August 29, 1988 (33rd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Donald James Johnston

Independent Liberal

Mr. Johnston:

Madam Speaker, the issue of where a subsidy begins and where it ends is an extremely complicated issue. GATT, of course, already has rules, and I am one of those people who happens to believe that a benefit that may come from this agreement is that there will be some trail-blazing in establishing criteria which is much easier done one on one between Canada and the United States, criteria which then may be extended to our trading partners as a whole.
I cannot deal with all the regional subsidies. It would be a bit complicated to deal with them in a few minutes. It is my own view that national programs which are available without discrimination on a national treatment basis are programs for which Canada should fight strongly.
In terms of regional development, I think Canada should say "if you have national treatment and you are the subsidiary of a United States firm and want to locate in Cape Breton, you will get the Cape Breton development tax credit along with everyone else". The object of these programs is not to discriminate against the United States; it is to promote industrial development and jobs in the regions. That is the kind of effort that should be made, and the United States will have similar objectives as different areas of the country become impoverished from time to time and market forces are not capable of dealing with them. They have them now.
We in Montreal used to read every day that it pays to locate in New York State, and indeed it did. This is not something
that is unique to Canada. It is a problem both countries will have to deal with, but I would like to think it would be dealt with on that kind of basis in order to satisfy the GATT partners as well.

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