December 18, 1987 (33rd Parliament, 2nd Session)


William Warren Allmand


Mr. Allmand:

Mr. Speaker, it is more than laughable for the Government to suggest that the present retraining programs are adequate to deal with the consequences of this trade agreement with the United States. Let us be very clear, the Government has cut retraining programs by 32 per cent from 1984 to 1987. In 1984, the budget for retraining was $2.2 billion. Now it is $1.6 billion. When we ask questions in the House of Commons, the Government pretends to the Canadian people that this cut-back program will be adequate to deal with the massive readjustment resulting from this agreement.
The onus is on the Government to tell Canadians which and how many jobs will be lost and which and how many jobs will be gained. That it has not done. Studies have been done by various bodies from the Economic Council of Canada through to the Department of Regional Industrial Expansion and different estimates have been made. Many of those estimates were made before this particular agreement was announced. They were made on theoretical models and then readjusted after because they found that the actual deal was not quite the model on which they had based their studies.
Everyone on all sides of the House agrees that there will be massive readjustments. Even those on the government side agree with that because the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) said so in a speech he made on October 6. He said that massive readjustment programs would be necessary. He backtracked after that but he told the truth on that night.
We do not know to what extent the number of jobs will increase or decrease, but we know that there will be a massive
December 18, 1987

loss of jobs and no doubt there will be new jobs created. We know that. Elowever, Canadians who now have jobs that they have held for 20 or 30 years will lose those jobs. Some of those jobs are high-paying, good jobs, not like the jobs that are being produced now, jobs at minimum wage with no benefits, no labour standards and no unions. Canadians will lose those good jobs. Maybe there will be new jobs created in other parts of the country or in other kinds of industries, but Canadians have no assurance yet from the Government that there will be an adjustment program to retrain them or relocate them. The Government has not made that commitment and it should. The parliamentary committee strongly recommended that, before the Prime Minister signs this agreement, he should announce such a program.

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