Congratulations, Mr. Speaker.
Before commenting on the motion before this House I would like to take the opportunity to thank the constituents of Windsor—St. Clair for their support in the June election. I am honoured to be asked to represent them once again and their faith in our government is not misplaced.
I wish also to thank the many volunteers who supported our campaign and whose friendship I cherish very much.
Windsor—St. Clair, which is basically the east end of Windsor, Tecumseh and the village of St. Clair Beach, have once again placed their faith in our government. Throughout the campaign they told us loud and clear what they were concerned about. Those things included health care, education, unemployment and in particular, youth unemployment.
These were local concerns but we would be mistaken to think that the constituents of Windsor—St. Clair have only local concerns. Indeed they were also concerned about national unity, Canada's role as a trading nation and Canada's role as an international broker of peace, her role generally in the global village.
The throne speech and the subsequent address yesterday by the right hon. Prime Minister indicate that the government has listened to Windsor—St. Clair. Not only did we listen but we are putting in place programs to alleviate the concerns that I have outlined. All the while we are maintaining our steady attack on both the deficit and the debt. Canada will never under a Liberal government, in any event, return to the financial crisis that we faced when we came to power in 1993.
In addition to funds for health and education, we will continue our attack on unemployment in general and youth unemployment in particular. Programs like Youth Services Canada are already operating in Windsor—St. Clair to give young people work experience and a wage while they serve our community.
The focus of this government is such that we can be assured that the concerns of the constituents of Windsor—St. Clair will be met.
I would like to urge the government to work with us on more specific areas which will help our community to prosper even more. It is my belief that an economically prosperous community is able to better overcome other social problems. It is my belief that economic prosperity will lead generally to a better quality of life, to lower crime rates, to a lack of other social problems, to lower welfare rates and to a generally better lifestyle.
One way to do that is to offer more support to our local industries. It is no secret that Windsor is Canada's motor city. I like to say that Windsor is effectively the centre of the universe, but that may not be the case for some of my colleagues. I can say however that it is urgent and very important for our community to see support from the government for the automotive industry.
The automotive industry employs directly or indirectly approximately half of working Ontarians. It is the biggest employer in our province and as an industrial group the most important employer in our province. It is of the utmost importance for the Government of Canada to focus on issues like tariffs, apprenticeship training for skilled trades and on other areas that will offer support to our domestic automotive industry.
Canada is a trading nation and in the 1960s under the leadership of Prime Minister Lester Pearson and my predecessor in Windsor—St. Clair or Windsor—Walkerville as it was then, the Hon. Paul Martin, Sr., the auto pact was signed. The auto pact has reached an almost sacred position in our community because the auto pact is the engine that allows those industries to exist, to prosper and employs our citizens.
In my view it is important that the government continue to focus on agreements like the auto pact, to give them support and strength so that we will have more employment, more prosperity and therefore a better quality of life in Windsor, Tecumseh, St. Clair Beach and in the province of Ontario generally.
It is important also that we support other industries. In the last five or six years the tourism industry has become vital to our community. Tourism and particularly the gambling industry fuelled by Casino Windsor have become extremely important. However, there is a fly in the ointment. That fly comes from the Conservative government of the province of Ontario which has consistently refused and neglected to take the steps necessary in order to allow the government to legalize some aspects of gambling which would help the casino to prosper. I am talking specifically about games of dice.
In the near future we will be faced with competition from gambling facilities in the city of Detroit. Those gambling casinos will have dice games. It is important that Windsor have the opportunity to compete but the initiative has to come from the attorney general of Ontario. In spite of consistent promises to the mayor and citizens of Windsor who want this to happen, nothing has been done to approach our attorney general in order to start the dice rolling, as we say in Windsor.
Tourism is a very important part of what our community can provide to Canada. It is a very important part of the puzzle that is unemployment. The more tourism there is, the more service jobs and jobs in tourism there will be. It seems to me that it is just a simple matter of a member of the Ontario government picking up a pen and writing a little note and whisking it off to the Attorney General of Canada. Once it gets here I am sure the Essex County lobby and others can make sure that the request gets the significant attention it deserves.
I hope members do not think this is too much about my community, but I would like to talk for a minute about the heavy taxation on distilled spirits. We are a town that provides what I like to think of as one of Canada's basic food groups, Canadian Club whisky. Canadian Club is an agri-food product and is also a great symbol of our country in my view.
The federal government has been trying to initiate discussions with the provinces. However, it is time for all of us to take a look at this commodity which provides hundreds of jobs in my community. The factory is a historic one and it is very important to the community that this serious problem be discussed.
In general foreign trade is very important to Windsor. I would encourage the Prime Minister to continue his trade missions and to continue to invite businessmen and women from Windsor, Tecumseh and St. Clair Beach to join him as he promotes Canada around the world.
As Windsor prospers economically our other problems subside. Our crime rate is lower than it has ever been. When one is downtown in the evening going to a movie or to one of our wonderful restaurants there is a sense of vitality and prosperity there that I challenge any other community in Canada to meet.
I would urge the government to take a look at those things I have outlined that are specifically of importance to Windsor. I would also urge the government to continue on the track it is on, and I would ask all members to support the motion of the hon. member from Parkdale with respect to the throne speech.