March 6, 1984

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

THE BUDGET


The House resumed from Monday, March 5, consideration of the motion of Mr. Lalonde that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the Government.


LIB

John Gerald (Jack) Masters

Liberal

Mr. Jack Masters (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

Mr. Speaker, again it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to participate in a Budget debate, particularly this one. I say that because the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) labelled his Budget "Partnership for Growth". It is my conviction that the Budget we are debating now is entirely appropriate to the times for a number of reasons.

It should be noted that the Budget in fact builds on strength in the country. Throughout the land, while we have difficulties and problems to surmount, essentially we are looking toward the immediate, medium-term and long-term future with a greater feeling of confidence than we have been able to feel collectively for many years due to many factors in the Canadian economy, the North American economy and the world economy.

[DOT] (mo)

Much will be said about the Budget in the next while both inside and outside this House. Some of it will be positive. Much of it, especially from Members opposite, will be negative. I respect the right and the duty of the Opposition to be critical, but I have a caveat, if I may presume to make a modest suggestion to Members opposite. They might consider legitimate criticism, because it is not a perfect world that we live in. We do not come up with perfect documents and plans. 1 hope that the tone of their opposition and comment will not be so entirely negative that it is counter-productive in the sense that it will take away from this feeling of confidence.

Confidence is not a partisan issue. Partisanship sometimes takes away from the fact that we have a wonderful country, that we believe in it, that because we are the kind of people we are, living in the land that we live in, we can look forward to the future with confidence. Confidence is also a state of mind.

All of us in this House have an obligation to contribute to that state of mind.

One of the first features about this Budget I would like to address, because I believe it is the most significant, is that it was prepared with a great amount of consultation. The word "consultation" is almost a cliche. It is so obvious that one wonders why we do not do it all the time. Each of us in our own sectors finds other priorities that prohibit or inhibit us from being able to speak openly with each other, to take the time to talk with one another and, most important, to listen to one another.

We are still in a very difficult period economically in our country's history. The mood is that we must listen to one another. We must consult with each other in a meaningful fashion. I believe even Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition will agree that some very important groups and individuals were consulted regarding this Budget. The common taxpayer was consulted. I see items in the Budget that came about as a result of representations from Members of this House in caucus. I see the changes that have been made. I hope some of this came about as a result of some of the letters and personal interventions that I have made. Opposition Members have expressed some thoughts in this House. They are all there, pointing the way.

It is a leadership direction that the Minister is taking on behalf of the Government of Canada. It says we must take a leadership role. This is something that governments can do. Governments can do some things well and we do some things very badly. One thing we can do, if we work at it properly, with the right attitude and with the right frame of mind, is to promote honest consultations, consultation being in the form of the two-way street that I mentioned earlier where we pass on our ideas, listen in return and come up with something better than either side could come up with individually. Some 30 major groups across this country participated in a most meaningful way in putting this Budget together.

While in political terms one does not want to acknowledge that many sectors of the economy have said that yes, this is a good Budget, that this is the right kind of Budget at this point in time, to my way of thinking one of the right things about the Budget that we are debating at this moment is that it does build confidence. But it did not send shock waves throughout the nation. That happens periodically and it must happen once in a while when we have to find new directions because we have been following one path for too long. All of us know that nothing is forever and that we have to change direction and thoroughly examine issues in the light of prevailing conditions in the world and in Canada.

March 6, 1984

The Budget-Mr. Masters

[DOT] (U15)

The Budget indicates that we have put many things in place that are working. We are moving in a forward direction. Perhaps we are not moving forward as fast as some of us would like, and I may address that point a little later. However, we are moving in the proper direction. What we need is a Budget that tells Canadian citizens that they will have an idea as to the direction in which we will be going for the next number of years. They will see refinements and improvements based on their suggestions and on the initiative of the Government, but they will not see anything startling. We will put in place policies and actions that we can trust and that we can move forward.

I think that is one reason the Budget has met with such general approval. I say general approval because sometimes when dealing with any subject in detail there will be many who will argue that we did not go far enough with pension reform or that we are not moving quickly enough. There are those who say that those issues are the important ones now but we need to talk about them a little bit more. The general direction we are going has been set and we think that we are on the right track; but for goodness sake, give us a chance to examine proposals and come back with better ideas so that we have a more refined package to present regarding pension reforms for the average citizen, programs for senior citizens and, above all, programs that will assist the women in our society to have a more equitable future and a more equitable participation in the present. Those are not easy things to accomplish.

The Budget has put on the table some of the results gleaned from the heavy consultations that have been going on across this land and has indicated in general terms where we think we have to make improvements. We have to make sure that there is more portability. We have to make sure that a spouse has more of an opportunity to prepare for his or her future. We have examined these matters but they must still be covered in more detail. The Budget does not indicate exactly what we are going to do but it does indicate the direction we propose, and, after further consultation, we will be in a position to implement these ideas.

Make no mistake about it, Mr. Speaker, some proposals have been made for the assistance of home owners. While there are those who will ask why we do not implement those proposals right now and who will say that we are just postponing them with further consultations, I sense from my colleagues in the House, from members of the Cabinet in particular and from the country as a whole, a sense of urgency about these matters. We are going to implement these policies with the co-operation of the Opposition. The Opposition can certainly slow down the implementation of these policies, but we are going to be in a position quickly to conclude the consultation process, put the finishing touches on what I believe are some very creative ideas that have been born out of much discussion across the land and then implement those ideas.

Another item in the Budget that has not been receiving sufficient attention as far as I can see is the suggestion of employee profit participation. I have always believed in profitsharing plans. I have spent much time working on that kind of thing during my tenure as President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and in my work in general with the Chamber of Commerce. I have worked for firms that have had profit-sharing plans and I know how well those plans can work. However, the beauty of this plan is that it does another thing-it indicates that to implement an employee profit participation plan, there has to be a labour-management committee. Think of the genius of that simplistic idea. Most good ideas end up in very succinct terms.

Another thing that is beginning to happen more and more in this country, and must happen, is that labour and management no longer think of each other as adversaries-that management has all the right ideas or that labour has all the right ideas. They are in the same ball game and must have devices to enable them to meet in mutual trust and understanding.

I believe that if labour and management allow the proposed Employee Profit Participation Plan to bear fruit it will lead to better conditions. Both must have a stronger recognition of their vested interests in the profitability and progress of their endeavours. They must also recognize that the labour-management committee is the means of making the plan work. Not only will they be in the position to deal with the profit sharing aspect, but out of necessity they will begin to move toward improved consultation and the exchange of information. I think the federal Government has given the leadership to encourage movement in this direction. It is only common sense but it is very necessary.

We have heard a lot about Revenue Canada in recent times, Mr. Speaker, and not all has been complimentary. 1 do not mean to digress from the discussion of the Budget but not all the statements made about Revenue Canada have even been fair. Who defends the taxman? Who defends the man who is in charge of accounts receivable, for instance? He is always the bad guy. He is the one who has to bring in the revenue to pay for whatever has to be done, but he is viewed as not a very nice guy. In the case of Revenue Canada the individual is not in a position to defend himself. I do not mean to defend anything that has gone wrong, or bad administration. Those things will happen; they happen in the private sector as well as in government and they must be examined from time to time.

To return to the Budget, Mr. Speaker, I think it is a start toward simplification of the tax system. As one who is not an accountant, I have always been bothered by the fact that even accountants cannot agree on the interpretation of taxation laws. However, something has been done in the Budget to simplify taxes for small businesses. I can assure you that is one of the major thrusts we are giving to that generator of jobs in our economy, the small businessman.

We must all stand back from Revenue Canada and our taxation laws, however, and ask how we can make them better. I do not believe we can do that by castigating a whole Department of what essentially are very capable and able civil servants who are doing their job as directed by the House of

March 6, 1984

Commons. I believe that case has been overstated. If you will excuse the expression, Mr. Speaker, I am just bootlegging a few thoughts on some of the outlandish and unfair statements that have been directed at the Department.

Nonetheless, the Budget is also addressing the goal of more fairness in tax administration. Through the consultation process we are learning how that might come about and I think we will see great improvements through new legislation, through new directions and in new examinations of the system. The consultation process is vital, particularly if it is carried out with the positive view of making the system better. That is what we were elected to do.

I do not even object to the fact that the Opposition has a task force going across Canada to test the views of Canadians on the tax system. My only hope is that this task force will do good and not simply conduct a witch hunt; that it will not just reinforce a bias or just be a vehicle to allow the malcontents in the taxpaying sector of the economy to use that platform to receive all kinds of publicity which really would be used to attack the Department, serving no end and giving a voice to a group of people who have not always played fair with the tax system.

The Budget talks about more fairness in the tax administration system. I believe the Opposition, in what it is doing, has a chance to do either great good or great harm. We are going into an election year and, Mr. Speaker, I believe all of us, while we will fight our partisan political battles, must not do so at the expense of the good of the country by overstatement and by overzealousness in the wrong areas. While the Budget has pointed out that we are experiencing an upturn in the economy, that we have a feeling of confidence, we also know that there is a certain fragility to it. I believe this is a time for yeoman service on the part of all of us in this House to make the system work better.

I would like to speak now about the plan put forth in the Budget to aid home owners. We have all been looking for some way to be of help to something which is near and dear to all of us as Canadians, home ownership. We found as we went through that period of very drastic fluctuation in interest rates that there were a lot of people with great problems and in dire circumstances regarding their most precious possession, their home. While the Budget has made some suggestions as to how one might insure against rising interest rates if they should go beyond a certain point, which will give some stability, I believe, it should be noted that the Budget also takes a look at how the investment sector might be encouraged to go for the longer term mortgage. I feel that is probably one of the more important features of the Budget, although it does not seem so sensational to many of us until the prospect is really examined. When we as home owners had mortgages with terms of 20 years, 25 years and 30 years, it gave us a great feeling of stability. We knew where we were at. I do not believe you can ever turn the clock back, but I do believe there is a way we can

The Budget-Mr. Masters

move toward longer term mortgages, and that would be to everyone's good.

I support the Budget because I feel its theme "partnership of growth", is well named and accurate. I believe the Budget does help encourage the feeling of confidence which I view to be fairly dominant in the country.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

Mr. Speaker, I believe the gentleman who just spoke is the Hon. Member for Thunder Bay-Nipigon (Mr. Masters). I would like to ask the Hon. Member, with regard to his comment on labour-management committees and profit sharing, whether he is aware of what initiatives the Government may now be taking in order to implement some of the measures proposed in the recent Throne Speech of the Government? Is the Hon. Member aware of whether or not those crown corporations, in which the Government has a total interest are living up to the commitments in that Throne Speech to give their employees some share and some voice in the management of those corporations?

If the Hon. Member is not aware of any such progress-I certainly am not and I have been asking regularly-how does he believe that because employee-employer profit sharing is introduced into the private sector, there is going to be any voice for those employees in the management of that operation, including how the moneys which they invest will be used, whether or not they will be allocated to dividends, spread among the employees, used for the build-up of the company, or used in any other way? Our experience in B.C. shows that that sort of operation can be a total con job and I would like to know just where he gets his faith from.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

John Gerald (Jack) Masters

Liberal

Mr. Masters:

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the Hon. Member has suggested. I think it is far easier, because of the money factor, to get into a profit-sharing plan in the private sector. But I think, too, that because the Budget furthers the idea of labour-management relations, and if the Government is going to be true to its own code so to speak, we must in parallel, as I believe we are doing, as imperfect as the system might be, begin to look for that same kind of labour-management investigation within the Public Service. If we are not, we should be.

Perhaps this will explain one of the reasons I took off a little bit on those who are critical of Revenue Canada, not that any function of Government is beyond criticism. However, it does nothing to enhance the feeling of co-operation; it puts it back into an adversarial position because we as parliamentarians have a role to play in labour-management relations involving the Government of Canada and the Public Service. If our attitude is the cliche that the Public Service is overpaid and underworked, and all of these wrong, wrong impressions, then we have not done any good.

The bottom line is, how do we improve upon labour-management relations between the Government and the Public Service? I think the point is well taken and the Hon. Member has shown an initiative in encouraging Government to look at

March 6, 1984

The Budget-Mr. Masters

that issue. If we have a happy, contented, effective and productive private sector, then surely we must have the same situation in the Public Service sector. We have an awful lot of people in the Public Service who are just dying to be able to show more intiative. They have management skills, so I for one will be encouraging the Government to pursue the thought the Hon. Member expressed more fully.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for both the Hon. Member and the Government he supports to realize that such mechanisms, whether they be a share in decision making, profit sharing, or whatever, are not a substitute for the adversary system. If they are regarded as such, they will be treated with a great deal of animosity. They may be complementary to it, and by taking those initiatives they may alter the mood in the industrial world. But if anyone suggests, particularly the Government, that these are a substitute for an adversary system which, particularly in North America, has done more to ensure that not just the collective body but individual workers have rights in the workplace, then he is treading on very dangerous ground and it is going to blow up in the Government's face.

There were initiatives a few years ago with the so-called labour-management consultative committee under the aegis of the federal Department of Labour. Many of the meetings became a talk shop in which issues were talked out to the point where grievances were lost due to being "out of time". They were misused by many corporations so as to bring the whole idea of co-operation into disrepute. I ask the Hon. Member to impress upon the Government he supports, that these systems are simply an adjunct to, or possibly supplementary to, the adversary system, not a substitute. There is a real danger if the Government pursues the substitution course.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

John Gerald (Jack) Masters

Liberal

Mr. Masters:

Mr. Speaker, the only thing I would say in response is that the adversary system is terminology I want to disappear from our vocabulary. I would hope that through consultation we can solve the problems mutually. If you work on something in a mutual way, then I respectfully suggest you are no longer in an adversarial position; you are having an honest discussion.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

But who is in the driver's seat?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

John Gerald (Jack) Masters

Liberal

Mr. Masters:

I understand what the Hon. Member is getting at, that the rights of the workers have to be protected and so on. However, we have now reached a point where we can do it in a better way and it does not always have to be by throwing rocks at each other from across the table. The basic thought of labour-management relations in the Public Service is a valid one but it should not be maintained in the adversarial role as we have known in the past.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

Parliaments and the courts work on the adversarial system, too.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Sidney James Parker

New Democratic Party

Mr. Parker:

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to direct a question to the Hon. Member for Thunder Bay-Nipigon (Mr. Masters) regarding the labour-management profits system.

When the Government initiated the six and five program, the request was made that mediation officers be brought before the committee so the method of dealing with this topic could be discussed. This really relates to labour-management within the Public Service which he is talking about, and we were denied that. It was strictly a confrontation.

Until this Government sets up some sort of system as in Sweden where a labour-management program is put in place, I think the Government is grasping at straws. Until it can lay out some sort of program to accomplish this, with Government assistance, then we are not going to meet that goal. We have had confrontation up until this point. If the Government is trying to change this direction, then I hope there is a structure in place. Does the Hon. Member see a structure in place to assist these groups in doing that?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Gerald (Jack) Masters

Liberal

Mr. Masters:

Mr. Speaker, I think the six and five program, which worked, was undertaken because of extraordinary times.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

For whom?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Gerald (Jack) Masters

Liberal

Mr. Masters:

The Hon. Member asks for whom. It has worked for the country as a whole because inflation came down. Unfortunately it is up to Government to set a tone and use whatever weapons it has in its arsenal to combat things such as inflation. What I hope will happen now is that we will have found the middle ground where we can meet with our Public Service employees. I would hope the NDP, because they seem to have their followers, will encourage our renewed attempt at honest dialogue to be fair to all concerned.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PC

John Raymond Ellis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. R. Ellis (Prince Edward-Hastings):

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing how often you stand to speak having prepared in your mind exactly what you want to say and interventions from our colleagues to the left change your mind. It seems unfortunate that the NDP has such a terrible hang-up that, first, anyone should ever, heaven forbid, make a profit, and second, that any group of employees would want to work with a group of employers and thus remove the possibility of confrontation between the two.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I have no objection to debate. But somebody deliberately miscontrues what is said and suggests that I, as a representative of the NDP, said there was something wrong with profit per se. He knows that his is a misleading statement. He knows that absolutely. I never said any such thing and neither has my Party.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Jacques Guilbault (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Guilbault):

Order, please. Differences of opinion are debate and do not constitute a point of order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PC

John Raymond Ellis

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ellis:

Not only that, Mr. Speaker, but they do not know the difference between debate and points of order.

I intended to start my remarks, Mr. Speaker, which I will do now, with a quote from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) on February 15. He said:

March 6, 1984

My budget today is dedicated to building a strong and growing economy-an economy that will generate lasting, meaningful jobs for all Canadians who want to work, an economy that will provide the economic opportunity and security all Canadians seek.

He went on to say:

My objective as Minister of Finance has been and remains straightforward: to keep the economy growing, so that Canadians who want to work can find productive and meaningful jobs.

I had intended to deal with a number of items emanating from the Budget Speech dealing with taxes, with the items mentioned by my friend across the way for Thunder Bay-Nipi-gon (Mr. Masters), and with the delay in implementation of many items. Frankly, there is no general thrust to the Budget. The Budget does little to spur ecnomic recovery. It is a white paper Budget. Proposals are presented on mortgage protection and other items which are to be studied rather than implemented. The fact is we will have an election long before the Government gets around to dealing with any of those items. Perhaps that is a good thing as they will be dealt with expeditiously, properly and fairly when that time comes.

How can anyone say that the goal of economic recovery is met while 1.5 million Canadians are out of work? How can anyone say there is economic recovery when the unemployment rate is going to average 10 per cent this year, with our industrial capacity being used at only 70 per cent, and when real wages will not go up one cent? The concern of the Government was said to be jobs, Mr. Speaker. That, too, is an illusion.

Two days after the Budget was tabled The Globe and Mail carried this comment:

What bothers us, too, is the small return on the money the Government has allocated to finding jobs for the unemployed. Projects appear from nowhere and quickly return there. Often they're sabotaged by politics, as in the controversial handling of the Special Employment Initiatives Program-

For that, Mr. Speaker, you read "Liberal slush fund".

-which seemed little more than an excuse for Liberal MPs to pose beside constituents with cheque in hand.

The editorial went on to speak about the need for the Government to have a cohesive plan. It spoke about "a gaggle of programs which sound dandy when described in costly brochures". The article went on to estimate that it will cost $2,333 for every unemployed person in Canada. The point is made that by the time that has cleared the bureaucracy very little actually gets spent. That would mean about $12 million for the unemployed coming into my constituency of Prince Edward-Hastings. There is no way that has happened or will happen.

I would like to quote from that mouthpiece of the Liberal Party in Ontario, the Toronto Star. The day after the Budget was tabled an editorial in the Star said:

Finance Minister Marc Lalonde has effectively told Canada's 1.4 million unemployed that they're out of luck. He isn't prepared to undertake a single major new initiative to ease their plight, or to address our most pressing economic and social problem.

The Budget-Mr. Ellis

It concluded by saying:

-the crucial test of this budget was what it would do to reduce unemployment. And, by that test, Lalonde has not provided what Canadians were entitled to expect and demand.

I will tell you what the situation is in Prince Edward-Hastings, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday morning at about 7.30, at the height of what was the second worst storm this winter, between 3,000 and 4,000 men and women stood huddled in a line a kilometre long outside the Canada employment office waiting for it to open. A major company in Belleville had said it would release to the Canada employment centre some 500 job application forms. This employer is one of the larger employers in Belleville and is a very sensitive and good employer. From time to time it asks the employment office to hand out forms for job applications. The last time this was done was in 1980-81. Through this procedure their lists are upgraded. As they need to hire more employees they refer to that list of applicants who have previously been screened. They then call people to come in for final interviews before hiring. They did not have 500 jobs; they were only handing out employment application forms. They had perhaps two or three dozen jobs over the next few days.

The point is, Mr. Speaker, that between 3,000 and 4,000 people, some of whom slept outside of the Canada employment office overnight, wanted a job. When people are prepared to do that it gives us some idea of the need for employment and the lack of consideration for employment which is evident in my part of Ontario.

I would like to make a very simple and small point which illustrates the lack of concern by the Government. Yesterday I received a letter from the President of Northern Telecom, a gentleman I know very well. In his letter he indicates that the Department of Communications has put in place a standard for telephones known as CS-03. Because Canadian manufacturers are meeting the costs of complying with the standards they are paying a penalty. They are at a competitive disadvantage in their home market against foreign suppliers who cannot or do not bother to comply. This has the undesirable effect, in terms of the Canadian economy, of tipping the scales in favour of imports. This in turn means that jobs go out of Canada. This is evidenced in the following reference:

Offshore manufacturers whose products are allowed to sell in Canada without complying with the CS-03 are putting Canadian consumers at risk and Canadian jobs in jeopardy. Some 800 jobs have been lost since 1981 in Northern Telecom's plant in London, Ontario, because sales of the telephones it makes have been declining in the Canadian market.

The fact is, Mr. Speaker, that the Government is not interested in enforcing its own regulations. Thereby we have foreign products coming in which do not meet Canadian standards and are taking away Canadian jobs.

About one year ago I spent a good deal of time speaking in the House about the problems of Stephens-Adamson. There was a great deal of debate as to the quality of the product needed to move the coal in western Canada and about a $20 million contract. A Canadian firm was the only company in the world capable of building that particular piece of equipment at that time. Its bid was low and it was on time. It

March 6, 1984

The Budget-Mr. Ellis

became very obvious that Mr. Franche, who was the head of the National Harbours Board at that time, was going to give that contract to a Japanese manufacturer whatever the cost. The Canadian competitor never had an opportunity to bid that job fairly.

It seems to me that is another piece of evidence of the disregard for Canadian jobs shown by this Government. One step further, the gentleman I mentioned a moment ago, Mr. Franche, went on to become the President of VIA Rail. Now we know how badly VIA Rail has screwed up. Its trains do not even run 20 per cent on time.

In Belleville there are a wide variety of industries. We have a good selection of good employers. They attempt in every way possible to improve their working standards. They attempt in every way possible to improve their working standards. They attempt to improve their portion of the work in the community. They would like to improve their portion of work in the market. In each of the cases I mention, Mr. Speaker, I am not giving names simply because it would not do to bring the names of these employers in the House of Commons. They are embarrassed, I am sure, to seek help or to seek redress from the Government by virtue of the fact that the regulations imposed upon them are so ridiculous as to make it impossible for them to show a profit without having to seek a change.

One of those employers produces a product from a plastic made in Canada. Its competition comes from Brazil, Tanzania and Portugal. Twice this company has been before the AntiDumping Tribunal and twice it has been proved that foreign countries dump their product into Canada at a level that is jeopardizing the Canadian company and taking away Canadian jobs.

The Government of Canada does not recognize that currency values in those countries drop so rapidly that their worth becomes almost zero against the Canadian dollar. It does not matter at what level you put the import duties. Companies can ship into Canada because the value of their particular currency is so much lower than ours. That gives you some idea of the problem, Mr. Speaker. It does not matter at what cost we produce a product. We are certainly producing product at much lower cost than the United States, but no protection is given by the Canadian Government such as U.S. firms have.

Another company entertaining an expansion in Canada required a customs duty remission for the period of time that it was designing and establishing its new facilities. That is standard procedure. It allows a Canadian company to import from a parent company, usually in the United States, until such time as facilities are completed here. In this instance the Canadian company asked for and got a duty remission. In the course of its negotiations with the parent company, the company was able to increase its involvement in the community of Belleville four times. This company went from a $2 million addition to an $8 million addition to its plant. However, negotiations covering that increased involvement in the community took the company beyond the deadline arbitrarily set by the Department of National Revenue, which meant the company was cut

off from its customs duty remission even though it was increasing its participation in the community.

Need I spend a lot of time talking about the distillers in Canada? One of the largest and best run distilleries in Canada is in my constituency, I am happy to say. It is in the position of laying people off because the taxation levels of this Government are so heavy. We have heard my colleagues pointing out that these heavy taxation levels endanger the tourist industry and tourist operators. Jobs are taken away from constituents in my riding simply because of the rapacious greed of this Government in its taxation policy which has now turned the whole situation around. Products are not being purchased simply because taxes are too high.

Need I talk again about the Maislin company? In this case a United States company was allowed to come to Canada and buy up a Canadian company. Had the federal Government not been so anxious to climb in and dump $34 million to help out its friends, that company might well have gone into bankruptcy a few months earlier. But if that had happened, the company would have been bought up by Canadian companies making money. Certainly more of Maislin's people would have been working now than is the case under a U.S. company.

I could tell you about a large lumbering operation in the north end of my constituency, Mr. Speaker. It had planned with a German manufacturer to establish a brand-new plant. All of the details were ready when the federal Government stepped in and promised all kinds of money, many, many millions of dollars, if the company were to establish the plant in the Gaspe section of Quebec. Never mind that a Hastings County entrepreneur had started a deal. Never mind that a Hastings County entrepreneur was capable of putting the deal together. The federal Government stepped in and with taxpayers' money asked the company to go to Quebec. Of course, the company did so. Now we have a consumer starting a new plant in my constituency and he needs that particular product. But what does he have to do? He has to import it all the way from the Gaspe instead of having it right at hand where it should have been.

Textiles are another major problem concerning jobs in Prince Edward-Hastings. Major textile producers, names that have been in business for nearly a century, are now turning into importers simply because they cannot possibly compete with the regulations put in place by the federal Government. The allowance of imports is well beyond what is normally called for.

A large part of Prince Edward-Hastings is obviously agricultural. Prince Edward County particularly has had a couple of bankruptcies recently of major farm operations simply because the Farm Credit Corporation will not consider a pari passu situation where the Farm Credit Corporation and the banks equally share the risks and equally share the lending. It seems to me it is just that straightforward. Section 16 of the Unemployment Insurance Act means that farmers in Prince Edward County now have to put in unemployment insurance benefits for literally tens of thousands of students who work part time during the summer and have absolutely no

March 6, 1984

opportunity of ever collecting unemployment insurance under those benefits. This is just another aggravation in the way of putting jobs in place in Prince Edward County.

There are those situations in the two-county area that I represent where we have been successful. I have probably dealt with every Minister of the Crown who has the least bit to do with employment. I have to say, having pleaded the case with these many Ministers, that in some situations I have had success. If those Ministers were here this morning, I would be the first to recognize them. It is not always the fact that Ministers are at fault, but certainly the policies of this Government are at fault; certainly the policies of this Government are causing us a great deal of grief in the employment sector in Prince Edward-Hastings.

To conclude, let me say that jobs were said to be the thrust of this Budget. Jobs should have been the thrust of this Budget. Jobs were clearly not seriously considered in this Budget. Once again, this crowd has failed. Leaderless for the next three months, things can only get worse. The country, especially those who need jobs, will benefit by the Liberals going.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Hon. Member for Prince Edward-Hastings (Mr. Ellis). He bemoaned at some length the problem of low-value foreign currencies in comparison to Canada's currency. In view of some of these problems, would the Hon. Member not agree that both the Liberal Government and his own Party, the Progressive Conservative Party, should reverse their past and present major policies and let the Canadian dollar float rather than propping it up as is the case, now? Would he not agree that we should peg interest rates instead of letting them float as is the case now? Interest rates are now floating upwards. Would he not agree that we should be going along the lines suggested by many economists and, most recently, by columnist Don McGillivray, who wrote an article to this effect about a week ago in the Ottawa Citizen and other papers across the land?

I am suggesting that that kind of reversal in policy on behalf of both his Party and the Government would provide stability and confidence internally for many Canadians in business and in labour. It would give us a better competitive edge and provide some real incentive to manufacturers to manufacture more durable goods and machinery in Canada instead of relying heavily upon imports. The current policy of pegging the dollar and letting interest rates float is one of the major causes of the trouble in this country, and that is the policy of both his Party and the Liberal Government.

Would he not agree that there has to be a drastic reversal of both these areas of policy on the part of the Conservatives and the Liberals if we are to have any hope of placing our economy in a competitive position and getting on with the job of creating jobs and goods for Canadians?

The Budget-Mr. Ellis

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

March 6, 1984