May 10, 1983

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH


The House resumed from Thursday, May 5, 1983, consideration of the motion of Mr. Cosgrove that Bill C-151, an Act to provide supplementary borrowing authority, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs.


PC

Dave Nickerson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dave Nickerson (Western Arctic):

Mr. Speaker, I have in my desk here a number of speeches; one on Bill C-151 is among them. There is also a very interesting speech on taxation as it relates to mining that I had hoped I would have been able to give yesterday, but because of the antics of the New Democratic Party, that was not to be. I look forward to delivering that dissertation in the very near future. We in this Party feel the plight of the many thousands of unemployed mine workers deserves debate in this House, and we were shocked to see the antics of the NDP yesterday.

In Bill C-151, the new borrowing authority Bill, an amount of $14.7 billion is requested by the Government. This is the item of debate today.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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?

An Hon. Member:

Let them eat crow.

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PC

Dave Nickerson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nickerson:

I will read out the number of borrowing Bills which have gone through in the present session of Parliament: Bill C-30, Bill C-59, Bill C-lll, Bill C-125, Bill C-128, Bill C-143, and now we have Bill C-151. If I ask what connected these Bills, what they all had in common, the answer would be pretty obvious. They are all attempts by the Government of Canada to seek the authority of Parliament to borrow yet more and more funds. In one fiscal year alone, in 1982 to 1983, it came back no less than four times to Parliament to borrow yet more money.

What is the financial policy of the Government? It seems to be that whatever it has in the kitty or in the public treasury is just thrown to the four winds. It has just thrown it away, dissipated it. The Government knows it can come back to Parliament for more borrowing authority to borrow more money, and away we go on the same treadmill. Is that the financial policy of the Government, that it just does not care or has no sense of fiscal or financial responsibility? It just comes

back to Parliament time after time after time. Or is there a different reason? Is it just incompetence and poor management on its part? Is it unable to project the financial requirements of the Government of Canada? I would not have thought so. We have a great deal of expertise within the Department of Finance. We should have people there who can add, subtract and project what will be the amount of money the Government intends to spend over the next six months or over the next year. Surely they can project what will be the revenues of Government over a specific period. By simple arithmetic they can determine what amount of borrowing will be necessary.

This does not seem to take place. Perhaps one reason is the secret projections which are undoubtedly made that show the financial requirements of the Government to be so great and so vast that it dare not come to Parliament and ask for the full amount of money it knows it will need for a certain fiscal period because it would be too much for a public battered with such requests. So it comes back bit by bit. It asks for $5 billion, it comes back and asks for $10 billion, then it comes back and asks for another $15 billion, and on and on it goes.

Let us do a little simple arithmetic and find out what are the financial requirements of the Government of Canada at the present time. Its last borrowing Bill, Bill C-143, was divided into two parts-a $5 billion borrowing authority for 1982-83 and a $14 billion authority for 1983-84. This gave the Government a $2 billion carryover from one fiscal period to the next and $14 billion for the 1983-84 fiscal year. At present, without the passage of Bill C-151, the total borrowing authority on the books amounts to $16 billion.

If we look at the budget figures presented by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) in conjunction with his budget on April 19, we find that the financial requirement there is some $26.7 billion. If you subtract from that the $16 billion of borrowing authority you end up with an actually needed requirement of some $10.7 billion, judging from the Government's own figures. That is the amount of money the Government will require to borrow during the current Fiscal year. Why, then, when we look at Bill C-151, do we find the figure of $14.7 billion, a nice round $4 billion more than is actually required?

I have no hesitation in telling you, Sir, that had the Government come forward with the Bill to borrow the $10.7 billion, we on this side, knowing that there is no way we can turn the clock back, would have been prepared to grant that authority reasonably expeditiously. Why are we as Parliamentarians and

May 10, 1983

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representatives of the people of Canada being asked to vote the Government what amounts to a $4 billion slush fund, which is what it is going to be?

The strategy becomes clear. We heard in the presentation of the Minister of Finance his plan to come forward with some 100 or 200 capital projects, but he would give no details. What we have in the offing is one of the greatest pork barrel operations in the history of the Liberal Party. You know, Sir, as well as I do that they have had some in their time, but this is going to be the greatest. This is going to be a $4 billion pork barrel operation. We are going to be faced with the spectacle of Liberal Cabinet Ministers traversing the country from one end to the other, shovelling out dollars in an attempt to buy votes for the next election. It is an act of desperation.

We can already see this happening. As an illustration, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Munro), who was here in his place a few minutes ago, a week or so ago took the Government JetStar, flew to Whitehorse and chartered a plane from there, at great expense to the taxpayer, to go to Faro to make an announcement. It was not necessary for him to go there; he has offices in Whitehorse. The announcement could have been made by officials in his Department. It was an exercise in publicity. That is what the Liberals are after; they are trying to get political credit for something of which they are not worthy.

Just yesterday the same Minister was in Port Dover, Ontario. Even if it can be said that he had a legitimate reason to go to the Yukon, being the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, he had no real business whatsoever going to Port Dover to announce a $2 million project, financed presumably out of the illicit proceeds of this Bill. He made the announcement in the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk for strictly political reasons. Unprecedented.

I understand the same Minister is today on a similar pork barrel trip to the riding of Western Arctic where he is going to make some announcements which just could as easily be made in Ottawa.

Let us look at the use of some of those funds that the Government allocated in order to buy votes for the Liberal Party. Look at the water bomber fiasco. We are going to buy a bunch of those things at $6 million each. Two will go to my riding. I know the forestry people there pretty well and they have never asked for a water bomber of that type. They have a pretty good system now. The fire season is only two or three months a year and they can hire on contract Canadian firms with expertise in water bombing. At other times of the year these bombers can find employment in other places in Canada or South America. They did not ask for Canadair water bombers; they were forced on them. This is just a mechanism to show that the Government is spending money but it has no real reason attached to it. There is a good deal of doubt about the efficiency of that type of aircraft operating in those areas. We do not know what they are going to be doing for the

balance of the year; they will probably be sitting on a runway doing absolutely nothing for nine months of the year.

The $14.7 billion that the Government wants to borrow under the authority of Bill C-151 is by no means the total amount it will seek from the capital markets of Canada or abroad. There will also be considerable borrowing by Crown corporations and we do not know what that will be. We might be able to forecast the increased interest rates that businessmen and home owners will have to pay as a result of the Government borrowing this $14.7 billion, but we do not know the requirements of the 300 or 400 federal Crown corporations.

I want to emphasize the point made to Parliament by the Auditor General, who suggested it was high time that Parliament regained some control over the financial affairs of Crown corporations. At the present time they operate in the dark and are hidden from public scrutiny.

When we look at the projections made in the statement of the Minister of Finance on April 19, we find one reason why the Government may be asking for $14 billion more. A number of people, including myself, have suggested that the revenue figures included in the budget are suspect. They may be a little higher than the Minister can really expect. They are predicated on an increase in the Gross National Product that may or may not take place this year. Even if it does, there is always a lag between an increase in the general wealth of the country and the increase that comes as a result of that in the form of public revenue. Profits will not be recorded for some time and taxes payable with respect to those profits, especially because of the carry over provisions of the new budget, will not catch up for some time.

We also predict that there will be high unemployment in Canada for some time to come which will necessitate payment of Unemployment Insurance benefits in excess of those covered by the premiums collected. There will also be a decline in revenues from income tax from those people who are not employed.

I suspect the figures contained in the speech were put there to make the Government look good when it knows that it is being overoptimistic and will have to use some of that $4 billion excess borrowing authority to make up for the loss in revenue which will be lower than was predicted in the budget documents.

I want to take a quick look into the financial future of Canada, Mr. Speaker, our future over the four-year term as expressed by the Minister of Finance in his budget speech. Using his figures the projected cumulative deficit in the next four years will be $112 billion. The interest payable over that term will be not less than $77 billion. This, Sir, is what the Minister of Finance predicts or promises and, evidently, it is his most optimistic scenario. But what will happen if times are not quite as good as he imagines? This has happened several times in the past when Government has come in with projections which have later been found not to be reliable.

May 10, 1983

It is, Sir, a bleak financial future indeed for Canada which we are promised with this type of irresponsible fiscal financial policy. If one looks at the series of budget statements over the years, going back more or less over the lifetime of the present Government, one finds that in each statement we are told the Government is going to run a bigger deficit than the year before. It is going to be $5 billion or $10 billion more, or whatever, but after that it is going to start coming down. The deficit will decrease and we will have our affairs in order. That is what Government says at point one. One year later, at point two, it says exactly the same thing. The deficit has not started to come down; it has gone up even more. It is like the drug addict who says: "One more last hit and I will quit". But it never happens.

I believe the only solution to the problems of excessive borrowing and excessive deficits is to quit now. It can be done. We started in 1979 with the Crosbie budget which at that time showed the way. We installed at that time the envelope system which makes it easier than before to adopt policies of financial restraint. We have to cut our unnecessary expenditures now. That is always difficult to do for politicians. I know, but we have to take the bull by the horns and start cutting out some of the unnecessary expenditures. It is also important to undertake measures which will increase the wealth of this nation and thereby increase the public revenues. I believe that is the key to solving our financial problems. We must adopt policies which will allow people to have confidence in Canada, to invest in Canada, thereby creating jobs and increasing the public revenues.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the public of Canada has given up hope and lost confidence in the present Liberal Government and I look forward to the period following the next election when we on this side will be in a position to adopt those policies which are designed to increase confidence in this nation and to put its financial affairs in order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

Questions, comments? Debate.

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nelson A. Riis (Kamloops-Shuswap):

Mr. Speaker, I must say that I listened with interest to the previous speaker. I agree with many of the points which he raised today. I agree that we find ourselves today at the crossroads, at a turning point in Canadian history, Mr. Speaker.

The Government has once again brought before this House a Bill, namely C-151, for authority to borrow $14.7 billion to assist in the financing of the Government's affairs for this particular fiscal year. There is a mystery in this particular request because the Government asks for $4 billion more than it requires. This is not a claim by a Member of the Opposition; the Government, in its own fiscal requirements as laid out in the Estimates and as articulated in the House of Commons on a number of occasions, is now asking for a sum of $4 billion more than it requires. What kind of a signal, Mr. Speaker, does that send out to the people of Canada?

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Let us describe for a moment or two the plight faced today by a typical Canadian citizen, whether working in a bank, developing a farm or a ranch, whether a fisherman, a logger or factory worker. The typical Canadian today, Mr. Speaker, is struggling to survive. He or she is worried about the future, particularly about the future for their children and grandchildren. Why? Because there is no clear picture of what lies ahead in this country even for the next year or two.

We read with interest that a number of agencies have attempted to predict the economic future of our country. They are only predicting a number of months in advance; that is all they are prepared to do considering the state of our economy and our financial world. Some of these houses, such as Midland Doherty, are suggesting that there is some reason for optimism over the next number of months, but they are unable to see what is going to happen in 1984 and 1985 with any clarity. Will this slow beginning of a recovery be maintained over the next number of years? That is the question they are asking and that is certainly the question many Canadians are asking themselves today. In other words, what does the future of this country hold for them and their children? There is in our country today an element of fear based on the uncertainty which exists in this country.

I believe that what frustrates people, Mr. Speaker, is not that there is a sense of insecurity, an element of fear; what frustrates people is that there is no need for this. We are not a developing country in the traditional definition of that term. We are not upset by political instability as are many of the military dictatorships around the world. We are not torn to pieces through various racial or religious differences. By almost any definition we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of natural and human resources and available capital. The fact is that we do not have most of the problems faced by other countries around the world today. We are not suffering from internal strife or violent political upheaval.

We have in this country, Mr. Speaker, more advantages than any other country in the world, yet we are falling on our face. That is what frustrates the people of this country. They do not understand why it is that with all of these advantages we cannot develop in any particular direction. We do not have a Government which is providing any particular leadership.

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PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

They went too socialist; that is their problem.

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

My friend the Hon. Member for York-Peel (Mr. Stevens) suggests that the Government has gone too socialist. What we have is a Government which has no vision of the future of this country.

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PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

That's all part of socialism.

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

It is not prepared to provide any leadership, which a federal Government ought to be providing. It is simply allowing the regions of this country to blunder on, telling them just to go ahead as best they can, without any particular

May 10, 1983

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direction, just building on the resources, strength and riches which we have all come to appreciate. In these times that is no longer good enough.

I want to comment on a couple of sectors of our economy which, by and large, have been overlooked in the last number of weeks. I listened with interest when the budget was brought down, when many business groups said they were very pleased with it. It was said that this was a probusiness budget which would assist the business community of Canada. I listened as Members of the Government rose in their seats here and in other forums and indicated that this budget would assist business across our country.

What has become clear, now that the smoke has cleared from the budget, is that the Government included very little to assist small-sized and medium-sized businesses in this country. I will admit that there are certainly some features in the past budget which successful corporations, those doing exceptionally well these days, those with positive profit and loss statements, find to be very attractive. However, for a typical medium-sized or small-sized business operating in Canada today, which is struggling to survive, simply to maintain the status quo, the budget contains virtually nothing which will be of assistance.

I believe that the business community of Canada today is just waking up to the fact that it has been used as a fall guy. Those in the business community were called upon to support a budget to create a positive response across the country, and they did that. They now realize that they were conned and used, and that in fact the small entrepreneurs, the small businesses and the medium-sized businesses in Canada are no better off today as a result of the budget than they were earlier.

That is a sad comment, because if there was one fact that the House of Commons recognized over the last number of months, it was that the answer to our problems in Canada will not be provided by the large corporations because if their massive bureaucracy and their inability to move quickly to take advantage of these changing economic times.

What has become clear over the last number of months is that our economy is in a state of transition. Our economy fell down over the last two and one half years, but as it begins to rebound in different places a new economy of Canada is emerging. The firms which will be able to take advantage of the new and changing world are not the large, traditional corporations but, rather, the small-sized and medium-sized businesses. They are the organizations which are able to move quickly. They are able to dodge and twist and take advantage of the new technologies and new marketing programs. They are able to take advantage of new sources of capital and are able to risk moving very quickly into new areas in response to the changing economy of our country.

This is the group of firms which will be providing the jobs for Canadians in the future. These are the firms which will be providing the real research and development that we need. These are the firms which will be developing the locally based economies which are sensitive not only to the regions of Canada but also to the neighbourhoods of Canada. It is the

small business community which is now best able to reflect the aspirations of Canadians as they become localized into their own communities and their own subregions of Canada. The budget contains nothing for those particular firms. It contains nothing for the individual who wishes to launch a small business to take advantage of a local resource or to cater to a local market.

One must wonder what it is that Hon. Members of the Government are using for their policy making. What sources of information are they using for their policies, for their programs, for the positions which they take within the budget framework? There has been no suggestion in anything I have read nor from any group to which I have spoken that the route to go is to cater to the large corporations and, by and large, ignore the small business sector. It has been quite the contrary. The dynamic business community of Canada in the future will be the small-sized and medium-sized businesses. Yet those are the sectors which have been overlooked in the budget.

In considering Bill C-151, asking authority for $14.7 billion of further borrowing, the other question which comes to mind is: What will the extra $4 billion be used for? What becomes very clear is that we are moving into a pre-election time. It is to the Government's advantage to have a contingency fund, a slush fund which can be drawn upon for buying votes from the Canadian Public. I hate even to suggest that that is something which the Government may be contemplating; but again, until we hear the Government clearly explain why it has requested an extra $4 billion slush fund, I think we on this side of the House must assume the worst. We must assume that the Government will be using $4 billion of taxpayers' money to buy votes in selected constituencies across the country.

Certain constituencies may wish sports or riding arenas, swimming pools, youth centres, halfway houses, ports, docks, marinas and the like. There will be funds for the Government to use in an effort to buy favours in those particular constituencies, either to shore up existing Liberal Members or in the hope of pulling the Liberal vote from existing Conservative or New Democratic Party constituencies.

I would ask Members of the Liberal Party, as they rise to debate the borrowing authority, to explain why it is the Government must borrow an extra $4 billion beyond its fiscal requirements. Explain that request to the people of Canada who are having a difficult time simply meeting their basic needs today. The people of Canada are surely not going out and borrowing extra money for contingency funds. They will be quite satisfied simply to borrow what they possibly can, considering the way the banks have been responding in the last number of months.

I want to propose two elements in the borrowing authority debate which have come to my attention over the last number of months and which I think should be placed on the record. They involve a certain kind of behaviour on the part of Canadian chartered banks which I think we ought to examine carefully. I want to qualify my remarks by first saying that I do not believe these are banking policies. I suspect that if

May 10, 1983

senior members of the banking establishment in Canada knew that those practice were going on, they would stop them immediately.

[DOT] (U40)

As 1 have travelled across the country and spoken to people about their banking problems, I would say that two very insidious types of behaviour have come to my attention. The first is that many small businesses end up paying an extra amount for the money that they are borrowing today. This does not relate to excessive interest rate charges, which are beyond their control since they are unable to obtain any assistance under the Small Business Development Bond. I am talking about the small business person who, in order to obtain a loan for $100,000, for example, will have to borrow $110,000 and pay back to the bank the equivalent of borrowing $110,000 for the $100,000. In other words, there is a bonus clause for the bank built into the loan which is, in a sense, a rake-off from the top of the amount the small business person is attempting to borrow.

An even more disturbing fact I have learned from the people I have talked to in the last two or three months is that in order to have a loans officer consider their application, they have had to provide that individual with a ticket to Las Vegas or a two-week holiday for the individual and his or her spouse to Hawaii or the Caribbean. In other words, some Canadians are beginning to behave in a way for which we have criticized people in other countries for taking a bribe or a rake-off. This has become a way of life for many small businesses in Canada and I think it must be exposed. We must expose incidents when small businesses are asked not only to provide a gift to the loans officers but to pay for a bonus clause on their loan above and beyond what they requested. As I said in my example, if many small businesses in this country today want to borrow $100,000 they have to borrow $110,000 while receiving only $100,000 for that $110,000 loan. This situation is becoming relatively frequent in the borrowing practices in our country.

There are many examples that could be cited today of the Government's lack of direction or policy, such as in agriculture, tourism, the small business sector, fishing, manufacturing and even in the high-tech industries. What is the Government's policy in terms of high technology? What industries is it particularly interested in encouraging in the high-tech areas? There are many unanswered questions and they are the result of a lack of direction on the part of the Government. They are the result of a Government providing no leadership to a country that is desperately in search of strong leadership to show where the country is headed.

When one travels across Canada today and asks people in rural villages, in cities and metropolitan areas where the Government is taking the country and what path it is following in terms of our economy, they cannot respond intelligently because no direction is being provided. The Government of Canada has set aside its responsibility of providing leadership and has decided instead simply to buy off Canadians. While I

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hesitate to use that particular term, one can see how money is being spent today where certain regions of Canada are being catered to and certain parts of our country are receiving support and encouragement simply in a shoring up effort for their economy while there is no direction or leadership for the country as a whole.

In closing, perhaps it is time to say that in the pre-election period, as the Government recognizes that it has to pull off a miracle if it is not to be replaced, perhaps it will start providing some leadership to the country. If it does not, the people of Canada will ask the Government to step aside and permit a Party that has a vision of this country and an idea of what this country could be to be given that opportunity.

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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

Questions and comments? Debate.

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PC

Joseph Lloyd Reid

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Joe Reid (St. Catharines):

Mr. Speaker, for the seventh time this session we are debating a borrowing Bill. That fact, along with the budget mania that we have experienced over the last 18 months, speaks volumes for how inept and incompetent this Government really has become. There is no longer any purpose, as the previous Hon. Member just said, to be found on the Government benches; nor is there any direction or leadership. The Members across the floor simply show up and vote, as we just witnessed today, without ever wondering or questioning the intertia in their own Government's front benches.

Today the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) is looking for an additional $14.7 billion. The Minister claims that this is a reasonable request. Let us look at the record. Eleven months ago the Minister wanted $6.6 billion; nine months ago he wanted $11 billion; six months ago he only wanted $4 billion and just two months ago he wanted $19 billion. In less than 12 months, including today's request, the Minister of Finance will have asked this Parliament to approve $55.3 billion in borrowing authority.

This is only one side of the story. The other side is made up of four budgets that have created the uncertainty and demonstrated the Government's lack of leadership, direction and clearly its incompetence.

The June, 1982 budget tore up the foundations of the November, 1981 budget; the October, 1982 budget did the same with respect to that June budget; and the budget in April, 1983 threw away the October, 1982 budget. The only consistent theme that ran through all of those budgets was the one item, "Borrow, borrow and continue to borrow".

We in the Opposition do not have the numbers to prevent the Government from borrowing that additional sum of money or to prevent it from taking us down the road to a debtor's prison. What we can do and what becomes obligatory for us to do as Members of Parliament is to point out to Canadians the impact that these borrowing bills will have on Canadians across the country and the reasons they have come about. Canadians will certainly have the numbers in the next election to put a halt to this fiscal irresponsibility and disaster.

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Bill C-151, the legislation before us today, seeks borrowing authority of $14.7 billion. This is in addition to the $16 billion that the Government presently has in borrowing authority. The Government will be able to have a borrowing authority total of $30 billion during this fiscal year. But what has the Minister of Finance said as to his requirements? He has pointed out that all the Government will require is to borrow $26.7 billion during this fiscal year.

Let us re-examine those numbers because they do not add up. If according to the Minister of Finance the Government needs $26.7 billion, and it already has a borrowing authority of $16 billion, it might only need an additional $10.7 billion. But that is not what this borrowing Bill is requesting: the Government wants $14.7 billion. That is $4 billion more than is required, according to the Minister of Finance, and is a cushion. For what? For Liberal pork-barrelling. In other words, the Government is looking for a $4 billion slush fund to be used at its discretion as we approach an election year.

That amount, $4 billion, the excess over what the Minister of Finance states he requires, will allow the Government to spend $400 on every taxpayer in Canada. As most taxpayers are voters we might be looking at about ten million votes. It is the ultimate absurdity to spend the taxpayers' own money to buy their votes. Having already squandered the taxpayers' money, the Government now proposes to borrow more money to get their votes and will let future generations pay the bill.

I doubt that ploy or scam will work any longer. Most Members of Parliament send reports home giving our constituency offices a bird's eye view of what happens on the Hill. In the last report I pointed out that the gross national debt will likely exceed $200 billion by the end of 1984. It is already in the neighbourhood of $160 billion and is one of the highest per capita national debts in the western world. The response of my constituents was immediate and indignant. Constituent after constituent wrote to me asking how such a financial burden could get out of hand. They wanted further explanations. A number of constituents pointed out that it was time the party came to an end. They said surely by now the party must be over. I want to extend the use of the word "party" to include the Liberal Party.

The Government contends that a deficit is necessary because of the automatic stabilization that is required during these difficult economic times. No one will argue about that as a principle or a theory particularly, but what we do argue, Mr. Speaker, is that deficit financing has become a way of life for this Government, both in good times and in bad. The Liberal Party has not brought in a balanced budget since the 19691970 fiscal year. Government Members down play this deficit financing by saying that what is past is past; let it be forgotten; we are looking to the future. Fair enough, except the kind of spending habit this Government has developed is hard to break. This habit has become particularly expensive for Canadians, in fact too expensive to bear. Canadians can no longer afford a Liberal Government.

Social programs are necessary, we all recognize that. In certain instances they must be approved. But Government has

the responsibility of keeping a fair balance and maintaining it. If spending is up in one area, every effort should be made to find ways and means to reduce spending elsewhere. That effort is not present now nor has it been for the past several years, and Bill C-151 is just further evidence of that fact.

I want to take a few moments to put before the House some comments with respect to Bill C-151 in the context of my home riding of St. Catharines and with respect to the Niagara region generally. All too often Canadians tend to throw up their hands in despair and frustration when you mention sums such as $1 billion. We cannot afford that, people say. They tell us they do not know what it means.

I will refer to St. Catharines and the Niagara region and try to put some meaning to the billions of dollars that we are talking about today. St. Catharines, the garden city, has a population of 125,000 ordinary people. In just 11 days our area will be hosting the Fifteenth Annual Folk Arts Festival, which is one of the finest examples of multiculturalism at work anywhere in Canada. Assuming I had $14.7 billion to spend, I could give to each one of the 34 cultural groups participating in the Folk Arts Festival a cheque for $432 million. Or if I wanted to put an ad in the St. Catharines Standard, an ad that would be bound to get recognition-I do not know what else but it would certainly generate a good deal of interest-I could promise $115,000 to every man, woman and child from St. Catharines who showed up at the Queen's Festival Ball. I would have enough money left over to buy each person in attendance a tuxedo or evening gown.

However, let us examine placing this sum of money in the Niagara region. People like to talk about the Niagara region generally rather than one of the five constituencies within it. We in Niagara were recently informed following the last budget that $12.6 million was to be spent over the next two years on repair work and land improvement along the Welland Canal. That is an expenditure about $21 per person per year.

The request before us today calls for $1,167 times that $12.6 million. On a per capita basis it is equal to $49,000, not the $12.6 million that is being expended in accordance with the last budget announcement. An amount of $49,000 is what this borrowing Bill means per person in the whole of the Niagara region. Let us make no mistake about this: the people living in Niagara would have to contribute $49,000 each to raise enough money to meet this borrowing Bill. Conversely, the Government would have to spend $49,000 on every man, woman and child living in Niagara to go through the amount of $14.7 billion requested in this borrowing Bill.

There are some people who still argue that Government borrowing is not all bad. Well, wait until they are pressed to repay it. There might even be a taxpayer in St. Catharines who would believe it is all right to defer that repayment to the next generation or to the generation after that. But very few money lenders rely on repayment without interest or carrying charges. The good people of St. Catharines pay about $166 million in taxes every year now, which is an average of $3,330 per

May 10, 1983

taxpayer. Approximately $1,000 of that already goes toward paying carrying charges on our present public debt.

Assuming the Government will again use its majority to ram through this borrowing Bill, another $14.7 billion will be added to the national debt. At 10 per cent interest that will cost the taxpayers of the Niagara region an additional $1.5 billion a year to carry over the above what they are already being asked to bear.

The average taxpayer in St. Catharines can expect to see either his or her taxes go up by an additional $150 per person or see that $150 piled against the expense and the debt burden of future generations. Sooner or later this Government must realize that those bills and the carrying charges must be paid. Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the constituents of St. Catharines look forward to either result.

I made reference earlier to the allocation of $12.6 million to the Niagara region under the Special Recovery Capital Projects Program announced in the budget of the Minister of Finance, but I want to speak for a moment about Government spending. Few if any Members raise objection to the expenditure of federal funds-and this is almost natural-in their ridings: "It is all right to spend money in my riding". But there is always a question as to whether or not it should be spent somewhere else. It is my argument that spending must be reduced and that the difficulties the Niagara region has experienced over the past several years must receive some attention. This might be consistent with the axiom that it is not all right anywhere else, but I want some more money back home. The difference lies in the system and the reasons behind the expenditure of dollars. The present Government has absolutely no system, no checks and no desire to curb unnecessary expenditures.

By way of contrast, the 1979 Progressive Conservative Government established spending guidelines and was able to maintain priority programs, provide new ones and still embark upon a systematic reduction of the deficit. If one Government can do it, surely other Governments could at least try. If the Government was truly serious about assisting the Niagara region, it would recognize that $12.6 million is barely a start. Steps would be taken immediately to put the shipbuilding and automotive industries on a solid footing, and the needed expansion of the capacity of the Welland Canal would be commenced. A program of industrial development to provide long-term jobs would be put in place. Small business, upon which the country was built, would be encouraged, not discouraged. The dollars required could come from a number of sources, including the advertising budget of the Government. Jobs are the best advertising a Government can buy.

To save in one area only to spend in another is the philosophy adopted by the Government. It is far easier to keep running to Parliament for more money than to do the tedious and tiresome chore of examining current spending or saying "no" once in a while.

Borrowing Authority

One could talk about responsibility and the trust placed in Government to spend taxpayers' money wisely, but these have little meaning for a Government which is so desperately clinging to power. Every time the Gallup poll comes out, Canadians can expect another flurry of press releases announcing new Government projects costing millions or billions of dollars; new spending but no recovery program. It no longer works. Canadians are repulsed by blatant attempts to curry their favour with borrowed money. We all want to see clearly articulated programs, a clearly articulated approach to the recovery of our economy, not spending for spending's sake.

The Bill before us will provide the Government with an additional $14.7 billion to keep up its desperate spending program. It will give the Government a $4 billion slush fund upon which to launch the next general election, and it will cost the individual taxpayer an extra $150 per year in interest charges alone.

These are solid reasons why all Members should oppose this legislation and force the Government to budget responsibly. I most certainly intend to vote against Bill C-151 because I put the welfare and concerns of my constituents first.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

Questions, comments? Debate.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald W. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

Mr. Speaker, it is rather surprising today that there is not a Liberal Member in the House prepared to defend this Bill. I suppose it is not really surprising when one comes to think of it. I wonder whether you know, Mr. Speaker, how many borrowing Bills we have had in this session of Parliament. You might be able to recall some of them, but the total number is seven. This is the seventh borrowing Bill facing this session of Parliament, the seventh in just 37 months or only weeks over the three-year period. I wonder whether those who are present in the Chamber, those who are watching this debate on television or listening to it on the radio, know how much the Government has borrowed in the last three years. Would you like to guess, Mr. Speaker? No, you would not like to guess. Do the pages know? Do those in the galleries know? Do those out there in the country know?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Stan Darling

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Darling:

The Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) knows.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

I wonder whether he knows. He may not even know. To put you into your misery, Mr. Speaker, I will tell you that it is $77.3 billion in just weeks more than three years. It is difficult to believe, is it not? The Government has sought the authority to borrow $77.3 billion in this Chamber, including today's Bill. Even if it is difficult to comprehend what $77.3 billion represents, I am certain you will agree, Mr. Speaker, that it is a great deal of money. That is $77.3 billion of borrowing over and above what is collected in taxes. If you look at it another way, it is over $25 billion per year or $2 billion per month.

I suggest it would be worth while to put on record the amount of the earlier borrowing authorities and the dates upon which the Bills were given Royal Assent. I will do that because

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May 10, 1983

Borrowing Authority

it is good for the record and salutary for those who read Hansard to know what happened. The first Bill, Bill C-30, was for $12 billion. It received Royal Assent on July 17, 1980, just three months after the election and this Government reassumed office.

The second one, Bill C-59, was for $14 billion. It received Royal Assent on April 8, 1981, which was nine months later.

The third, Bill C-l 11, was for $6.6 billion. On June 17, 1982 it received Royal Assent. That was 15 months later.

The fourth, Bill C-l25, was for $7 billion. On August 14, 1982, only two months after the earlier Bill, it received Royal Assent.

The fifth, Bill C-l28, was for $4 billion and received Royal Assent on November 8, three months later.

The sixth, Bill C-l43, was for $19 billion and on March 30, or four months after the previous one, it received Royal Assent.

Now the seventh, Bill C-l51, for $14.7 billion was introduced on May 3, only two months after the previous one was given Royal Assent.

A number of my colleagues and I, as well as others around the House, have tried to put an amount such as this within the range of human comprehension-so many thousands of dollars laid end to end, going around the earth so many times, or so many Rolls-Royces at such and such a cost per vehicle, bumper to bumper, going around the world so many times.

These comparisons are on the record in Hansard and need not be repeated here. The comparison I want to make is different. One of the comparisons relates to the Bill now before us, Bill C-151, seeking authority to borrow $14.7 billion. I want to compare it with this Government's budgetary expenditures.

First, the sum for which borrowing authority is being sought today, $14.7 billion, is larger by almost $5 billion than the budgetary expenditures presented by the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) in his first Government in 1968. The Government is asking if it can borrow $5 billion more than it actually budgeted and spent in 1968. Budgetary expenditures then were $9.8 billion. This Government is asking for authority for one-third as much as it spent in 1968 with a budgetary deficit then of three-quarters of a billion dollars.

The second comparison I want to make is that budgetary expenditure by this Prime Minister's Government did not equal this borrowing authority until 1972. For the record, budgetary expenditures in 1972 were $14.8 billion, with a budgetary deficit of slightly over half a billion. That is just about the same as we are being asked to provide today.

Thp third comparison, and this is the corker, is that the total borrowing authority during this Parliament is about the same as the gross general expenditure in 1982. That is a staggering thought. This borrowing, of course, is in excess of general

revenue from the taxes you pay, Mr. Speaker, I pay, and your company pays.

This Government has spent during its 13 years in office about $200 billion. During that time it has had the unmitigated gall to seek borrowing authority for one-third of that amount, $77.3 billion. The sum of $200 billion has been spent during this Prime Minister's successive Governments.

I know the Government will say this is an unusual amount of borrowing which has been made necessary by the high rate of unemployment and inflation. That is true, but only to a certain extent. The Government cannot avoid the substantiable charge that it has been involved in a number of extravagant activities that might have better waited for more propitious times; acquisition of service industries, for example, not to mention a number of very wasteful enterprises in the advocacy advertising line as well as a number of "investments" in operations of dubious viability.

A very large proportion of these borrowed funds are wanted-not so much needed, but wanted-for these operations, many of which, aside from being dubious financially, are blatantly political. I mention only the hundreds of millions of dollars during the past two or three days for a particular region of the country and also some announcements in this morning's paper to gather in the fishing vote. I would call that hog troughing. That is probably the best expression to describe it.

So much for the magnitude and the monstrosity of what we are being asked to approve in this Bill. I would now like to turn to another consideration flowing from it and, to get to that theme, let me take the House back to October of last year when the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) was introducing his modest $4 billion borrowing Bill. On that occasion he made a comment which for me opened up an entirely new and frightening prospect in the matter of this Government's attitude toward financing its operations. As reported at page 20080 of Hansard for October 27, 1982 the Minister said:

In 1975, the Government pledged to hold federal spending to the trend rate of growth of GNP.

He then proceeded to boast about how faithful his Government had honoured that pledge, particularly, he went on, if you were to exclude the interest charges. Don't we all of us wish we could exclude interest charges on our individual debts? Wouldn't our housekeeping accounts look at lot better if we just ignored those interest charges in drawing up our balance sheet of income and outgoings, deciding on whether we can take a holiday or whether we have to sell off a piece of property we had hoped to hold for our retirement years. Wouldn't it be wonderful if only we could, and here is a Government that claims it can ignore its interest charges!

I find statements knocked off like that by a Minister in the middle of a prepared speech tell me volumes about what goes on inside the minds of this Government and its little helpers. "If only we could disregard the interest charges, our record would be fine". Whose wouldn't? Our children and our children's children would undoubtedly like to disregard the

May 10, 1983

debt load being built up for them today and during this Government's term of office.

I have a message for the Minister of Finance. He may not know what interest charges are. I would like to tell him. I will bet any money that his grandchildren will tell him as well. In my dictionary, interest charges are the cost of borrowing money this year to pay for last year's excess spending, perhaps even some of this year's excess spending.

Let us just bear that in mind and look at this Government's record again. It provided tables in the budget document entitled "The Fiscal Plan". At page 61, presumably "expenditures" are considered as total outlays including interest charges on the outstanding debt. I have selectively chosen a few expenditures. Here is what Table B.5 has to say. In 196869 total outlays represented 17.8 per cent of the GNP, in 1976-77 21.1 per cent of the GNP, and in 1982-83 they represented 23.1 per cent of the GNP. That is an increase of 5.3 per cent. The absolute Figures for the same period are found in Table B.4 on the page opposite.

Table B.5, however, does carry through with the calculation which the Minister wanted to have, excluding debt charges. There the record is not nearly as favourable as the Minister would have us believe. The comparable figures in this case, that is excluding debt, are 15.4 per cent for 1968-69, 18.7 per cent for 1976-77 and 20.9 per cent for 1982-83, up 5.5 per cent. That is excluding the debt charges. What is he talking about? The Minister was not only talking through his hat but was misleading if he sought believers amongst his listeners. He should stop misleading the House. This comment may have sounded Fine to some, but when the statistics are rolled out, they do not back up such misleading statements.

Another thought flows from the Minister's comments in November of last year about the pledge to keep down this Government's draw, that is its revenue take, to a more or less constant proportion of the GNP. I Find such a statement is a sure-fire prescription for socialism. Why? Put in another way, it means that this Liberal Government believes it has an election-given right, and that is that it is entitled to sop up a cost-and-share of any increases in the nation's productive capacity. If that prescription is accepted, that entitlement apparently knows no limit. To what purposes that increased revenue will be put is a matter that will be determined, but only after the revenue has been secured. This logic is frightening: it suggests that the areas of governmental activity are boundless-provided an ever-increasing GNP can be assured.

This is where the logic of such socialistic rationale breaks down. Once the economy becomes aware that its increased production is to be drained off by a non-productive Government, enterprise and initiative wither. That is the danger I foresee of this Government, or any Government, adhering to the notion that it is entitied, by the voters' support, to a constant percentage of the nation's GNP. That commitment has to have limits placed upon it. It is a good measure for Government to use to find out how the economy is going and

Borrowing Authority

how its expeditures relate, but when those limits are reached, the Government's proportionate take of increased production must be reduced. Otherwise there will just be no increased production, no growth, no expanding GNP-except through inflation. That is the logic of that rationale.

When, furthermore, because of its unregulated appetite to embark on expensive governmentalizing ventures, a Government, as this one has done, embarks on projects for which it cannot pay, another phenomenon inevitably puts in an appearance-increasing public debt, the contest for funds available for borrowing, and the effect that that has on interest rates. This is the prospect before us as a result of this Bill and its predecessor.

Even the Government has asked the relevant questions at page 15 of its budget paper, "The Federal Deficit in Perspective", as follows:

The large deficits and rising public debt levels ... raise serious questions related to debt financing. Can such large deficits be accommodated within Canada's financial markets without leading to strong competition for available funds, raising interest rates, and crowding out private sector investment?

The Government paper, without adducing any supportive evidence, answers these questions at page 16 in this way:

Despite the high total government sector deficits foreseen this year and next ... there would seem to be relatively little danger that government deficits will begin to crowd out private sector activity ... The main reason for this is that private sector investment activity is likely to be very weak this year and to some extend next year.

Need we ask why? It is because the Government has sopped up more than its share of investment funds. Is that the way to recovery to which this so-called "budget of recovery" is pointing?

Here I would like to key in a few comments made on this matter in a paper by Mr. R. E. Harrison, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. He was not very complimentary about the growing deficits digging into the total savings available in Canada for investment to the extent of about 82 per cent to meet the $40 billion requirement in 1983. This is what he said, and it is worth putting it on the record here:

There is a very real question of how such large Government requirements will affect the psychology of the financial markets. One important determinant of rates is confidence-or lack of it-the financial market-place has in the commitment of authorities to resist inflation, and thus protect the value of the currency. Having just suffered through a bout of unprecedented high inflation, that confidence has yet to be restored.

Later in his letter he said that two decisions are required by governments to keep interest rates down: first, they must resist pressure to increase deficits; second, they must show a serious commitment to reduce their borrowing. Do we see any of this in this Bill? For me, the answer is no. That will also be my answer when it comes to the vote.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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LIB

Eymard G. Corbin (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Corbin):

Questions, comments? Debate.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Stan Darling

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stan Darling (Parry Sound-Muskoka):

Mr. Speaker, here we are again, six weeks after the passage of the last supplementary borrowing Bill, back once more at the good old

May 10, 1983

Borrowing Authority

public trough. That is seven times this session; four times last year, twice in the last six weeks-fiscal conduct that no rural bank manager could or would tolerate. Yet we, Parliament, can do absolutely nothing about it except wave our arms and point, and hope the press will pick up what we are saying and tell the voting public. For certain, as long as the benches of sheep opposite bleat on demand as their political masters require of them, no matter how just our concerns for the public purse, no matter how true our fears for the public welfare, it does not seem as if it matters very much. We may feel ourselves to be passengers on an out of control roller-coaster, but as long as loyalty to the Party opposite outweighs loyalty to the electorate, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

All this may sound like nothing more than melodrama, but let me point out that never before in our history has a Government which, six weeks before, had borrowed $19 billion come back for more. Never before in our history have we had a deficit of $30 billion and a Government which, for all its trying to put the best face on things, cannot forecast much less for the foreseeable future. Never before have we had double-digit unemployment coupled with such runaway Government spending that the administration is helpless to do anything about it. Never before have we had a Government that has produced a slogan like six and five, which it waves around like the sorcerer's apprentice waves his magic wand, at the same time as it is unable to curtail its own spending increase below 12 per cent for the current year. Never before have we had a Government which has saddled its electorate with a gross debt of $160 billion to $165 billion, compared to $31 billion when it took office. Never before have we had Government spending that amounted to 26 per cent of the Gross National Product.

Never before, in short, have we had an economy so completely out of control of the Government whose responsibility it is. Never before have we had a Government whose supporters must be held more liable for their continued support than ever they would for exercising their freedom of thought on the electorate's behalf.

This is not just another in a series of Government Bills; this is an acknowledgement of financial and fiscal defeat. This is an attempt to acquire enough voting authority to render the Government independent of this House and of its control until after the next election. It is an attempt to render us out of sight and out of mind.

I remember that when the last war bonds were maturing- in 1960 or thereabouts, I think-the late Mr. Diefenbaker was Prime Minister. The commentators were tut-tutting that the Government would have to roll the bonds over into a new issues; it just could not afford to cover the cost of redeeming them. I suppose the amount involved was a few million dollars, a sum the present Government would think nothing of blowing, just to save its face. After all, "what's a billion?"

Its outstanding unmatured loans and securities, which by the way stood at $21 billion when the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) took office, amounted to some $115 billion as of the end of March. The cost of interest alone in fiscal year 1983-84 is forecast to be $17.6 billion. What it will actually turn out to be is anyone's guess. We have not had a Minister of Finance

from the Party opposite whose estimates could be relied upon since before the Hon. John Turner, and that was about ten years ago. No nation should be expected to suffer for a decade or more not being able to trust what the Government is saying about its own finances. This must be the ultimate condemnation.

There is no national fiscal index that I know of which has not gone up during the Government's custodianship by less than 250 per cent. Unmatured loans and securities are up 458 per cent. The net national debt is up 640 per cent. The interest on the debt is up 1,121 per cent. Financial requirements are up 1,273 per cent. Spending on a national accounts basis is up 693 per cent. And to top it all, the deficit is up 6,261 per cent.

Hon. Members opposite may try to persuade themselves that figures like these do not mean very much because of the difference in the levels of interest rates between now and the beginning of the Trudeau agony, always accepting, of course, that no blame for that situation could possibly be attached to the Government in question. They will agree, however, I am sure, that those rates in 1979-80 were in the same range as they are now, and as the Government would have us believe they will be in over the next few years. Yet the interest costs it projects for 1986-87 will be two and a half times what they were during what people are calling "The blessed blue blip", and 16 times what they were before the present Prime Minister took office. And here we are back at the pump asking for another $14.7 billion. That is truly obscene!

I have already gone over all this ground before during debate on one of the half dozen other recent borrowing Bills. Running a Government on credit does not come free. First and most obvious is the cost of the interest payments. This year that is going to cost Canadian taxpayers $1,700 each. That amounts to 4.6 per cent of our entire Gross National Product.

Then there is what it does to our fiscal flexibility. In bad times Governments love to be Keynesian because Lord Keynes provided a great justification for spending when times were tough. The trouble is, when you have been a counter-Keynesian during the good times, bought votes like crazy and borrowed to pay for them, you do not have much room to manoeuvre when it comes time to stimulate. It is a bit like the biblical story of the wise virgins and the foolish virgins. And over there in the persons of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. MacEachen), the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde), the President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Gray) and the Minister of State for Finance (Mr. Cosgrove), I see five very foolish virgins indeed. In 1968-69 4 per cent of Government spending went to service the debt. That figure now comes to 35 per cent, nine times as much.

To have got us into an incredible fix like this is to have been a very, very foolish virgin indeed. The horrifying thing is that the five I have named are among the most competent people in the Cabinet. Is it any wonder that the country is going to hell in a handbasket? I cannot bring myself to believe that there is

May 10, 1983

not greater talent than that on the back benches across the way, but what use is that to the country? The fact is that our nation has been run into the ground by the monumental incompetence of the Cabinet now in power. And may God help us all!

The presence of the Government in the money market in such a massive way squeezes the private sector, the productive sector, out of the market. There is only so much money available, and so much demand on the part of the Government naturally forces up prices. In a word, interest rates rise. The aforementioned Ministers cannot delegate the direct responsibility for rate setting to Mr. Bouey and he cannot hide the fact that it is his policies which ultimately set the rates.

What is the effect of the sight of the Government's fiscal floundering on public and business confidence? Let us not underestimate the importance of this factor. We have reached the point in the economic cycle at which public and business confidence are perhaps the most crucial requirements. What does the public see? It sees this Government wallowing around in a slough of debt, hanging its hopes, and those of the country, on a budget which looks more and more questionable as one studies it, one that is based not-may the Lord help us all-on fiscal responsibility, but on the premise that it will continue to live on credit for another year or so and then start to bring in the tax revenues to pay the bills-after the next election.

The public sees a Government that presses its six and five program on the rest of the country but makes an exception in the case of itself. It sees a Government that six weeks ago passed the largest borrowing Bill in our history and is now back to borrow more. It sees a group of back benchers who, by their rejection of any responsibility to their country and their electors, have opted instead to make it all possible by continuing blindly to support those on the front bench.

The name of the game is not good Government. It is not faithfulness to one's electorate and its interests. The name of the game is power, power for its own sake and, of course, for the lovely perks which it provides. It is power to be retained at all costs, costs to be borne by the people, of course, and benefits to the Liberal Party. "All power to the Liberals." What a slogan!

I believe we are all agreed that the missing ingredient in the present economic situation, the factor which is desperately needed if the recovery is to develop the stamina it needs, is confidence. The economic activities of this Government during its tenure of office, the economic events of the last decade or two, are such that confidence cannot be generated by the Party presently in power. Simply put, they have squandered their credibility, and if ever any proof of this is wanted, this borrowing Bill now before us provides it in spades.

I have cited many statistics during these remarks. However, figures of the size and sheer magnitude of these lose their power to shock. It is like the statistics of the Hiroshima bomb or the Black Death: they are too great to be compared.

Borrowing Authority

Let me introduce one final statistic which I feel is germane. We all know that since the last election in 1980 the Government has been operating under a widely heralded policy of restraint. At least, it has been talking restraint and urging the private sector to follow its example as it squeezed back on public sector wages. Perhaps the theory is that people who are kept busy listening to exhortation do not have time to check the figures.

Just for the record, then, these are the figures. Since the last election Government spending has risen by 66 per cent. It has gone up by two-thirds. Some restraint! Just to put that in some sort of perspective, during the same period of time the Consumer Price Index went up by only 37 per cent and the Gross National Product by 33 per cent, or just half the rate of Government spending. And here it is asking for another $14.7 billion. For what? It has not said but we know. We all know. It is so it does not have to do so again before the next election.

It is inconceivable that this Bill should be presented to Parliament. I believe it would be much more appropriate if the Government decided to present it to the Canadian people. We certainly know what their position would be on this.

As has been pointed out by previous speakers, the Government is trying to build up a slush fund of an extra $2 billion to have in its kitty for any unforeseen things which may come up; and this is one other reason why all Hon. Members of my Party will be voting against this Bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1983-84 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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May 10, 1983