Mrs. Gabrielle Bertrand (Bronte-Missisquoi):
Madam Speaker, I would like, first of all, to thank the hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt for introducing this motion about the contract awarding system of the federal government or, in other word, its procurement system .
Through the Department of Supply and Services, which awards $8 billion worth of contracts every year, the federal government gives small businesses the opportunity to prove their capabilities and to develop new expertise.
Like the abolition of the manufacturers' sales tax, like the free trade agreement, which was intended to create a larger and freer market for our small and medium-sized businesses, the policies of the Department of Supply and Services are specifically meant to develop a more accessible and more competitive Canadian market.
Like all my colleagues who participated in this debate, I think that the hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt underestimates what this government is doing for our small businesses.
February 4, 1993
My colleague should not consider solely the details of our policies, he should consider the whole consistent package they represent. I will not repeat what others have already said about the importance of the small-business sector for our economy.
Every single member of this House could elaborate on that theme, because small business is really part of everyday life. What is more important is to underline the consistency of our policies taken as a whole.
Supply and Services Canada has restructured its policies to take into account the need to find new prospects for small businesses with the constraints of a more demanding national and international economic environment. The department helps give our small businesses a chance to excel in this country and elsewhere in the world.
Since 1989, the minister has tried to give better access to federal contracts, to streamline its policies, to modernize its systems, to encourage competition and to give Canadians the opportunity to question the department's system for awarding contracts.
You can see that it was no easy task, but it was carried out, and small businesses know how to take advantage of it. Recently, for example, I had the opportunity to announce, in my riding-
Subtopic: SMALL BUSINESS SECTOR