Mr. Speaker, just before one o'clock I was pointing out what the Prime Minister had said about economic nationalism, namely, if it has the effect of making the country poor, he is against economic nationalism. And so am I, Mr. Speaker. I agree with the Quebec Minister of Industry and Commerce who said that any federal government move to restrict the influx of United States or other foreign investment capital into Quebec must provide for the replacement of jobs which might be lost because of it. Foreign investment is necessary not only for Quebec but also for my own constituency, Fort William, for the creation of jobs.
Referring to the committee for an independent Canada, I should say that for the life of me I cannot swallow the idea that Canada is not independent, contrary to the opi-
Speech from the Throne
nion expressed at this Thunder Bay meeting. The late Mr. Howe was more Canadian than those who were trying to impute to him an attitude of pro-Americanism for the purpose of serving their anti-Americanism. Mr. Howe was instrumental in urging great numbers of Canadians to get into production rather than have the country depend on importation of the numerous requirements for the war effort and for the reconstruction after the war.
In his great efforts, Mr. Howe was confronted with the same difficulties that have beset Canada from its very beginning, that is lack of venture capital and a conspicuous reluctance on the part of most Canadians with capital to get involved in projects entailing risks. This is the situation today. A shining example of this is the fact that American money came to save one of the oldest resorts in the province of Quebec, the Manor Richelieu at Murray Bay, noted as a convention centre. About a year ago its owner, owing to substantial losses in the operation of the great hotel, put it on the market. No Canadian bidders turned up. Canadian bankers were sceptical about the hotel's future. Then, a man from Cleveland stepped in. He rounded up some partners, formed a private company and kept the resort in operation. The new owners have ambitious plans for the old manor, including keeping the hotel open for a longer period each year. They deserve to make good, and good luck to them.
It will be a long time before we can achieve a position in which we will not need any foreign capital. Personally, I feel we will never be able to finance all the future industrial expansion we will require to maintain our standard of living without foreign investments. Our aim should be to retain the confidence of our foreign friends. Creation of a climate in this country that is hostile to the United States can only hurt us where we are vulnerable. Such an atmosphere could scare away investments, scare away tourists and create a resistance to Canadian goods.
Canadians are not stupid. I doubt whether they will allow themselves to be duped by the band that met in Thunder Bay, preaching more state intervention and socialism, without giving a clue as to how to replace foreign capital and foster continuous growth, without which there will be no hope of employing in Canada the expanding labour force which is increasing at a greater pace than in any other western nation. I am confident that this Parliament will continue to introduce measures which will have the effect of reducing unemployment in every region of Canada.
With regard to our relations with the United States, I wish to quote from an address Lord Thompson of Fleet delivered to the Empire Club of Toronto in which he referred to the various economies in the world. He said:
The Americans had been carrying vast international burdens, and in fact financing the world trade by their deficit.
The monetary crisis could have been over sooner in my view, if the rest of us had shown more understanding. I would suggest that far from being hostile, or seeking retaliation, every Canadian should be eternally grateful and thankful for such a generous, friendly and enlightened neighbour as the United States.
Speaking of trade with the United States, about one quarter of the goods and services produced in Canada are exported, and almost 70 per cent of these exports go to the
February 21, 1972
Speech from the Throne
United States. It would, therefore, be disastrous if the Canadian-U.S. trade talks should fail.
I should like to encourage our efficient Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Pepin) to be firm in one aspect of the negotiations. I refer to the 1965 auto pact which brought many benefits to Canada. I recall that when it was introduced the official opposition had reservations about its value and the NDP were lukewarm toward it. But now, having seen the beneficial results, they are clamoring for it. I would simply suggest that the United States should consider not only the present net advantage to Canada resulting from the auto pact but should bear in mind the advantages the United States has had over a long period of years. I am confident the government will not agree with the United States' point of view which requires a current Canadian deficit in the trade in motor vehicles.
Another area of national interest is our immigration policy, and the disturbing statement made by a Toronto lawyer at the Canadian Bar Association meeting. This man has twice examined certain aspects of immigration for the Canadian government, once five years ago when he inquired into the problem of deserting seamen and again two years ago when he was asked to report on the increasing number of non-immigrants applying for permanent residence. In his speech, he dismissed the traditional concept of Canada as a vast empty land. He said, and I quote:
Sure, we still have millions of acres with a negligible population, but many of those acres can never support more than a marginal population. Maybe, instead of blindly encouraging people to come to this land of opportunity, we should make a serious study to find out just how many people each region can reasonably support. It may be that natural increase would cause us to reach that desirable figure without any immigration.
The number of people which this country can support can never be reached by natural increase unless the women of Canada are bent on having no less than 10 children each, a preposterous proposition which no one takes seriously. At the time of Confederation, 105 years ago, Canada had a population of little more than three million. It has taken all that time to add 18 million to our present population of approximately 21 million. The second century is a good time, not to consider reducing the importance of the immigration department or reducing the number of immigrants, but to continue a reasonable policy of selection. By that I do not mean to let in only university graduates. I am referring to the artisan, the tradesman and laborer, of whom there is a definite shortage.
The development of a ribbon of civilization above the 49th parallel received the attention of our Canadian pioneers in the first century of our history. As this ribbon widened towards the north, unlocking vast treasures of timber and minerals, and settlements prospered on the Prairies, we experienced a period of great achievement, which the generous immigration policy at the beginning of the century made possible. Canada's history is enlaced with the story of people from many lands coming here in search of peace, freedom and prosperity. People from every country around the globe and from every walk of life came here to build a new life and to enrich Canada with character and tradition.
As to the criticisms which appear in the newspapers commenting adversely on the work of the Department of Manpower and Immigration, containing scathing remarks about the way in which immigration is being handled, I would point out that any deficiencies which may be apparent in the department do not extend to the immigration offices overseas. I have met some of the immigration officers and, believe me, I have never met people more dedicated, more industrious or more faithful to their trust than those in charge of our immigration services overseas. This is the case whether they serve in London, in Marseille, in Paris or in Glasgow, Scotland.
I hope the Prime Minister will consider, if not in the course of this session of Parliament then certainly in the next, adopting a new concept of the north based on a policy of encouraging and assisting suitable immigrants to settle in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. These regions cover approximately 1,400,000 square miles of land rich in minerals, gas, oil, iron, copper, gold, furs and fish, yet less than 40,000 people, counting all the Indians, the Eskimos and the whites, live north of the 60th parallel. The adoption of such a policy will take courage, but fortunately our Prime Minister is richly endowed with that quality.
Finally, may I say that my constituents in the City of Thunder Bay are very grateful to the government for its grant of $18,720 toward hiring a co-ordinator, a secretary and ten surveyors in connection with an initiative incentive program, the purpose of which is to evaluate the need of the community for an auditorium complex which would include a community cultural and sports centre. It appears to be the considered opinion of people in Thunder Bay, which is part of the constituency of my hon. friend from Port Arthur (Mr. Andras), that this is one of the city's most pressing needs. When a scheme has been approved, financial assistance from all levels of government will be required. I trust the federal government will favourably consider making a generous grant at that time.
The opposition characterized the Throne Speech as being without substance. Unbiased people will see in it a most inspiring legislative program, the like of which has not been often heard in this chamber.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY