February 28, 1983

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH


The House resumed from Friday, February 25, 1983, consideration of the motion of Mr. Lalonde that Bill C-143, to provide supplementary borrowing authority, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs; and the amendment of Mr. Skelly (p. 22957).


PC

Alexander Bell Patterson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alex Patterson (Fraser Valley East):

Mr. Speaker, on Friday I placed on the record a few of the facts which call into question the Government's right to expect the taxpayers of Canada to grant borrowing authority in the amount of another $19 billion. I should like to add several more items to the sorry list that underscores the reasons the Government does not deserve the confidence of Canadians at this time and why, as spokespersons for these Canadians, we voice their frustrations and resentments.

In 1968, Canada's standard of living was the third highest in the western world, second only to Sweden and the United States. By 1980 we had fallen to eleventh place. Over the past few years our industrial productivity has been rising at the slowest rate of any major industrial nation. Borrowing costs in Canada are higher than those in most other industrialized nations. Our unemployment rate is the second highest of any industrialized nation, and the inflation rate is the third highest in the same category of nations.

Spending in 1982-83 alone increased by 20 per cent on a national accounts basis or by 19.6 per cent on a public accounts basis. Spending on the national accounts basis is now equal to 26 per cent of the Gross National Product. The net debt last year was $94 billion, and this year it is expected to be $122 billion. The Auditor General indicated that in his estimation the expenditures are understated by about $14.5 billion.

This Bill calls for an additional $19 billion of borrowing authority-$5 billion for the remainder of 1982-83 and $14 billion for the year 1983-84. Of course, we all expect that there will be additional borrowings. The amendment says that the $14 billion be not granted at this time but that the Bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and

Economic Affairs. Surely this is a reasonable request and I think the Government should agree to it.

This Party has proposed an all-Party committee to study the Estimates and advise on reductions, but of course one could hardly expect the Government to accede to this request because it has already outlined its programs and very seldom do the discussions on Estimates have anything to do with changes that may be made. I think, however, there are two factors that should be carefully considered. First is the impact of this borrowing on our taxpayers. I am sure we would all agree that we have about reached the point where any further borrowings, any further deficit or any increase in taxation will have a most detrimental effect on our whole economy. Many Canadians are staggering under the load of taxation already and this will add further to that burden. Second is the immorality of mortgaging the future of our children, our children's children and generations yet unborn. I suggest that the Government has not established any credible reason why it should be asking the taxpayers for authority to borrow this amount now.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Lloyd Roseville Crouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lloyd R. Crouse (South Shore):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak on Bill C-143, which seeks $5 billion in supplementary borrowing authority for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 1983 and $14 billion in interim borrowing authority for the 1983-1984 fiscal year.

This is the largest borrowing bill in Canadian history ever to be introduced in the House of Commons. It was introduced without a formal forecast. What we had given to us by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) were a few figures thrown out to justify his increased requirements, which in effect is treating Parliament in a shameful and degrading manner.

On February 17, 1983 the Minister stated that the projected budgetary deficit for the current fiscal year will rise to $27.2 billion, up from $23.6 billion since the October statement. However, since no figures were given to back up these numbers two questions arise. What will interest costs be and how much revenue will be collected from personal income taxes? Nobody seems to know, not even the Minister of Finance. He has refused to provide us with a forecast outlining the Government's financial requirements for fiscal 1983. All he seems to be saying is "Trust us. We need $14 billion for the beginning of next year just to get started. Do not ask us how much more we will need before next year ends."

How can there be any trust when one looks at the track record of this Government? For example, just two days after the Estimates were tabled, at least two Government spending

February 28, 1983

Borrowing Authority

estimates were dashed by reality. Public Service growth, predicted in Tuesday's tabled Estimates at 1 per cent in the next fiscal year, will probably triple. The communications Telidon project, which was supposed to be phased out next year with funding of about $1.2 million, will now be extended for two more years at a cost of $23 million.

There is more. This same Finance Minister who seeks our blind trust announced on Wednesday, February 23 that this year's record federal deficit of $27.2 billion will rise to approximately $29 billion next year if the Government sticks to current plans. What plans? We on this side would be glad to see something realistic. The Minister said that the deficit will go even higher if budget measures expected in the next few months contain provisions to stimulate the economy.

The Minister is actually saying that the Estimates for 19831984 are not to be trusted, that they are not really estimates. In fact, they are not even good guesstimates. They are totally unrealistic and give no guidance whatsoever to Parliament and to the Canadian people.

I submit that our poor economic performance will continue to have a negative impact on the finances of the Government as the costs of social assistance rise and revenues stagnate or fall. Any recovery that does occur is likely to be very weak and, as such, will have only a very moderate impact on our economy.

In situations such as this, we are often asked on this side of the House what we would do, what we have to offer to improve our economy, and what we would do to bring about more employment opportunities. I have a suggestion that would be beneficial not only to Atlantic Canada but helpful to the entire nation.

On December 10, 1982 I asked the Minister of Transport (Mr. Pepin) whether he would consider electrification of the Maritimes railway system in order to halt the dangerous erosion of our present service. He immediately replied that, in his opinion, this was not a very worth-while project. In his words, the investment would be too great for the benefit to be harvested at this particular moment. In plain language, what he was trying to say and did not was that either the cost-to-benefit ratio is not adequate or the return on investment is not sufficient.

[DOT] (M15)

These are classic investment terms that can be manipulated to suit one's own purposes. It all depends on the ground rules, such as projected traffic increases and inclusion or not of spinoff benefits. I wonder if the Minister would tell the House what the return on investment is for the recently announced capital outlay for western railway improvements, for example, arising out of the Crowsnest Pass deal?

Why should all the railway improvements be made in the West and to a lesser degree here in central Canada? We are all Canadians. We will all be paying for western upgrading. Why should there not be a better apportionment of railway capital expenditures between the West and Atlantic Canada? The Minister of Transport and his bureaucrats are saying that the traffic, or its projected growth, does not warrant the

expenditure. This, of course, gets us into the old cliche of the chicken and the egg argument. New traffic growth cannot be built and attract new shipping unless there is something to encourage it like a fast freight system from Halifax to Montreal and through to Chicago.

I ask the Government in all seriousness: Why should all these essential capital projections which are in the national interest be subjected to a banker's cold, hard, calculating return on investment analysis? If this is the yardstick that is to be followed, we shall have abolish the CBC, the National Art Gallery, the National Arts Centre, the National Film Board and the National Research Council, to name but a few.

We do not have a viable rail transportation system in Atlantic Canada. This was a Confederation commitment. I say to the House that we need one now. It is my understanding that Canadian Pacific is ready to go with its rail electrification plan, starting with the Rogers Pass Tunnel. The follow-up sector will be Thunder Bay west. Canadian National's plans are to electrify the golden corridor, which is Quebec to Windsor, and this would include VIA's light, rapid and comfortable passenger service.

If this happens we are all dead in Atlantic Canada. We would be left holding the transportation bag. We will be stuck with the crumbling railway system, and one only needs to think of the recent derailments in Atlantic Canada if there is doubt about that. We will be using diesels on an antiquated roadbed. The diesels will wear out or become obsolete or too costly to repair. The only alternative left will be to abandon the rail system and depend on truck transportation.

Such an eventuality poses some interesting questions. What happens to our two great ice-free, all-season ports of Halifax and Saint John, New Brunswick? Will the federal Government totally subsidize the increased shipping costs of all commodities to and from the Maritimes? For example, what will replace the locomotive repair and maintenance facility in Moncton? Assuming that we in Nova Scotia developed a petrochemical industry with our Sable Island gas feedstock, how will we transport the by-products of such an industry? We need a safe and efficient rail system to transport benzine, styrene, polyethylene, ammonia, urea and methanol if we are to take full advantage of our offshore possibilities.

If we do not have the proper infrastructure in place we will have to defer to Quebec once the Arctic pilot project comes onstream. I fear that Quebec, and Montreal in particular, is against any of these developments. We will be lucky if the PQ and M pipe line ever gets beyond Quebec City. It is not in Quebec's own best interest. This is all part of the transportation grand scheme to restrict Atlantic Canada. At the heart of it all is the railway and the ports of Halifax and Saint John. We must make a move now to electrify CN in the Atlantic. It will be too late once electrification starts in the West or along the golden corridor. CN should be immediately required to upgrade its rail system in Atlantic Canada, and electrification should start in the East where traffic is lighter so as not to interfere with the heavy grain traffic in the west. The ports of

February 28, 1983

Halifax and Saint John should be recognized by the Wheat Board as western grain export ports and be given substantial increases in grain export shipments.

CN should be starting now to build a spur line to handle the shipment of by-products from the Sable Island natural gas and petrochemical industries. More than any other part of Canada, Atlantic Canada needs the job opportunities that could result from a rail electrification program in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The economic betterment of our area should not be disappearing into the western sunset. We need and in fact demand a fair share of the opportunities that are provided in new advancements and technology such as railway electrification. Atlantic Canada must not be forgotten. Let us make an investment now in Atlantic Canada's economic future. To wait until there is an upturn in the economy would be the worst kind of business planning.

In closing, I say let us get on with the job. Let us put our unemployed to work on a make-work program which will really be helpful and bring long-term benefits to our nation. If we follow this course, we have nothing to lose and all across Canada have everything to gain.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Flora Isabel MacDonald

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Flora MacDonald (Kingston and the Islands):

Mr. Speaker, it is very notable that during the last number of days, and indeed one might even say weeks and months, the Government has failed to provide clear answers to any questions which have been raised in the House. As if that were not bad enough, most of the time the Government provides no answers at all.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Blenkarn:

Or false answers.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Flora Isabel MacDonald

Progressive Conservative

Miss MacDonald:

That is one of the very real problems evident in the operation of our parliamentary system. We either hear Government Ministers making obtuse remarks which do not come to the heart of the issue, or Ministers refuse to provide specific information. As well, we hear Ministers drawing red herrings across every issue raised, trying to diffuse the issues and duck what is being presented to them. We saw that in spades here in the last couple of weeks.

The present piece of legislation, Bill C-143, the Supplementary Borrowing Authority, is in exactly the same category. The Government refuses to provide the answers for the most fundamental of parliamentary procedures, the most basic issue with which we are ever asked to deal, concerning what the Government will do with the money which it is requesting authority from Parliament to borrow.

Just a few months ago the former Minister of Finance made it very clear that he would not ask for any further borrowing authority from the House until a budget had been provided to the House, until the means of raising and spending moneys had been spelled out to us in detail. That is what he said just a few months ago. Once again, the Liberal Government has gone back on its word. Not that that should be surprising; it happens all the time. However, here we have it in spades. We have it in extravagance. The Government, void of any honour, any

Borrowing Authority

integrity, any courage, has passed up another opportunity to introduce a budget which would at least try to address the financial mess in which Canada finds itself today, in which the economy has been plunged.

Therefore, we are faced with Bill C-143, a borrowing authority Bill which asks the House for authority to give the Government a staggering $19 billion in additional money to spend. However, there is no budget as was promised. Yes, the Estimates were tabled the other day, but they did not give us a detailed account for the $5 billion requested specifically for this fiscal year nor for the $14 billion which will be requested in the 1983-84 fiscal year. There are not even any forecasts as to the need for such increased expenditures.

It is almost impossible to believe, but nevertheless it happens that each time the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) has risen in the House to speak of the fiscal situation in this country, he has told us that the deficit is larger than it was the last time he spoke, and the financial requirements of the Government continue to grow. Now, that amount projected takes us to the edge of a precipice. There is absolutely no control, no management, no restriction coming from the Government benches.

[DOT] (M25)

Only as recently as last October the Minister of Finance announced, as the House will remember, and indeed announced with the reaction horror and staggering surprise from the country at large, that the federal deficit had risen to $23.6 billion. Last week he came back to tell us that the deficit was now $27.2 billion for the fiscal year ending in March, 1983. In less than four months the deficit had risen $3.6 billion, almost $4 billion; or, put another way, $1 billion for every month since October that the Minister of Finance has delayed bringing in a budget. His waffling and procrastination have resulted, in both financial and human terms, in unparalleled costs, reflected in one-and-one-half million Canadians out of work. The Gross National Product has fallen by 5 per cent during this past year. Bankruptcies among small businesses, among farmers and personal bankruptcies, are up 33 per cent in this past year. High interest rates have economically crippled businesses and individual Canadians. The waffling and procrastination which are hallmarks of this Liberal Government are no prescription for businesses and industries that are crying out to the Government to provide a climate of confidence and stability in the country.

What is needed by the business community is positive, factual information that would lessen the burden of their struggles. With some, those struggles are to expand their businesses. With others, it is merely to survive. Instead, the economic instability and the uncertainty remain; in fact, they grow worse. It confronts us with that uncertainty, that instability, right here today.

Bill C-143 is the largest borrowing Bill, the largest request for money ever to come before the Parliament of Canada. The Government wants authority to borrow $19 billion but it will

February 28, 1983

Borrowing Authority

not tell us what it wants it for. The Estimates for the next fiscal year were tabled last week and they show the largest expenditure ever to be undertaken by a federal Government, an expenditure of $88.9 billion; but that will probably increase when all the Supplementary Estimates are in to $100 billion.

Just think of those figures. We are talking about a borrowing authority of $19 billion and projected expenditures that could go as high as $100 billion. In all of this, the Government refuses to explain to the people of Canada, through their elected representatives, how they are going to raise and spend those moneys. At the beginning of parliamentary history, the nobles held King John accountable to tell them how he was going to spend the moneys of the realm. If he had not done so they would probably have said "Off with his head," and perhaps that is the only way we can bring this Government to be accountable for the moneys that they control now and about which they refuse to explain to the Canadian people, defying parliamentary tradition and denying Parliament the most basic information for which Parliament exists. What that is doing is downgrading, humiliating and demeaning this institution.

It also creates another very worrisome situation, one which I am sure all Hon. Members are running into. The business community hears the news that the Government is after another $19 billion is spending authority and that its estimated expenditures for the year ahead will probably amount to $100 billion; and the signals that go out are inflationary signals. The business community is asking where the Government is going to go for this borrowing and whether it will create a logjam in the capital market.

The concern they express to me and I am sure to most Members on this side, whether they do to Liberal Members or not, is that they are afraid that the battle for scarce capital is going to be reactivated, that that battle will once again be fought unfairly, with priority being given to the public sector requirement while the private sector is left to scramble for what is left.

What that means is that that scarcity of capital will have the inevitable result of pushing rates higher. That is the fear of the business community, whether small business or large business. That is what is being experienced in every part of the country. The instability and uncertainty that has been generated by this borrowing authority is that once again on the horizon we see high interest rates looming because of the way the Government is trying to enact fiscal policies in this country, trying to transact them in a way that is deceptive to this House and to the business community at large.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

Rodney Edward Murphy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Rod Murphy (Churchill):

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-143 which is before us at this time is the fourth borrowing authority that this Government has introduced in the last eight months. On June 8, 1982 Bill C-111 granted the Government $6.6 billion. In June, 1982 Bill C-125 gave the Government an additional $7 billion; and in November, 1982 Bill C-128 gave it an extra $4 billion. The legislation before us today will grant

the Government another $19 billion. For what? Of that amount, $14 billion is completely unaccounted for; $14 billion for a budget which we have not yet seen in this House of Commons.

Like previous speakers on this legislation, I deplore the fact that we are being asked to authorize great sums of money without any direction from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) or the Cabinet as a whole as to where the money is going. The main reason for having a Parliament throughout the history of England and of this country is that the taxpayers, the citizens of the country, have a right to say what taxes are levied, what expenditures it is allowed to make. For us to pass this Bill without that rationalization and without any explanation by the Government would be defeating the very purpose for which a Parliament is set up.

We have had three budgets in the last 14 months. The November, 1981 budget, although labelled as a soak-the-rich budget, did anything but that. It was only a mechanism for shuffling the loopholes; close one loophole and open others.

The taxes of those earning the most in Canada were actually reduced as a result of the measures in the November, 1981 budget, and significantly so. Those in the top tax brackets of this country were told that their federal taxes would be reduced from 43 to 34 per cent. The decrease in their federal tax affects what happens provincially and this becomes important in terms of what they actually pay. Therefore, they pay significantly less to the coffers both of the federal and provincial Governments.

In June, 1982 the then Minister of Finance introduced a second budget. That budget can basically be called the six and five budget. The main purpose of that budget was to impose six and five increases on salaries of federal workers, old age pensions, Family Allowances and the pensions of retired public servants. As is so often the case, the Government failed to follow through on its six and five legislation when it came to its friends. This Government has one set of priorities, rules and laws for the average Canadian, but the political appointees, their friends, will get more than six and five per cent increases.

I wish to quote from an article in the Saturday, February 26, Globe and Mail entitled "Some federal agencies manipulate 6 and 5":

Members of the board of the National Energy Board will make an average of $72,668 in the year ended March 31, 1984, up 10.8 per cent from the fiscal 1983 level. In fiscal 1983, they received an average 18.6 per cent raise, bumping up their income over two years by about $17,400.

That is not six and five. We have six and five for janitors in the Government service and for old age pensions, but not for Liberal appointees to the National Energy Board. Referring to the Atomic Energy Control Board the article states:

Part of this budget increase will go to fund a 10.7 per cent rise in average fiscal 1984 management salaries, to $59,340. In the current year, salaries rose 13.8 per cent.

It states that the Northern Pipeline Agency will give its managers an 11.6 per cent raise, to $71,915. The article also refers to other Government agencies.

February 28, 1983

My point is that we authorized Government funds based on a budget in June, 1982 which said that six and five would be the law of the land. That law is not for all Canadians. Some Canadians who are being paid by the Liberal Government are receiving increases much in excess of the six and five program, and for that this Government must be accountable.

The third budget, presented by the Minister of Finance in October, 1982, can basically be called the NEED budget. The only significant program in that budget was the establishment of the NEED program, presumably for those who have exhausted their UIC benefits. Those people were to be provided with employment. By the Government's own figures, 3,000 to 5,000 jobs were created. That is so insignificant in the face of our present unemployment that it is a laugh. The budget has created almost no jobs. The only jobs created are for the ads and brochures put out across this country by the Government. The jobs for those who lost their UIC benefits or have never received them because they have not had a job are not there. This program is not creating jobs at a very fast pace for these Canadians.

And so, Mr. Speaker, we come to the next budget, the budget which we have been told will be introduced in April of this year. We are told that that particular budget will deal with the problem of job creation. These are the hints, the leaks and the indications which we are given. But where is that money going? To what use would that money be put and who would receive that money? I endorse the motion of the Hon. Member for Comox-Powell River (Mr. Skelly) who said that this Bill should not be passed, that the subject matter of this Bill should be sent to committee for study. Surely to God, Mr. Speaker, we should not pass a Bill which gives the Government $19 billion more without any indication that the Government knows where the money is going. This Government has no economic plan and no knowledge of where it is going.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, this Liberal Government is like the chicken which had its head chopped off and still jumps around the coop. This Government is dead but has not the decency to die.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

John Patrick (Pat) Nowlan

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pat Nowlan (Annapolis Valley-Hants):

Mr. Speaker, I echo the thoughts of other Hon. Members who have participated in this debate on Bill C-143, a massive Government borrowing Bill which asks the Parliament of Canada, without any plan, design or financial statement, let alone budget, to give to it $19 billion. This Bill, presented without any plan as to what is going to happen to that money, is in my humble opinion a direct insult to this institution and an affront to the Canadian people, an affront to the Canadian taxpayer who will eventually have to pay back this money through whatever taxes the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) imposes whenever he brings in another budget. You do not borrow $19 billion without interest. There is no more free lunch. Canadian taxpayers of the future are going to have to pay this money back. It is completely unacceptable to give the blank cheque which is asked for here by the present Government.

Borrowing Authority

Other Hon. Members, Mr. Speaker, have tried to analyse the implications of both the Estimates and spending plans as well as the $19 billion asked for in this Bill. I share the view of most Hon. Members that, frankly, most Canadians, even Hon. Members of this Parliament, just cannot comprehend what $1 billion is. Many years ago C. D. Howe said "What's a million?" Now the question is, "What's a billion?"

I read with interest an article in Saturday Night of February, 1983, where Dian Cohen was quoted as she tried to reduce "billions" to a comprehensible figure. She said, and I quote:

"The big race has begun. The object of the exercise is for the government of Canada ... to spend its way through $76-billion before midnight March 31, 1983. That means spending $200-million a day every day."

That is a tremendous amount of money in terms of the mismanagement of this Government in the last period of 15 years, really since the present Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) has been in charge. Government spending has been out of control. Spending has gone from $1,837 to $8,000 plus per taxpayer in that 15-year period. Per capita spending has gone from $595 per Canadian to $3,281 per Canadians; interest on the debt to the taxpayer from $215 to $1,600 plus in 1982-83; per capita, from $70 to $682. And it goes on and on.

In a most interesting column, Mr. Don McGillivray in The Gazette on February 22, 1983 tried to define "What's a billion?" He prefaced his remarks by saying that if you had to spend $100 an hour, and you spent that sum for a 16-hour day, taking, 1 believe, Sundays off, you were into the situation that even at that pace, with two weeks' annual vacation, you would be spending only $480,000 a year. On that basis, how long would it take to spend a billion? The answer is, and I quote from the article:

The answer is that it would take about 2,083 years to spend $1 billion. In other words, you would have had to start before the birth of Christ, when the Roman Empire was just beginning under Augustus.

You would have spent about half your billion dollars by the time William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066. When Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492 you would be about three-quarters done. By the time the United States declared independence from Britain in 1776, you would have only about one sixth of the billion left to spend.

Canada's Confederation in 1867 would find you with less than 10 per cent of the money still on hand.

That is just for one billion, Mr. Speaker. He has some other interesting cogitations as to spending an $80 billion or $90 billion budget which, in effect, is close to our estimated budget, but I have no time in this ten-minute abbreviated form of debate to delve into that. We are talking in Bill C-143 of $19 billion. As the Hon. Member for Kingston and the Islands (Miss MacDonald), among others, has said, this is the largest borrowing Bill ever asked by any Government and is just another reflection of the Government's arrogance toward the Canadian people. If it takes that length of time to spend $1 billion, a little over 2,000 years, you are almost back in the days of the caveman, 38,000 years ago, with the $19 billion.

I have tried quickly to give some human dimension to the spending of this Government. All too quickly, with this ten-minute rule, I have tried to put this Government's massive spending into some comprehensible perspective, even though

February 28, 1983

Borrowing Authority

this borrowing Bill for $19 billion is completely without precedent for unknown expenditures in programs still not defined. Sadly, however, there is more than economic bankruptcy in the Government's spending plans, and if this were private industry we would be bankrupt. We never could get the loan from a bank unless we could project what the revenues were and what we were going to do with the money. There is not only economic bankruptcy here, there is a moral bankruptcy in the conduct of this Government. I say sadly, Mr. Speaker, that when a man of principle perverts principle to protect his person, he flies in the face of biblical admonition and is as blind as the emperor who had no clothes. The mightier the man, the more profound the insult. When men of personal honour are blind to public wrong, that does not remove the mote of morality which must govern public affairs. It just again shows that our temporal leaders have feet of clay and do harm to the system if they stay. Who cares if the Minister can balance the books if he cannot be believed? Public trust and the parliamentary system are more important than any one person, and it is indeed sad to see the perverted defence of one diminish the other. A resignation does not confirm the self-inflicted insinuation of personal wrongdoing, but it does admit a public duty higher than self. Why else do we have guidelines?

Ego and purity of spirit can be no substitute for a sense of public responsibility in our form of democratic Government. Lord Carrington did not fire a shot, Sharon did not personally open the gates of the refugees, but both had a public duty to be responsible for their ministerial acts or omissions. And it should be so here. There is no smear about a conflict of interest, no innuendo about wrong, but a very definite statement that through ignorance, inadvertence, or by design, the Government's own conflict of interest guidelines were broken.

If the guidelines have any meaning at all, and the Government has any credibility, something has to give. By the very nature of conflict of interest guidelines and maintaining public trust in Government, there is not only damage done, but there is an insult to that public trust if nothing happens. If a Government is going to ignore its own guidelines and thus has no credibility with its own defined standard of morality, how can the public believe it on more mundane matters of Government like tax policy, budgets and job creation? That is why the Gillespie matter is so acute. It strikes at the very foundation of Government and no number of billions, borrowed or otherwise, will change that fact.

To restore confidence to the parliamentary system, which is far more important than transitory parliamentary kudos in debate, the Minister has to resign, thereby admitting the public wrong and removing the present private doubt about the Minister's integrity and character. Ironically, and for some sadly, it has been the Government's reaction to the issue which has created doubts in the minds of many where before no doubt existed. The Opposition did not create the "Mickey" connection and only the Government can correct it. A public move may restore personal respect but no move at all creates a

cancer of disbelief which will continue to sicken the system and stigmatize the Minister. If the Government fails to move, even more Canadians will believe that the only pervading guideline of this Government is not what you can do for your country but what your country can do for you.

SO)

That sad standard, Mr. Speaker, makes the Minister's resignation imperative and makes the issue even more important than the billions asked for in a blank cheque through Bill C-143.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

David Kilgour

Progressive Conservative

Mr. David Kilgour (Edmonton-Strathcona):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in favour of the amendment to Bill C-143, the borrowing Bill in the amount of $19 billion.

Ten minutes is a short time to speak. To start, I should like to give a different perspective on how much $19 billion really is to most Canadians. I have worked it out this way, Mr. Speaker, and this may make things a little more clear. If you, sir, gave your wife $1 million and told her to spend $1,000 every day and come back when it was all gone, she would return in approximately three years.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

Derek Nigel Ernest Blackburn

New Democratic Party

Mr. Blackburn:

She would never come back!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

David Kilgour

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Kilgour:

If you gave her $1 billion and told her to spend $1,000 a day she would return a good deal older and broke in about 2,740 years. So by my arithmetic, spending $19 billion at $1,000 a day would take her 52,060 years.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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?

An Hon. Member:

You don't know my wife!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

David Kilgour

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Kilgour:

That represents a lot of shopping and a lot of years to finance part of one year's federal deficit. In that sense, the $163 billion now in total federal Government debts is an invisible mortgage on our future, on our children and, as someone said, on our grandchildren.

At the moment it is especially important because it vastly reduces the Government's ability to deal with the acute problem of unemployment. As the economist Richard Lipsey pointed out, "you can expect a deficit in a recession and to balance a budget every year is a recipe for disaster." He went on to point out, however, that it is not the existence of the deficit but the fear that the Government has lost control of spending that is the issue. He added that the goal should be to balance the budget over the course of the business cycle, not to balance it every year.

I see that there are seven Liberals present, Mr. Speaker, so through you may I speak to the approximately two million unemployed Canadians about why we have gone so wrong and how we can get things back on track.

The City of Edmonton is supposed to be a mecca of good employment prospects, but I learned last week that 52,000 people are drawing Unemployment Insurance benefits while there are only 1,000 jobs available at the four Manpower offices. I do not know what it is like in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax or Ottawa. I can only shudder when I think of that. Most people think that Edmonton is doing well economically.

February 28, 1983

Why is it that Canada is doing so much worse than other countries? When I last checked the unemployment rate in West Germany it was 8 per cent, in Japan it was 2 per cent and in Switzerland it was .4 per cent. According to Euromoney, last year we were in 55th place out of 81 countries in terms of economic performance and 24th out of 24 OECD countries.

One of the reasons for this, Mr. Speaker, is that the Government has soured the entrepreneurial atmosphere in the country. More investment money flowed out of Canada in 1981 than ever before in our history. Some SI0.3 billion of direct investment left Canada, about half of it due to Canadians taking their money out of the country and the other half due to foreigners taking their money out. Those billions of dollars represent how many lost jobs?

As the billions fled the country, the Bank of Canada resolved to try to keep interest rates above those in the United States on the theory that this would attract foreign money to this country. They tried to keep the dollar at about 80 cents U.S. How many bankruptcies were caused by sky-high interest rates in this country in the last 18 months? How many houses and apartment buildings were not built because of the interest rate policy? In my view, Mr. Speaker, the interest rates we have experienced have killed thousands and thousands of jobs and businesses in the country.

Tax levels are now a major drag on our economic growth. In British Columbia the average family earned $29,201 in 1982 and paid 41 per cent of $12,114 in taxes, made up of $4,055 for income tax, $1,755 for social security, pension, medical and hospital taxes, $1,683 for sales taxes and $1,218 for property taxes and so on. The average Canadian now spends more on taxes than on food, clothing and shelter combined. The 1981 budget did not help the situation by increasing taxes by about $1.6 billion. That is not the way to lift the economy out of the pits.

The national energy policy, which was primarily designed to serve political and not economic objectives, helped push Canada into a recession. Megaprojects such as the Alsands and countless smaller projects died. The program brought in new taxes. As an example, the petrochemical industry in Alberta had ten or eleven natural gas based projects planned, but now all have been postponed, retarded or cancelled because of the new natural gas taxes imposed in the National Energy Program. Today one of the existing plants is building an expansion facility in New Zealand while Alberta is practically bursting with natural gas.

The Government is perceived by many foreigners to be hostile to overseas investment because of FIRA. Just the other day I was on a plane with a person active in the office equipment business. He told me that he wanted to start doing business in Canada and would create 125 new jobs. It cost him $15,000 in legal fees and took three months to get through FIRA. It took only two weeks, however, to get started in West Germany and about the same in Australia and the United Kingdom. He persevered, but how many investors have not

Borrowing Authority

persevered to create new jobs because of the obstacles put up by FIRA?

One of the recent budgets reduced the first-year capital cost allowance at a time when all companies are short of cash flow, especially small businesses. Who knows how many small businesses did not expand or laid people off. It is like garroting a golden goose, small business being the goose that creates most of our new jobs.

The Government has soured our relationships with our closest trading partner through the NEP and FIRA. Last year 50 bills before the U.S. Congress directly or indirectly involved trade retaliation against this country. The problem is how to get out of this situation. It is obvious that the Government has cut the economy with a thousand cuts and is not going to get us out of it.

In closing, I should like to refer to Professor Lipsey again, Mr. Speaker. Last summer he said that Canada should rejoin the international business community, restore confidence both domestically and internationally, and that economic nationalism is something that we cannot afford. 1 heartily agree with him, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Geoffrey Douglas Scott

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Geoff Scott (Hamilton-Wentworth):

Mr. Speaker, let me enter this debate by asking you a hypothetical question. Let us suppose that I could be instantaneously transported from my place here in the House of Commons to Ryckman's Corners at No. 53 Highway on the Mountain, or along Wilson Street in Ancaster, or to market Square in Dundas, or to the Village Fish'N'Chips Coffee Shop in Waterdown, or to the Carlysle General Store, or to the Freelton Post Office, or to the main streets and intersections of Binbrook or Sheffield or Rockton or Mount Hope, or any one of the 50 communities I represent in Hamilton-Wentworth. Let us suppose I could speak right now to anyone in my riding, or I could talk to my parents out in Vancouver, and say: "I am at this very moment representing you in the House of Commons on a Bill which authorizes the Government of Canada to borrow 19 billion more dollars to meet its spending requirements".

I do not have to imagine what responses my constituents would give to that statement. At the very least they would be exceedingly unparliamentary. Let us suppose that their answers would run along the lines of: "What? In Heaven's name, why do they need another $19 billion? Has this Government not spent enough of our money? Why do they need another $19 billion for this"-expletive deleted-"Government? Don't let them get away with it!"

I am speaking today to denounce in the strongest possible terms the granting of an unprecedented amount of money to pay unspecified bills for programs which are not yet clearly identified. The $19 billion which the Government seeks to borrow is an astonishing admission that this Liberal administration is bankrupt. It is bankrupt in terms of revenue. It is bankrupt in terms of ideas and policies. It is bankrupt in terms of moral authority to impose this kind of burden on the Canadian taxpayer.

February 28, 1983

Borrowing Authority

This Government can only borrow and borrow and borrow, to spend and spend and spend even more. Ottawa's big spenders have determined that it will take $89 billion-that is "b" as in "boondoggle"- to run this country.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Blenkarn:

That is just a preliminary estimate.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Geoffrey Douglas Scott

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Scott (Hamilton-Wentworth):

As my colleague points out, that is just a preliminary estimate. Have you any idea, Mr. Speaker, what $89 billion means in terms that we laymen can understand? Breaking it down into $1 bills, let me cite a fascinating analysis which appeared in the Toronto Star by Jim Emmerson on how far $89 billion really can go. Given that folks have troubles with Air Canada's seat sales these days, why not own your own Boeing 747 jumbo jet? Boeing in Seattle says that it will fit you out with a sporty model that Air Canada flies for around $94 billion. That means Canada's $89 billion budget could buy an armada of 950 Boeing jumbo jets, sporty configuration.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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?

An Hon. Member:

That is not enough for the Cabinet.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Geoffrey Douglas Scott

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Scott (Hamilton-Wentworth):

No, they do not have that many Cabinet Ministers yet. One of my colleagues says that that is not enough for the Cabinet. They only have 40 or 50 Ministers over there, so they would only need 40 or 50 Boeing jumbo jets. If you are a white-knuckle flyer, how about ground transportation by Rolls-Royce? How about a cozy little Rolls-Royce Corniche at a measly $230,000 a copy? The $89 billion spending plan of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) would get you roughly 356,000 Rolls-Royces. The list goes on. Mr. Speaker, you can make up your own examples of how far an $89 billion spending budget might go.

Borrow, spend; borrow, spend; borrow, spend: that is the B-S principle, and we Canadians have had enough B-S from this Government without having to approve this Bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1982-83 (NO. 3) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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February 28, 1983