January 24, 1994

?

The Deputy Speaker

I will recognize the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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LIB

Ronald J. Duhamel

Liberal

Mr. Ronald J. Duhamel (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services)

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleagues on having been elected to the House.

Congratulations to all my colleagues. At the same time I want to thank my constituents for giving me the honour of representing them in this House.

I thank my constituents for having given me the opportunity to return.

My speech has three parts. Part one will be about government that takes an active role. Part two will concentrate on the priorities in the throne speech, and finally part three, the conclusion.

The government has been extremely busy undertaking a number of actions, actions that are good for Canadians, actions that are in fact part of its electoral program. Let me mention a few.

The government has downsized cabinet; it is one of the smallest ever in the history of Canada. It has cancelled the controversial EH-101 helicopter contract. It has as well stopped a bad deal to privatize terminals one and two at Pearson International Airport. It is pushing ahead with its $6 billion national infrastructure program. It has replaced the Governor of the Bank of Canada. It has passed NAFTA and finalized the terms of the new GATT. It has announced a plan for the review of defence policy. It has sent a clear signal on the need for integrity and frugality in government and it is opening the books to reveal government finances. Those are a number of actions the government has already taken.

As parliamentary secretary I have had the good fortune to make a number of announcements in my own riding that respond to the need to create jobs in Canada. It so happened because I was from the city of Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba that I was given this task.

For example, Peerless Garments Limited received two contracts totalling $541,000 for newly designed materials for National Defence to protect Canadian forces personnel from cold and wet weather. This will create four jobs and maintain up to 30 employees in Peerless Garments Limited.

Another announcement involved Century 21st Apparels Limited that won a $526,000 contract supplying National Defence with parkas and trousers for wet weather. This will create up to 20 jobs and maintain 45 more jobs at this particular company.

A third announcement involved Standard Aero Limited that won a $725,000 contract for repairing and overhauling aircraft cooling materials. It will maintain six jobs at this particular company.

Those are the kinds of announcements that Canadians want to hear. Those are the kinds of announcements that create jobs and maintain jobs, that make sure our fellow Canadians are working or going back to work.

I also had the privilege of announcing a grant of $261,000 in my own riding for maintaining a six-room residence to provide temporary shelter for victims of family violence.

It is too bad that in today's society, we need establishments like these, but unfortunately, we do. I was glad to make this announcement, which responds to a real need in our society.

I will now discuss the highlights of the throne speech. First, I would like to deal with job creation.

Job creation which during the election was our major priority continues to be our major priority.

Most members will have heard about the infrastructure program that is going forward rapidly. That is an immediate response to Canadians who have been unable to work. Then there will be the response to small and medium sized businesses which are those enterprises that have created 85 per cent of the new jobs in Canada during the last decade. They will have more access to capital. There will be less red tape. There will in fact be research and development which will permit them to grow, create and simply make sure there are more jobs in Canada.

Now, I would like to speak about integrity or ethics, if you prefer, in public life.

The Prime Minister has indicated that integrity in government is absolutely essential and in that vein he has cancelled the Pearson airport deal which was a very bad deal for Canadians. He has cut political staff for a saving of $10 million annually and he has outlined cuts to MPs' perks and benefits of over $5 million annually. There will be a review of MPs' pensions and there will be additional reductions and changes to that which is happening in this government in this Parliament because the Prime Minister and his government believe that integrity in government is an absolute necessity.

There were also references in the throne speech to economic recovery.

We have talked about changing Canada's social security system within two years so that it responds to more needs more effectively, replacing the goods and services tax, ending foreign overfishing and making sure that we have an elimination of internal trade barriers.

Finally, there is perhaps a fourth major point. We have talked about strengthening the fabric of Canada.

About strengthening the social fabric in this country.

We will proclaim the Canadian environmental assessment act. The Prime Minister will himself chair a national forum on health to foster a public dialogue on health care. We will introduce measures to enhance community safety, especially the safety of women and children, and we will move to implement the inherent right of aboriginal self-government. We will consult widely with Canadians as we conduct major reviews of foreign and defence policy.

As I indicated initially, this is a government of action. This is a government that said during the election campaign that it would do things and this is a government that has reiterated a number of those particular points in the Speech from the Throne.

I would like more or less to summarize the throne speech which reflects our determination to keep our campaign promises. To me, this is absolutely essential. Economic recovery and job creation are the main priorities of this government and of all Canadians.

We will meet the commitments made in our campaign program, the little red book which is becoming increasingly popular. The government's priorities are clearly identified, both in this little red book and in the throne speech.

And finally, the Minister of Finance will put figures to the measures announced in the throne speech in his February budget. The budget will contain measures designed to control the debt and the deficit while turning around the unemployment situation.

There are two final comments I would like to make. The throne speech contains one paragraph which to me is very important, and I quote:

Our cultural heritage and our official languages are at the very core of Canadian identity and our sources of social and economic enrichment. The government will announce measures to promote Canada's cultural identity.

Is this throne speech perfect? Of course not. But I think it gives us a chance, if we are willing, to work together to create, to build, and to improve what we already have. On many occasions I have heard members of all political parties make comments such as that this is an excellent country. We live well. We eat well. We have fun. So when we like something this much, something that may be the best of its kind in the whole world, why are we looking for radical solutions? To me, this is the best country in the world, and I want to ask my colleagues to help make it even better.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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BQ

Pierre De Savoye

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Pierre de Savoye (Portneuf)

Mr. Speaker, I just heard the hon. member make some very interesting comments about job creation. But I also read this morning that the Minister of Finance said he would cut expenditures by twice the amount of any hike in taxes. We know Canadians, Quebecers and others alike, are taxed enough as it is. We also know that if we reduce expenses we will take away the income of many who will end up on unemployment. How can the member not see the contradiction between what his minister said and what he just told us?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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LIB

Ronald J. Duhamel

Liberal

Mr. Duhamel

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his questions. Naturally, before we get the details, we will have to wait for the February budget. But I see no contradiction. If we examine all the reports received to date we see that the Minister of Finance is trying to establish a larger taxation base because we are short some $46 billion. It is very normal therefore to try to find taxes in areas that were not taxed or not sufficiently taxed before.

I do not think cutting certain expenses will necessarily have adverse effects on jobs. It depends on where we make the cuts. Remember that here, in the House of Commons, our program is based on two fundamental principles, on two very important programs, the first being the infrastructure program which has already been launched and budgeted. That measure has been implemented and it will immediately create jobs for people.

As far as long term development is concerned, we talked about replacing the GST, about ensuring better access to capital for small businesses, since they were responsible for creating 85 per cent of new jobs over the last 10 years, and about giving them additional help for training and updating skills, more help for research and less forms to fill. All that is very normal. I see no contradiction there. I think the Minister of Finance is trying

to strike a balance between deficit and debt reduction and job creation. I admit this is quite a challenge, but I am very willing to wait until February for the details.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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BQ

Jean H. Leroux

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean H. Leroux (Shefford)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for St. Boniface on his remarks.

I will also take this opportunity to greet all the French speaking Manitobans living in his riding. He just described the state of the Canadian economy and we are all in agreement with what he said.

One thing is certain now, everyone in Canada knows what is going on. People understand the difficult situation we are in. They are now expecting action. Making a diagnosis is not enough, the government was brought to office to take concrete and positive steps to stimulate the economy.

The member also mentioned French speaking Canadians across Canada. Mr. Speaker, I think I should point out that francophones outside Quebec have always relied on the Canadian government for services whereas for us, in Quebec, our motherland, our government has always been primarily the government of Quebec, and that is a big difference.

Mr. Speaker, to conclude, I would like to ask the member, in his capacity as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Works, what his government intends to do, apart from the tripartite program, to create stable and long lasting employment.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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LIB

Ronald J. Duhamel

Liberal

Mr. Duhamel

I want to thank my hon. colleague for his comment and question. First off, it is a fact that the nearly one million men, women and children who make up the francophone minority outside Quebec have relied to some degree, and at times considerably, on the federal government to help them establish certain institutions.

One fact that is sometimes forgotten is that this minority has often looked to Quebec, an important reference point, for the necessary resources to grow and develop.

Moreover, it should also be remembered that we have long relied on our own resources and waged our own fight to preserve our language and culture which we hold so dear.

Regarding long-term stable jobs, as my hon. colleagues in this House know, the program which we are putting forward to encourage in some ways small and medium sized businesses will create this kind of well-paid, sustainable employment. Our long-term plan is to reduce government red tape, to ensure that taxes-

I see the Speaker is signalling to me that my time is up, so I will conclude on this note.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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LIB

Geoff Regan

Liberal

Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West)

Mr. Speaker, allow me to add my words of congratulations to the many you have received since your appointment as Deputy Speaker.

I also want to congratulate the hon. members for Bruce-Grey and Madawaska-Victoria for their eloquence in moving and seconding the Speech from the Throne.

I am pleased to have in common with all members of this House the responsibilities of this office. There has been much talk of the need for greater civility here. I believe that members of all parties can help give this place a more productive and positive atmosphere.

Allow me to thank the voters of Halifax West once again for giving me and this government something very precious and that is their trust and confidence.

It is with a great sense of pride and humility that I stand in this House to speak on behalf of the people of Halifax West. I am here to serve them and give voice to their concerns but I recognize that I am also here to serve the best interests of Canada.

It is also with a sense of history and responsibility that I stand in this House where my father and grandfather stood before me. I note from Hansard that when my grandfather, Jack Harrison, made his maiden speech in this House some 44 years ago the one member to intervene during his speech was Mr. Stanley Knowles. What a remarkable pleasure it has been to see him here sitting in front of me these last few days.

I have great respect for the best traditions of this House. At the same time we are all aware of the need for change and the urgent need to restore hope and confidence to Canadians.

I am encouraged by the changes to the rules of the House announced in the Speech from the Throne. I detect a fresh, new attitude in this place and it augurs well for Canada.

With nearly 93,000 voters, Halifax West is the biggest riding in Atlantic Canada, the fastest growing one and perhaps the most diversified as well.

It has urban, suburban and rural components. It includes a large part of the city of Halifax along the hills from Fairmont and Fairview to Clayton Park and Wedgewood. It includes

bedroom communities like the town of Bedford, the Timberlea area and Sackville, the third largest community in Nova Scotia.

Halifax West also contains a long list of smaller communities from the hamlets of Goffs and Oldham in the northeast to the fishing villages like Terrance Bay and the picturesque Peggy's Cove in the south and the glorious beaches of Queensland and Hubbards in the west.

Throughout my years of growing up, working and volunteering in Halifax West I have seen the challenges facing its people. As we all know Canadians face many challenges. We face challenges like unemployment. We see friends desperately trying to find work. We see neighbours in danger of losing their homes, their hopes and their dreams. We face the challenges of cleaning up our environment. We see our lakes and rivers dying from acid rain and other pollution.

We smell our landfills overflowing. We have witnessed the ravaging of our ocean resource. We see other challenges. We see the poverty of single mothers and their children. We see women bruised and battered. We see families destroyed by drugs and alcohol.

At the same time as we face these and other challenges we are confronted by a national debt of over $500 billion.

These are but a few of the enormous problems we are facing. No government could solve them all, and none could do it overnight.

Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers, but I look forward to working with all my colleagues to find them.

Last summer and fall I visited over 12,000 households in Halifax West. As I did, I heard the concerns of many people. I want to mention today a number of issues they have brought to my attention.

Transportation is a constant concern. Overcrowded and inadequate highways and access roads are a safety problem and a hindrance to business. Many communities in Halifax West have sewer and water systems that are inadequate or in need of upgrading. They pose a real threat to health and the environment.

In light of these concerns I am pleased the government has moved so swiftly to complete the Canada-Nova Scotia infrastructure agreement that was signed January 14 in Halifax. I am confident the private sector will play a role and will respond to the call to play a role in this national program. I am encouraged that this job creation program allows local governments to set the priorities.

Unemployment is a major problem throughout Atlantic Canada. There are those in Halifax West who live in very difficult conditions. After seven years of involvement in food banks I feel a particular obligation to those in our society who are hurting. These people want to move away from dependency to become full participants in society. They want to work.

I look forward to the coming review of our social programs with the hope that we can make them fairer, simpler and stronger.

I am happy about the reintroduction of the residential rehabilitation assistance program because it will allow many seniors to stay in their own homes. I also find it is a good idea for the government to focus on small and medium sized businesses in its long-term job creation plan.

As a past president of the Bedford Board of Trade I am familiar with the frustrations of the small business sector. By cutting red tape and improving access to capital we can give small business a better shot at success. No other segment of our economy has the same potential for creating jobs.

I spoke a moment ago about transportation. The Halifax International Airport is located in my riding and many residents are employed either at the airport, in the nearby aerotech park or in the airline industry. In light of the current airline industry crisis in Canada these airline workers in particular are very concerned about their future. They are looking to the government to help stop the feuding. I wish the Minister of Transport every success in this regard. I offer my support and assistance to him.

Then there is the railway. The maintenance of an efficient and competitive rail link to the Atlantic provinces and the port of Halifax is a crucial economic issue for Halifax West and the entire region.

Halifax has a long and proud history as the east coast home of our navy. I look forward to the coming review of foreign policy and defence policy. I am confident it will highlight the need for a strong, effective and flexible naval force for peacekeeping, drug interdiction and resource preservation. There is no more pressing problem in Atlantic Canada than the collapse of the groundfishery which has caused the largest layoff in Canadian history.

The vast majority of my constituents are not directly involved in the fishery but they know the importance of the fishery to the entire Atlantic economy. I welcome the government's pledge to assist those affected to become self-supporting. I stand with all members from Atlantic Canada in my concern for this vital sector.

Canadians will take hope from the speech from the throne. It demonstrates that this government is keeping its promises. The

Prime Minister and cabinet have been true to their words in cutting $10 million from their staff budgets. I am pleased that we in the House will help save another $5 million.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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?

The Speaker

Order. It being two o'clock p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5) the House will now proceed to statements by members, pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
Permalink
LIB

Ben Serré

Liberal

Mr. Benoît Serré (Timiskaming-French River)

Mr. Speaker, on November 26, 1993 a serious rock burst occurred at the Maccassa mine in Kirkland Lake, trapping two miners underground and injuring many others. To this date recovery efforts have not been successful and the two miners are still missing. With each passing day chances of finding these two men alive become less and less likely.

Such tragedies are unfortunately a common occurrence in our mining communities. I would like the families of these two miners and the communities of Kirkland Lake, Larder Lake, Virginiatown and Matachewan to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.

This government is committed to participate in further studies on how to prevent and anticipate these rock burst occurrences which are the major cause of mining fatalities.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Mining
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BQ

Nic Leblanc

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Nic Leblanc (Longueuil)

Mr. Speaker, the Greater Montreal area is the economic heartland of Quebec. There you find the greatest concentrations of industries and jobs. Eighty per cent of the province's R and D activity is conducted in the Montreal area.

But for decades now, the federal government has been neglecting the funding of research and development in Quebec, with the result that Quebec's economy has suffered.

In my capacity as a member from the greater Montreal area, I want this House to know that I will continue to keep a watchful eye on this because Montreal should be getting its fair share of federal R and D funds for employment and equity.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Research And Development
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REF

Jake Hoeppner

Reform

Mr. Jake E. Hoeppner (Lisgar-Marquette)

Mr. Speaker, I rise to commend Senator Douglas Everett of Manitoba who has announced that he will be resigning his seat in the upper House.

Senator Everett conducted himself in such a way as to enhance the credibility of that institution. He favoured freer votes in the Senate and chose to sit as an independent Liberal when he found himself at variance with the Liberal Party on the issue of free trade. When he dissented from the tactics used by the Liberals in the Senate in the GST debate he crossed the floor to sit as a fully independent senator.

In his resignation speech, Senator Everett's last advice to the government was that the upper chamber should be elected like the House of Commons.

I pay tribute to Senator Everett today and recommend that the government heed his advice for restoring public trust and confidence in the upper chamber.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Senator Douglas Everett
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LIB

John Finlay

Liberal

Mr. John Finlay (Oxford)

Mr. Speaker, I want to express my appreciation and that of my hon. colleagues in the House for the opportunity last Thursday to attend a special screening of the film "Schindler's List".

Many hon. members and senators along with staff members took advantage of the kind invitation of the hon. member for Ontario. In his welcoming remarks he warned us that "Schindler's List" is a powerful film which makes explicit the facts of the holocaust and the lessons to be learned from it.

As we prepare for a special debate on peacekeeping in Bosnia it is appropriate that we reflect on the genocide, violence and inhumanity of the holocaust. Similar evils seem rampant in Bosnia.

In conclusion I again thank the hon. member for Ontario for his timely initiative.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Schindler's List
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LIB

Morris Bodnar

Liberal

Mr. Morris Bodnar (Saskatoon-Dundurn)

Mr. Speaker, under section 745 of the Criminal Code many murderers of police officers and prison guards are coming up for review of their eligibility date for parole. Such individuals are serving life sentences with no eligibility for parole for 25 years. The review proceedings could allow this 25-year period to be reduced to 15 years.

I ask that all members join together to review this condition to determine whether this procedure should be available to murderers of police officers and prison guards or whether it should be eliminated completely as soon as practically possible, thereby making murderers of police and prison guards serve at least a minimum of 25 years.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
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BQ

André Caron

Bloc Québécois

Mr. André Caron (Jonquière)

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is the third largest producer of aluminum, with 10 per cent of world capacity.

The workers employed by the four aluminum plants located in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region account to close to 30 percent of the direct manufacturing labour force in the region. This industry is going through a crisis caused by the Commonwealth of Independent States, which is dumping massive quantities of aluminum on the international markets and making world prices tumble.

Aluminum-producing countries have tried without success to convince Russia to reduce its production. The United States wants to protect itself by imposing anti-dumping duties on all foreign producers including Quebec. That would only aggravate the crisis hurting Quebec aluminum workers. Canada must act immediately to persuade Russia to limit its exports and also to prevent the United States from imposing anti-dumping duties on aluminum from Quebec.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Aluminum Industry
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REF

Jim Gouk

Reform

Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay West-Revelstoke)

Mr. Speaker, my riding and indeed the whole country have many residents who choose to own and use for competitive or recreational purposes legally owned firearms. Competitive shooting is in fact an Olympic competition that has won many medals for Canada.

The previous government passed legislation that severely restricted the legitimate use of firearms without addressing the criminal use of them. The Liberal government has indicated its intention to introduce new firearms legislation.

If it is the government's intention to deal seriously with prevention of illegal activities I would hope its legislation is straightforward and realistic. Legitimate owners stand ready to assist the government in any way possible.

If on the other hand it is the government's plan to pass regulations intent on forcing these legitimate owners to give up their legal property in frustration, I hope the government will at least be honest enough to state that its real intention is to take firearms away from all citizens of this country.

Legitimate owners would like compassionate legislation, but above all else they demand honesty from their government.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Firearms
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LIB

Eugène Bellemare

Liberal

Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Carleton-Gloucester)

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make colleagues in the House of Commons aware of a serious situation developing with student loans.

The former Tory government abolished the initial six months of free interest on student loans.

Many Canadian graduates now find themselves without jobs, without money and with student loans of $30,000 or more. How can we ask these young people to pay back their loans right away when they are unemployed?

Jobless graduates have become discouraged, even desperate. I urge my colleagues to support youth employment programs and a fair repayment plan of student loans.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Student Loans
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LIB

Bonnie Hickey

Liberal

Mrs. Bonnie Hickey (St. John's East)

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to be the first female MP from Newfoundland and Labrador to speak in the House of Commons.

On October 25, 1993 the people of both St. John's ridings had the wisdom to elect me and my friend from St. John's West as the first women to represent our fair province in this honourable House.

The issues brought to my attention by my fellow Newfoundlanders during the campaign are clear. Unemployment is dangerously high. Our young people are beginning to lose hope and many families are finding it all but impossible to cover their basic needs.

However Newfoundlanders are at their best when times are the hardest. We continue to have the lowest level of income in the country but we give to our charities the most. This is the type of character that makes me proud to represent the people of St. John's East. I would like to thank the voters who have put their trust in me, in the Prime Minister and in this government team to address the issues of their concerns.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   St. John's East
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LIB

Sue Barnes

Liberal

Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West)

Mr. Speaker, let me offer you my personal congratulations and those of my constituents of London West.

There are many challenges facing this government, but one which we must address quickly is the 17.2 per cent level of youth unemployment. Approximately 355,000 young people remain unemployed in Canada. These youth have become innocent victims after years of economic hardship. With them we will work toward forging a new economy founded on information and knowledge based industries.

I am confident that in its promised priority for job creation this government will assist in a productive school to work transition and work co-operatively with business, labour and other levels of government to achieve our objectives.

I ask all members of the House to strongly endorse measures including the establishment of the Canadian youth services corps and the formation of new apprenticeship programs. We must support our human resource of young talent and energy as we head into the 21st century.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Youth Unemployment
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BQ

Maurice Godin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Maurice Godin (Châteauguay)

Mr. Speaker, I am amazed at the lack of interest shown by the federal government and its lack of co-operation in helping the provinces stop the illegal sale of cigarettes once and for all.

Despite its promises to take action right after the election, the Liberal government is dragging its feet on the increasingly serious problem of smuggling. Instead of helping provincial governments to tackle the problem, it is passing the buck.

This government is not doing any better than the previous Conservative government that was rejected by the population. It is in this government's interest to help solve the problem instead of aggravating it.

How long will small businesses have to protest to make the authorities understand that the two kinds of justice dispensed by the present system cannot be tolerated?

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Cigarette Smuggling
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REF

Ted White

Reform

Mr. Ted White (North Vancouver)

Mr. Speaker, in 1979 I emigrated from New Zealand where the government of the time was immersed in a policy of tax and spend with overgenerous social programs and widespread reliance on welfare.

In 1984, as many members will be aware from the "W5" television program, New Zealand experienced a debt crisis. The tough decisions that should have been made by the politicians turned into drastic decisions when New Zealand could no longer deficit fund its spending.

Unless all members of the House learn from the experiences in countries like New Zealand, Denmark and Sweden which have all experienced debt crisis in the last 10 years, Canada too will soon be on the brink of a debt crisis.

The new free enterprise, unsubsidized, minimally regulated economy of New Zealand today is proof that there is a great reward for gaining control of government spending.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   New Zealand
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January 24, 1994