Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to join in the debate this afternoon on the speech from the throne. The throne speech outlined many initiatives which the government would carry forward this year and into the future.
It reflected what has been said in the House on many occasions, in statements by the Prime Minister and many ministers in the House and elsewhere that the number one priority of the government was, is and continues to be economic growth and jobs for Canadians.
One of the most important initiatives in the speech from the throne was to get government right, to continue to bring order to our financial house and to meet or exceed our deficit reduction targets, targets that the government has met or exceeded to date and will continue for the balance of this year and for 1997 and 1998, reaching a reduced deficit target of $9 billion in fiscal year 1998-99. This has resulted in the lowest interest rates we have seen in the country for decades and at the same time a low rate of inflation.
It has prompted an increase in small business and industry in Canada which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of new jobs being created. Getting the deficit on a downward trend toward a balanced budget and our financial house in order is also the best protection for our cherished social programs such as the national medicare system and the protection of pensions for those Canadians depending on this important made in Canada program.
Let me talk a bit about economic growth and the enthusiasm for business, industry and the associated jobs with the same in my constituency of Carleton-Charlotte.
Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of attending the official opening of the new, expanded Sabian cymbal plant in the small community of Meductic, New Brunswick. This new, enlarged and modern facility means an additional 12 to 15 new jobs immediately. As a result of these wonderful cymbal producers who export throughout the world and are marketing what is proclaimed to be
the best or one of the best cymbal products known throughout the world is something to take a lot of pride in.
Also earlier this past early summer McCain Foods in Florenceville, New Brunswick announced the expansion of its data processing centre to double its size, meaning another new 30 to 50 jobs. That is confidence when we see this happening.
In Centreville, New Brunswick, another small community in my Carleton-Charlotte constituency, Canusa Foods announced and began construction of a new potato processing plant, meaning another 25 to 30 new jobs that were not there before.
In Woodstock, New Brunswick, Penn Papers is expanding its processing manufacturing plant which certainly means many new jobs.
Last week in the village of McAdam, New Brunswick I had the opportunity to participate in the announcement that the former railway station would be turned over to the community by the Southern New Brunswick Railway Company and by the Irving family. This is a very picturesque railway station and something of which we can be proud as part of our Canadian heritage.
What does it mean to the village of McAdam and surrounding area? It means that it is the focal point for the tourism industry, and I might say year round tourism industry, the focal point for the lakes, the beautiful eco-tourism industry of that whole surrounding area.
Imagine, in a small community, over 800 people came out for the official announcement. They had waited years for this to happen. This did not just start yesterday. It started many years ago. I certainly was delighted to be part of it. What does it mean? It means new and additional jobs for that whole region.
Briggs and Little in York Mills, New Brunswick is a yarn company which is famous across Canada. It will be opening its new plant this month which produces woollen yarns that are used in products across this country. It will see an additional 25, perhaps 30 jobs as a result of this opening. It is a new modern plant, with modern machinery and modern technology to meet today's demands.
Earlier this week, this very week, I had the opportunity to participate in the official opening of Apocan Inc., an antimony mine in the Lake George area of New Brunswick. Some 75 new direct jobs have been created. The mushrooming effect of this antimony mine will produce additional jobs in trucking and other services throughout the community.
What is antimony? In the very early days it was used in the mixture of medicines. Later it was used as a component in the production of alloys. While it is still used to a small extent in those areas today, one of its major purposes now is as a fire retardant. It is used in many of our homes in such things as draperies, carpeting, even in our clothing because of its fire resistant qualities.
The projections are that the use of this product will increase at a rate of 8 per cent a year for each year in the foreseeable future. Therefore I am optimistic that those 75 jobs announced this very week will continue to expand to become 100, 150 or 200 jobs in future years. They in turn will have the spin-off effect of creating jobs in service industries to support them.
In St. Stephen the famous Ganong Brothers chocolate plant is working at full capacity at the present time. It is working on its Christmas production of those famous chocolates that are in demand not only in Canada but in many parts of the world.
Connors Brothers which operates fish processing and packing plants in Blacks Harbour, Back Bay and Seal Cove has certainly seen increased production this year and the important jobs associated with that.
Agriculture, the traditional fishery, aquaculture, forestry, literally hundreds of small businesses and industries of all sizes are working hard across Carleton-Charlotte, and indeed across New Brunswick, in order to profit, expand and provide hundreds of new jobs.
There are challenges with the new technologies and the changing requirements of today. There is no question that much work still has to be done, but these new technological requirements are being met today and will continue to be met into the future. There are a few examples which were just announced this week by Industry Canada.
There is support for the community access sites. I can refer to those in my constituency and others may want to talk about those in their constituencies because this is good stuff. These are great opportunities for our communities and our youngsters. New technology, new opportunities to connect with the world marketplace are at our doorstep.
Announcements were made for new community access sites in St. Stephen, St. George, Fredericton Junction, Florenceville and Hartland, New Brunswick. These announcements on this three year program are in addition to the ones that were made last year for community access opportunities in Juniper, Bath, Woodstock, Harvey, Lawrence Station, Deer Island, Campobello Island and St. Andrews.
The program provides all of those communities and indeed all of those rural areas with the tools to reach out to the markets and to the information that is available around the world. That is what the throne speech was about: equal access for all Canadians. Regardless of whether they live on Prince Edward Island, in New Brunswick, in the wonderful province of Quebec, on the west coast,
in central Canada or in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, there will be equal access and equal opportunity for all Canadians.
That is why leading economists and even the OECD have projected that in 1997 Canada will lead all G-7 nations in economic growth. Canada will lead all of the industrialized countries of the world in economic growth. What does that mean for Canadians? It means jobs. That is why we are excited about it. It will mean jobs for all Canadians.
I see my colleague across the way from St. John's, Newfoundland. She is excited because there will be an opportunity for her constituents to get jobs. Jobs are needed in Atlantic Canada, there is no question about it.
Yes, we have challenges and we will continue to have challenges. But we will meet tomorrow's challenges as we have in the past. We did not say it was going to be easy and that the solutions would simply fall at our feet. It has been tough work.
On arriving here we faced a $42 billion deficit. The debt was over $500 billion. There was a $6 billion deficit in the unemployment insurance fund. It went on and on. When we opened the books it was scary. Yes, there is still a way to go. There is no question about it. But is it not great to see our deficit on a downward trend? We can look forward to a balanced budget. That is exciting stuff.
What is being said about Canadian exports? We know that team Canada is planning another trip. Business and industry leaders, the Prime Minister and the premiers will get together to travel overseas to create more opportunities for Canadian business and industry. That is being planned for early 1997. What does that mean to us as Canadians? We are told that every $1 billion of export trade that is garnered means 11,000 jobs for Canadians, either in new jobs or existing jobs which will be protected. That is important.
Almost every day in the newspapers the leading economists write that Canada will lead in economic growth in 1997. That is the result of getting government right. That is the result of bringing down the deficit. That is the result of having an acceptable inflation rate. That is the result of good administration and hard work. It will continue from this time onward until the next throne speech and thereafter.