Mr. Speaker, I thank all hon. members for their submissions in this debate.
I reiterate that the unemployment problem in Newfoundland is devastating. The official unemployment rate in Newfoundland is higher than anywhere else in Canada. For a number of years it has had a 20% or 21% official unemployment rate. However, the fact of the matter is that an awful lot of communities in Newfoundland and Labrador have unemployment rates of 60%, 70% and 75%. A number of communities are shutting down all along the coast of Newfoundland, which is causing a lot of social unrest among people. This is an issue that has been with us and on the agenda for many years. It just does not go away.
I appreciate the submission of the government member. I am well aware that half the provincial budget of Newfoundland and Labrador comes from federal transfer payment. We are well aware of it and very grateful for it. I have heard much of the rhetoric before, but with respect we need creative solutions to this devastating problem. We have to look at the problem in its own right.
The hon. member for Calgary West stood a few minutes ago in this place and talked about this problem as if it were some kind of joke. If the member for Calgary West thinks it is a joke, if he thinks that a 20% unemployment problem in Newfoundland is a joke, he had better think again because it is no joke. The member is a joke but this is no joke.
The member for Calgary West has nothing to add to the debate. He had the nerve to stand in his place today and say to the people of Newfoundland that maybe they should move or that maybe the people of Atlantic Canada should go away.