Mr. de Jong:
May I digress for a moment, Mr. Speaker, to talk about the plight of the many people of Indian ancestry who live in my riding. The Indian and Metis people have some very legitimate grievances which should have been settled years ago. Too many of them live in economic and social squalor, substandard housing and conditions of ill health, unemployment, welfare dependency and cultural alienation. Indian and Metis people do not want to be dependent upon welfare and government hand-outs. For too many years their lives have been ruled by white bureaucrats. The Indian and Metis people want us to adhere to the commitments which were made when this land was developed. They want the tools and resources with which they can achieve their own economic and social self-sufficiency. For too long we have seen Liberal and Conservative government agents steal their land, evade responsibility and create bureaucratic straitjackets. We need clear, honest leadership if we are to avoid increased human tragedy in my community.
Mr. Speaker, the people I represent have a unique social history, for it was in Saskatchewan that farmers first stood up to the grain companies early in this century. Farmers were being robbed by grain buyers at the grain exchange so they organized wheat pools and, through co-operation, they began to take some control over their lives. It was in Regina in 1933 that the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation-the CCF- was formed, a new political party dedicated to the rights of all Canadians, not just those of the privileged few. It was in Saskatchewan, also, that the CCF first formed a government in 1944 when the people of that province embarked on a great social experiment. In the tradition in which they had fought the grain companies they began to tackle other common problems.
In a very short period of time, some 30 years, the people of Saskatchewan have changed the course of Canadian history. For example, when the banks wanted to take the farmers' land. Tommy Douglas passed laws to stop them. In 1948, a hospitalization scheme was introduced because the government believed that every human being should have access to hospital care regardless of how rich or poor they happened to be. Over the years the people have built up a family of Crown corporations, including everything from an energy company to a computer corporation. They are owned by the people and operated in the interests of the people. Medicare was introduced in Saskatchewan in 1962. Now, all Canadians have access to medical services. Unfortunately, the Liberals started to destroy the system and I am afraid the Conservatives will finish the job.
The Address-Mr. de Jong
I would like to point out that in every province except Saskatchewan citizens must pay hundreds of dollars annually for medicare premiums and deterrent fees. In Saskatchewan there is no extra charge for medicare. The people of Saskatchewan do not have to pay extra for health care. It is a right in Saskatchewan, as it should be all across Canada.
How do we do it? A good question. We co-operate. We do not approach problems in the way Liberals and Conservatives do, we co-operate. We have different ideas about organizing the economy. We have different priorities. We care about our fellow citizens. We are our brothers' keeper. In Saskatchewan we believe that the resources belong to the people. We do not let the multi-nationals carry them all away. It might interest people to know that in Saskatchewan there is a dental care program covering children between the ages of four and 12. Soon all young people in the province of Saskatchewan will be covered by a dental plan at no direct cost to the family. It will not cost the people of Saskatchewan thousands of dollars to take care of their children's teeth.
How can we do it? Well, we realize that properly managed Crown corporations serve the people well. We tax resources so that Saskatchewan people reap the benefits from those resources. We use this money to finance our social programs. Last year, for example, the Saskatchewan government got more than ten times the amount from its resources than did the Ontario government. That is how we do it. It is not so difficult. It is a matter of co-operation.
It is exactly the opposite of what this present government is doing. Instead of developing Petro-Canada in the public sector for the benefit of all Canadians, this government would sell off profitable and essential companies to their corporate friends. In Saskatchewan we know the importance of public enterprise. Saskatchewan people own and operate many companies: a transportation company, an oil company, the world's largest potash company, our own energy company and many others. We are not afraid of public ownership. We use it in Saskatchewan for the benefit of everyone.
Topic: ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE