House of Commons Hansard #42 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.

Topics

Vancouver Port Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Vancouver Port Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The question.

Vancouver Port Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

The question is does the minister still maintain that the decisions reached by this board are independent and not influenced by his government?

Vancouver Port Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once the hon. member is a member of a party that develops a bit of history, he also will be able to refer to people who have supported his party for a long time. It is certainly not something that any of us are looking forward to.

With respect to the decisions that are made by port authorities in various parts of the country, it is the intention of the government that local autonomy be an important part of any decision making process.

Beyond that, and I want to make it very clear, at the port of Vancouver, the port of Montreal or any other of the facilities under the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada we always insist on people being appointed who have a national vision of their responsibilities.

Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

March 22nd, 1994 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi Thunder Bay—Nipigon, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Transport.

The Grain Transportation Agency announced last week that to fill the grain sales of committed grain and the grain that we will be selling until the end of July, the railways need an additional 5,000 hopper cars.

Without these additional cars, grain sales will suffer and the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Thunder Bay will suffer serious slowdowns. We know the 5,000 cars are neither affordable nor available.

Will the minister order today that all hopper cars be used exclusively within Canada and forbid the use of hopper cars east of the port of Thunder Bay? Will he continue to order under section 17(4) of the Grain Transportation Act the use of truck transportation where feasible so that this grain can get to market?

Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question.

We have gone through this before. As the hon. member knows, it was partly in response to his request that we were able to enter into a special arrangement that allowed for trucks to convey some of the grain.

The hon. member will know that the experiment was not terribly successful but we would want to look at any options that will allow for the efficient transportation of grain to market. We certainly will take the hon. member's comments into consideration and come to a decision.

La Francophonie
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. We are in the middle of Francophonie Week and the government keeps making high-sounding statements about the importance of the French fact and its place in the world, but in reality its policies in support of Canada's French-speaking people are much less generous.

In view of some discrepancies between his own statements and those of his senior officials, can the minister confirm that funding for the Federation of Acadian and Francophone Communities in Canada will not be cut by 5 per cent?

La Francophonie
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Laval West
Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that we have managed to spare communities such as the one he just mentioned from existing cuts in my department.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

Last week the media in British Columbia reported two instances of a disturbing trend in the drug trade. In Nanaimo, an undercover RCMP officer went to a residence to make a drug buy. While the suspect was not home, the transaction was completed by her eight-year old daughter. Likewise in another undercover buy in Vancouver, the drug dealer used his six-year old son to carry the drugs.

What steps is the minister prepared to take to protect children from this criminal exploitation?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has touched on a subject of grave concern to members of the government. I saw those reports last week and was horrified by them as I am sure the hon. member was.

As I said on January 27 when I spoke in the debate on the speech from the throne and outlined the initiatives we have in mind for both strengthening the criminal law of the country and focusing on crime prevention, we will not tolerate conduct that induces children into the commission of crimes.

I said at that time that there are sections now in the Criminal Code that make it a criminal offence to use children in the commission of crimes and I called upon the provincial authorities to enforce those provisions vigilantly. I intend to continue in that effort. Beginning tonight, I am meeting for two and a half days with my provincial and territorial counterparts.

This among many other important justice issues is on the agenda. I can assure the hon. member we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that this does not happen again.

Justice
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 3 p.m., I have a point of order from the hon. Minister of Transport.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to rise on a point of order to respect an undertaking I made in this House on March 11.

On that date in responding to a question from an hon. member I expressed the concern many of us had about the safety of minivans as a result of some reports in the press. I indicated I would have my department look into the matter because it was a serious question.

I am now able to report my officials have informed me that testing results and accident data indicate that minivans offer a level of passenger safety comparable to that of other passenger vehicles.

I would point out for the benefit of members that there is no requirement for minivans to be equipped with bumpers because it has not been demonstrated they would improve the safety of vehicle occupants.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for permitting me to respect the undertaking I made in the House several days ago.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure the hon. minister recognizes that there could have been other venues but I am glad he shared the information with this House.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Supply
Government Orders

3 p.m.

Reform

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the motion before us today as proposed by the Bloc Quebecois reads that this House deplores the absence of vision and concrete measures from the government with regard to policies directed toward job creation.

It seems to me that actually this House should be saddened by the absence of vision of this government in terms of job creation.

It certainly saddens me that the leaders on the government side have been in politics for so long that they really have no idea any more of how jobs are created in the private sector.

During the 1993 election campaign the now Prime Minister took the position that the economy simply needed a kick-start and that the infrastructure program proposed by the government would be that kick-start.

At the time the leader of the Reform Party stated that trying to start the Canadian economy with a $6 billion infrastructure program was like trying to start a 747 with a flashlight battery.

Six billion dollars represents such a tiny portion of the gross domestic product that any effects of it are probably impossible to measure. If I were grading the performance of the Prime Minister I would have to say that he earned a D for believing it was possible to kick-start the economy with a $6 billion infrastructure program. If he were playing a game with the public vote I would have to award him an A+ for his ability to convince the public that this would actually work.

Just how much of a kick-start to the economy is this program? Statistics Canada puts the gross domestic product for Canada for 1992, that is, the sum of all the goods and services produced, at $688.5 billion. The $6 billion job creation scheme at $3 billion per year for two years represents just .44 per cent of the gross domestic product. That is less than half a per cent of the gross domestic product. How could anyone seriously think that could kick-start the economy?

To put things in perspective, it is a little bit like a family with a gross income of $60,000 per year winning $264 in Lotto 649. What difference would it make to its living standards? It would not even pay for the kick-starter on a motor bike.

I have to wonder whether the members on the government side ever bothered to do the calculations or whether they just took the red book at face value. If they just accepted the red book proposal without doing the calculations then every single one of them should be ashamed for failing to show leadership, for failing to do the basic research that is essential if we are to be leaders.

On the other hand, if they did the calculation and came to the obvious conclusion, realized the implications and still failed to tell their constituents then they should be ashamed for deceiving the voters. There is no way out for the government members. They must admit to lack of research ability or they must admit to deception.

Reluctantly I must give them all a D for deception or an F for failure.

Think about who is paying the price for this boondoggle. The federal government is putting up one third, the provinces are putting up one third and the municipalities are putting up one third. There is only one taxpayer. Clearly this money has to come from the taxpayers and since the federal and provincial governments are running deficits, obviously it has to be borrowed. At the municipal level at which they are not permitted to run deficits it will obviously increase property taxes.

The whole program is a disgrace. We may benefit in the short run but it will be our children and grandchildren who carry the mortgage into the future.

I know that government members are itching to say: "Will you take the share of the infrastructure program in your riding?". I know they think they can paint me into a corner on that. The people of North Vancouver have to carry their share of the debt burden for this program so it is only just that they take their share of it as well.

Nobody wants to pay interest on somebody else's loan for infrastructure and neither do the taxpayers of North Vancouver want to pay interest on somebody else's infrastructure program in Canada. We will take our share but it does not mean that we agree with the program.

Prior to being elected I was in business for 13 years. I owned and managed a successful communications company with a staff of 10 until 1990 when I sold that business to start a leasing company. That company specializes in leasing to the small business sector, particularly home based businesses. Many of my friends are business people employing staff in the range of 10 to 15. I understand small business and I know what helps create jobs. I know what it is like to meet a payroll. I also know the job killing effects of excess taxation.

This is something that many of the government members do not know because they have always worked in the public sector, they have always been aldermen, they have always been politicians. How could they know what it is like? Their pay cheques arrive in their bank accounts each month and they have always done so. It is easy for them to broaden the tax base because they do not have to foot the bill.

However, let me explain what is like to be in a small business in which everything is so competitive that one does not get the choice of raising the prices the same way that the government can raise taxes.

On the sale of a fax machine for $600, a typical dealer in that industry will make about $75. That is the gross profit. In B.C. the combined GST and PST comes to $84. The two levels of government get $9 more than the dealer does for the sale of that product. Out of the $75 the business has to pay all the overhead, the salaries and the commissions and, if there is anything left over, 25 per cent tax on what remains.

In any particular month a business may have to remit income taxes, employee deductions, GST, PST, municipal taxes, workers compensation and property taxes. It is very disheartening for small business people to be remitting two or three times as much tax as they make for the companies and themselves. This is the single biggest disincentive to job creation. It causes business owners to avoid expansion. It causes them to avoid staff hiring because of the support costs. It encourages an underground economy full of cash only deals. Excessive taxation is killing jobs and forcing honest people into a tax revolt.

Compare this situation with a place like Hong Kong where the tax rate for corporations is only around 15 per cent and the unemployment rate is only 1 per cent. Nobody minds paying their taxes when they get to keep 85 per cent of what they earn.

It is time that this government admitted it has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and began taking steps to drastically reduce government spending. If it would do this the business sector would realize that something is finally being done about government spending, confidence would be restored and there would be a promise of tax relief in the future. This would encourage business expansion and the creation of new jobs.

I know this is true because I am from the small business sector, which is more than many of the government members can say for themselves. The light at the end of the tunnel would turn back on again and companies would begin reinvesting in new jobs and expansion.

We need to move the emphasis away from the public sector. We need to move it away from the public sector to the private sector if we are ever going to again experience a strong and healthy Canadian economy with the potential for adequate new job creation.

This House should be saddened by the lack of vision of the government side and I urge the government to take a real look at the situation. It is not magic, it just common sense. If we could get our corporate tax level down there would be a rush of all those businesses that have relocated into the United States back into Canada to create jobs for the people who need to live and work here.