Mr. Speaker, I wish to express my grave concern over the effect that cuts in freight subsidies provided to shippers in the Atlantic Provinces will have on the economy of Prince Edward Island.
The Atlantic Region Freight Assistance Program is the cornerstone of the transportation policy in Atlantic Canada. Since the program's inception over 60 years ago, it has stood as an effective means of support for Atlantic Canada's fragile industrial base. It is essential to maintain a competitive position in the Canadian market-place for manufacturers and producers in the Atlantic region.
I am also concerned about the possibility that the Feed Freight Assistance Program could be affected by budget cuts.
I hope that the Government's recent review of this program will result not in cuts but in increased benefits to producers in Atlantic Canada. Fiscal restraint cannot and should not be administered at the expense of the fragile economy of the Atlantic Provinces.
Topic: STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S.O. 31
Sub-subtopic: EFFECT OF FREIGHT SUBSIDY CUTS IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Mr. Speaker, according to the latest monthly labour
force survey, the level of unemployment in the Okanagan-Shuswap now exceeds 19.6 per cent. People are out of work not because of a lack of job training but because of a lack of jobs.
The recent proposal of the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Mrs. McDougall) to carve $1.3 billion out of unemployment benefits to finance job training programs will not help the unemployed in the Okanagan-Shuswap where there are precious few jobs to be had.
No one in the House argues with the intrinsic value of job training initiatives. But in many regions of our country we also need a healthy dose of job creation.
By savaging the unemployment insurance benefits the Minister has disqualified thousands of our unemployed from receiving financial assistance. Others will be forced to pay for their own training. Does the Minister not recognize that while taking these training programs our unemployed still have to eat, or does she expect them to eat cake?
Topic: UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic: LOSS OF BENEFITS
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of the British Columbia Vegetable Marketing Commission's application for financial assistance on the 1988 potato crop. Members are certainly aware of the assistance offered for drought stricken crops, but are likely unaware of the disastrous problems cause by flooding in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, including my riding of Delta. Due to these rains, some 8,000 tonnes of late potatoes were drowned out and never harvested. Eighty per cent of the producing area was affected, impacting negatively on 58 per cent of the provincial crop.
The 1988 floods are another in a series of hardships for these farmers. They have also been hit by years of low prices, and have twice been forced to pursue anti-dumping suits against U.S. producers. Although both of these suits were successful, the legal fees reached $120,000, with no government assistance.
I call on the Department of Agriculture to assist the potato farmers of Delta, as they attempt to recover from this ruinous 1988 crop year.
April 13, 1989
Subtopic: ASSISTANCE FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA POTATO FARMERS
Mr. Speaker, let me point out to the House, particularly to the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Mazankowski), part-time Minister of Agriculture, that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has come out strongly against the recommendations of the de Grandpre Commission as it relates to agriculture. In fact, Mr. Don Knoerr, the President of C.F.A. went so far as to say: "If I hadn't appeared before the Council myself I would question whether they had even talked to farmers".
The recommendations for agriculture in this report will not only hurt supply management, it will destroy it.
I ask the Deputy Prime Minister to stand in the House today and reject those recommendations. If he is not prepared to do that, will he please have full consultations with farmers and their organizations before he makes any decision?
The constituents of Haldimand-Norfolk have worked hard for and depend on the stability of supply management. Once rights and freedoms are taken away they are very difficult to get back. My colleagues and I will not stand idly by and see that happen.
Subtopic: CALL FOR REJECTION OF DE GRANDPRE COMMISSION'S RECOMMENDATIONS
Mr. Speaker, as you know, April 16 to April 22 is a very special week. It is National Child Safety Week in Canada. I can scarcely think of a value more important to any society than the safety of its children, and Canadian society is no exception.
It is my firm belief that the single most important resource of this rich country is our children, for it is they who will be the leaders and the decision-makers of tomorrow. Simply put, our children are our future.
The safety of Canadian children is an issue which concerns us every day of the year. But this week we remind Canadians that we all have a responsibility for our children's safety, a shared responsibility which will not end on April 22. No, each and every Canadian has a vital role to play each day in making Canada a safer place for our children to grow up.
Unfortunately, our children face many serious hazards every day and I implore Canadians everywhere to employ care and common sense-