Mr. Speaker, I had not expected to participate in this debate today, but I welcome this opportunity to speak in this debate on human resources development.
What we have heard today are many excellent presentations such as the presentation by the hon. member for Hamilton-Wentworth which reminded us that there are many organizations in Canada that are made up of relatively wealthy individuals who receive grants and awards. Perhaps those organizations, just as members of Parliament, just as many other Canadians who have more, should think about giving up their privileges, opportunities and grants to help those who have less. It is certainly something worth considering.
I want to say in response to a comment made by the member of the Bloc Quebecois earlier that there are reform Liberals and there are social democratic Liberals, that in fact all Liberals in this party today, I am certain, are committed to Canada's social welfare program. Moreover all of them like myself regard the development of Canada's social welfare program as one of the greatest accomplishments of Canadian liberalism and the Canadian Liberal Party.
There have been several interesting observations and very fine speeches by members of the Reform Party. One speaker alluded earlier to the example of Great Britain and compared it to the kinds of things that are happening in Canada today and to what has been called by others the British disease. We have heard that kind of term, not simply from Mrs. Thatcher, but from others. I think it is one of those terrible simplifications that obscures a broader truth.
If we look at western Europe since 1945 what we find is that many of the countries that have had the highest growth rates have been countries where government participation in the economy is higher than it was in Great Britain. In fact if we look at government participation in the economy since 1945 the western economies, many of them built up from the ruins of the wartime period, are those which have spent more on social welfare and have done better in terms of economic growth.
It may be a surprise to learn it, but between 1950 and 1990 the country that had the fastest rate of economic growth in Europe of the major nations was Italy, a country that had a high degree of spending on social welfare. Germany is another example.
Second, in looking at British society, those who have looked most closely and most recently, including Mrs. Thatcher's supporters, have said that the difficulty with Great Britain is not so much the fact that Great Britain spent more on social welfare, not so much that it tried to develop strong programs to help the poorest in society, but rather because Britain failed so badly in training and education.
Maurice Cowling, one of Mrs. Thatcher's academic supporters, has written a book about British society. What he points out is that Britain has failed very badly in the area of training and education while other countries in continental Europe have done so much better. I think that bears a lesson for us.
In Canada we too have spent a lot of money on education and training. The hon. member for Port Moody-Coquitlam, who spoke earlier today, talked about this question in her address. She talked about the need for improvement in training and suggested that training could be done best by the private sector.
I am pleased to report that the hon. member for Port Moody-Coquitlam is a graduate of the University of Waterloo.