Robert Knight ANDRAS

ANDRAS, The Hon. Robert Knight, P.C.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Thunder Bay--Nipigon (Ontario)
Birth Date
February 20, 1921
Deceased Date
November 17, 1982
Website
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=c5839d00-6380-4e74-91ce-c7dedadc181e&Language=E&Section=ALL
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=c5839d00-6380-4e74-91ce-c7dedadc181e&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
automobile dealer, businessman

Parliamentary Career

November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
LIB
  Port Arthur (Ontario)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
LIB
  Port Arthur (Ontario)
  • Minister Without Portfolio (July 6, 1968 - June 29, 1971)
  • Minister of State for Urban Affairs (June 30, 1971 - January 27, 1972)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (January 28, 1972 - November 26, 1972)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
LIB
  Port Arthur (Ontario)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (January 28, 1972 - November 26, 1972)
  • Minister of Manpower and Immigration (November 27, 1972 - September 13, 1976)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  Port Arthur (Ontario)
  • Minister of Manpower and Immigration (November 27, 1972 - September 13, 1976)
  • President of the Treasury Board (September 14, 1976 - November 23, 1978)
  • Minister of State for Economic Development (November 24, 1978 - June 3, 1979)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
LIB
  Thunder Bay--Nipigon (Ontario)
  • Minister of State for Economic Development (November 24, 1978 - June 3, 1979)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 674)


December 12, 1979

Mr. Andras:

Since the disclosure last night it is evident that he has accepted expenditure increases of 10 per cent per year, greater than in the past three years; expenditure increases from $48 billion to $78 billion in five years, an increase of 60 per cent in those five years; and since in the expose-and that is what it is-the so-called cash deficit reduction stems, not from expenditure restraint but from increased taxes and an accidental accrual of pension funds, how can the President of the Treasury Board accept the total loss of his credibility, and what is left for him to slash but his own throat?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   EXPENDITURES BY TREASURY BOARD AS A RESULT OF THE BUDGET
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December 12, 1979

Hon. Robert K. Andras (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board, who has revelled in his new nickname, "the slasher", which he thought he earned stemming from his bravado about indiscriminate cutting of people and expenses.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   EXPENDITURES BY TREASURY BOARD AS A RESULT OF THE BUDGET
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December 11, 1979

Hon. Robert K. Andras (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

My question is for the Prime Minister. In the week of November 26 there took place in Guanajuato, Mexico, an important bilateral trade meeting among the Canadian Association for Latin America and senior ministers of the Mexican government- considered extremely significant by the Mexican government-hosted by the minister of patrimony, with the delegation to be received by the President.

In light of his answer to my colleague, the hon. member for Outremont, about ministers going there on the oil agreement, could the Prime Minister explain to the House why, despite the insistence of the Canadian ambassador to Mexico and the insistence of the Mexican ambassador to Canada that a senior economic minister head our delegation to that meeting, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce refused to go, the Minister of International Trade refused to go, and we in fact sent a junior official with the rank of director general, further indicating the incompetence and indifference of this government to international trade and to Mexico in particular?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL TRADE
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December 10, 1979

Hon. Robert K. Andras (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

Mr. Speaker, 1 will give the President of Treasury Board (Mr. Stevens) a C minus for courtesy in sending copies of his statement to the leader's office only at about two o'clock. I received one copy only after he came to the House. We got the copy but 1 think it is fair to suggest that it would have been better had we received it earlier and, furthermore, had it contained the terms of reference of the inquiry to which he referred in his statement. At this time 1 will say only that perhaps this is due to inexperience, but we are asking him and other ministers to perform in that sense the same way as they asked us to do when we were on the other side.

With regard to the substance of the statement, may I say that perhaps in any circumstances there should be notice of such a statement, but in this case when the issue arose because of questions asked in the House of Commons, most particularly by the hon. member for Ottawa-Vanier (Mr. Gauthier) and

December 10, 1979

Statistics Canada

myself, 1 suggest that it is even more important for that kind of co-operation to be forthcoming.

Having said that, we welcome the fact that the minister has now acceded to the recommendations that this issue be aired. He has been careful, as I would commend him to be and as we would be, not to proceed on the basis that there is guilt before proof, that there is proof that the methodology and the economic information provided by StatsCan is in fact bad or erroneous, but recognizing that it is now in doubt. Most certainly, there is no attempt here to destroy the credibility of StatsCan but rather to maintain it to the maximum degree possible and in fact to restore it in the face of some questions that have been cast upon it.

The information we receive from Statistics Canada is extremely important; it is not just dull statistical data that we are getting here. The minister has indicated the usefulness of that agency in preparing information on the cost price index and all the economic decisions that are taken as a result of that information, such as the indexing of programs, labour relations and negotiations, and a host of very important economic and financial considerations based upon the flow of information. He has mentioned two or three others, and 1 have mentioned another one, to emphasize the importance of the accuracy of information such as the balance of payments information which we get from time to time stemming from Statistics Canada's collection of information.

1 can remember when, a little over a year ago, a trade deficit was reported in one month which the following month was corrected to a trade surplus. I think the present government might have faced this same problem very recently. That is not just an accident or a casual error that can be corrected by some improvement in the arithmetic because speculative investment in the Canadian dollar took place as a result of that information. The dollar went down and corrective action was taken and millions if not billions of dollars were spent as a result of that decision. The correction took place, but that did not change what had occurred as a result of the interpretation of what turned out to be inaccurate or incorrect information. So accurate information is extremely important.

We commend the decision to proceed with this inquiry on the administrative, personnel and management side of that agency and, as we coaxed the minister to do and as he has now done, to move beyond that to look at the methodology of how information is collated, distributed and interpreted. To me this is even more important than the first, although they may in fact be related.

We commend him for the commitment to make this report public. He has sort of hedged a little on making the process or the actual inquiry public, but will make public the final report by the consultants who look at it. Perhaps 1 can understand why that is done.

Very much depends upon the quality and the reputation of the consultant who is finally selected. 1 understand that the firm named will do the management consultant analysis on the

[Mr. Andras.J

administrative personnel side. The other side, that is the question of accuracy of the information it conveys to us, is extremely important. I am a little intrigued by the suggestion that the person involved will be an international expert in the field, which of course means foreign. We will delay judgment on that until the minister is in a position to advise us who it might be and what indeed his credentials and reputation are. We will be looking at that very, very closely.

The minister went on to talk about the naming of a commissioner under the Inquiries Act to investigate the allegations regarding Statistics Canada made by Mr. Celovsky. We will accept that guardedly at its face value. The minister said that he did not wish to be misunderstood or to be thought to give undue importance to this additional inquiry which he announced today. I think all of us in the House will want to follow that very closely to ensure that there is no undue pressure brought to bear against anybody who has had the courage to state his mind, even if it is critical of the operations of the agency.

We are glad that we have received from the minister concurrence in the recommendations we have made at this time, which resulted from the stimulation we gave him when we raised the question in the House a few weeks ago. We look forward with a great deal of interest to the results of all the inquiries which he announced today. We hope that he will proceed with dispatch with the naming of somebody to look after the methodology, which I think in the end is the most important aspect of this approach.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   STATISTICS CANADA
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December 6, 1979

Mr. Andras:

It has not been signed.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASON CANADA-MEXICO OIL AGREEMENT NOT RATIFIED
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