Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address the opposition motion which reads:
That this House deplore the government's lack of vision and lack of concrete measures relating to job creation policies.
It is my belief that to stimulate the economy and to increase revenues for government, lenders, investors and consumers must possess a larger pool of disposable income. Jobs are created in the private sector, which the government readily admits is up to 87 per cent, which follows the laws of supply and demand. They would do a better job of creating long term meaningful jobs with $6 billion in cash than the Liberal government would do with its infrastructure program.
The role of government should be to do what government can only do: peace, order and good government. It is not job creation. It should regulate, administer, pass laws, defend borders but it should not enter the marketplace to create jobs. With regional development funds, grants and subsidies to busi-
nesses, governments distort the private sector, create temporary jobs and promote unfair competition within industry sectors. When will governments acknowledge that they are in fact part of the problem and not the solution.
I would like to educate this Liberal government on the reality of the private sector and not the perceived reality of the Liberal government.
Government overspending results in the raising of tax dollars. Higher taxation means that less capital is available in the marketplace which leads to a drop in demand. When demand drops, consumption drops, businesses close their doors and the cycle continues. This vicious circle is the main reason why 1.6 million Canadians are unemployed.
It takes money to create wealth but the government takes too much of it away from the people who know how to spend it. It takes it out of the system and then wonders why unemployment goes up.
The root of the unemployment problem in this country is the debt. The Liberals would have us believe that the debt is only one of many symptoms causing millions of Canadians to be unemployed. The fact is that the government is now adding another projected $41 billion-let us hope it is only that-to this debt which will take it to $550 billion at the end of this coming fiscal year. It is the debt and the interest to service that debt that is causing the problem.
Currently the unemployment rate is at 11.2 per cent. At the end of the year with the finance minister's own projections that he has defended in this House, including the $6 billion infrastructure program and the 168,000 short term jobs that it will create, the unemployment rate will drop to 11.1 per cent after 12 months.
This is one-tenth of 1 per cent. Is this what the Liberals call job creation? Are Canadians across the nation and especially in central Canada truly getting the changes that they demanded and were promised by the Liberal government? The answer is no.
The Minister of Human Resources Development has said in this House that capital creates jobs. So far he is right on. As a businessman I know this to be true. But what politicians on the other side of the House do not seem to realize is that there is a big difference between the spending of debt capital that is borrowed money and equity capital that does not have to be repaid.
The private sector understands the difference. It is time politicians did too. At risk money motivates; government money wastes. The government is going to spend $6 billion on infrastructure programs. Since it is going to spend the money anyway that money should be spent improving the kind of infrastructure that permits the productive sector of the economy, the private sector, to function more efficiently which in turn will allow it to create real long term jobs.
The government's role should be to develop an economic atmosphere, an environment, an infrastructure that facilitates investment, not to make the investment itself directly. The private sector will do that.
In his speech at the G-7 jobs conference in Detroit in the last two weeks, the Minister of Industry spoke of developing a national technology extension network to offer technological services across Canada. Sounds great. The minister stated: "Small business will be encouraged to work more closely with public sector research institutions to improve the commercialization of new technology, base products and services".
When will the government listen to what small businesses are saying: "Get out of our pockets, get off our backs, and get out of our way so that we can create the long term meaningful jobs".
Let me give a specific example of this. When the government talks about creating an information superhighway in conjunction with the public sector backed by the government with more government money, my suggestion is that it look south to the United States and see how it is addressing this need.
Two entrepreneurs, William Gates and Craig McCaw, have joined forces to build an extensive global communication superhighway. It is the marketplace that is addressing the needs in the states of consumers and not the government. I reference the article. It is in the Financial Post of Tuesday, March 22, and if anybody on the Liberal side of the House would like to read it, they may learn something from it.
The government need not build an information superhighway with taxpayers' dollars.
Freeing up the marketplace from government intervention creates opportunities, incentives, and real long term meaningful jobs. It generates real revenue and sends a message to investors and to all Canadians that this country wants a future based on prosperity not on government handouts and high debt.
The Liberal government must encourage the spending of equity capital from the private sector and not debt capital as is the current situation. For too long our governments have relied on the spending of borrowed money, not equity capital, in the funding of short term job creation programs that benefit specific groups and not society as a whole.
In a speech at the G-7 conference the Minister of Industry stated: "Well planned infrastructure spending offers a potential for immediate job creation in the short term", that is, while it is being built. "As well, there will be a payoff in the longer term through the support of higher levels of economic activity when it is operational".
Let us put this theory to the test. The Calgary city council just last night at a marathon meeting agreed in a 9 to 6 vote, this is at the municipal level, to use part of the infrastructure program of the government to renovate the Saddle Dome. For those members in the House who do not know what the Saddle Dome is, it is a hockey rink, a facility used in Calgary to house the Calgary Flames, the major tenant, and other programs and events throughout the year.
Is this infrastructure money being well spent? Does this benefit the city as a whole or just a select few?
In my opinion, there are a multitude of roads, bridges and buildings that urgently require immediate attention that would make it better for investors and businesses to live in Calgary. This is not the proper use of infrastructure funds. Only a few taxpayers will benefit at the expense of all taxpayers. Few if any new jobs will be generated in this instance because most jobs will go to contractors and workers who are already employed.
Federal funds will once again be used to interfere in a private sector matter. This issue is between the Stampede board and the Calgary Flames hockey club. With the Liberal program it now involves all the taxpayers. The federal government has no business allocating taxpayers' money to influence the outcome.
If the infrastructure program is intended to create jobs with the benefit being an improvement to the nation's basic infrastructure, then how can this be justified? The maintenance of basic infrastructure has always been the responsibility of governments which leads one to ask: What have they been doing for the last 25 to 30 years to bring about such negligence with regard to the basic responsibility?
The answer is instead of using taxpayers' dollars to take care of the fundamentals such as roads, sewers and bridges, the government has been squandering the nation's wealth on inefficient, expensive social programs. Those programs in many ways encourage people not to work, that is high UIC benefits and generous welfare payments that all started with the Liberal government in 1968 under Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Once again it is a vicious circle. Government ignores its basic responsibility with respect to infrastructure in order to concentrate on an extensive and expensive social agenda. It increases the tax burden to finance that agenda, kills jobs through the tax burden, declares job creation as part of the social agenda, then spends more tax dollars to create jobs, working on the very infrastructure it ignored in the first place. Have fun, Liberal government.
I would like to conclude by quoting the hon. member for Calgary Southwest who has stated many times, and in my opinion is worth repeating many times: "A dollar in the hands of a lender, taxpayer or investor is much better than that same dollar in the hands of a bureaucrat, a lobbyist or a politician".