May 14, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Kenneth David Atkinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ken Atkinson (St. Catharines):

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member's speech and he mentioned that a winery was the victim of free trade. Of course, it was the usual NDP tirade against free trade. I guess the
opposite is the protectionism it seems to espouse. Come back within ourselves, put up the tariff barriers around this country and do not trade with anybody. We can trade with everybody else but nobody can come into our country.
I also come from a grape and wine area and one of the biggest things during the last election campaign was that the industry was going to be destroyed. In fact it has prospered. New small and medium-sized wineries have opened. They have won gold medals in wine competitions around the world. They have developed an ice wine that is world renowned now. They are expanding by leaps and bounds. This is in spite of the free trade agreement.
My question of course is the usual NDP argument that transfer payments have been cut. Have transfer payments been cut or has the rate of increase been cut?
I think my friend will acknowledge-and it is a clear question-that transfer payments have increased at the rate of 4 per cent per year under this government which is higher than the rate of inflation. Those have been passed on to the provinces. The provinces' spending increases, including my home province, have been above 10 per cent for the last seven or eight years. That is a major problem but have transfer payments been cut or is the rate of increase the only thing that has been cut?

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