize between wealth and poverty. Despite all our efforts, despite government in action, not very much has been done to alleviate some of the questions the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) has brought to this House on many occasions concerning veterans and people of native origin on the reserves I sometimes call Bantustans. A great deal of the effort by government has been nothing but a waste of money and a waste of administration, without any real effort at bringing forth a better standard of living for the disadvantaged in our society.

The late John Kennedy said it is not what you can get from your country but what you can do for your country. What we have to inculcate is a sense of individualism in Canada, a sense that people individually can do things for themselves and that big brother government cannot accomplish, indeed it has proven unable to accomplish, those social aims and objectives that had been placed before it. It is essential as we go into this Thirty-first Parliament that the direction of bigger and bigger government being asked to accomplish more and more be turned back.

I am reminded of a speech made in this House by the former member for Crowfoot. He mentioned Hardin's law. 1 do not know where Hardin or the law came from. It went something like this. If you have a problem and you pass a law to solve it, often what you do is create three more problems which require three more laws that require and require and require, and your problems are never solved.

This House has directed the problem of interest rates to the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs. All of us are upset about the astronomical rates of interest charged by our banking system. We see young people being forced to pay 13'A per cent on mortgages, and small businesses paying 15 or 15'/2 per cent interest just to stay alive. We see the destruction that high cost money will cause to employment opportunities. We have a right to be concerned.

What do we do about high cost interest? Do we pass a law like foreign exchange control? Do we make more wage and price controls mandatory? What do we do to break this

October 15, 1979

country away from the North American high interest costs imposed on us by the banking system in New York and elsewhere? When our committee meets on this matter it is essential that we bear in mind that we cannot have it just the way we want it, that sometimes passing a law only creates the problem of more and more laws and more and more control over the life of the individual.

I have looked at government, particularly since I have come back and have had much more experience in the private field, in manufacturing, construction and so on. I look at where we spend the taxpayers' money.

The other day 1 was in a manpower office, a glorious place with three or four floors of booths and people in Mississauga trying to work within the manpower requirements of the present legislation. I asked how many of the unemployed they would place. I was told there are probably 5,000 jobs in Mississauga right now, that they would probably fill 1,000, and the rest would be filled by people never even bothering with their service.

1 looked at the cost of that operation. I began to wonder if we did not have the operation at all whether more people would find jobs than presently find jobs with the assistance of that operation. It is important that members of Parliament look critically at the activities of ministries. Do we really need the service we are paying for? Is the service supplied by a government really worth the effort?

The hon. member for Brampton-Georgetown (Mr. McDer-mid) mentioned tourism. I understand in that committee a senior bureaucrat was asked what do you really do, do you really bring more tourists to Canada, can you show what you have accomplished? The witness was a bit taken aback. He said, "Well, you know, we co-ordinate things between the provinces, you know, and that sort of thing". We have to really examine the functions of government, some of the things we are attempting to do for Canadians, to see whether they need to be done.

I could give other instances. I talked with someone in the National Farm Marketing Products Council. Their budget started off at $300,000. This year it will be $1 million. They co-ordinate marketing boards in all the provinces. 1 asked one of the employees whether they really accomplished anything. She said you could probably get rid of the board as there is enough expertise in the ministry to handle all the marketing problems, but the board was created by statute. She said their big job was dealing with the ministry. Therefore we have a ministry dealing with a ministry dealing with a ministry all over the province, and all over the country. What does that man who is raking asphalt for a construction company and paying 30 per cent or 40 per cent of his dollars in income tax think about an agency or a board which is accomplishing nothing for him? That is part of the concern I bring to this House and I shall act as a member to seriously cross-examine our government activity.

The Address-Mr. Blenkarn

The next thing is this: I shall be bringing to this House a very high respect for private ownership. Look at farms throughout the world and then consider the kind of production we get from prairie farms and from our farms in Ontario where we raise some of the finest Holstein cattle in the world. This is done by people privately working on their own property, building on their own activity and initiative. They own the property. We look at the people who are retiring. We look at the ones who own their homes when they retire and we look at their ability to look after themselves and not come to the state for a handout or extras. We look at the people who never own property and what their condition is at the time of retirement and we must, over the years, acknowledge ownership of property, the wide distribution of ownership in Canada, to be very important to the social structure and fabric of the nation. That is why I am proud of our government for its decision to make interest charges on home mortgages recoverable from tax, recognizing that home ownership is a method by which individuals can acquire a personal stake in the ownership of Canada.

A proposal was tabled today with respect to Petro-Canada, a proposal to distribute broadly individual shares in that corporation so that individual Canadians can own a bit more of Canada. What we need are laws which will enable corporations in this country to distribute their stock to their employees. One of the advantages of the privatization of Crown corporations is that it will enable the distribution of shares in those corporations to the employees of those corporations to give them a chance of feeling they really belong, that they really have a place in Canada. When people feel they belong, when they feel they own the soil they farm or the backyard where their home is, when they own an interest in the firm for which they work, they have a sense of security, a sense of belonging. That is the purpose of this government, the aim I shall be working for this session.

Next is the question of individual liberty. All too often big government has meant erosion of the liberty of the individual. So we have seen efforts to reverse the burden of proof under the Income Tax Act to allow people to come in and seize a company's books and records without even a court order, or garnishee a person's wages or property because some official says money is due to government. There have been situations where people have been allowed to place taps on telephones, spy, and find out about an individual, or force an individual to use his social insurance number just to get a ticket on a Sun Tour charter. Respect for the individual and the individual's right to privacy is essential in Canada, so I shall be working on that kind of issue.

Last, when speaking as a member of Parliament I deem it my job to represent my constituents. Sometimes in representing my constituents and speaking on their behalf I may say things we are not supposed to say as members of Parliament. The other day the hon. member for Churchill (Mr. Murphy) and the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grace (Mr. All-mand) suggested I should be kicked out of the caucus of my

October 15, 1979

The Address-Mr. Cousineau

political party because 1 said some things of which they did not approve. Perhaps some of the people in my own party did not approve of what I said either. Surely, though, it is essential that I, along with other members, should be entitled to state opinions for and on behalf of constituents, which might not be popular with others.

Sir, it is not the job of a member of Parliament just to stand up and bow to you at the appropriate time on an appropriate vote. It is the job of a member of Parliament to seek out the opinions of his constituents and to represent those opinions on the floor of this chamber, and in carrying out my duties here it will be my policy to do that. It will be my duty to find out what my constituents think and desire and to advise you, Mr Speaker, and other hon. members, as to the opinions of the people of Mississauga South. Sometimes their opinions will not agree with my own at which time I shall be paying more attention to their opinions than to my own because, after all, I am their representative

they cannot all come here and speak for themselves; they must depend on me to say for them what is in their minds. It is my job then, to distil and generally organize what is in their minds for them and bring their opinions and needs to the attention of this chamber.

The job of a member of Parliament is a difficult one, sir, but with your help and the help of the other members 1 shall endeavour to do my best to represent my constituency.

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Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

René Cousineau

Liberal

Mr. Rene Cousineau (Gatineau):

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to congratulate my colleagues, the hon. members for Erie (Mr. Fretz) and Cardigan (Mr. MacDonald), on their speeches last week as movers of the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. Using the same opportunity, I want to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, as well as your colleague, the Deputy Speaker. Finally, I extend my congratulations to the hon. member for Ottawa West (Mr. Binks) for the speech he gave this morning.

Allow me, Mr. Speaker, in my first speech in this House, to pay homage to my predecessor who sat in this chamber for 16 years. Mr. Gaston Clermont, who sat as member for the ridings of Gatineau and Labelle, built himself a reputation as a parliamentary fighter, an untiring worker, a totally honest man with a true sense of fair play both in the House and in committees. In 1973, he was nicknamed the "beaver of politics". He was respected by all and I wish him well in his new responsibilities.

Prior to being elected to this House, Mr. Speaker, 1 had often said that I wished to replace him and occupy his position with the same dignity and strength, for the best interests of my riding, of my province and of my country.

I would also like to pay tribute to the late Right Hon. John Diefenbaker whose memory will remain alive in the hearts of all politicians regardless of their party. It was an honour for me to be able to greet him the day 1 took the oath, and after speaking with him for a few minutes he said to me,

"Good luck, and I can say that with much sincerity." I had much respect for the old fellow, and I was looking forward to being here in this House at the same time as he to hear him speak and to see him point that famous finger of his accusingly at the colleague who had merited his intervention.

For those who might not know where Gatineau is, my riding is right across the river.

[ Translation]

I hope to prove to the people of Gatineau, whom I represent and whose concerns are mine, who gave me an overriding majority on May 22, and who trusted me, that they were right to do so.

I am one of the privileged members of this House because I can reach my home and family in a matter of minutes, unlike most hon. members who will have to settle for a weekend or visit twice a month to see their families and loved ones.

Even though the majority of the population of my riding is concentrated in the town of Gatineau, of the same name, my riding has a large rural area and is a paradise for fish and game. If any hon. members in this House travel that way, 1 hope they will not hesitate to try their luck in moments of leisure, if they are not too busy and have time.

[ Translation]

Mr. Speaker, given the fact that my constituency is near Ottawa, I should like perhaps to talk geography, for the benefit of the new hon. members. It can be identified easily as we have the Gatineau River to the west, the Ottawa River to the south, the town of Thurso to the east, the nice little village of St. Sixte to the northeast which is always very hospitable. To the north is the municipality of Notre-Dame-du-Laus and it, together with the municipalities of Val-des-Bois, Bowman and Notre-Dame-de-la Salette, is a fisherman's and a hunter's paradise. To the northwest is the municipality of Val-des-Monts, which is another fisherman's paradise. By the way, the Ottawa mayor, Mrs. Dewar, honours me with her presence in my constituency-not every weekend as she is too busy to do so-in the Saint-Pierre de Wakefield and Poltimore section where she has a cottage in that part of my constituency.

Mr. Speaker, the main employers in my constituency are the federal government and the pulp and paper and newsprint industries. I am pleased to stress to the House, for those who are not aware of this, that you can find there the largest newsprint machine in the world, and I invite hon. members to go and see it because it is a worth-while experience.

In spite of those two big employers, there is unfortunately too much unemployment. It would be important to encourage tourism more and more in the Lievre Valley so that it could benefit from Highway 50, half of which is subsidized and paid by federal funds, if the provincial government can at last

October 15, 1979

complete its construction and administer it, of course. Unfortunately the home building industry in the cities of Gatineau, Buckingham, Masson and Thurso is idle. Our tradesmen suffer awfully from that situation. There are but few small and medium enterprises in our region. The industrial park of Gatineau is almost empty. The city council of Gatineau and the Societe d'amenagement de I'Outaouais urged the former government many times to consider that region as a designated area, thinking it was the only way to attract industries to the region. Mr. Speaker, 1 hope the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (Mr. MacKay) will take a stand on this matter as soon as possible so that we know whether or not our region will be designated and so that the people concerned within the Societe d'amenagement de 1'Outaouais and the city council of Gatineau know where they are going.

In that regard, Mr. Speaker, he allegedly stated to a local newspaper that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce and Minister of State for Economic Development (Mr. de Cotret) has recently met with Mr. Landry, a minister in the Quebec cabinet, and that following that meeting it is possible that the Quebec side of the Ottawa region will be considered as a designated area. Could 1 ask the ministers who are the colleagues of the hon. senator-I do not know who is responsible for delivering messages to him, because it is not the first nor the last time-to repeat my comments to the senator so that in the first place he would confirm that such a meeting has taken place and such a discussion on the designated area has been held? Second, does the senator intend to discuss with the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion the advisability of considering that region as a designated area?

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign the Conservative candidates pointed out unemployment and inflation in the country, especially in the Outaouais region in Quebec. The Liberal candidates recognized the problem and did not conceal the facts. However, the Conservative candidates stated and promised that they would solve the unemployment problem. Well, Mr. Speaker, the last government set up the Canada Works Program to help eradicate unemployment and it was highly successful and appreciated by the constituents and the communities.

In my constituency for the year 1978-79 Mr. Clermont obtained subsidies of $1,240,000 but for the year 1979-80 that amount was reduced to $501,000, a 50 per cent cut, Mr. Speaker. It is a strange way of providing assistance to the unemployed because in 1979 in my constituency the number of unemployed was unfortunately almost the same as in 1978. Mr. Speaker, may I call it six o'clock and resume my speech at eight o'clock?

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LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member may resume his speech at eight o'clock. It being six o'clock, I do now leave the chair until eight o'clock.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

The Address-Mr. Cousineau

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AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 8 p.m.


LIB

René Cousineau

Liberal

Mr. Cousineau:

Mr. Speaker, may I signal the presence of ministers on the other side of the floor? This afternoon they were conspicuous by their absence. Knowing that they are very busy, I can understand that.

Mr. Speaker, when I was interrupted this afternoon at six, I was speaking about my riding's problems which are not different from those of the rest of the country. The President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Stevens) has decided to add some more to them by promising massive personnel reductions in the public service that will affect 60,000 employees.

After the election there was a meeting with the President of the Treasury Board, to which reference was made by my colleague, the hon. member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Evans), on Friday, October 12. At that meeting it was clearly stated that a task force would be created to study the impact of the cutbacks in the civil service. A month passed, two months, now nearly three months, but I still have not heard anything. I even tried to obtain a copy of the minutes of that meeting which were promised. My secretary tried on several occasions, but unfortunately was given the same answer and no copy of the minutes was sent to my office. How is it that no study was made before the decision to cut 60,000 jobs was taken? Supposedly this expert minister did not think there might be such an impact.

To these two questions, Mr. Speaker we did not get an answer. I have not yet received one and the reason is very simple. The minister himself does not know either. Since May 22 the Progressive Conservative government has been much more concerned with setting records. Never in our history has a period of five months elapsed without the Houses being recalled, when they had all the answers during the election campaign. Never have we heard so many contradictory statements by ministers of the Crown. Never in my political career have I heard a minister tell the Canadian people that an election promise does not have to be kept if later on one discovers that it is nonsensical, unrealistic or impossible. Never in the history of this country has a federal government been seen in such a short period of time to lose its authority, its powers as well as its perception of the country as a whole.

Since May 22, Mr. Speaker, we have witnessed irresponsible decisions and statements as in the case of Petro-Canada, the lotteries, the sale of certain Crown corporations, the deduction of mortgage interests, and as if it were not enough, the ministers are now contradicting each other regarding our aid policy of the Third World.

No wonder a young member of this House, and I am not speaking only for myself Mr. Speaker, who sees all this day

October 15, 1979

The Address-Mr. Cousineau

after day, week after week, is a little bewildered if he expected specific and well defined decisions and policies on the part of the government.

Mr. Speaker, there was absolutely no reference to national unity in the Speech from the Throne, and no comments whatsoever made of what would happen in case the referendum procedures of the PQ government were unfair to the people of Quebec. There is a situation in which the government will have to think about the unity of this country, and this should not be postponed. The government of Quebec is now thinking of borrowing money from Alberta, money necessary for the expropriation of the Asbestos Corporation.

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?

An hon. Member:

Hear, hear!

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LIB

René Cousineau

Liberal

Mr. Cousineau:

Instead of saying "hear, hear", the hon. member should just listen. The premier of Alberta has declared that Alberta will not dictate to other provincial governments what the loans should be used for. These words worry me, and I appeal to the Prime Minister (Mr. Clark) and to all my colleagues from Alberta to express their concern about this matter, and to attempt to ensure that the government of Alberta make the loan for a specific purpose and not for the discussion of the PQ government to facilitate the vile intention to dismantle and break up this country.

It seems that the Prime Minister will not take part in the referendum campaign and that the Quebec referendum should not be the government's only concern during the year. According to the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker, the economy and energy matters are equally pressing. 1 fully agree with the Prime Minister that those matters are equally pressing, but they should not be dissociated; unity and economic matters must be faced together, not separately. If this country's unity were to be broken, there would still be energy; that is not lost, but in what state would the Canadian economy be?

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has the tools at hand, but for how long I do not know; the fact, however, is that the House will have to know one day, not in 1981, what he intends to do to help us, from Quebec, fight against that separatist ideology.

Mr. Speaker, there are in my riding a good many residences for senior citizens built through assistance provided by the former government, but, unfortunately, the number of people on the waiting list who want to reside there is increasing weekly. There is mention of pensions in the throne speech, but the question of old age housing has been omitted. The throne speech mentions the creation of committees to study the needs of the handicapped and the invalid. I congratulate the government for that initiative, but there is no question of a committee to study the needs of senior citizens.

There was a lot of talk about the mortgage interest deduction plan recently. Several of my Liberal colleagues made

(Mr. Cousineau.]

remarks in that respect which I strongly support. The deduction, I should say this discriminatory deduction, of mortgage interest will cause senior citizens a serious prejudice because most of them do not have a mortgage on their house.

For nearly five months, Mr. Speaker, there has been very negative talk about the National Capital Commission and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Some ministers are talking these days of abolishing them. At other times, they talk of reducing their roles and, finally, they talk of reducing their staffs. I dare believe, Mr. Speaker, that regardless of the decision made by the government in this matter, the presence of the federal government will continue to be felt on the Quebec side of the Ottawa area.

Over $1 billion was spent by the federal government in the past few years on the Quebec side of the Ottawa area, and this had very favorable and positive effects on my riding. It is my firm intention in this House to keep on working to maintain the presence of the federal government on the Quebec side of the Ottawa area, whatever government is in power in Quebec. Living in a healthy democracy where the majority rules, the majority decides. I have no doubt that this is what my people told me on May 22 and what the people of Hull also told my colleague. The May 22 vote was an order to serve and to make sure the presence of the federal government continues to be felt on the Quebec side of the Ottawa area.

Mr. Speaker, I should like to conclude by inviting the right hon. Prime Minister to take a look at my riding every morning from his residence at 24 Sussex. He will see the fine steeple of the St. Francois de Sales Church in Pointe-Gatineau, the fine CIP plant as well as the beautiful mountains which form part of the Laurentians. I must ask him to give special attention to a place that has unfortunately, owing to the force of circumstances, become the city dump for the city of Gatineau for a period of four to five years. The government, through the National Capital Commission, should give support to any organization trying to find a use for the place that we call the Kettle Bay and Island problem.

During this Thirty-first parliament, I plan to bring this up in the House, before the population, and in the various committees of which I shall be a member, as often as possible. Various studies have been made and many opinions have been given. I think that the time has come for action. Mr. Speaker, my colleagues in the House may think that the problem of Kettle Bay and Kettle Island is a municipal or provincial problem, but for my part, I insist on saying in the House that it is a national problem. This part of my constituency is within the area designated as the national capital region and if Canadians want to be proud of their capital and its region, whether they are English-speaking or French-speaking.

October 15, 1979

It does not make a difference to what ethnic group he belongs. All Canadians should be proud of the entire capital region, and not proud only of one side of the Ottawa River where there is a beautiful and tremendous tourist attraction which is Rockcliffe Park and Sussex Drive, while on the other side of the river, as I said in French, there is such a contrast, with such disparity between the two sides of the river, and where a municipal refuse dump has been used in such under out of the ordinary circumstances.

Mr. Speaker, there is no short-term solution, but we must come to an agreement and make a collective effort to show to our children and their children that men and women came to Ottawa from throughout Canada to serve their constituencies and their country.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all those people to work even harder with one common thought, that of love for their country, a country represented by a capital and a national capital region of which all Canadians can be proud. Thus, they can show true patriotic feeling.

Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to go over the time allotted to me. I thank you for having allowed me to say these few words and I hope that there will not be too many problems cropping up during the Thirty-first parliament and that you will continue to preside over the debates of the House with the impartiality that we all recognize and admire.

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PC

William Gordon Ritchie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gordon Ritchie (Dauphin):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to take part in the throne speech debate, as I have done on a number of occasions over the years, but this is the first time I have done so from the government's side. I should like very much to congratulate the mover and the seconder. They have much to offer, as do all new members of this House. I am sure the new members will appreciate the generosity and good will of individual members regardless of their parties. Although parties are necessary in this democratic process, still much can be accomplished on an individual basis, and a lasting understanding of all regions of the country can be shared.

Like you, Mr. Speaker, I am one of the class of '68, as is one of the hon. members from Hamilton who is present, and 1 should like to congratulate you on your re-election as Speaker. Over the years you have been, in my opinion, a reasonable and impartial Speaker, and you have expedited the business of this House. I think it can safely be said that you have carried out your office with dignity and justice. I wish you the best during this minority Parliament.

The election of May was significant in that it ended, for the moment anyway, an apparent domination by central Canada of the periphery, and now western Canada will have a chance to exert some effort in the executive, instead of indirectly, in attempting to change legislation designed specifically for the central region. In fact, with the enlargement of the House,

The Address-Mr. G. Ritchie

western Canada has finally come of age and will be enabled to exert on its central neighbours a much greater influence, regardless of which party is in power.

The redistribution carried out in the last Parliament based on the 1971 census, with the enlargement of the House, has largely brought this about. Had the redistribution based on the 1971 census been carried out with no enlargement of the House, with the proposed redistribution of that time, the old order would have held so that for another decade western Canadian representation would have been reduced in relation to other regions.

As one who served on that redistribution committee at the time I should like to pay tribute to one who has since departed but who contributed so much to our political life, the Right Hon. John Diefenbaker. It was his consistent questioning regarding representation in Saskatchewan that moved the prime minister of that day, now the right hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Trudeau), to cause a re-examination of the electoral process and redistribution. I believe the result enhanced the political influence of western Canada markedly, and as well to some extent improved the influence of the eastern provinces and Newfoundland, so that our various regions have now become more important in actual political influence on the executive decisions of this government.

It has been obvious that for over 100 years Canada has been a compromise of the two large provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and when their economic influence was threatened they tended to influence the federal government to take positions that, of course, benefited them but were often inimical to western and eastern regions of Canada. I am hopeful that this Parliament will for a time give a better balance to all regions in the country.

There are many things to speak on in this throne speech debate, but I would like to confine any remarks largely to an area which affects my own constituency as well as the prairie region of Canada. That is the grain industry.

For some time we have had a discussion regarding food policy for Canada, but it is a fact that policies and suggestions have been piecemeal. It is also a fact that we import a great deal of our food from the southern United States and the tropics. This has been offset by the export of cereal grains and oilseeds. With our high standard of living and our high consumption, there are fewer and fewer agricultural products that we can export to other parts of the world efficiently enough to sell to countries which have a lower economic level than our own. At one time we were a significant exporter of beef, pork and apples, but we seem to have lost that position and have not been able to meet the competition from other exporting nations around the world.

The problem of food exports was the subject of a pamphlet issued by the Toronto-Dominion Bank from their department of economic research, and in it they detail something which is known to most farmers. It was suggested that exportable wheat could rise by 50 per cent by 1990. Since wheat exports

October 15, 1979

The Address-Mr. G. Ritchie

pay for some 50 per cent of all food that we import, this is highly desirable because, as our population grows, so will our demands for those imported foods we ourselves do not produce. In the pamphlet they point out the importance of the government, the Wheat Board, the railways and the terminals, all of which are necessary for Canada to be a reliable world supplier of grains.

In 1978 Canada's over-all food and agriculture trade surplus was $1.9 billion, but if imports of food and agricultural products continue to grow at the rate they have in the past 12 years, then a trade deficit in this area would appear within five years. This would result in grain and oilseed exports reaching $6 billion by 1990. Yet, for those who give a critical analysis of the industry of grain growing, there are reservations as to whether or not the projection of the increase in grain and oilseed production will occur.

Once the grain is grown the product follows a long and tenuous pathway to the ocean terminals, passing through many hands. It is therefore very susceptible to interruptions by the many different unions and groups who are vital to the movement of this grain. It has been suggested that there are some 30 different unions, any of which could interrupt the flow to the terminals. The grain transportation system has been relatively free of strikes in so far as any single union is concerned, but there have been frequent interruptions. I do not feel that these interruptions have been unduly restrictive, but they have certainly had their effect, on occasion.

There are many problems within the industry which are perhaps not as well understood as they might be. From the producers' point of view there has been a steady drop in the number of grain farmers producing grain and oilseed. This slow attrition will likely continue, causing the production to fall to fewer farming units. A new influence in this circumstance might be the rising cost of energy which is now being felt throughout the world. It is significant that for many decades there has been a stable relationship between the price of oil and the price of wheat.

The American balance of payments problem can be directly related to the fact that the grain exports of that country have not kept pace with the world price of oil. Before 1973 a bushel of wheat paid for a barrel of oil. I make this comparison based on the imperial system and not the metric system, which we are slowly adopting and which is such a bad system for agriculture. At the present time it takes approximately three to four bushels of wheat to pay for one barrel of oil.

Historically the relationship of the export price of wheat to oil has existed for many decades. Until the economy of the world corrects itself and brings the prices closer together, Canada and the United States are in for a bad balance of payments. When the economic forces do correct it, it is obvious that the world price of food will rise dramatically and pose new problems for those countries that import food. At the moment the world price of grain and oilseeds can be described as being at rock bottom.

The price received by Canadian farmers has reflected the low price of grains and oilseeds and, although energy costs

have been kept artificially below world prices, the continued low price of wheat and cereal grains has been a definite deterrent to production. The initial price paid by the Wheat Board has not changed for three or four years, except for a slight increase in initial prices announced by the minister in charge of the wheat board. Indeed, the initial price this year was slightly below the price of one year ago. Unless world prices rise, producers will not reach that goal of a 50 per cent increase in grain exports in this coming decade.

As well, there are the increased costs of farm machinery, transportation, fertilizers and fuel, which will have to be offset by a general increase in real return to the farmers before they can reach this increase of 50 per cent. Agriculture has become a very big energy consumer but, I believe, a very efficient user of energy.

The necessity to increase production brings into sharp focus the question of whether the wheat board and the grain commission are pursuing the best policies with regard to increasing the export potential of our grain. We have, up to the present time, attempted to give preference to the export of classes one and two grade wheat, hard spring and high protein wheat. This is the result of a deliberate effort on the part of the wheat board over the past two years in order to get the most dollars for our farmers. Unfortunately it has left in limbo a number of grain producers, particularly in the northern parts of the prairies and my own region, the parkland region.

The introduction of this new grading system has tended to force the parkland grown wheat into the number three grades and lower. The Wheat Board has not been able to move this number three wheat and equivalent quantities of barley. Indeed, many producers of number three wheat and barley have merely sold the minimum quotas, and there is certainly no way in which a viable grain operation can be carried on with the sale of quantities such as that.

Indeed, barley grown in 1977 which is now moving into the system will not have its final payment made until 1981, almost four years after the growing of the grain. Small wonder then, that having to wait four years for payment of the grain to the producer, with our high inflation rate, does not make for a prosperous grain producing industry. If we are to have a large increase in volume of wheat exports, consideration will have to be given to the growing of lower protein wheats and whether, this is in our best interests or not. 1 do not believe that the grain growing area where the high protein wheats can be grown is large enough to bring the needed increases, at least without sacrificing other crops, and then there is always the problem of tillage in a low rainfall area.

The Wheat Board and the grain commission will have to tackle this problem and decide whether to continue with the high quality Marquis type wheat or do as the Americans have, who increased their exports by some 70 per cent in the last six years by producing a low protein wheat. Apparently many countries buy this for milling.

October 15, 1979

Much has been said about grain rates and transportation of grain. Protected by statutory rates, the grain has moved to ocean ports at modest charges compared to the equivalent American rates. Although the railways have complained bitterly about their losses on this grain movement, it seems that at least until 1973 returns to the railways were reasonable. They were reasonable because although the railways' wage structure was rising, their efficiency was increasing. Since 1973 the railways have claimed a marked deterioration in their position, as the Snavely report indicates. To increase the statutory rates this time, while meeting the railways objectives, would impose on the producer a price differential that would be too great for him to support. As well, there is real evidence that higher rates on grain necessarily has the railways moving it. For instance, in North Dakota, railway rates of 56 cents per bushel have not produced an entirely satisfactory movement of grain nor have they kept the railways in the position of keeping up their lines to modern standard. It seems significant that trucking costs as quoted for U.S. grain, are close to what the rail costs are, and it does seem to me that trucking will enter into grain transportation more in the future. While everyone would concede that a properly optimum loaded grain train, such as a unit train, with the proper locomotive power, is a very efficient way of moving grain as opposed to truck transportation, still, in small amounts and in shorter distances, trucks would seem to have their place. They lend themselves to versatility, to individual ownership, and give a great deal more flexibility.

i believe that this individual ownership would do much to enhance our transportation system. I think we should look at the fact that the railways are also in the trucking business although, generally speaking, 1 do not believe it is good to have such large monopolies as the railways also being able to control their trucks. It seems to me that we could improve facilities for unloading and transporting grain by truck, particularly for those grains that are not under quota or where quotas are of lesser importance in relationship to volume. We have high quality grains with high unit potential being trucked out of Manitoba as far south as Minneapolis thus reducing the strain on our existing transportation system.

1 would like to reiterate my support for Churchill as the export port for the northeastern prairies. While in the short run an immediate reduction in the movement of grain out of Churchill might give some more slight movement in the south, it would discriminate against the northern areas of the eastern prairies. But these areas are already the farthest from Thunder Bay or Vancouver and so are already disadvantaged. It is widely said, and it has not been refuted, that at the present price, wheat brings some 40 cents a bushel more and barley 25 cents more when shipped out of Churchill, as opposed to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Under the pooling system, of course, all producers share in this benefit, but the producer whose grain goes via Churchill has to wait almost a year to deliver his grain even at the earliest. This, of course, is because the shipping season is over before the grain harvest is ready to be sent to Churchill.

The Address-Mr. A. Lambert

The Wheat Board should make some effort, I think, to see if they could not reward producers who must wait this long time for delivery of their grains for Churchill shipment, and must hold back some grain for this purpose. It seems to me that they should be rewarded in some manner, and I would bring this to the attention of the minister in charge of the wheat board.

The value of Churchill has always been that it acted as a brake for excessive demands of interests in the lake system and St. Lawrence Seaway. We have experienced the four-month long strike of grain loaders in Montreal who, incidentally, are likely to make more income than the grain producers themselves. For all the people who handle the grain the wage structure is based on the prevailing rates of our internal economy. But the producer of grain does not get an automatic index in the world market. He has to take what the markets of the world pay him. His final payment for his product is the world price less what is involved in the handling and transportation of the grain. At the moment, world prices are such that the producer is finding his returns squeezed by the cost of moving grain from his farm to the world market.

I close with the thought that the typical permit holder with something like 600 acres, who is a good producer and gets a good crop, will be lucky to gross $35,000 to $40,000 from the sale of his crops. Many of the people handling this product from the time it leaves the farm until it gets on the boat for overseas, will make almost as much. We have to ask ourselves how we can expect production of grains to increase in the next decade, and what our future pattern will be.

Our domestic wages are high, but we must increase the amount of grain available to export in the 1980s if we are to keep the balance of payments in food at their present level. Indeed, I believe it is doubtful if we can do that by the end of the next decade. The grain industry is probably facing as severe problems as any food industry in the world. It means that the historic relationship between oil and wheat must be restored if grain farmers are to become prosperous and make their contribution to the economy of Canada as they have done in the past.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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SC

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Social Credit

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, I rise for the twelfth time in this chamber to take part in a throne speech debate. I wish to thank the good people of Bellechasse for their ever renewed support which enables me to sit in this House for a fourth term. I wish to welcome the entire population of the provincial riding of l'lslet who for the first time, due to the redistribution of the electoral map, took part in the election of May 22 last as electors of Bellechasse. In effect, those people became full-fledged citizens of the electoral riding of Bellechasse. I thank them as well as my organizers who worked hard to help me cross the "Red Sea".

Mr. Speaker, let me assure every citizen from this new part of my riding that they can count on my fullest dedication to

October 15, 1979

The Address-Mr. A. Lambert

defend their personal interests as well as the interests of the South Shore which has never been recognized in the past, and I ask the new government to take good notice of the fact that this region called the South Shore does exist, is located in the province of Quebec, and the riding of Bellechasse forms a part of it. I wish there would be more justice in the distribution of funds from taxes paid by Canadian taxpayers. Of course I regret that the parishes of Beaumont, St. Charles and St. Anselme, which have always supported me, have been cut off from my riding.

I thank all those people for their great co-operation. If we consider the great honour of being elected, of being one of those 282 members who form this House, and the fact that the population of Canada is now near 24 million, it is plainly obvious that from that honour flow responsibilities as well as duties that we must fulfil objectively and in the interest of our country, if we are going to prove without failure that our democratic system really means something. Indeed a democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Being convinced of those basic truths, I tried hard to live the parliamentary life I like very much.

Following the example of other members, I would like to congratulate His Excellency the Governor General who has presided with humility and dignity over the opening of the first session of the Thirty-first parliament. I would like also, through you, Mr. Speaker, to send His Excellency and his charming wife my best wishes for good health and success in their mission that is to favour harmony in all the country.

At the election of May 22, no political party succeeded in having enough members elected to form a majority government. Therefore, all parties in this House are minority groups and for the first time in the history of the Canadian parliament, a member from the official opposition has been unanimously chosen Speaker of this House. The coming into this parliament of a third and even a fourth group is not new. Indeed, when we read history, we see that in 1921 there was a minority group. If I had time I would relate the history of that group. Maybe some day we shall have the opportunity and the obligation to go over past decisions which would help us reflect seriously on the problem that has been facing this House recently, as well as on civil liberties enunciated in the Bill of Rights so that those rights and liberties may continue to form the basis of our democratic system.

I understand that it is not an easy task to be Speaker of the House. After all, this role is assigned to a human being who can, obviously, make mistakes. Errare humanum est, it is true and will always be. To err is human. I wish to emphasize that in his acceptance speech he reminded us that according to the custom an hon. member proposed as Speaker accepts that obligation only under protest. This is why Mr. Speaker, as he was led by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Clark) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Trudeau), showed some reluctance and we saw the left foot of the former Prime Minister

now Leader of the Opposition get close to his rear end-this is what we call to give a kick in the pants. There are other words for it, but it is always at the same place!

Mr. Speaker, I wish to quote the remarks of Mr. Speaker:

I say that so that my reluctance in coming to the Chair will be understood, and I have no illusions that on many days during the course of this Parliament that would be a fate which would seem quite acceptable as far as most members of the House of Commons are concerned; and in fact, on some days there will be some who will be glad to take a hand at the axe.

The image with which he recalled the tradition of the use of the axe makes me shiver when I think that it might be pointed towards one or two members of the House. I want to extend my congratulations to Mr. Speaker on his appointment and I want to assure him of my collaboration; saying that I mean working together in the spirit of parliamentary tradition and with respect for our democratic system. On this matter, I think we should all study the history of our parliament, the history of traditions in the life of British parliamentarian to help us carry out our duties in a better way under possibly difficult circumstances.

Also I would like to extend a cordial welcome to the member for Beauce (Mr. Roy) who sits in this House for the first time as a member and as leader of a national political party, namely, the Social Credit Party of Canada, whose existence has been entrenched for many years in the Canada Elections Act. The member for Beauce has been a member of the Quebec National Assembly for many years where he demonstrated exceptional abilities as a parliamentarian. He devoted himself to the interests of all people, and more specifically of those who could not speak up for their rights and claims. Now that through the will of his electors he works at the national level, I have no doubt that he will discharge his duties with dignity and firmness, and that my colleagues in the House will recognize not only that this democratic system of ours accepts diversity as well as equality of rights and privileges within our Parliament, and that they are also willing to live up to them in practice because, whether we like it or not, we will have to get used to parliamentary life in which several political groups live side by side, as is the case in several European countries.

Mr. Speaker, our democratic parliamentary system demands that the political group with the greatest number of elected members is called upon to form the government, and therefore to constitute the executive whose duty it is to implement the laws passed by Parliament. I congratulate the Prime Minister on having acceded to that office. 1 wish him good health and all the energy he will need to fulfil those duties efficiently for the greater good of Canada. I also wish fortitude to all the hon. members who have been called upon to become members of the cabinet, and wish them every success in their mission, especially the Minister of Finance (Mr. Crosbie) who always had a supply of excellent formulas when he sat in the opposition.

October 15, 1979

Amongst other things, I remember that when the Bank of Canada increased its rates, the present Minister of finance had rather embarrassing questions to put to his predecessor. Today, the roles are reversed: the former minister of finance now puts questions to the present minister about similar situations. The situation has really not changed that much. 1 do hope the new government will be able to tackle those problems and give this country the best possible administration. This being a minority government, I have no intention of causing it any useless trouble. On the contrary, I am quite aware of my responsibilities and am willing to co-operate in giving our country the best possible administration.

There were times when I was sitting on the other side of the House and supported government measure, and some of my Progressive Conservative friends would say that "the Social Crediters are voting red". On the other hand, whenever we supported a motion introduced by our NDP friends, some people would shout, "Same old gang! The Social Crediters have turned socialists or vice versa!" These are some of the inconsequential remarks hon. members will make; in any event, however, when the hour of decision comes, 1 am sure there will be no need to call upon the conscience of any of them: they will assume their responsibilities.

This being said, Mr. Speaker, I understand that the government has a difficult mission to carry out, and I feel more than ever that no contemporary problem of today will be solved through traditional means. We shall have to turn aside from the beaten track. We shall have to innovate. We shall have to cease looking tailside at so-called "new" solutions which proved inadequate when first considered headside. No matter the effort we shall put into it, a pike will remain a pike and a pickerel a pickerel, no matter how you show it to the customer.

Mr. Speaker, a little after the election I had a message published in a newspaper to thank my constituents for the confidence they had put in me. In that message, I said, "Unless the government make deep changes in the way of financing the public sector and bring forward amendments to the Bank of Canada Act, the plagues of inflation and unemployment will continue to ruin our economy and our society". And I am convinced of that today more than ever.

I was sorry to note that the Speech from the Throne shows no intention from the government to set new ways of financing the public sector. It means that on such matter the new government will act just like the former government did. One should not forget, however, that the same causes produce the same effects. Therefore, Canada will still have budget deficits of $10 billion or $11 billion as was the case in recent years; the national debt will continue to increase and absorb a high proportion of government revenue which now comes from taxes, and that will prevent the government from getting the necessary funds for the undertaking of public works which

The Address-Mr. A. Lambert

would create jobs for thousands of unemployed people and at the same time realize useful projects requested by the public for a long time.

The Speech from the Throne contains practically nothing regarding the lowering of voluntary retirement age to 60, yet this would be a valid solution to the problem of unemployment among the young and would allow our country to use this vast reservoir of human potential to increase the gross national product, thus reducing our trade deficit, and it would also be a means of preventing delinquency among the young.

The throne speech is also practically devoid of anything on the establishment of a guaranteed minimum annual income, yet the federal government has spent considerable sums of money on studies of all kinds on this subject. When will we go ahead with it? I do not want to press the government too much, but since it has many studies on the subject, which we paid for, 1 want to ask the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Crombie) to consider seriously the possibility of introducing before Parliament legislation to implement this policy which will help in the administration of the country, namely as regards unemployment insurance, but also in the area of social welfare.

I am nonetheless happy to see the intentions of the government regarding parliamentary reform which it wants to introduce in Parliament, as well as its proposed legislation on the rights of Parliament and of the public to information. We shall certainly support the measure when the moment comes if it is really positive and if it really aims at getting to the bottom of the problem.

I would like to talk about many other things, but time is short and 1 do not want to impose on the House. However, 1 am convinced that all our colleagues in the House, and even the members of the press and the Canadian people are interested in knowing what will be our position this evening concerning the amendment proposed to the main motion. We have wanted to act responsibly and we have reserved our decision before announcing here in the House and justifying it to prevent speculation throughout Canada. 1 want to be very clear, Mr. Speaker. The amendment on which we are asked to vote represents a false problem at this time. In my opinion, in its present form, as a question concerning Petro-Canada, the motion is unjustified. It is imbued with petty politics and partisanship. We are asked to defeat a government which has just come into power and which has inherited all sorts of business, financial and economic failures. Mr. Speaker, we believe that we must seek the common good and go beyond such manoeuvres. In summary, the vote is on one question: do we want general elections or not? Do the people want them?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Yes.

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SC

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Social Credit

Mr. Lambert (Bellechasse):

It is easy to shout yes, but it is the people who must answer. Do the people want two months of electoral campaign? We have just come out of an election

October 15, 1979

The Address-Mr. A. Lambert

campaign and of five months of waiting for Parliament to be convened so that we may study seriously the problems and the administration of our country. Do the people want expenditures of $50 million and several months of uncertainty? It is a known fact that minority governments are generally the best for our country. We had the proof of this when the Trudeau government held a minority and when for many months this administration was to the liking of the people and every bill introduced in the House received serious consideration. We were able to do in-depth studies. The population wants responsible people. They do not want us to play tricks on them. They made a democratic decision and we must live with the results.

Let us look now at Petro-Canada, a corporation constituted by a vote of this House. The House made that decision. I will say very carefully, Mr. Speaker, that when the government makes a policy statement, we will take a stand on this issue. Meanwhile, it is a waste of time. Let us rather move to the most urgent matters: unemployment, inflation, deficits, instead of putting things off by studying the wrong solutions. In due course we will be able to voice our position on precise projects. I hope that this government will be able to present us with specific projects. We will put them under scrutiny and we will pass judgment on them at that time. And rest assured that we will voice it as strongly as we are usually known to do. But these traditional non-confidence motions are a formality stemming from the British system of Parliament. It is quite normal to present motions of non-confidence. It is within our parliamentary tradition, but that does not entail that the whole opposition must necessarily support them. At a given time last week, for instance, a sub-amendment moved by the New Democratic Party was rejected by the official opposition group which thereby supported the government.

The same goes for our party. So, tonight there will be a vote and we will see the result. Everyone is going to vote according to his conscience and responsibilities. It is indeed interesting, Mr. Speaker, to note tonight the absence in the House of several members of the official opposition. Of course they still have time to make it. It is not up to me to say when our colleagues should or should not be in the House. But I am merely making an observation. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, those very people who would be interested in supporting the motion are not in the House at the moment. Let us stop showing off. We must stop showing off. If they really wanted to defeat the government they only had to support the motion introduced by the New Democratic Party last week.

So, Mr. Speaker, let us deal with the urgent matters. I want to make something clear. We are a political group determined to take our responsibilities, and on votes that are brought before the House we will consider first the substance of the matter. Our concern is not to support the Progressive Conservative party or the Liberal party but the public good. Our vote on the amendment to the motion on the Speech from the Throne is not a partisan vote in the same spirit that has guided

our attitudes in the past. So, we do not have to make a choice between the two political formations-Liberals or Progressive Conservatives-as we have our own political formation. And as I said at the beginning of my remarks, we are going to have to get used to living with different political groups in this House, understanding one another and having a procedure that will enable us always to be in a position so as never to bog down the business of the House, that will enable every member to voice his opinion and will enable at the same time the executive to carry out the will of Parliament in running the business of the country. And if the government makes a slip-up and persists in going against the will of Parliament, then we will have the responsibility of taking the necessary means to let it know it is going against the wish of the people.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think everyone understood and we for all those reasons are going to vote tonight, not for the government or against the opposition, but against the amendment that is brought forward until we know what the policy of the government is on this whole energy issue. I hope it will be courageous enough to state its policy when the time comes and then it will be judged according to its performance. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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October 15, 1979