June 5, 2003 (37th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Lorne Nystrom

New Democratic Party

Hon. Lorne Nystrom

Mr. Speaker, the comments made by the member from British Columbia are very relevant. I know from his comments in committee and our private conversations that he is concerned that sometimes our party is a little too negative in terms of big banks and big business in Canada. However he knows very well, being a western Canadian, the record of western Canadian social democrats in terms of the business community.
We just saw two days ago, for example, the re-election of the Gary Doer government in Manitoba. It was extremely popular because it had a reasonable position, not just with workers, farmers, senior citizens and health care and so on, but a reasonable position in dealing with the business community. That certainly has been the legacy of the NDP government in Saskatchewan, going back to 1944 with Tommy Douglas, on through Roy Romanow, and now to Lorne Calvert. I think we have been positive and helpful in terms of big bank mergers.
We can go back to the real test in 1998-99. I was really puzzled by the deafening silence of the Reform Party in those days regarding its concern about big bank mergers. We were positive in terms of our approach. We suggested these were not good things for the small business community in terms of access to capital and we were proven right.
We were also proven right that the mergers proposed at that time would not be a good thing in terms of service to individual communities right across the country. I talked to many citizens around the country. Public opinion polls that were taken bore us right, that bank mergers were not in the best interests of Canada. That is why this study took place.
I do not think we are being negative. There is a party that is quite negative in the House of Commons, the Alliance Party, which complains about almost everything that happens in this country; that Canada is falling apart and that this country is going to hell in a handbasket. I criticized the Liberal government, but we are still a pretty decent country here. The opposition should be more positive in what we propose, so that is what I am doing today.
I am proposing that we concur in this report of the finance committee. Mr. Speaker, I know you are anxious to say a few words yourself, but we should concur in this report and take a look at the minority report which we have tabled as an appendix to this and chart a course that is important. We have seen the dollar go down, the dollar go up--

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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