House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.


The BudgetGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Some hon. members


The BudgetGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.


John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am really delighted with this opportunity to actually put a question to the leader of the Reform Party. During the campaign I often spoke with candidates so this is a special pleasure.

During his speech he remarked that the government would be better off cutting social programs which had a lot more money, a lot more fat I think he said, than government operations.

Could he specify how he would cut these programs, by how much and which ones? Perhaps he could give me four or five specific examples.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.


Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, first of all I should correct the impression the member gave in his question. I appreciate the member's question.

I was trying to make the point particularly for Bloc members because I have studied their speeches, that there is no way any government is going to get the deficit or debt under control without doing something about social spending. This was simply my point. The reason is that 55 per cent of program spending is in this area.

The Bloc often talks as if the deficit could be brought under control by cutting administrative fat from the government. My point was that the entire government operations sections could be cut from the budget and still we would be only halfway toward controlling the deficit. I am trying to make the point that it is of necessity and not particularly because we want it.

My second point is if social spending has to be reduced, the way to do it is to target spending to those who are most in need. In other words reduce the entitlements for people above a certain income level. This is where we could have a great dispute.

When we get together with Department of Finance officials, there are conflicting figures on how much social assistance, how much unemployment insurance, and how much OAS is going to families above the national household average. Some economists say it is up to $20 billion and some say it is far less. We have to hash that out.

Our point is that spending should be targeted to those in the lower income areas. We say that in virtually every social spending envelope. Significant amounts of dollars can be saved by doing it.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.


Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, my roots are from the country where the word democracy and its practice were born.

I listened to the debate of the hon. leader of the third party. I also listened to him during the election debates and was very impressed to hear that his party was going to come here as a constructive group to present alternatives, different views and so on.

When I heard the words "let us get together with your officials and our officials in private" I was astonished. Is this what the Canadian people elected us for, to get behind closed curtains and discuss things? Is this what the Canadian people want? I am sure that is not the vision of members of the Reform Party. I am sure that is not the campaign style they had. When I heard "let us get together behind closed doors and have a private session" I was astonished.

Could the leader of the third party tell me why a debate between the minister's officials and other officials has not been in public? Is this not the forum where we must have these debates? Is this not the forum where we must argue? Is this not the forum in which the word democracy should originate? Is this not where we should discuss things rather than in private?

The BudgetGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.


Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. Again I think he is labouring under two misapprehensions.

First of all we were invited by the minister to have this meeting to try to thrash out our views. We welcomed that but we did not initiate it. This came from the hon. member's side not our side. His speech is well directed but it ought to be directed to his side of the House.

My second point is we have participated in public debate on the deficit and debt reduction for 18 months now. Personally I have given thousands of speeches on this subject, many of them in public meetings with open question periods. We welcome that and we welcome doing it in this House. I was making the point that as many members know, when one debates these issues so often the partisan aspects get into it and we get away from the real issues.

We know in question period if we raise some hot topic about the jets and the $140,000 expenditure on that we can get a great hit on the evening news. We can get a great deal of attention by doing that. However if we raise some structural problem with the health care system which can probably save $1.5 billion to $2 billion that is not even newsworthy because it is complicated and it cannot be discussed in short exchanges.

I welcome all kinds of opportunities for public debate and debate in this House. However I do think there would be some merit in accepting the minister's invitation to sit down around a table and get into the details of some of these issues. Then those discussions could be carried into the House as well.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.


Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSecretary of State (Veterans)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in my place today and speak in support of the budget brought down on February 22 by my hon. friend and colleague, the Minister of Finance.

We should congratulate the minister on his first budget since this government assumed office. He has steered a wise and careful course. He has set in motion a measure which will lead to major changes in the years to come.

As members are aware the Minister of Finance consulted widely with Canadians before he brought down his budget. It is clear that he was listening. I can tell because I have been listening to my constituents and to the people of Prince Edward Island.

They told me they want action to build the economy and create jobs. They want a social security system that is fair and compassionate, but they also know that Canada needs social security that is affordable. They told me that government has to get its finances in order.

This budget responds to those concerns. It sets the foundation for growth and jobs in the future. At the same time it balances the need for social reform and deficit reduction.

I know many veterans were concerned about the impact this budget might have on them. These men and women have served our country well. They devoted the best years of their lives to Canada and they have personal memories of the devotion of comrades who made the final sacrifice for Canada and the values we hold dear.

I can tell members there is no group of Canadians more passionately concerned about Canada's future than our veterans. There is no group more outspoken about our need to preserve our quality of life. I know that veterans across Canada welcome the measures to reduce government spending.

We are going to launch a review of the government's operations so we can get things done more efficiently. We are going to look at all our programs and find out where we can reduce overlap and duplication.

In Veterans Affairs Canada we will be looking at our own operations. That is how it should be. We are going to find ways to trim administrative costs just like other departments in government.

However, we are not going to touch veterans pensions or allowances. We want to ensure that veterans who need and are eligible for benefits receive them. Veterans deserve their pensions and allowances and this is the time when many veterans need them most. As they grow older many veterans rely on us to maintain the quality of life they so richly earned.

All members in this House have veterans in their constituencies. I am sure no matter what region of the country they come from hon. members will recognize the fairness of the government policy to provide for veterans. It has often been said that Canada provides veterans with the finest package of veterans benefits in the world. We are second to none.

I would like to take a few minutes to talk about my own region, Atlantic Canada, and what this budget means to my home province of Prince Edward Island.

I am very proud that this budget contains provisions to locate a demonstration project in Prince Edward Island. This joint undertaking by the Department of Human Resources Development, the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Canadian Association of Community Living will look at ways to create opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Canada cannot ignore the potential of its citizens who have disabilities, not at a time when we need everyone to contribute his or her skills to building Canada's future. The government hopes that what is learned with this project in Prince Edward Island can be applied in other areas for other persons with disabilities.

Another budget measure many of my friends, neighbours and constituents in Prince Edward Island have talked about with me are the changes to the unemployment insurance system. As this House knows these changes are the first step in a bigger strategy

to reform social security in Canada so that it is both fair and affordable.

Above all we have to rebuild the system so it does not make it harder to create jobs. A good job is the best social assistance available to any person in this nation. Therefore some of my constituents welcome the steps we have taken in the budget to reduce the cost of UI to employers.

Unemployment insurance is a payroll tax. If it is left too high it kills jobs. Back in 1989 the unemployment insurance premium was $1.95. This year it is $3.07. Maximum premiums have more than doubled for employees. They have more than doubled for employers as well.

These are taxes. Most important these are taxes on small businesses. In my province of Prince Edward Island virtually all businesses are small businesses. My constituents cannot afford to see the UI premiums increased. The small businesses in P.E.I. need some relief from taxes so that they can get on with the job of creating jobs.

That is why so many of my constituents support the budget measures to roll back UI premiums to $3 next year. That is a substantial tax cut from the $3.30 that would be in place if this government had not made that move.

At the same time many Prince Edward Islanders rely on unemployment insurance payments to help them get by until they find work again. These are tough measures for those who are on unemployment insurance and I am not afraid to admit it.

My constituents agree they would certainly rather be working than on unemployment insurance. We are going to do what we can to use the social security system, including unemployment insurance, to help Canadians get back to work.

In the meantime, we know some people rely on UI not only to take care of themselves while they look for another job but they also must look after dependants. That is why the budget improves UI benefits for those who need them most, people who have to take care of a child or a needs parent, or who support a non-working spouse.

After the budget changes to unemployment insurance are in place Atlantic Canada will still receive more unemployment insurance per capita than anywhere else in Canada.

Unemployment insurance recipients in Atlantic Canada will receive an average of $970 compared with $540 elsewhere.

It shows that the government recognizes the special needs of a region where chronic unemployment presents special problems. Nowhere are these more evident than in the fishing industry.

The previous government did nothing to provide funding beyond May 15 to assist those individuals whose livelihood comes from the Atlantic ground fishery. This budget provides for an Atlantic ground fishery industry renewal and adjustment strategy for help over the long term.

This government is working hard to find a method of supporting some 35,000 Atlantic Canadians who will have no income after the current program expires. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Human Resources Development are working on measures that will treat these people fairly and with dignity.

I have spoken about some of the measures in this budget that affect the people in my home province of Prince Edward Island and in the Atlantic region as a whole. I have talked about what Canada's veterans can expect from this budget.

There is one message I hear loud and clear from my constituents and from veterans. It is that Canadians know that we need to change the way government operates and they want to have a voice in the way these changes will be made.

The government is on the road to a new approach to job creation and social programs and we are going to make sure that Canadians have a voice in how those changes will be made.

The budget represents the first phase of major reform and the government looks forward to our continuing discussions with Canadians on how best to reshape our great country to meet the challenges of the next century.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Before proceeding to questions and comments I would just like to verify with the hon. secretary of state if he is sharing his time with a colleague and possibly the member for Burlington if I understand correctly.

If that is the case, if he would indicate to the Chair we will proceed to five minutes of questions and comments.

Is the hon. secretary of state sharing his time?

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Yes, we are sharing the time.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I heard most of the comments of the hon. member and I appreciate them. Certainly when he speaks about reform and that we must change the way we do business in the country it is a welcomed statement on this side of the House. We join him in that.

I have asked a question of his colleagues and it is a tough question. I have not received an answer. The budget speaks of the addition of $100 billion to the federal debt over the next

three years. It does not say a word about the consequences to a number of issues, the consequences to the job creation program, the consequences to social programs, the consequences to the one million children reported to be living in poverty in this country.

I wonder if the minister has any ideas or thoughts that would debilitate the government's ability to function adequately and at the level the budget suggests in the light of $100 billion to the debt over the next three years.

What is the danger, if any, of the debt?

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Crowfoot.

Our approach quite honestly would be a little different than his approach. If we were to balance the books which are out of line the way the hon. member has proposed we would not have UI changes. We would have a collapse of our social system.

The area that I represent would be devastated. What we have done as a government has changed the direction of government. We will have a deficit of under $40 billion, which is not great but we are on the road to recovery.

If we were to take the path of balancing the books, the people that I represent would have nothing. This government is a compassionate government which cares about people. We have to get our books in order. We are on the path to putting our books in order but we are not going to devastate the Canadians who need our assistance on the way.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.


Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am still not clear about a few things regarding this budget. As we know, the government is not always the most efficient provider when it comes to delivering certain types of services. Take veterans' homes for example. Could someone tell us how much it costs to operate these homes as opposed to having comparable services provided by hospitals in another sector? Could a comparison be made? I think that the difference in costs would be in the tens of thousands of dollars. I would welcome comments on that.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.


Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his question. The Department of Veterans Affairs was heavily involved in hospitals over the last number of years. We now have two. One is Sainte-Anne's, as the member is well aware, and one is in western Canada. I do not have the figures before me as to the costs. The number one priority of the Department of Veterans Affairs is to make sure that the veteran gets the proper treatment.

We deal with provincial governments in order to move our institutions from the Department of Veterans Affairs to provincial jurisdiction. We have two hospitals left and we are in discussions with these hospitals as well in order to bring them from the Department of Veterans Affairs to provincial authority.

The Department of Veterans Affairs always makes sure that the veteran gets the best treatment possible. In this country, as my hon. friend is well aware, we take great pride in being able to say that we are number one in providing for our veterans. I can assure the member we are going to remain being number one as a nation providing for our veterans.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.


Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to be speaking during International Women's Week as the member of Parliament for Burlington, Ontario. Not only am I excited about representing my home town in the House of Commons, but I feel a deep sense of loyalty and purpose toward the job I have been elected to do.

The people of Burlington have given me the opportunity to grow and learn alongside them, and I welcome the challenge and the privilege. Already the rewards have been great and I look forward to combining the unparalleled energy of the populace of Burlington with my own enthusiasm.

It is very important to me that I thank not only my family and friends, without whose help I would not be here, but also the people of Burlington who have graciously given me their support, ideas and ultimately their confidence. Many people worked very hard to see me elected to this House. My parents and my family have supported me wholeheartedly in what seems in hindsight to have been a very fast campaign but what during the summer seemed endless at times.

My parents and my sister came to Canada in 1957 from Ireland and my parents inspired in each of their children commitment in and loyalty to this country, their chosen nation. They taught us the value of hard work and the importance of volunteering and giving something back to our community. I thank them for inspiring in me this deep sense of commitment I feel and for giving me the genes and the energy to fulfil that sense of duty.

Now, it is my duty to show the people of Burlington that I am worthy of the trust they have put in me. We must create a partnership with them to share our knowledge and our vision of Canada. I plan to work hand in hand with the people of Burlington to make Canada a better and better place to be.

I cannot do this on my own, no more than I can work alone in this House. We must all join hands and work together. In the daily performance of my duties as member of Parliament, I have noticed how different my riding was from my colleagues'

ridings. There are amazing differences between the communities we represent as well as within these communities.

I think that our society can only be enriched by such diversity. We are not divided by our differences but by our silences.

It is fortunate that we have a forum such as this Chamber from which our travels can begin, where we can discover our similarities, share our differences, our ideas, our knowledge and ourselves.

I envision a walk which encompasses the beauty of our country. It will be a colourful walk. There will be mountains to climb and prairies to cross, for our walk will be as long as our country is vast, yet always there will be colour in the languages we speak and in the land around us. We will walk through the blooming of springs and the harshness of winters and we will come through having understood that we can only succeed if we walk together, if we leave no one behind.

Just as I will work to see Burlington grow and succeed, I will work to ensure that Canada also flourishes. We must build a healthy economy for our future generations and a society with racial and gender equality. These goals are mutually inclusive, for our economy can only be strong if everyone has equal opportunity to participate.

If we do not have full equality our development as a nation will suffer and when we have equal participation in Canada we will be at our strongest internationally.

This government's first budget sets a stage from which to strengthen our country. The reforms being sought by the Minister of Human Resources Development will continue that process.

I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes the inequities in our present systems, a government that is committed to making meaningful changes for all Canadians.

This is a historic budget, the first to note the different economic impacts on women in Canada. Too many Canadian children are living below the poverty line, especially in single parent families headed by women. The budget commits the government to examining the issue of child support payments to ensure fairness in taxation as it is critical to the future of many young Canadians. In my view child poverty in Canada is a threat to our economic future and a complete waste of our resources.

The budget will have a positive effect on small businesses. I am pleased to support Burlington's Business Women's Network, a group fostering entrepreneurship and encouraging growth among Canada's most successful business starters, women. People like Roxeanne Moffat, owner of Hillcrest Florist, and Nancy Brewer, who started her own accounting business, are models of excellence and commitment to our fellow residents and to young people.

The axiom think globally, act locally is certainly relevant to Canada and is important to remember as we set the course for our new Canada. If we improve ourselves at a local level we can have a positive effect on the international scene. In Burlington, for example, we have various community activities and projects which have enriched our region both economically and socially.

We have learned the hard way by allowing our once beautiful Burlington Bay to be spoiled with the sludge of industry. Now we are learning that there is a new sustainable way to develop our economy and that Canadians have a commitment to clean up our past mistakes and share our expertise internationally and profitably.

I am pleased by the variety and breadth of local initiatives to stimulate innovative entrepreneurship. Burlington's junior achievement inspires and encourages young entrepreneurs to run their own businesses. They are closely associated with and influenced by local business persons who act as mentors and peers. It is great to see both young and old working together in partnership for a brighter future.

Certainly the older citizens of Burlington have incredible knowledge and insight to share. Many of Burlington's seniors, in age only and not in spirit, have enjoyed a second career by being involved in CESO International Services, a not for profit volunteer based organizations committed to human and global development with a goal of self-sufficiency whether for the First Nations of Canada or for other citizens abroad. On average CESO's volunteers are 62 years old. They are people like Larry and Patricia McMahon and Anthony Miele from Burlington who offer their skills and knowledge to others.

I believe it is necessary for Canadians to share these resources both within and outside our national boundaries. When we take positive action at a local level we will improve the quality of Canadians' lives. Inevitably this energy will spread beyond all boundaries.

In Burlington we have an organization that works locally and nationally to eliminate violence against women. CAVEAT was started by a local mother, Priscilla de Villiers, and is supported and sponsored by many people in our community.

Internationally, the United Nations has followed Canada's lead in working to eradicate violence against women. This is a human rights issue as much as it is an equality issue. All of our world's citizens will benefit when women need not fear for their lives.

I know that every step we take in the long walk ahead of us has been made possible because of the work done by our foremothers and forefathers. In my riding women make up 64 per cent of the population over 75. This is a thriving community of women who are vital and spirited. Their contributions to Burlington have been many and varied and they continue to act as advisers, educators and role models.

I am honoured to be able to take footsteps beside those of such unique people as Jean Galloway, Burlington's citizen of the year for 1993. At 73 years of age, a mother, grandmother and volunteer extraordinaire, Jean was the founder of the Society for Animal Aid. She works for Meals-on-Wheels, the Red Cross and is one of Burlington's foremost lobbyists for improvements in our community.

In sharing their life experiences with their families and friends, the older women of Burlington have given a voice to something which has often been silenced; the value of women and the work they have done both inside and outside of their homes. Indeed, their lives are rich and multifaceted.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the older women of Burlington and of Canada for their contributions to society which oftentimes have been overlooked. We must learn from our elders, both women and men, and rebuild our economy in an economically viable manner.

Together with all Canadians the government will draw up the blueprints for that rebuilding. This budget is the first edition.

I am pleased to be able to work with my constituents and with this House to bring Canada into the 21st century, into an era of equality for all citizens in Canada and in the world. I hope that all members of this House will join with me in this walk into our future.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the speech made by the hon. member from the Liberal Party. She praised the entrepreneurship of some of her constituents, and I think that, indeed, we must all pay tribute to the entrepreneurs in our respective ridings, right across the country.

The hon. member also referred to the elderly. I have a great concern about seniors, and this budget only makes it worse. I want to tell the hon. member about it, so that she can give me her own opinion.

Seniors receive a federal pension. However, those whose income is higher than $29,000 will now have to pay back a portion of that pension. As you know, quite often these people bought a property many years ago. It was a small property at the time, and it was affordable. Sometimes, the value of that property increased rather considerably over the years, and so much the better. However, property taxes represent an additional fiscal burden for these elderly people, who are now going to be deprived of part of their pension.

I think the government is looking in the wrong place to find money which it could get elsewhere, including from those businesses which benefit from a number of tax shelters, particularly abroad, which I find totally unacceptable. I would appreciate it if the hon. member could comment.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think all levels of government must work together for the benefit of all Canadians. It is necessary to review taxes at the municipal level as well as here-

-at the federal government and the provincial government levels and to make sure that we are not having a double hit on all our constituents. Sometimes it is a triple and a quadruple hit in Ontario with regional government.

I am pleased that the government was able to protect for 75 per cent of the senior citizens in this country the age tax credit. I have heard from many seniors that they are concerned about being knocked into the next level and losing that exemption. However, many people have said to me that they too want to share in rebuilding our economy and pay their fair share. Many people recognize that this country needs a lot of work on our deficit.

I think we have made some positive moves in terms of protecting the age tax credit for 75 per cent of the seniors in this country. We have a lot of work to do with the other levels of government in making sure that we are not harming seniors and others in our population. Together we can work on this.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.


Laurent Lavigne Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to our nice colleague on the right, and I would like to make a few comments to her.

I found her speech nice and well presented, except that I do not find in the budget, which she calls the budget of the century, the super budget, any funds that will help mothers with children, especially those who are single parents, when it comes to child care. When the government opposite was on this side of the House and was the Official Opposition, the present Deputy Prime Minister fought to have the government invest in day care-I remember her words. There is nothing for it in this budget. There is nothing for social housing either. We know the huge needs for social housing and we find practically nothing about it in this budget.

I feel that they have tried to solve the present economic problem by attacking the unemployed instead of unemployment.

I find that regrettable. I think that they should probably have rather gone after family trusts, for example, of which we have spoken a lot.

Since time is pressing, I will let the hon. member opposite comment on what I said.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.


Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his comments. It was very clear that the government campaigned on the issue of child care. We committed ourselves to increasing the number of child care spaces available in each year following 3 per cent growth.

I am pleased to be part of a government that recognizes that child care is in fact very important to the equality of women.

We have also undertaken to look at the issue of taxation and child tax credits for those who choose to stay in their own home to take care of their children, whether that be men or women in our communities. It is important that we make options available to them. It is important that we care for their future.

I believe our children are our greatest resource and we have to do something to make sure they are brought up in a healthy environment and that they are cared for and fed. Child care and the child care option for many parents is very important and we do have to work for that.

I for one will be working very hard to make sure that we fulfil those commitments in each of the years of our mandate.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I want to thank the hon. member for Beauharnois-Salaberry for his co-operation, as well as the hon. member for Burlington for her brief answer. Resuming debate.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.


Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to refer to the finance minister's Budget in Brief , which outlines three central goals: first, to help small businesses; second, to ensure a responsible social security system that is fair; and third, to restore fiscal responsibility to government.

I will express my opinion on the first goal: to help small and medium-sized businesses. I refer to page 5, to the first goal: to help small business. Last January, just before the budget, the minister started by increasing unemployment insurance premiums to generate about $800 million in revenue.

About half that amount must be paid by businesses and, of course, by workers. This means that the government will collect $800 million, thus reducing even further people's purchasing power. As a result, people will buy less and businesses will produce less; this will hurt business. I do not think this is a measure to help create jobs, as the minister stated on many occasions. This measure is the first example he seem to give to illustrate his efforts to help business.

He then says they will create a network of business services centres that will be expanded to provide access for small business in every province. He is talking about a single federal government centre. He talks only of this single federal government centre when, for several years now, the Quebec government, members from Quebec, and members of the Bloc Quebecois have been saying that, to substantially reduce government management, we need instead one-stop centres housing both the Quebec department of economic development and its federal counterpart.

As we know very well and as I have said many times and am repeating again today, the Bélanger-Campeau Commission concluded that duplication between the provinces, especially Quebec, and the federal government costs between $2 billion and $3 billion a year.

It is a huge amount. Besides costing $2 to $3 billion a year, we know that it is also very inefficient because companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, have great difficulty making their way through all that.

If the Minister of Finance were serious, he would not have talked about a single centre; he should have talked about a single window with Quebec or the provinces and the federal government-one-stop shopping, if you will. You must really be unimaginative and your ears must be completely blocked not to hear Quebec's demands.

Another great advantage that he mentions for increasing productivity and job creation in our small and medium-sized businesses is that he will consult and study.

Mr. Speaker, this is my tenth year in the House of Commons and for at least ten years we have been consulting and studying. I thought that the Liberal Party had such a clear program, because almost every day, if not several times a day, they tell us about their marvellous red book which had all the answers. I realize that the red book was not so complete since, when it comes to job creation and aid for small business, the government consults and studies and it will go on studying for a long time.

On page 5 of The Budget in Brief , it says: ``A special task force will recommend, on a fast-track basis, a better regulatory regime to help improve the competitiveness of business''.

But I thought that the red book was complete and that the government was ready to act once it took power. Now they are in power. Why study and consult? I am still quoting page 5: "The government will consult the business community on a wide range of tariff cuts on imported manufacturing inputs [-]" More studies, but studies already exist on the subject.

A little further, the red book says: "The Minister of Transport will launch an effort, in consultation with provincial governments [-]" Again, more studies and consultations. That is how the Minister of Finance can say that he will revitalize the economy and create jobs. I do not think that he is really prepared to act, so he consults. There is also the House Standing Committee on Finance reporting its recommendations on a tax to replace the GST. Again, they are not ready to act to create jobs and help small and medium-sized businesses create jobs.

What has the government done in concrete terms? It has eliminated the $100,000 capital gains exemption. That is not a bad idea, but I am convinced that abolishing the $100,000 capital gains exemption is not going to help the employment situation or make small business prosper.

Also, income tax deductions for entertainment expenses have been reduced. But many small businesses, self-employed workers and salespersons need tax deductions for entertainment expenses if they are to be able to do their jobs properly. We know full well-and so does the Minister of Finance, I am sure-that the day tax deductions for entertainments expenses were reduced, several restaurants felt the pinch and complained about the number of jobs lost, because restaurants and hotels are losing more and more business. The Minister of Finance is aware of the statistics. He claims to want to support job creation, but he is actually hindering job creation by reducing tax credits for entertainment expenses, an action affecting self-employed workers and salesmen, those involved in product promotion and the rest.

Does the Minister of Finance actually believe that by taxing businesses more, he will be supporting job creation? The federal government will raise an additional $1.7 billion in taxes from small and medium-sized businesses over the next three years. It will also raise an additional $1.8 billion from individual taxpayers, which translates into $3.5 billion in new taxes for businesses and individuals over the next three years. Does the Minister of Finance believe that by reducing the spending power of businesses and individuals, he is going to create more jobs? Surely not.

I have here the findings of a survey and they are, in my view, rather astounding. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce surveyed 658 member businesses and asked them the following question: Are you satisfied with the federal government's fiscal policies? A full 22 per cent of the businesses surveyed responded either that they would consider moving, were prepared to move, or had already moved part or all of their operations out of the country.

The February 15, 1994, edition of La Presse states the point clearly: Federal policies are driving businesses out of the country. If the Minister of Finance believes that his policies will create employment even while his recent budget has placed a heavier administrative and tax burden on businesses, if he believes this is the way to create jobs, then he should have read the survey of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. It is unfortunate, sad and astounding to see that 22 per cent of these businesses have decided to move either part or all of their operations out of Canada.

Times are hard and the debt is very high. However, I think the Minister of Finance does not have a clue as to what must be done to create jobs in this country.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I would just like to make a suggestion to the House before I recognize the next hon. member if in fact there should be agreement to the suggestion that I make.

I have in my possession a list of speakers to follow. There would be four: two opposition members and two from the government side. If it were the view and the feeling of the House to consider waiving the five-minute question and comment for each of the four speakers that would take us to 6.15 p.m., at which time I understand we must go on to another business of the day.

I am not forcing it; I am just making a suggestion. I am in the hands of the House. I see in the House the four persons who wish to speak on the amendment today. I will wait to hear some direction from the House.

Possibly the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs might want to make that suggestion, or should I ask simply for unanimous consent?

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

Some hon. members


The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.


Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were told that the government's first budget would give new hope to Canadians. This hope which the Liberals promised to restore during the election campaign, was to be primarily generated by a relentless fight against unemployment, a will to reduce the deficit, the elimination of frivolous expenditures and waste, as well as the near certainty that taxpayers would not be put to contribution once again, since they simply could not give any more.

Nice things were said indeed, but when the time came to deliver, last February 22, Canadians were in for a rude awakening. First, the message sent by taxpayers was not heard. The government will take $500 million from seniors and $500

million from workers by taxing life insurance premiums. As for controlling the deficit, you can forget about that. For the first time ever in a federal budget, a government announced that the deficit would be close to a staggering $40 billion.

In that respect, the minister is confirming that he cannot do any better than his predecessors, even though he himself strongly criticized their inability in the past. Government spending is reduced by a mere $400 million, while the Auditor General is proposing useful solutions which would translate into savings of $5 billion.

As for the evil of unemployment, the government is simply using the wrong approach by targeting the unemployed, instead of providing effective solutions to solve the problem. Is that the kind of hope the government promised to restore? I do not think so. I believe that this budget will go down in history as the budget of the broken dreams.

The government also said that the National Forum on Health would ensure an in-depth review of our health system. However, this forum will have to allow for a real dialogue to identify the obstacles facing the provinces, and to develop appropriate solutions, given the need to adequately finance our health system and take into account the prerogatives of the provinces.

More importantly, this national forum must not be used by the government to justify any unilateral change in transfer payments for established programs financing which would go against the interests of the provinces.

If we take a close look at the budget of the Minister of Finance and forget all the rhetorical frills, we soon realize it is just another version of the Tory budgets which the minister himself strongly and openly criticized when he was in the opposition.

The present government was elected on a platform for change and renewal. However, it seems to have a different concept of change. In fact, the Minister of Finance is perpetuating the Tory government's policy by freezing the federal per capita contributions until 1994-95.

In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance said there would be a National Forum on Health, specifying that "no further changes in respect to EPF health transfers are contained in this budget, in order to set the stage for that discussion. Our commitment to maintain the principles of the Canada Health Act remains firm and unaltered". And yet, reality is brutal for Quebec and for the other provinces.

No further changes, indeed. The minister maintains the cuts introduced by the Tories and says that for 1995-96, established programs financing will be indexed to the GNP growth rate, minus 3 per cent. The federal government has again acted unilaterally by refusing to honour its commitments and transferring its cash flow problems to the provinces. The question arises whether the government will approach the National Forum on Health with the same good intentions and the same tendency to make unilateral decisions.

The Bloc Quebecois has stated repeatedly that the freeze on transfer payments will have a major impact on the tax burden of the provinces. By perpetuating this policy which was initiated by the Tories, the Minister of Finance is putting the provinces in the unenviable position of having to deal with the increasing cost of health care on their own.

The Deputy Prime Minister was also critical of the freeze on transfer payments when she was in the opposition. She said the precarious state of federal funding was about to provoke a crisis in the health care sector in this country. Why did the Minister of Finance choose to ignore this very sensible comment? The government keeps on unloading a portion of its deficit thinking it will get away with it, instead of addressing the real sources of the problem and being less stubborn in its desire to maintain overlappings and duplications.

Two years ago today, on March 9, 1992, in an eloquent speech during debate on Bill C-60, Mrs. Diane Marleau, now the Minister of Health, denounced the adverse effects of reductions and freezes perpetuated by the Conservative government in provincial transfers regarding health programs. She noted at the time, and I quote: "Transfer reductions in that area did not contribute to a better management of our health system". Also, the minister aptly noted the following: "We literally shifted the deficit burden to the provinces, telling them they had a choice between raising taxes and reducing services. In many cases, they did both".

This speech, which made a good case, was not given 20 years or 10 years ago, but on March 9, 1992, two years ago today. What happened during those two years to cause these sound perceptions to be so dramatically reversed? There was indeed an election. And the people who were rightly denouncing the always well hidden cuts in EPF transfers are now in office and making the decisions.

Now I understand why the budget speech only included five lines on the health issue. It is because the Liberals were shamefully hiding the same restrictive policies as the Conservatives, sweeping under the carpet our valuable principles and thereby contradicting the very foundations of the election discourse contained in the famous red book with which this government got elected.

Trickery has its price: the mistrust and loss of confidence of our fellow citizens towards political institutions and those in government. To illustrate this lack of trust, let me quote a last time from the speech delivered by the hon. Minister of Health on March 9, 1992: "Cutting back on the transfers in these areas has not contributed to better management of our health care system. They have only contributed to the cutbacks and to the fear that

we feel now across the nation as the middle income group, which is the largest group of Canadians, are frightened and afraid of what is going to happen to them in the future. Will there be a health care system for them? Will they be able to get the drugs that they need at the prices they can afford to pay when they need them, when they get to be a certain age. There is this feeling that perhaps the federal government is letting go of its responsibilities in this matter". This quote is as revealing as it is current.

So, the federal government's underfunding of transfer payments to the provinces on health care has serious consequences, in the end, for users, something that the author of the budget tabled on February 22 simply forgot.

Let us take, for example, the case of Sainte-Croix Hospital in my riding, whose budget shortfall is about $10 million a year. Our community has seen the rise of a widespread support movement to ensure the survival of this hospital serving a population of 90,000. It is not in a developing country that we are talking about saving a hospital, it is in Quebec, in the Canadian health care system that we like to describe as one of the best in the world. Yes, trickery has its price: the mistrust of our fellow citizens when they can no longer receive the services that were promised to them and that they are entitled to under the law.

The budget announces the creation of a centre of excellence for women's health. What about this centre and how much will be allocated to it, when the Medical Research Council's budget has been slashed by $10.8 million, cut from the networks of centres of excellence program. As for the commitments regarding a prenatal nutrition program, is it new money or will the funds come from terminating secondary programs-$31.2 million-or exceptional assistance programs-$30.2 million? The figures are misleading and suggest that programs were eliminated to make room for those promised by the government during the election campaign.

The drastic cuts in the Unemployment Insurance Program will necessarily result in a certain deterioration of the socio-economic living conditions of UI recipients and their health will be affected.

The most unfortunate aspect of this policy and these cuts is that they affect mainly the less fortunate segment of our society. How can an individual with an annual income of $25,000 and two dependent children support his or her family if the benefit rate is reduced to only 55 per cent of insurable earnings? How will the health of the less fortunate be affected by this measure? Did the government assess the risks and costs of such measures which will have an impact on provincial health budgets?

This reduction will make it difficult for the poor to afford decent food, clothing and housing as well as heat. It will result in poorer health and an increase in health care costs. If the government hopes to reduce its expenditures by jeopardizing the existence of the less fortunate, it is dead wrong.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

March 9th, 1994 / 5:45 p.m.


Dan McTeague Liberal Ontario, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the distinct honour today not only to congratulate you on your position but at the same time to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on one of the most balanced and reasonable budgets presented to the House in recent times.

This is my first opportunity to address the House as the newly elected member for Ontario. It is a privilege to be able to stand before the House in that capacity. Before me have gone some great members who passed through the House. I am thinking of the Hon. Norman Cafik, the Hon. Michael Starr and more recently Rene Soetens, the member who served here from 1988 to 1992.

I take the House very seriously. The constituents of the Ontario riding have given me an opportunity for once to express their interests on their behalf. It is a humbling task which I plan to serve with diligence, integrity and honesty. I would like to say a bit about my riding before I proceed into some of the highlights of the budget as I saw it and some important aspects of the budget that are worth while pursuing and supporting.

Ontario riding is one of the largest populace ridings in the country. It stretches to include the ever growing towns of Ajax, Pickering and Whitby. It also includes a vast urban-rural area known by some who have been in the House before as the Pickering airport lands or as the Seaton lands. It is growing rapidly and it is in many respects a microcosm of the future of Canada. It is one of the reasons it elected one of the youngest candidates, one of the youngest members of Parliament on the government benches. I am quite privileged to be able to perform in that capacity, but in order to understand a bit about the budget I had first to understand a bit about my riding.

The budget starts the process of getting Canada working again to bring our economy from a position of stagnation to a position of growth. In previous years we have seen a neo-Conservative policy adopted by the government which preceded us. I believe the policy did much to hamper our understanding and appreciation that the economy around the world including Canada has changed fundamentally.

The appreciation of that change has allowed us as a government to signal and to design a new way, a new approach and a new economy, an economy based on ideas, on innovation and on the recognition the government plays a very strong role in the maintaining, supporting and ensuring of an effective direction for economic viability.

What Canada is about to undertake could otherwise be known as planning its own future. It could be known by some as being able to prepare ourselves as to where we want to go. A famous quoter from years ago made the following comment: "If you do not know where you are going, chances are you are going to wind up somewhere else". I would submit to the House that is precisely where Canada was until 1993 and until the budget more recently.

In this economy we have seen the view that deficits are not as important as growth or jobs. I take a different view. In the country over the past few months we have seen the faces of many people who have lost their employment, businesses that have gone underground and companies that have simply shut down. That is no longer acceptable in this great land. We have designed a policy which we believe will help Canada not only renew itself but the people within it.

People do not want to live on UI or welfare. Canadians want to work, to earn a living and to obtain the respect that having a job brings. They want to talk about the personal experiences they have in business, how to run one and how to maintain it in periods of difficulty.

This is an area which the budget has addressed. It has recognized the importance of small business. My riding, perhaps unlike other ridings, has a higher number of people working in the private sector with small businesses, companies of 10, 15 or less. It is important for the government to appreciate the role it has in terms of access to capital. It is one of the reasons I commend the hon. Minister of Finance for his tenacity in ensuring that a code of conduct was instilled in the budget.

If we did not have such a code of conduct banks would be basically able to make suggestions as to where they were going to priorize their lending priorities and small businesses which are creating wealth in this economy would simply pack up and leave or go underground.

In order to address the subject of the underground the budget focused on the GST. The finance committee has been charged with the task of amending or changing what is perceived as the most hated tax in modern times in Canadian history. We believe the GST if changed could help make a new economy. It could help make business work once again.

Parliament has an obligation to the people of Canada to put forward some sound fiscal policies and to restore faith in our political institutions. We have a duty to reform Parliament and do away with the perks and privileges to which ordinary Canadians do not have access. We must be an example for Canadians. Parliament is in no position to ask Canadians to make sacrifices if it fails to practise what it preaches.

That is one of the reasons as a younger member of Parliament I would certainly support an initiative at some point that would redress the great and grotesque imbalance Canadians rightly perceive between what is taking place in the real world and what is taking place in the House of Commons.

Ontario riding has a population of some 200,000. Its size is one of the most daunting tasks confronting me as a member of Parliament. It is not one I am prepared to take lightly. Daily we receive letters from all sorts of constituents addressing any number of issues at a given time. I do my best to respond to them.

In the period leading up to the budget I noted two or three issues that the constituents of my riding asked me to ensure were taken into account by the Minister of Finance. The first was that there be no charge for the benefits of dental and health care. That is something the government delivered on. It listened, it acted, it delivered.

Another area was to try to stimulate the housing industry through the use of RRSPs. I note that policy initiated by the last government on a temporary basis was actually a ripoff of the Liberal Party policy in 1988-89. It was a good policy then. I am pleased the government decided to adopt it on a temporary basis, but I am even more proud of the Liberal Party for deciding to make that permanent. It recognizes that the construction industry is not a simple cog in a wheel as far as this economic situation is concerned. It realizes it is one of the fundamental keys in our economic picture.

The budget process is an ongoing additional budgetary measure that we should believe will be examined in the course of time. It should be brought forward in a few months to allow Canadians, certainly people in my riding, an opportunity to discuss its many important attributes.

I am looking right now at an opportunity for my constituents with whom I have had an opportunity to discuss the budget last week to become more meaningfully involved in the overall decisionmaking not only of a member of Parliament but of the actual budgetary process. It is a great tribute to the government that it has taken upon itself the opportunity of ensuring there is before Parliament a chance for public input.

Canada is benefiting as is my riding from the infrastructure program. Some $47 million has been allocated to my riding that will result in over 1,000 people being employed who might otherwise not have had an opportunity to work. I could put that into another perspective: a 1,000-job investment in infrastructure, sewer and water upgrades, will help the economy.

I am pleased to support the budget. I thank the residents of Ontario for their support.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6 p.m.


Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this occasion to speak on the budget debate and the concerns of Miramichi riding in New Brunswick. Speaking in this Chamber on behalf of all my constituents is an honour, a privilege and a

tremendous responsibility toward those people who elected me last October.

For 15 years Maurice Dionne represented the Miramichi. I continue to rely on him for advice. The people of the Miramichi are indebted to Maurice for his tremendous efforts on their behalf. Last weekend I participated with the Rotary Clubs of Newcastle and Chatham in presenting Maurice with the Paul Harris award, the highest award in the world of Rotary.

The Miramichi is a geographic expression, an identity and a free spirit that actually exists across this entire continent. It is a rural area that depends on its natural resources.

From its early years people had to leave the area in order to seek employment. For generations the young people of the Miramichi migrated both westward and southward. Yes, during past generations the spirit of the Miramichi can be found in most Canadian provinces and many American states.

Basically the Miramichi is a river that begins in the central highlands of New Brunswick and flows eastward into Miramichi Bay facing the province of Prince Edward Island. Its people for the most part live along the river valleys with the main river or one of its tributaries within sight of their homes. We speak of the Tabusintac, the Bartibog, the Black, the Napan, the North West, the Little South West, the Barnaby, the Renous, the Cains and other rivers.

Newcastle and Chatham are two small towns. They are the business centres of our community. We also have seven incorporated villages. We are proud to have three native communities at Burnt Church, Eel Ground and Red Bank.

Forestry, fishing, mining and agriculture are the main sectors of employment. Until last week CFB Chatham was one of our major employers.

The Miramichi has traditionally been a Liberal riding. With one exception since World War II the riding has returned a Liberal member to this House. Within the region there is a strong tradition of faith in the principles of liberalism and a belief that the good times of the people in our area are best guided by those who support Liberal policies.

A government represents the people. A budget is a plan by government for accumulating revenues and regulating expenditures. It is a plan that should bring the most good and the least pain to the many groups and individuals that make up the nation. It is a plan for sharing and a plan that must be fair. It is a plan that must balance the available resources with the needs of our people. Above all it must be a plan that maintains confidence in our economic system by both our own financial institutions and the international monetary community. It is my belief that the finance minister has walked the tightrope that balances these forces. This budget is a good beginning for our new government.

I want to point out that we must not lose sight of the most important element required to turn our economy around: the need for our people to have the necessary confidence so that they will spend their money, they will invest in our nation and they will look in a positive manner at the economic future.

There must be a demand in order for business to sell its products. This demand can only be created by the consumer wanting the goods and services of business and having the necessary moneys for their purchase.

Our government must create an atmosphere where despondency does not exist, where gloom and doom are no longer the bywords of our people. It must be one where Canadians believe they are led by a government that has a vision and above all a determination to spend its resources prudently and in the best interests of all citizens.

This budget calls on all Canadians to make sacrifices for the good of the nation. Atlantic Canada has been called upon to make sacrifices greater than any other area in Canada.

The amendments to the UIC program will cause the people in our area to lose millions of dollars in payments. Those involved in fishing, forestry and the tourist sector will have difficulty obtaining the necessary work weeks in order to qualify for UIC. Those who do will be able to draw for a shorter period of time. The result is that many individuals who relied on this form of income support will be short in the moneys needed to provide for their families. The New Brunswick economy will lose an estimated $200 million in cash flow which affects every business in Atlantic Canada.

It is important therefore that the review of all social programs within the human resources development department must address this concern. It should define the status of work as we approach the 21st century.

More than 150 years ago Great Britain had harsh labour laws, conditions that demanded tremendous sacrifice from men, women and children. Today we have reduced the weekly hours of work to 40, yet most households in the country require two wage earners to support their needs. In many cases teenagers have little time to enjoy the years of youth because they work part time while trying to complete their education.

Will history see our present generation as an age where so much effort and so much time is required to support the needs of one's family? Or can we afford for our people on an equitable basis to reduce their work time and offer them more time for leisure, relaxation and recreation?

The Miramichi has made another great sacrifice in this budget: the loss of Canadian Forces Base Chatham. The closure of this air base, which has been a part of our community for over 50 years, means the loss of 240 civilian jobs, nearly 700 military ones and more than $50 million to our local economy.

We all recognize that the Department of National Defence is being reduced and must be made more efficient. Unfortunately for the Miramichi this cutback is at a time when our pulp and paper industry is in recession and our mines at Heath Steele are closed due to low base metal prices.

Therefore 1994 is a turning point in the future of our region. Our people are ready to meet the challenge of developing a new economy. However we will need full co-operation and assistance from both the federal and provincial governments.

The Premier of New Brunswick, the Hon. Frank McKenna, is working hard to rebuild the Miramichi. As a member of the government I too will devote my energies in this direction so as to create a new future for our people.

Canada must be represented throughout our nation. I strongly believe our government must be decentralized with the government departments and agencies spread across this country. If Canada is to survive all Canadians must be part of this great enterprise.

Canada and the federal government must not be portrayed as a great bureaucracy located in Ottawa and several major cities. It must reach out to our nation and to all Canadians in every region of the country. They all must enjoy the fruits of their participation.

Chatham, New Brunswick with its community college has assumed leadership in the electronic highway with distance education and multimedia learning. In this age of electronic communication any government department, provincial or federal, could easily be located in our constituency.

In recent years the underground economy has been a major loss of revenue for both the federal and provincial governments. It is my belief that many Canadians have joined this economy because they believe our governments have been guilty of two serious offences: overtaxation and unwise and imprudent spending of their hard-earned dollars.

As members of the 35th Parliament we together have an opportunity to correct the situation. It is important that each of us work with our constituents and with the civil servants of this country to see that moneys are not wasted and the people of Canada receive good value for their expenditures.

Waste must be eliminated. Efficiency must be improved. Above all fairness and equity must be the order of the day. Everyone must realize that avoidance of taxes and misuse of funds is literally robbing one's neighbour. It places a heavier burden upon those honest people who support the government.

Civil service budgets must not be seen as an amount that must be spent but rather as a guideline that should not be exceeded and hopefully a measure that can offer savings. Those with philosophies that budgetary amounts must be exhausted by March 31 each year cannot be left in positions of responsibility.

In October the people of Canada told us they wanted a new system, that they were tired, angry and frustrated by the methods, attitudes and behaviour of the former government.

This budget begins a new agenda. Members on all sides of the House have an opportunity to create a new type of government, a new atmosphere. Let us hope we can work together to improve our nation and everyone's tomorrow. We must not lose sight of our goals or we become waylaid by the bureaucracy that surrounds us.

The challenge is great, but we can work together to achieve our goals.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.


Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

I am very pleased to stand with my Reform colleagues and take part in this debate and speak on behalf of the riding of Cariboo-Chilcotin.

The Cariboo-Chilcotin constituency rises from the south of British Columbia to the high plateau of the central interior. Its approximately 103,000 square kilometres lie between the crest of the coast range mountains and Wells Gray Park.

Cariboo-Chilcotin has long had the reputation of being one of the last frontiers. What newcomers today call highway 97 is still remembered as the old Cariboo wagon road. This was the route that was first designed in the last century by the Royal Engineers to carry the wagons of the miners to the gold fields and the ranchers and their families who opened up the country for the people living there today.

Cariboo-Chilcotin is also home to the Chilcotin, Carrier and Shuswap aboriginal people. They are an integral part of the diverse cultural plurality found in this constituency today.

Every year communities throughout Cariboo-Chilcotin celebrate their heritage. The city of Quesnel has its Billy Barker days. Williams Lake holds the Williams Lake stampede. Lillooet has "Only in Lillooet" days. The town of Barkerville has been restored to how it used to be in the old gold rush days. I could go on but suffice it to say the entire riding remembers our pioneers and celebrates the way of life these pioneers left for us to continue.

Today the lumber industry has taken the economic lead. However the independent attitude, self-reliance and earthy

frankness which characterize relations among Cariboo-Chilcotin people still continue and may it always be so.

It gives me much satisfaction to reflect upon these people. Many people came to Cariboo-Chilcotin with nothing but the determination to get a job and get ahead. They are people who have prospered by their ingenuity, determination, shrewdness and hard work. Their independence and pride would not allow them to ask for special favours or special consideration.

What these pioneers really wanted was the opportunity to prove their ability to make a life for themselves and their families. Many people came with nothing and discovered the life they sought.

This is the Cariboo, this is the Chilcotin, this is my home.

However high taxes and intrusions of big government are not making it easy for people looking for lifestyles based on independence and self-reliance. Mind you high taxes are giving a new meaning to these words. People blessed with ingenuity find ways around the obstacles that politicians and bureaucrats devise. If this is so in the sultry cities, consider how ingenuity thrives in the fresh air of the Cariboo.

For example, a couple of weeks ago I was talking to a man who invests other people's money for them. From one small community in the constituency, population 10,000, he received in the month of January alone over $1 million of new money to convert to other currencies and invest in foreign countries. He went on to tell me that the rate of these receipts increased during the month of February. That is one investor in one small community.

People have some ingenuity. If the government is determined to wreck the economy of our country, people who understand what is happening will use their ingenuity to do what is necessary to protect themselves.

In 1993 Canadians bought a record $12.8 billion worth of foreign stocks and bonds. A growing number of Canadians are moving their assets out of Canada. Last year Canadians bought more foreign stock mutual funds than Canadian equity funds.

This export of money from Canada is a major problem. It is a problem caused by fear, fear that our economy will go the same way the economy of New Zealand went. We are seeing the early signs in Canada, signs that were present 10 years ago in New Zealand. We can soon suffer the same consequences. Ten years ago New Zealand's foreign debt was the equivalent of 44 per cent of the GDP and its annual deficit was the equivalent of 9 per cent of the GDP. Suddenly, very suddenly, the foreign markets refused to buy New Zealand bonds.

This shortage of revenue forced the devaluation of its currency by as much as 20 per cent as well as deep cuts in pensions, welfare and medicare. Accounts of wages being cut in half and a person's net worth being reduced by 80 per cent were commonplace.

People taking their money out of Canada are afraid that soon the same thing could happen here. Government mismanagement of our debt is the leading cause of the present high conversion of our currency. Canadians fear equivalent losses as experienced in Sweden and New Zealand when deficits hit crisis levels. Outflow of Canadian money is preventing the economic expansion we require for our nation to prosper.

We must take real steps to control the deficit, to assure the business community that Canada is a sound place to invest money.

People from Cariboo-Chilcotin, like Canadians from every part of the country, are using great ingenuity and creativity in the development of the underground economy. The sad part of this growing phenomenon is that so many people feel that nothing immoral is being done even though it is illegal. Some even consider this means of tax avoidance a positive political statement as well as a means of economic survival. The impact of the underground economy renders any economic growth meaningless to federal revenues.

During the 1980s a 1 per cent growth in GDP would result in a 1.2 per cent increase in tax revenues. Now that same increase yields only .4 per cent growth. This budget is another example of a government depending on optimism to solve its economic woes.

We have seen in the past the folly of a government depending on economic growth to increase revenues. This budget demonstrates that the government has not learned from past mistakes. With a half a trillion dollars debt Canada can no longer rely on optimism.

The underground economy is now estimated by Ernst & Young to be 15 per cent of the GDP or $100 billion annually. If this revenue could be taxed it would yield $40 billion in tax revenue, roughly the amount needed to eliminate our deficit.

Michael Manford, chief economist of Scotia McLeod Inc., estimates these numbers are even higher with an annual underground economy growth rate of 10 per cent to 12 per cent.

Canadians have expressed disappointment in the limited cuts made in this budget. The red book was part of a campaign based on a much lower deficit of only $35 billion. Canadians are demanding a balanced budget and the only means left to do this is by cutting government spending, not by increasing spending or by introducing new programs. The Government of Canada must show better judgment in the way tax dollars are spent.

Cariboo-Chilcotin is populated mainly by people who left or whose ancestors left other places to seek opportunities, be independent and prosper. Like those immigrating to Canada today many of us have ancestors who came seeking relief from

domineering and intrusive governments, governments which supplanted an agenda of serving the people with being served itself.

I speak with great pride of Cariboo-Chilcotin but these people are simply a microcosm of our great country. Since coming to Ottawa I hear people in the stores and on the streets saying the same thing as I hear them saying at home. Wherever I go I hear a common message given: "Get our taxes down. The taxes are killing us economically".

I do want to take this opportunity to applaud the Minister of Finance for some of the steps taken in the budget. For example, in the provisions made for small business he certainly has listened to some of their concerns. Indeed the fastest way to generate real economic activity is to lower taxes and give Canadians a reason to work. This is what was promised with the rollback in unemployment insurance premiums. We still need to target more areas of small business overtaxation and deal with those areas.

I also commend the government for its common sense in making the home buyers' program a permanent feature. Since being elected I have received more mail from my constituents regarding this issue than any other subject. Home ownership is at the top of most people's priority list and this government initiative will certainly help.

To get back to the issue of taxes, the most effective way to control the underground economy would be to offer a real decrease in taxes to all Canadians with the legislative promise of further decreases if participation in the underground economy drops and revenue goes up. As long as the underground economy continues to grow so will our deficit.

We do need some services. Canadians acknowledge this and want them. No one will deny this fact. We want all Canadians to have health care, housing, food and all that is necessary for all of us to live well. Canadians should have every opportunity to supply these needs for themselves. Assistance must be available to those who cannot provide these necessities for themselves. However, these essentials should be provided on a short term basis only to those temporarily facing misfortune and on a long term basis only to those who are permanently disabled.

To most Canadians it is not acceptable for the government to foster a way of life that stifles independence and self-reliance. Canadians must once again feel that their input into government decisions really counts. Often Canadians vote for the lesser of evils when they go to the polls. Hon. members opposite mistake this for an overwhelming mandate.

When people's concerns are ignored by the government they stop participating in society. Some have given up on the political process and stopped voting. Even worse are those who have given up on the economic process and send their money abroad or participate in the underground economy.

Canadians on the whole are not cheats and frauds, but right now they feel they are being forced to a survival mode under threat of losing their jobs, their homes and their way of life. They are tired of governments that ignore their concerns. When will the government realize that the people of Canada want less government interference and most of all want hard earned tax dollars spent wisely and frugally?

Although the budget has some commendable features, the current government must realize that further action has to be taken to bring Canada's financial affairs under control.