Lloyd AXWORTHY

AXWORTHY, The Hon. Lloyd, P.C., O.C., O.M., B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba)
Birth Date
December 21, 1939
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Axworthy
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=19dd9722-bc3e-4711-ac9e-913b7fd56106&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
administrator, professor

Parliamentary Career

May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
LIB
  Winnipeg--Fort Garry (Manitoba)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
LIB
  Winnipeg--Fort Garry (Manitoba)
  • Minister of Employment and Immigration (March 3, 1980 - August 11, 1983)
  • Minister responsible for the Status of Women (March 3, 1980 - September 21, 1981)
  • Minister of Transport (August 12, 1983 - June 29, 1984)
  • Minister of State (Canadian Wheat Board) (June 30, 1984 - September 16, 1984)
  • Minister of Transport (June 30, 1984 - September 16, 1984)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
LIB
  Winnipeg--Fort Garry (Manitoba)
  • Minister of State (Canadian Wheat Board) (June 30, 1984 - September 16, 1984)
  • Minister of Transport (June 30, 1984 - September 16, 1984)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
LIB
  Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba)
  • Minister of Western Economic Diversification (November 4, 1993 - January 24, 1996)
  • Minister of Employment and Immigration (November 4, 1993 - January 24, 1996)
  • Minister of Labour (November 4, 1993 - February 21, 1995)
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs (January 25, 1996 - October 16, 2000)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba)
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs (January 25, 1996 - October 16, 2000)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1439 of 1440)


October 17, 1979

Mr. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg-Fort Garry):

Mr. Speaker, I rise under the provisions of Standing Order 43 on a motion of urgent and pressing necessity.

In view of the fact that there is increasing uncertainty over the American government's intentions in relation to the Garrison irrigation project in North Dakota, in view of the fact that any form of biological linkage between the Garrison water systems and Manitoba would result in substantial environmental damage and seriously harm the fishing industry in Manitoba, and in view of the impending visit of President Carter to Canada on November 9, I move, seconded by the hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Bockstael):

That the matter of the Garrison irrigation project be placed on the agenda for discussion as a priority issue and that the Canadian government convey to the President that there should be no form of linkage between the Garrison and Manitoba water systems.

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October 11, 1979

Mr. Axworthy:

I want to spend a moment or two on what is an even more surprising betrayal, to my mind. It is surprising and perhaps ironic. It is a real betrayal of western Canada by this government. It is surprising because this has been the basis of its support for so many years. Western Canadians for their own reasons have said, "We believe the Conservatives

The Address-Mr. Axworthy

will serve our interests". The benches are full of members from western Canada. We have had Tory MPs who have made careers out of lambasting Liberal governments for their neglect of the west. We have a very clear case now of western Canada being on the verge of a major economic breakthrough, and this government is going to pull the rug out from under its feet.

We have talked a lot in this House about the issue of Petro-Canada, but the one thing that we have not talked about is what it means to western Canadians. Petro-Canada is the largest Canadian-owned oil company. Not only is it the largest, it is the only one located in Calgary and it has 2,000 employees. All the rest of the big multinationals that members opposite are giving up are located in the east. It is the only oil firm that has invested millions in research and development of new technologies in liquefied natural gas and in drilling in the Arctic. This research and development gives western Canada the opportunity to develop new technology that can be applied throughout the world. But who is selling it off? It is those western Tories who are selling it off. They are the ones who are betraying their own region and giving up on it.

I want them to go back and explain that kind of betrayal. This is the first time the opportunity has come to develop an economic institution which has its roots, foundations and activity centred in western Canada and which can provide an enormous stimulus for various independent western Canadian businessmen. Let me give just one example. One of the rules Petro-Canada works under is that it has a 25 per cent reserve on Crown lands. Its practice in the past was to take that 25 per cent reserve and allocate it to the small independent oil exploration firms in western Canada because they could not afford the upfront money that the big multinationals could provide. They have asked those small independents to form consortiums and they give them the Crown land reserves. They are the ones who for the first time in a long while are being allowed to come into the Arctic development, the Newfoundland development and the other forms of oil development in western Canada. It is Petro-Canada that is enabling them to develop a brand new business class in western Canada. Yet this government is pulling the rug out from under their feet. We have a direct economic betrayal of the best interests of western Canada in their action on Petro-Canada, and they will pay a heavy price for that kind of betrayal.

It does not stop there. With regard to oil pricing there is a danger that one province will be set against the other over who gets the benefits from the oil price. This country cannot long survive if there is an increasing disparity between the have and have-not energy provinces. If this government allows the price of oil to go to the present world level it will pull $460 million out of the economy of my own province of Manitoba, and we cannot survive that kind of reduction. If this first minister thinks he is going to get Peter Lougheed to agree to some other distribution, he has been reading the wrong newspapers and the wrong speeches, because Mr. Lougheed has said very clearly that he is not interested in that kind of distribution. He

October 11, 1979

The Address-Mr. Axworthy

wants the benefits to stay in one province and one province only.

The opportunities in western Canada to put that capital to work are enormous. It makes one shudder to think of the way we have allowed that money to sit idle for so many years and to think of what we could be doing to improve our transportation system, to modernize and electrify that whole transportation system in western Canada to move our grain to ports and increase the productivity of our grain resource, which will be here long after oil is gone. Yet we allow huge amounts of capital to sit idle because we are not prepared to work out agreements on proper sharing and distribution.

Mr. Lougheed says he is not interested in a resource bank and not prepared to negotiate such a proposal. We need that kind of capital to ensure that there is an opportunity for other forms of resources in western Canada to grow, prosper and flourish. I refer to hydroelectric power and water irrigation which are designed to upgrade the ability of that part of the country to make its resources work for Canada. However, we are not going to get them by the kind of shilly-shallying we have now. Someone has to take the initiative and speak for the entire country. There must be an assertion of a strong national interest because that is the best solution for westerners.

We often hear that same interesting question many of my colleagues heard in the early sixties when they were asked, "What does Quebec want?" Many eastern Canadians and central Canadians are now asking, "What do western Canadians want ?" Unfortunately, all too often the answer comes back in the tones of parochialism and provincialism as expressed by provincial premiers. They mutter away about protecting. They go into a fetal crouch to protect what is theirs. However, there is not a monolithic attitude to those issues in western Canada. The premiers do not speak for all western Canadians in taking that attitude. There is a tradition of reform in western Canada, a tradition of seeking a national interest as seen in the activities of Liberal premiers like T. C. Norris in Manitoba and in the writings of John Dafoe which exemplify a sense not only of national interest but also international interest. They were not small minds with shrinking values. They did not pull themselves in. They did not engage in a form of regional narcissism wherein they looked at their own images and said what was best for them. They had a vision of how the strength and resources of regions could be used to work to the benefit of the entire country.

The Prime Minister says we should not be afraid of giving the regions too much power. No one is afraid of giving the regions too much power, but the Prime Minister, as a sometime student of history, should know that there must be a balance between the regions and the centre, and that if the pendulum swings too far, the centre folds. We are going through that very period now. There is no other federal country in the world which has allowed its regions and provinces to become so decentralized and so powerful as we have in this country. It is time to right the balance, to bring it back into equilibrium and to begin to assert that only a national

government speaking with a national voice can encompass the full flow of energy and resources to work for our totality.

Provincial boundaries are too limiting for the great tasks this country needs performed. We cannot ask provincial premiers, even those who are legitimately saying that they want to serve our interests, to broaden their scope. Their constituencies are their provinces. It would try the highest values of statesmanship to say "We want you to be great friends and neighbours to the provinces three or four to the west or east of you". That is why we have a national government.

However, as we lop off and give away piece by piece the federal presence, and as we hold 40-minute meetings and blithely walk out with a little grin and say "We just gave away the offshore resources today, what can we do next?", surely we are eroding and ripping apart the ability of this federal government to speak for an entire country.

The western voice which will be heard in this House is not one of parochialism and provincialism. It will try to seek a broader national interest and represent those westerners who see things in a different way from the westerners opposite.

In closing, let me remind the House of the words of another good Liberal, John Stuart Mill, when he said that we have far more to fear from the weaknesses of our enemies than from their strengths. He said that it is the task of an opposition to challenge those weaknesses for the sake of the country. It is a welcome challenge to challenge the weaknesses of the new members opposite, and judging by what we have seen so far, it is a very big job. I can assure the House that the group on this side is up to it.

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October 11, 1979

Mr. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg-Fort Garry):

Mr. Speaker, as the roll call of people introducing themselves into this throne speech begins to accumulate, I am very pleased that you have occupied the chair when you did so that I may be allowed some small nuance of original tact to introduce myself; and may I be the first, sir, to compliment you on your election to the position of Deputy Speaker. I know that you will provide the same kind of conscientious, careful watch over this House as does the permanent Speaker.

I must confess at this juncture to being a little nervous, having listened to the debate regarding the recognition of the Social Credit party. It brings back recurring nightmares of my previous state in life when I occupied one of the more exclusive associations, being the only Liberal in the Manitoba legislature. I can say that if the hon. member for Beauce (Mr. Roy) thought he had trouble getting recognized, he should try getting an office once in a while; then he will know that he is in real trouble. However, I do strike a sympathetic chord for his concern about the necessity of ensuring that, no matter how small the number in a party, it is in many cases the ideas and principles that one represents that counts. We in our group certainly have no hesitation or compulsion in recognizing the right of the Social Credit members to speak their minds.

I would like to pay my respects to the mover and seconder of this motion. They set a very high standard of elocution and commitment which all of us who are in the freshman class will find it difficult to measure up to. I must confess to being somewhat intrigued by the interesting discussion of the hon. member for Erie (Mr. Fretz) as he weaved in and out of a very fulsome praise for the orchard trees of the Niagara peninsula speckled throughout with fulsome praise for his leader. I do not know what position the hon. member took in the last Conservative convention, but I am not sure whether he was more in favour of the flora or the fauna in this case. I think that he was trying to send out a political signal for all of those to read.

I would also like to pay my respects to the Prime Minister (Mr. Clark) although he is not in his seat. He was kind enough to single me out yesterday, but probably his misguided jab is an indication of what we can expect in the future, that he is partly right and mostly wrong. He is partly right in saying that

October 11, 1979

one of my ambitions as a member of this party is to be mindful of the future, but I would suggest to him that that is the golden objective of 113 Liberals. The definition of being a Liberal is to be concerned with the future.

We are not worried about how our own leader is concerned about the future but about how the leader of the government is concerned about the future. That is our concern. I would only remind the Prime Minister of the scripture that can be borrowed from the Book of Job. Being one of the few Liberals from western Canada I would remind him of the story of the messenger who came to report to Job that his cattle were stolen and his barns were burned and who said that he alone had escaped to bring the terrible news. I am one of those who escaped to tell the Prime Minister the terrible news.

May I begin by recounting a story that was fairly common in the Manitoba legislature. One of the legends that was handed down through a succession of premiers told of a defeated premier who handed his successor three envelopes, saying that he had kept the envelopes on hand for such a contingency. He told the new premier to use the envelopes very carefully at times when his government found itself in real trouble. It was not very long until that happened. When the new premier opened the first envelope it contained one simple message: "Blame the previous government." Mr. Speaker, this government is obviously in serious trouble already because it has already followed that advice.

It was not too long before that government got into trouble again. The premier opened the second envelope and found the message: "Blame the other levels of government." That seemed to be good advice and he followed it. I suggest that the new government opposite is very close to doing the same as it tries to work out an agreement on oil prices. I think we can expect to see the first minister of this land saying, within a week or two, "It is the fault of those other fellows."

It was not too long before the government in the story found itself in trouble a third time. The new premier opened the third envelope. The message was again very simple; it read: "Start preparing three envelopes." I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that this government is very close to the necessity of preparing that third envelope for itself.

I had intended to follow the tradition followed by the mover and seconder of the Speech from the Throne debate of describing to members some of the glories and virtues of my constituency. That would be especially appropriate at this time as Winnipeg has become a favourite place to hold meetings. I am afraid that if I were to begin to describe the conditions in the province of Manitoba and my constituency, however, hon. members opposite would find the discussion a little sobering, and I would not want to depress them or shake them from their present state of euphoria.

For the last few years Manitoba has been suffering a very strange and debilitating malady called "conservative government"; in fact, some people have called it a severe case of cirrhosis of the government organ brought about by an

The Address-Mr. Axworthy

extreme case of conservatism. Others have called it "Lyon's fanatic syndrome". The symptoms are very clear-economic anemia, stunted growth, impairment of the faculty to listen, political constipation and a lack of the will to move, to make decisions or to lead. For those who may be more clinically minded the statistics tell the story.

Since the Conservatives took over in Manitoba the province has had the lowest growth rate of any in Canada. It has lost more people in out-migration than at any time in the last 13 years. It is the only province in the country with an absolute decline in population. There has been a constant decrease in the amount of health and social services available to the poor and the elderly. This is all done in the name of this new religion that is seizing the land-this new religion called privatization, or restraint, or restructuring, or neo-conservatism-call it what you may. I had hoped that once the election was over we could quarantine that disease within the province of Manitoba. 1 thought that the Conservatives wanted to experiment and might damage a few provinces, but surely would not try to do that to the whole country.

During the summer there were some signs that certain ministers began to pick up that same strange fever that was all too common in Manitoba. I thought that the President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Stevens) had probably taken a side trip to New York and had seen the Broadway show called "Sweeney Todd" and, being very current and fashionable, had applied to himself the title of "Mad Slasher of Wellington Street". I thought this might be part of the new philosophy and new theology that we have to apply, though I felt that those erstwhile characters called "Red Tories" would prevail and be able to restrain their more exuberant right-wing colleagues. In this I was wrong, for the throne speech shows very clearly who won the day in the Conservative caucus. It is not the Progressive Conservatives; it is the regression conservatives who are running the show with this government.

This suggests a basic unwillingness to look at the issues of inequality and social injustice in this country and an equal distrust of government as a positive, effective force to right those kinds of wrongs. It is all right for them to fool around with that particular, curious malady in the provincial context, but when they begin to prescribe those same medicines on a national scale the implications become far more serious.

As I read the throne speech and listen to hon. members opposite speak on it, I am reminded of a line from the play "The Rainmaker" which dealt with the evangelical preacher who was so busy preaching what was right that he forgot what was good. That is the problem with the Conservatives in this country, Mr. Speaker; they are so busy preaching what is right that they forget what is good.

I was particularly struck by the line in the Speech from the Throne which said that we can have unity in diversity. That may be true, but I would ask the government if you can have unity in depression. Can you have unity in disparity? Can you have unity in divisiveness, because that is what the tone and content of the Speech from the Throne indicates?

October 11, 1979

The Address-Mr. Axworthy

The clear, underlying threat in the document before us in this debate is that this is a government that intends to govern for only part of the people-the powerful and the privileged. If you happen to be weak, this government has nothing to say to you.

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October 11, 1979

Mr. Axworthy:

The member opposite says the tax credit is going to help. It is $67 next year. His government will be responsible for an oil price increase which will raise his heating bill by $200 to $300. That is not a very good trade, Mr. Speaker. That is what you call a Tory bargain-$60 for $300. If that is the way the pie will be cut, members over there will not be around very long.

We heard a lot about women in the throne speech. The problems of women are to be studied. But what about women who come under the mortgage credit plan? Does the government realize only 8.5 per cent of women in this country have homes with mortgages? The average income for women is only $2,300 compared to an average for a male of close to $13,000. With those figures none of them will be eligible for the full benefits of the mortgage plan.

What about the regions, Mr. Speaker? Is this a program that fits the regions equally? How can this consensus building be justified when it is found out that some provinces are treated far more unfairly than others? I want to see the first minister at his first conference explaining to the Premier of Quebec that while that province has 27 per cent of the population, only 18 per cent of the benefits are received under this great mortgage credit plan. The same thing holds true in the maritimes.

Perhaps we should talk about those who have the most serious need. I refer to the low income earners in society. For accommodation 51 per cent of senior citizens pay over 30 per cent of their income, 51 per cent of single parents pay over 30 per cent of their income, and 37 per cent of single and attached people pay over 30 per cent of their income. Those are the ones who are having trouble with housing costs.

It was not for lack of thinking. A cabinet document has been prepared by officials. They said "You can solve the problems. You can have a tax credit plan and a shelter allowance too for about the same cost". It was not for lack of proposals or prescriptions, it was for lack of commitment and lack of caring.

I have a proposal. The first minister was very kind to us all in the opposition. He said, "Come up with a good amendment; show us something that makes sense and we will accept it." I will give him something that makes sense. Let us include a

October 11, 1979

shelter allowance as part of that credit plan. Let us do something for the tenants in this country. Let us do something for those in real need. Let us attach a shelter allowance to that tax credit program. Let us show how much members really care. That seems to me to be a fairly logical sentiment. It is one that we have talked about and urged upon this government. I say adopt that proposal, Mr. Speaker, and they will have our support. If they do that it will be the first time the government will show that it is not trying to divide society but instead trying to spread the benefits around.

The problem with this particular program is not only who gets immediate benefits, it is also what we are giving up for the future. The Prime Minister says he is very concerned about the future. How can he be concerned about the future when it is foreclosed? It is foreclosed by committing an expenditure of $2.3 billion or more, totally using up all discretionary income and having nothing left in the purse for any other programs. If someone comes along and says he is concerned, as many Canadians are, about the problem of safety in the streets, what does this government have to offer? Nothing. The money has been spent. Perhaps someone will come along and ask if we can do something for public transit, and we ask the question what can we do to help get better transportation in this country? But we find there is nothing left in the till. We have foreclosed the mortgage. We have spent the money. We have locked ourselves in to the commitments for the future and we have nothing left.

A commitment has been made, Mr. Speaker, and these people do not know how to get out of it. They are going to wriggle and wrangle, and in the meantime the only people they will hurt are the people in this country. To conclude on that note, if they have not gone far enough, they are designing a program that is unequal in its benefits and illogical in its economics; but they have decided to give the coup de grace. Now they are talking about getting rid of Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. They are not satisfied with simply using up all the money in housing, they are going to get rid of the very agency which the federal government has used to make sure that there are proper programs for social groups across Canada. This is all in the name not of any logical reason, but in this new theology, this new religion, in the name of privatization. You develop a certain blindness when you become so concerned about what is right that you forget what is good. There are many other examples that one could use. For instance, the cutbacks in Canada Works which has led to serious unemployment problems; the UIC cutbacks, all in the area of picking on those who are least able to defend themselves.

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October 11, 1979

Mr. Axworthy:

There are some throw-away lines in the speech, Mr. Speaker. The government promises to study some of the problems of the aging. I think Parliament is turning into one big study session. For all their antagonism towards academics, the government seems to have a proclivity for getting back to the classroom. I suggest these studies are simply throw-aways. We do not need them. The real issue and the one they are not prepared to face is how to share economic costs and benefits among individuals and groups in this society. It is very clear from the throne speech that they are loading up the costs and limiting the benefits.

In his introduction the hon. member for Erie said that this is a government that wants to free people in order to enhance liberty. That was a high-sounding phrase but he forgot the other part of the corollary. He neglected to say that liberty also comes when you begin to knock down social and economic barriers, not build them up as has been done in the Speech from the Throne.

There are millions of people in this country who are forgotten people; they are ignored, neglected and even spurned. This government does not speak to them, Mr. Speaker; all it does is build the barriers higher and create deeper divisions.

As an example, 1 should like to refer to a cornerstone of their economic policy, the jewel of their proposals, the campaign springboard that swung them into victory. I refer to the mortgage credit plan. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Crosbie) has said that this will benefit 3,300,000 people and give them a stake in the country. He has said that it will stimulate jobs and bring wondrous benefits. I would ask him what program benefits the other 40 per cent of the people in this country who rent accommodation. They receive no direct benefits whatsoever under this plan. If I understood the minister, he defended the program by saying: "We did not promise them anything so why should we care about them?" In other words, the whole equation of the government is that they only care about those to whom a promise was given and everyone else can be forgotten.

When we examine the housing needs in this country, Mr. Speaker, we see that the full pressure of cost is spread across the whole spectrum of society and is felt more keenly by those who are renters. Let me give some examples for members opposite. How can members of Parliament from Edmonton go back there and tell renters they are being ignored when 41 per cent of the tenants and renters in Edmonton must pay over 30 per cent of their income for accommodation and only 15 per cent of the home owners are in the same situation? For the city of Winnipeg, 39 per cent of renters pay over 30 per cent of

their income for accommodation while only 12 per cent of home owners do. Now I come to the city of Toronto; 25 per cent of Toronto renters pay over 30 per cent of their income for accommodation compared to 13 per cent of home owners. By that kind of logic, if you are really trying to serve those in need you try to assist those who are in the greatest need. Obviously something has been forgotten in this plan.

Let me now look at the position of the elderly in Canada. Sixty-five per cent of the elderly own their own homes but only 6 per cent of the elderly hold a mortgage on those homes.

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