Mr. Charles L. Caccia (Davenport):
Mr. Speaker, the motion before us today is broad in scope. Speakers from the other side of the house who have expressed their views so far have proceeded to make a series of criticisms in respect of things the government has failed to do. At the same time, they have outlined the problems. The problems have been defined by various speakers, yet in the course of the debate so far members opposite have produced very few suggestions in the way of solutions. I always thought the function of any opposition to be to demonstrate to the government and the people of Canada that it has better solutions, better ideas and better means to arrive at certain goals in our society.
The Leader of the Opposition, who drafted the motion, included in his motion a reference to students and concentrated his remarks on students for almost the entirety of his speech, as if the manpower of the country consisted of students alone. Where are the labourers, where are the semi-skilled, where are those who have a skill which is becoming obsolete; are they not important? Where are the migrants and immigrants and those who need rehabilitation and need mobility programs; are they not important? They have not been mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition,
Whatever suggestions the Leader of the Opposition has put forward can be indicated in two points. First, the department ought to cut across every federal department in order to co-ordinate and play a greater role whei ever there are cut-backs or changes in governmental policies which affect manpower and employment. In other words, he is telling the department to intervene every time another department wishes to reduce certam programs in an attempt to reduce government spending. If this is what the Leader of the Opposition means, how does he reconcile this with his concern about inflation and the speeches he has made concerning increasing governmental spending? Surely, there is a
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contradiction in terms here. Secondly, he was critical in respect of the failure to create an advisory board according to the legislation which was introduced in 1967. Well, we certainly need advice. As the Minister has indicated, the consultations are now coming to a conclusion. Apart from these two points, however, there is nothing which has come from the benches across the way which has added to the knowledge, experience or the policies which exist at present and which are being carried out in this country.
It is interesting to note that after the speeches are made and the criticism is levelled, those who have made the speeches disappear from the house. This would not seem to indicate any interest on their part in knowing perhaps what the position might be of the government responsible for the present state of affairs. The hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent) took an entirely different position. I wonder how realistic he is about the present shortage of employment opportunities in suggesting a shift in governmental orientation. Our Minister has already indicated that this shift is in existence. If he wants an acceleration whereby the government would intervene, carry out and direct more of the activities of private enterprise, then apparently so far the Canadian people have not indicated they share the same opinion and his views are not realistic in terms of providing a solution during the life of this parliament.
The other solution the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby put forward was the creation of a young Canadian service program. While this perhaps is something which has a future, the question which might be asked is, how many students could and would take advantage of a scheme of this particular type? Here again, the member of the New Democratic Party completes his statement about Manpower policies without making any mention of whether within Manpower policies there is a need for a program relating not only to students but also to the many other segments of the Canadian population which are immediately in very acute need of assistance because of increasing automation in our society.
The hon. member for Cape Breton-The Sydneys (Mr. Muir) developed certain generalities. He has also disappeared immediately afterwards. He produced a certain number of well-known cliches on the subject. He spoke about the lack of co-ordination between departments which is something that is as old as the existence of any government. He spoke
Business of Supply
about unemployment statistics which we all know. He spoke about regional disparities which are also quite familiar to us and about housing on which there has been a comprehensive debates for the past ten days. But where are the alternatives, where are the proposals which would reflect the half hour of concern and criticism of the policies of the government as expressed by the Leader of the Opposition? It would seem that the opposition has no alternatives to propose. It would seem that the opposition is in a position to describe problems but is not in a position to improve upon existing policies. This seems to me to be a state of bankruptcy of ideas.
[DOT] (5:40 p.m.)
If we look at the present and see what we have, I submit that we are a most fortunate country to have a manpower department. Not many countries of the western world have such a department. We are fortunate that we do have a policy and specific plans and programs such as the mobility program which is endeavouring to bring Canadians to jobs. We are fortunate in that we have programs such as O.T.A. which is endeavouring to keep people up to date with the changing industrial environment and enable people to develop necessary skills.
This is what we have at present. In my opinion, it reflects a great deal of foresight on the part of those who in past years took the initiative and produced the legislation we have on the statute books. This was not the result of the efforts of hon. members opposite. While we find comfort in the fact that we have worth while programs for the Canadian people in this respect, let us look to the future and see what can be expected then. At least those of us on this side of the house look to the future to see whether we can further improve the programs we have, whether we can perhaps one day arrive at a time when Canadians will not only be brought to jobs but when jobs will be brought to Canadians whether they are living near the sea coast or in the mountains of this country. This would be a highly desirable ultimate goal to achieve one day in order to maintain an even spread of the Canadian population from coast to coast. While it is not possible today, we all hope it will be possible in a few years.
We look forward to several things which will improve our ever-changing industrial requirements. We look forward, for instance, to the development of manpower resources which one day, perhaps before the turn of the
March 25, 1969
Business of Supply
century, may even be called the development of human resources, because this is what it is all about. "Manpower" is perhaps a rather narrow term. It refers to man as an economic and productive unit. But with the reduction' of the number of working hours in the week it is quite possible that the next generation in this house will not only be speaking about manpower resources but about Canadian human resources. This will be for the good, I submit.
We also look forward to better resolving some difficult areas in relation to manpower. For instance, there is the question of rehabilitation of those who have been injured at work, the whole question of the services to be made available to people who have to learn a new skill because of an accident at work. These men who are usually middle aged, who have a modest education or perhaps none at all, are at a stage in life when they must adjust to a new physical condition, a new environment and again become the breadwinner of the family. This is a question which probably affects several thousand Canadians from coast to coast.
I cite another example, Mr. Speaker. We look forward to the development of new techniques in the training of immigrant tradesmen, immigrant technicians and professionals in order that they may make a more rapid adjustment to Canadian methods so their abilities may be absorbed into our industrial environment at a faster pace without the loss of talent, without underemployment and so forth.
We look forward to amendments to the Adult Educational Training Act. Amendments may be necessary as we gain experience through the yearsi, as we realize certain weaknesses and can see that certain improvements can be introduced; for instance, with reference in particular to the three-year waiting period required to become eligible for training after having left school unless one has dependants to support. Other amendments may also be necessary.
We look forward to the role of Canada manpower centres in large urban communities. This is a role which perhaps can be expanded, made broader than it is at present, in which these manpower centres would reach out into the neighbourhood. A number of services could be generated from these centres. We have over 300 centres from coast to coast and their potential is substantial. They could be made the focal centre of the communities when it comes to searching for
jobs, obtaining guidance counselling and other services.
We look forward to new pilot projects. One was completed just recently in the city of Toronto for the training of labourers during the winter in order to make them more flexible and adaptable to the requirements of their industry. This was a very successful training scheme and it might set the pattern for future ones. We look forward to experimenting in the field of tradesmen training, particularly those who come from overseas and for whom there is a very great demand. These people have to adapt to provincial laws and requirements.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, we also look forward to learning from those countries which have progressed even further than we have. We look forward to gaining from them experience and techniques which may be adapted to Canadian conditions. These are the things we would like to add to the context of this debate. We would like to hear proposals and suggestions as to how this program can be improved. Where are the ideas from members of the opposition? They have criticized. Let them not limit themselves to outlining the problems. That is the easiest approach. Let us hear from them what they would do if the responsibility were theirs.
Subtopic: BUSINESS OF SUPPLY