Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the secretary of state outline the plan of yet another program.
No one can deny that there is a serious problem in the country with youth unemployment. Certainly I am aware of it. The secretary of state talked about the government getting its priorities straight. I think the government does not have its priorities straight.
In the period leading up to the election members of the Liberal Party did their homework. They did polling to find out the cause of the lack of jobs in the country. The message came back from the very people who create jobs, the majority of whom are small and medium sized business people, that the cost of doing business was simply too high. The government's prior and current neglect of the fiscal problems has caused high taxation. It has driven up prices and the cost of doing business.
Jobs do not come from more government programs. There is a direct correlation between the deficit and the financial problems of the country and unemployment. If the government wants reassurance of that it should go back and ask the people who create jobs and will create jobs, the small and medium sized business people.
The answer to youth unemployment and to unemployment in general is not to put more programs into effect. There are no jobs in the country. Small and medium sized businesses have so much uncertainty about taxation levels and the cost of doing business in the future that they are simply not expanding. Investors are not investing because they do not know what the taxation levels will be. Consumers are not spending because there is so much uncertainty about the government getting its fiscal house in order. We have university students with diplomas clutched in their hands applying for jobs at McDonald's. There are trained people out there but there are no jobs.
I would suggest the government should re-examine its priorities and start to show some light at the end of the tax tunnel to encourage small and medium sized businesses to start creating jobs.
More social programs are not the answer. That is the philosophy of the government that started 30 years ago, a time when there was no deficit, a time when the debt was manageable. It has instilled in youth an attitude of entitlement, a "don't worry, don't take responsibility for yourself" attitude because the government will look after them with social programs. The generosity of social programs has created this attitude among our youth. Why would they work when the government will look after them?
The government should look at where jobs come from, the small and medium sized businesses, start to attack the problems people are telling it about, and the jobs will be created.