April 11, 1994

LIB

Maurizio Bevilacqua

Liberal

Mr. Bevilacqua

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question.

As a government we are concerned about agriculture and the benefits which we draw as a nation from the production and sale of agricultural products. There is a great willingness in the government to bring about positive change to the lives of Canadians, whether they are affected by agriculture or the deindustrialization of the manufacturing base in Ontario.

On October 25 we received a mandate for change. People were tired of working harder and earning less money. Our young people were tired and feeling really hopeless about their prospects. That is true whether they lived on a farm or in a city. People felt that the rules for membership in our society had changed. Basically they were asking for vehicles of opportunity, a way once again to participate fully in the life of the nation.

In the last budget and in the throne speech we began a process as a government in co-operation with the people of Canada to redesign a new vision for the nation. That is why we entered into the very extensive process of reforming Canada's social programs.

Many governments in the past shied away from that. They were afraid, perhaps of the misunderstandings, of the code words. They were afraid to face the challenge of saying to people that the systems were no longer working and new ways of giving Canada a better social security system should be looked at.

We have accepted the challenge. We have said that unemployment insurance as it exists today simply does not reflect contemporary reality. Young people have asked for a vehicle of opportunity, something to have during the transition period between school and work. Therefore we are looking at internship and apprenticeship training programs, the Canadian youth corps.

We have told small business we understand when they say too much stress is placed on them. We therefore have decreased payroll taxes, the UI premiums.

We are doing many things to make people come together rather than split apart. That was the legacy of 10 years under the Conservatives where we saw polarization of classes and people really losing hope in our country. It is our number one challenge.

A very important part of this new vision we speak and act upon every day since the October 25 election is the people who are involved in the agricultural sector of Canada. We value the commitment and dedication they have made to developing a better society for all Canadians. The challenges are great. There is no question about that.

The measures we have taken in the budget set a direction but they are interim measures. There is much work to do. We have seen that we need to modernize and restructure our economy. We have to give Canadians tools to become productive, to share in the national vision that speaks to regaining the values that made this country a great nation.

I am, as you are, extremely tired of going into cities and towns where people are lining up at food banks, where we have the problems of latchkey kids, where our young students are not looking to the future in a positive way.

Our mission is to take back our communities. Our mission is to take back our nation, to give it back to the people. Together there is great potential to increase the quality of life for everyone who resides here.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 1994
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NDP

Nelson Riis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with much attention to my hon. friend and his very thoughtful presentation.

Many questions could be asked but I want to take advantage of the fact that he represents a Toronto constituency. As such he knows the special burdens someone from our large urban areas has to face.

I notice that when this bill was first introduced the President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure drew attention to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the tremendous contribution they make to our country, and their international reputation.

The freeze that was applied to the members of the RCMP along with others and the fact that no increments are allowed for two years place tremendous pressure on new constables as they leave the training facilities in Regina to go out and assume responsible positions around the country.

Their take home pay is about $1,800 a month. Even in Kamloops which is a lot smaller than Toronto I have had constables come to me with a breakdown of their monthly expenses. Living incredibly modestly they cannot live on $1,800 a month. That is in Kamloops. I can only imagine how much more of a problem that would be in a city like Toronto.

Would my hon. colleague consider taking back this kind of concern to the President of the Treasury Board. When one makes a freeze across a whole spectrum it might not have much of an effect on a public servant making $120,000 a year but it certainly will impact seriously on someone who brings home $1,800 a month and expects to raise a family on that.

Could I get some response from my friend. Will he raise with the President of the Treasury Board the plight that these new constables face in the RCMP when they are unable to have any increments when normally they would expect six increments-

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 1994
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The Deputy Speaker

Order please. The time is up. Please be brief in reply.

Topic:   Government Orders
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LIB

Maurizio Bevilacqua

Liberal

Mr. Bevilacqua

Mr. Speaker, I will be extremely brief in giving my assurances to the hon. member that I will bring his concerns to the attention of the President of the Treasury Board.

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BQ

Benoît Sauvageau

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Terrebonne)

Mr. Speaker, today we have an opportunity to speak on Bill C-17. This five-part omnibus bill makes major changes to unemployment insurance.

The minister presents us with a bill, let me point out, dealing with compensation in the public sector, the Canada Assistance Plan, public utilities income tax transfers, various transportation subsidies, the CBC's borrowing authority and finally changes to the Unemployment Insurance Plan. Once again, it is quite a hodgepodge. The more things change, the more they are the same.

Radical changes are put in a bill without any specific orientation and we are told to take the whole thing as is. I will remind the Liberals, in case they no longer remember, that they were elected with a clear objective, supposedly to create jobs. But again, nothing, I repeat, nothing, has been done to achieve this objective.

A catch-all infrastructure program will create barely 40,000 temporary jobs, at an astronomical cost. I give you the figures quoted by the Liberals themselves; 40,000 new jobs is very nice, but if they achieve 100 per cent of their objective, they will not even have reached 10 per cent of the unemployed young people in this country. According to Statistics Canada, in February 1994, 428,000 young people aged 15 to 24 were collecting unemployment insurance, and the Liberals are proud that they may create 40,000 temporary jobs in a few years.

This government really shows disrespect for the people. If the Liberals cannot take significant action, even for the 15-24 age group, we can well wonder when people, seeing construction trucks driving around, as the Prime Minister said, will regain confidence in the economy, confidence in the government and confidence in general. So, as my fellow member from Mercier proposes, we should amend Bill C-17 so that it contains specific measures to reduce youth unemployment.

Furthermore, how can the minister bring in such a bill considerably modifying unemployment insurance while at the same time he is launching a Canada-wide consultation on how UI works? Strange. We can well wonder about this consultation or these consultations. In fact, what have the Liberals done since they came to power?

In finance, Canada-wide consultations, and bogus ones at that, as confirmed by the budget. In defence, they have struck a joint committee, with senators. Nothing but the best. Again, consultations. In foreign affairs, another joint committee. We really have to thank our senators for their contribution. Consultation again. In social programs, consultation. How wonderful!

A question comes to mind. I would like to know-and I would like comments on that later, please-if Liberals are totally devoid of ideas and opinions after nine years in opposition and, if so, how does it feel coming in from the cold after nine years? It was a rude awakening, was it not? One can certainly wonder, seeing that nearly six months into their mandate, the Liberals remain incapable of making decisions or making sensible ones when they do.

Through UI cuts, the Liberals hoped to save $5.5 billion dollars, over three years that is, and in a clearly inequitable fashion, as Atlantic Canada and Quebec will bear the brunt of the cuts. In fact, Atlantic Canada will suffer a shortfall of about $630 million, while Quebec will lose some $735 million a year in revenue. With 25 per cent of the population of Canada, Quebec will actually foot 31 per cent of the cuts announced by the minister. So, as you pointed out, and rightly so, it does happen that people get more than their fair share from the federal government. But in this case, it is at our expense.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read you a quote from the red book that I have used in a previous speech: "-cynicism about public institutions, governments, politicians, and the political process is at an all-time high. If government is to play a positive role in society, as it must, honesty and integrity in our political institutions must be restored." I agree with that statement. I agree with the Liberals on that. I do not agree on everything but on that, I do. I will be bringing this up often because they are not acting accordingly and it is true that we must all work together to restore confidence in this place.

But what kind of cry from the heart will it take to make our friends opposite show a little good faith in their decision-making? In examining the budget papers, we see that this year's budget for the Governor General's office is $10 million. Ten million! One hundred million will be spent over five years for educational videos. One hundred million over five years, while the provinces and the unemployed have to shoulder $5.5 billion! And this is supposed to restore some confidence in our institutions.

If we are to make any headway at all in resolving the unemployment problem in Canada and Quebec, we have to consider occupational training. I would like the minister to explain to us how responsibility for occupational training is to be shared and what his position on this issue is. Under the Constitution, occupational training is a provincial matter, one which falls, therefore, in Quebec's jurisdiction. It arises from the province's exclusive jurisdiction over education. In 1942, Ottawa encroached on this and several others fields by virtue of its jurisdiction over unemployment insurance and its spending power. Increasingly, the federal government has meddled in

fields such as worker placement and the funding of occupational training.

Since the unemployment insurance reform of 1989, the federal government has used the Unemployment Insurance Account for training purposes. At the same time, it has considerably expanded its field of intervention to include helping labour markets adjust to the opening up of markets and free trade.

A total of some thirty initiatives have been grouped into four major programs, namely Labour Market Information, Community Futures, Employability Improvement and Labour Market Adjustment. The last two programs offer services to individuals and businesses, respectively. At the same time, Quebec adopted a similar program structure as recently as 1992. It entrusted its management to the Société québécoise de développement de la main-d'oeuvre or SQDM, a partnership between the private and public sectors.

To finance these services, the federal government's contribution to labour force training and adjustment in Quebec amounts to a little over $900 million for 1993-94. Of this amount, $320 million comes from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, or $150 million less than three years ago.

As for administration at the federal level, the Quebec region, which is described as one region among many others, is divided into ten networks roughly equivalent to the Quebec administrative division. About 100 Canada Employment Centres are responsible for administering unemployment insurance and managing manpower programs in their respective areas.

Each of these employment and immigration centres has its own local planning strategy or LPS. It includes some degree of co-operation with Quebec.

Last April, the job training centre network in Quebec was converted into 10 regional branches of the SQDM. In association with local partners, each of them is responsible for the management of Quebec manpower programs. Their action largely depends on federal funds and is often incompatible with the LPS, and federal priorities are applied to the regions.

Through its spending power and its jurisdiction over unemployment insurance, the federal government's power on job training in Quebec is practically absolute. This power was reinforced with unemployment insurance reform in 1989 when it became the federal government's favoured intervention tool in labour force adjustment and free trade.

Quebec's role has been reduced to that of a mere manager of some federal programs, as demonstrated by the January 1993 conference of federal and provincial employment ministers. Despite unanimous support by Quebec labour market partners and the creation of an administrative structure adapted to its needs, the SQDM, the federal government refuses to withdraw from this area and to transfer the allocated funds. It has kept its network of Canada Employment Centres despite Quebec's decisions.

At the federal level, manpower adjustment services offered by the federal government are divided into four main programs and 27 components. The result is something that can be a real headache for clients.

There are over 100 criteria, depending on the type of client, available resources and also on the region and local CECs. There should be three sets of priorities: national, regional and local. However, under this system, the needs of Quebec and local organizations are ignored. The result: unemployed workers who are wasting their time and courses for which there is no demand.

Quebec has two sets of programs administered by two separate networks: the manpower development corporations or SQDM, as I said earlier, and the Quebec labour centres. The first set of programs has 15 components and is aimed at people on welfare. The other set consists of ten operations which, since last year, have been regrouped in three main programs intended for businesses, individuals and victims of mass lay-offs, respectively. This adds up to a total of 25 programs.

The cost of operating all these programs is about $580 million for the federal government and about $70 million for Quebec, with $62 million being spent on the SQDM, the Quebec manpower development corporation.

My point is that it is high time we patriated this sector and put it under Quebec control. Another aspect of this bill seems rather absurd. I am referring to the premium rate of $3.07 for every $100 of insurable earnings which in January 1995 will be rolled back to $3. Remember, it was the Liberals who raised the rate from $3 to $3.07.

According to the Liberals, the roll-back planned for next year will help create 40,000 new jobs in 1996.

We will try to give a brief analysis of the Liberal approach to this question. It may seem complicated, but we will give it a try. Our conclusion will be somewhat Kafkaesque, to use a favourite expression of the hon. member for Verchères. Let me explain.

According to the old formula, unemployment insurance premiums would be as follows: in 1993, $3 for every $100 of insurable earnings; in 1994, $3.07, which is what we have now; and in 1995, premiums were to be raised to $3.30 per $100 of insurable earnings. According to the government's proposal, premiums which were at $3 per $100 of insurable earnings in

1993 will be raised to $3.07 as of January, which is the case now, but the rate will be reduced to $3 in 1995.

Let us see what happens if we pursue this scenario.

If the Liberals had maintained the old premium formula, we would have lost 9,000 jobs in 1994 and 31,000 jobs the year after. By raising premiums to $3.07, the Liberals get the following result: 9,000 jobs lost in 1994 they realize that, they said so themselves and 9,000 jobs gained in 1995, which means a grand total of zero. We lose 9,000 this year, we create 9,000 the year after, and the result is zilch. Wow, that is really something. Or so they say.

Actually we are not talking about 40,000 new jobs but 31,000 jobs saved and 9,000 new jobs after losing 9,000. Obviously, the end result of their excellent theory is zero.

We must conclude that once again, the government is trying to fool the public, but today's public is better informed and no longer prepared to swallow this kind of proposal.

In any event, it is clear that the previous government was a failure and that the Liberals will not be an improvement. The government should no longer play a leading role in creating jobs. Recent figures have shown that small businesses have been the main source of new jobs during the past few years and will continue to play that role. The Liberals realize that. Give credit where credit is due.

Today, for investors and small businesses, the government's role should be to protect public finances. A good government should control its spending. A good government should control the deficit, and by the same token, a good government will restore a climate of confidence.

The economy is based on confidence, and governments-I said governments-undermine that confidence by being inconsistent and have done so for far too long. To create employment we do not need construction equipment, as the Prime Minister seems to think. We need to restore a healthy climate of confidence that will encourage genuine economic recovery, which in turn will attract investment and by the same token create jobs, durable jobs.

However, we are convinced that because of overlapping programs and interdepartmental duplication, the federal government will never manage to meet this very simple objective. However, a sovereign Quebec that is master of its own destiny and controls the levers of its economy and decision-making processes will be able to meet this immense challenge. There is no doubt about that. We know, as Félix told us, that the best way to kill a man is to keep him from working.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 1994
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The Deputy Speaker

Since there is no one to take the floor for questions and comments, we continue with the debate.

I wanted to recognize the hon. member for Windsor-St. Clair, but I do not see her in the House. The hon. member for Kent does not seem to be here either. Since it is the Liberals' turn-

I would request hon. members to get the member for Windsor-St. Clair as quickly as possible, please.

Is there a question or comment for the Official Opposition?

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Some hon. members

No.

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LIB

Shaughnessy Cohen

Liberal

Ms. Shaughnessy Cohen (Windsor-St. Clair)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in this debate to speak to the government's proposed changes to the unemployment insurance program and in particular those changes that address the problems of low income Canadians and their dependants.

These changes to unemployment insurance are the first step toward a reform of our social security programs. They are the first step toward making these programs more responsive to the needs of Canadians as this country enters the 21st century.

The government is not taking this step unilaterally. The Minister of Finance engaged in extensive discussions with Canadians before bringing down the 1994 budget. The Minister of Human Resources Development has consulted and will continue to consult with business, labour and Canadians from every walk of life about social security reform.

This government knows that the life of every Canadian will be affected for many years to come by the results of this reform. That is why we are taking steps to ensure that Canadians will receive maximum benefits from these changes.

We have also taken special measures in our proposed changes to the unemployment insurance plan to protect those Canadians who are most vulnerable, those with low incomes who support children, aged parents or other dependants.

Under the current unemployment insurance rules, people who claim unemployment receive a benefit rate of 57 per cent no matter what their circumstances. Under our proposed changes there would be a two part benefit rate, 60 per cent for those with lower incomes who have dependants and 55 per cent for all others.

To qualify for the higher benefit rate a claimant must have insurable earnings of $390 per week or less and have dependants. This would entitle the claimant to $234 weekly in

unemployment insurance benefits. However, this government does not want rigid rules regarding eligibility to hurt those in need whose weekly incomes may be slightly more than $390.

Accordingly, we have also proposed that all claimants with insurable earnings between $390 and $425 receive the same weekly benefit of $234. All those with insurable earnings over $425 will receive 55 per cent of their earnings as benefits. We estimate that this will improve benefits for 15 per cent of unemployment insurance claimants or about 250,000 Canadians and their families.

The economic restructuring of our country owing to the forces of globalization and technology is creating a society increasingly divided between those who have well paying, secure, skilled jobs and those who are doing part time, low paid temporary work without the benefit or hope of advancement.

The segment of our population that has been hardest hit by this trend is women, in particular women with children. Women's roles in our society have undergone enormous changes since the social security system was first established.

Thirty years ago Canadians believed that most women would get married, have children and stay home to take care of their families. That was in the days when one wage earner could easily feed and care for a family and still put money aside for a holiday. Times have certainly changed. Today it takes two wage earners for most families to keep their heads above the poverty line.

Women now represent 45 per cent of the Canadian workforce. Unfortunately most of these women work for low wages. On average a Canadian woman working full time today earns just 72 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Those statistics say it all.

In 1990 about 5.4 million working Canadians received a total income of less than $10,000. Of these, 64 per cent were women. At the other end of this scale the picture is entirely different. In 1990, 3.3 million working Canadians received a total income of $40,000 or more. Of these, only 22 per cent were women.

Most working women in Canada have children. Many of these women are single parents bearing full responsibility for their children. The result is one of the most unacceptable facts of life in Canada: We still have 1.5 million children living in poverty. This is an unacceptable situation for one of the wealthiest nations on earth.

Our proposal to provide greater unemployment insurance assistance to those with low incomes and dependants will have an immediate impact on those Canadians most in need: the women and children of this country who are having trouble making ends meet.

Providing greater unemployment insurance assistance to low income Canadians with dependants is a signal to all Canadians that this government believes in equity and fairness. We want to make sure that if we have fewer unemployment insurance dollars that those dollars we do have will go to the people whose need is greater.

The proposals set out in the 1994 budget to change the unemployment insurance program are important first steps but they are only interim measures.

The reform of social security programs is essential if we are to meet head on the challenges of the 1990s and beyond. We can no longer use an outdated system to solve modern problems. It just is not working. We have too many people without jobs, too many families under stress, too many young people who have given up hope and too many Canadians who have lost their confidence in the future.

We cannot achieve change unless we shed the policies of the past that simply are not doing the job that they are supposed to do. We cannot achieve change if we try to cut and paste programs, patching something here and adding something there. We cannot achieve change unless we are willing to lay the system bare, putting every component under scrutiny.

This government believes we have to start with a clean slate and create a new framework for our social safety net. That is why this government is undertaking the most significant and wide ranging review of our social security programs in Canada's history.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 1994
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The Deputy Speaker

I think it is understood that the member is dividing her time with a colleague. Nobody is standing on questions or comments.

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LIB

Rex Crawford

Liberal

Mr. Rex Crawford (Kent)

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today on behalf of my constituents and speak about Bill C-17, an act to implement the first Liberal budget in 10 years.

The budget shows we have a game plan and that we are going to stick to it. We are delivering on our commitments, funding every key initiative in the red book. With our top priorities of jobs and growth, we are offering a balanced approach with emphasis on economic renewal, deficit reduction and social reform.

As represented by Bill C-17 presented by my friend and colleague the Minister of Finance, we are renewing our commitment to economic justice for a fair and lasting prosperity that can put Canadians back to work.

We have all come through a vigorous election campaign. Everyone had their losses, but the pain of our defeats is far less than the pain of the people I have met.

We have learned it is important to take issues seriously but never to take ourselves too seriously. I am sure we share the same cause, the cause of the common man and the common

woman. Since the days of Laurier, King, St. Laurent, Trudeau, Turner and now Chrétien, our commitment has always been to those humble people of our society, the farmers, the labourers and all others who work day in and day out to provide a better life for their families.

This budget continues that firm commitment, clearly establishing a framework for economic renewal and investing in the skills of Canadians. We support job creation with the national infrastructure program, youth internship and apprenticeship programs.

Unlike the previous Conservative government the new Liberal government has pledged that we will never misuse unemployment, high interest rates and human misery as false weapons against inflation.

We have pledged that employment is the first priority of our economic policy. A rollback of the unemployment insurance premium rate to the 1993 level of $3 for 1995 and 1996 saves businesses over $300 million a year which can be reinvested in new jobs. A Canada investment fund to provide venture capital for innovative companies and a Canadian technology network to help small business to get access to new technology are just two examples.

Small business is the backbone of the economy and that is where we have placed our emphasis. These are not simplistic pledges; they are the heart of our tradition. They have been the soul of our party across generations. It is the glory and the greatness of our Liberal tradition to speak for those who have no voice, to remember those who are forgotten, to respond to the frustrations and fulfil the aspirations of all Canadians seeking a better life in a better land.

Programs may sometimes become obsolete but the idea of fairness always endures. Circumstances may change but the work of compassion must continue. It is correct we cannot solve problems by throwing money at them, but it is also correct that we dare not throw our national problems on to the scrap heap of inattention and indifference.

The poor may be out of political fashion but they are not without human needs. The middle class may be angry but they have not lost the dream that all Canadians can advance together. Canadians are tired of changes that merely nibble at the edges. We will implement bold, sweeping reforms that will ensure Canadians can adapt to the challenges of the new economy. We need to build bridges to work, to independence, not dependence. We must better deliver to those in need and at the same time make sure the social safety net remains affordable.

We will overhaul these programs to help Canadians move into the workforce. The demand of our people in 1994 is definitely not for bigger government but for better government. Some say government is always bad and that spending for basic social programs is the root of our economic evil, but the present recession and unemployment rates cost our economy billions of dollars every year. Unemployment and recession are the biggest spenders of all.

We are the party that brought the Canada pension plan and medicare to the nation. We have always been the party of hope. With the budget of my friend and colleague, the Minister of Finance, we are offering new hope to a Canada uncertain about the present but unsurpassed in its potential for the future.

To all those overburdened by an unfair tax structure let us provide new hope for real tax reform. Instead of shutting down hospital wings let us shut off tax shelters. The budget closes loopholes and brings greater fairness to the tax system.

During the recent election campaign I listened and learned from the people of my riding of Kent, the heart of southwestern Ontario.

I listened to a factory worker in Chatham, Ontario who had six children to support and was going to her factory shift. I listened to a Motor Wheel employee with four kids and many bills who lost his job after 25 years at the plant. It is now an empty shell of a building, shut down, throwing hundreds on the unemployment lines. I listened to a farm family in Howard township who wonder whether they can pass the good life and the good earth on to their children. I listened to a grandmother in a seniors home in Dresden who has only the old age pension to make ends meet and wants her remaining years to be dignified and decent. I listened to a 23-year old out of work, to students without the tuition for university or college and to families without the chance to own a home.

In my riding especially I have seen the closed factories and the stalled assembly lines of Chatham and Kent county. I have seen far too many idle men and women desperate for work. I have seen far too many working families desperate to put food on the table, to make the hydro, mortgage and car payments with one parent either working or laid off while being taxed to the hilt.

As I arrived at 4.30 every morning at the plant gates during the election, I also sensed a yearning for new hope among the people at every factory and every corner store. I felt it in their handshakes. I saw it in their faces. I shall never forget the mothers who had to work on the 5 a.m. shift to earn enough money to feed their children.

I shall always remember the veterans in the Royal Canadian Legions and the seniors in nursing homes who have lived in a Canada of high purpose and who believe it can all happen again. They are all optimistic. If only they had a government that was on their side, a government that spoke out for the little guy.

I believe we are that government. Today in their name, for the people of Kent, I am here to speak for them. It is an honour and a privilege to be a member of Parliament, but our highest duty, our overriding passion is to stand with our constituents to express the thoughts and concerns of those who do not have paid

lobbyists to do their bidding or special interest groups to fax dozens of pages of information across the country.

My special interest group is my constituents and I will fight for them every day. I am proud to support the government and Bill C-17.

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Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 1994
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REF

Ian McClelland

Reform

Mr. Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest)

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member opposite for his comments.

I wonder if the hon. member would expand on one thing he touched on in his speech. It was also in the presentation of the Liberal member who preceded him. It is the effect of part-time employment on a community. In particular, I wonder if the member opposite has given any thought to extending benefits to part-time employees. As many members are aware, a very high percentage of people are in our workforce now only because they are consistently able to get part-time employment and they have two or three part-time jobs.

I wonder if the member opposite could comment.

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LIB

Rex Crawford

Liberal

Mr. Crawford

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for his question.

In my riding of Kent, which is the most depressed area in Ontario at the present time, part-time work is about the only type of job people can get.

Personally, I support benefits for part-time workers. I also feel that people who are on welfare should be allowed to work to top up their benefits without penalty. If people do find part-time work, as soon as they are laid off, which is usually within a few short weeks, then it is another battle to get back on the rolls again.

We have been promoting, and I think we have the hon. member's support, an ethanol plant in the city of Chatham. This $170 million plant will employ only 90 to 100 people within the plant. Outside the plant over 400 will benefit from it. It is something I have been trying to get through the government with the help of the opposition parties. I hope the hon. member will support it because I certainly support his views to a great extent.

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LIB

Peter Adams

Liberal

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to both the previous presentations. I wonder if the member would care to comment on the situation of students.

At the present time young people are having a particularly difficult existence. We are encouraging them to stay in school. We are encouraging them to get training. However the costs of school and the costs of training become more and more arduous.

We really must look at different ways for students to pay back their loans, in particular ways which mean that graduating students who get very low paying jobs do not have to pay their student loan immediately. Later those loans could be paid back in proportion to the money they earn, in proportion to the tax they pay, rather than in a very fixed period of time which really works against those who cannot early on in their careers obtain well paying jobs.

I wonder if the member would care to comment on that.

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Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 1994
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LIB

Rex Crawford

Liberal

Mr. Crawford

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for his question pertaining to students and repaying their loans.

I have had many students come to my office, especially over the last two weeks when we had a break, who are worried about this. They are now being billed by the banks and they do not have jobs.

The government through supporting job creation, youth internship and apprenticeship programs will certainly help to alleviate their problems.

I cannot give a figure on how much money right now, but I was talking to UIC and it is putting quite a few students back to work right now. UIC is giving them the opportunity to carry on their education or to be able to pay off the money they owe. The government is on the right track in helping these students and I certainly support it 100 per cent.

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The Speaker

The hon. member for Kootenay West. The hon. member will note the time. Perhaps he would like to begin his statement but I would be interrupting him. If not, I could go to Statements by Members.

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REF

Jim Gouk

Reform

Mr. Gouk

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, if I may make my full speech immediately after I would much prefer that.

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The Speaker

Is it agreed then?

It being two o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members, pursuant to Standing Order 31.

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BQ

Benoît Sauvageau

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Terrebonne)

Mr. Speaker, following Montreal's selection as the host community for the NAFTA Environmental Commission, many inaccurate and vengeful things have been written about this city. Montreal has been described by some as an island in the middle of an open dump, as the worst city from an environmental standpoint not only in

Canada but in all of North America. These allegations reflect deep-seated contempt and are cause for indignation.

The Mayor of Montreal, Mr. Jean Doré, has reacted to these comments and has issued an update on the major achievements of the Montreal Urban Community in the field of sewage treatment. A number of important sewage treatment projects are in the works. In truth, Montreal has nothing to learn from other Canadian cities as far as this or any other field is concerned.

In our opinion, this kind of thinly veiled insult directed at Montreal only serves once again to tarnish the image of this city and of Quebec. It is an instance of provocation which must be denounced.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Montreal
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LIB

Peter Adams

Liberal

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough)

Mr. Speaker, unlike other members of this House, I have had to deal with two GATTs this winter. One was the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, also known as GATT. The other was Vince Gatt, president of the greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Gatt and I do not always see eye to eye but I was delighted to see the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce wholeheartedly endorsing the National Chamber of Commerce program called Aim for a Million. This is a plan to create a million new jobs across Canada. Peterborough's share of this target is in the thousands.

Although the government can play key roles in job creation such as stimulating the economy, creating short term jobs and ensuring we have a trained workforce, in the end jobs are created by businesses. Many of those businesses belong to our Chambers of Commerce. I welcome the chamber's initiative in setting its sights on job creation. We need partners of this type.

In Peterborough both GATTs seem to be having some useful effects.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Chamber Of Commerce
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REF

Jan Brown

Reform

Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Canadian company that is taking a leading role in human resource development.

The Bank of Montreal is the first company outside of the United States to receive the Catalyst award. This award recognizes companies that implement successful and meaningful employment programs.

The bank has made big strides in a short period of time to bring job equity to the workplace. It has increased its number of female executives from 9 per cent to 13 per cent. It has also increased the number of females in senior management from 13 per cent to 17 per cent.

What is remarkable is that this has been done without reverse discrimination or affirmative action programs. It adopted flexible work programs to meet the personal and professional needs of all its employees.

The Bank of Montreal has shown how fair mindedness when offering opportunity results in competent and committed employees in the workplace. I salute the Bank of Montreal.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Bank Of Montreal
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April 11, 1994