June 26, 1980

NDP

Douglas Keith Anguish

New Democratic Party

Mr. Anguish:

Mr. Chairman, I would like to address a question to the minister in reference to something he mentioned earlier about the number of native people who have been helped by projects under LEAP. In the new measures that the minister has announced, will some priority be given to carry over from LEAP in the cases where people have not been

Employment Tax Credit Act

able to finish their projects? Some of the specific projects I can think of would be the band of Canoes Narrows, the community of Beauval and several other places. If they apply under the new program, will they be given some priority to enable them to finish their project which was started under LEAP but for which there are no more funds under that program, so that the facilities there remain useless now and cannot function unless these people receive extra money to complete the project?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Mr. Chairman, I should point out to the hon. member that LEAP has a specific date attached to it and if jobs end under the program, obviously there would have to be new funding. The people would certainly be eligible for application under the community development program if they so desire, but LEAP has its own terms of reference. I should point out also that LEAP will be continuing as well. Much of the funds that have been allocated this year has been spent, but LEAP is an ongoing, continuing part of our employment strategy. The community development program is in addition to LEAP which is already in place.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
NDP

Douglas Keith Anguish

New Democratic Party

Mr. Anguish:

Yes, Mr. Chairman, I understand that. What I am saying is that there are some projects, such as 1 mentioned, at Canoe Narrows and Beauval, which have been started under LEAP. They do not have adequate funds to finish their projects. Without additional funds the projects will be useless within the community. If they apply under the new program which the minister has announced for employment, will they be given priority as opposed to projects that are new and possibly more creative? Will the old projects that are not completed be given priority when they apply, as opposed to projects that are new?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

What I would propose to the hon. member who has a very specific question, is that if he could give me a note on those projects to which he has referred, I would be very glad to talk to our regional director in Saskatchewan to see what can be done and to examine them more specifically. If he could give me a note to that effect, we could follow through and get an answer back to him.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hawkes:

Mr. Chairman, 1 would like to point out to the minister who, I think, has referred to me two or three times as being a sociologist, that I am a psychologist by discipline. That is what my doctorate is in. My particular specialty has been statistics and research methods.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hawkes:

One of the commonly used text books at universities for that kind of course is a book called "How To Lie With Statistics". Perhaps we have spent a lot of time on this bill because we have had a shifting data base from time to time and it has been very difficult to pursue the issue and to have clear definitions, and that is part of understanding our world. I was reminded of that as my colleague, the hon. member for Wetaskiwin, spoke about the native employment program.

June 26, 1980

Employment Tax Credit Act

1 should like to bring to the minister's attention the fact that when today he stood in the House of Commons to announce his $137 million program, in my brief one or two minutes of questioning I asked him simply to define a job, because we cannot understand what our money is being spent on unless we have some definition of a job. In the data which have come out through the course of the day, we have the kind of example I mean about the difficulty of dealing with statistics. We have a program called the community services program. The minister's own officials told us that it will create approximately

1,000 jobs for an expenditure of $11 million, and the minister told us that the cost of those jobs is approximately $200 a week.

If we go down the list of measures announced in the House, we come to native training which is an expenditure of $10 million and the cost is about $200 a week. So, it is very similar-$11 million in one case and $10 million in the other, $200 a week in both cases. But we are told that 3,900 jobs are created for native people. How can that be with $200 a week for both programs and approximately the same expenditure? The answer is that native people are employed for one-quarter of the time other people in the community services project are employed. Can we call those equal jobs when native people in the country are employed for one-quarter of the time of the other group?

I suggest to the minister that we might be able to move more quickly to understand the legislation if we began to use numbers and figures which had a common definitional base so that we all knew with the same degree of understanding what we were talking about. I should like to continue on that vein for just a minute.

When I first got the minister's statement on his programs and the background pages, I had someone in my office add up the number of jobs supposedly created, and it came to 192,000. Then I went and looked into it a little more closely, and some were listed as new program, some were old program, and some were continuing program. We went to the minister's office and got a complete list of the new programs. In the meantime the minister was in a press conference and announced 81,000 jobs. Some diligent reporter continued to inquire, and officials said that it would be 31,000 jobs. After the inquiries here today, 1 think we now have the kind of very simple data base which most of us understand. If we have an employer tax credit program about which the parliamentary secretary told us, the data shows that it created about 45,000 jobs last year. The minister told us that those jobs were created on the basis of $65 a week. Approximately 45,000 jobs were created by the employer tax credit at $65 a week.

Now we have from the minister an indication that the bulk of the programs he announced in the House in terms of direct employment creation cost between $200 and $260 a week. They are at least three times as expensive as the employer tax credit. If that one creates 45,000 jobs, then using the same base, the minister's announcement in the House would have to

be 15,000 jobs. It would not be 31,000, 81,000 or 192,000 jobs, but 15,000. But those 45,000 jobs created by the employer tax credit are within a defined fiscal year. In response to our questions today, the minister told us that his $137 million goes over two years. So, if we take the 15,000 jobs and divide it in half, because half will be this year and half will be next year, then the announcement dealt with 7,500 jobs. It will be 7,500 jobs for a $137 million announcement. It has taken us several days in the House of persistent inquiry to get answers to enough questions to be able to lay that out for the House of Commons and the Canadian people.

When we talk about employment creation, employer tax credits and things of that kind which come under the minister's purview, I hope he would tell us about the cost per week. I hope he would add up the number of weeks of work and the number of weeks of training, that he would report data, and put out his press announcements in that format. It would enable all of us to understand in a common way what is involved in the minister's program. There is a great deal of difference. In a time of unemployment that is well in excess of one million people in Canada today, it makes a great deal of difference whether the government is providing work for something like 200,000 people or 7,000 people. The problem is significantly reduced if we are providing work for 200,000 people. When we are providing work for 7,000 people, it is important to those 7,000 people, their families and the people dependent upon that income. But it tells us clearly in the House of Commons that we do not have a program in place which deals with the serious unemployment problems existing in Canada today.

I want one other indication from the minister about another number that is important to me. I have asked it in a variety of ways on three separate days. 1 will put it in the following context. Wood Gundy, a respected organization in Canada, indicated that in the next fiscal year its projection of unemployment on average will be in excess of 9 per cent. Last month in Canada it was 7.8 per cent. Does the minister have any information from the Minister of Finance, from his own officials or from any other source, which would enable him to stand in the House at this moment and tell us that there is good reason to believe unemployment will not get to that 9 per cent level and stay there pretty much in the next 18 months? Does he have good reason to suspect that we are not looking at the most severe unemployment problem this country has ever seen, and that we are looking at it for an extended period of time, at least 18 months and maybe longer? Does the minister have good reason to tell me not to accept that forecast?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Mr. Chairman, as I told the member before, I am very reluctant to get into the art of black magic and start predicting all kinds of numbers. 1 would not want to claim the same degree of prescience Wood Gundy has attained in the past when it has been so accurate in its forecast of the stock market. But if the member is looking for some light at the end of the tunnel, some small glim of optimism, at least I would refer to the survey conducted by Manpower Temporary Services of Toronto. It did a very major survey of

June 26, 1980

personnel managers across Canada. If I may, I should like to quote from the survey:

Despite worries about the depth of recession, employment prospects across Canada for the next three months are still fairly bright according to a national survey conducted by Manpower Temporary Services.

I hope that will allow the member to go to bed with some degree of calm and patience this evening, knowing that while Wood Gundy may be trying to plunge us into the depths of despair, Manpower Temporary Services still has a ringing note of optimism in its survey.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hawkes:

Would the minister comment on a quote of the Minister of Finance which was reported today? It is dealing with unemployment. He said that the actual outcome could turn out to be much worse for this year. In our previous discussions on this bill, the minister indicated that the average projection of 8 per cent of the Minister of Finance was allowed to stand. On the basis of the last couple of days, is he getting any indication from the Minister of Finance that perhaps the unemployment forecast should be revised upward? What does the Department of Finance indicate?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Mr. Chairman, simply I would refer the hon. member to page 2375 of Hansard where the statement of the Minister of Finance relating to his forecasts on employment and unemployment is very well set out and very precisely stated as only the Minister of Finance can do. I refer this for the member's information. If he wants the most accurate forecast, that is exactly from the mouth of the Minister of Finance. I would not even pretend to be able to equal his ability to make that kind of judgment.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hawkes:

I wonder if the minister read the statement made by the Minister of Finance today. I think that the statement he quoted in Hansard is an historical statement. The Minister of Finance is quoted as saying:

I cannot rule out the possibility that the unemployment rate may rise even faster than this figure would imply.

The figure he is referring to is the original estimate of 8 per cent.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Yvon Pinard (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Pinard:

What page is that?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hawkes:

This is an article out of a newspaper.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Yvon Pinard (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Pinard:

Oh, 1 see.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Mr. Chairman, in my short experience in political life 1 have learned to go to the official record rather than to rely upon press reports, which have been known at times to somewhat distort the remarks of politicians, particularly ministers of finance.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hawkes:

I would ask the minister the following: If in some magic way he could be provided with another $500 million, does he think that he has the kinds of programs in place which could absorb this kind of money and would produce useful employment for Canadians?

Employment Tax Credit Act

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Mr. Chairman, if the hon. member is suggesting that we have a kind of a Christmas grab bag of goodies, 1 would simply say to him that the kinds of requests and demands made on this government for a variety of expenditures in the job-creation field far exceed our money supply, It is one of those cases where, if there is an inflationary push, it is for government action and supply that we cannot match. Of course $500 million would be welcome at any time, if the hon. member is prepared to provide it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
PC

Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hawkes:

This is my second occasion in Committee of the Whole on different bills. The other occasion concerned a bill to create a minister of social welfare. I would like to ask the minister a similar type of question. Given the minister's assertions about caring about the disadvantaged of the country, the need to help women and native people, is he satisfied representing a government that allows the importation of oil, and the subsequent subsidy, to rise? The original projected expenditure of $2.6 billion has now been revised to in excess of $4 billion. Given the nature of world price rises which are coming into the neighbourhood of $5 billion in subsidies, this brings us very close to 10 per cent of the total federal expenditures and well over 12 per cent or 13 per cent of the money which is raised. Certainly it is a sum which is considerably more than the $100 million which goes into the employment tax credit or the $137 million of the other program which is spread over two years.

Does the minister consider the subsidization of oil to be a greater social priority on which to use taxpayers' dollars than programs, for example, which help create jobs, and help create higher pensions for senior citizens? Is the minister satisfied with the direction in which the government is going? The minister is a member of that government and a member of cabinet.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Yvon Pinard (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Pinard:

That is not relevant to the bill, my friend.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy (Minister responsible for the Status of Women; Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member is straying into another area of debate. Personally, I believe that in this country there must be some fair degree of equalization of the costs which are borne. If one of the prices of being a Canadian is to ensure that the people in the maritimes are not required to pay far more exorbitant rates for their energy than the people in Alberta, then that is a fair price which 1 am prepared to pay as a Canadian.

With regard to the hon. member's comments about my feelings for the poor and disadvantaged, one of my motivations to work so hard for the defeat of his past government was the idea that the 18-cent increase on a gallon of gas would be borne most heavily by average Canadians, to the point of several hundreds of dollars per year. That was something which Canadians will simply not tolerate and which they cannot afford.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING EXTENSION OF PROGRAM PERIOD
Permalink

June 26, 1980