Mr. Alfonso Gagliano (Saint-Leonard):
Madam Speaker, toward the end of his speech, the hon. member talked about the rhetoric of the opposition. In fact, throughout his speech, he accused the opposition of making negative comments about the government.
I would like to remind the hon. member that last week, while the House was not sitting, two important reports were released and they did not come from the opposition. In its report, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops made alarming statements about the economic, financial and social situation of Canada.
Then Statistics Canada showed us the real picture which was especially revealing for us in Montreal. For two years now we have been asking the government to tell us how it will revitalize our area. I hope I will have enough time to go through some statistics since the questions and comments period is quite limited.
I would like to refer my hon. colleague to an article by Paul Durivage published in La Presse on March 9. The three sources I just mentioned have nothing to do with the opposition. I am referring to one journalist, the Catholic Bishops of Montreal, and Statistics Canada which is a government agency.
I have a copy of Paul Durivage's article which appeared in the March 9 issue of La Presse and I quote:
According to Mr. Jacques Pelletier, senior market analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, since 1990 there are 4 per cent fewer jobs in the area.
The retail market is flat. Last December, of all the metropolitan areas, it was still in Montreal department stores that sales were the slowest.
As for home building, last year was the worst on record since 1982 in Metropolitan Montreal.
The slump in the building industry is closely connected to a high vacancy rate which has been consistently increasing since 1986 to reach 7.5 per cent today. For the last thirty years, there have never been so many empty dwellings in the Montreal area.
Many office spaces are also vacant. In the hotel industry, the
Association des hotels du Grand Montreal, which keeps track of the
number of beds occupied in the 45 biggest hotels of the city, sees no
visible sign of recovery.
These are telling signs. I have a few very interesting graphs under the caption "A city for rent". Unemployment rate, the curve is going up; housing starts, decreasing; office space vacancy rate, on the rise; hotel occupancy rate, decreasing; retail sales, decreasing; inflation rate, decreasing.
This is this government's track record. So, instead of blaming the opposition for reminding the government every day of the misery that prevails elsewhere, the government had better deal with the real problems people face instead of creating systems which, in the long and the short run, will only benefit its friends.
Instead of blaming others, this government, which was elected in 1984 on the promise of jobs, jobs, jobs, should explain why after nine years we have the kind of numbers which were released by Statistics Canada. Do you know that in Canada we have 1,537,000 unemployed workers and 2,700,000 Canadians on welfare? We have close to four million Canadians who, one way or another, have no job and live below the poverty level, thanks to our Tory government.
Subtopic: ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-THE ECONOMY