Mr. Speaker, the very first thing on my agenda was to give notice that on behalf of the caucus co-ordinator, called the whip in the standing orders, according to Standing Order 43(2), our speakers on this motion will be dividing their time.
The motion before us today is quite clear and quite succinct. It states that this House deplores the absence of vision and concrete measures from the government with regard to policies toward job creation.
There is really no need to work on establishing the fact that there is a job crisis in Canada today. The unemployment figures are quite convincing. When one adds the innumerable individuals who are unemployed and who have given up and whose names are not even on the lists of the unemployed, there is little doubt that there is a crisis in this area.
In the strictest sense of the wording of this motion, it should be opposed. We should really be opposed to the motion and hence appear to be siding with the Liberal government on its job creation plan. As the members on the opposite side might have applauded, some will be asking why. Is this motion before us not in agreement with what the Reformers have been saying about jobs?
In a way it is but if one takes the wording of the motion exactly as it is stated, at least the last part, one cannot accurately state that the government has failed to declare some concrete measures with respect to job creation. It seems to me that this government has proposed concrete measures for job creation in line with the vision of this government.
The fundamental problem is that this government's so-called jobs plan is the wrong plan. It will not work. I am sure members opposite will correct me if I am wrong, but here is the summary of what I see in their plan.
There is government deficit spending to review social assistance programs. There is government deficit spending to assist the space sector. There is government deficit spending to establish an apprenticeship program. There is government deficit spending to establish a youth service corps. There is government deficit spending on day care potentially. There is government deficit spending on home renovations, otherwise known as the RRAP program. There is government deficit spending on the granddaddy of them all, the infrastructure program.
I hear a howl of protest because I am saying deficit spending. Stop to think about it. Just saying that this money is being transferred from other areas where we will not now be spending it is an inadequate explanation.
My wife would be delighted if I told her that I have decided not to buy a new luxury car. We will have all this money to do renovations to the House. I would have had to borrow the money for the car. Therefore it would be quite deceptive to indicate that we now have a bunch of free money available.
We would now be borrowing it for another purpose but it would still have to be borrowed, and so it is with these proposed programs. As long as we have a $40 billion deficit we are doing what we are doing with borrowed money. Instead of borrowing for helicopters, we are borrowing for the things that I have listed.
There is a jobs plan. The leader of the Liberal Party said often during the campaign: "We have the people, we have the plan". The problem is that the plan, based on borrowing and deficit spending, will not provide any long term solution at all to the problem.
If the government could really solve the problem, and if the only problem were jobs, then it would work for the government to hire people to dig holes in the ground and then hire other people to fill them in again. Obviously with that facetious example I have shown that the job must add to the real wealth of
the country if it is to improve our standard of living and our economic well-being.
It seems to me the only real wealth we have is in the provision of goods and services that have a market among our citizens and the people of other countries. Therefore, and I hesitatingly admit this but I think it is true, to the extent that the infrastructure program enhances our ability to create real wealth, it is useful and will contribute to a longer term well-being, but only to that extent. There seems to be much in the planned activities of this program that is temporary, short term and that does not add to the ability of our nation in providing needed goods and services.
Let me also bring to the attention of the House the problems inherent in the government's debt-deficit plan. To a question I asked in the House last week I was given the answer that the deficit is under control. This government has stated publicly in the recent election campaign, in the red book, in the budget and in numerous statements both inside and outside the House that its goal is to bring the deficit down to 3 per cent of the GDP. I must state seriously that I doubt this will happen.
This first year spending is actually going up and the reduction in the deficit as a percentage of GDP is minimal and based on some fairly generous assumptions on economic growth. If we assume that the government assumptions are right, there is still a huge flaw. If we assume that government spending will help the country's economy, then the deficit as a percentage of GDP should drop dramatically during periods of high growth. The relationship should be the inverse of what is being stated. Conversely, the deficit would normally increase as a percentage of GDP in periods of low growth.
This is not to say that even if the government had it right, its interventionism would be the right policy. Adam Smith said:
The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.
Is this what our government is doing? I say yes, just look at government spending. Using the government's own projections the deficits and debts will be growing year by year in perpetuity. Using the government's own 3 per cent target, by the year 2000 our debt will be approximately $700 billion.
I challenge anyone to convince me or any of my constituents that this is an acceptable level of indebtedness. It is unbelievable that this government will undertake as a goal taking the people of this country further and further into debt. I cannot be convinced that this will have anything less than a devastating effect on our long term well-being definitely as it relates to the job problem. At the rate given by the government's projections we will have $1 trillion of debt by the end of the first decade of the next century.
What will work? Let us hear Franklin Roosevelt:
A programme whose basic thesis is, not that the system of free enterprise for profit has failed in this generation, but that it has not yet been tried.
People do not need the government's assistance or interference so much as they need it out of the way.
How do we get it out of the way? We reduce the deficit, then debt, then taxes because the component of interest which is growing so rapidly decreases. Then we will instil confidence, both consumer and investor, so we can get the private sector hiring again. We can eliminate interprovincial trade barriers. We can eliminate the red tape barriers to business. We can help with training, among others.
Perhaps I am forced to admit that the government has taken hesitant steps in this direction. By mixing its incorrect theory with some correct theory it is accomplishing nothing but annoying both sides: the entrepreneur, and the worker who cannot find a job.
I highly recommend that the government take the most courageous step any politician can make to really spur job growth and get out of the way. In the words of Lord Acton, the finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom.