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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rights.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Richmond (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2008, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

China June 8th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Rosedale, the vice-chair of the foreign affairs committee, for the question and for his concern about an issue that is so dear to my heart.

I understand the hon. member has been travelling across the country with his work on the committee, and the issue of human rights in China has beenraised consistently. I am sure that we will have the support of the House and Canadians for advocating human rights in China, and I appreciate that.

I would like to reaffirm to the member and the House the conviction of the government concerning the issue of human rights in China. The situation remains a concern to us and there are different efforts being ensured to advance that cause.

Arms Sales June 8th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, that is a hypothetical question but I will answer part of it.

The sale of military equipment to Taiwan is subject to standard export control procedures and policies. We consider any such sales on a case by case basis and consistent with our one China policy.

Arms Sales June 8th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. Absolutely no consideration is being given by the government to sales of Canadian patrol frigates to Taiwan right now.

Canada Student Financial Assistance Act May 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity today to speak to Bill C-28 dealing with the federal government's plan to reform its program of student assistance.

In my role as Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, I am well aware of the importance of post-secondary education to Canada's economic and social development in the global economy.

As a member of Parliament I am aware of the crucial role that the Canada student loans program has played in ensuring accessibility to post-secondary education. At the same time, as a parent I recognize the need to modernize and improve the federal government's effort in this area.

As we consider this bill we must learn from the flaws in the current system, for there are flaws. However, we must leave in tact and strengthen the four key principles which have provided the framework for the Canada student loans program over the years; namely, access to assistance for all students in financial need, emphasis on the responsibility of individual students to progress in their studies and to contribute to the cost of their education if they have the means, a balance between public and private sector roles in financing student aid, and a client centred approach to the delivery of student assistance programs based on federal-provincial collaboration.

I would like to suggest a fifth principle, the need for flexibility to adjust to the dynamic learning environment and changing economic circumstances. As we have learned from past experience, change is inevitable.

The student assistance program must be able to adapt to new realities. Therefore the bill has been drafted to allow flexibility to respond to the challenges of the future.

Provinces are aware of the need for greater flexibility and have suggested how the federal and provincial programs may work together more efficiently by further streamlining the financing and administration of our activities.

Far from being an intrusion into an area of provincial jurisdiction, the Canada student loans program is a model of federal and provincial co-operation. Under this program the federal government has worked closely with provinces for almost 30 years to help equalize access to post-secondary education and training for students in need.

I would also note that the Canada student financial assistance bill continues to provide for provinces to opt out of the federal program and receive compensation. While Quebec and the Northwest Territories have withdrawn from the program, other provinces have not.

In fact, participating provinces have encouraged the federal government to continue to occupy this field and to expand its efforts in the area of student assistance.

Enhanced assistance for needy students is the main reason for this bill. The maximum level of aid has been frozen for 10 years while costs have gone up by 57 per cent. We are acting now to restore a viable and efficient student aid program. Loan limits will be increased to the level they would have been without the 10-year freeze. The full time loan limit will rise from $105 to $165 per week, and the part time limit will be increased from $2,500 to $4,000.

Debt load will be controlled through the introduction of deferred grants. Interest relief will be expanded to include low income borrowers, and special opportunity grants will be established.

Under the new financing arrangements, all eligible students will have access to loans and income sensitive terms in repayment. In total, the amount of aid to be provided over the next five years will be $2.5 billion more than over the last five years.

Individual Canadians are willing to take responsibilities for their own futures by investing the time and money in post-secondary education and training to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills for success. This is apparent from the fact that Canadians are attending Canada's universities, community colleges and private schools in record numbers.

The question that the government asked itself when considering how to reform the student assistance program was how can we help Canadians undertake the post-secondary studies they need.

The answer came back from the students. Give them the right tools, they said. That is why we are proposing fundamental changes to the student loans program to provide more aid to students and to introduce new forms of non-repayable assistance.

The flaws in the existing student aid programs have become increasingly evident in recent years. Every member of Parliament in this House has encountered students and former students who have had problems obtaining enough resources to study, or who have had difficulties in repaying their loans.

The proposed legislation would address both of these problems by increasing aid to students and introducing measures to ease the repayment burden on graduates. The reform of the student assistance program will increase educational opportunities and accessibilities for young people and for mature students returning to school, including single parents on income support and unemployed older workers who require training. Unless we can meet the needs of all of these people we are denying them opportunities and we are denying Canada the benefit of their skills and energies.

I would like to stress that the proposed act works for students with disabilities whose numbers in colleges and universities do not come close to reflecting the numbers in Canadian society. Students with disabilities confront many obstacles to full participation in Canada's economic mainstream. Learning should not be one of them. It is believed that fewer than 3 per cent of Canada's full time university and college students are persons with disabilities. This bill will deal effectively with those situations in which a barrier to post-secondary studies has been a lack of resources.

In addition to the increased loans, under the new legislation students with permanent disabilities may qualify for special opportunity grants of up to $3,000 per year to help cover costs relating to special transportation, interpretation services and technical aids. As well, we will allow flexibility for students who because of their disability must take fewer courses and who require more time to complete their studies.

This legislation will enable Canadians with disabilities to obtain the financing they need for the exceptional costs which they must incur to undertake their studies. Many of the challenges they face can be overcome with their ingenuity and perseverance and a little financial help from government.

Similarly, this legislation will address the special needs of women who wish to pursue doctoral studies in non-traditional fields. Special opportunity grants of up to $3,000 per year will be available to help women who are taking doctoral degrees in fields of study such as the applied and physical sciences, mathematics and engineering. There will also be special opportunity grants of up to $1,200 annually for high need, part time students to assist them in pursuing their studies.

The student financial assistance bill is an important step in our social security reform process. We are moving quickly in this area because the need is so great.

To summarize, let me put the reforms provided for in this bill in human terms.

Let us think about the students who are considering post-secondary studies who come into our constituency offices. What would the reform mean to them?

First, because of the new need assessment process, the financial need will be determined based on up to date objective national data which will reflect cost variations across the country.

Second, the maximum loans that they can expect to receive will be increased by 57 per cent to reflect current education costs.

Third, there will be non-repayable grants assistance for students with disabilities, high need, part time students and women in certain doctoral studies.

Fourth, students may be eligible for a deferred grant to help maintain manageable debt loads after graduation.

Fifth, when the time comes to pay back their student loans, they will be dealing with a lending institution which views them not as problems but as long term customers. Lenders will have an incentive to keep student loans in good standing by providing better service and income sensitive repayment. Both the lender and the borrower will view the student loan as the first transaction a long and mutually beneficial business relationship.

This is what the reforms provided for in the bill will mean to students. We are working to improve aspects of the social safety net but this legislation will help steer thousands of Canadians away from the safety net altogether.

Canada must look to its people for growth and prosperity in the years ahead. The new Canada student financial assistance program addresses that reality in a creative and fair minded way.

It will help individual Canadians meet the challenges ahead and build their futures in an atmosphere that encourages and supports their aspirations.

Let me conclude by saying that I am proud to be able to support this bill and I hope it will receive early passage so that we will be able to get on with the job at hand of helping Canadian students look toward their futures.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his concern about the relationship between human rights and trade development.

Because of the bilateral relationship between countries and the situation of particular countries, the method of dealing with the issue of human rights should not be a blanket approach. In some cases the government is not willing to have dialogue or even open up to trade and communications. We have to deal with them quite differently.

However in many instances in the Asia-Pacific area, for example China and Indonesia, the governments are willing to have dialogue on human rights and have been willing to adapt to a liberalization of their economies. Many cultural exchanges and social contacts through academics and other people are taking place. It is through those kinds of exchanges the people who are part of the leadership within the countries are responding to the concerns of international institutions.

In dealing with those cases, trade development with those countries is helping to move on to the international stage, to participate in international institutions and to respond to the international promotion of human rights. At the same time it encourages them to respond to international supervision of those issues.

Through trade we encourage them to participate. That is one issue. The other issue is that through trade we can help the government and the country to develop economically. If the country improves its economic position education centres can elevate their awareness of human rights and so on.

I always look at trade as part of helping developing countries. They are not mutually exclusive. We can pursue trade at the same time as helping to promote awareness of human rights in those countries. I hope I answered the hon. member's question.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question. I have heard the kind of complaint the

hon. member mentioned when travelling across Canada trying to investigate the problems facing Canadian industry right now.

I cannot agree with him more about the problems faced by small and medium sized businesses. However, the problem is multifaceted. In a lot of Asian countries the commercial laws are not in place. They have different cultures. They also have different ways of doing business. Also, because of language barriers and so on Canadian businessmen usually have a tough time making deals with Asia-Pacific countries in comparison with the way we can deal with our European counterparts and our North American counterparts. That is why for the past while only big business seems to have the ability to make deals with the region.

That also points to the reason why social development and a system of development to help those countries to institutionalize good open government are so important in our foreign relationships with them.

However, at this moment we still have to promote our trade for small and medium size businesses. What the department is doing now is investigating and looking for an institutionalized structure through which small and medium sized businesses could reach those markets. Sometimes they could afford one trip to the Asia-Pacific region but they might not be able to sustain the effort.

Through these trade commissions in our posts in those corresponding offices and with a more permanent structure in place we hope to help the small businessman facilitate them. At this moment we are trying to invite trade delegations from the Asia-Pacific region to Canada as well as to support our trade delegations going to various regions. By matching the businessmen on both sides of the ocean, by helping them to form partnerships and joint ventures we hope to help facilitate the trade effort.

There is a lot more that needs to be done at the beginning of our exploration of that market. The business community has done quite a bit on its own. With the government's commitment to providing help we can achieve much more in the near future.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, as my colleagues, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of International Trade and the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa have all mentioned, the government believes it is time for a foreign policy review, for a review of Canada's international interests and our domestic capabilities and constraints in the pursuit of our interests.

I have listened carefully to each of their remarks. I would like to add my views on Canadian foreign policy and more specifically on how it relates to my portfolio as Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific.

First of all my role as Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific is to advise the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Asia-Pacific matters. My responsibilities therefore cover both geographic and sectoral issues such as political economic matters and social development assistance.

Canadians recognize the need for job creation in Canada as well as the restoration of faith of Canadians in our economy. These two goals can be achieved to a large degree through an export led recovery. Presently about one-quarter of Canadian jobs are directly related to exports.

The Asian markets for pulp and paper, telecommunications and transport equipment, construction materials, agri-foods and petrochemicals present tremendous potential for economic growth in Canada. At the same time they meet the needs of many developing nations. Furthermore the Asia-Pacific region not only provides markets for our exports, but it is also an important source for the technology, investment capital and skills in which we can enhance Canadian competitiveness.

Growth rates in much of the Asia-Pacific region during the 1980s were more than twice as high as the rest of the world. Asia's share of world income could rise from 24 per cent in 1989 to 35 per cent by 2010 and to over 50 per cent by 2040.

Canadian businesses must prepare themselves to capitalize on the opportunities presented. If they fail to do so then we as a nation risk the erosion of those institutions that have made Canada the envy of the world.

Our success will depend on our ability to achieve greater access to these markets and to develop initiatives that will result in the provision of the greatest possible competitive advantage to Canadian exports. As part of this effort bilateral and multilateral economic and trade arrangements with countries in the Asia-Pacific region will need to be examined in light of the major economic changes taking place.

We must also recognize an increasingly important element is that Canada's trade and economic relations with the Asia-Pacific region will be the development of new institutions such as the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum. Within APEC are included five of Canada's top 10 export markets. As we can see, an active Canadian role within APEC is vital to our interests.

I was pleased that my first official function as Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific was to attend the APEC summit in November in Seattle with the Prime Minister and the Minister for International Trade.

APEC, like the region's explosive growth, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Since its creation five years ago it has become the region's main forum for discussions on regional growth, economic interdependence, strengthening the multilateral trading system and reducing barriers to trade in goods, services and investment. It has also become a major vehicle for co-operation on sectoral issues such as environmental problems.

During my first overseas trip in January to Hong Kong, south China, Thailand and Japan I was able to discuss many of these issues in more detail. These are some of the fastest growing and important markets for Canada. As I have already mentioned their needs correspond to many of our skills and expertise areas.

We need to devise ways to target government programs and resources effectively to assist Canadian companies to be even more successful international players. Of particular concern to this government is the role of small and medium size businesses. They have the potential to be the growth engines of the future but often lack the critical mass, the financial resources or the technical expertise to penetrate foreign markets.

The government must help to facilitate Canadian businesses to access the market in the Asia-Pacific region. We have some excellent examples of practical initiatives businesses and governments are undertaking together.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is planning Canada-Hong Kong Trade and Investment Week. This event is appropriately being titled "Profiting from Partnership" and will take place in Hong Kong and Guangzou in early May.

This initiative, which has the full backing of government and industry, has been designed to create networks between business people in Canada, Hong Kong and China. It will educate Canadians about business opportunities in Asia.

As the Minister for International Trade outlined recently, in co-operation with the Minister of Industry he has instituted a full review of this matter. The aim is to ensure that our small and medium size firms have access to the tools and the environment needed to compete.

Exports and venture financing, delivery of market information, co-ordination of government programs and the pooling of private sector resources are all issues now on the table. By adopting a more market driven approach to trade development, one that sees government as an export facilitator rather than an export leader, we can use market signals to help set our real trade priorities. We need to develop a national strategy to tap into the Asia-Pacific market. In order to develop the proper strategy we need to hear from parliamentarians and Canadians.

However foreign affairs must not only be concerned with international trade issues but also with political, social and economic matters. During the election campaign the Prime Minister clearly enunciated his mission of creating a stronger, more independent role for Canada on the international scene.

The Prime Minister stated his belief in a government that reinforced Canada's reputation for tolerance and openness, one with a common sense approach to ensure our values are reflected in all aspects of our foreign policy. The Minister of Foreign

Affairs is working hard to make that mission a reality. I am very pleased to have the chance to assist him in this regard.

One important aspect of the relationship Canada has with many of the nations of the Asia-Pacific region is in the area of development. It was not too long ago that the relationship between trade, aid and development was viewed by many as non-existent. Yet there are many facets to Canada's development program.

First, assisting societies in meeting their citizen's basic human needs has been a pillar of Canada's international involvement. However development assistance is much more than that. The environment, building peace and security, good governance, the promotion of human rights and racial and gender equality are also development issues.

Development assistance has been particularly effective in fostering the development of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In light of the progress achieved Canadian development priorities have shifted from isolated project planning to broader policy interventions intended to involve Canadians in co-operation for sustainable development in the region.

CIDA's strategy for the Asia-Pacific region has five broad priorities: strengthening the institutional capacity in support of sustainable development; co-operating in resolving national, regional and global environmental problems; promoting co-operation between private sectors in Canada and the Asia-Pacific region; fostering institutional linkages and networks; and encouraging respect for human rights and promoting good governance.

As these five priorities clearly demonstrate, the social, economic and political aspects of foreign policies are related. We as a nation will only benefit from an integrated approach.

Just last week I saw these five priorities in action during my visit to Bangladesh and Cambodia. Then I left the Canadian delegation to attend the ICORC meeting in Tokyo. ICORC stands for the International Committee on Reconstruction of Cambodia. My main interests were to promote our bilateral relations with Bangladesh and Cambodia and to observe first hand the effects of Canadian aid programs.

I was deeply impressed by the commitment of Canada's efforts to date.

Bangladesh is our biggest aid recipient and despite serious ongoing problems caused by overpopulation and environmental stress, Bangladesh has made important progress in a number of areas including family planning, food self-sufficiency, and an economic growth rate of 4 per cent in 1993.

Bangladesh is also becoming less aid dependent with donors now required to fund just over 70 per cent of its development budget compared with 100 per cent some years ago.

Our commitment to Cambodia is also of several years duration. We were signatories to the Paris peace accord of 1991 and contributed substantially to the UN Transitional Administration Committee that ushered in the new government last year.

Now that Cambodia has a democratically elected government after years of war we are assisting in such crucial areas as demining, technical assistance and poverty alleviation in rural areas. It is hard to think of a more compelling environmental problem than demining. Canada's leading role in helping to solve this problem has been recognized by the international community.

The highlight of my trip was meeting the 13 Canadians who are training Cambodian soldiers to complete this most difficult task.

As Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel Focsaneanu explained to me, the Cambodian people cannot return to the fields to work the land until those fields are safe. Demining is the most important part in helping Cambodia to develop.

Canada's political relations with the Asia-Pacific region are complex and challenging. Since the end of the cold war the region has evolved into an area of greater stability, productivity and justice. Nevertheless, serious causes for concern remain and other potential sources of dispute and conflict also exist.

Despite outstanding overall growth, disparities continue. While east and southeast Asia are outpacing the rest of the world the majority of the world's poor are still in the Asia-Pacific region.

These uncertainties present major challenges in any review of Canada's political and security relations with the region.

Perhaps the most encouraging development in recent years in the Asia-Pacific region is the growing willingness to address security issues and potential problems multilaterally using institutions such as the ASEAN ministerial consultative process in which Canada is a dialogue partner.

The process of multilateral consultation among regional governments is still in the early stages and much more work needs to be done before the region will develop practical mechanisms for resolving conflicts and disagreements.

In the interim informal methods of consultation involving academics, businessmen and officials acting in their unofficial capacities have developed. Canadians have been playing leading roles in these activities, notably in creating the North Pacific Co-operative Security Dialogue in 1990.

Through funding provided by CIDA Canada has also been instrumental in fostering consultations on specific areas of potential conflict such as the workshops on the South China Sea.

In the Asia-Pacific region, as in elsewhere, co-operative security means more than just reducing armaments and creating barriers to military ambitions.

There can be no real security if hunger, poverty, social injustice and environmental degradation continue. Our foreign policy has to be based on a comprehensive approach that involves trade developments, the respect for human rights, the support of social development and the institutionalization of good, open governments.

Recently the debate over social injustice in the Asia-Pacific region has acquired new dimensions. There are those who have argued that democratic development must necessarily take a back seat to economic development. However, I am one who maintains that in many instances the two are not mutually exclusive.

Certainly there is evidence that increased political flexibility is a by-product of economic liberalization, and governments that have opened their markets to international trade are more sensitive to the views and reactions of other countries. An inward looking society that depends little on trade and international investments is less likely to respond to concerns raised by foreigners.

Trade reduces isolationism. Trade also expands the scope of international law and generates the economic growth required to sustain social change and development. Economic liberalization also leads to a pluralization of interest groups in society. Nevertheless, all societies must resolve the tensions between individual and collective rights and we must all be vigilant to ensure that fundamental human rights are protected.

In this regard it is imperative that we as a government continue to raise the matter of human rights with those countries we believe to be in violation thereof at every opportunity. While we respect time honoured traditions and cultures, our position has always been that the best guarantee for stability and prosperity is a government that is responsive to its people.

The topics I have touched on today may serve as a preliminary indication of the kinds of issues that will need to be addressed as we consider Canada's relations with the Asia-Pacific region during the review of Canada's foreign policy. We are seeking views and guidance from Canadians in all walks of life to help provide directions in the development of our new policies and initiatives for the Asia-Pacific region.

While establishing strong and effective economic and trade relations with our Asia-Pacific partners is a primary focus, we shall continue to promote respect for human rights, the development of truly democratic political institutions and the objectives of sustainable development in our relations with the region. Establishing strong and effective economic and trade relations with the region is an important goal for Canada. As I hope I have outlined, we have much more to offer each other than just commercial opportunities.

As part of the foreign policy review process I look forward to discussing with Canadians their views on expanding our engagement with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region across the entire spectrum of political, social, environmental and economic relations.

As a country bordering both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Canada has the opportunity to expand in both directions. I believe the time is right for us to realize our full potential as a partner in the dynamic developments taking place in the Asia-Pacific region and I look forward to hearing the views of Canadians on how to best achieve this goal.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Canada is faced with a number of very important issues. We must continue to establish beneficial trading relationships and we must also work hard to promote our bilateral as well as multilateral linkages. We must continue to support economic and social development in the region, while being mindful of its cultural diversities, and we must capitalize on our natural human advantages to realize this tremendous potential.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question. It provides me with the opportunity to expand on what we have seen as the way to solve the problems of Canada today.

I appreciate the problems in the rural areas, but the hon. member does have a lot of richness in his community even though he is in a rural area. One of the most important things we have in Canada is agricultural products.

I had a meeting today with a group from the beef cattle farm industry. We are planning to double our exports to the Asia-Pacific region, which will be comparable to U.S. exports. If we are successful we should be able to double the income for beef farms.

I find there is a lot of hope for us. There is a lot of potential for us. Only when we can explore our potential and make sure of expansion in our economy can we transform this into jobs for our youth in the rural areas.

The member talked about a problem with education. With the technology of today we could establish knowledge networks such that students, the youth in the rural area, could also tap into the knowledge resources provided by the government and other institutions.

Sometimes it is not necessary to go through university in order to be a productive Canadian. I recommend the hon. member keep in touch with the government to make sure that it can be moved to provide the knowledge network required in rural areas. While I am from a more metropolitan area, I am also sensitive to the hon. member's region but the reason we are elected is to represent our regions.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, as this is my maiden speech in the House of Commons I would like first to take this opportunity to thank the people of Richmond, British Columbia, for the trust they placed in me on my birthday, October 25, 1993.

I am honoured to be serving Richmond and pledge always to work on behalf of my constituents. Furthermore, February 10 this year will mark the Chinese new year of the dog and I would like to wish everyone a prosperous, happy and healthy year.

Many challenges face us in the upcoming year. One of the most important of these is to utilize our most precious resources, human potential.

As I said throughout the campaign, the best investment we can make is to invest in ourselves and our children. For too long Canadians from every region and every age group have faced unemployment, insecurity and disillusionment because of a lack of economic opportunity.

That is why the government believes it is important to invest in our people, to prepare them to return to the workforce. It is as important as creating jobs through fostering economic growth.

We believe this begins by better preparing the transition from school to the workplace, to provide a constructive outlet for the skills and talents of younger Canadians. Canada must become a learning society that empowers young people and adults alike to constantly upgrade their skills and aptitude.

They must be able to meet the future with competence and confidence. So far we seem to have no systematic way of bringing young people into the working world.

As the Economic Council of Canada reported in 1992, Canada has one of the worst records of school-to-work transition. Those leaving school find jobs by trial and error, often wasting their own time and society's resources in the process. Of the apprenticeship programs that do exist, many are outdated and irrelevant in today's high-tech marketplace.

In Metro Vancouver, of which Richmond is a part, overall youth unemployment is an alarming 13.8 per cent. In fact, 15 per cent of males between the ages of 14 and 25 are unemployed. This is not acceptable.

On October 25, 1993 Canadians gave this government a mandate to do something about this serious mismatch between today's jobs and the skills of the people who want to fill them.

As we stated in our red book, we will work with business, labour and provincial governments to provide funding to establish relevant apprenticeship programs. Our focus will be on such growth areas as information technology, computer services, environmental services, and the growing fields of medicine and biotechnology.

Common occupational standards for training certification will be established and set by businesses and labour. Employers themselves will create the course work associated with industry-driven apprenticeship programs. As a result, these programs will be better integrated in the specific needs of business. We will also provide funding for job training through private and public institutions.

As the Minister of Human Resources Development has stated, our government is also committed to improving the Canada student loans program. We will consider changes to enhance short-term aid in collaboration with the provinces and other key stakeholders.

Our partnerships will not end there. Canadians who have jobs also want to improve their skills. They want to be able to earn higher wages and achieve economic stability for themselves and their families. They seek greater job security and a chance for a more prosperous future for themselves and their families.

The trend toward ever higher skills requires continuous education. Most workers realize they will change jobs several times in their lives. More than ever before jobs will require higher levels of literacy and numeracy skills, along with more technical training.

More and more a continuous training and learning culture needs to be developed within companies and businesses throughout Canada. That is why this government is working with business, labour and the provinces to produce joint incentives to increase workplace training.

This government is committed to economic growth in both the short and long term. We are working with the provincial and territorial governments for a joint federal-provincial-municipal infrastructure program. Besides providing much needed improvements to Canada's infrastructure, this program will help to stimulate economic activity and it will help to get Canadians working again.

In another area we will focus on supporting small and medium sized businesses to create new employment through business networks, better management skills, financing, wage subsidies and accessing government services.

Our government will work with Canada's financial institutions to improve access to capital. A Canadian investment fund will be created to help innovative technology firms obtain the venture capital they need to become Canada's industries of tomorrow.

We will also improve training for the owner-managers of small business. Our government will develop plans for access to information on new technologies and new market opportunities.

Jobs for Canadians will come by way of exporting goods. We have to look beyond the North American border for trade opportunities. We have to look for export markets, for example in the Asia-Pacific region, a region with the highest economic growth rate in the world, yet it remains a market scarcely tapped by Canadian industries.

This government will focus on building partnerships with Canadians to develop markets for our exports around the world in order to provide meaningful jobs for Canadians.

Social policy reform and creating jobs by fostering economic growth are both important to the future of Canada. However, the government cannot do it alone. In order to turn the economy around, Canadians must be prepared to play a large part.

For the sake of Canada, I urge all hon. members of this House and all Canadians to be part of this process. If we are, I am sure that Canada can be strong and economically sound again.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Actually I will be following up with my questions, Mr. Speaker.

I can identify with the hon. member about his background. I too came to Canada in search of freedom and democracy.

I feel that what is happening in the former Yugoslavia is not only a problem of military action.

As the hon. member has said, it is because of the hatred between the different ethnic groups there. Even though they have been living together for hundreds of years the hatred still exists.

It is important for us to preach to the people in that region about how Canadians can live together peacefully. It is because we have the idea of multiculturalism, that we respect each other regardless of our racial backgrounds.

The question I would like to ask the hon. member is: While the Reform Party members are visiting that troubled region, would they please take the opportunity to preach to the people in that region about how beautiful and wonderful multiculturalism is and let them understand the very important parts our various cultures play in Canada.