April 13, 1989

PC

Gerald Stairs Merrithew (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Merrithew:

Where is the question?

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LIB

Rey D. Pagtakhan

Liberal

Mr. Pagtakhan:

I am coming to it. I remain convinced that the establishment in Winnipeg of an environmental centre for sustainable development may be in jeopardy. The Manitoba caucus for the Liberal Party will fight the Government on that issue.

My question is directed to the Hon. Member for Davenport (Mr. Caccia). How does he see the issue of interest ratebearing on the deficit?

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LIB

Charles L. Caccia

Liberal

Mr. Caccia:

It is an interesting question, and I wish I could master the economic knowledge to answer the question in an expeditious manner. There is a definite relationship, and one should be aware of that. However, to give the Members from Winnipeg-Transcona and Victoria (Mr. Brewin) a chance to ask their burning questions and rehash the past-

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NDP

John F. Brewin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brewin:

I do not want to miss the opportunity to rehash yours.

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LIB

Charles L. Caccia

Liberal

Mr. Caccia:

The Tories love the word "leadership". When it comes to the crunch and putting money on the table, they somehow waver.

The future of the centre in Winnieg will fall victim to lack of leadership by the same Prime Minister, Government and Party who proclaimed they are the champions of giving leadership. It would be a sad development if the Government were not to keep the word the Prime Minister gave to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

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NDP

John F. Brewin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brewin:

Mr. Speaker, I had intended to give some compliments to the Member for Davenport (Mr. Caccia), but I will have to reduce my comments in order to give him a chance to reply. I remember him as a progressive member of city council in Toronto. I watched his career with interest. It stands as a mark for other progressive Liberals as to the fate that awaits them in the Liberal Party. I always thought the Member should be a member of our Party.

April 13, 1989

The Address-Mr. Malone

The Hon. Member for Davenport talked about deficit budget cutting-

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PC

Gerald Stairs Merrithew (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Merrithew:

You see, Charles, you missed an opportunity.

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NDP

John F. Brewin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brewin:

Yes. The Member may have gone further had he chosen better at the beginning.

The Hon. Member gave his speech largely on the Budget. There is one element of the Budget we look forward to with anticipation. That is the treatment of defence spending. There is a likelihood that defence spending will be treated by this Government as a sacred cow, that it will not look hard at how military expenditures are directed in this country. We heard rumours that nuclear subs will be retained. Excuses are being trotted out as to why that should be.

There are hard questions that should be asked about the extent of expenditures on the military in this country. We all honour the work of those in the armed services. That does not put them beyond the requirement that services rendered to this country be subject to a rigorous set of questions. The services rendered in anticipating potential military risk to this country, are they responding to any likely risk at all? How do frigates respond to any perceived risk or threat to the security of this country? What is the military expenditure in Europe? I am looking forward to the Member's response.

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LIB

Charles L. Caccia

Liberal

Mr. Caccia:

I thank the Hon. Member for Victoria (Mr. Brewin) for his kind and generous words. It seems that he has put forward the question and answer much better than I could.

When examining whether or not the defence budget should be of a certain size, first I have to ask, who will attack us? Who is going to attack Canada? Until that question is clarified, a defence budget cannot be defined. It is as basic is that.

Second, what is on the agenda of the world? What issue is there to warrant a war? Is there item that would warrant a war? That is also a question that ought to be tackled and an answer provided.

Unfortunately, the Progressive Conservatives live with a psychosis of the 1940s and 1950s and have not realized that the world is changing very rapidly. Therefore, they are launching budgets for defence which may have been warranted in the 1930s. History is full of examples of generals who have been preparing themselves for the past war.

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PC

Arnold John Malone

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Arnold Malone (Crowfoot):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the House. I am always honoured to address the Chamber, particularly on Speeches from the Throne which give us latitude to talk about a range of subjects.

First, I wish to express my thanks to the people of Crowfoot for once again allowing me to be here in the Parliament of Canada. I believe that the past four years between 1984 and 1988 have been particularly advantageous for western Canada, and certainly no place more than the Province of Alberta, by the fact that the Progressive Conservatives have served as the Government of Canada.

During that period of time we were able to put in place the Free Trade Agreement. It was ratified in the early part of this term. It was a great national debate, and one on which people believing strongly in their country took different points of view. I believe that no matter what side of the issue the people were on, they did so from the conviction of how deeply they loved Canada.

Having said that, it is now a period of time when observations can be made. Certainly on the Prairies there is new investment coming into our country. In western Canada, where the bulk of our red meats comes from, we were sending them to other parts of the world for processing. We are now developing processing plants. I single out particularly one of the most technologically advanced meat packing facilities in the High River community of Alberta that will put in place a world-class meat processing and packing unit that will largely be aimed at the western United States coastline, particularly focused on the City of Los Angeles. Because of the reduction of tariffs we will have an opportunity to penetrate that market and to value add to bring into realization the opportunities of new jobs that come from added manufacturing.

The same point can be made with respect to the petrochemical industries. On the issues of ethane and methane we have had to climb over tariff barriers of 16 per cent and 18 per cent respectively. Now, because of the opportunity for tariff reductions, we have a capacity to penetrate a market and to manufacture rather than to export raw product through pipeline, and thereby create jobs.

Those who were the great defenders and stated that we ought not to have such an arrangement, in effect were continuing to ask not only for the export of natural gas through the pipelines to another country, but to ask for the export of the jobs of sons and daughters through that same pipeline by denying opportunity to value add and create job opportunities.

April 13, 1989

In grain, in manufacturing, and in the red meat producing areas of our country, that part of the western area of the Prairies, we certainly have enriched opportunities to penetrate not only the western United States market, but because of the skills and the technological advancement of those manufacturing bases, also to penetrate Asia.

We have to pay increasingly more attention to Asia. By the year 2005, 70 per cent of the world's population will be on the Asian continent. It behooves Canada, but more importantly it is a signal to western Canada, to pay significant attention to Asia, its dynamics, and potential.

In the last Parliament I was pleased to have a fairly influential role in attempting to bring about the Terra Agreement between Canada and China. The Terra Agreement may not be well-known to many Members of the House of Commons, although I know it is well-known to members of the Alberta caucus. It is a program of relationship signed between Canada and China to do first research, and then to expand to a world-class travelling museum that will focus on palaeontology, or specifically to talk about the dinosaurs of the Red Deer River Valley of Alberta-

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NDP

Svend Johannes Robinson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Robinson:

The Alberta caucus.

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PC

Arnold John Malone

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Malone:

-and the Mongolian desert of China.

One of the Members of Parliament from the New Democratic Party thought he saw some humour in talking about dinosaurs. I want the Hon. Member to know that when people who attend exhibits around the world are polled as to what it is that they want to see, whether it is in Sydney, Australia, New York, or Paris, the number one exhibit that those people want to see is that of the dinosaurs.

The new Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta which is in my constituency, looked too large when it was built a few years ago, and is now overcrowded. Last year 600,000 people, mostly world citizens, attended that magnificent and spectacular museum.

When this program is in place between Canada and China, there will be a world-class travelling museum equal to that of the King Tut exhibit that will focus a new emphasis on tourism in western Canada and will bring world citizens from far and wide to see the tremendous history of this large creature that roamed in that area some 60 million years ago.

The Address-Mr. Malone

I want to talk about some things that we can do in this Parliament to pay tribute to some of the groundwork that has already been established. First, there is a great deal of work and effort to be undertaken with respect to the GATT. I am proud of the fact that I belong to a Party that took the initiative with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. In Tokyo 3 or four years ago the Prime Minister first raised the subject of agricultural subsidies. That was followed up in Uruguay by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Clark) when he insisted that agriculture be on the agenda for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. It was Canada's persistence that forced that issue to be on the agenda, which it never was before, and which was resisted very strongly particularly by those in the European Economic Community.

This past week we started to see the results of the GATT negotiations. New corner posts are being struck and new commitments are being made to bring about a resolution that will hold some hope for our farmers, unlike that which we have seen in the past four, five, or six years. Tbday Canadian farmers come up against a $200 billion subsidy wall in Europe and in the United States and have to compete against that treasury force in order to get our product on the international shelf. Here we are as a small nation of 25, 26, 27 million people having to come up against an international wall of treasury support by the United States and Europe of $200 billion. Clearly, that has the capacity to destroy our farmers, unless we are able to bring about a negotiated settlement of the General Agreement on TARIFFS and Trade. I am so pleased that at least that past inflexible position of the GATT has been broken and the optimism is there. I wish our negotiators well for the sake of agriculture.

In Alberta it is important that we give some new attention to hydrogen as an optional fuel. There is a desire among some in Ontario and the Province of Quebec to do research into the potential of hydrogen fuels. It is my hope that as a nation we can jointly recognize that this is a concept that has the capacity to be researched, developed and worked upon in both sides of the counOztiy at the same time. I believe that Ontario and Quebec from its hydro power has a capacity to do some work with hydrogen. Likewise, I believe the Province of Alberta with its natural gas resources from which hydrogen development can likely be advanced more

April 13, 1989

The Address-Mr. Malone

quickly is a very key and important player in this development.

It is important that we start looking for options for fossil fuels, because any concern that we have for the environment will have a tone of hollowness to it, as long as we have only the perspective of fossil fuels now or in the future. I hope that we can continue to work as two sides of this country, to enhance and advance the utilization of hydrogen as a fuel in this country. In the interim it would seem to me that the time has come when we should signal to the manufacturing basin of Canada in southern Ontario that they should pay more attention to the utilization of low-sulphur coals from the west, rather than bringing in the high pollutant coals that they are presently importing from the United States. One of the major causes of acid rain from our sources is the fact that the present coals are high in sulphur, and high, therefore, in the emisions of sulphur dioxide. I believe there are other options for which we can spend Canadian dollars in Canada, buy from ourselves, and at the same time have a tremendous and positive impact on the reduction of acid rain within our country.

I want to talk about the debt for a few moments, and to say that I have never heard anything quite so hollow as I did a few moments ago when I heard the Hon. Member for Davenport (Mr. Caccia) try to dismiss the seriousness of the debt in this country. The debt is growing at a rate where the interest on the debt itself is now increasing at $3 million an hour. That is the kind of burden that this country faces. Eveiy day we have loaded upon us another $80 million of burden. Those who would like to somehow turn a deaf ear to that signal, and pretend that we can go on with programs and government expenditures without raising taxes and without ever paying our debt, are the same people who would relish anything that they might achieve for themselves today, as long as they can put the burden of that price into the future, and on their children. If this issue is not tackled now it will lie as a burden for all future generations. That is a burden that is unacceptable and absolutely and totally inappropriate. We are in a situation where that debt must be brought under control.

The debt stands as one of the major engines of the present situation of high interest rates. When we talk about the debt there is in this country a tremendous notion among the individual citizens that the debt is the federal Government's debt. But it is not just limited to

that. The fact of the matter is that the private debt in this country is double that of the federal Government's debt. When some agency, like the International Monetary Fund, or World Bank, takes a look at the question of the country's debt, it does not ask only the question as to what is the federal Government's debt. It wants to know that nation's debt position. In other words, it is asking the question about the private sector, the federal Government, provincial Governments and municipalities. All those totalled together are something in excess of $1 trillion. That is the number that we need to focus on, that magnitude of 26 million people, a $1 trillion in debt. It is with a view to that scope of burden that we have to address the whole question. It is with the realization that it is not just the federal Government's problem, it is a Canadian problem at every government level and in our private lives.

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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Questions and comments. The Hon. Member for Kootenay West-Revelstoke (Mr. Kristiansen).

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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Member for Crowfoot (Mr. Malone) a question, but first of all I would like to assure him that I along with my family have also enjoyed the exhibits at Drumheller. I and countless other Canadians look forward to the day when all of the various members of dinosaur species, including some of the Members opposite and those who have been opposite in the previous four years, will find themselves on permanent display as an example of the interesting but quaint relic of ages past.

More seriously, we have seen a lot of examples of dinosaurs' wrecks in the statement on UIC changes by the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Mrs. McDougall) in the House the other day. But there are a few examples that obviously were inspired by some of the gentler members of the species. One of those is the provision within that statement that is allowing workers access to benefits during labour disputes in which they are not direct participants, and allow workers to draw sickness or maternity benefits even when a labour dispute takes place at their place of employment.

I am interested in hearing from one of the Members opposite, in particular the Member for Crowfoot, as fond as he is of dinosaur exhibits and their history, to give me his rationale, or the Government's rationale and justification for those changes, which many of us welcome. These will be welcomed by a number of working people

April 13, 1989

across the country, particularly by pulp and paper workers of Canada Local No. 1 in Castlegar, who have asked for some of those changes. Coming from someone of a conservative bend I am particularly interested to hear how the Hon. Member justifies, when there is no loss of earnings, the drawing of sickness or maternity benefits even when a labour dispute is taking place at that employee's place of employment, and thus there is no interruption of earnings. That may be a valid and a very proper social program, but I would like to hear from that particular Member of the Conservative caucus, or in the future perhaps any other Member, as to what their rationale is for that, and whether they think those provisions are going to survive the first labour dispute under federal jurisdiction that takes place after these proposals are hopefully implemented.

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PC

Arnold John Malone

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Malone:

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to the Hon. Member for Kootenay West-Revelstoke (Mr. Kristiansen), that I do not find any particular amount of humour in him playing around with the notion of the dinosaur museum, or the museum of palaeontology. I know there have been expressions in the past about the dinosaur disappearing, and all of the other expressions that go with that. This is one of Canada's finest exhibits. This is one of Canada's most proud tourist attractions. Within a very few years, perhaps as short a time as three to five years, it will be the second largest attraction of tourists in Alberta, next to that of Banff National Park. I submit that we should see it as Canadians with a sense of pride. It is not a matter for tongue-in-cheek remarks. It is a very fine Canadian exhibit.

I wish now to deal with the question concerning unemployment insurance and the changes that have been made and which were announced by the Minister a couple of days ago. I cannot think of anything that would give me more pride, and I believe Canadian workers more of a sense of stability, than to have the realization that workers and employers jointly through the efforts of the Unemployment Insurance Program will be taking at least some of those funds to put Canadians into a position of retraining. In this way they will have the skills and abilities to do what they want to do, that is, to be employed and to retain their dignity through being able to work.

The Address-Mr. Robinson

Only a socialist would think that once one has lost his job it becomes the duty of the Government to pay that person to stay off the job. It is our view and intention to put those people into the position where, because of their capacity to work from the training they will have received, they will have the dignity to go back and to be employed meaningfully as they ought to be.

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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Resuming debate with the Hon. Member for Burnaby-Kingsway.

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NDP

Svend Johannes Robinson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed an honour and a privilege to be able to participate once again in the debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I will have had the honour of serving as a Member of this House for 10 years in the coming month of May. I was first elected in May of 1979.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my constituents in the new constituency that I represent, the new constituency of Burnaby-Kingsway, for their solid support in the most recent federal election. It is a new constituency. I want to say particularly to those who live in the newer parts of my riding, the North Burnaby part of the constituency and in the City of Vancouver itself, that I will certainly do whatever I can to work hard on their behalf, to stay in touch with them, to communicate with them and to remain accountable to them.

As well, I want to say that certainly I know that my colleague from Kootenay was not implying that the Hon. Member for Crowfoot (Mr. Malone) did not represent with eloquence and distinction the dinosaur perspective from his constituency. I know he certainly did not intend to suggest that.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to congratulate the Speaker of the House and yourself as the Deputy Speaker for your re-election at such prominent and distinguished positions in our Parliament.

The fact that the NDP was unable to elect one single Member in the province of Quebec was, as far as I am concerned, a major disappointment in the last election. Having personally worked very hard to convince the people in that province to trust us, I was saddened by the results. We will, of course, continue our work in Quebec, but I did feel very disappointed. We will have to step up our efforts in order to get the respect and support we need from the people of Quebec.

April 13, 1989

The Address-Mr. Robinson

I know that we had excellent candidates and that those people will keep on working in Quebec. I am sure that they will succeed in the next election and that we will finally have New Democrat Members from the province of Quebec.

Responding in the brief time that is available to me to the Speech from the Throne, I want to place my remarks in the context of the concerns of my constituents, the fundamental concerns that have been raised by them, whether it be in the area of jobs and job creation, of post-secondary education, of peace and disarmament, of environmental protection on other concerns, including equality for women and minorities. I want also to speak briefly from my perspective as spokesperson for my Party on justice and human rights.

But first of all, Mr. Speaker, I must object to the cruel and unfair cuts to the Canadian unemployment insurance system.

Mr. Speaker, during the election campaign. Conservative candidates never said a word about their intention to cut unemployment insurance benefits. The province of Quebec will be hard hit by the bill the Conservative government will introduce. This new bill will put more pressure on the welfare system, and as a result of course local taxes will be raised.

We were told how important training is. It certainly is. However, Mr. Speaker, let's not forget that in Canada, for example, the employers contribution to professional training in 1987 was only $1.5 billion while in the U.S. American companies contribute $80 billion every year to this end. In Canada, three out of four companies offer no training at all.

So, you see, Mr. Speaker, it is the responsibility of larger Canadian companies to spend more money for training. However, their friends in the Conservative government have decided, instead of asking them to pay the cost of training, to charge it to the Canadian workers. That decision, Mr. Speaker, is unfair and unacceptable. What do you think will be, Mr. Speaker, the effects of such a decision in the more deprived areas of Quebec- for example, in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and the Mauricie, where the unemployment level is over 12 per cent? Workers will have to work three more weeks before being eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits for a shorter period of time of eight or nine

weeks. There is no doubt in my mind, Mr. Speaker, that this is totally unfair.

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear, I believe, that these cuts in the unemployment insurance program really represent a subtle attempt to harmonize with the American unemployment insurance system as part of the Canada- U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

For example, in the United States, the eligibility criteria for the unemployment insurance program are approximately the same as those our Government is now proposing. So it is very clear that the Conservative Government is cutting benefits for Canadian workers along the lines of the Free Trade Agreement and for us in the NDP, that is totally unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker, at the same time, the Conservative Government talks about eliminating or suggests the possibility of eliminating passenger rail service-VIA Rail. Mr. Speaker, obviously about 90 per cent of Quebecers are against this proposal of the Conservative Government. If the Conservative Government wants to cut, Mr. Speaker, it would be better to cut the crazy program to buy nuclear submarines. Mr. Speaker, it would be much more important to give priority to improving rail service in Canada instead of trying to eliminate it.

During the last federal election the Conservatives were silent on cuts to unemployment insurance. We did not hear anything from them at that time. They were silent on cut-backs to VIA Rail. They said nothing about tax increases.

We all remember the Hon. Member for St. John's West (Mr. Crosbie) when he said in one of his moments of candour for which he is so well known: "Mr. Speaker, we cannot tell the people of Canada what we do as a Government because if we did they would never vote for us". He is right. What we have seen is that the Government has failed to keep the promises that it made to the people of Canada.

The Speech from the Throne talks of-and I quote now from the speech- "maintaining a caring and compassionate society". What kind of caring, compassionate society is it when the Conservative Government allows an economy in which over one million children live in poverty? What kind of caring and compassionate society is it when the Government knows that the line-ups at the food banks are getting longer, that the

April 13, 1989

number of the homeless is getting greater and that the number of hungry children is increasing? At the same time we have the obscenity of the great disparities in wealth and income in our country. Just last week The Financial Post reported under the headline "Pay Bulges for Top Earners" the fact that the number of Canadian top executives who earned more than $1 million in fiscal year 1988 has more than doubled over the previous year.

The head of MacMillan Bloedel received total compensation of $625,000 in 1988. Their number two vicepresident, Don McLaughlin, received total compensation of over $400,000. The head of Canadian Pacific receives over $1 million a year, at the same time that Canadian Pacific pensioners in too many cases are living below the poverty line. It is that profound disparity between rich and poor which is increasing under this Government.

We know as well the national shame of the treatment of native people in this country. It is tragic that we have a situation in which native young people are on a hunger strike seeking to prevent cut-backs in the post-secondary education program which in fact has been a success in ensuring greater participation of native people in postsecondary education.

I recently returned from Labrador where I met with the Innu who are fighting a battle for the survival of their nation against low-level flights by aircraft which in some cases fly at 100 feet above their traditional hunting and gathering places. These Innu, and those who support them, are being tried as criminals in the courts when in fact the true criminals are those who are responsible for the flights that are destroying their way of life.

We have seen the level of suicides and attempted suicide among the young people, the level of child neglect and abuse, the level of alcoholism and poverty, the level of unemployment. I spoke with one of the young leaders, Peter Penashue, who said that the only hope of the Innu people at this point is to shame the rest of Canada to make them aware of the fact that their nation is being destroyed, that it is under attack. I would hope that the Government would heed that plea and would put an end to the low-level flights.

The Address-Mr. Robinson

As Justice critic for the New Democratic Party, I must point out the absence of any reference in the Speech from the Throne to a promise of amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act, amendments in the area of improving pay equity provisions, equal pay for equal value, amendments to expand prohibitive grounds of discrimination to include sexual orientation and political belief, amendments promised long ago in the area of reasonable accommodation, assisting particularly Canada's religious minorities and the disabled, amendments to assure direct reporting by the commission to Parliament.

In other justice areas there has been no commitment to strengthening freedom of information legislation, no commitment to improving sentencing in Canada, no commitment to taking tough and effective action, no long overdue action on Nazi war criminals, no promise that this Government will not recriminalize abortion and no promise to improve Canada's legal aid system.

The Speech from the Throne is silent on the housing crisis which faces Canadians, particularly which faces the people in British Columbia and in my own community of Burnaby and Vancouver, silent on high interest rates, zero vacancy rates for rental accommodation, incredibly high housing prices which make it impossible for people to get into the housing market. In fact as New Democrats, we say the time is long overdue for tough action, for a tax to eliminate the profits from speculation in housing. We are disappointed that the Government has not acted on that.

In the area of the environment, why has the Government not responded to the call for a public inquiry in the devastating oil spills off the West Coast of Vancouver Island and in Alaska? Why was the Government silent on this most important question?

Why the silence on acid rain that is destroying maple trees in the Province of Quebec?

Why the silence on forestry? It is the most important industry in the Province of British Columbia, and yet there is not one word on our vital forest industry. There is no excuse for that failure to act in this important area.

In concluding my remarks on the Speech from the Throne, I want to again condemn the Government for its absence of vision, for its absence of any sense of hope for the future for our young people, indeed for all Canadians and for moving us toward a country which will be

April 13, 1989

5.0. 31

meaner, crueler, which will not respect the environment, which will increase the gap between rich and poor. I fear as well that in the international domain, the Government will cut back on our obligations to those who are poor in other parts of the world, and will cut back on our foreign aid.

I have not spoken much in terms of praise, but I did welcome the decision of the Government to upgrade its contacts with the representatives of the Palestinians in the Middle East, the PLO. I would hope that the Government would continue to push for an international peace conference and would recognize the right of self-determination of the Palestinians.

I wonder who it is that speaks for the Liberal Party on this question? Is it the Member for Mount Royal (Mrs. Finestone) who condemned those contacts?

Does the Hon. Member for Saint-Denis (Mr. Prud'h-omme) support them? Who speaks for the Liberal Party, Mr. Speaker?

In conclusion, once again I want to thank my constituents for the support they have shown to me and assure them that I will speak out on their behalf over the coming years. I will speak out for justice, for peace and disarmament, for full employment, for equality and for a more decent Canada. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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PC

Michel Champagne (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State (Forestry))

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Champagne (Champlain):

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the speech by the Hon. Member for the New Democratic Party, from British-Columbia, and I must admit I was rather surprised by some of the comments he made before the House, especially when he referred to the last election campaign and our Government's promise regarding universality and similar issues.

I wonder whether the Hon. Member misread, because he related these issues to the unemployment insurance reform tabled in the House by the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Mrs. McDougall). He said that the Gouvemment had been less than forthright with

Canadian workers. Mr. Speaker, he said the Government was incapable of keeping its promises and was making cuts.

Mr. Speaker, he did not read a single word of what the Minister tabled in the House, and I would like to ask him, since we are now into questions and comments, how he explains the fact that the Government, under the same program, will increase the number of weeks of unemployment insurance benefits from 15 to 30 weeks for mothers and single parents. Why didn't the Member for the New Democratic Party mention that Canadians 65 years old and over will now be able to draw their unemployment insurance benefits which had been cut by the Liberal? Why did the Hon. Member for the New Democratic Party-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   RESUMPTION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order! Order! I am very sorry to interrupt the Hon. Member from Champlain (Mr. Champagne), but since it is nearly one o'clock, I will give the Hon. Member for Burnaby (Mr. Robinson) one minute to reply.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   RESUMPTION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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NDP

Svend Johannes Robinson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Robinson:

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for giving me a chance to stress the impact of cuts in unemployment insurance. In Montreal for instance, a person will have to work 16 weeks instead of 10 to be entitled to a minimum of 27 weeks of benefits, as opposed to the current 32 weeks. In Quebec City, a person will need 18 weeks of employment instead of 12 for a minimum of 21 weeks of benefits instead of 26.

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member referred to increases in benefits, but the truth is that this reform constitutes an attack on Canadian workers and the Canadian unemployed. Why should the unemployed have to pay for training? Why shouldn't the big corporations pay their fair share, Mr. Speaker?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   RESUMPTION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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April 13, 1989