Hon. Stanley Haidasz (Parkdale):
Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a privilege to participate in the throne speech debate, especially in the Silver Jubilee year of the reign of our sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. We were honoured, and indeed grateful, to have had Her Majesty participate in the opening of the third session of the Thirtieth Parliament of Canada.
I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate the mover and the seconder of the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.
As I make my speech today, I vividly recall my emotions of excitement and humility when I delivered my maiden speech in 1957, at which time the Queen opened the first session of the Twenty-Third Parliament of Canada. Today, 20 years later, as we begin this session under the glare of television lights and the scrutiny of several cameras, my feelings are no less intense.
The Address-Mr. Haidasz
I hope televising our deliberations in this chamber will help to make our work more efficient and, above all, give our people a chance to see parliament in action.
Also, I welcome this opportunity to say how proud and grateful I am to represent the people of Parkdale in the House of Commons. They reside in an attractive part of west end Toronto on the shore of Lake Ontario. Parkdale has an interesting history of tradition and change about which we will hear more as its residents prepare for the celebration of its centennial in 1979. Many of my constituents were born in this great country, but many are immigrants or first generation descendants of immigrants who have adopted Canada as their country and, with their fellow Canadians, are generously contributing their work and their talents to make Canada an even better place in which to live and raise their children.
Parkdale is a reflection of the Canadian multicultural mosaic. Its people have family ties in other parts of the world and, therefore, international developments interest them very much. Many of them are closely following the Belgrade review meeting of the Helsinki agreement and the final act of the conference on European co-operation and security to which Canada was a signatory nation, along with 34 others, on August 1, 1975, in Helsinki.
As in some other countries, we have organized a parliamentary Helsinki group, reading the reports from Belgrade and watching the actions of governments. We have a parliamentary observer group in Belgrade and a group in Canada keeping in touch with concerned Canadians. The Helsinki agreement review conference, without a thorough examination of respect for human rights would be a mockery of the solemn commitments of 1975 and an abdication of the responsibility of governments to their people. I am sure the Canadian government will not be dissuaded from pursuing its humanitarian concerns so nobly begun and carried out during the initial negotiations of this conference.
We are particularly happy to hear in the Speech from the Throne that the goal of enhancing the rights and freedoms of Canadians can also be pursued through commitment to the principle of open government. An example of that commitment was the enactment of the Human Rights Act, the recent appointment of the Human Rights Commission and the Privacy Commissioner. In the future promotion of open government, parliament will be asked to approve the establishment of the office of ombudsman to deal with complaints arising from federal administrative actions.
As a member of parliament during the past several years, 1 have been astounded by the number of complaints from my constituents. Unfortunately, it is difficult to help them, in view of the bureaucracy and lack of such an office as that of federal ombudsman. Many of us who have been advocating such an office welcome this announcement of our government and hope it will bring greater and swifter redress to those Canadians who have been wronged.
I truly believe that the present session of parliament is shaping up into the most important and the most crucial session in our parliamentary career. Canada and the world are
October 27, 1977
The Address-Mr. Haidasz
confronted with many serious problems. Our industrial civilization is very seriously challenged by the energy crisis, inflation and unemployment. Governments and their people must rally and mobilize their will and resources to fight this grave threat to our socioeconomic survival.
Along with other members of the House, I welcome the government's initiatives announced in the Speech from the Throne which are evidence of the federal government's determination to give political leadership, strong government and an unwavering confidence to Canadians who are impatiently awaiting our best efforts in these difficult times. Therefore, this is not the time for half measures or petty politics.
During this period of wage and price controls, which had to be adopted to fight galloping inflation, Canadians have co-operated to restrain their demands on the economy and have achieved some successes. As the Minister of Finance (Mr. Chretien) reported to us in his mini-budget address last Thursday, many companies have learned to deal with the problems of rising prices. We welcome the minister's announcement of measures designed to achieve a sustained growth in our economy of between 5 per cent and 6 per cent in order to bring down the unemployment rate and that the expansion should be led by exports and business investment.
As well, the minister explained the operation of the three root causes of our economy's setback, namely, weakened exports, increased costs of production, and lack of confidence. Then he proposed a five-point program to stimulate the economy without increasing the danger of inflation, namely, a phase-out of controls beginning April 14, 1978, a personal income tax cut of up to $100 for low and middle income taxpayers; further job creation programs; an employment credit for job creation, and the maintenance of strict restraint on government expenditures.
Also, he appealed for the help of all Canadians because government cannot do everything itself. He appealed to the opposition members in parliament to stop politicking and to start swiftly enacting measures proposed in the last budget and in the mini-budget of last Thursday. Time is precious, and each hour lost delays the benefits to our people and increases costs in general.
In the long term we must try to get all sectors of our population to co-operate with the government in developing without further delay an economic and an industrial strategy. Many of us have been asking for this for a long time, and I hope we will not have to wait much longer. The battle to provide more jobs, increase growth and ensure a stable economy will not be won without firm action and definite planning, and especially without the consultation and co-operation of business, labour and, indeed, all levels of government.
The recent reports of the Science Council of Canada and of our Liberal caucus's industrial policy committee should be given serious attention by our government in planning future economic and industrial strategy. In particular, the Canadian manufacturing industry should be strengthened in the face of
lower tariffs which are now being negotiated in Geneva at the GATT meeting. Some economists are even advocating a "Buy Canada Act", and others are recommending a greater effort to buy goods made in Canada. At this time I would like to appeal to the ministers in charge of the large economic portfolios to do everything possible to help save the jobs of employers of Northern Telecom, Anaconda Brass, and INCO where we hear that mass lay-offs are impending.
In harnessing our major programs to the objectives of a national industrial policy, we should try to create tax revenues instead of giving subsidies, and to develop industrial competence instead of relying on research from abroad. But the tax environment is very important to all such linked industrial objectives as specialization, research and development, and the processing of raw materials. The tax regime must be set so as to reinforce other measures and be related to achieving competitiveness. I think, also, it is time to re-examine and reform our tax structure as it applies to primary resources and secondary manufacturing industries, and to encourage the initiative of our businessmen, with tax incentives, to build and invest in Canada. Unfortunately, we hear that too many of our business and financial institutions are investing in states such as Florida where the tax structure is more favourable to them. These businessmen and investors are asking for more stable tax policies which would give them time to make long-term plans.
I also agree with the government that a special, comprehensive small businesses act is urgently needed to serve the needs of the smaller owner-managed sector of our economy, and that at this time of high unemployment our manpower training programs should be upgraded and made more practical, such as, for example, that the unemployed on these retraining programs be trained on the job. I think this will go a long way toward successfully relocating the unemployed people of our country.
We are particularly happy to hear from the Minister of Finance that this year and next year the government will be spending over $1 billion on direct job creation, and also the announcement by the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Mr. Cullen) that a special fund of $5 million will be made available to train our unemployed youth. We should also implement the 14-point program announced by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Munro), together with the establishment of a national consultative forum and fair comparison bargaining in public and essential services, as they are important elements of an over-all industrial strategy.
Some philosophers state that we are what we think, and some nutritionists state that we are what we eat. I believe that both are right. I also believe in the adage attributed to Juvenal about a sound mind in a sound body. That is why I was happy to hear about the new national policies on food and amateur sport. We are awaiting with impatience the forthcoming policy on recreation and physical fitness which is an important part of the government's legislative program for this and the coming year.
We learned with satisfaction, in the throne speech, that the government is taking new initiatives in the development of a
October 27, 1977
comprehensive national food policy by calling a national food conference next February after having received submissions from major sectors in this field. Canada does need an up-to-date food strategy, and I hope that during that conference expert nutritionists will be present who will study the problem of nutrition in Canada and, above all, the effect of the many food additives that are being allowed in our food products at this time.
The world is facing a food crisis which may be even more serious than the energy crisis. World stocks of grain are at a very low level, and there is increasing evidence that the pressure on food resources will not lessen. As was stated yesterday by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan), Canada has a unique and immense potential to increase its food production, in spite of its severe climate. The Canadian labour force and investment community have the capacity to develop a gigantic food industry in this country, as some economists have stated, such as Dr. G. Korey and Professor K. Eckhard, who in a major paper presented not long ago stated that Canada has the potential to become a world food bank, not only by bolstering secondary industry and becoming a great food exporter, and thereby reducing our trade deficits.
As a physician, I cannot refrain from reiterating my appeal to the government to increase its vigilance over the many new chemicals and other products introduced into our work and home environments. These new chemicals are dangerously altering our environment and are exposing man to growing amounts of harmful pollutants. As a result, today we are faced with the great problem of environmental diseases, including cancer, caused by asbestos, vinylchloride and other substances. We are faced with other environmental diseases, including birth defects, mercury and arsenic poisoning, chronic respiratory diseases, deafness, and many others. However, the proposal of the Minister of Labour for the establishment of an industrial safety and health centre should help to identify occupational health hazards and recommend any changes that are necessary as well as the strict enforcement of regulations.
1 should like to propose, also, that the federal government enact laws and regulations regarding special toxic substances, making it the responsibility of manufacturers to prove that their products are safe before they are put on the market. Such measures would help prevent new toxic substances entering the environment and endangering our health and lives, as well as upsetting the delicate ecology of our earth. We Canadians have reached a crossroad in our national life. Redesigning national socioeconomic policies is fundamental to the achievement of national unity. The urgency of constitutional reform and an economic strategy is made more acute by the separatist challenge from the Parti Quebecois government elected last November 15. So we welcome the intiatives of the government and the leadership of the Prime Minister expressed in his statement, that he is profoundly dedicated to the spirit and achievement of unity. The work of the task force on Canadian unity should assist Canadians to participate more actively in the debate and make a greater contribution to the future shaping of our country.
The Address-Mr. Haidasz
We are looking forward to the measures relating to the constitution of Canada so that a new federalism will emerge and receive the support and devotion of Canadians everywhere. We welcome the historic "Statement on Language" approved at the meeting of provincial Premiers last August, and the proposal to entrench in the constitution language rights in education. At this time I want to join with those Canadians who abhor the abrogation of English language rights in Quebec's language bill 101, and appeal to the government to assist the minority of Quebec to fight for its language rights.
I am sure we all welcome the government's proposal to amend the Official Languages Act and to clarify the role of the courts in safeguarding the equality of status of the official languages within the jurisdiction of the government of Canada, and the government's commitment to ensure greater availability of education in both official languages. 1 am sure we all agree that the great majority of Canadians are dedicated to the strengthening of bonds between Canadians speaking our two official languages and those belonging to our many different cultural backgrounds.
Topic: ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY