Mr. Speaker, I felt I had to put a question to the previous speaker, who is a fellow member of the National Defence Committee, because I share his concerns.
I would appreciate his views on the following. If you asked me the difference between the economies of the 21st century and the economies with which the hon. member probably grew up, considering the slight chronological gap between us, I would say that a few years ago, it was possible for countries to attract investment, which meant that people would invest $200,000, $200 million or $50,000 in a region, and this would create jobs.
Today, we have the kind of economies where that is not the case. Take, for instance, the hon. member's riding, where companies like Alcan can invest 50 or 100 million without creating a single job. In today's economic context, massive investments do not help create jobs. I think there is a fundamental difference between the economies of the 1960s and 1970s, and what will happen between now and the end of this century.
The difference between government members and the opposition is that, try as we may, we find it hard to accept that. Hon. members on all sides of the House agree that we must reduce the deficit. Where we disagree is on how to get Canadians back to work. This is crucial.
The infrastructure program has its merits, although we should not forget that Prime Minister Bennett proposed more or less the same program in the thirties during the Depression, when for the first time, the government was asked to intervene on a large scale in public works.
All the analysts who looked at this proposal agree that at best it would create between 40,000 and 45,000 jobs, which makes this a very modest and conservative program.
Since I know this is a very real concern, and I realize the hon. member represents a riding where there is a lot of unemployment, I would like to ask him whether he sees any reasons to be optimistic and whether he could share these with me and perhaps make me share his optimism, since I have an open mind. What reasons do we have to believe that with this kind of budget, Canadians will be able to get back into the labour market?