John G. WILLIAMS

WILLIAMS, John G., F.C.G.A.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative
Constituency
Edmonton--St. Albert (Alberta)
Birth Date
December 31, 1946
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Williams
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=233caca3-acc5-4554-9c4f-4abf75950440&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
accountant

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
REF
  St. Albert (Alberta)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
REF
  St. Albert (Alberta)
March 27, 2000 - October 22, 2000
CA
  St. Albert (Alberta)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
CA
  St. Albert (Alberta)
December 23, 2003 - May 23, 2004
CPC
  St. Albert (Alberta)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
CPC
  Edmonton--St. Albert (Alberta)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
CPC
  Edmonton--St. Albert (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 267 of 270)


February 10, 1994

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert)

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the whip of the Reform Party I would like to advise the House that pursuant to Standing Order 43(2) our speakers on the motion will be dividing their time.

First my congratulations to the Bloc for introducing a motion that deals with trying to come to terms with the problems of money and lack of money in the country. We are $500 billion in debt. It is nice to see the opposition and the government taking these things seriously.

It reminds me a bit of the parable of the prodigal son who left home and wanted to take a share of his wealth with him. Here we have the Bloc wanting to ensure that the fiscal House of Canada is in order so there is sufficient wealth for them to take with them. I would remind the Bloc that the end of the parable was that he did have to come home, unfortunately without his wealth.

I do not think anybody has spoken louder on managing the government's money than the Reform Party. During the last election we produced a four-page flyer that showed how we were going to reduce the deficit to zero. If anybody was eliminating waste it was the Reform Party because, as I say, it was a four-page flyer. My hon. friends across the aisle with a 120-page red book could only get the deficit down to about 3 per cent of gross domestic product or $25 billion. When it comes to the elimination of waste, duplication and extra effort the Reform Party is the party to which one should be looking.

The problem does not lie in the elimination of duplication of government expenditures. The President of the Treasury Board has already said, and other speakers have said so this morning, that we have a public accounts committee that is chaired by a member of the opposition. They have every opportunity to look at the expenditures examined by the Auditor General. He has pointed out that we are losing money here, that we are wasting money there: $10 billion is being thrown down the drain by this department; $100 million is not being collected by the Department of National Revenue through loss of taxation on the GST as half a million people have not been filing their returns. These things have been pointed out to us.

The thing to remember is that the deficit is $43 billion or $45 billion according to the Minister of Finance. The total spending by the federal government on its administration, on its salaries, on its rent, on its desks, telephones, computers and whatever else it needs to manage the country is only $17 billion. If we eliminated the entire civil service and everything that goes with it our deficit would still be around $25 billion.

Therefore if the members of the Bloc Quebecois think they can resolve the waste and deficit problems of the government by narrowly defining the idea they can find enough money in waste and duplication, they only have to look at the numbers and that will tell them that unfortunately they will not find the answer in another committee that looks at the same problem again.

In chapter 5 of his report the Auditor General talks about the debt and the deficit and concern about where this country is going. If we want to find out where we are going, it is always best to look at where we have been. He produced some interesting graphs and charts in chapter 5 showing it was in 1975 that our deficit really started to balloon. It was our colleagues on the other side of the House who decided it was time to start spending money on social programs by the billions. It was then they introduced what they called the just society.

I talked about this earlier in the pre-budget debate. At that time I said that if taxpayers had been given the bill to pay for the just society rather than borrowing the money to pay for it, we would have told them we could not afford it and we would not have the problems we have today.

Between 1974 and 1976 spending on programs mushroomed to about 130 per cent of the money collected in tax revenues. By the time we added the interest on the debt being created our spending exceeded 155 per cent of government revenues. That is where the problems started and why we have these problems today. Unfortunately we have to squeeze the social spending we have created in order to be able to afford government in the country. Not only do we have to eliminate the fat from the waste and duplication in services but we have to take a look at how we

spend our money on social programs in order that we can afford to balance our budget.

The Minister of Human Resources Development has decided to strike a committee to look at how we are going to revamp social programs and unemployment insurance. Last year we spent $19 billion on unemployment insurance. That is almost 50 per cent of the current deficit.

I do not suggest for a moment that we should get rid of unemployment insurance but we have systemic unemployment in this country of around 7 per cent. That is now to be considered full employment; 7 per cent of workers do not have jobs because of the problems with the social programs that say we do not have enough incentives built into them for people to go to work.

Our neighbours to the south have a systemic unemployment rate of about 3 per cent lower than ours. Their cost of unemployment insurance as a percentage of their gross domestic product is significantly lower than ours. That is the way we are going to balance the budget. It is not going to be through trying to save a nickel here or find a dime there by creating another committee to find out how on earth we are going to balance the budget. The answer is not there; the answer lies in social programs.

When we produced our zero in three flyer last fall we said that about $3 billion to $4 billion could be saved by providing incentives for people to get back to work. By reducing the unemployment rate, we reduce the cost of unemployment insurance and create additional tax revenues from people who are now working. That is where we are going to find the answers to our problems.

We said last fall that we should talk about eliminating old age security to families that earn more than $54,000 a year. It would save another $3 billion. We could save between $4 billion in UI and $3 billion on old age security, which comes to $7 billion. That is 40 per cent of total government expenditures we can save by looking at these two programs without having to go through every nickel and dime and line by line of the entire government expenditures. We identified $7 billion with these two programs alone.

Last fall when I was knocking on doors and talking to senior citizens in my riding they were concerned about our policy on old age security. For those families which make more than $54,000 a year, we are going to cut it off. Why should young families which are trying to get ahead have to pay taxes so that the rich can use their old age security to go to places in the sun in the winter? Many of the seniors I talked to said: "I wish we had seen $54,000 in our lives. My goodness, cut that off. By all means cut that off. We support you 100 per cent if we are going to balance the budget". Those are the types of things that my colleagues from the Bloc should be proposing in the motion.

The motion they have proposed today is far too narrow. The budget cannot be balanced if we focus on one thing. I know they have their own political agenda that says: "Put the blame on the federal government and that way we do not have to worry about what happens in the province of Quebec".

I am concerned about all of Canada not just the province of Alberta. I am concerned about Canadians who live in the province of Quebec. Everybody who lives in the province of Quebec as far as I am concerned is a Canadian and participates fully in this great nation of ours.

As I mentioned we laid out a full program on how to balance a budget last fall. We did it as volunteers. We did it as Canadians who wanted to make a contribution to the country. That is where we should be looking to resolve our problems rather than this narrowly defined motion as proposed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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February 3, 1994

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert)

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the comments of the hon. member for Dartmouth. I think we have a socialist in Liberal clothing over there. He talks about his belief in the state's responsibility to redistribute wealth. Those are the policies of my friends and colleagues who sit behind me as independents because their party was annihilated during the last election.

He talks about the redistribution of wealth and the social programs of which the Liberal Party is so proud. Let us remember that these programs were introduced back in the Liberal era of Pierre Trudeau and the just society, at which time he borrowed money and put this country in the position we are in today

to pay for these social programs. He redistributed wealth to everyone whether they needed it or not.

We can take, for example, senior citizens. The ex-leader of the Liberal party, the right hon. Pierre Trudeau, is receiving the old age security even though he is reputed to be a millionaire. Is that the idea of redistributing wealth of the hon. member for Dartmouth?

He mentions the fact that government can no longer deliver these programs. My suggestion to the hon. member is that we should be looking at social programs which direct the money to those in need, the poor in this country. We should not be making general sweeping blanket statements of redistributing wealth to all those who fall into any particular category as defined by the Liberal Party.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Social Security System
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February 3, 1994

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Quebec for the fine speech she made. However I found some inconsistencies in it.

She stated it is completely unacceptable for the Canadian government to offload programs on to the provinces. At the

same time she said the day care situation in Quebec will not be resolved unless the province of Quebec is left to do it on its own.

I always wonder when I hear these types of statements where the money is magically going to come from. There seems to be some magical formula that is going to generate some money to pay for these programs if one level of government gets out of the act.

We heard it the other day when the member for Lévis was talking about job creation: if the federal government got out of it there would be money to create all kinds of jobs.

We heard it from the member for Gaspé. He said if the federal government got out of regulating the fish stocks there would be all kinds of fish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to provide a livelihood for the fishermen there.

My question for the hon. member for Quebec is this. How does she see the money being available to provide for the problems she has identified? Quebec is one of the provinces that receives money from the federal government under the equalization grants. By the federal government removing itself, how on earth is that going to create the money to resolve the problems she has identified?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Social Security System
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February 3, 1994

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert)

Mr. Speaker, I extend my compliments to the member for his excellent address on social problems and so on in this country.

He seemed to think that the problem with social programs today is the problem of lack of revenue, not a problem of too much expenditure. Then he went on to elaborate on his thesis that we should have more corporate taxes and more income taxes.

The member for Calgary Southwest said the other day that we are close to a tax revolt in this country because taxes are so high. Corporate profits have plunged by billions of dollars. Tax revenues have gone down this year. The hon. member still thinks that we have a problem with not enough revenue rather than too much expenditure.

There is always talk about social programs as categories of having to pay money to seniors and to the unemployed. What about the need? There are some people who are elderly and have lots of money and are in no need of additional assistance. There are a lot of people who are unemployed making $50,000 or $100,000 in the same year who perhaps should not be eligible to receive unemployment.

My question to the member is when does he think that we should stop this idea that the problem is not enough revenue, that the problem is too much expenditure being directed in the wrong places?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Social Security System
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February 2, 1994

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Lévis for his fine speech.

I noticed his concern for the need to create jobs. He said there are about 45,000 jobs that had to be created in the province of Quebec to help the young people there. A great social cost is being handed from generation to generation as these people lose hope and motivation.

These things all take money. Education takes a great deal of money. The province of Quebec is a net recipient of equalization grants. I wonder if the member for Lévis is looking toward the federal government to pay for education, to pay for job creation, to pay for the social problems that exist in Quebec. Where else is the money going to come from? I would like to hear his point of view on that.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Social Security System
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