Mr. Jim Karpoff (Surrey North):
I am delighted to try to educate the Tories again about EPF.
The whole basis of transfer payments under the Established Programs Financing was that there was a baseline and that baseline would increase not by expenditures-regardless of what the province spent, it had nothing to do with expenditures- but as a proportion of gross national productivity. As the country got bigger, the share of moneys going to the provinces for health care and post-secondary education would also grow at the rate of the GDP.
What has happened, of course, is that the economy has expanded but the government has said: "Oh, no, we are going to renege on it. We are not going to give you more money just because you are entitled to more money because the population and the economy are growing. We are going to pretend that is not so. We are going to freeze the payments to make sure they do not increase at the rate of growth of the economy".
May 14, 1993
In effect that means there is a diminishing amount of money available to the provinces at a period of time when their needs are expanding, particularly the provinces where they had to expand because of population.
The same applies to the Canada Assistance Plan. The government put a cap on the Canada Assistance Plan at a time when it knew that particularly in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta that the demand on the provincial governments was going away up because of cutbacks in unemployment insurance and in other areas, ensuring that less and less people qualify for unemployment insurance.
Mr. Speaker, I see you are signalling that my time is up. It is too bad because I would have liked to go back and talk about some of the more specifics that deal with businesses under the free trade agreement, closing their doors in Surrey and moving to Arkansas.
Subtopic: ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-THE ECONOMY