I added my last comment because I was very much afraid that someone might bring up something I said 12 years ago. I was afraid someone would have it tucked up his sleeve, ready to trot out before the House.
Recently the government announced that it was going to cut back on public services. The Prime Minister came out with a great big axe in his hand. I presume he did not tell anyone about it. He came out looking like Henry VIII, chopping off ladies' heads, and saying, "Off with their heads, off with their heads". In the meantime, the heads are not rolling rapidly, nor should they roll rapidly. By the time you get through that exercise you really have not changed very much.
There is room and there is need for scrutiny in the public sector. All of us have some private and pet horror stories about what goes on in the public sector, or all of us should have, and some of us have stories about what goes on in the private sector. These things can only be handled on a day to day and consistent basis with a determination to make the public sector work. This is part of the problem.
If you wonder why bureaucracy is the way it is, and why there is less concern about the public sector than there should be, it is because governments, federal governments at any rate, up until the present time have had a kind of death wish. Sometimes one feels it really does not want the public sector to work. Like my friend, the hon. member for York-Simcoe, instead of putting their very considerable talents to work trying to figure out how to make Petro-Can of more service to the Canadian people, hon. members are busily trying to destroy Petro-Can. Like that hon. member, hon. members in that part of the House do not want Petro-Can to work because that would put a lie to the belief which is currently popular among members of the Conservative party. I say "currently" because things were not always that way. Many good endeavours have come from the Conservative party in its better days.
One of the great challenges of the future is not so much related to whether there should be more or less public involvement. I do not think it is possible any more in the kind of world we live in, and with the kind of future we foresee, for the government to get out of involvement in the economy. No government can divorce itself from that involvement. Quite to the contrary, there is an increasing need for the government to be involved in managing the economy. What is critical is not the extent to which the government is involved in the economy, but the extent to which people in public life ensure that the public sector always performs efficiently and humanely.
Because of our concern about the need for public investment and government leadership in the public sector, I move,
November 17, 1978
seconded by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles)-
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: THE BUDGET