George BAKER

BAKER, The Hon. George, P.C.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Gander--Grand Falls (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Website
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=f6e5da54-c9c9-4020-9356-e92606d6b6c4&Language=E&Section=ALL
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=f6e5da54-c9c9-4020-9356-e92606d6b6c4&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
assistant clerk, chief clerk, chief law clerk, chief legislative librarian, editor of hansard, radio & tv announcer & producer, title searcher

Parliamentary Career

July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  Gander--Twillingate (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment (October 10, 1975 - September 30, 1976)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue (October 1, 1976 - September 30, 1977)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
LIB
  Gander--Twillingate (Newfoundland and Labrador)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
LIB
  Gander--Twillingate (Newfoundland and Labrador)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
LIB
  Gander--Twillingate (Newfoundland and Labrador)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
LIB
  Gander--Grand Falls (Newfoundland and Labrador)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Gander--Grand Falls (Newfoundland and Labrador)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Gander--Grand Falls (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (August 3, 1999 - October 16, 2000)
  • Minister of Veterans Affairs (August 3, 1999 - October 16, 2000)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Gander--Grand Falls (Newfoundland and Labrador)
November 27, 2000 - March 25, 2002
LIB
  Gander--Grand Falls (Newfoundland and Labrador)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 380 of 380)


December 3, 1974

Mr. George Baker (Gander-Twillingate):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak briefly to this motion, particularly the aspect concerning housing for senior citizens, after which I shall make a few general remarks about the motion itself.

Four sections of the National Housing Act apply to senior citizen housing. Under section 15 of the act the federal government, between the time section 15 was promulgated and September, 1974, has been instrumental in the production of 12,148 units, these being mostly bachelor and one-bedroom type units, and accommodation for 1,653 hostel beds. Under subsection (1) of section 15 the government was instrumental in producing 18,475 units, and accommodation for 30,179 hostel beds. These units were built as a result of 100 per cent loans being granted on a unilateral basis. The federal government granted these to the sponsors of the schemes, which might be any non-profit organization, municipal or provincial, or any sponsor, private or voluntary. These loans were granted under subsection (1) of section 15, as I said.

Under section 40 of the act, provincial and federal governments for over 40 years have been responsible for assembling land for family housing and senior citizen housing. Some 7,366 senior citizen units have been built under that section, together with accommodation for 146 hostel beds. The province puts up 50 per cent of the necessary capital under this section of the act.

Under section 43 of the housing act federal and provincial governments are entitled to enter into agreements under which the federal government may lend money to provincial housing corporations. Ninety per cent of such money is in the form of loans granted by the government for capital costs connected with dwellings for senior citizens and low rental housing. Under this section 38,304 units of senior citizen housing have been produced and accommodation for 430 hostel beds.

Old Age Pensions

If we total all benefits accruing under the National Housing Act, we shall see that 76,293 units have been built, involving accommodation for 32,408 beds, for a total investment of just under $1 billion-for $972 million, to be

exact.

Under sections 40 and 43 of the act the annual subsidy, approved on a 50-50 basis to the provinces, amounts to $25 million per year. That is the figure applying as of 1974.

Certain sections of the act and certain agreements which may be entered into under those sections are matters I do not entirely support. For instance, under sections 40 and 43 only 28 units have been built in Newfoundland, whereas in Ontario the number of units built is 32,800, in Nova Scotia, 2,772, and in Prince Edward Island, 206. Who is to blame for this situation in Newfoundland if not the provincial government which is supposed, under the housing act, to enter into agreements with the federal government?

The foregoing figures show, Sir, that for a total federal investment of slightly less than $1 billion, the federal government has provided many units of senior citizen housing. Clearly, the federal government has not been negligent in providing housing for senior citizens.

I wish to make reference to the motion. It reads:

That this House regrets that the Government neglected to make all those who reached the age of 60, as well as their spouses although such spouses may not have reached pensionable age, eligible for the Old Age Pension.

The government will undoubtedly act on some form of guaranteed annual income. It will undoubtedly act on an income stabilization program for fishermen and farmers, and on providing a supplementary allowance for spouses between the ages of 60 and 65 where the income of the old age recipient is inadequate.

In bringing forward this motion I recognize the hon. member's concern for the poor. I understand his concern for those people between the ages of 60 and 65 who cannot find jobs. When we look at the actual distribution of money to people within provinces, we see the great inequity between someone living in the province of Newfoundland and someone living in the province of Alberta. We see that the Newfoundland provincial government, which has to supply 50 per cent of the total cost of welfare, certainly cannot meet the same standards as those in Alberta.

I can understand the hon. member's concern for people who, in certain instances, are almost unemployable. However, we have to consider that his motion reads:

. . as well as their spouses although such spouses may not have reached pensionable age, eligible for the Old Age Pension.

If someone 20 years of age married someone 60 years of age, as I interpret the motion, he or she would receive the old age pension. This would take away the work incentive. About the only incentive this motion would give would be to marry someone 60 years of age if you are out of work.

In speaking against this motion, may I say I look forward to the day when there will be some form of guaranteed income, some form of income stabilization for fishermen and farmers, the vital primary producers of this country, as well as a supplement for spouses between the

December 3, 1974

Old Age Pensions

ages of 60 and 65 where the family income is not adequate to meet the demands of the seventies.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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November 21, 1974

Mr. George Baker (Gander-Twillingate):

Mr. Speaker, I think every member of this House has a commitment to all the people of this country. I believe we differ only in the method of achieving the desired ends.

Let me state first of all that I have a great deal of respect and admiration for some hon. members on the other side of the House, especially the hon. Member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker), the hon. members for Halifax, Oshawa, Nanaimo, and the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). I think they will go down in our parliamentary history, as I believe the great progress the Government of Canada has made in past years is due in part to their contributions in this House. However, I cannot understand anyone who suggests that the budget presented the other day is not a good, sound document designed to benefit the majority of the people in Canada.

The people of Canada knew this government would present this kind of budget, and that is why they returned this government to power with a majority. But each one of us here, both on the government side and in opposition, has his own ideas about what is best for Canada and what should be done in the future, and it is during this debate that we make our views known.

So that you, Mr. Speaker, will more fully understand the general content of my remarks, let me first state that I represent the district of Gander-Twillingate in Newfoundland. My district has 88 communities on the map. In actual fact it comprises 146 smaller entities; in some cases three and four separate communities exist under one name on the electoral district map. There are only a dozen of these communities that have any form of industry other than

November 21, 1974

the fishery. In the majority of instances there is no real industry.

All of us here in this chamber look upon the budget in the framework of how it applies to the majority of the people we represent. Within this framework I am concerned about the underprivileged, the primary producers, those on fixed incomes, those who in many cases have not a hope in the world of improving their lot under existing circumstances. For even while we can legislate changes in taxation, income and social benefits, there is no real assurance that the benefits are passed on to the people. There exist the business community and provincial governments which sometimes operate in direct opposition to our legislation.

Let me state first of all that I have been concerned that, mainly because of a vicious taxation structure in some provinces over the past several decades, we have had a regressive tax structure in this country. What does a regressive tax structure mean? On a graph it says that those who make the least, pay the most in real income through taxes in one form or another. I, like other members, have wrestled with this problem for some time. I have conjured up visions of negative income tax and guaranteed annual income structures that would correct this grave injustice.

We must remember, Sir, that while we sit in this chamber a vast minority of our people sit at home wondering where their next dollar will come from; in fact many of these homes have large families and they face a never ending struggle for survival. The real crime respecting their situation rests in the fact that many are primary producers.

On the other end of the scale we have seen, over the past decades, the emergence of the newly rich, those who hold, because of their position in society, monopolies of one form or another. They have become rich because of our system. How did they get their money? Was it by the sweat of their brow? Was it by making two blades of grass grow where one grew before? No, as far as actual production is concerned they do not toil, neither do they spin. They sit in their stylish offices and watch the money roll in, Mr. Speaker.

More people want more. The selfishness of one class of our people must be checked by government. To see the starving millions in this world, for me, as a member of this House, to visit homes in my district where parents and children sit around the table with only bread and tea on it, not even any butter, that is a crime. It makes an even greater crime when, 100 feet away, is the ocean where there are tons upon tons of fish, such as herring, mackerel and capelin. But because private enterprise does not see fit, there are no fish processing plants. In some communities where those fish are being caught, we still operate on the feudal system, as is the case in my district. That is, the boats come in from Norway and other parts of the world, including other parts of Canada, load up the raw material, and send it back to us the next year, canned, charging sometimes 100 times more per pound than it cost the processors.

This government, in two budgets, has tried to right some wrongs. It has attempted to cope with the critical situation of world inflation. It has been among the more successful

The Budget-Mr. G. Baker

governments in doing so. In two budgets it has said, "We will try to correct inequality, we will offer greater social benefits, we will decrease taxation for the majority of our people, and we will try to increase production."

Our course is in the right direction. A guaranteed annual income for all Canadians in some form appears possible in the future.

This is a vast country with a multiplicity of problems, and we cannot always achieve justice. The Treasury Board knows that regional rates of pay for federal employees in Gander do not go over big with me, whereas they are a great thing for western Canada. The Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Andras) is aware of the fact that to place the same stiff rules on unemployment insurance recipients in Alberta, where 30,000 jobs are vacant, and on recipients in Gander-Twillingate, where no jobs are vacant, is simply not fair play.

The Minister of State in charge of Fisheries (Mr. LeBlanc) realizes that when money was paid for loss of time due to ice last year, those fishermen unfortunate enough to be on welfare because of the ice conditions had that federal money deducted from their provincial welfare cheques.

The Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde) knows that family allowances given to those on welfare in Newfoundland are deducted from their welfare cheques, and that the new increase in January will mean nothing to those on the welfare rolls because of provincial regulations.

The Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) knew when he proposed income tax cuts on the federal level that our provincial income tax went up four months ago by 11 per cent.

So, while the federal government is doing its best to equalize opportunity in this nation, the provincial governments have a role to play as well. The position that we hold, of trying to equalize opportunity federally, means that certain provinces have to give more to help other provinces, that certain groups in Canadian society must give more to help others less fortunate than themselves, and that we as a nation must, in the name of humanitari-anism, be prepared to offer our food surpluses to those who are dying of starvation, and the problem of who gets what, when and how, must be dealt with in our method of distributing foreign aid.

What then does this budget do for the long run? We should never be accused of treating the symptoms and not the disease. All governments, for too long, have been blaming the mirror for not being a window when they see such inequalities in this country. The Minister of State (Fisheries) is looking at the income stabilization program for fishermen, and the Minister of National Health and Welfare is looking at some form of guaranteed annual income for Canadians.

The government, in this budget speech, has clearly stated its concern to deal with the real problems. The tax cuts on production equipment, the continual use of the Department of Regional Economic Expansion to encourage production, the continuing funding of AHOP, the shifting of the tax burden on to the shoulders of those who can afford to pay, all this augurs well for the future.

28543-29%

November 21, 1974

The Budget-Mr. C. Smith

In the case of my district my duty here in the House, in committees and behind the scenes, will be to try to impress on everyone the importance of the government playing a greater role in initiating industry, looking for the potential resource development areas, and then actively doing what private enterprise will not do. The provincial government of Newfoundland and the federal government have? come together in a co-operative effort to create secondary industry without the immediate rip-off of profit going into someone's pocket.

All the rotten eggs of the Egg Marketing Board do not amount to the value of fish that go untouched in the waters of any one of the outport communities in my riding. The relative importance of many things must find new perspectives. The value of an individual, and his stake in this country, should not be determined by how much money he has in the bank, but better by how many children he has-what is the size of his family.

The 100 per cent write-off for exploration expenditures, the 50 per cent national tax rate for resource industries, the sales tax on building and construction materials reduced to 5 per cent, the capital cost allowance on new, multiple unit residential buildings for rent, to be claimed against any source of income, the federal sales tax on construction equipment and on materials used in municipal water distribution systems eliminated, the new registered home ownership savings plan, the $500 grants for new moderately price homes, the federal sales tax on transportation equipment removed, the two year write-off of new machinery for manufacturing and processing, the first $1,000 of private pension income exempt from tax, a 10 per cent surtax on corporate profits, special excise taxes on high energy consuming vehicles, the elimination of the sales tax on clothing and footwear, new tax incentives for small businesses, and tariff reductions on consumer goods-all will benefit the majority of Canadians, and will go far to eliminate the inequality within and between provinces.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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