Mr. Speaker, I remember well the eighties. I remember the seventies, the sixties and the fifties as well. To attribute the interest rates of the eighties entirely to the federal government is an extremely simplistic approach. There were high interest rates in many western countries at the time. It was immediately after the OPEC oil crisis. Many other pressures were brought together in the world at the time. All governments were struggling to deal with the high interest rates and the conditions that were described.
If the member wants to remember periods of Liberal government, I remember the period of Mr. Pearson in the early sixties when we had 2 to 3 per cent unemployment for four consecutive years. As a student I can remember the period under Mr. St. Laurent when we had five to six years of full employment. I can remember the period under Mr. Trudeau when we averaged between 5 to 7 per cent unemployment.
I am saying that there is a role for government in our economy. I am not a socialist. I do not believe in a fully controlled socialist economy. Nor do I believe in the approach taken by the Reagans, the Thatchers, and the Mulroneys who believed they could withdraw altogether and just wish that things would go well.
I believe there is a role to play by governments with labour and business. Under those types of governments we had the highest eras of prosperity in Canadian history and Canada has become a great nation because of that approach.