March 22, 1984

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BUSINESS OF SUPPLY

LIB

Gildas L. Molgat (Speaker pro tempore)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Before putting the motion in the name of the Hon. Member for Halton (Mr. Jelinek), since today is the final allotted day, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of Supply Bills. In view of recent practices, do Hon. Members agree that the Supply Bills be distributed now?

I should caution the House that the Supply Bill which is in order for presentation does not reflect the decision of the Chair at six o'clock last night to eliminate one item. Therefore, the Bill which would be distributed would be for the information of Hon. Members. The Bill actually introduced at the appropriate time would be amended accordingly. Is there unanimous consent to have the Bills distributed at this point with the proviso I have indicated?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Otto John Jelinek

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Otto Jelinek (Halton) moved:

That this House condemns the Government for having allowed Canada's tourism deficit to reach a staggering $2.1 billion in 1983, and having thus caused over 100,000 Canadian jobs to be lost in that year alone, and for failing to remedy the overtaxation which is the underlying problem which plagues this labour-intensive industry and which pushes prices to non-competitive levels thereby counteracting any positive impact that might be generated by the Government's marketing expenditures.

He said: Mr. Speaker, this Party is presenting this Opposition Day motion today on tourism for a variety of obvious reasons. Less than a year ago, April 14 of last year, the Progressive Conservative Party had an Opposition Day on tourism headed by the Hon. Member for Malpeque (Mr. Gass) to try to impress upon the Government the great importance of this sector to the Canadian economy. It is nearly a full year since that Opposition Day, Mr. Speaker, and the Government has yet to touch the root of the problem. In fact, the deficit, as the motion points out, has skyrocketed to a staggering S2.1 billion, resulting in over 100,000 Canadian jobs being lost in 1983 alone.

I will just very quickly review the importance of the tourist industry and the complete lack of regard by the Liberal

administration for the major problems facing that industry today. In dollar terms, Mr. Speaker, tourism and travel are worth $17 billion each year in Canada which accounts for roughly 5 per cent of the GNP. Travel and tourism employs over one million Canadians.

In these days of such high levels of unemployment, surely the Government should be putting a lot more emphasis on the tourist industry if for no other reason than the potential employment which exists in this sector. Jobs are being lost every day in this industry as the Government continues to take no action. Visitors from abroad last year spent as much as $3.9 billion, making tourism one of the biggest earners of foreign exchange in this country. According to the Canadian Government office of tourism, this industry has a higher employment multiplier than any of the 40 leading industries of our nation.

I could expand on the tremendous importance of tourism to this country, but because of time limitations, Mr. Speaker, I will just say very briefly that the travel industry in Canada is not living up to its potential. In fact, tourism in this country is an industry under siege. The Liberal Government cannot blame international conditions in this regard as it has in other matters, because on the international market Canada's share of world tourism fell from 4.6 per cent in 1972 to a dismal 2.7 per cent in 1981. In other words, in that decade we lost half of our share of tourism in the world market.

Why is it that tourism in Canada is decreasing while at the same time it is increasing in other countries? I repeat and underline the fact that the Liberal administration cannot blame international market forces in this regard.

There are nearly 100,000 more Canadians outside Canada every night of the year than there are foreigners in Canada, and the travel account deficit grows at over $3 million per day. This does not include the travel deficit with the U.S., because there are 74,000 more Canadians in the U.S. every night of the year than there are Americans in Canada. The deficit there grows by nearly $2 million a day. That is a total of over $5 million a day, representing a staggering figure of $2.1 billion last year and growing. That is unacceptable yet the Government is not acting.

Some want to blame the problem on our winters. I have news for them, Mr. Speaker. Last July, when the Canadian market should be at its strongest, travel to the U.S. was up by 37.3 per cent over the previous year. That throws that argument out the window because Canadians are travelling abroad in the summer just as much as in the winter. But the winter months can be taken advantage of. Canadians go skiing in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and to Aspen, Colorado. We could

March 22, 1984

Supply

be attracting tourists to Canada in the winter months as well as during our beautiful summers.

The main problem affecting the tourist industry in Canada is one of over-taxation, Mr. Speaker. We can throw all the other minor problems out the window, but if we do not deal with the overtaxation of the tourist industry immediately, we are going to find ourselves with a growing deficit which will bankrupt this country even more than it already is. In fact, the Tourist Industry Association of Canada estimates that unless there is a reversal of Government policy, our travel deficit next year is going to reach a staggering $4 billion.

We have over-taxed ourselves in lodging, food, gasoline and alcohol and what does the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism (Mr. Smith) say when we question him repeatedly in this matter in the House? He says: "Go and talk to the provincial Premiers; they should be dealing with the problems". Shame on you, Mr. Minister. You know it is the federal Government that has to take the initiative to deal with this major problem. When the Conservative Party forms the Government, I can assure you that its first priority in this regard is going to be to call a federal-provincial conference to deal with the problems of over-taxation and to set an example to the provinces by reducing or freezing taxation wherever possible in the tourist industry.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Otto John Jelinek

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jelinek:

We can no longer continue to put the blame on others. We must share the blame in this Parliament, in this House, and deal with it in a straightforward way. I know that may sound partisan to some extent.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Yes!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Otto John Jelinek

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jelinek:

I knew the Liberal squeakers in the back-benches would agree with that. That is why I brought a letter addressed to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lalonde) by the President of the Tourist Industry Association of Canada, Mr. Garth Campbell, who says:

-tourism is the one area of economic activity-employing over 10 per cent of the Canadian working population and potentially much more-where Canada's price competitiveness or lack of it is clearly exposed. Neither tariffs nor quotas nor clever advertising can hide these facts.

I want the back-bench Liberal squeakers to listen to this.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Maurice James Harquail (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Liberal

Mr. Harquail:

Can you read what he said?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Otto John Jelinek

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jelinek:

The letter went on to say:

Sad to say, the budget of April 19 did virtually nothing to resolve any of the problems we had underlined. Nor did it offer any assurance that the message being advanced by this Industry was understood. Certainly the leadership we had hoped to see from the Federal Government was not forthcoming.

By their comments it appears that the Liberals are very interested in what I am reading. Therefore I will continue:

It is our sad prediction that if travel trends evident even in the first quarter of this year continue, the 1984 deficit will be substantially above $3 billion!

Translated into jobs ... The figure for 1984 could well exceed 150,000 jobs!

That is 150,000 lost jobs in the tourist industry. The Government is spending hundreds of million of tax dollars on non-productive, costly, make-work projects that are only temporary and which put the Canadian populace back on to the unemployment insurance roll after they have served their purpose.

In Mr. Campbell's letter to the Minister of Finance he went

on to say:

We submit... that investment in tax relief for tourism could well leave the federal government financial situation in a more favourable position ... tax reductions would be balanced against reductions in unemployment insurance payments and increased revenues generated by increased economic activity.

Those are some quotes from TIAC which is the most important assembly of tourist people from across the country who are trying to look after the welfare of the tourist industry. I know they have good communication with the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism. I know they are in constant contact with the Minister of Finance, but the Liberals do not listen. They sit in their ivory towers in Ottawa and have no idea what is going on in the real world of business and tourism. That is why the tourist industry, as well as other industries and sectors of the economy, is suffering, Mr. Speaker.

1 know the Minister has just returned from a trip in the United States where he promoted the great advertising budget which he has increased to advertise Canada abroad, particularly in the United States. I wish him well in that, I am glad he has finally increased that budget to match what it was over a decade ago. It is a step in the right direction and we respect that and agree with it. However, it is not going to solve the problem. The problem is over-taxation. I hope the Minister will deal with the taxation problem when he gets up, rather than just show that he has increased Government expenditures using tax dollars to advertise Canada. Tourists are not going to come into Canada if it is 30 per cent more costly to come to Canada than to travel to Europe or in the United States, no matter how many millions of tax dollars are used to advertise Canada. It becomes somewhat suspect that the Government is advertising tourism in an election year, using Liberal agencies to spread that money to perhaps advertise themselves. I will not dwell on that, but it does become suspect.

I believe I have two or three minutes left, Mr. Speaker. A Conservative Government would give greater recognition and consideration to this vital sector. That would become a PC policy thrust. The first thing we would do to recognize the sector, as we are doing now, is to give very serious consideration to establishing a separate ministry for tourism to deal with the problems of that vital sector of our economy. As I said earlier, the first step that ministry would take would be to call a federal-provincial conference to deal with taxation, to set an example and freeze tourist taxes wherever possible, and try to find ways and means of reducing them in certain areas. Federal and provincial taxes for alcoholic beverages, for example, account for 85 per cent of the retail costs in Canada. That is just one example of many and the Minister knows the others.

March 22, 1984

Since I do not have enough time to dwell on these, my colleagues on this side will dwell on some of the other matters throughout the day. The burden of payroll taxes should be reduced. We will look at ways to seek equitable tax measures that do not penalize labour-intensive industries like tourism. We shall develop a national tourism plan in co-operation with the provinces, utilizing the destination resort areas concept.

We will ensure departmental co-operation so that all federal decisions are arrived at with the complete understanding of their effects on tourism. Further steps will be taken to upgrade the status of tourism within the federal bureaucracy in order to protect the entrepreneur from potentially damaging government programs and legislation. In other words, to establish an advocacy role in the various other government departments. To this end, a Progressive Conservative Government shall establish in each relevant department a tourist co-ordinator to act as that advocate. We will provide incentives to promote the growth and development of a family owned tourism business in all regions to take advantage of Canada's tourist potential.

The list of our specific initiatives in policies which we will be outlining goes on and on. Since I am running out of time, I just want to repeat one major point. An election may not take place until a year from now or it may take place in August or November. We cannot wait for a Progressive Conservative Government which understands tourism and would take the necessary steps to deal with the problem. On behalf of the Conservative Party, I call on the Liberal Government to take action now in respect to cost competitiveness, to take action now to sit down with the provinces and start freezing and reducing, wherever possible, tourism taxes in order to be able to permit that advertising campaign in the United States which the Minister has just launched to become effective.

If it will not be cost competitive for tourists to come to Canada from the United States or elsewhere, I repeat that no matter how many millions of tax dollars the Minister will use in advertising, it will not attract tourists to this country. Not only do I call on the Minister and the Government to act now, but I plead with them because we are talking about jobs, we are talking about the economy as a whole and we are talking about the well-being of Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Harold Thomas Herbert (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Herbert):

There is a ten-minute question period permitted, but it has been our practice for the first round of speakers to speak before questions are put. However, it is the option of the House. If it wishes a ten-minute question period, there can be.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Gary Francis McCauley

Liberal

Mr. McCauley:

Mr. Speaker, I listened with some interest to what the Hon. Member for Halton (Mr. Jelinek) was saying. I was wondering if he was ever going to get around to suggesting policy alternatives. I thought he spent a lot of time criticizing and very little time offering solutions, but toward the end of his address he did begin to deal with solutions. He outlined a shotgun approach in terms of what his side would do if they ever did form a government. What, in his opinion, are

Supply

the three main policies that his Party would introduce with regard to tourism?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Otto John Jelinek

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jelinek:

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the Hon. Member was during the last 10 or 15 minutes of my comments when I outlined the policies that the Conservative Party will take when we form the government. If I could be very brief in answering, it would be to deal with overtaxation, to deal with overtaxation, and to deal with overtaxation of the tourist industry, plus all of the other initiatives which I outlined in my speech.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
NDP

James Douglas Manly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Manly:

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member for Halton (Mr. Jelinek) rightly pointed out that the tourist industry is very labour intensive. Many tourist areas are also very low-wage areas. Some of them have right-to-work legislation which undercuts the role of unions in establishing decent wage levels. Our Party is very much opposed to this legislation. Would the Hon. Member for Halton give his opinion on right-to-work legislation and whether he opposes it?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Otto John Jelinek

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jelinek:

Mr. Speaker, if we had to depend on the policies and wishes of the New Democratic Party, the tourist industry deficit in this country would not be $2.1 billion. There would be a $6 billion deficit.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
NDP

James Douglas Manly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Manly:

Mr. Speaker, I asked a very straight-forward question, whether the Hon. Member for Halton supports or opposes right-to-work legislation. That is very germane to a debate about tourism. We in this Party, the House and the Canadian people would like an answer, not further diatribes about the NDP.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
PC

Otto John Jelinek

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jelinek:

What a ridiculous statement, Mr. Speaker! I will speak for myself in respect of the right to work. In Canada people should have the right to work whenever they want to work. I believe that people in Canada should have the right to do whatever they want in this free country. I was forced to escape from a country that was run by philosophies of the nature of the New Democratic Party. I escaped from that country to come to a country that has the rights and freedoms that are honoured in this country.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Maurice James Harquail (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Liberal

Mr. Harquail:

Mr. Speaker, it is very good that the Canadian people can observe the lead speaker for the Official Opposition, the critic on the subject of tourism, giving what has to be termed a shameful performance this morning. He admits that it has been one year since he last raised this important issue. He did not bother to talk about the fact that this involves $16.5 billion for the economy of this country and over 100,000 businesses. This is very important. The Hon. Member did not say anything about the attractiveness, the resources and the reasons people come to Canada. He offered nothing of a positive nature concerning what this beautiful country has to offer in the sense of the tourism attractions.

March 22, 1984

Supply

What has he said? A couple of times he wanted to talk about an election, but he was not sure when it was going to be.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 62-TOURIST INDUSTRY
Permalink

March 22, 1984