Personal Data

New Democratic Party
Kootenay West--Revelstoke (British Columbia)
Birth Date
May 9, 1939
executive secretary, financial secretary, woodworker

Parliamentary Career

February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
  Kootenay West (British Columbia)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
  Kootenay West--Revelstoke (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 162 of 162)

April 29, 1980

Mr. Kristiansen:

It certainly seems to be. It is not because they have not had advice.

A Canadian Press story which appeared in the Nelson Daily News on March 6 reported in part as follows:

The government could create 100,000 additional jobs through a reduction in interest rates and some fiscal stimulus, says the Canadian Institute for Economic Policy in a study released Wednesday.

Fiscal stimulus refers to tax cuts or incentives, or both.

It goes on to suggest that the government should be taking deliberate action to lower interest rates. This is in line with what the New Democratic Party has been trying to get across for some time. It would turn the whole thing around.

The International Woodworkers of America met with the previous government but 1 do not think they have yet had a

Employment Tax Credit Act

chance to meet with the present government. They presented a rather comprehensive brief to the former prime minister which discussed the impact of current interest rates on the wood products industry in British Columbia. It is a rather detailed brief of some 25 pages and accompanying statistics. It offered a well presented and documented argument and attempted to persuade the government of the day to reverse its disastrous policy on interest rates. I suggest it should be required reading for members of this government. They have heard the arguments and the facts.

Some of the top economists as well as influential groups and economic bodies in the country have suggested that the government turn its policies around. Instead of that, what we get is a renewal of the employment tax credit program. Thousands of people are being thrown out of well-paid jobs-people with mortgages, people with families, with bills to pay, with credit cards-yet incentives are still being given to finance companies, credit card companies and others so that they can advertise and increase the demand for credit. We have been suck-ered by an industry which our public policy tends to assist in this endeavour. The present policies will throw thousands of people out of work and a continuation of the tax credit program will only offer some of them temporary jobs at or near the minimum wage. That is not good enough, Mr. Speaker.

People who have been used to earning $10, $11 or $12 an hour are not fussy about accepting a short term job and losing their right to unemployment insurance benefits in order to take it. If they do not, then, of course, our Conservative friends and perhaps a couple of hon. members opposite are going to accuse them of being welfare bums who do not want to work!

Who should have to work at those rates, Mr. Speaker, in a country that has the potential and, hopefully, the ability to get its act together and produce wealth per capita such as no other country in the world can dream of? To ask our people to live below the poverty level is worse than ridiculous; it is almost criminal.

My colleague, the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Deans) borrowed a phrase from me the other day. Indeed, I invited him to use it and he did to open his address. I should like to close with the same quotation. As the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain thought it suitable to open the subject, I, too, can think of no better phrase with which to close. Perhaps even some of my Conservative friends would listen to John Foster Dulles, who said that "the measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year".

We not only have the same problem we had last year, Mr. Speaker, we have a worse one. We seem bound and determined, as a matter of deliberate public policy, to further complicate it and make it worse. We go off in both directions, Mr. Speaker. We appear to have a schizophrenic government.

Perhaps I should wonder if the words of Frank Scott in his poem about Mackenzie King are not somewhat appropriate. He wrote that "We had no shape because he would not allow

April 29, 1980

Employment Tax Credit Act

us to take sides, and no sides because he would not allow us to take shape".

Do we have a jellyfish? Maybe, Mr. Speaker, but we do not need a jellyfish. We need a government that takes some hard, tough decisions and begins to move this country in a direction where people who want to work can work, where people who want homes can have homes, good jobs with good rates of pay. It can be done if the government will listen to some of the advice offered, not only by the opposition but by many of their own so-called experts.

1 plead with the government to listen; I plead with the government to act. I plead with them to get their act on track and try to be just a little more consistent in the pursuit of their economic policy.

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April 21, 1980

Mr. Lyle S. Kristiansen (Kootenay West):

Mr. Speaker, I should first of all like to add my voice to those who have extended their congratulations and their best wishes to Madam Speaker on her historic appointment and also to you, sir, for your appointment. I would also like to extend my regards and my congratulations to both the mover and the seconder of the Address in Reply and, further, to newly elected members who, like myself, have made or will be making their initial address in this House.

My own involvement over some 25 years, starting in my mid-teens, in the political process has led me to believe and often say to my constituents and many others that those who are deeply involved in this business that is called politics, whether in an elective sense, in an organizational sense or in other ways, often tend to have much more in common with each other than they even have from time to time with those who share their allegiances but who are not as active as participants in this sphere.

As this is my maiden speech, I would also like to take an opportunity to say a few words about the nature and history of my riding, a constituency with rather a unique tradition, a constituency-I suppose others would say it-"not quite like the others" and which I am proud and honoured to represent. As the new member for Kootenay West, I must also say that 1 feel a rather significant degree of humility, having in mind the predecessors who have represented my party and others over the past many years.

For some 30 of the past 35 years, since the late Herbert W. Herridge, "the Squire of Kootenay West" as he was to become known to the nation in his later years, was first elected as the "people's CCF" candidate in the general election of 1945, which is an incident that is rather unique in the political process, Kootenay West has been ably represented by members who have been elected under the banner of both the CCF and the NDP.

Mr. Herridge's combination of dedication to his constituents, his gentlemanly manner, his good humour and sometimes his mischievous charm captivated members on all sides of this House and, indeed, across the land. Upon his retirement in 1968, he was succeeded by Randolph Harding, a 23-year veteran of the B.C. legislature who was known, at least throughout British Columbia, as the "Ombudsman of the Kootenays" and who during his six years in this House was accorded recognition by ministers and members on the other side of this chamber and many others as well as "the most dedicated and most knowledgeable member of this House on matters respecting the environment". The person who said that was the minister responsible for the environment during that time.

Mr. Harding, I would like to say, because I worked with him very closely over a period of time, was also one of the most

April 21, 1980

honest, sincere, quietly conscientious and self-effacing public representatives whom I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Since his electoral defeat in the federal election of 1974, he has continued to serve both his community and his neighbours in either an elective or an appointed office.

1 would also like to mention-hon. members will forgive me if 1 do so briefly-the brief term of my immediate predecessor, a representative of the Conservative party who was chairman of that party's caucus in the most recent year. Mr. Brisco, within the limits of his party and his philosophy-one would expect me to say that those are pretty serious limits, and indeed, [ believe that they were-performed both conscientiously and very effectively on behalf of the constituents that he was elected to serve during that period.

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April 21, 1980

Mr. Kristiansen:

However, on February 18 Kootenay West came home both to its roots and to its political tradition. 1 hope that by my efforts over the ensuing years I can persuade the riding to stay in that home and with those roots and to try to build a new tradition, not only there but in the rest of the country as well.

How is it that an area like Kooteny West should so often choose and choose for so long to act independently of their fellow citizens in many other parts of Canada? To begin with, Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of geography. Kootenay West is rather like an island. It is surrounded by rivers, lakes and mountains. The Columbia River winds around the 100 by five-mile span of Kootenay Lake, into the Arrow Lakes, which are a slight widening of the Columbia River. Mind you, Mr. Speaker, they are not as they used to be prior to the intervention of two successive federal governments and one provincial government in British Columbia.

We also have a richly diverse population. We share that privilege with many other provinces. There are British, German, Italian, Portuguese, Scandinavian, Dutch and many other nationalities, but we also have a rather unique blending of successive waves of political refugees. These are political refugees from the right, from areas all over the world, even this continent.

This began in the early 1900s with the large influx of Russian Doukhobors, many leaving their former homes on the prairies. What they had to say about why they came, through Peter (The Lordly) Verigin, who was their spiritual leader at that time, describes, 1 think, what can be said of many other people in our rather spiritually and geographically isolated corner of this country. I should like to repeat something Mr. Verigin said as quoted by Bert Herridge here in 1946, as follows:

In British Columbia we will buy our land and own il so it will not be necessary to be subject to the English king, and keep our land. No schools are there. The air is very pure, like Switzerland. So we will live in good health in the Christian way with no government to bother us, no rheumatism and few mosquitoes.

The Address-Mr. Kristiansen

Following the wave of Doukhobor settlers there came another, rather more forced migration, that of the Japanese Canadians. They came as a result of the War Measures Act during World War II and the hysteria that pervaded the land. I am proud to say that this party did not share in that hysteria at that time and neither did the right hon. gentleman, who used to lead the party to my right. Many of the Japanese stayed. Thousands came and many stayed and made their contribution to our society in the West Kootenays.

Next came the Quakers seeking the peaceful life that we seem to offer in our corner of our province. Members of the Society of Friends from all over North America settled there.

In the 1950s came the American refugees from the McCarthy era bringing an extremely rich array of skills and talents that could no longer find outlets for expression in their homeland during the dark age dominated by the senator known as "Joe". The final wave of American political refugees that arrived were driven by a distaste for a war which they sincerely believed was unjust, unwise and unAmerican. They arrived in increasing numbers in our community.

Now we have all of these groups piled one on top of another, mixing and blending their array of talents with many others of more conventional backgrounds who also came to our area attracted by work in the forest industry or the mining industry. The Cominco smelter in Trail is the largest lead-zinc smelter in the world. Many of these workers are industrial workers and some of them find a quieter and what is to them a more satisfying way to live. Now we all mix together and that makes us the rather rich community that we are today.

One event I mentioned earlier forged this community into what is perhaps one of the most active collections of community and volunteer organizations in the country, especially on environmental issues, that I have ever seen. I refer to the boondoggle called the Columbia River treaty. Hon. members from Kootenay West, whether Conservative, CCF or NDP, have fought that treaty and its extension that appears to be on the horizon in the form of an operation called "The Kootenay Diversion".

It is difficult to know who sired the Columbia River treaty. It was a kind of abortion resulting from an incestuous relationship between Conservative federal governments, Liberal federal governments and a Social Credit provincial government. We ended up with a $1 billion bill for something which was not supposed to cost us a nickel. The worst part of it is that our people were dislocated, we lost our valleys and many of our rivers, some of which are now nothing more than sloughs and dust bowls. We have nothing to show for that money, Mr. Speaker. That is something that will never be forgiven, and no matter what it takes to stop something else like it in that part of the country, it will never be allowed to happen again under any circumstances.

One of the things that happened as a result of the treaty is that thousands and thousands of acres of productive forest were wiped out. That leads me, in part, to the topic that I want to spend the rest of my allotted time discussing.

April 21, 1980

The Address-Mr. Kristiansen

There is no mention of the forest industry in Canada in the Speech from the Throne. In spite of the rather brave and encouraging words of the Minister of the Environment and Minister of State for Science and Technology (Mr. Roberts) a few days prior to the commencement of this sitting, acknowledging the rather dismal record of the formal Liberal administration as regards the deterioration of the Canadian forestry service and the inactivity of that government in that area over many years, there was not a single word relating to Canada's forest industry in the Speech from the Throne. One out of ten people employed in industry in Canada work in that particular industry, yet there was no mention of it. This at a time when seminar after seminar and conference after conference from the east coast to the west and in between have been drawing attention to the neglect of that industry.

Our timber resources are no longer a renewable resource. Mr. Speaker, when a resource is being depleted faster than it is being replenished, then by definition it is no longer renewable. That is a tragedy. It is especially a tragedy in communities like Kootenay West and many others across the land, which contain single resource communities existing only because of one industry.

Interest rates under this government, as under the former government, are driving people out of their homes, virtually turning back the clock in regard to housing construction from one end of the country to another. Even in the so-called boom province of Alberta housing starts have dropped from 7,828 one year ago to 4,429 today. In Saskatchewan the drop is from

11.000 to 6,000, and in Manitoba the percentage fall is even greater. Thousands upon thousands of forest industry workers have been laid off in community after community after community across the country.

I worked in the forest industry before 1 was elected to this House, Mr. Speaker, and I intend to spend part of the summer recesses when we get them-we may not get one this year- working in that industry. That is where one hears what is going on. That is where it is at in the forest industry and in other industries throughout this land.

This past weekend I attended a meeting of over 100 woodworkers in the ridings of Kootenay West and Kootenay East. They are angry, Mr. Speaker-more than angry, because in the last two weeks they have seen the number of their brothers and sisters in British Columbia's forestry industry who are unemployed increase from slightly in excess of 2,000 to 6,000. At this very moment the statistics for today are being gathered and it is anticipated the figure will be somewhere between

8.000 and 9,000.

On May 2, Manitoba Forest Industry, the key employer in the central northern part of that province, a plant which employs many native people, will shut down. It will take a lot of other businesses in that part of the country down with it. [DOT]

In northern Ontario we find that about one-third of Lumber and Sawmill union members are now out of work. One sometimes wonders whether the government is intending to solve the problem of reforestation by causing us to build less houses so that we will not cut as many trees, and maybe things will catch up without their having to do anything. That is rather an odd way to go about it. I could think of more lunchroom-like terms to describe it, but perhaps I will not at this point.

I would like to read a resolution passed by the meeting which I just attended this weekend. It was put by representatives of people who work in the sawmills, the plywood plants, and in the shake and shingle mills of this country. I quote:

Whereas thousands of our brothers and sisters in the western Canadian forest industry are experiencing devastating lay-offs, including hundreds from our own local; and

Whereas these lay-offs are caused almost entirely by the disastrous interest rates imposed by the federal governments of Canada and the U.S.; and

Whereas these interest rates are also responsible for depriving many workers' families of their homes;

Now therefore be it resolved that this local of the International Woodworkers' of America go on record as being absolutely determined to do everything possible to rid our country of governments which inflicts such massive injuries upon ordinary people, and generally to do everything possible to correct this disastrous interest situation;

And be it finally resolved that this resolution be immediately submitted to the Prime Minister, to the Leader of the Opposition, and to the Leader of the NDP.

I have done that on their behalf.

I would like now if I may, Mr. Speaker, to move, seconded by the hon. member for Kamloops-Shuswap (Mr. Riis):

That the address be amended by adding thereto the following words:

This House, however, regrets to inform Your Excellency that the government has failed to provide a program to deal with the crisis created by massive lay-offs in the lumber industry, and this House condemns the government for its failure to provide such a program.

[ Translation\

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