May 14, 1993

?

An hon. member:

Where is the question?

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Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-THE ECONOMY
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LIB

Sergio Marchi

Liberal

Mr. Marchi:

I will get to the question. Obviously he is scared about me going on that tangent as well. I will relieve him of his pain.

I want to ask a very simple question. What do you think about any of the six proposals I have advanced and the other ideas my caucus colleagues have advanced, not on health care, as important as that is or scare politics about other parties, but on the question at hand about small business and how the financial institutions can be made to become full partners with that important network? Can he stick to the subject at hand as opposed to going off half-cocked?

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NDP

James Capsey (Jim) Karpoff

New Democratic Party

Mr. Karpoff:

Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to stick to the subject at hand but I have to make a few comments about my riding of Surrey North.

The only thing the member said that was right is that Mr. Prem Vinning is running behind me, far behind me as the Liberals have always done. When the chips come down the contest will always be, as it has been for the last 30 years in Surrey North, between the Tories and me. The Tories at least have the ability to stand up and be consistent about policy.

May 14, 1993

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It is quite funny. If you have been in Surrey North you will know that the Liberal Party is split right down the middle. It had a very competent candidate who lived in that riding for 25 years and was active in the community. After she had worked for a year, the Liberals, on the direction of their leader, dumped her and brought in a person who had been living in Houston, B.C. He has never been involved in the community and is certainly running behind me now. I agree.

The Liberals will be surprised to know that the former Liberal candidate will appear on the front cover of my householder that is coming out. She has given me permission to do this because she has made it clear that most of the Liberals in North Surrey no longer support the federal Liberal Party because they insisted on dumping a local woman. If we want to talk about Surrey North I am quite happy to do so. I can also talk about many of the small businesses.

Go out and talk to small business people. Ask them what they think will happen if there are user fees in this country. What will happen if there is a deterioration of the health care system and they have to start paying the kinds of health care premiums the Americans have to pay?

What happens if we get a government that is not able to generate jobs? The only party that has put out a detailed proposal on jobs is the New Democratic Party. We put out a full employment strategy. It is not just a pie in the sky thing It has been costed by an independent financial organization that says it will reduce unemployment by a million and it will reduce the deficit by $10 billion. It sets out all of the kinds of integrated programs we need. It is too bad the Liberals do not have an integrated economic strategy they could trot out and talk about. So they bring in little Mickey Mouse things-

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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

I think we should go on with other questioners here. The hon. member for St. Catharines has a question and also the hon. member for Carleton-Gloucester. Otherwise we will not get through.

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PC

Kenneth David Atkinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ken Atkinson (St. Catharines):

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member's speech and he mentioned that a winery was the victim of free trade. Of course, it was the usual NDP tirade against free trade. I guess the

opposite is the protectionism it seems to espouse. Come back within ourselves, put up the tariff barriers around this country and do not trade with anybody. We can trade with everybody else but nobody can come into our country.

I also come from a grape and wine area and one of the biggest things during the last election campaign was that the industry was going to be destroyed. In fact it has prospered. New small and medium-sized wineries have opened. They have won gold medals in wine competitions around the world. They have developed an ice wine that is world renowned now. They are expanding by leaps and bounds. This is in spite of the free trade agreement.

My question of course is the usual NDP argument that transfer payments have been cut. Have transfer payments been cut or has the rate of increase been cut?

I think my friend will acknowledge-and it is a clear question-that transfer payments have increased at the rate of 4 per cent per year under this government which is higher than the rate of inflation. Those have been passed on to the provinces. The provinces' spending increases, including my home province, have been above 10 per cent for the last seven or eight years. That is a major problem but have transfer payments been cut or is the rate of increase the only thing that has been cut?

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NDP

James Capsey (Jim) Karpoff

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Karpoff (Surrey North):

I am delighted to try to educate the Tories again about EPF.

The whole basis of transfer payments under the Established Programs Financing was that there was a baseline and that baseline would increase not by expenditures-regardless of what the province spent, it had nothing to do with expenditures- but as a proportion of gross national productivity. As the country got bigger, the share of moneys going to the provinces for health care and post-secondary education would also grow at the rate of the GDP.

What has happened, of course, is that the economy has expanded but the government has said: "Oh, no, we are going to renege on it. We are not going to give you more money just because you are entitled to more money because the population and the economy are growing. We are going to pretend that is not so. We are going to freeze the payments to make sure they do not increase at the rate of growth of the economy".

May 14, 1993

In effect that means there is a diminishing amount of money available to the provinces at a period of time when their needs are expanding, particularly the provinces where they had to expand because of population.

The same applies to the Canada Assistance Plan. The government put a cap on the Canada Assistance Plan at a time when it knew that particularly in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta that the demand on the provincial governments was going away up because of cutbacks in unemployment insurance and in other areas, ensuring that less and less people qualify for unemployment insurance.

Mr. Speaker, I see you are signalling that my time is up. It is too bad because I would have liked to go back and talk about some of the more specifics that deal with businesses under the free trade agreement, closing their doors in Surrey and moving to Arkansas.

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PC

Kenneth David Atkinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ken Atkinson (St. Catharines):

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this motion. I take from my hon. friend's response that there has been an increase in transfer payments.

The motion in front of us refers to a part of our economy which has become vital to the future of our nation and that is small and medium-sized businesses. All sides have recognized small and medium-sized businesses as the real engine of growth, as has been described, and as the creator of jobs in our economy. I am glad, therefore, that the hon. member has introduced this motion because it highlights those Canadians who usually get little attention from the news media and the leaders of our small business communities.

I would like to speak on the role that the Federal Business Development Bank has played in helping finance small businesses. I will do that in a minute. First, in my own community, small and medium-sized businesses are going to be very important to the recovery that will go on.

We know that there is a restructuring going on in the automobile industry. It has hit my community particularly hard. We have to do everything we can to maintain what we have in the automobile industry. That restruc-

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turing is something that is going on throughout North America, particularly at General Motors because of the lack of capacity and the downsizing that is going on. That, or course, is under the auto pact and has nothing to do with the free trade agreement which is usually given as the reason for the downsizing of the automobile industry. When you lose 10 per cent of your market share over a short period of time, obviously you are going to have overcapacity and you are going to have to deal with it.

In order for our area to recover, small and mediumsized businesses are going to be very important. Those small and medium-sized businesses are usually driven by individuals who come from within the city or the community. I think that people realize now you cannot get large companies to come into your community because of the infrastructure costs. It would be nice to have them, but it is very difficult to have everything there for these large businesses to come into your community. Most of the economic activity, as has been pointed out by people on both sides of the House, comes from the small and medium-sized businesses within the community. They are the ones which are going to drive the recovery.

It is not only financing that is necessary for these business to succeed. There are other things as well. First off is the training for the entrepreneurs themselves. Many of these people have good ideas, they have the initiative that is necessary to start their own businesses but they need the training, the development of business plans and so on. The Federal Business Development Bank helps out with that in one area, but there are other things in our community that are also important to that entrepreneurial training.

The Centre for Entrepreneurship associated with Brock University is very important in trying to create the entrepreneurial spirit and help those individuals establish their own businesses. As an outgrowth from the university and the secondary school institutions, we have started what is called New Enterprise Store. It is a storefront operation where potential entrepreneurs have the opportunity to go to be able to develop business plans, to listen to people who have started their own business successfully. They are helped along the way in terms of bookkeeping, financial matters, preparing a business plan, approaching banks for small business financing. These have helped out.

May 14, 1993

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This institution has helped a great deal. In fact it is expanding across the country. It is an idea that was started by some individuals in St. Catharines, especially Professor Ken Loucks from Brock University and Gene Luczkiw from the Governor Simcoe Secondary School. It is working out well.

We have to encourage these small business entrepreneurs obviously because, as was mentioned previously, this is where most of the jobs are created. The figures that my friends across the way have shown indicate that.

We also need the people to help these entrepreneurs and that gets back to training. I can say that the government is putting a great deal of money into training through the unemployment insurance fund, through the other training initiatives, through the Canadian Jobs Strategy and so on. Those are welcomed in our community.

They help to train individuals for the jobs created by the entrepreneurs. That is what we need in order to succeed and to get out of this malaise and the difficulties that we are having in my community.

The next thing of course is financing and that is what this motion speaks to. There is the small entrepreneur who has the entrepreneurial training programs. The province is also involved in the training programs and is co-ordinating those efforts in order to make sure that the training is directed in the best manner possible. It is getting labour, business and other community leaders involved in that as well. That is something that we look forward to and is good.

The last portion of it is the financing that is necessary for these small and medium-sized businesses. The new knowledge-based economy that we read so much about consists of things like computers and semi-conductors. It consists of medical facilities and medical supplies. It consists of telecommunications equipment and instrumentation be it in medicine, industry or whatever.

The people who are going to be involved in these industries need to have a great deal of knowledge and training. It is necessary that we realize that a lot of these businesses are based on knowledge and the individual's educational qualifications and training.

A lot of these businesses do not have the bricks, the mortar and the machinery or other things that banks look for when they figure out: "Are we going to loan these individuals money? If we are going to loan them money then we have to make sure that we have some lien or mortgage that we can put on assets of that business so that if anything goes wrong with it, we can move in and realize on these assets. In that manner we can try to recoup what we have lent to these individuals".

Unfortunately the new knowledge-based industries do not have a great deal of assets, bricks and mortar. As a result it is something new. It is something new to the banks and other lending institutions. It is something new for the individuals who are going in asking for the loans that they need to develop these knowledge-based industries.

They say: "I have this idea. I can do this, this and this." In turn they are told: "What do you have in terms of a building? What can you give us that we can put a lien on? What personal property security agreement can we get out of this? What mortgage can we get out of this?"

As a result these individuals feel: "We really do not have those things. I have ideas here. I have the experience. I have the knowledge and I know that this business can succeed. Here is a business plan but no, they are not the bricks and mortar that you have asked for".

This is preventing these people from getting the financing that is so desperately needed. Knowledge-based industries are going to be the ones of the future. The lending institutions have to change their mind-set.

As was mentioned across the way it cannot be just a formula that is developed in a head office somewhere where you go to the local loans manager who has a check list to go down. They find out that the various things that were traditionally there are not there any more.

We have to realize that. I think that is one of the things that we are trying to get through in this debate. The whole culture has to change.

The economic indicators currently put out are based on what is referred to as the old economy. They do not go into the new economy. They do not go into the indicators about computers, semi-conductors, software,

May 14, 1993

medical supplies, medical equipment and telecommunications networks and so on. Those are the things that we know now are going to be important to the economy of the future. They are going to be important to my area.

We hope that the culture can be developed within these lending institutions and business plans can be looked at in those terms.

No, they do not have the bricks and mortar. Yes, here is an individual with a track record. Elere is an individual with some ideas and it is going to take a little risk on my part. I am willing to do that. I know the person in the community. I know it can be done in this particular area.

I am going to take a risk and I am going to lend this individual the money that is necessary.

The Small Businesses Loans Act helps in that way, certainly through the cut down on the personal guarantees which is always a concern to somebody who goes into business. We commend the government in that regard.

Banks are not the only method of financing these small businesses. In fact in some books the percentage of these businesses which are financed by banks now is very small. We probably need other mechanisms as well, maybe a local based equity fund or venture capital fund, something where business people in the community come together and form this board, people who are given certain perhaps tax breaks or tax concessions in order that an equity fund or a venture capital fund can be developed within an individual area such as mine.

Then people who have these ideas could come to these established business people and in return for a certain portion or certain equity in the company that these people would give up to this local board with a venture capital fund, they would get the money in return. They would probably get experienced business people on the board of directors of these small and medium-sized enterprises who could watch over that equity investment and make sure that these people are going in the right direction in a business sense.

A lot of these people have great ideas, but the business acumen that goes along with it is sometimes something that is necessary.

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I was encouraged by the budget of the Minister of Finance where he recognized that this is a possibility. He said in his budget that this is an area he was going to look into and see if we could establish these local based equity or venture capital funds. There are already the labour community funds which in effect are mutual funds to help out small businesses. There are other things which have been done by the government. We welcome those things.

Certainly we have to realize that our economy is moving in a different direction. We all instinctively know that. We have been told this for more than 20 years. Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock spoke about what is going on now. He spoke about the telecommunications network that is going to have to be developed. All those things were there. Now it is upon us and we have to be prepared for it. Other countries in the world are going through the same thing. In that term, the banking culture is going to change.

What is the Federal Business Development Bank doing to help? The Federal Business Development Bank has three functions. It permits a project to happen which could not otherwise be realized because of a lack of financing. It counsels and trains small businesses to improve their management skills, which is one of the things I was just talking about. In a small way, and I hope the Federal Business Development Bank will look at this in a greater degree, it has provided equity seed capital to allow companies to continue to expand in a changing economy.

That is what I was mentioning. The Federal Business Development Bank is only in this in what I consider to be a small way. Hopefully it could get into it in a larger manner. Some of the figures pertaining to the bank are testimony to the scope and impact of the FBDB. It has a 10:1 debt equity ratio so there are no cash costs to the government. I know that is something that is important now.

The NDP members have not mentioned today the study which they are floating around as their economic plan. They have indicated they would like to put $2 billion a year into an equity fund or a venture capital fund, funded through taxpayers' dollars and administered through the FBDB.

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It is a laudable idea but where is the $2 billion going to come from? That is the real problem, especially in our current debt situation. It is great to sit here and say that tax loopholes should be closed. Business lunches should be disallowed, business people should not be allowed to take clients to lunch and deduct 80 per cent of that lunch which they are now allowed to do. That will save $1.9 billion a year and would fund the equity fund each year. It just does not happen that way. It would increase taxation on businesses in doing it in that manner, plus not allow a business expense to proceed, plus the restaurant industry would be affected by that particular matter.

It is not easy and the NDP members would probably find that out just as they did in Ontario. It is great to say all these things in opposition but when they are in government and are faced with the reality of governing how things change. There is a debt to deal with and it seems then that a light has gone on. It has been there. We have been talking about it. We knew about it. They get into government in Ontario and suddenly they have to deal with the debt. They have a problem where they did not know there was a problem.

I can tell them right now there is a problem. Their plan for $2 billion is laudable but by taking it from taxpayers' money, borrowing will have to be increased again to finance that $2 billion. That is not going to help because when government takes the money it takes it out of the realm of the private sector and the private sector cannot get at that money. That is what the private sector needs in order to succeed.

It does not need as well a tax increase which is the other way of financing that $2 billion. Again a tax increase takes money out of the private sector and brings it into the public sector.

I am glad that the government has been doing that for the last two years and has not gone through any tax increases because that is something that is very important to small and medium sized businesses, probably more so than anything else.

The clients of the Federal Business Development Bank employ more than 160,000 people, 2 per cent of the entire small and medium sized business work force. Forty-three hundred of the jobs were created in the fiscal year 1992.

Five hundred and eighty-six million dollars in loans were authorized, up 13 per cent from the previous year. The number of loans FBDB expects to generate in 1993 will rise by more than 10 per cent and most are for $100,000 or less.

The loans already made have helped generate more than $900 million in total investment. Almost 20 per cent of the loans went to the tourism industry. Obviously that is an industry that is important to an area like mine with Niagara Falls and all the tourist attractions that are there. It has fallen on tough times in the last couple of years but it is going to come back and we are glad that the FBDB is supporting it.

Another 22 per cent of FBDB loans went to manufacturing. Exporters received $55 million in loans and we see that exports are leading the recovery that we are experiencing now.

In the division that I mentioned previously, the venture capital division, the paid-in capital of $55 million, the FBDB has authorized $92 million in investment since 1984. The venture capital division is something I would like to see expanded, as I mentioned, and there are facts and figures that I have here in regard to the FBDB.

The FBDB plays a role in other areas as well. We heard about women and how they are developing as entrepreneurs and how well women are doing in developing their own businesses but they need help in expanding those businesses. The FBDB is doing that.

The preparation of business plans is necessary. When these individuals approach traditional lending institutions they must have business plans that banks and other institutions can look at and say it is a good idea and they can go ahead with it. Those things are taking place.

All those things are certainly helping and I believe that in the performance of the FBDB we have ample evidence of innovation, hard work and imagination devoted to providing financing, advice, and training for thousands of Canadian entrepreneurs.

This motion does not reflect the accomplishments of the FBDB and certainly that should be noted. I hope that we realize the importance of the FBDB, what has

May 14, 1993

been done by the government in the other areas I have mentioned in order that the small and medium sized businesses can receive the financing which is so desperately needed.

We all agree they are the ones that create the jobs and that is the only way we are going to create jobs, not by government pouring money into some make-work project or whatever. It is the private sector through the small and medium sized businesses that are most important.

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PC

Gregory Francis Thompson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Greg Thompson (Carleton -Charlotte):

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member and an introductory comment.

One of the interesting things about the last recession and this recession that we are moving through and out of is the fact that New Brunswick has come out of it relatively well in terms of our unemployment rate.

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LIB

Fred J. Mifflin

Liberal

Mr. Mifflin:

Because of Frank McKenna.

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PC

Gregory Francis Thompson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Thompson:

The member across the Chamber just mentioned the premier of New Brunswick. I do not disagree completely with that, because he has worked well with our government. We are in this thing together. Whatever benefits New Brunswick benefits all of us. I guess if he is suggesting that it is low, and it is, we have had something to do with it and I agree with that as well.

I want to reference that in relation to our last speaker, the member for St. Catharines and what is happening in Ontario. The figure I want to quote from New Brunswick, which is accurate, is today we have an unemployment rate in New Brunswick of approximately 11.3 per cent.

Going back 12 years ago or so, the unemployment rate in New Brunswick during the last recession-I should say the recession before the last because I am suggesting we are out of this one-was approximately 16 per cent. In other words we have come out of this one about 5 per cent better. However we see the opposite happening in other provinces, for example the province of Ontario.

Historically New Brunswick's rate of unemployment has always been higher than that in the rest of Canada and always a lot higher than in Ontario. I want the member to comment on that in relation to the provincial government in Ontario today, what he sees happening and how that government could better work with us to improve that number.

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PC

Kenneth David Atkinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Atkinson:

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend and he is correct. This recession has been harder on Ontario than previous ones and harder on a community such as mine that depends very much on the automobile industry.

As I mentioned in my speech, the provincial government has realized that what we say in opposition and what happens when we get in government are two entirely different things. There are a few things that concern me and certainly we have to work together to try to solve this matter.

The provincial government has been putting money into job training. It is having difficulty in getting that off the ground. I hope that we can do that through co-operation. The equity capital, the equity financing, certainly the provincial government could help out in that manner.

The one thing that concerns me is the labour legislation that has been passed and the effect it may have. I know, being on the transport committee, of one particular area, which is the creation of short line railroads which seem to do well when they are created.

There are two examples currently in Canada where businesses have taken over from CN or CP these short line railroads. They seem to be able to run them very well with the same wages by the way or maybe even better than what the individuals received from the large railroads. However, they are flexible. A person who does maintenance on the track can also be driving the train the next day or whatever. They are very flexible in how they do their work.

The Ontario legislation allows successor rights for the unions. This is one of the big things because the unions do not allow the flexibility that is needed by these short line railroads. This is going to be an impediment to forming these short line railroads and it is something I do not think the provincial government looked at in putting that legislation into effect.

It is just one example where you have to look ahead, see what is going to happen to these small businesses and think before you put in these particular measures.

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LIB

Eugène Bellemare

Liberal

Mr. Eugene Bellemare (Carleton -Gloucester):

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member for the government side completely missed the point. For his benefit, I will

May 14, 1993

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repeat the motion presented by the hon. member for York West, and I quote:

That this House condemn the government for its miserable failure to offer leadership and direction to Canadian banks and other lending institutions in order to provide adequate financial resources for the growth and development of small and medium sized businesses and the consequent creation of thousands of new jobs.

As the hon. member for York West said earlier, there are more than 900,000 small businesses in Canada, and if these businesses could each create one job it would solve many problems. He said that this morning in his excellent speech on small business, which is looking for support from the federal government. Small businesses are having problems with our banking system. As you know, the banks are controlled by the government. So we can say that Tory policy has been very damaging for small businesses, and that is why we have seen so many bankruptcies. We have seen banks and institutions force small businesses and owners of small businesses into a comer so they have no more room to manoeuvre and can no longer make decisions. They are haunted by the fear of losing everything, even their own homes.

I appreciate the hon. member's comments.

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PC

Kenneth David Atkinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Atkinson:

Mr. Speaker, I take exception right off the bat to the hon. member's statement that the point was missed. I do not think the point was missed.

The motion refers to banking and banking institutions.

I spoke about the Federal Business Development Bank in my speech. I also spoke about the need for equity and venture capital. I spoke about the banks. As the member says, the banks have an interest to play and have to be more responsive to small and medium sized businesses.

financial institutions, but to say we control the banking system is of course totally wrong.

The banks make their own decisions. What we want them to do is to look at those decisions, realize that the economy is restructuring, realize that these small and medium sized businesses may not have the equity and the assets that they are looking for and to take more of a risk in regard to these small and medium size businesses so they will create jobs. That is what my remarks were directed toward and I think that is directly on point.

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LIB

Fred J. Mifflin

Liberal

Mr. Fred J. Mifflin (Bonavista-TVinity- Conception):

Mr. Speaker, I want to start by thanking you and my colleagues for allowing me to jump to the head of the line because of another commitment that I have.

I want to say how much I have enjoyed listening to the debate. Many good points have been made on all sides of the House, but I would have to come down on the side of my colleague, the hon. member for York West.

He is encouraging the government to give more direction and leadership to our banks and lending institutions so that they can provide better service to small and medium sized business and, indeed, go on and create jobs in this country. That is the name of the game. That is what everybody wants, to get jobs.

In order to make the points I hope to make in the relatively short time that I have I want to provide background for a couple of minutes and then I want to suggest some of the things that can be done. Some of these policies are new and some of them have been mentioned before, but I want to try and accomplish that in about nine minutes.

I spoke about a knowledge based economy and how . 1 want t0 begin the body of my speech by saying that it the traditional bricks and mortars that banks are looking 's my understanding that there are 1.3 million small or for have changed in this knowledge based economy. I do medium sized businesses in Canada. In the past several not think I did miss the point. I was talking about what years these sma11 and medium sized businesses have had the banks are doing. t0 bice an unprecedented series of challenges such as the

Meech Lake Accord, the Persian Gulf war, the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the NAFTA, the introduc-I take exception to another statement that was just tion of the goods and services tax, the federal made that the government controls the bank system. We government's high dollar and high interest rate policy, obviously do not control the bank system. We have the cross-border shopping, the national referendum and the Bank Act and other regulatory matters dealing with uncertainty that has caused, and plummeting consumer

May 14, 1993

confidence. I do not know which of these is worse, but they all impinge on small businesses.

I feel strongly about this because I do not have many big businesses in my riding but I do have many small businesses. My riding may reflect what is happening nationally because from 1979 to 1989 businesses with less than 100 employees created 80 per cent of the new jobs in Canada. Since 1989 this number has dramatically increased to 98 per cent. Unfortunately during this time bank loans to small businesses have decreased by 11 per cent while loans to big business have increased by 11 per cent. So down 11 and up 11.

Of the banks' major business loan portfolio about 70 per cent goes to big business while only 30 per cent is directed to small and medium sized businesses.

I am not against big business. Clearly this is the machinery that runs the country. However there are is preponderance of small business. In my riding certainly the preponderance is in the small business field. That is why I am launching forth so strongly and vehemently for small business.

We have a number of lending institutions, banks, trust companies, life insurers, and credit unions, but the aggregate assets of Canada's five national banks alone are greater than all other domestic finance providers put together. I have respect for the banks, but in support of this motion I had to look at the profits they have made.

The major banks' profits in 1990 were $3.5 billion, in 1991 were $3.7 billion and in 1992 were $1.8 billion. That is quite a marked drop but nonetheless it is a tremendous profit.

One of the reasons the loss was incurred was because of the economic situation in the country. It is interesting that if we examine those losses further we see that the major banks lost an estimated $600 million in loans to 900,000 firms in the small business sector. That is about 70 per cent of the small businesses that are in existence. A loss of $600 million to 900,000 businesses sounds like a pretty big sum but on one loan alone the banks lost $2 billion and that was a loan to a very large business, Olympia and York, with which many Canadians would be very familiar.

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The point I have made is that banks and lending institutions need to be more sympathetic. That includes the Federal Business Development Bank for whom I have great respect, and I have very good rapport with the regional office in St. John's, Newfoundland. I am not suggesting that they change their ways but that the government change the direction it gives them so that they will be allowed to operate more flexibly with policies that would be more benevolent, productive, useful and advantageous to small and medium sized businesses.

I have to look at some of the other areas that impinge on this whole business of small business, the economy, jobs and lending.

Since 1989 Canada has lost 325,000 manufacturing jobs. Unemployment has been at double digit levels for two consecutive years and more than 200,000 people and firms have gone bankrupt since 1990. That is in the last two and a half years.

Forty per cent of service sector jobs pay wages below the poverty level, and adjusted for inflation the average family income is not as high today as when this government came to power. We have lost ground in eight and a half years.

The situation did not happen by accident. The Conservative government that was responsible for running the country made some very basic economic mistakes. Among them was fighting inflation at all costs, high real interest rates, a continuously high Canadian dollar and a free trade agreement without subsidies, without subsidy codes or adjustment programs.

There are some things that need to be done in order to improve this.

First of all, we need to shift the focus from shrinking the economy to growing the economy. In other words, this means jobs with a future and industries for the future. In this way the small and medium sized business sector, which creates most of the new jobs in Canada, will be key when we look at this in the next Parliament.

Then there are fiscal policy commitments. There should be a commitment to fiscal responsibility, unwavering discipline and expenditure control and the holding off from new programs that do not contribute directly

May 14, 1993

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to economic growth and job creation or the reduction of the deficit, which this government has unsuccessfully tried to achieve for eight and a half years, and the reduction of Canada's debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product. It has gone from 42 per cent of GDP in 1984 to around 62 per cent today. That is a tremendous drop.

With respect to monetary policy, which is very important, rather than have the obsession with zero inflation that this government has had we should take a more balanced approach to inflation and growth, with inflation targets more in line with the U.S. inflation rate. Given a tight fiscal policy it would be possible to have a monetary policy that would provide lower short-term real interest rates. That is what we are concerned with today.

There is another area that I do not believe we have been very successful in. That is federal-provincial fiscal co-operation. We need to renegotiate some of the federal-provincial fiscal arrangements in order to achieve the maximum predictability which would be a major priority for the next Parliament.

In terms of tax policies, we need to replace the goods and services tax in a way that generates equivalent revenues, is fair to consumers and easier to administer for small business. I have said time and time again that this has been a killer for small business in this country.

Many in my riding have gone out of business purely as a result of the goods and services tax and the administration burden alone. We need to promote and not defer federal-provincial co-operation. We need a mandate for the Commons finance committee to consult Canadians and provincial governments in a true and meaningful manner on all the options with regard to the current GST. It should certainly report within a time frame of 12 to 18 months.

Regarding trade policies, we are going to have the NAFTA coming up very soon. We need to look more strongly and more supportively at GATT. It is the corner-stone of our trade policy and has been for years. There are flaws in the free trade agreement that have been long apparent, many of which have been pointed out. They have not been corrected in the recent NAFTA.

We need to improve these agreements. Essentially we need to look at subsidies and anti-dumping codes, a more effective dispute settling mechanism, labour and

environmental standards, and energy and to whom we give it or do not give it away.

We need to place a higher priority on expanding trade with the world's most economically dynamic region. I am talking in particular about the Pacific Rim.

We need to concentrate on skills training more. We need to maintain high paying jobs in the global economy and we will need a work force second to none in skills and flexibility. That has become apparent to me in the training for those people who work on Elibemia. That is another story but I use it by way of example.

We need to co-operate with the provinces, business and labour. We need to establish a national apprenticeship program to address the 420,000 young Canadians who are out of work today. We need tax-based job creation incentives.

We need to create a Canada youth service. We have agreed to do so as part of our policy for youth and I have announced it in my recent report to my constituents.

Last but not least, and this is essentially the real crux of this matter, we need to challenge Canada's major banks to give small business a break and to develop concrete measures to help small and medium sized businesses get the financing they need. We need to further reform the Small Businesses Loans Act and make it easier for small business to get equity financing.

We need to speed up technology acquisition by small and medium sized companies, help small and medium sized companies export, reduce the regulatory burden on small and medium sized businesses and basically give them a break.

I want to conclude by giving three examples. One concerns a series of tourist cabins. They are in the process of not being able to make a go of it because of the many factors that I mentioned. They have gone to the Federal Business Development Bank. I am pleased to report to this House that in this case after some negotiation there will be some help for them.

Another case concerns a couple in another part of my riding who have gone looking for about a $30,000 loan to finance a 20-foot extension they put on a craft shop without competition in the area. At the same time they provide competition to another area by way of a semiconvenience store. As yet they have not been successful

May 14, 1993

in securing that loan. This is precisely the kind of policies my colleague from York West is encouraging.

A final example, and it is ongoing, I was on the phone with the people today, concerns a private enterprise. Two people in another part of my riding have, at the encouragement of ACOA, gone into the business of buying a country inn and restaurant. They have made application to ACOA for some assistance and although ACOA suggested they go this route they have now been told that unfortunately this is not the kind of business that is needed in the area. I am working with ACOA and other places to try to get something done.

I have quoted three examples involving about half a dozen people, not large on the scale of Olympia and York at a $2 billion loss in loans from chartered banks. I am looking at $20,000 to $50,000 loans. This is a lot of money to us individually but peanuts in relation to the over-all transfer of money and the profits banks are making.

I am speaking in favour of the motion that has been put forward by my hon. colleagues and spoken so eloquently to here in this House. I do counsel the government to take heed of this motion and pay attention to it because it will benefit all sectors of the economy, all sectors of the country and all Canadians by helping small and medium sized businesses and by putting Canadians back to work.

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Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-THE ECONOMY
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LIB

Beryl Gaffney

Liberal

Mrs. Beryl Gaffney (Nepean):

Mr. Speaker, I too am very pleased to speak on this opposition day motion:

That this House condemn the government for its miserable failure to offer leadership and direction to Canadian banks and other lending institutions in order to provide adequate financial resources for the growth and development of small and medium sized businesses-

A small business is one with an estimated gross revenue that does not exceed $5 million during the fiscal year. It is also a business with under 100 employees.

From 1979 to 1989 businesses with less than 100 employees created 80 per cent of the new jobs in Canada. Since 1989 this number has dramatically increased to 98 per cent. During this time bank loans to small business have decreased by 11 per cent while loans to big business have increased by 11 per cent.

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In 1992 Canada's major banks lost an estimated $600 million in loans to 900,000 firms in the small business sector. However, banks lost a total of $2 billion in loans from the collapse of Olympia and York, and now are effectively forcing small and medium sized businesses to pay the price.

This government will say that it has changed the Small Businesses Loans Act and that is designed to help new and existing business enterprises obtain term loans from chartered banks, but the government is not going to say what I am hearing from small business in Nepean.

Let me give a couple of examples. Despite being long and loyal customers of banks, small businesses, with all the pressures of the economy, are having their lines of credit pulled, reduced or completely cut off. Our banks, as lending institutions, have failed small business in this country.

I want to mention a specific example but I will not give the firm's name. This is quoted directly from a letter to me from this business. The letter reads:

Banks are loaning and helping very large companies-

-and the letter mentions O&Y-

-but to the small and medium size companies trying to survive this recession, they are very hard on them. They will only finance accounts receivables of 30 and 60 days, and most companies are not paying until 90 and over. This is making it almost impossible to try to keep in business. If the banks were more lenient in a time of problems it would help everyone. They state: "We do not want to finance a company showing a loss", but what companies are making a profit? Not very many at the present time. They are demanding many more reports, which is taking also a lot of extra time, which most companies cannot afford now, as they also tell us to lower overhead. With less staff it makes it much harder to comply with their wishes.

The letter says that this hurts small and medium sized businesses and employees and causes large lay-offs and a loss of revenue for the government.

I do not usually quote from newspapers, especially a local newspaper which sometimes might not be too kind to me, but I am going to quote from an editorial in this morning's The Ottawa Citizen'.

- A new federal cabinet must moderate the absolutism that governs the Bank of Canada. For too long the central bank has been allowed to wage its relentless jihad against inflation as if nothing else matters- Crow can be instructed to quit or obey the law, which requires the Bank of Canada "to regulate credit and currency in the best interest of

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the economic life of the nation-and generally to promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada".

Too-tight monetary policy has made Canada's recession harder.

The present economy was not created by some unpreventable force of nature. It is the chosen creation of Conservative policy.

An article in The Gazette of April 2 stated:

But bank critics also charge that, wounded by bad loans to big businesses, the banks are now gun-shy about lending to anyone.

A change in attitude toward small business by the banks, more than the change in legislation is needed, said one.

Their attitude has been "pathetic", said Susan Bellan, economist, owner of Frida Craft Stores in Toronto, and a spokesman for 1he Canadian Organization of Small Business.

"They go on about how the administration costs for small businesses are high", she said. "They want a big fat return with no work".

The $24 billion loaned to small businesses over the last four years is only a fraction of the $71 billion loaned to big corporations-

Is that not the truth as well?

I also would like to comment briefly on how the New Democratic government in Ontario is hurting business through the many cutbacks it is making. I want to bring right into the regional and local picture the moneys and grants that are being cut back.

My city of Nepean will have a shortfall probably of $2 million this year due to cutbacks on transfer payments. If the city is having a shortfall of $2 million it is going to mean that it has to cut back in certain areas. The cutback the city has to make in turn is going to hurt small businesses. Small businesses then have to cut back. It hurts their cash flow. Government is a major player when it comes to controlling the economy of the country or controlling the economy in a given area.

We also know another measure that is certainly hurting small business in the national capital region is the lack of direct air links to the United States. You cannot get on a plane here in Ottawa and fly direct to a city in the United States. This has been going on since 1974 when the Air Traffic Control Act was set in place.

Today Ottawa is a major cosmopolitan city. No longer is it just a Public Service town. It is high time that this federal government got with it and recognized that Ottawa needs a major air link to the U.S. The nation's capital is the fourth largest region in Canada after

Toronto, Montreal and Hamilton, yet it is the most ignored region. The economy here is suffering the same as everywhere else.

Let me give a few examples of the burdens placed on us by this federal government. Fifteen years ago the federal buildings were built in Hull with the proviso that as it would place an overburden on the sewer system, the federal government said it would contribute to the expansion of the sewage treatment facilities. This has never been done. We have a federal government that makes these commitments and never follows through.

My colleague for Ottawa Centre certainly knows what I am talking about. Like any other area the unemployment rate is up mainly due to downsizing of the Public Service by the federal government. Bankruptcies are up; construction is down.

This area has been pressuring the federal government for 10 years to allow that direct flight that I mentioned before. The nation's capital has only a single lane highway leading into it from the south. When coming from New York State or from the city of Toronto into the nation's capital you come in on a two-lane road. I think the federal government has the responsibility. Sure, it is a provincial responsibility, but it is also a federal responsibility to add to this the nation's capital.

The Ottawa-Carleton economy is still struggling. We know that our unemployment rate is probably lower here than in most cities in the country and we are very concerned about the high rate of unemployment throughout the nation. Welfare is at 13 per cent. We know that bankruptcies were 155 in 1993. We know that we have 25,000 people unemployed. I do not care what the rate of unemployment is, any unemployment is too high.

I am delighted to speak to this motion, although I do not have time to comment on the strategy my colleague from York West is putting forward for small business development where he talks about the national summit between the federal government and major banks and the federal government must urge the banks to stop withdrawing capital from small business and the federal

May 14, 1993

government should encourage banks further to expand the Small Business Loans Act-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-THE ECONOMY
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PC

Allan Koury

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Koury):

I am sorry, your time has expired.

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PC

Gregory Francis Thompson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Greg Thompson (Carleton-Charlotte):

Mr. Speaker, out of generosity we are trying to squeeze in as many speakers as possible and allow some questions from the opposition.

Today's opposition motion as put forward by the member opposite, relates to the Government of Canada and its leadership in directing banks and other lending institutions. I simply want to pick up on what is happening in regard to the economy and our debt and deficit position because there is a connection.

I will be the last guy to stand up in this House and defend the banks because I think there is room for criticism in regard to their behaviour. However, there is also room for some praise so I do not think we can just stand up here and blindly criticize them.

There is a connection between our debt and deficit position in relation to the amount of capital that is available for the private sector in lending institutions. I just want to remind the listening audience that this year in Canada we are going to need about $113 billion. That is what new businesses will need to expand their operations. Out of that we have to remember we have financing and deficit commitments which will eat up about $84 billion.

We are going to have a shortfall of somewhere in the vicinity of $25 billion to $29 billion. That shortfall puts pressure on capital borrowing markets. In fact, we will have to go abroad this year to borrow $25 billion or $29 billion.

There is a cost to small business at the end of the day because of continued deficit financing in this country federally and provincially. I think that has to be made known from the outset. If there is one thing all governments, federal, provincial and municipal, can do to help businesses large or small, it is to get our debt situation under control.

The interesting thing is that small business is the engine of growth in the economy. There are 900,000 small businesses in Canada. Their annual payroll is not insignificant and amounts to $85 billion a year.

Our definition of small business by most standards is any company that employs fewer than 50. Between 1979

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and 1989 that is where the growth in the economy was in the number of employees hired. Between 1979 and 1989 companies with fewer than five employees did 49.2 per cent of all hirings in the economy. For companies with six to 50 employees, it was around 36 per cent of all hirings. Those companies with over 50 employees accounted for about 14.3 per cent of all hirings between 1979 and 1989. The engine of growth in that period very clearly was small business and it continues to be small business.

Of the 28,000 jobs created in Canada by business in February, the last month with a precise number, 90 per cent of them were small business hirings. Therefore, not too much has changed. What have we done as a government to help promote that?

I want to step through some of the things we have done. There is the lifetime capital gains exemption of $500,000 for the sale of shares in a small business. We have done some things on the pension side with initiatives to help encourage investment in small business. We have done the same thing with RRSP contribution limits on the private side and for small businesses again. We have relaxed the rules for RRSPs and RRIFs, Registered Retirement Income Funds, for shares in small businesses.

We have also, much to the dismay of the opposition, reduced the federal corporate tax rate. We have increased tax credits for research and development. We have made it easier for businesses to claim research and development costs. We have reduced the paperwork making access better to federal contracts. In other words, to secure a federal contract there is less paperwork than there used to be.

We have set up the small business data base. That was done in 1986 to provide information and analysis to help business compete in global markets. If we are looking at Canada's export capacity, last year Canada sold $157 billion worth of goods to its international competitors. That program was very much part of that increase. It helped us streamline our access and information systems to those markets.

The Entrepreneurship Awareness Program was set up in 1987 to help non-profit organizations promote entrepreneurship. That is something which had never been done in this country or others and the government took steps in 1987 in that direction.

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Another one we can take some pride in is that the Minister of Finance announced changes to the Small Businesses Loans Act. We were not given a lot of credit in relation to the Small Businesses Loans Act by the opposition. The banks have responded to that but not as much as I would like. Each of us in our constituencies can point to areas where the banks have to be a little more aggressive and work with us in relation to that act.

That was an important change. We increased it in the federal budget of 1992 from $100,000 to $200,000. It increased from $200,000 to today's $250,000 in the 1992 economic statement. We have responded in that area. The result has been that for the year ending March 31, 1992, the Small Businesses Loans Act program gave support to lenders for more than 10,000 loans worth a total of $400 million. That is not insignificant.

We are doing the best we can. We are going to require more co-operation from the banks. We will have to continue to hold their feet to the fire to make sure they respond.

I see one thing happening in relation to the banks and one can ask whose fault it is. Is it ours or somebody else's? Confusion exists when a client comes through the door and I think the member for Broadview-Greenwood spoke today about the relationship between banks and their clients. I think all levels of government have helped destroy that relationship because over the years governments have taken over some of the territory which should have belonged to the private sector to begin with.

I will point to a number of specific examples which affect all regions of the country. They have to do with institutions set up either by the federal government or the provincial governments and sometimes both.

Where does a small business person in my constituency who wants to start a small business go? The first stop might be the bank but in all probability it might be somewhere else. It often might be a federal or provincial agency that is in the same business as the bank and lends money. I want to give some examples that exist from one end of this country to the other. I think this is where the confusion lies.

Someone in New Brunswick wants to start a small business and has the resources, knowledge, skill and

everything necessary to start up a small business. The first thing that person will hear is that ACOA, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, helps small business gets started and big business as well at times. As soon as that door opens that person will go in and discuss the project.

Aside from that, business development centres have been set up by the federal government. The Department of Commerce and Technology is in most provinces. Sometimes it is under a different name but in New Brunswick we continue to call it the Department of Commerce and Technology. It may have had a name change. We have regional development corporations in the province of New Brunswick. We have the Federal Business Development Bank in all provinces as well. We do not want to forget about the chartered banks themselves.

There is mass confusion on the part of the small business owner when he makes application for a loan. The federal and provincial governments have taken over some of the turf which legitimately was the bank's to begin with. We might say they took it over simply because the banks were not responding to a need and that area had to be taken over. Borrowing and investing had to be encouraged as well as entrepreneurship because the banks were not doing this.

At the end of the day the banks have not had their feet held to the fire. For example they say they will lend money but at the same time the applicant should speak to ACOA or the same agency in Quebec or the Western Diversification Fund out west, to make sure the loan being granted is going to be secured. In fact a grant may be available to help offset the amount needed to be borrowed in the first place. A reduced rate of interest may be available if the applicant gets under the right program.

There is a lot of confusion out there and often the banks are not doing business with these small business people unless some of those loans and insurance agencies as provided by the federal government are there.

In relation to the Federal Business Development Bank we have an institution now that is on a cost-recovery basis. It is reluctant now to take up the space it was originally designed for as the lender of last resort.

May 14, 1993

There is a great deal of room for improvement in the whole process. I do not disagree that it has to start right here. I think a lot of it has but more can be done.

I want to look specifically at some of the recommendations coming from the other side of the House and comment on them. In today's The Globe and Mail they are talking about the MP for York West, the chairman of the National Liberal Caucus who laid out some of what he would like to see happen. I am not doing this just to criticize but these are some of the things he is suggesting:

"The government should call a national summit meeting with the banks and representatives from the small and medium-sized business sector to focus on long and short-term problems and challenges in small business financing".

The government does consult regularly with banks and lending institutions.

"The government should urge banks to stop withdrawing loans from small businesses that are meeting interest charges".

Again,-not to be overly generous-I think many of the banks, not all of them, have been quite cognizant of the difficulties small businesses have experienced in the last three or four years. Many of them have bent over backwards to help some of their clients. Many have not because we all have individual horror stories where they have pulled the plug on them.

"The government should encourage banks to expand their lending under the Small Businesses Loans Act".

We have done that and we are continuing to work in that direction.

"Canadian banks should set up a joint venture small business development corporation with each contributing about $200 million in start-up capital".

It is not specific. I guess it means $200 million, more or less. It is not a bad idea but where does the money come from? Does it mean more borrowing? Possibly.

"The Federal Business Development Bank should be strengthened to stem a decline in both the average size and number of loans the FDBD makes each year".

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The difficulty of that is the FBDB is on a cost-recovery basis. In other words, if there is a loss out there who is it picked up by? The taxpayers' of Canada. The taxpayers' of Canada are saying they do not want any more debt. They do not want any more giveaways.

I guess it would mean a massive restructuring of that institute. Over the years it has not been one of my favourite institutions but I guess we would have to take a serious look at how much money we want to put in that direction because at the end of the day there is a cost to the taxpayers of Canada.

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Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-THE ECONOMY
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LIB

Mac Harb

Liberal

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre):

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak on the motion of my colleague the hon. member for York West, particularly because it deals with small business.

Our region is no different than any other region in Canada. Small business does generate the vast majority of jobs. According to statistics 98.7 per cent of all enterprises in Canada from 1979 to 1989 create about 2.1 million jobs on an annual basis. Approximately 81 per cent of all jobs in Canada have been created by small business.

Where are all those jobs? Let us look at what is happening here. Small business in Canada creates 81 per cent of the jobs. Twelve per cent of these jobs are created in the construction industry; 16 per cent of these jobs are created in the retail industry and 27 per cent of these jobs are in business and personal services. An additional 15 per cent of jobs are created in the areas of real estate, insurance, finance and community services.

As you can see, these jobs are to a large extent consumer-driven. In other words, if a consumer does not go out and use his purchasing powers nothing will move.

There is an interesting article which was published in The Canadian Forum with the headline: "Bankrupt". In the article by Susan Bellan it states that from 1990 to 1992 Canadian companies faced an unprecedented series of crises. The writer indicates some of these crises include the collapse of Meech Lake, the gulf war, the free trade agreement, the introduction-believe it or not-the goods and services tax, the high dollar and high interest rate until 1991, record unemployment, crossborder shopping, three major public sector strikes in five weeks and the referendum. The result of all that was a complete collapse of consumer confidence.

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Can the hon. member for Nepean tell me who was governing during those past three years?

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LIB

Beryl Gaffney

Liberal

Mrs. Gaffney:

You do not need an answer.

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Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-THE ECONOMY
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LIB

Mac Harb

Liberal

Mr. Harb:

She said I do not need an answer, Mr. Speaker. That basically says it all.

As a result of the collapse of consumer confidence, small business over the past three years has suffered a major blow as a result of a lack of policies and lack of action on the part of the government.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business issued its annual report in March, 1993. In this report it makes a number of suggestions. This government always tries to portray that it listens to the small business sector and the people out there. If that is the case then why after nine years with this government do we still have the same people coming back on a regular basis saying the same thing over and over to this government without it even listening to them?

Mr. Speaker, I can see you pointing to me so I am going to say that my party has responded to the call of the business community. As a part of our agenda we have proposals that deal with improved and continuous training for workers and managers. We have initiatives to help businesses bring new products to market and speed technology acquisition by small and medium-sized businesses, among many other initiatives to help the economy.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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May 14, 1993