November 21, 1983

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BUSINESS OF SUPPLY

PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. F. Oberle (Prince George-Peace River) moved:

That this House regards the Government's failure to take action to encourage the development of Canada's resource industries and ensure their competitiveness in world markets as a betrayal of all Canadians whose standard of living depends upon the resource sector of Canada's economy and calls upon the Government to bring an end to the nationalization of Canadian resource industries which has discouraged investment in Canada; introduce tax incentives to restore competitive advantage and stimulate resource production and further processing in Canada; initiate a program of incentives for research and development; and incentives for marketing activities of Canadian industries.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am certain that the House will not be surprised that we should have chosen to put aside a day in the busy life of Parliament to discuss the state of our primary resource sector, and therefore the economy in general. Naturally we would have preferred to discuss issues so vital to the well-being of our entire nation and her people in connection with any Government initiatives.

Despite our strong urgings here in the House and the danger signals which we are receiving from the industry, the unions, and the scientific community associated with it, and from the investment communities that invest in the resource sector, this Government sticks stubbornly to a deliberate policy of indifference and neglect. This Government sees our primary resources such as trees and minerals as artesian fountains of wealth which will flow uninterruptedly to be tapped and sapped at every stage without regard to the health of the resource itself or the industries that are sustained by it. It makes no difference whether we talk of our forests which could be, with reasonable care, renewable, or the minerals which we extract and refine and which are such an important part of our commerce and trade. This Government's only interest is what these industries can be made to contribute to satisfy the monstrous appetite for public revenues to support a spending spree over which no one any longer has any control.

My colleagues will, in the course of this debate, Mr. Speaker, tell you of some of the horror stories which are the result of 15 years of Liberal mismanagement. We will speak of the imminent crisis facing our resource sector. We will also point out the great opportunities that we have missed in the past and

will surely miss in the future if we fail to act responsibly and decisively to arrest the disease which has been inflicted on private sector industries in general and the resource sector in our economy in particular.

I share the view of many economists who say that Canada could hardly survive as an important and viable trading nation without its resource wealth, if for no other reason than the fact that the volume and potential for growth of one's industrial production is, in the main, limited by the size of one's markets. All of us want to expand our secondary manufacturing capacities and our markets for such products through trade with foreign countries. But it is in the resource sectors wherein lies our natural strength and advantage. It is our resource industries which provide the foundation for the economic structure which permits us to compete in a significant way in world markets. It is our resource sector which is the source of our economic well-being, our prosperity, and social contentment.

Permit me, in the few minutes that 1 have to speak on the motion standing in my name, to give a profile of just two of our more important resource industries, mining and forestry. I think I might best be able to describe the importance of those two industries by comparing our total economic structure to the trunk of a tree which supports its branches and its leaves through a network of roots through which flow its life-supporting juices.

There are now more than 350 small and not so small communities throughout our country, from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean, which depend almost entirely on one or the other of these two industries I have mentioned. These communities are at the end of the root structure or network, generating wealth and nourishment which sustains the life at the end of the branch.

Fifteen per cent of our country's entire work force is either directly or indirectly engaged in the forest and mining sectors. In better times these two industries have generated directly close to $40 billion of industrial product, $25 billion of which is earned from trade in foreign markets throughout the world. The mining sector alone accounts for over 50 per cent of all our rail freight volume, with crude minerals making up 44 per cent and fabricated minerals 9 per cent of all the railways' revenue freight handled. Forty-one per cent of all goods shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway originate from the end of one of the root canals, from a quarry, sandpit, mine smelter or refinery, a sawmill, pulpmill or logging camps some place in mid-Canada or the North.

It is the activities of the miners and the loggers which sustain some form of economic life in over 60 per cent of our

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entire geography. The further the roots have been extended, the healthier and stronger our tree has become.

But something has gone terribly wrong. The engine which pumps the vital juices through the trunk is working at only 50 per cent capacity. On the mineral side, half of our mines are shut down or have drastically reduced production. The Government says that it is just another cyclical problem, the result of a world-wide recession in the economy, and is something we will just have to wait out. Of course, that is true to some extent but it would be extremely dangerous to ignore a number of trends and factors which will undoubtedly have a profound effect on the timing and rate or extent to which our mining industry can recover from this deep valley of a cyclical curve.

First, it must be obvious by now to even the most casual observer that there is a fundamental shift of resource-based industrial production toward the developing world. Industrial countries in Europe and Japan, even ourselves and the Americans, are making massive investments in the resource sectors of many developing countries. We see it as our contribution or form of development aid or assistance. But in the case of our industrial competitors from Europe and Japan, it also has the purpose of adding to the supply of raw materials to achieve greater and more diversified access to natural resources and, through it all, to create keener price competition. As well, the World Bank is very active in this field. While all this activity may produce significant benefits to the target countries and the industrial countries which make the investments, it spells bad news for Canada.

A second, equally important factor is the substitution in the manufacturing process of certain base minerals for new materials and a general impact of a new technological revolution of which we are becoming the beneficiaries, or perhaps the victims, at an extremely rapid pace. For instance, the same tonne of coal that it used to take to produce 90 miles of copper wire now turns out 80,000 miles of fibre cable capable of delivering 100 times more impulses. Or an automobile which used to weigh 5,000 pounds ten years ago now weighs only

3,000 pounds. As you can see, Mr. Speaker, it would take unprecedented growth in world markets to generate the kind of demand for our base metals needed to restore our mining sector to its original health.

Finally, there is another factor more of a home made kind which will undoubtedly delay the recovery of our industry and therefore the economy generally. That has to do with the unreasonably heavy and crushing tax burden and economic rent structure which all levels of government have loaded on the shoulders of the resource sectors in recent years, a burden out of all proportion to any return the industry has achieved from its investment.

There have been unconscionable increases of certain so called non-profit taxes, such as property tax, fuel taxes and so on. In some cases these charges have increased by over 100 per cent in one year, diminishing the efforts the industry has been making in cutting costs and increasing productivity.

The Mining Association of Canada in its submission to this year's conference of resource ministers gave a number of examples to illustrate this point. Let me quote:

In British Columbia and in the period 1980-1982, costs to the industry have increased by $118.5 million in direct payments arising from a very large number of actions by Government, both federal and provincial, on several fronts. This represents a 105 per cent increase in only two years. For 1983 it is anticipated that further substantial increases have occurred. More specifically, we have evidence to show that in the past 12 years, two large mining operations in British Columbia have seen their property, fuel, water, provincial and municipal taxes escalate from $4 million to $35 million.

In Quebec, salary and fringe benefits, which in 1980 represented 32.2 per cent of the average value per tonne of ore, increased in 1982 to 38.8 per cent of this average value, representing a 20.5 per cent increase. On the other hand, the cost of social policies, indirect taxes and electrical power, which in 1980 represented 9.67 per cent of the average value per tonne of ore, reached a percentage of 15.62 in 1982, i.e., an increase of 61 per cent during the period. So together, the cost of all these items measured, on the average value per tonne of ore, went from 41.9 per cent in 1980 to 54.3 per cent in 1982.

In Alberta, over the past Five years mining companies have experienced percentage increases of over 100 per cent for fuels, 80 per cent for electric power, 75 per cent for freight costs, 60 per cent for property taxes, 85 per cent for provincial health care premiums, 62 per cent for unemployment insurance, and 41 per cent for pension contributions.

Very similar increases could be documented in every province or territory across Canada where mining is carried on. To add to all that, we keep inventing ever more stringent rules with respect to environmental safeguards, health, safety and standards of social amenities in the mining and logging communities.

Now, Sir, you will find me among the very last to suggest that some of the standards which we have all worked hard to achieve should be sacrificed to assure the future health of the resource sector. But it is now painfully obvious to everyone that the industries alone are no longer able to bear all the costs related to these laudable social objectives. We have simply strapped the industry too tight. We are depriving it of its competitive edge and rendering ourselves extremely vulnerable and unprepared to meet the new challenges and forces which have distorted the conventional rules of trade in market places of the world.

Our new competitors, as you know, Mr. Speaker, may not play by the same rules or by what we would consider conventional rules. They are in the main state-owned enterprises, their prime objective, understandably perhaps, being foreign exchange earnings and jobs. Their plants will be heavily subsidized from funds to which we ourselves are contributing. It is as if we are all too eager to finance our own demise.

Well, Sir, one might ask how is the Government on the other side of the House reacting to these worrisome trends? Sureiy it must have the same information we have. To some of us it appears as if its answer to our dilemma is to succumb to the rule changes and attempt to compete on an equal basis with the new players in the developing world and the not so new players in the socialist world. It appears as if it sees states ownership, or at least a very advanced form of state control, in our own country's economy as the only way to survive this onslaught.

November 21, 1983

In a sense we have advanced some way toward that goal. The justification for Petro-Canada, for instance, was to provide us with a window on the world and permit us to trade with countries that refused to deal with the private sector. Our tax laws are designed to permit our companies barely to cover their costs of capital and operation and leave no room for modernization and technological innovation.

"Not to worry," says the Government, "after all have we not given you grants to modernize or subsidies for labour costs when that became your problem?" That may be true, but do you believe, Sir, that this is the kind of climate to which either our own or foreign investors feel attracted? That must be a worry, unless we either believe the Government can create money out of thin air or we assume that after necessary adjustments to our economy have been perfected we might ourselves become eligible some day for loans and gifts from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

What happens if one falls out of favour with the Government on which one has to rely for grants when things get tough, or what happens if it is too late before the bureaucrats in Ottawa get around to a particular problem? The forest industry is a case in point. It is suffering not only from all the pains of the recession and the fact that we have not permitted the industry to build and maintain its own capital resources to ride out the storm, but because we have also neglected to assure that our forests are replenished to provide our mills in the future with the necessary feedstock on the basis of a sustained yield. All of a sudden we have come to realize that we have been mining our forests for the last 200 years instead of farming them and that nature alone is no longer able to replenish itself in sufficient time to meet our demand.

For some mills and towns in mid-Canada, coming to grips with this realization is too late. No matter how many grants the Government might make to bail out a troubled company, we will shortly experience timber shortages in most areas and regions of the country, causing lay-offs and shutdowns not only of mills but of whole towns and regions, because it takes 60 years to grow a tree and sometimes much longer, depending upon the climate and other factors.

1 have little doubt that had it been the responsibility of the private sector to manage the resource, either through direct ownership or long-term tenure, we would not find ourselves in this fix today. The United States, where 60 per cent of the forest land is privately owned and managed, provides us with an interesting model for comparison.

To sum up, we see difficult times ahead for our resource industries and therefore for our economic wellbeing. Any prospects for recovery and new growth are admittedly, as 1 pointed out, influenced by factors and trends over which we have little control. However, much of the pain we must suffer during the recovery period is self-afflicted and can be cured only by ourselves, even though some of the larger corporations and their sector organizations still refuse to speak out in defence of the system from which they have grown, I suppose for fear that the Government might not think kindly of them

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at their time of need. Some do speak out and, more important, the average Canadian has become weary of the dream of a just society which our centrally-structured and planned economy was to deliver, a dream which for some has turned into a nightmare. Canadians now understand that state planners are not very good in creating new wealth and that Government cannot distribute wealth which has not first been created by someone.

It is true that we have built for ourselves a very sophisticated socio-economic structure, one which is still the envy of most of the world and indeed one which can feed on itself for a short period of time. However, like the maple tree that has been tapped too deeply, it will eventually die, and like any tree that has been cut off from its roots, it will rot and decay.

[DOT] (U25)

We draw our confidence for not only bright but exciting future prospects for economic growth and prosperity from the confidence Canadians are expressing in my Party's ability to recapture the promise which inspired earlier generations of Canadians, the promise of a just reward for individual effort and free enterprise. Most assuredly if we should manage once again to set this spirit free, we shall have no trouble meeting and beating whatever our new competition will throw at us in world markets.

I thank the House for giving us this day to state the case and for preparing Canadians for the challenge ahead.

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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Are Hon. Members rising to ask questions or make brief comments on the remarks of the Hon. Member for Prince George-Peace River (Mr. Oberle)? If not, the Chair will recognize the Hon. Member for Kamloops-Shuswap.

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

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

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise today to address what has to be one of the most critical problems facing our country. I thank the Hon. Member for bringing forward this motion which in part reads:

That this House regards the Government's failure to take action to encourage the development of Canada's resource industries and ensure their competitiveness in world markets as a betrayal of all Canadians whose standard of living depends upon the resource sector of Canada's economy-

While the motion goes on to refer to a number of other interesting and important matters, the essence of the motion is presented in those few words. Indeed, it is a betrayal of many Canadians.

1 want to focus my remarks this morning on one of our most critical resource industries, the forest industry of Canada. One could comment, as the previous speaker did, on the mining industry, the fishing industry and all the resource sectors. By and large the critical comments would be appropriate in terms of how not only the federal Government but the provincial Governments, and in many cases industry itself, have failed to live up to the challenges of the present time.

I want to focus my remarks today on the forest industry. This industry has by and large been overlooked by Canadians.

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We have now been in session in excess of 600 days, the longest session of Parliament in Canadian history. We have managed as a result of an Opposition initiative to discuss forestry for a single day.

When you consider the importance of the forest industry and the impact which the forest industry has on the balance of payments in this country, Mr. Speaker, there is more economic impact in terms of our country's trade balance than the entire agriculture industry, mining industry, fishing industry and auto industry combined. That is the immensity of this one industry that we are discussing today. It is of incredible importance.

If you look closely at the statistics, you find that 1.3 million Canadians are involved in one way or another with the forest industry in terms of their jobs. In other words, they are employed either in a direct way or in an indirect way with the forest industry. It involves 1,300,000 Canadians. There are

5,000 forest companies spread from one end of the country to the other. Three hundred communities depend 100 per cent on the forest industry. We are talking about an industry of immense proportions.

1 believe it is fair to say that the problem associated with the forest industry has not been clearly understood by many Canadians. A number who have watched or who live close to the industry have known for many years that it is in a virtual crisis situation. I would say there is a national emergency in Canada today as it touches on that critical resource industry, the forest industry of Canada.

We can look back, however, to a politician from 1871, none other than John A. Macdonald himself, who at that time said that we are recklessly destroying the timber of Canada and there is scarcely a possibility of replacing it. Here we are, more than 100 years later, Mr. Speaker, and we are saying that same thing today in the House of Commons. We are saying that we are seeing the erosion of the most critical industry in the country in terms of the balance of payments and employability of Canadians, and we are seeing the erosion of that industry in every single Province.

When we consider that last year we harvested approximately 800,000 hectares of forest land, it is interesting to note that we managed to replace 25 per cent of that in terms of reforestation. Only 25 per cent of the most critical resource in the country was replanted, albeit additional hectares were replanted naturally. However, there is nothing to say but that the shortfall in reforestation in the country is absolutely astounding.

I would like to focus on a couple of points that simply indicate the critical nature of the problems facing us today. I suppose it is not surprising that Canadians have not been alert to the nature of this problem. After all, 95 per cent of Canadians are urban dwellers and live in big cities like Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Regina and Hamilton. We do not come into contact with the forests of Canada on a

regular basis, so naturally many of us are a little out of tune with the realities out there.

However, Mr. Speaker, if you ask any single individual in the logging sector, the lumber sector, the plywood sector, the pulp and paper sector, the shake sector or any other sector of the forest industry, they will tell you that the industry is in serious trouble today. Every professional organization in the country related to the forest industry will say the same thing. As a matter of fact, 1 remember a number of presentations in the last three years from professional foresters to Members of Parliament on an individual basis, a caucus basis and a professional basis. Those organizations have said that this industry is in serious trouble and that we must do something about it not next year, not next decade, but immediately.

What do we do, Mr. Speaker? Do we take action? Does the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Caccia) who is responsible for forestry call for special debates in the House of Commons? Does he call for extraordinary steps to be taken? 1 do not hear a great deal from him, but to give the Minister credit where credit is due, I will say that he has indicated an interest in this area and has recognized some concerns. Perhaps he is having difficulty with some of his Cabinet colleagues when trying to put his money where his mouth is when identifying the problems and their solutions in the forest industry.

I would like to quote from a number of people I feel are representative of respectable forest voices. Jack Walters, the director of the UBC research forest on the West Coast, had this to say recently: "Our forests are in a shambles. It is a tragedy of the first dimension." This is a professional forester speaking out in an attempt to communicate to the powers that be and particularly to the politicians both provincial and federal, that we have a serious problem. Mr. Michael Innes, the manager of forestry for Abitibi Price, the world's largest producer of newsprint, said: "We are gradually running out of wood." He is saying that we are gradually running out of merchantable timber in the country and that we must now transport the product in many cases hundreds and hundreds of miles from the forest to the processing plants. At the same time, Mr. Speaker, we are failing to replant those forests which stand right in front of the processing facilities.

The forest industry's advisory committee to the Government, Mr. Speaker, recently made a plea for more financial assistance to this troubled industry. The Science Council of Canada targeted the problem clearly, I believe, when it said that 6,000 square miles of forest land is destroyed or wasted each year. The IWA said that we are running out of merchantable timber, that the industry is virtually at a crossroads and that it will either fail or succeed, depending upon the initiative taken by governments and industry. The Quebec and Ontario furniture manufacturers recently brought to our attention that they are now required to import maple logs from the United States because sufficient supplies of maple do not exist here in Canada for use by the Canadian furniture industry.

I would like to go on and relate to you, Mr. Speaker, two or three of the problems that were brought to our attention as parliamentarians and legislators by the Association of B.C.

November 21, 1983

Professional Foresters. That association has brought to our attention the fact that more than 800,000 hectares are harvested annually in our country but less than 25 per cent are planted or seeded. In British Columbia, more than a million hectares heed reforestation and British Columbia is adding

20,000 to 50,000 hectares annually to this problem. Yet the B.C. Ministry of Forests recently had budget cuts in this area which will simply exacerbate the problem.

The number of person-years available to research in the Canadian Forestry Service has declined by more than 50 per cent since 1968. We are talking about an industry in which research and development has never been more needed and demanded than today. Yet the professional foresters tell us that money for research and development in the Canadian Forestry Service has declined by more than 50 per cent since 1968. Increased research is required in almost all phases of forestry management.

The association goes on to say that current spending on silviculture by ail parties, including industry and provincial and federal Governments alike, amounts to about $240 million a year. This is less than 1 per cent of the total value of the annual forest production in the country; we are reinvesting less than 1 per cent of its total value in that critical resource. We can look at some of our competitors in western Europe. For instance, Sweden spends between $700 million and $1 billion annually as compared to our expenditure of $240 million. That is the kind of husbandry with which our competitors are treating their forests in terms of silviculture, reforestation, spacing, thinning, road building, fire prevention and disease prevention. They are spending up to $1 billion annually compared to our paltry expenditure of $240 million. If that does not spell doom for this industry in the long run, Mr. Speaker, then I do not know what does.

The Canadian Forestry Service is a part of Environment Canada and $69.4 million was allocated to the Canadian Forest Service. Within the same Ministry, $146 million was budgeted for the Atmospheric Environment Service and $275 million was allocated for Parks Canada. The Professional Association of Foresters from British Columbia, Mr. Speaker, goes on to say that it is a national disgrace that the federal Government spends twice as much money monitoring weather as it does on our forest industry. That is not to suggest that any cutbacks should occur in weather and climate monitoring, Mr. Speaker, but 1 think that when these people put their professional careers before the public for scrutiny by standing up and saying that this is a national disgrace, we as Members of Parliament cannot stand idly by and say: "Well, 1 suppose that is just more rhetoric about this issue". The people who are most knowledgeable about the state of the forestry industry in Canada are calling the present situation a national disaster.

The association goes on to speak, Mr. Speaker, about a problem in the Province of British Columbia which is, of course, the major forest producer in the country and one of the major areas in terms of available merchantable timber. The association indicates that forestry is the largest economic activity in B.C. It generates more direct and indirect Govern-

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ment revenues and employment than any other sector by far. This wealth comes from forests which are 95 per cent owned by the people of the Province yet less than 1 per cent of the new provincial budget in British Columbia is set aside for reforestation, a significant drop from last year. Can you imagine anything more akin to committing economic hara-kiri, Mr. Speaker, than spending less than ever before on reforestation at a time when the need and the demand is so great?

The association indicates that no money has been allocated this year for improving this resource, and that includes money needed for thinning, refertilization of young forests and particularly for dealing with the 29,000 square kilometers of forest land that sits idle in British Columbia. This is a critical statement, Mr. Speaker. If reforested, these lands could produce more than six million cubic metres of wood annually, and up to 20,000 new permanent jobs in the Province of British Columbia. It further states that more than 40 per cent of the funding was cut for forest protection activities. We have, it is said, more than a million hectares of idle land in the Province of British Columbia which requires treatment to return it to a new forest. At the backlog planting rate of this new plan of the provincial Government, it will take that Government 50 years to reforest these areas. 1 believe there is no question but that we are at a crossroads with Canada's number one industry.

The situation in which we find ourselves in terms of provincial governments, the federal Government, as well as a good part of the industry, is a crisis situation. Fast year the forest companies in Canada lost $500 million, but they were anticipating an improved situation for this year. However, I believe any Hon. Member of Parliament who comes from a forest related area will know that things have not turned around, that the pulp and paper industry is in a very tough situation and that the lumber industry is simply struggling to survive. Most of us with saw mills in our riding will know that they have closed, or shifts have been laid off in the last two or three weeks. That would indicate what is coming down the pipe in the months ahead.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, we have an ideal opportunity now as parliamentarians to take a positive step and show that, yes, we are concerned and are prepared to do something about it. We must recognize that we have created an evergreen ghetto in this country. What was once a dynamic, thriving community is now decaying. There is now a sense of despair and a demoralization in the ranks. We are turning our backs on that part of our community. However, the evergreen ghetto can be turned around with some positive leadership and initiatives. We have heard speakers today indicate what some of those actions should be. 1 wonder, Mr. Speaker, if you would entertain a call for unanimous consent of the House to present a motion asking the Minister of the Environment, who is responsible for forestry, to call a meeting of all provincial ministers of forestry early in the new year, to have as the number one agenda item the formation of a federal ministry of forestry. I have circulated a letter to the House Feaders of both the Conservative and

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the Liberal Parties indicating that I would be asking for unanimous consent to present such a motion.

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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Would the Hon. Member care to present the Chair with a copy of the motion he has in mind?

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

Mr. Speaker, if I may say for clarification, realizing that at this point to present a motion would be presumptuous on my part, I am simply asking for unanimous consent of the House to enable me to present such a motion. The motion would in fact urge the Minister of the Environment to call a meeting of provincial ministers of forestry and the number one item on their agenda would be the formation of a federal ministry of forestry. I am asking for unanimous consent.

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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

We have a motion before us in the name of the Hon. Member for Prince George-Peace River (Mr. Oberle). It is in order for the Hon. Member to present an amendment to the motion before us. However, the Chair has some reservations as to whether the amendment as indicated would be proper as an amendment to the motion, although the Chair would be prepared to receive such an amendment and consider it. If it were found in order, the Chair would put it to the House. However, if this is not what the Hon. Member has in mind by way of procedure, would he please indicate what he does have in mind?

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

I appreciate your patience on this issue, Mr. Speaker, and also the patience of Hon. Members. Not feeling that a motion to amend the motion before us may be in order, 1 was, first of all, seeking unanimous consent of the House through you, Mr. Speaker, to allow me to put such a motion.

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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The Hon. Member has the right to present a motion. However, there are limits in terms of a motion by way of an amendment to the present motion which can be presented. If the Hon. Member cannot present a motion which is within the scope of an amendment permitted at this stage, then he cannot otherwise present such a motion which would not be acceptable within the normal scope of amendments. Would the Hon. Member read the amendment to the present motion which he has in mind?

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

I certainly will, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate your patience. It will be a motion asking the Minister of the Environment responsible for forestry in Canada to call a meeting of all provincial ministers of forestry early in the new year and to have as the number one agenda item the formation of a federal ministry of forestry.

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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

If the Hon. Member will present the proposed amendment in writing to the Chair, the Chair will consider the proposed amendment before ruling. Meanwhile the debate will proceed.

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LIB

John Leslie Evans (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Evans:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I question whether or not such an amendment is in order, first of all; second, if it were in order and were introduced, since this motion is under Standing Order 62(11) which requires no vote,

what possible power would it have? I would think another forum, perhaps, would be better. Usually there are discussions between the two sides when a Minister is going to be asked to do something so that the Minister can respond properly.

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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The Chair has not accepted the amendment. The Chair has merely asked the Hon. Member to present his amendment in writing so that the Chair may decide whether such an amendment is or is not in order. That is all the Chair can do at this stage. The Chair is the servant of the House. This is a limit which is on the Chair at this point. The Chair at this stage invites the Minister of the Environment to make his remarks.

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LIB

Maurice James Harquail

Liberal

Mr. Harquail:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I quite appreciate that you have already ruled on what the Hon. Member was asking. What I would like is the opportunity to question the previous speaker under the rules.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-RESOURCE INDUSTRIES
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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

That is perfectly in order. The Hon. Member for Restigouche (Mr. Harquail) wishes to put a question to the Hon. Member for Kamloops-Shuswap. That is in order at this point.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-RESOURCE INDUSTRIES
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LIB

Maurice James Harquail

Liberal

Mr. Harquail:

Mr. Speaker, on the motion today and the remarks made by the Hon. Member, I wonder, based on the fact that he made a very strong plea and placed a very strong thrust on the subject, whether he has any comments to enlighten the House with respect to any recommendations he would make in light of the difficult situation of the variation in value of money in various countries where we have to sell our products, the question of competitiveness with other countries south of the border, the American pulp and paper industry? Would the Hon. Member tell us exactly what he would put forward, not in terms of the motion brought forward today by his Party, but what firm recommendations can he make with respect to the difficulties with which this particular industry is faced today? Could he tell us something about that?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-RESOURCE INDUSTRIES
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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

I certainly would like to respond to the Hon. Member, Mr. Speaker. When it comes to suggestions as to what may be done to improve the situation in the forest industry, I would like to focus, perhaps, on one aspect, and that is the whole matter of what might be termed "reforestation". 1 can recall at least seven presentations which various organizations related to the forest industry have made to Members of Parliament in the past 12 months. They dealt with such recommendations as site preparation; burning or ploughing for reforestation; planting trees or seeding areas, using genetically improved seed or planting stock; choosing the best species for a site; thinning and spacing trees for optimum growth; pruning and fertilization when needed; reducing losses through fire, insect and disease; improved utilization of our present resource during logging; concentrating our efforts on the best reserved forest areas for the time necessary to grow the crop, and so on. In other words, Mr. Speaker, the need to reforest is accepted as a reality by all who are sensitive to the forest industry.

November 21, 1983

This type of "Government spending" I believe is a misnomer and ought to be called "Government investment". After all, what we are doing is investing in a resource which will presumably pay back to the Government both in terms of royalties and personal and corporate income taxes in the years ahead. Considering that this investment made now will result in returns to the Government in the years ahead, it has to be done now, and it will never be done cheaper. The need for employing people in this particular activity has never been greater. Instantly, once the decision is made to embark on a massive initiative of reforestation in all parts of Canada, it will literally provide tens of thousands of jobs for Canadians in every Province and territory. At a time when the need for job creation in a meaningful sense is so acute, surely a step in this direction has to be one of the most appropriate the federal Government could initiate at this time.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-RESOURCE INDUSTRIES
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LIB

Maurice James Harquail

Liberal

Mr. Harquail:

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not disagree with that aspect. I underline as well the importance of reforestation. Indeed, in my home Province of New Brunswick we have to this date accomplished a great deal in reforestation through various companies such as the Irving Group, International Paper and others.

Specifically, Mr. Speaker, taking the term used in the Hon. Member's motion with respect to competitiveness, I was asking what concrete proposals does the Hon. Member have regarding the economics of the day, the problems we have with selling these products? We have the problems of competitiveness, variations in the value of the pound and the dollar and other currencies used by countries we trade with. What does the Hon. Member have to tell the House about concrete proposals and recommendations he would make to the Government or industry to try to alleviate this serious problem he has stressed so forcefully in his speech today?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-RESOURCE INDUSTRIES
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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

Mr. Speaker, let me identify three or four things 1 think would be appropriate, particularly when it comes to the competitiveness of our industry. For too long our marketing procedures have resulted in Canadian exporters going abroad and saying: "This is the product we have; are you interested?" That as opposed to going abroad, identifying the needs for forest products, coming back to Canada and creating those products to meet specific market demands. That would be a major step forward for many producers in our country. In other words, identify the markets more precisely and take advantage of them, and perhaps become more aggressive in seeking out those markets. Also, a great deal can be done through the federal Government to assist our export sector and assure the necessary financial support so we can compete with some of our major competitors.

The Hon. Member mentioned productivity. When you look at countries with which we compete, western European countries and some of the American countries, one of the things they have in place that we do not is what I will refer to as industrial democracy. They have recognized that by involving all employees in their operation, be it large or small, in a

Supply

meaningful way, their ability to be competitive is that much greater.

As a first step in this direction, and I emphasize only a first step, I suggest that something like the profit-sharing schemes we have seen in certain corporations ought to be looked at in Canada. The United States has over 400,000 profit-sharing schemes; we have approximately 2,000. In other words, we are abysmally behind even the U.S., let alone our western European competitors who are miles ahead of us, not only in profit sharing but in the whole area of involving employees in a responsible way through profit sharing, responsibility sharing and information sharing.

When we begin to democratize the workplace and involve all employees in the productive capacity of our plants, then we will see our competitive advantage increase substantially. However, while we maintain the old-fashioned, neanderthal approach of bosses and workers, we will continue to have difficulties as we act in a mode which was perhaps more appropriate in the 1920s but which has no place whatsoever in the labour management world of the 1980s, let alone the 1990s.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-RESOURCE INDUSTRIES
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November 21, 1983