Madam Speaker, I am pleased to lend support to Bill C-53 and to join in the debate around the motions that have been put forward.
The Canada small business financing act is designed to assist small business. We in the NDP feel strongly that small businesses are a very important part of our community, a very vital part.
We believe that small and medium size businesses are an integral part of successful communities. I am sure that all of us can think of our various communities and point to many of the small businesses within our communities, whether they be construction companies, restaurants or information technology businesses, and we can see examples of people who are working hard, people who are dedicated, people who put in long hours to earn their living and to contribute in a meaningful way to our society.
I think of a small business in my riding of Halifax West, a small family restaurant. I go there sometimes in the morning for breakfast. I am served the most beautiful breakfasts, home cooked by the lady who operates this restaurant. This business creates an aura of hospitality, an aura of friendliness within the community. A lot of the local people come to that restaurant. They sit there and talk over the affairs of their community. They relate one on one with their neighbours. There is an atmosphere which is really good to see, people in the community interacting around this family business.
But it is also very noticeable that the owner of this business works very hard. She is in there first thing in the morning. She bakes homemade goods. She then deals with the customers who come in on their way to work. She is going all day. At the end of the day she has worked very hard and many long hours.
In 1996-97 small businesses created 81% of all new jobs, we are told. In 1997-98 small firms with fewer than 49 employees created 56,516 new jobs. Of the businesses operating in 1989, 51% were still operating in 1995. This is a testament of the endurance of these small businesses.
It is very important to realize that the people who operate these small businesses are people of integrity. They are people of honesty and they are people who would not necessarily take advantage of the programs that are being offered in a negative way. It bothers me when I hear Reform talking about not making things easier for people to access loans and to have help with their businesses. The inference is almost that these people will automatically take advantage of the grants and the programs available. But we must realize that most people in their small businesses are people of honesty and integrity and they are people who want to succeed. If we as a government, if we as a society, can help them, we certainly should be doing that.
It is for this reason that I urge all members in the House to give full support to the kinds of initiatives and the kinds of effort which will assist small business persons.