Mr. Barry Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue):
Mr. Speaker, the government is very much aware of the fact that the slowing down has deeply affected some Canadians. However, the social safety net in Canada, which includes the federal unemployment insurance program as well as the various welfare programs cost-shared by the two levels of government, is especially aimed at helping Canadians through such hard times.
The federal government has clearly increased the amount of assistance provided through these programs, and that has helped make the situation easier to bear.
The total amount of federal UI program benefits going to unemployed Canadians has grown at an average rate of 8.8 per cent per year. Furthermore, the federal share of social assistance payments to the needy has gone up from $4 billion in 1984-85 to $6.6 billion in 1991-92.
Federal expenditures in these two programs will grow by 10 per cent, which means that in 1993 the funds available will grow by $2.3 billion over 1991-92 to help the needy and unemployed through these programs.
In putting a ceiling on payments under the Canada Assistance Plan, we are simply asking the three fiscally stronger provinces, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, to help contain the federal share of welfare costs to increases of 5 per cent per year.
The federal deficit control plan is already making its impact on the Canadian economy in the form of lower inflation rates and lower interest rates.
In conclusion, this government believes that the best income security for Canadians is a job. Our record speaks for itself. Since 1984 over 1.3 million jobs have been created. The number of persons living in low income as defined by Statistics Canada dropped from 4.4 million in 1984 to 3.8 million in 1990.
An effective healthy economy that provides jobs for Canadians will mean that fewer and fewer Canadians will depend upon welfare and UI.
Topic: PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT
Subtopic: CANADA ASSISTANCE PLAN