Some hon. Members:
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Nevertheless, let me tell hon. members something that I do understand, or at least, I think I do. I have watched Parliament work for many years, as you know, and I do not understand why it is that the people of Quebec feel their grievances have not been adequately presented to Parliament. I do not understand this, given that the proportion of the total membership of the House of Commons which is assigned to the province of Quebec is significant, and I do not understand it in terms of the fact that the Liberal party from which most of the Quebec members come has formed the government for a significant period of time and that, during this period, the members who represent Quebec have surely made representations to the government, to their colleagues in the cabinet, about the problems of the province, and surely they have been listened to. Now, either the cabinet has not paid attention to its own members or the members have not made the arguments well. I am not going to judge which is the case. But there is something terribly wrong when a province feels so alienated, giving the strong representation that it has.
I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is important the people of Quebec should understand that the rest of us in Canada would very much like to find a resolution to the constitutional problems which seem to bedevil the relationship not only between the province of Quebec and the rest of Canada but also between other parts of Canada and the federal system. I think it is fair to say there is no member in this House who is not prepared to devote whatever time is necessary to find solutions to these constitutional problems, to hammer out the
April 17, 1980
sharing arrangements which must be made, and to take part in the effort which must be undertaken to create in Canada a society to which everyone feels they belong. I believe this can happen. I believe it can happen because I know the federal system has worked. I think my leader put it very well when he suggested that even within the federal system which Mr. Levesque dislikes, the province of Quebec has done remarkably well.
The government of Quebec and the Government of Canada have been able to provide for the people of Quebec in proportion to what they have been able to provide for the people of the rest of Canada and they made every effort, I hope, to accommodate the legitimate requests put forward by representatives from Quebec to the cabinet.
I want this evening to speak about another and, I believe, equally important matter, but before I do so let me say that in Canada there are major problems. People are very concerned about government. I do not think they are concerned because government is doing too much; 1 think they are concerned because they do not know what government is doing. They wonder, as I wonder, how it can be that a country so rich can have so many problems. They wonder how can it be that a country with such energy potential not only in crude oil but in all forms of energy can be faced with an energy crisis? How can it be that a country with natural resources in abundance, natural resources which have been used by every other country in the world to build their economies, has not used its resources to develop the manufacturing sector and the secondary sector which are so obviously necessary here, and which have to be in place when, as is inevitable, the resources become depleted or are no longer required in the manufacturing sector? How can it be that a country with human resources like our own, an educational system second to none, should be faced with these massive and, for some, maybe, even insurmountable problems?
It is because of mismanagement on the part of the government. It is because government has not, first of all, set out, on behalf of Canadians, goals which are attainable using the resources both human and natural which are available to us to build society and an infrastructure for that society which would sustain it through these difficult times. It is because governments have tended to use a band-aid approach, have tended like brush fire fighters, to meet the tiny though important problems as they rise without looking at the much larger problems of planning the economy so that it will be able to withstand the infiltration and pressures which are the inevitable result of our being a branch plant of a much larger economy.
This is what we are seeing in the auto industry and it is about the auto industry that I want to speak shortly, because the auto industry is crucial not only to Ontario but to all of Canada. Within the auto industry there lies the opportunity to expand the manufacturing sector; within the auto industry lies the opportunity to source products all across the country; within the auto industry lies the opportunity to utilize better the natural resources of the province.
The Address-Mr. Deans
When we come back at eight o'clock, Mr. Speaker, if you will permit me, I should like to spend 15 minutes talking about just that subject. With your permission I will now call it six o'clock.
Mr. Deputy Speaker:
Order. It being six o'clock, I do now leave the chair until eight o'clock this evening.
At six o'clock the House took recess.
AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 8 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, when we rose for supper at six o'clock, I mentioned that I intended to spend some time speaking about the conditions which currently exist within the auto industry, and I want to do that now.
The House will recall that on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week I raised with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Gray) the problems which seem to be revolving around the contract which was signed between the federal government and the Ford Motor Company in the year 1978. That contract afforded to Ford the opportunity to gain access to some $68 million in return for the building of a plant in Windsor. I asked the minister if he would produce for the House the relevant sections of the contract which afforded us the opportunity to insist that the Ford Motor Company should continue and maintain the levels of employment that it currently had in 1978 and beyond, during the time that this new plant was being built. Today the minister tabled the documents in the House, and it is no wonder we are being ripped off.
I read both the contract and the letter of agreement over the signature, in both cases, of the then minister, Mr. Horner- long departed, thank heavens! In any event, the contracts do not provide any protection for the workers in the province of Ontario, and it is no wonder that the minister did not want us to see the contracts. In fact, not only is there no provision for the workers in the province of Ontario, but also nowhere in the contract does it say that the minister could not have told us that. It does say, of course, that, and I quote:
Subject to the federal laws of Canada, the minister will maintain normal commercial security and privacy in respect to the project and will not disclose any information relating to the scope and cost of work encompassed by the project to any person or government outside Canadian federal and provincial government departments, agencies and Crown corporations without the. .. written consent of the company.
One does not have to be a corporate lawyer in order to understand that that did not preclude the minister from telling us that there was no provision for the protection of the workers in the plants of the Ford Motor Company.
To draw in that he had to wait for approval from Ford was a red herring. Of course, what the minister did not bring to our attention was the fact that not only is there no protection for
April 17, 1980
The Address-Mr. Deans
the workers in Ontario and Canada but also, in fact, when it was signed the contract said the following:
It is understood and agreed that nothing contained in this paragraph-
This is the paragraph dealing with protection.
-shall in any way ... limit... any right-
Of the company.
-to arrange its business affairs in any manner it shall see fit.
That is exactly what has been done. The company has arranged its business affairs in the province of Ontario in the manner it has seen fit, and the end result of what the company saw fit is that at this point in time, together with its other companion companies, we see 20,000 employees, generally employed in the auto industry or related industries, out of work.
These employees are not all in Windsor. One might have expected that the minister would understand the problem, given that he comes from Windsor, given that he claims to be championing the workers of Windsor, given that he says that it is nice to hear the NDP finally speaking about the problems of auto workers and given that the minister claims to be expert in the matter of the auto industry, the trade pact and related matters. It is strange to me that he does not understand the terms of this contract.
What was given away? Not only the $40 million federal dollars but also the additional $28 million given by the province of Ontario.
Let me tell the Elouse what is happening across this province, because I think it is important to know. Not only is unemployment happening in Windsor, where there are major lay-offs. We all know of the Budd Manufacturing Company which has laid off upwards of 1,900 people in Windsor. In Brampton, American Motors has laid off some 700 people. In Brampton, Gabriel Company has laid off 20 more people. In Brampton, the Canadian Ferrow Company has laid off another 108 people. In Stratford, Sealed Power has laid off 180 people.
In Ottawa, Beach Foundry just recently announced the lay-off of 240 people. In Windsor, Chrysler laid off an entire shift in April of 1980, 1,200 people, and Chrysler intends this summer to lay off yet another 2,100 people. In Windsor, Ford in its casting operation laid off 840 people. In Oakville, Ford laid off an entire shift of 1,400.
When we take a look around the province even further, we find that in subsidiary operations in a place like Otter Lake, which is near Parry Sound, the Rockwell Corporation, well known to most, has just announced that it is likely to shpt down permanently. It used to employ 200. One hundred have already been laid off, and the only other major industry in the area, CIL, has indicated that it too may well be comtemplat-ing closing. Of course, when they are closing the operation in Otter Lake, they are maintaining their operation in Mississippi. That is what we would expect, of course, from a corporation which does business in the atmosphere created by a
government like the one we have had for the last far too many years.
When we look in summary at what has happened in the auto industry, for heaven's sake let us not get the impression that the auto industry can sit in splendid isolation and be viewed as only one industry, because there is nowhere in this country that is not affected in one way or another and will not be affected in one way or another by the massive lay-offs which are taking place in this major industry. As I said the other day, two out of every ten people working in the province of Ontario work in the auto industry or in a related industry. We have 20,000 unemployed now, 10,000 of them in Windsor. Do hon. members know that 35 per cent of all Ford workers there are laid off and 40 per cent of all Chrysler workers there are laid off?
When we look around the country, or this part of the country, we see that in Kitchener, St. Catharines and Ajax between 40 per cent and 80 per cent of all the people who were employed in the auto industry are now laid off either permanently or temporarily. The minister cannot claim that this is new and that all of a sudden this was dumped into his lap- poor soul!-because this has been clearly and evidently coming for a long period of time.
I will not burden or bore the House with all of the detail, but I can say that there was news story after news story through last year, with headlines such as "Parts firms stung by slowdown". More than 1,000 were laid off. "1,175 face lay-off after Ford move". "Auto lay-offs kill Windsor's short-lived boom". It goes on. "Auto parts industry fears major lay-offs". Then it points out the places where those lay-offs will take place.
These were all stories from last year, and the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce, the ministry and the ministers, whoever they may have been, surely must have been able to see the handwriting on the wall. But what do we get from the minister? Well, he is going to have some meetings. I want to tell the House that those meetings are not nearly good enough for the unemployed workers in this country, in this province, and in Windsor in particular. Another series of meetings between the minister and some inconsequential people will not resolve the problems of the auto industry.
I do not know if the House realizes just how many people are involved in this and what happens to their families. I do not think the minister understands-and he should understand-that the entire infrastructure in social services in place in his own community is in jeopardy. Of course the reason is evident. It is because most of the agencies which provide the social services require donations through United Appeal or through governments, and governments are cutting back. Of course the United Appeal cannot raise the money it could raise before because there are fewer people working to contribute. So, at the very time when they need the money, at the very time when the need is greatest, when more people stand in line looking for help-most for the first time-they cannot get the help because the agencies do not have the money to provide it
April 17, 1980
and the government does not produce any of the funds necessary to make up the shortfall.
It will not end here. Today I was speaking to one of the major tire manufacturers in Canada. I was told by one of its senior officials that we can expect not only the Whitby layoffs, the closure announced less than a week ago, with a dramatic impact on the town, but we can anticipate that there will be lay-offs all across the country where tire manufacturers are located. For example, we can expect that there will be lay-offs in Joliette. Of course there will be lay-offs in Hamilton, which I represent. What does the government do? Here is a tire industry faced with the problems the auto industry is facing, and the government turns around and gives something like $40 million to Michelin in Nova Scotia to go ahead and build a new plant. What possible use can that be when there is an idle capacity all across the industry, when the industry is presently laying off? Why would they give $40 million or $50 million to build a plant where no plant is needed? Why would they further jeopardize the work and the livelihood of the people presently involved in the industry by handing out money at a time when money can do nothing but harm?
It has not been announced yet, but we will see, as we will in all other related industries, major cutbacks in the rubber industry. Those major cutbacks will touch every one of us here in one way or another. Whether the House believes it or not, the auto industry is crucial to the well-being of this country. The minister should be prepared to establish once and for all the role the auto industry in Canada can and will play, a role which must be established in one way or another, albeit with agreements, separate and apart nevertheless from the United States industry. We cannot afford to have an industry that in its own right could well be profitable, if given an opportunity, dragged down by management which really does not much care about the Canadian component or about the families of the people in Windsor, Oakville, St. Catharines, Kitchener, Parry Sound, Hamilton or any other place across this country, and makes its decisions in isolation from what is in the best interests economically and socially for Canada.
How can we possibly develop an industrial strategy which does not encompass the auto industry? How can we possibly look forward to the creation of new jobs? I am not only referring to producing jobs for the people who are presently looking for work, but how can we look forward to the creation of new jobs, unless we are prepared to sit down with that industry and insist that it establishes reasonable levels of manufacturing based on Canadian sales, and stop being simply assemblers of automobiles and start being manufacturers of component parts in every single community across this country?
We must start now to attach the kinds of conditions to government subsidies that will give us some opportunity to require from them a level of performance which is commensurate with what we anticipate we need. We never do it. This government is historically tied much too closely to
The Address-Mr. Tousignant
the corporate boardrooms, and that is the problem. They do not understand. They cannot treat public money differently than they would treat private money if asked to invest. They must require from the people to whom they give the money the same kinds of guarantees in terms of performance that they would if they were giving them their own money, because it is their own money. It is about time this government understood it. Over the course of the next two or three years, I look forward to seeing this government bringing forward whatever it is-I see my colleague on the other side holding his hand up indicating four years.
Be that as it may. In fact, I expect to be here longer. Perhaps he does not. In any event, over the course of the next few years I expect to see the government unveil its strategy for industrial development. But in the meantime, for heaven's sake, take the steps to protect those workers, take the steps to exact from that corporation which has taken its toll on Canada the kinds of guarantees which will assure that we will have not only short-term but long-term benefits that will last for this generation and for many other generations to come.
Mr. Henri Tousignant (Temiscamingue):
Mr. Speaker, first I should like to join the previous speakers to extend my sincere wishes to our new and distinguished Speaker and to all the hon. members in this new Parliament. I take the opportunity to thank my constituents in Temiscamingue for the confidence they put in me.
Mr. Speaker, the riding of Temiscamingue I have the honour to represent in the House of Commons is a good reflection of Canada, both through the richness and the diversity of its human potential and its vast natural resources. As far as human resources are concerned, this distinguished audience will remember for a long time my famous predecessor, Mr. Real Caouette, who was a great Canadian and a great advocate of federalism. May I also bring to the attention of my colleagues that the man who is almost always on duty here, in the House, under our eyes, was born and grew up in my parish; I refer to the Deputy Clerk on duty, my good friend from my childhood and college days, Mr. Pelletier. I want to pay a tribute to him for the dignity he shows in assuming his great responsibilities.
Mr. Speaker, nature in our area has been kind by blessing us with abundant resources; we have huge forests, our lakes and rivers are breathtaking, our sub-soil is full of minerals, but then we must have the tools that are essential to a rational and necessary development. Agriculture could make good progress given the appropriate incentives.
I am pleased to find in the Speech from the Throne various elements meeting exactly certain priorities I had set forth
April 17, 1980
The Address-Mr. Tousignant
during the last election campaign and which I believed essential to the development of my area and the better-being of my fellow citizens. With respect to the quality of life, here are the intentions of the government: We will be asked to give urgent consideration to legislation raising the guaranteed income supplement to the old age security pension by $35 a month per household by July 1 of this year. This measure will primarily benefit single pensioners, the vast majority of whom are women. Beyond providing immediate relief for elderly people with low incomes, the government intends to convene a national pension conference in the fall of 1980. Work must begin immediately to design better methods of providing flexible, portable, and secure pensions both in the private and public sectors. To start this process, the government will soon release a major study on the Canadian pension system.
One of the essential objectives of this government is to put more people such as young people, women, natives and the handicapped to work. To meet the needs of these groups, the government will expand its employment program while using its resources more efficiently. Knowing the high rate of unemployment prevailing now in my area, those measures will certainly be welcomed by my fellow citizens. The role of women in my riding is a dominant and a most positive element in the social, cultural and economic areas, and one of my dearest wishes is that the Parliament of Canada will lift the discriminatory barriers against women in the market place, and I also welcome its intention to set the example in the federal public service.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I am deeply pleased to see that the government is committed to giving members of Parliament an important role in the elaboration of job-creation projects and closer co-operation with voluntary and local organizations in the implementation of a community services program which indeed I had advocated in my election campaign. It would be an illusion to expect reasonable economic development in my constituency and the area without a substantial injection of incentives and financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses.
Let me point out that my constituency has been hardly favoured during these last three decades, perhaps because none of the elected representatives, as far back as 1957, belonged to the government, which caused apathy and disinterest in our people. Anyway, times have changed and to make up for that we will have to double up. Citizens in my constituency are getting increasingly involved at the various levels of economic development, and I will make it a point to change the face of my constituency during my term of office.
In the circumstances, I feel that these aspirations are quite legitimate. I intend to be firm and expect help from the government. Moreover, Mr. Speaker, I see in various parts of the throne speech the opportunity for me to fulfil the commit-[DOT] ments I made in my constituency of Temiscamingue. First, the government promises to promote a new policy of national
economic development, provide jobs, stimulate growth, use regional forces and increase the level of Canadian ownership and control of the economy, and second, to consolidate the federal institutions while making them more sensitive to provincial and regional aspirations. What about that famous federal building which was to be built in Rouyn-Noranda and which made headlines during so many election campaigns? It is urgently needed. There is no reason any more to delay the project, and when I say no reason I hope I will be understood. Third, to guarantee Canadians energy supplies at a price that is fair to all, and, in order to improve the ability of Canadian industry to compete abroad in order to create jobs at home, our government intends to establish a national trading company. It also intends to make assistance programs more accessible to small business, to simplify application procedures, and to better co-ordinate programs. Further, in order to conserve energy, an objective I fully support, it is becoming imperative to improve the current home insulation program through initiatives aimed at promoting higher standards.
Mr. Speaker, all my constituents and particularly those living in the south of my riding will be very happy to learn that this government intends to propose a new legislation on oil and natural gas in Canada. It will give Petro-Canada and other Canadian corporations new preferential rights on federal lands and will establish stricter requirements for the exploration and development of the enormous potential of the isolated areas. At the same time 1 think it would be advisable for the government to consider seriously the possibility of giving a flat rate for gas and heating oil to Canadians of every region. Why should remote regions like ours with harsh climatic conditions pay 10 cents more per gallon? Would a fair distribution of natural resources not be in the true spirit of federalism? This government intends to create an alternative energy corporation responsible for promoting the expansion of new renewable energy sources that might replace oil.
Mr. Speaker, let me mention that serious projects aimed at recovering energy from wood residues are presently being developed in my riding and are the subject of a study filed with the Department of Regional Economic Expansion. It is one more evidence of our determination to develop our economic potential. The natural resources of Canada will be our tool to implement a vigorous industrial policy.
If it is true that agriculture and food will play an ever-increasing role in the Canadian economy in the 80s, we in Temiscamingue hope that our cattle, sheep and goat raisers will be able to make that essential sector thrive and find young people to carry on. To this effect, I wish to mention to my honourable colleagues that tax concessions are essential. To be profitable, if we except capital funds, a business must have an operating fund or a bank loan of $100,000 or more every year. The present interest rates considerably reduce profits. That era of prosperity is open to us. We are now in a position to entertain such hopes.
April 17, 1980
The genius of man transforms the wool of the sheep into clothes fit for a king. I know that my fellow citizens are capable of extraordinary things. However, Mr. Speaker, since there are no thornless roses, we have to recognize that an active minority-and I do say an active minority-is trying to destroy everything, to grab some pieces of furniture and set fire to the house. 1 am talking about the phony and ridiculous exercise initiated in Quebec by this same government, that is the referendum.
We are now witnessing in Canada and Quebec the greatest fraud that our country has seen since its discovery. Let me explain: Since it had not succeeded in being elected on two or three occasions by stating categorically that it was for independence, the Parti Quebecois decided in the last election to hide its true face and disguise itself by telling Quebeckers it would be a good government and promising to hold a referendum during its mandate. So far so good. No one has any objection to having a good government and no one has any objection to this government holding a referendum. In fact, this is about the equivalent of holding an election. However, immediately after the Parti Quebecois is elected, it becomes anxious to achieve its objective.
Instead of keeping itself busy with the affairs of the state on a full-time basis, they hurry to get everyone on their side. All ministers and members of the National Assembly spend most of their time in small meetings or in trying to get an individual or the mayor of a municipality to say yes in exchange for a job or a grant. Many resist, but some get taken in this game.
It is coercion.
My colleague is right in saying that it is coercion. What is even worse and quite unacceptable, Mr. Speaker, is that these people are trying to impose a system which goes against the will of the majority of Quebec citizens, and this at our expense. We are forced to use our own money so that a government can use all the means at its disposal to force on us a drastic change in our political institutions. Mr. Speaker, this is unadulterated political piracy.
Of course, the scenario is a masterpiece and is inspired by the intelligentsia of certain foreign powers. The proposal of the Parti Quebecois, which is a socialist government-and we all know that socialism is a forerunner of communism-the proposal of this government is nothing more than a poisoned cake with an icing of overheated nationalism served on a silver platter. In fact, an abusive and even psychotic use is made of nationalism. Yes, Mr. Speaker, this type of nationalism is a retrograde step which should be denounced. At this time, while taking care to protect our interests, we must show understanding, openness of mind and more farsightedness if we want another reality and other results than a sterile contemplation engendered by an exaggerated nationalism. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the scenario is a masterpiece.
As the member of the National Assembly, Mr. Samson, used to say this is the trick of the hook hidden in the meatball.
The Address-Mr. Tousignant
You will remember that when we were young and we wished to get rid of a stray dog, we used to hide a hook in a meatball and the trick never failed. You could also compare it to the bear trap. We are ingenuously asked to put a foot in it and are being told that it will be possible for us to get out unharmed.
Personally, Mr. Speaker, all this exercise in charm and superficial seduction on the part of the Quebec government reminds me of the gallant gentleman who wants to seduce the belle. Will he directly tell her about his intentions? Like the PQ he will rather skilfully divert the conversation and offer her, obviously, a candlelight dinner. This is what the Quebec government is offering us, Mr. Speaker, a candlelight dinner. We agree. There is nothing wrong with having a candlelight dinner together; however, by accepting, the irreversible process has just been started. The PQ is in no hurry, and neither is the gallant gentleman. It does not matter if it takes one dinner, two dinners, three dinners. The effect is slow but sure. The conversation is about natural resources, the lady's beautiful eyes, her potential and guaranteed bliss. The candle keeps on burning, and the rest is known, the wine becomes an all-risk insurance. I light your cigarette, we talk about grants. The point of no return is reached, all there is to do then is wait for the consequences.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, the consequences of a disguised proposition. We are asked for a mandate to negotiate sovereignty-association, how about that! Mr. Levesque himself has said that sovereignty-association is nothing but independence. To be sovereign, as someone said this afternoon in the House, is to be able to make one's own laws, collect one's own taxes, take charge of one's external affairs. It is plainly independence, but to reassure us it was carefully coupled with association, in the full knowledge that Quebeckers who are used to the benefits of the present system will be inclined to believe that it will continue to exist indefinitely after their rejection of Canada. Let us not have any illusions, an association is not possible and the privileges also will disappear.
Mr. Speaker, we are told about a common currency to hoodwink us precisely so that we will not refer to it since we know quite well that this could frighten investors and small savers. Let us not forget that when money is involved, it is touching, but they resort to window-dressing. Now I say that a common currency is impossible. Why? I will give a few quite simple examples. We all know and the fact has been noted quite often that at present Quebec is importing 550,000 barrels of oil daily, seven days a week, 365 days a year, thus creating a deficit of $4 billion last year which was made up by the federal government.
We can add to that deficit another $400 million for natural gas. Working out a quick calculation, supposing that till 1990 we succeed in maintaining our consumption at 550,000 barrels a day-it could reach 800,000 barrels, but the minister, Mr. Joron, tells us that he will restrict consumption to 500,000 barrels-let us be conservative and say that in 1990 we will still use 550,000 barrels of oil daily in Quebec.
April 17, 1980
The Address-Mr. Tousignant
Let us make a simple projection using a 9 per cent annual increase in the price of oil. This year the price has gone up by 40 per cent. But if we figure it on the basis of a 9 per cent increase each year, we find out that an independent Quebec will pay something like $90 for a barrel of oil in 1990 and these are conservative figures. Such a price represents an annual deficit of $16 billion which the province of Quebec will have to face and we are only talking about oil. EIow could we make it? A moment ago I said the issue of common currency was impossible. How could we set a value for our dollar against the dollar in the rest of Canada?
Mr. Speaker, I would like nothing more than to have these modern time theoreticians explain to me the miracle equation by which they will make things work out. They could not succeed even if they kept the 50 per cent of our taxes they are so fond of talking about. They try to lure the people of Quebec by telling them they would have only one income tax return to fill out. Imagine, only one income tax return! They need to use such trifles to sell their idea just as if it were an ordinary consumer good. I should like somebody to explain to me how the province will manage financially when time comes for it to assume fully the costs of road construction for which the government now pays 60 per cent, not to mention shared-cost health services, medicare, family allowances, old age security pensions, unemployment insurance benefits, welfare programs for Indians and veterans, housing subsidies, railroads, postal services, national harbours, national defence, embassies in almost all countries of the world, international organizations such as NATO and the United Nations to which an independent country must belong of necessity, and I mentioned only half of them.
There are people who go so far as to say that they have not seen any embassy in Abitibi. That is what PQ supporters say: We did not find any embassy in Abitibi. Let me say that in 1978 the federal government spent directly in Abitibi-Temis-camingue $188 million. This does not include of course outlays embassies, national defence and external affairs. Yet, these same unscrupulous people made no bones about quoting all sorts of extravagant figures during the televised debate on the question in the National Assembly, but they monopolized and extorted more than two-thirds of the time allotted for that debate. What a fine example of democracy, Mr. Speaker. What balance, what a deep and developed sense of justice-guillotine is awaiting us. What an insult to intelligence to put up figures, any figures provided they are unfavourable to the federalist cause.
Mr. Speaker, they had the nerve to insinuate that in the Abitibi-Temiscamingue area the expenses by the federal government represented only 8.6 per cent-and they quote that 0.6 fraction because of course those people like accurate figures-of total government expenditures. Imagine! Right on national or Quebec television, they mentioned that figure of 8.6 per cent of expenditures, when we know, and that can be substantiated, that the federal government spent $188 million in our area. If that represents 8.6 per cent of government
expenditures in my area, I would like very much to know how many billions the Quebec government did spend there. For all those reasons, I am firmly convinced that it will not be possible for a half-bankrupt state to maintain parity of the dollar with the other provinces which will refuse to maintain or support an ailing dollar. Besides, is it necessary to add that several factors have a direct effect on the value of the dollar? Where are the figures? Have we been shown a balance sheet pro formal No, all we have to work on are surmises and feelings. On another subject, Mr. Speaker, I would like to emphasize that if Quebec separates, it will not only lose nine-tenths of other Canadian provinces but above all it will lose the Northwest Territories and the Yukon which-as is known-are extremely rich and upon which Canadians depend more and more for their future.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I venture to question seriously the loyalty and real intentions of those who dare contemptuously criticize a country as exceptional as Canada, a country that protects its citizens through its legislation and its bill of rights. Allow me, Mr. Speaker, just as an example and as a matter for reflection to quote some excerpts from the bill of rights that may bring some independentists to their senses.
Here are our country's commitments to its citizens:
The right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property: the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law; freedom of religion; freedom of speech; freedom of assembly and association; and freedom of the press.
Every law of Canada shall, unless it is expressly declared by an act of Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill of Rights, be so construed and applied as not to abrogate, abridge of infringe or to authorize the abrogation, abridgement or infringement of any of the rights or freedoms herein recognized and declared, and in particular no law of Canada shall be construed or applied so as to authorize or effect the arbitrary detention, imprisonment or exile of any person; impose or authorize the imposition of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment; deprive a person who has been arrested or detained of the right to be informed promptly of the reason for his arrest or detention, of the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay, or of the remedy by way of habeas corpus for the determination of the validity of his detention and for his release if the detention is not lawful; authorize a court, tribunal, commission, board or other authority to compel a person to give evidence if he is denied counsel,-
Does the Parti Quebecois guarantee us those things?
protection against self-incrimination or other constitutional safeguards; deprive a person of the right to a fair hearing in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice for the determination of his rights and obligations; deprive a person charged with a criminal offence of the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent impartial tribunal, or of the right to reasonable bail without just cause;
Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude with these words spoken by Mr. Diefenbaker:
I am a Canadian, a free Canadian, free to express myself without fear, free to serve God as 1 see fit, free to rise against what 1 consider unjust, free to choose the leaders of my country. 1 pledge to safeguard for myself and for humanity this legacy of freedom.
Mr. Speaker, these are our country's commitments to its citizens, and in return, the commitments of all good citizens to their country. What more could we expect? Once again, I say that I liken whoever would want to destroy such a wonderful country as ours to an offspring who would dare raise his hand against his father.
April 17, 1980
Mr. Douglas Roche (Edmonton South):
Mr. Speaker, through you, I wish to congratulate Madam Speaker on her election. I am sure that she will carry out with distinction the duties of the post that you share tonight, and add that grace which is so much a part of her person. Acting as the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons in Canada is but a continuation of her past accomplishments in her many fields of interest in Canada and on the international scene.
I am proud to be here as the representative of Edmonton South which is part of a growing city full of promise for the future. This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the province of Alberta, and 1 hope many Canadians will have the opportunity to visit our province as well as the city of Edmonton and experience for themselves the spirit of growth and adventure that characterizes our community.
I thank my electors for having shown confidence in me for the fourth time, and I hope that I will be able to merit the continuation of that confidence.
Canada is engulfed in a crisis of staggering proportions. Not in our lifetime have the combined economic, energy and political problems of Canada been greater than at this moment. The country is reeling under unprecedented interest rates, intolerable government, debt and ceaseless inflation. Polls indicate that the separatist voices could win the Quebec referendum, which would be the bitterest blow to confederation in our 113 years.
A new government, elected with virtually no support west of Winnipeg, has already twice given the back of its hand to western Canada on the essential questions of energy and transportation. Is it any wonder that the air is filled with anger, and anger that 1 personally experienced at a town hall meeting I called for my constituents in Edmonton South after the election? People seek order and they are given chaos. They want stability and they are given drift. They want leadership and they are given politics. It is a moment for all of us who want a united Canada with economic strength and renewed federalism, to stand up. If we who want to build on the legacy that we have received do not speak out to protect Canada, the Canada that we love, then the forces of those who would separate and destroy the country will surely grow.
1 appeal to members on all sides of the House. 1 say let us together repair the terrible divisions in this land.
I say let us through this institution provide the economic, social and political leadership Canadians so desperately seek today. Let us unite-at least in this analysis-that a Yes vote in the referendum will tear Canada apart irreparably, for western Canada will never tolerate a government rejected by westerners at the polls and which, in turn, is rejected by the very province that the government depends upon for electoral support.
The Address-Mr. Roche
We must abandon sophisticated interpretations of the referendum question. I know that it is deviously worded, but, outside Quebec, Yes will mean that Quebec wants out, and when that happens Canada will explode.
As an Albertan my appeal to the people of Quebec is to vote No in the referendum. A No vote is not a vote for the status quo, for the western provinces also want a renewed federalism, one which would reflect the new position of the west in confederation, a renewed confederation, and which would also provide Quebec with an acceptable alternative to separation.
My work has taken me into every corner of the world. 1 know how blessed our land is with space, resources, technology, industry, and an environment that promotes a quality of life second to none in the world. We cannot fail to be proud of our country. It is all the more reason to be angry over the problems that beset us, that keep us bogged down, constantly turned inward when we should be raising our heads looking out into the world that needs the leadership and production that Canada can offer.
The problems of Canada are not insoluble, but they require more political honesty, more belt-tightening, and a greater sense of justice than they now receive. Like Quebec the west is frustrated by the current federal system which has failed to respond adequately to the changing conditions within Canada today. Western frustration is rooted more in economics than in culture as Albertans see the money that they provide through equalization payments, income taxes, oil and gas revenues going to a government which is more attentive to the large electorally strong consumer centre of Canada than to the sparsely populated regional resource regions.
The separatist movement which has grown out of the seeds of discontent is not yet strong in western Canada, but the potential is there if the federal government is not responsive to western concerns that have been elaborated for many years by western members that I see surrounding me tonight in the House.
A recent poll taken by people at the Edmonton Journal and The Calgary Herald shows that 68 per cent of Albertans feel that their interests are not being adequately represented in Ottawa. What does that tell us? It tells us that the west is waiting for clear signs of this government's commitment. So far the signs have not been hopeful. I listened carefully two days ago when the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) made his speech. I have to say in all honesty that I felt the Prime Minister again dismissed the problems of regional fair treatment too casually. The decision by the federal government to use the emergency provisions of the oil sands pricing agreement to put a ceiling on the price of synthetic crude oil has disrupted the industry and cast doubts upon the intentions of the federal government in the oil-pricing negotiations with Alberta. The Alberta government has already reacted strongly against the move, and the future of the two oil sands plants is in jeopardy because of the industry's lack of confidence in federal government agreements.
April 17, 1980
The Address-Mr. Roche
I plead with members on the other side of the House to think about these problems for they are every bit as much at the heart of the question of unity in our country as is the Quebec referendum. The refusal by the federal government to commit itself to the Conservative government's agreement to provide $30 million for infrastructure costs at the proposed Prince Rupert grain terminal has also jeopardized western reactions to this government. It has certainly jeopardized the future of grain transportation in our country.
There have been other moves by the government seen as discriminatory in the west. For example, the reduction in private utilities federal income tax rebates to the provinces affects Alberta more than any other province and has been felt directly by many Albertans through increased utility costs. It is a needless thing for the government to do.
The sincerity of the government's commitment to the west can be tested in several ways. An energy pricing agreement should be concluded with Alberta that provides no less benefits than would have been received as a result of negotiations with the Clark government. The producing provinces must be compensated fairly for their rapidly depleting resources. That is the essence of the Alberta position today. We heard it conveyed by Premier Lougheed to the Canadian Press dinner last night in Toronto. I want to tell my colleagues in the House that the people of Alberta are 100 per cent behind Lougheed as he defends the Alberta position nationally.
Transportation policies are needed for both goods and people, policies that recognize the essential role played by transportation in the continued development of the west. Grievances persist in the area over the adverse effect of the Crowsnest Pass rates on producers of finished goods in the west, over the irrationality of the grain transportation system, over the destruction of railway communities caused by rail line abandonment. The time for action is now if serious economic repercussions in the west are to be avoided.
Westerners also want industrial development policies which will provide more incentive to manufacturers to locate in the west. Agriculture and livestock policies should ensure a more equitable and stabilized return for western farmers. These are some of the things that are fundamental to our position as we come into the House to start a new Parliament.
We give a commitment to renewed federalism. We want to see the government move forward in those concrete steps that show a sincere concern for the interests of western Canada. Our constitution has proven remarkably adaptable in the years of our confederation, but I think we are pretty well all agreed that it needs to be changed. It is no longer appropriate for today's reality. That is the essence of the Quebec position.
Renewed federalism through constitutional amendment should reflect the desire of the regions to respond effectively to the needs of their people while maintaining a united Canada under a strong central government.
Any proposals for change to the federal system will have to take into account the views of the west. The Alberta government has already outlined its proposals in its paper called "Harmony and Diversity" which is designed to encourage national unity as well as effective operation of the federal system. The paper suggests that the division of powers be modified to strengthen provincial ownership and control of natural resources, provide provincial access to direct and indirect taxes, and establish concurrent jurisdiction in the fields of communication, fisheries, transportation and culture. The federal ability to act in provincial jurisdictions would be restricted to well-defined limits. The principle of equalization would be entrenched in the constitution and French and English recognized as Canada's official languages.
The Quebec Liberal party's document "A New Canadian Federation", the Ryan beige paper, offers a rational and comprehensive analysis of our current dilemma. That paper is worthy of support. I personally have some disagreement with some aspects of the Ryan paper, but it is at least dedicated to the fundamental principles of equality of the two founding peoples and respect for regional and cultural diversity principles that Canadians share today.
There are differences in the various proposals and papers put forward, whether they are talking about the Canada West foundation, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, the city of Edmonton, the Pepin-Robarts report that we discussed in the Parliament before last; all of these share the same basic objectives of a strong and united Canada where we are willing to negotiate compromises. This willingness to negotiate will help to ensure that the central government is not weakened to the point of ineffectiveness in the face of economic and social problems that require a strong national response.
A renewed federalism will enable all regions of Canada to develop to their fullest potential and take advantage of the opportunities that this country has to offer, opportunities that we could not spend enough time exploring and exposing in this House for all Canadians who are reading and seeing us here, for them to appreciate as much as we who have the opportunity of travelling regularly across this country.
We need sound economic and energy policies. That is part of our struggle for national unity. We should recall the sentence given in the speech by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) in his contribution to this debate two days ago when he said:
-the importance of the referendum is no excuse for delaying action on economic policy, no excuse for delaying action on energy policy and no excuse for avoiding our international obligations. Indeed, delay in dealing with those acute problems may very well aggravate the tensions which now exist in the Canadian family.
Severe economic problems are controlling the country rather than the other way around. Despite their strong and vibrant economy, Albertans are concerned about the trends in other regions of Canada. Our strength depends on the strength of these regions, and we look to the federal government to take action in its sphere of influence.
Alberta would like to see less government influence over the economy and more reliance on the private sector. Government
April 17, 1980
waste and mismanagement have to be curbed, and a climate of confidence created for investment in our country. This requires an answer to the problems of high interest rates, inflation, and government debt, and a comprehensive industrial development strategy. Alberta is willing to make its contribution, and in fact already forgoes S4 billion in oil and gas revenues each year. Loans have been provided through the Heritage Fund to six other provinces, helping Canada's balance of payments by lowering interest payments outside of the country. And the Alberta government is willing to increase the amount available for provincial loans.
These remarks tonight would not be complete if we just dealt with economic problems. I want to talk for a minute about social problems. Just as we should not be diverted from our economic problems by the national unity problem, we should not allow these two problems to divert our attention from the deep social problems in our midst today. The powerful tide of change which is sweeping across the world today is tearing our families apart, rocking our economy, paralysing our political systems, shattering our values, while at the same time paradoxically sowing the seeds for a saner, wiser and more humane society. For more on this I would refer you to Alvin Toffler's "The Third Wave". It is an interesting analysis of the changes that are taking place in the world today.
What we must learn from this process is that development in our supertechnological society should focus on values of humanism, on values of the person, not just on values of the economy. We must encompass our natural environment, social relations, education. Those are the questions that are concerning Canadians very much tonight.
We in this House must ask ourselves, as this Parliament proceeds, some very hard questions about the quality of life in our society today. Why have crime, violence, divorce, suicide, abortions, drug abuse, and alcoholism soared in the last decade? In 1978, 140,000 Canadians were victims of violent crimes. Divorce rates have doubled in the last decade. More than one in four marriages in Canada ends in divorce. Suicide is the number two cause of death among 15 to 34 year olds. It is not my purpose here tonight to assign blame regarding these very complicated and meaningful statistics, but only to indicate to this House the ethical crisis that we face in the midst of a growing economy. Politicians cannot solve these problems alone; we are the first to know that. But I think there must be more leadership from all levels of government today concerning the deep social problems in our midst.
We must ask why there are so many poor among us in our society? Some 24 per cent of Canadian families lack the financial means to ensure the basic necessities of adequate food, clothing and shelter. Three-quarters of our elderly are living on incomes of less than $5,000 a year. The struggle by native people to share in the benefits of our life continues. This is a point I have argued on several occasions in the time I have been in this House, namely, the need to integrate more closely economic and social planning on behalf of human beings who, after all, are the object of our policies, not just national statistics. With a strong and united Canada dedicated to the
The Address-Mr. Roche
economic and social well-being of its citizens and the citizens of other countries, I think our country would be able to exercise a more vigorous role in the international community. I conclude, Mr. Speaker, with a few remarks in that area.
A declaration of support for the boycott of the Moscow Olympics would today be a clear sign of leadership in the international community.