Thomas Hockin (Minister for Science; Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism))
Hon. Tom Hockin (Minister for Science and Minister of State (Small Businesses and Tourism)):
Madam Speaker, my hon. friend's question might have been appropriate 10 years ago, but if he had been with me last week when we went to see the bankers' association he would have been pleased with the increased performance under the SBLA program, a program in which we have limited the banks. They cannot take any more than a 25 per cent personal guarantee against an SBLA loan.
This has totally changed the climate. Small businesses now are applying for this in greater numbers and we expect two or three times more business under the new SBLA than under the old one.
The Minister of Finance in his last budget and also in the December statement brought forward all sorts of new possibilities for equity investment in small business, especially in allowing RRSPs to be used in new and creative ways for equity investment in small business. This government, both on the equity and debt side for small and medium enterprises, has been giving leadership across a whole range of areas and will continue with that in the next few months.
Subtopic: SMALL BUSINESSES LOANS ACT