House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was waste.

Topics

Finance
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of our most important challenges is to work toward restoring the level of credibility and integrity of this place. The words we have just heard have not helped that cause.

I was particularly disgusted with the attack on the Prime Minister. He has been characterized as a big Bay Street lawyer who has somehow lost touch with the people. If the member would look more carefully into the Prime Minister's background he would know that the Prime Minister comes from a rural area, that he comes from a family with 19 children. I do not know how the member could possibly characterize the Prime Minister as some fat cat Bay Street lawyer. He does a disservice to this place by somehow twisting the facts.

The member has agreed with the Prime Minister that the role of government is not to create jobs but rather to promote an environment which is conducive to job creation. The member did not articulate what the elements of that environment are.

Interest rates in Canada are currently the lowest they have been in 40 years. Inflation is also at a very low, very acceptable rate. The economy has performed exceptionally well and is projected to be the highest of the G-7 countries. The government has worked on these elements to promote an environment conducive to job creation.

This member said that Reformers would not mess around with little pieces on the deficit. He said that they would use their extreme policies to balance the budget and cut all those things in order to create that environment.

I have articulated the government's position vis-à-vis an environment to promote job creation. I would like this member to tell this place exactly what elements of the environment he feels his party is shooting for.

Finance
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned the word extreme. An extremist is anyone who happens to be winning an argument with a Liberal.

I want to make sure the member understands and does not take too much credit where credit is not due. The reason interest rates have fallen to this point is because the economy is so soft. That is why there are tremendous unemployment problems in this country. That is why interest rates have continued to fall. Everyone would acknowledge that the economy has been extremely soft.

Exports have done well because the dollar has been low but no one will say that the domestic economy has been anything but extremely soft. I do not think the hon. member should be taking too much pleasure in that fact. The same thing applies to inflation.

I will answer the member's question very specifically by pointing to what the Government of New Brunswick has done. It has acknowledged that low interest rates alone cannot fix the problem.

That is why that Liberal government has introduced income tax cuts.

Note that it has a balanced budget. Note that it has the capacity to do that. Most people would acknowledge that Frank McKenna in New Brunswick has done a good job with that province. It should be a model for the federal government. Our approach parallels exactly what is being proposed in New Brunswick. When you give people more money for their pockets they will start to spend it. That will create jobs.

The member talked about the fresh start plan.

The fresh start plan will provide people with $15 billion in tax relief. It gives them more money in their pockets so they can go out and spend money in the economy, save for their retirement, look after their children's education, take a holiday once in awhile. It allows small businesses to create the jobs that are so necessary for the people, certainly of Atlantic Canada, Ontario, the prairies and British Columbia.

People everywhere are suffering today under this government's policies. It is about time Canadians had the chance to take the dollars that the government uses right now and spend them on things that are their priorities, not the government's.

Finance
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, following up on that, the member stated balancing the budget and after that they would lower taxes. However, he also said that 10 per cent unemployment is unacceptable. With the program he has outlined, he is prepared to suggest that Canadians should wait until the budget is balanced and taxes are reduced. When that is done then jobs will come.

They cannot have it both ways. They cannot suck and blow at the same time. They cannot balance the budget and give tax cuts at the same time.

The member has to answer the question. What is he going to do for Canadians to create an environment that will get Canadians working again? What elements is he going to create, not in two or three years from now, but today because that is exactly what he is asking of the government?

Finance
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, in 1993 the government did promise jobs, jobs, jobs. Three years later those things have not happened.

The evidence is clear. If one brings down a plan that clearly states that there will be a balanced budget and tax relief, the stimulus effect is immediate. There is evidence from around the world to demonstrate that is the case because finally investors have the confidence to begin spending again in the economy.

We need not speculate about this. There are many examples around the world. Probably the best example is right here in Canada. When the Government of Alberta announced that it was going to balance the budget and begin running surpluses, there was an immediate influxof investment into the economy because finally someone had a plan to deal with the problem, something that this government is missing.

People are paying for it with their jobs. People are paying for it with lower standards of living. The average family has taken a $3,000 national pay cut since the government came to power according to the Fraser Institute. We have had a massive attack by the government on transfers to the provinces of $7 billion. This government has closed more hospitals than all of the provinces combined. That is unacceptable.

That is the price of delay when the government cannot get its act together and recognize the importance of balancing the budget and starting to deal with the tremendous problems that were left not only by the Conservative government but by the Liberals before them as well.

Finance
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Simmons Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have my Christmas tie on because I am in a very Christmas mood. My friend from Medicine Hat has just had some things to say and I will be responding to some of those.

Given the tone of his speech and watching the House during the afternoon, I wanted, in the Christmas spirit, to get something on the record.

There was a party back in 1993 that was going to come here and do politics a new way, I say to my friend from Red Deer. I was excited and said: "This is marvellous". "There will be no more shouting, no more screaming and no more nastiness," that party said. This is a light at the end of the tunnel. "Rational debate. No talking out of both sides of your mouth," that party said. "No maligning people. No character assassination".

In the Christmas mood, let us give them credit where credit is due. They have not shouted. I have not heard them scream once. Mr. Speaker, have you heard them malign anybody? Even this afternoon in the last speech, have you heard them malign anybody? Have you, Mr. Speaker, heard any character assassination? Have you heard them speaking out of both sides of their mouth on the issue? Let us have the Christmas spirit. Let us give credit where credit is due. If anybody has brought a new kind of politics, it is the people who said they would bring a new kind of politics.

The member for Medicine Hat made a lot of sense. He said that words do not put food on the table. He is absolutely right. My friend from Bourassa is right. Words do not put food on the table.

I will suggest something which does put food on the table, in a way. If a house mortgage is now $800 a month instead of a $1,000, I would suggest that the extra $200 could put some food on the table.

Finance
Government Orders

4 p.m.

An hon. member

You would probably take it back in taxes.

Finance
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Simmons Burin—St. George's, NL

Like I said, Mr. Speaker, no shouting. We have just heard from the no shouting party again.

The extra 200 bucks could put some food on the table. Or maybe if a car payment is $250 instead of $275 or $300, thanks to low interest rates, the lowest interest rates in this country in over 40 years, maybe that would put some food on the table.

Finance
Government Orders

4 p.m.

An hon. member

Every country has lower interest rates.

Finance
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Simmons Burin—St. George's, NL

What will not put food on the table is all that shouting. That will not put any food on the table.

Let me say it for them one more time slowly. All the shouting, all the screaming, all the maligning, all the character assassination, all the talking out of both sides of their mouths; none of the above would create one job in this country and none would put food on the table. Low interest rates will do it. They are doing it for people all across the country, particularly the 670,000 who have jobs because of the mandate of this government.

Of course the hon. member for Medicine Hat is right. We have not employed everybody but there are 670,000 more jobs now than there would have been.

Finance
Government Orders

4 p.m.

An hon. member

What about taxes?

Finance
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Simmons Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I cannot take this, all this business of attacking that party for shouting. Talk about spreading malicious lies about people. I want to come to their defence.

Finance
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have great respect for the hon. member who is speaking. I cannot imagine he implied that the Reform Party was spreading malicious lies. Out of respect, I would love to have him withdraw that statement.

Finance
Government Orders

4 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The Chair did not catch that word. I wonder if the member would be kind enough to indicate what in fact he did say.

Finance
Government Orders

December 11th, 1996 / 4 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Simmons Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I was viciously attacking all the people who go around suggesting that the Reform Party has not brought new politics to this place. I said that the people who suggested that are spreading malicious lies. We all know it is the non-shouting party. We all know it is the party that never maligns anybody.

I want to talk about this marvellous report of the Standing Committee on Finance.

I say to the hon. member for Medicine Hat that it is not the government, it is a committee of which he is a member. Not one single person on that committee, including my good friend from Willowdale, the chairperson, is a member of the administration. They are all MPs from various parties.

That committee went to St. John's. When in St. John's it heard concerns from seniors and from small business. It heard concerns about youth and about job creation. It heard concerns about deficit reduction targets, social programs and the fishery. The hon. member for Medicine Hat, the hon. member for Willowdale and the other members of that committee from all parties heard those concerns. Then the committee responded to those concerns.

On the issue of seniors, the report points out that as of the 1996 budget, thanks to the Minister of Finance, those 60 and over, along with their spouses whatever their age, are guaranteed no less than current pension payments.

On small business, the total lending ceiling under the Small Business Loans Act has been raised to $12 billion.

For youth, over the next three years the government is going to put out $1.2 billion including an additional $350 million announced in the last budget a few months ago.

On job creation, over 600,000 jobs have been created.

On deficit reduction targets, we are meeting them and we are beating them. That is performance. Let us stop right there.

Mr. Speaker, you are looking at a person who never particularly got his jollies out of deficit reduction. I had to tell you that. I have never seen deficit reduction as an end in itself. I never go to bed and say "thank the dear Lord I have reduced the deficit some more today". It is never in my prayers at night because it is not an end in itself. If it were an end in itself we should shut the government down and all go home.

Finance
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.