February 2, 1993

LIB

Sheila Maureen Copps

Liberal

Ms. Copps:

Mr. Speaker, he said it a few moments ago. I am raising it at the earliest opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, 10,000 people in my riding who have lost their jobs in the last three years do not appreciate the misinformation spread by the minister on this subject. The members on the opposite side may think it is a big joke but to those 10,000 people it is not a joke.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   COMMENTS DURING QUESTION PERIOD
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PC

Gerald R. Ottenheimer (Speaker pro tempore)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member is complaining about the word "distortion" in debate. I certainly cannot find, under the circumstances, that it is a question of privilege.

The hon. member may have a complaint but there are other places to take it.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   COMMENTS DURING QUESTION PERIOD
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GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT


The House resumed consideration of Bill C-98, an act to provide additional borrowing authority for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 1992, as reported (without amendment) from a legislative committee; and Motions Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4.


NDP

Rodney Edward Laporte

New Democratic Party

Mr. Rod Laporte (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to enter into this debate today.

I want to refer to some areas that are not always discussed in this House. That is mainly the areas concerning agriculture and in a broader sense, rural Canada.

We spend approximately a billion dollars on agriculture every year. In the last eight or nine years, something like $16 billion has been given in direct payments to agriculture. Although huge sums have been paid out, the fact is that in Saskatchewan alone some 1,500 farmers are leaving the land every year and similar numbers are quitting in other provinces.

The question that has to be answered is this. In what direction are we heading with respect to agriculture in this country? The government has not given any clear direction other than it is willing to spend money on agriculture, usually at times when it is convenient for the government to help members get re-elected or when it is going to help an agribusiness that is going to remove farm families from the land and destroy rural communities.

This government does not understand, does not have an appreciation of what is happening at this time. This was made abundantly clear yesterday when I asked the Prime Minister about the problems in agriculture. I want to quote from Hansard of yesterday when the Prime Minister in his response to my question stated:

This government brought in the GRIP program. This government

brought in the NISA program. Both programs are greatly admired

by Saskatchewan fanners.

I do not know of anyone in Saskatchewan or in this country who admires the GRIP. The answer shows a complete lack of understanding, a complete ignorance in this area. I do not blame the Prime Minister. He is obviously getting bad advice from his new Minister of Agriculture.

February 2, 1993

Up until the last cabinet shuffle we had three Ministers of Agriculture. What happened after that last shuffle? We lost one outright. The Minister of State for Agriculture, who is concerned with agriculture in Quebec, is now the Minister of Justice. I doubt very much whether that minister is going to be spending very much time on agriculture. He is going to be spending more time on justice. It is a major portfolio in itself. There are many areas of agriculture that have to be dealt with. Therefore, we are left with one Minister of Agriculture.

I would suggest this government is taking a new direction. It is abandoning the concerns it has with agriculture. To leave one member as a Minister of Agriculture, with all the needs and requirements there are in this area, certainly does not bode well for the future of agriculture in this country.

The Prime Minister went on to state in response to my question:

I would like to tell my hon. friend this. This government increased

aid to agriculture including western agriculture, over the eight year

period by 650 per cent.

That is also true. However, the way money was spent on agriculture, farmers should be upset, rural people should be upset, urban people should be upset, Canadian taxpayers should be upset because money was wasted. Billions and billions of dollars were wasted. Yet the Prime Minister can say that farmers in Saskatchewan adore NISA, they adore GRIP. Patently that is not the case.

What is needed is not spending more money on agriculture, it is to spend money more wisely on agriculture. The GRIP we have today is like putting a farmer on a step ladder with a noose around his neck and every year forcing him one step down the ladder. It is slowly going to destroy the family farm. When we have a program that gives some farmers a GRIP cheque big enough to buy a half section of land and other fanners a GRIP cheque that will not even pay their fuel bills, there is something wrong with that program.

We in this party have been saying that what we have to do is first of all state our objective clearly. That objective is that we want to maintain viable farm families, viable rural communities in this country. This is not going to be accomplished with the set of programs which the government opposite has been promoting. It was made very clear last week when over 13,000 people came to Saskatoon. They were not all farmers, some were from urban

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areas; they were not all from Saskatchewan, there were some from Alberta and some from Manitoba. They made it very clear that they did not like GRIP, whether it was Saskatchewan GRIP or Alberta GRIP or Manitoba GRIP. It made no difference. The fact is that the agriculture programs that are in place now are not the ones that we require.

The Prime Minister yesterday gave me, with all due respect, a glib answer, an answer that people in this country who have any knowledge of agriculture would mock. It is unfortunate that this is apparently the advice he gets from his Minister of Agriculture.

We have to pursue three underlying points with respect to agriculture and rural Canada generally. First, we have to realize that the primary resource sector in this country, the key sector, depends on maintaining rural Canada, whether that sector is agriculture, whether it is the fisheries, whether it is forestry or whether it is mining in those regions of Canada where there is mining.

This government has not recognized that fact. We have seen the destruction of the fishing industry off the Newfoundland coast, which is wreaking havoc in Newfoundland. We heard the remark made by the Prime Minister showing a complete lack of knowledge of what is happening in western Canada.

Until we recognize that the primary resource sector is the key sector, there is going to be problems and the government is going to be called upon to make emergency payments and come up with money to help people in those areas. Agricultural policies have to be developed with a view to maintaining those communities and maintaining farm families.

If somebody wants to farm 10 or 12 or 15 sections of land, go ahead and farm it but do not expect the government to help you keep that land and buy out other farms. We want programs that will spend money wisely. We do not have a lot of money to spend in this country and we spend far more than we should right now with the deficit we have. The money we spend now on agriculture could be spent in a much better way, where it would produce much better results and provide a much stronger infrastructure if we recognize that the primary resource sector is the key to rural Canada, and if we develop a program with a view to maintaining rural communities and farm families in western Canada.

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Another thing we need is the co-ordination of programs. We have the Community Futures Program which is under the Department of Employment and Immigration. We also have the Western Diversification Program which is now under a separate minister. These programs sometimes work at cross purposes. There is an overlap, an overlap of bureaucracy, an overlap of money that is going back and forth, and oftentimes at cross purposes

What we really need in this country is some real co-ordinating of programs. In fact, what we need is a minister who is responsible for rural affairs. Under that minister should be the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Minister of Forestry, a minister of mining and northern development. That is what we should have, because when you stand in this House you cannot point to anyone who is responsible for rural affairs.

When this government, or any government, comes to its senses, that is the direction we will have to go. I see my time is starting to run out.

The third area where we have to make some changes is that federal governments in the past sat in Ottawa with bureaucrats or other politicians and developed programs and shoved them on to the regions. I know that when we were holding hearings on developing our rural policy and our rural paper for the New Democratic Party we heard time after time groups saying that they wanted to use program A or program B but they had to change the rules or adapt them in order to get the money, and after they got some money it never went to the full purpose and the full benefit it could have had they had more control over the money.

We need a government that facilitates and assists communities and grassroots organizations in developing their programs and helping with that development. The development of programs has to come not from Ottawa but from the regions. That is where the initiatives should come from. It is only logical but that is not what this government is doing.

In conclusion we need to ensure that the primary resource sector is primary to the future of rural Canada. We need to co-ordinate our programs. We should have a minister of rural affairs and a government that is a

facilitator and not a director of federal programs. In that way this government could save money, could cut the deficit and provide better jobs and a better lifestyle for all of rural Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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?

Hon. Chas. L. Caccia@Davenport

Mr. Speaker, in debating this appropriation bill by the Government of Canada one cannot help but think for a moment that we are heading for an election in a few months. This government is going to leave Canada in a very sad condition when it dissolves this Parliament soon.

This bill is asking Parliament to approve $8.2 billion. That is a substantial amount of money. It raises questions as to how the government is administering the public good and the human and natural resources of this nation.

One cannot help but compare the Canada of today and the way we see it on the eve of dissolution of this Parliament with the Canada this government inherited in 1984. At that time Canada was buoyant and on the upswing. Canadians were in a positive frame of mind. They were confident and looking forward to the future. On the whole, Canada looked good. In less than nine years the Conservative government has managed to change the picture dramatically.

Of course what first comes to mind in this analysis of where Canada stands in 1993 compared to 1984 is the economic condition created by this government where at least 1.5 million people are on unemployment insurance and the number of people seeking jobs is greater than that. It is a terrible waste of human resources.

This government does not seem to have the intellectual aptitude, the compassion, the heart or even the sensitivity to address this in an adequate and appropriate manner. We have an increasing number of people exhausting their unemployment insurance. We have an increasing number of people turning to welfare for economic assistance. There is a picture of despair. Unemployed heads of families go through the ads in the newspapers daily. They go consistently knocking at the doors of potential employers only to return home at the end of the day exhausted, disappointed and disheartened.

February 2, 1993

That is the Canada of 1993 according to the model and the matrix imposed by the present Conservative government. It has been made worse by the latest measure being introduced for approval by Parliament to make unemployment insurance tougher to receive for those who are unfortunate enough to become unemployed.

One cannot understand why the Government of Canada would fight unemployment by pursuing the condition of the unemployed rather than by job creation programs which would at least temporarily alleviate the unemployment situation in the country. Those measures being proposed under unemployment insurance from the human, social and economic points of view are abhorrent and repulsive.

Coupled with that, if one looks beyond the importance of the development of human resources on a daily basis, one can notice another disturbing pattern. Frequently statements are made about the importance of training and retraining, skill development and the acquisition of better education and higher skills on the part of the Canadian public. However, when it comes to having access to such training, retraining and apprenticeship programs the answer at the street level, at the counter, to the individual attempting to take advantage of these policy programs is that the funds have been exhausted.

On the one hand there is encouragement to do the right thing. On the other hand when it comes to taking advantage of that opportunity, when an individual turns to the Canada Employment Centre for retraining or an apprenticeship position, the answer is that there is a waiting period of six months or longer because there are no funds. Ottawa says one thing and another thing happens in Toronto. The gap between the two is widening. It is frightening.

There is a deterioration in the social and economic fibre of our communities. Discouragement is creeping in. People are giving up. It is no wonder that against this background violence and insecurity are putting members of our society frequently in danger, as we learn from newspaper reports every day, particularly the safety of women and children.

Evidently, something is going wrong. Something is being missed by this government which apparently is not

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capable of seeing that there is a link between the economic and social condition of the country and its population. Never before have we seen the high incidence of violence, murder and rape we are seeing now. Generally, we have not seen violence between individuals in relationships as we are seeing today.

To make things worse, weekend conversations in our riding offices and visits from people who drop by give us a picture of our youth. Our youth are fairly well-educated and well prepared for life having received good training in community colleges and universities. However, when they complete their education they cannot find their first jobs.

There is nothing more depressing for a young person after completing his or her studies than not being able to find employment. It is demoralizing and depressing. Here again this government with its economic policies does not seem to be able to come to grips with the fact that for the first time probably in many decades our youth cannot confidently look to the future of our country and cannot hope to build an economic and social life as the preceding generations have managed to do.

As part of the economic policies of this government we have also seen the decision to eliminate institutions which have served the country very well. Time does not permit me to go into the details but certainly I must mention the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program, the Economic Council of Canada, the Science Council, the Law Reform Commission and the Institute for International Peace and Security.

I would like to be given a few more minutes but you have given me the signal, Mr. Speaker. I would like to deal with the matter of natural resources, but I will have to wait for third reading.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Sheila Finestone

Liberal

Mrs. Sheila Finestone (Mount Royal):

Mr. Speaker, it is now February but last December I rose in my place to point out the failure of the so-called mini budget to address some of the needs of Mount Royal riding. The circumstances have not changed from then until now.

I rise again today as I look at this government's borrowing bill in which it wishes to borrow $8.2 billion which is required for public works and general purposes. It is not going to answer many of the needs that were expressed by my constituents who have come into my office or whom I have met in the stores, on the streets or in their buildings.

February 2, 1993

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I rise again today to remind this government it has still not met many of the real needs of the real people in Hampstead, Cote-St-Luc, Snowdon, Cote des Neiges, or the town of Mount Royal. That sign "a louer", which I and others refer to as "Monsieur a louer", still has a lot of property in my riding. Thousands of jobs have been lost in the last few years and they have not been returned.

Young people are still thinking about leaving the province because they believe they are going to remain poor and without jobs. I advised them not to lose hope. I told them to get out and do some volunteer work while they looked around for a job because to lose hope was to lose faith in the future. That was my message then.

The big mistake in the mini budget was that it failed to change any of the Mulroney government's programs in the sense of a trickle-down economy. More important, long before it was in fashion, long before Mr. Clinton used the phrase that now seems to be current in the language and politically correct, I talked about hope and I talked about putting people first.

I talked about the fact that it is important always to have a sense for the future and that this government lacks a sense of vision and a sense of purpose for the future of people, for the unemployed who want to work, for seniors and families who simply want to make ends meet, for young people who seek only a chance to start to work and to make a living in this country.

I do not think we can be a country of little more than balance sheets where the federal government is concerned. This government has ignored the human debt and deficit in the name of fiscal debt and deficit. Giving up on social priorities not only weakens the social fabric but it also weakens the sense of belonging and the sense of participation. It reduces that sense of hope and does not make one feel that the government has put people first. People are less able to compete when they feel so diminished in and for a new economy.

In this election year the story will be told of this Conservative government, how it failed to meet the test of compassion, of putting people first, of giving Canadians the tools, not just rosy words, but the tools to win the economic competition. I said to my constituents then and I say now: "Have hope, keep hope, and move forward". It is not too late to hold on to a caring,

compassionate and, yes, competitive Canada. These goals go hand in hand and they make sense.

Once again, I want to address the particular question concerning the arts and cultural community which is under attack by this government. In its first economic statement in 1984 this Conservative government cut culture by $122.5 million. In what we hope is its last economic statement, there will be a further cut of $80 million over the next two years. This comes just two weeks after the sector suffered a 2 per cent blow by the Treasury Board president to the tune of $11.8 million.

It is really a shame when Treasury Board dictates the cultural and entertainment future of Canada.

Also, all government departments and agencies, including those dealing with the cultural sector, are facing a 3 per cent cut in their operating budgets. What does all this mean? The Canadian Conference of the Arts estimates that the federal cuts mean a loss of 8,400 jobs over the next two years. They estimate this based on the premise that, according to Statistics Canada, every $1 million pumped into the cultural sector, on average, creates 105 jobs. Therefore a loss of $80 million in grants and contributions will likely result in a loss of 8,400 jobs. Plus-let us not forget this-people such as printers, electricians, and engineers, all of whom earn their living indirectly from the arts and cultural groups, also stand to lose.

This means that granting programs such as the cultural initiatives program, book publishing development program, museum assistance programs, as well as the Canada Council and Telecom grants are being subjected to the 10 per cent knife of the Tories.

Two years ago the Minister of Communications, when tightening his belt, cut $2 million to the non-theatrical film fund. After a lot of lobbying he found a way to put that program back into place.

The Tory knife also hit loans. The Cultural Industries Development Fund, which provides loans rather than grants to the film industry, book publishing and sound recording, has been affected. This program has been in operation for roughly two years and is being administered by the Federal Business Development Bank. Over two years there have been approximately 130 loans and very few defaults. The program has exceeded beyond expectations.

February 2, 1993

It is my understanding that there will be an evaluation. I hope the minister will take a good look at this because these types of loans are a way of leveraging and increasing funding to the film industry. I think it is a very important program. This has also been cut by 10 per cent and I think that is rather sad.

Regrettably, organizations that speak for the arts and art interests, such as the Canadian Conference of the Arts and the Canadian Museums Association, have suffered a 10 per cent loss.

When you have a constituency out there of artists, creators and entertainers, most of whom earn less than $1,400 a month, you need some way of empowering their speech and empowering their concerns. Those organizations, the NGOs that were there to help them, have now had their voices cut and I think that is very sad.

Let us for a moment look at this government's support to culture since 1984 since it took office. I would like to point out that the numbers I am about to place on the record here are the government's own spending estimates. From 1984-85 to 1991-92 there has been a 24 per cent cut in direct and indirect federal cultural spending in real terms. If direct and indirect cultural support had grown at the same pace as the total federal program spending, an additional $500 million would have been provided.

I realize this amount is unrealistic in today's economic environment, but this drastic cut is unconscionable if we truly believe in nation building and giving voice to Canada's artistic expression in its many forms.

It is also interesting to compare the trends in cultural spending with that of the defence budget. I do not want to start a war between Canada's defence community and Canada's arts and culture community because they are both defending our country, our shores and our people. It would seem to me that where there is a rise of $8.8 billion to $12.2 billion in the defence budget, that a nation that should be so proud and independent should really also concentrate and share its interests in the arts sector.

The economic impact of the cultural sector should not be underestimated. It employs 432,172 people. This is more than the agricultural sector alone. This represents a 58 per cent increase in 20 years. It generates $17.2 billion for the economy, which is an increase of 124 per cent in 20 years. Over the last 20 years, the cultural

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sector has outperformed the whole of the Canadian economy by 83 per cent.

In terms of the gross domestic product, the cultural sector accounted for 2.7 per cent in 1989, which was up from 2.2 per cent in 1981. This is big business. Entertainment, films, books, music and sound recording is big business. It is time that this government and all the people in Canada recognized that it is an important aspect of our daily life.

Culture includes entertainment and going to the museums and the libraries. This is the very essence of our national identity and the bedrock of national sovereignty and national pride. It gives meaning to the lives of every Canadian and it enriches this country socially, politically and, yes, economically. It is a business. It gives us pride in our country.

It is cultural defence for Canada that I am calling for. I am addressing not only the Minister of Communications and Culture who is good enough to be sitting here in this House today, but it goes to all ministers, all potential ministers and to every member in this House. They should remember that when people go to the fair and the library and when children are exposed to graphic arts or to any of the other arts and crafts, that this is part of living in this land and it is worth investing in if you want to have a place on the global map of this world.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

John R. (Jack) Whittaker

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jack Whittaker (Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt):

Mr. Speaker, the bill before us today is the borrowing authority where the government is asking authority to borrow $8.2 billion as required for public works and general purposes.

I think the crucial part in looking at any borrowing bill is in looking at where the government has been, where it is planning on going and where it is at the present.

If we look at the economic outlook given by the Minister of Finance in November, we see the projections of the government and how accurate they have been. It was stated this year that the deficit will rise to $34.4 billion, which is $7 billion higher than what the government said it was going to be in its budget of last spring. It is $10 billion higher than what it had projected only last year. It projected that next year's deficit will be $32.6 billion, which is twice the amount it was projecting last year. It appears the projections of the government's finance department have not been very accurate in the past. I would suggest it probably will not be very accurate in the future.

February 2, 1993

Government Orders

It was interesting to listen to the Prime Minister just prior to Christmas when he talked about economic growth in Canada and the OECD, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. He stated that economic growth in Canada is expected to increase by 3.2 per cent in 1993 and 4.2 per cent in 1994. This is the highest growth rate of any of the G-7 countries. He continued to emphasize that we were going to be the top G-7 country as far as growth went.

There was an article by Don McGillivray of Southam News that was published in The Vancouver Sun on December 28, 1992. It was interesting when Mr. McGillivray looked at the OECD record. He said that it has not been too great so far:

In its December 1988 forecast, the OECD said the Canadian economy would grow in 1990 by three per cent.

A year later, on the very brink of the recession, it forecast growth of two per cent in 1990.

In 1990 itself, near the end of the year, it said growth that year would be 1.1 per cent. In other words, as it sat in the midst of the recession, it did not see any recession.

By the time the December, 1991 report was issued, a year after the end of 1990, the OECD still saw nothing but positive growth for the year, estimated at half of one percentage point.

It was only in 1992 that the organization was prepared to say that the economy failed to grow at all, in fact, that it shrank, in 1990.

Its record is similarly flawed for 1991, the second year of the slump. In its 1990 report, with the country already in recession, the OECD could see no downturn.

This shows that by the OECD forecast the recession never happened. It only shows up in hindsight. That is an example, I would suggest, of exactly where this government has been. It would not admit that there was a recession until we were well into the recession. However, when it was announced by Statistics Canada that we were finally coming out of the recession, it was quick off the mark to say that the recession was now over.

I think this shows where its economic, fiscal and monetary policies have taken this country.

I would like to point out that a number of their policies with respect to privatization and whatnot are part of the over-all problem of where we have been and where we are going and why we have been in such a deep recession, why there are such massive unemployment rates and why the small business community is having such a tough time.

Look at the bankruptcy figures for 1991. There were 13,496 bankruptcies. In 1992 there were 14,317 bankruptcies. Our small business community is having a tough time making it with things like the GST, the free trade agreement and the increased cost of unemployment insurance. I could go on and on and on about the problems that this government has handed out to the small business community.

I would like to turn my attention for a minute to one of the problems that is not just in the small business community. Regular citizens are having problems out in rural Canada with respect to the privatization of Canada Post. The government has pushed Canada Post into making a profit in spite of the lack of service.

When I was in business eight years ago, we used to have guaranteed delivery overnight into eveiy major city in the country and second-day delivery between little places like Osoyoos, Oliver or Penticton or any other place in the province. Quite frankly, we were getting almost overnight delivery between our small communities.

I got a letter from some people in Okanagan Falls in my riding just three or four days ago. They tell me that a letter was mailed to them from Penticton on January 12, 1993. It was to be sent to Okanagan Falls, which is some 15 miles away. It arrived on Wednesday, January 20. It took eight days to get 15 miles between communities where it used to take one day for delivery and takes a simple 10 to 12 minutes to drive between.

That is not all. Look at what they are doing to the community of seniors. Seniors depend on the mail in order to get their communication back and forth between themselves, their families, their children and their grandchildren. It is taking longer and longer. I am getting more and more complaints.

February 2, 1993

The most recent one that really struck me was how low we can go when it comes to Canada Post. An intermediate care facility in Oliver called Sunnybank pointed something out to me. Under the new guidelines of Canada Post, when people who previously had been on intermediate care are transferred out to extended care, or in fact are deceased and mail has to be forwarded to their estate, they are now required by Canada Post to add postage to their mail before Canada Post will allow it to be sent. Further compounding the problem, most intermediate care facilities in my area have always taken the mail in one box at the post office, sorted it and presented it as a daily routine to the seniors in that facility.

Canada Post says that it can no longer do that. That is not its policy. These places are now being required to put up postal boxes for each one of their tenants and Canada Post will then put the mail into these postal boxes.

It is an added cost to these facilities. It is money that the facilities could better use for the care of the seniors in those areas.

The direction this government has moved shows that it does not care for people. It does not care at all for seniors. It is making it almost impossible for facilities that are trying hard to create a home away from home for our seniors who can no longer care for themselves. Canada Post is putting another hurdle in the way of places like Sunnybank, the retirement centre in Penticton; Trinity Centre in Penticton; Coquihalla-Gillis House in Merritt; and Sagebrush Lodge in Osoyoos.

The direction of Canada Post and this government is a profit oriented one. It talks of competition. I say nonsense. It simply does not care about people. All it cares about is the bottom line.

We must look at where we are going in the future. We must look at our seniors. We must look at our small business community. These are the people who make up our communities. These are the people who matter to me. I would suggest that it is important that the government pay attention to those people because they are the people who will throw it out of power the next time around and vote for those who will pay attention to their needs and the needs of other Canadians.

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Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Ron J. Duhamel

Liberal

Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (St. Boniface):

Mr. Speaker, I want to address this particular legislation today and make a number of points that are important to my constituents in particular. However I will begin on a slightly different note. While I should be critical, hopefully in a constructive manner, I want to point out that there were elements in this economic statement with which my party agreed.

I want to say at the beginning that the good parts in the economic statement and the budget are as follows: the extension until 1994 of the Home Buyers' Plan, a plan which the Liberals proposed. We find that quite commendable.

IRAP. In 1991, the Liberals suggested increasing the funding for the Industrial Research Assistance Program. Of course, we are pleased with that and we congratulate the government for listening.

CNARIE. Despite the lack of a national telecommunications policy, the government has committed itself to establishing a high-speed national electronic highway, which my party has called for. It is good to see that good suggestions like that are accepted from time to time. Frankly, they should be accepted more often, I think.

Mr. Speaker, I know that you are a very honest member, but no doubt you noticed something interesting during question period today.

It was interesting because I could not help but listen to my colleagues to the left who kept suggesting that they had clear-cut policies. Of course, they did not put them on the table so that we could debate them.

I would like to see their clear-cut policy with respect to economic developments so that they could share it with the Canadian people. Whenever I talk to Canadians that is one of the great concerns they have about my colleagues to the left, the NDP.

During Question Period today I also observed another interesting thing. The government has desperately tried to suggest that we have no economic plan. That is unfortunate. Either it is trying to mislead Canadians to try to increase its popularity or it has not understood what we have been saying. That is equally serious. Clearly if this government that has been in power does not understand what we mean by stimulating the economy or by building the infrastructure of our cities and towns then we have a large problem.

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The problem is, and this economic statement makes the point, that it is bogged down in an ideology that prevents it from being creative. This is a continuation of the disastrous and growth stifling economic policies of the past.

Cabinet has collectively decided, not just the Prime Minister, that this government's ideological position is such that it wants to stay on course. It wants to stay on course and give us the same economic policies that got us into this recession, that have made this recession, as some people would suggest, a depression. They have failed to get us out of it.

There are about 1.7 million Canadians unemployed. Almost five million Canadians are living at the level of poverty or below, most of whom are women and over one million of whom are children. There are two to three million people, or perhaps more, who are receiving social assistance. There are about two million Canadians in our country, one of the richest in the world, who will be fed in food banks this year.

These are the kinds of policies that created those conditions in large part and these policies will be continued. What does one expect? It is not an assault on unemployment as the government would have us believe but rather an assault on the unemployed.

Canada has been in its worst recession since the 1930s. I have provided statistics about all of the people living in great difficulty and yet there is a continuation of those policies.

I find that quite deplorable. I understand that choices and decisions are made, that people prefer certain options and policies, but when you realize that it is not working, I think that you should try something new. That is why you are there, to govern, to try to make sure that your policies are working and to change them if they do not.

The Liberals want to stimulate growth through policies that will create jobs and encourage the private sector to

expand. We are not advocating spending recklessly, as some people would suggest. We believe that very thoughtful, sensitive, and moderate spending would be good for Canadians because it would provide jobs for many of those Canadians who want to return to the work force, whose greatest desire when they wake up in the morning is to be able to find a job and to be able to fully contribute to the Canadian economy, to Canadian society and to their families.

While the government has accepted some of our proposals my leader and our party created a five point emergency economic plan designed to help create jobs and promote economic growth. That was given to the government to use if it had chosen. If it had it would not be in the mess that it is in today. As a result of the fact that the Conservatives forgot or simply ignored it they will have to pay the price, and pay it very shortly.

Canadians and Canada cannot afford the cost of inaction. Each unemployed Canadian costs the federal Treasury roughly $15,000 and about another $7,000 in the loss of tax revenues. That is really unconscionable and totally unacceptable when many of these people could be working and contributing to their own personal development and to the development of their families, their communities, their provinces and their country.

The infrastructure program that was suggested, and it was a Liberal idea, would have been so much better if the government had taken the idea without diluting it.

But they have diluted it so much that only 4,000 to

5,000 jobs will be created. This is much less than half the jobs that will be cut at CN alone.

I could have spoken of many other companies that will be downsizing in a significant way. Downsizing is a polite word for dismissing people and removing jobs. Therefore the infrastructure program is inadequate.

There is the assault on the unemployed. What an assault it has been. The government will say that the premiums have been frozen, but at what cost? Many people who needed to leave their jobs for legitimate reasons will not be able to do so without paying a heavy

February 2, 1993

penalty and there will be fewer benefits. What kind of an assault on unemployment is that?

That is not an assault on unemployment but rather an assault on the unemployed.

These people are often powerless and feel very bad because they are out of work. Any jobs that do exist are short term and low-paid. Frankly, it is totally inadequate.

I have mentioned the small business measures. They are a step forward but they are certainly not enough. Business people say that the payroll paper work is immense, that it is crushing them and draining their resources to the point where some of them want to abandon their businesses.

Today we talked about all the bankruptcies. They are at a record level. My next point is that there are no economic projections with this. If we examine the government's projections, whether about the deficit, real growth or unemployment, they are always in the wrong direction.

So as I just said, even if I agree that some small steps have been taken, which we think are good, there is still much that is bad. I did not even talk, although of course I could have, about the old people who are very unhappy in our society today. My colleague mentioned the post offices and a small community called St. Germain. They were promised better postal services. What did they get? Much less than they deserve. I will have to go there to see whether it can be corrected. I did not even talk about our young people who are often desperate because of all the cutbacks imposed on them, when all they want is just to go back to school or university so that they can contribute fully to society.

So I, like all my colleagues, reject this whole policy outright and we hope that there will soon be an election that can give us some hope.

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LIB

Brian Vincent Tobin

Liberal

Mr. Brian Tobin (Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte):

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to participate in the debate on Bill C-98, the borrowing authority bill.

Some of my colleagues have pointed out that it seems bizarre to be faced with a request for authority to borrow

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up to $8.2 billion when this government has given us absolutely no indication as to what the money is to be used for. All we have is a vague description in the bill that the funds are to be made available for the purposes of public works and general purposes.

This government is five years into its mandate and paralyzed with indecision. It is exhausted, demoralized, and bankrupt. Its only interest is in determining which candidates have launched what campaigns, which backbenchers have joined which frontbenchers in what leadership campaigns. We would have to be completely foolish to give our permission to submit with enthusiasm to this government's request for an additional $8.2 billion.

The people who live on the great northern peninsula of Newfoundland, on the Strait of Belle Isle, and along the Ste. Barbe coast and the fishermen whose livelihoods depend upon the gulf fishery, and who have seen that fishery destroyed by the mismanagement of this government which not only has a moral obligation but a constitutional one to manage that fishery, do not want me to give this government permission to borrow $8.2 billion when it has not defined in any way, shape or form what that money is for.

More important, there is no indication whatsoever in this bill that even one penny, that even one dollar of the $8.2 billion will be put to use to assist those fishermen who have been driven out of their boats and those plant workers who have been driven out of their fish plants as a result of the lack of any substantial fisheries policy on the part of this government.

Those fishermen on the great northern peninsula are asking themselves what kind of government introduces a compensation program, and we applauded it, for fishermen affected by a northern cod failure but refuses to provide any level of assistance for fishermen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Quebec and Nova Scotia who have also been negatively affected by a fisheries failure. They have been offered no assistance whatsoever. Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what kind of government does that. A government that says it is important during a time of restraint, important during a time of failure for example in the fishery area, in the agricultural area, a government that is looking at 1.7 million unemployed across Canada, that announces a $4.5 billion program to purchase new helicopters for Canada, $4.5 billion.

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As my friend from Bonavista-Tlinity-Conception, an admiral in the Canadian navy, a citizen who has made an outstanding contribution to this country both in his military capacity and now as a member of Parliament, now as one of the most sane and reasoned voices in this place, has said and said again and again and again, yes, it is important to ensure we have a good top notch search and rescue helicopter, and yes, it is important in the next period of time to replace the Sea King that is 30 years old, but if you can replace it with a vehicle that has 90 per cent of the capability of the new EH-101 being proposed and do it for only half the cost, then common sense dictates the government do the responsible thing.

Has the Minister of National Defence listened to the representations of this Admiral, the member for Bonavista-Trinity-Conception? Has the Minister of National Defence and this government listened to representations of many others who have said let us do the job efficiently in a cost efficient manner and let us free up those funds over the long term to provide other necessary services for Canada? No. This Minister of National Defence now has turned a blind eye to the people of Canada who at this time are in great need.

We do not buy, we do not believe, we do not subscribe to this line by the Minister of National Defence that this purchase at this time is absolutely essential, that this $5 billion expenditure must go ahead as planned.

This is the same government that announced a $10 billion nuclear submarine program and said it was absolutely essential, the same government that then cancelled it.

This is the same government that announced a $800 million northern terrain vehicle program just before the 1988 election, a massive joint venture project to be carried out in the province of Alberta, just before the last election. Immediately after the election the program went from 800 vehicles to 400 vehicles and finally the contract was cancelled.

This is the same government that announced a nearly $1 billion Polar 8 ice-breaker program for the province of British Columbia, great work, years of work, tens of thousands of manpower work years for the shipyards of British Columbia, and announced it with great fanfare. Whether there is ice these days off the west coast of Canada as there has been recently with the cold snap or

not, Mr. Speaker, you will not see a ripple of the Polar 8 ice-breaker because it was never built.

This government has announced with the same intensity, the same sincerity, the same conviction this new Cadillac helicopter fleet that it announced the Polar 8, the nuclear submarines and the northern terrain vehicles.

I am convinced that just like those other great promises so necessary at the time that this one will also disappear as soon as an election is past.

We in this party say to that kind of promise it shall not proceed. It is a question of priority in Canada at this time. The priority now in 1993 for the people of Canada is not a Cadillac helicopter fleet. The priority is not the dreams of a new Minister of National Defence opposite. The priority is not to be found in the briefing note of the slick, multi-million dollar lobbyist who sold this harebrained scheme to this government. The priority for Canada at this time is to be found in the face, the eyes, the conscience, the soul and the heart of the 1.7 million people walking the streets of this country, feeling the chill of unemployment in February 1993. That is where the priority is.

Until this government once again demonstrates, indeed it is questionable that it has ever demonstrated, that it knows where it wants to take Canada, that it has a plan to put Canadians back to work, that it understands the real pain that is being felt by those who are dislocated daily in this country, that it understands the true meaning of a record rate of bankruptcies three years in a row in this country, until it demonstrates some compassion, some understanding, some small measure of humanity, we can never say yes to this request for authority to borrow another $8.2 billion.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

James Ross Fulton

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Fulton (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak on Bill C-98 which as my friend has just pointed out is to borrow $8.2 billion. I take the opportunity to speak this afternoon having spent this morning and the lunch period with Dr. Mahbub U1 Haq, the special adviser to the administrator of the United Nations Development Program, in relation to his most recent report which was provided to members of this House today, a very important report called Human Development Report 1992 published for the United Nations very recently.

February 2, 1993

What we do know is that this government will probably use all of that $8.2 billion as a pre-election slush fund. Regrettably most of that money will probably be used to put up more "for sale to the lowest bidder" signs and more signs saying "sorry, closed, moved to the U.S." because this government has shown no signs since 1988 of concerns about poverty in this country, unemployment, regional disparity, the half million Canadians who worked in the manufacturing sector whose jobs were lost under the free trade agreement and transferred to the United States or to the couple of hundred thousand more Canadians who lost their jobs during the recession related to the economic policies of this government.

It is certainly not going to deal with the question of the homeless. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to realize how dire the situation is and the consequences are from the economic policies of this government.

More than $100 million a day goes out of this country as dividends and payments to foreign owners of the means of production in this country and for payments of interest on our debt, principally to Japan, Germany and a handful of other countries.

This is the same federal government that during its term in office under this Prime Minister has given over $200 billion in grants, subsidies, tax breaks and loopholes to large profitable corporations, the majority of them owned by people outside this country.

What kind of government would do that? One of the things that drew my attention in the report tabled today by our friend from the UN is the idea of setting up something called Honesty International. It would contain several hundred journalists who are particularly good at what they do, investigative reporting. They would dig out and monitor corruption at both national and international levels because it is now going on at the rate of billions of dollars every day.

What has this government done recently in terms of off-loading debt, debt that historically was programs that were federal, dumping them off on to the provinces? We can see quite quickly that by the end of next month the net debt of the provinces and territories will be $127 billion, an increase of more than 50 per cent in two years, almost entirely directly related to the off-loading of debt

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by this government so it can shift all of the benefits, all of the largesse, all of the extras, all of the loopholes over to its corporate buddies.

We have seen it happening and those who try to deny it are intellectually and factually dishonest.

The federal debt has now risen to $447 billion. Not a single Conservative Minister of Finance has risen in this House and made a prediction on the deficit or on the debt that they lived up to. They have misled Canadians every single time.

My friend from Newfoundland who just spoke pointed out that the government promised a gigantic ice-breaker to protect sovereignty in the Canadian north. Absolute hokum. It never intended to do it, it was just to trick the public through deceit and dishonesty. The government promised it for British Columbia and never delivered. It promised hundreds of millions of dollars in rapid deployment rubber-tired vehicles for the Canadian north, again sheer hokum.

The government promised frigates, it promised F-18 contracts, it promised this, it promised that. One of the stupidest procurements that there has ever been in the history of Canada is probably tied to Bill C-98, the purchase of $4.5 billion in EH-101 helicopters. Not a single frigate in the Canadian fleet can have an EH-101 helicopter land on it. Supposedly they are for chasing subs. There is a worthless approach that the Minister of National Defence continues to peddle as one of the reasons they are being purchased, or because polling tells them it might be popular to sell them as a vehicle for search and rescue. Every single serious search and rescue expert in the country knows that they are absolutely worthless for search and rescue because the downwash is too strong. You would blow people off a cliff face and you would drown them in the ocean and you would kill them on the land, trying to rescue them with an EH-101.

This is just straight graft and corruption at its very worst, these kinds of acquisitions. We need international bodies like Honesty International to start looking into these kinds of national skulduggery.

February 2, 1993

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What kind of debt have these Tories led us into, $21,259 per person? How many Canadians would want to be born today knowing that that is what has been bequeathed to them by this government, this government that is always saying: Oh, the socialists; oh, the spending; oh, this, oh, that. These are the most incompetent deranged financiers that there have ever been in this country, ever on this continent.

Let us take a look at where this is leading. Our witness today, Dr. U1 Haq, made it very clear what the dimensions of this are at the global level. There should be a peace dividend of $1.5 trillion by simply reducing the military budgets by 3 per cent during the 1990s. In fact, since 1987 global military spending has gone down by $258 billion cumulatively.

What about Canada? Page 87 in this UN report points out that it is dropping in the United States, it is dropping in eastern Europe. But what about NATO and Canada? It stayed exactly the same during this period. In Canada this Conservative government rises with pride to say that it is giving more money to the Canadian military, more than a billion dollars a month, whereas all the intelligent countries in the world are going the opposite direction.

It is appalling when one thinks of the kinds of expenditures that this government has allowed to go on under eight years of its administration. I refer those who are interested to a speech I gave following the release of the Auditor General's report.

The Prime Minister likes to travel around and say that on the human development index Canada is number one in the world. We heard from the author of the study today who wanted Canadians to think about a few other things: Canada is number one in the industrialized world in terms of drug crimes, 308 per 100,000. This is the same Prime Minister who proudly announced and crowed when Ronald Reagan said he was initiating a war on drugs and said that he was going to launch a war on drugs in Canada. Well, his war on drugs has made Canada number one in the world in terms of drug crimes. Who is fooling who? I think there should be an investigation into just who is allowing the major drug networks to operate with such great ease in this country.

How about Canada being number one in the industrialized world on automotive accidents and deaths, 976 per 100,000? We do not hear the Prime Minister crowing about that or doing anything about it either.

The highest per capita release of greenhouse gases in the world of any country, this one. What about Canada's foreign aid, something that Canadians do care about? Only 30 per cent under this government. It has been reduced every single year. Now 30 per cent of Canadian aid goes to the poorest countries and twice as much goes to the countries in the world with the highest military expenditures.

What is going on? One need only refer to Dr. U1 Haq's study on page 87 which points out that the highest military to social spending ratios in the world start with Iraq at 511. Then it goes to Somalia at 500 per cent. If one wanted to look at the soldier to teacher ratios in the Third World, Iraq is 625 per cent and Somalia 591 per cent.

There is a direct link between the kinds of expenditures made by governments like this one in relation to military expenditures, in relation to tax breaks, grants and special deals for large corporations. What happens to the poor, homeless and unemployed here in our country? If we cannot bring focus to dealing with these issues in our own country, we have damn little chance of finding ways to help the developing world out of the crisis that is coming.

There is one other statistic that is well worth thinking of for the moment. In 1960 industrialized countries had 30 per cent of the world population. By the end of 1992 industrial countries had only 5 per cent of the live infant births. The 21st century is soon to come upon us and what is happening in terms of the populations in the developed countries must be reflected in terms of how we deal with international debt and the debt in our own nation. We must halt the kind of expenditures this government pursues.

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LIB

Ralph Ferguson

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Ferguson (Lambton-Middlesex):

Mr. Speaker, I am taking part in this debate to increase the borrowing authority of the Government of Canada by $8.2 billion.

I have gone back and made some comparisons over the years. It is $8.2 billion of initial borrowings and all we know is that it is to be spent on public works and general purposes.

I looked back 10 years. In 1982, in a recession, the shortfall between the people receiving unemployment benefits and the total number of unemployed was 170,293. By this year, October 1992, that shortfall had more than doubled what it was in 1982 and we were in a recession at that time.

February 2, 1993

In Canada last fall there were 378,240 people unemployed who were ineligible for unemployment insurance payments. This was directly due to the continued attacks on the unemployment program by the government and the made in Canada recession that may not be over yet.

The government's reactions to these figures tabled in its December economic statements make it that much harder to get unemployment insurance benefits. It should also be noted that in 1981 the gap between the unemployment rate in the United States and Canada was only 1.3 per cent whereas in 1991 the gap was 4 per cent.

Going back again to 1982, the deficit of $14.9 billion was 4.2 per cent of the gross domestic product in Canada and the national debt was 28.2 per cent of the gross domestic product. Those are the true measuring sticks as to our ability to pay.

After eight years of Conservative mismanagement, this government claims it is attacking the deficit and the national debt. The 1991 budgetary deficit and the national debt had both increased compared to the gross domestic product. The budgetary deficit of $34.6 billion was 5.1 per cent of the gross domestic product. The national debt of $423 billion was 62.7 per cent of the gross domestic product. That national debt will be close to $450 billion at the end of this fiscal year and we will seriously look at our ability to service and repay that tremendous debt.

Regarding foreign investment, Canadian government bonds to cover the yearly budgetary deficit increased dramatically between 1982 and 1991. In 1982 just under $12 billion in Canadian government bonds were held by persons or institutions outside of Canada but by 1992 that had increased by $14.4 billion or 120 per cent to $26.4 billion.

Including all sources in 1984, the foreign debt of the federal government was $16.1 billion. Today, after nine years of this government, the foreign debt federally is $80.9 billion. In other words, in 1984, 92 per cent of the borrowings of the Government of Canada was from the Canadian people through Canada Savings Bonds or Canadian lending institutions.

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Our ability to make decisions and control our future will be severely compromised if we must operate at the whim of the foreign corporations and investors. They will be calling the shots in this country.

In 1981 the government collected $29.2 billion in taxes from individuals and $9.3 billion from corporations. By 1991 under this Conservative government, taxes on individuals had increased by 160 per cent to $75.8 billion. For corporations, between 1981 and 1991 taxes increased by only $100 million or 1 per cent. It was 160 per cent to individuals but only 1 per cent to corporations.

In 1982 the interest on the national debt was $27.1 billion but by 1991 it had increased by 142 per cent to $65.6 billion. In 1982 there was a shortfall between the interest charged against our national debt and the interest payments of $10.4 billion. In 1991 the shortfall had increased 228 per cent to $23.8 billion. If this gap, which has increased dramatically under the administration of this government, is allowed to grow unchecked, we will never be able to balance our books in this nation.

I have spoken on this before but I want to put it on the record again. In the early 1980s, Canada had a surplus current account position. Since 1985, Canada has had a negative current account. The current account measures the balance of international payments. It is a measure of trade accounting for the difference between the export of goods and services as well as the inflow of cash and imports of goods and services along with outflows of cash.

Arthur Donner, one of our prominent economists, argues that each $20 billion of current account deficit equates to roughly 500,000 jobs. We have had six consecutive years under this administration and have had record all time current account deficits. Since 1982, Canada's current account has gone from a surplus of $2.7 billion to a deficit of $29 billion. This is equivalent to

700,000 jobs in this nation and 1.6 million Canadians unemployed at this time.

Another comparison made is between Canada's situation and that of some other industrialized nations. In fact, Canada has the third worst current account deficit of the G-7 nations. It should be noted that these figures are from the UN report that rated Canada as the best country in the world in which to live. Clearly these policies are on the wrong track to steer to prosperity.

February 2, 1993

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Some of the cuts that I see here as the government tries to balance this situation are unacceptable. I spoke on this issue in the House of Commons in November and again in December. I believe that the government has over-run its mandate. The Canadian people need a new direction and they must be placed at the top of the list of priorities. There has to be a sense of pride instilled in this country. Canadian people built it and were proud of it. That sense of pride and determination has made it the best country in the world in which to live.

You have heard me speak in this House about quality standards as they relate to our food production processing as being among the best in the world. I have spoken about the U.S. media reports of the horrible sanitary conditions in the poultry and red meat slaughtering plants to the south of us. Those plants that hire their own inspectors are being severely criticized and yet our Canadian government is going to deregulate our food inspection services in Canada and claim there is no risk.

Let me tell you that on January 11 in the state of Washington, and the story appeared in The Vancouver Province on January 29, a large number of children fell victim to food poisoning by eating tainted hamburgers. This is what the result will be of deregulating the sanitary conditions in our food industry. Five of those children were in British Columbia. There were 19 cases that they know of in the state of Washington alone and one of those children died. Most of the children were under the age of 10. Now, after the horse is out, they are trying to lock the door. There are now USFDA inspectors on the job trying to find out where that meat came from.

Cuts such as these which place the health of the Canadian people, and in particular our children, in jeopardy are not acceptable and not acceptable for budget cuts. When the government brings forward this legislation to further deregulate our agriculture and food inspection industry, I will be one MP who will stand up and strenuously object to these cuts.

We need to spend money to instil a sense of pride in being Canadian. We do not needs cuts that will lower the quality of the food we eat and the lifestyles that we have built for ourselves in this nation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Rey D. Pagtakhan

Liberal

Mr. Rey Pagtakhan (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to speak on Bill C-98 that this government has introduced, asking us in this House and asking Canadians to permit the government to borrow $8.2 billion again.

I ask, Mr. Speaker, for what? For pre-election goodies? This appears obvious because the mandate of this government to run the affairs of this country has long passed.

There is nothing specific in the request. It is all mentioned in generalities for Public Works expenditures. There is nothing specific at all and yet this government is asking us to trust once more, to keep faith. However, I ask: Can we once more trust this government?

Let me first outline for you, Mr. Speaker, the magnitude of misery in Canada. This government has been the creator of a recession and the creator of high unemployment. There are 1.6 million Canadians unemployed across the country. In Manitoba alone there are some

50,000 people unemployed. The recession has led to the loss of some 28,000 jobs in the province. This is the government that has allowed the growth of recipients of social assistance, not of their own choosing but forced to receive them for survival, to some 2.3 million of them and 3.8 million poor Canadians, one million of whom are children who may never see the benefits of adulthood. Two million have been created by this government to rely on food banks for subsistence. The government is now asking us once more to keep faith and have confidence in it. Can we?

On top of that I would like remind this government that it has cut $2.4 billion from the UI benefits. It has cut $350 million from regional development. It has made cuts to farmers, to native programs and $172 million from the protection of our environment.

To add insult to injury, this government has seen fit to change the unemployment insurance rules so that employees are placed in a difficult predicament. On top of that, this government has introduced the GST and has increased taxes 32 times in its lifetime. This government has not closed tax loopholes in our tax system. It has not yet scrapped the $4.4 billion helicopter program, although I remain optimistic in light of my leader's plea, that really serves no useful purpose at this time and is an example of misplaced priorities by this government.

February 2, 1993

I should remind everyone that this government has not eliminated the federal deficit. In fact, it has increased it, particularly the proportion of debt owed to foreign countries. That is serious because if that problem is left unattended we may not even have a Canada at the end of the next century.

That this government should be asking us once again to permit it to borrow money is really asking for too much of Canadians. In my home province, Manitoba, the highway renewal program that this government has said it will give to help boost the Manitoba economy would be a miserly $6 million per year over five years. Manitoba alone spends $100 million on highways, and it is a poor province that is filled with excellent people who are determined to help the Canadian economy. Give us a chance.

This government has cut transfer payments for education and health. Education is needed to train our young of today so that they will be prepared for the future. Transfer payments are needed to pay for health care to keep us healthy so that we can be productive citizens in Canada. Add to that the impact of Bill C-91 which will allow a monopoly on the production of new drugs. That will have an adverse impact on the cost of drugs and therefore on consumers, particularly seniors, the ill, and those who need essential medications. This government has denied Manitoba the benefit of the renewal of the core initiative program. It had helped in the development of the inner city, though much yet remains to be done.

The government has not told us how we will keep our port of Churchill alive. It has not concluded a labour market training co-shared program with the province of Manitoba. It has not told us when the centre for disease control will be completed, thereby creating jobs for Manitobans. It has not even concluded an immigration agreement that will give Manitoba a significant say in determining the number of skilled new immigrants that we should welcome to Canada, to Manitoba.

The question is: Shall we blindly permit this government to once more borrow $8.2 billion? The answer is an unequivocal no. I should remind this government that Canada belongs to Canadians. They have long lost faith in this government. Call the election. Let Canadians decide. That is the prescription I will offer to this government.

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Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Scarborough-Rouge River-Canadian Security Intelligence Service; the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott- Russell-Canada Post Corporation; the hon. member for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke-Emergency Preparedness Canada; the hon. member for Comox-Alberni- Justice; and the hon. member for North Island-Powell River-Indian Affairs.

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NDP

Philip Edmonston

New Democratic Party

Mr. Phillip Edmonston (Chambly):

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to explain why I cannot support Bill C-98.

Basically, this is a bill that authorizes the government to borrow, that provides additional borrowing authority for the modest amount of $8.2 billion.

Many of our listeners or viewers may find it hard to understand why the government has to borrow this amount and why it has to keep coming before the House to ask Parliament's permission to borrow. Perhaps it would be easier if I compared today's exercise with someone using a credit card. That someone is the government. Our government has a credit card. In fact, I call Bill C-98 the MasterCard bill.

The government has just realized it overspent. Its MasterCard credit card is already up to the limit: $447 billion. So instead of cutting its spending and getting rid of the card, the government has decided to go out and borrow more money, and to do that it needs the authorization of Parliament. Of course, we in the NDP, and the Liberals probably as well, will vote against the bill, because when a government or an individual is unable to control his spending, we have to cut off their source of income and say: Whoa. You haven't learned your lesson, and until you have, we are not going to give you more money than your initial budget called for. I am sure my colleagues in the consumer movement in Quebec and members of family savings co-operatives would agree with this approach because that is what they have been teaching Quebecers for a long time. It is too bad the government did not take advantage of the advice available from the people in these grass-roots organizations in Quebec because I believe Quebecers are very good at managing their money and staying within their budget. The trouble is, the government is not.

February 2, 1993

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I wanted to know what the $8.2 billion the government wants to borrow will be used for. In the economic and fiscal statement presented on December 2, 1992 by the Minister of Finance, the government made three promises, not six, about the way it would spend our money. The first promise was, and I quote: "We will continue to invest in policies that make our economy work better". Quite frankly, is giving $5 billion to Hibernia a policy that will make our economy work better? Is wasting $50 million on Canadian Airlines really a policy that will make our economy work better? I don't think so.

The government's second promise is about the way it will spend the money, and I quote: "We will further strengthen our investment in people". People, my foot. I could talk about the cutbacks in unemployment insurance. Especially in Quebec, people are very upset and that includes the Conservative caucus. The hon. member for Chicoutimi is very upset about this and in fact a number of Conservatives are upset about these cuts in unemployment insurance. We have trouble understanding how they can cut money for the unemployed but give more for various pieces of equipment like helicopters and so on for the Department of Defence.

That is not all. There is also the tough, painful dispute on labour force training between the federal government and Quebec. They say: "We will strengthen our investment in people," but that is not what they are doing.

The third promise is this: "We will make additional investments in public infrastructure". Yes, but where? When? How much? Where are some specific examples of this famous public infrastructure? Personally, I have not seen them.

I come to the fourth promise in the budget: "We will continue to invest in broadening trade opportunities". I am in favour of trade but before talking about free trade with Mexico and all that I would really like more free trade among the provinces. I remember that when I was

on the Beaudoin-Dobbie committee one thing this government promised was to make Canada a country where there was free trade among the provinces. But we do not have that yet and we never had. It is really ironic to see all that in the pamphlet or brochure that the Minister of Finance distributed.

The fifth promise, still telling us how they will spend money: "We will continue to invest in sound monetary and fiscal policies". I do not think that our present monetary and fiscal policies are sound. This government has not kept to its budget since it took power. We have had two finance ministers and so far we are $447 billion in debt. That is certainly not a sound monetary and fiscal policy.

Finally, I quote the sixth promise that they say they want to keep: "We will invest in partnerships with the provincial governments, workers and business". As far as workers are concerned I have already told you about the cuts to unemployment insurance. I can tell you that is a joke which Quebecers do not find funny. There was no partnership.

When Bill C-91 on pharmaceuticals was tabled all the provinces except Quebec were against it because they knew that drugs would cost more as a result. I am not proud that my province, Quebec, was in favour of it because ultimately, this bill is at the expense of the most vulnerable people.

In closing I must tell you that this government is bankrupt, not only financially but also in terms of leadership and vision. That is even more serious because one can always find money somewhere but a government so lacking in leadership and vision deserves a slap from the voters and I hope it will get it soon in a federal election.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Jack Wendele Shields (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Immigration)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jack Shields (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Employment and Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 26(1), I move:

February 2, 1993

That the House continue to sit beyond the normal hour of

adjournment for the purpose of continuing consideration of Bill

C-98, an act to provide additional borrowing authority.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

Mr. Shields, seconded by Mr. McCreath, pursuant to Standing Order 26 (1), moves that the House continue to sit beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the purpose of consideration of the report stage of Bill C-98.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Peter Andrew Stewart Milliken

Liberal

Mr. Milliken:

I have a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

I apologize but I am reading the motion. I will take your point of order after disposing of this matter.

I am sorry, but I am putting a question to the House and according to the rules of the House, I cannot interrupt the process that has begun.

All members opposed to the motion will please rise.

And fewer than 15 members having risen:

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1992-93 (NO. 2) MEASURE TO ENACT
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February 2, 1993