May 31, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Ronald MacDonald


Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth):

Mr. Speaker, first I want to say that I enjoyed the comments of my hon. friend opposite.
His remarks, by and large, were quite correct in that the challenges we face in a very complex world with very many factors impacting on the ability of governments to do anything are great.
He started his remarks by indicating that he comes from a professional background in education. I think that people who are educators certainly see the shortfalls in the system and must be terribly frustrated when repeated efforts to try to improve the system, to ensure that education is affordable by all, and the programs are
May 31, 1993

in response to the reality of the current labour market when those things simply do not happen.
The member must also recognize that when we deal with training in a Canadian context we have some difficulty with jurisdiction. Education is a provincial responsibility, there is no question about that.
The federal government is the senior government and it, more than any other government or collection of governments, has a responsibility to lead. Competitiveness is the responsibility of the federal government. The development of international markets is the responsibility of the federal government. The development of the labour market is a joint responsibility in which the federal government must play the leading role.
We cannot have a Canada where we have 10 or 12 different ministers deciding what is a national program or priority when it comes to skill development or labour market development. The federal government must lead. I recognize clearly that sometimes that is fraught with difficulty because of jurisdiction.
The member talks about the need for things like apprenticeship training, but in order for governments to lead they must have some credibility. A government without credibility cannot lead anybody anywhere. It cannot even lead its own members.
We are dealing with a government that has had nine years-and he is a member of this government-to change things, to convince provincial governments that we have to change our ways, to come in with a workable, doable, fundable national apprenticeship program.
Unemployment has risen in the last three or four years. We have had record levels of bankruptcy during the recession. Right now we are still stuck in what the government likes to call a jobless recovery. It is jobless because consumers have lost confidence. He touched on that.
If consumers do not spend and do not have confidence that they are going to have a job next month or next year they will not go in and buy a new refrigerator. If they do not buy the refrigerator, whoever would transport that refrigerator from upper Canada to my riding in Dartmouth to the Micmac Mall makes one less shipment. One fewer person drives a truck to Dartmouth. There
are two fewer packers at the other end and there are five fewer people working on the line.
If we are talking about jobs and development we must have a government that has credibility when it speaks about economic matters. We must have a government that has a plan and a strategy for growth that encourages people to come along with them, and that is when we get job creation.
Could he please tell me if he still believes that the government opposite, which has presided over a period of record bankruptcies, record despair and near record unemployment, has the confidence of the Canadian public to pull us out of the recession we are in?

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