March 26, 1979

?

An hon. Member:

Five minutes.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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PC

Harvie Andre

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Andre:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank members of the House. I will take two more minutes. I did not want to give the impression that I am in receipt of an advance copy of the Lambert commission report because I am not, but I do have a general inkling of what it contains. Indeed, one can get that message from the interim report. If I look forward with anticipation to the report of the Lambert commission, it is because it will be recommending precisely what my party has been recommending for quite a period of time.

If there is any doubt about that, I would refer hon. members to the debate which took place in February of 1978 when we allotted an opposition day to this subject. We laid out in specific detail the necessary changes to restore democratic control in the government's spending processes and to ensure that proper management and effective control of taxpayers' money is the rule rather than the exception.

As I indicated in my opening remarks, the government administers taxpayers' money in trust. A position of trust demands the utmost in care, efficiency and effectiveness, and that the money be spent in accordance with the wishes of the democratically elected representatives of the people. The government has failed to honour this trust. It has failed miserably,

and in the process it has wasted enormous amounts of money, and perhaps even more seriously, it has wasted ten or 11 years which could have been put to better use.

Basically the Lambert commission is recommending that everything the Prime Minister has done in regard to managing the affairs of Canada be changed. That verifies our view that this is the most poorly managed government in Canada's history. I urge the House to support this motion so that Canadians will get their long overdue opportunity to express their opinion.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lome Nystrom (Yorkton-Melville):

Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. member for Calgary Centre (Mr. Andre) for introducing this motion before the House today. Let me indicate at the outset that we intend to support it.

I should like to comment on approximately three or four matters. First, I will give some evidence of government mismanagement and waste. I will make a few comments in general about government spending and the practices of various governments across the country. Also I should like to comment a little on the entire area of corporate waste, which we sometimes forget about.

A portion of the motion reads "to implement management and administrative procedures that will ensure that the taxpayers' funds are spent efficiently". The hon. member for Calgary Centre referred to Crown corporations and the fact that there are approximately 400 of them in the country. Also he referred to the lack of authority parliament has over them. Perhaps a solution which should be thought about by parliament is the one which was introduced by the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands (Mr. Douglas) when he was premier of Saskatchewan a long time ago. At that time they struck in the legislature a committee on Crown corporations. Part of the practice of the legislative assembly in Saskatchewan is that an annual report of every Crown corporation is referred to the appropriate committee before the house recesses or before the house closes for the year. In that way members of the legislative assembly have a direct input into what Crown corporations are saying and doing. For at least the commercial Crown corporations, such as Petro-Canada, Air Canada, AECL and various other ones, perhaps this procedure should be implemented into the rules and regulations of this House. Regardless of party or regardless of government, it would give all of us a chance to give some input to the directions and priorities of Crown corporations.

In terms of the entire area of waste, there is a lot of evidence concerning government waste and mismanagement. All one has to do is look at several Auditor General reports. They show the whole litany of bad decisions, waste and mismanagement listed year in and year out. One can look at examples in the city of Ottawa where federal government buildings are sitting empty. I am glad the President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Buchanan) will be replying. Perhaps he can comment on this area as well.

I have before me a copy of an article which appeared in the February 24, 1979, edition of the Ottawa Journal. It is

March 26, 1979

entitled: "Vacant space will cost $167,000 a month". It refers to the moving of certain public servants across the river. I am not commenting upon the policy of government buildings being decentralized out of Ottawa to Hull or other places; I am commenting upon the lack of good management-that there should be a tremendous waste of buildings already available. I am commenting upon the fact that there should have been better planning and phasing in of the program so that taxpayers' funds are not wasted in such a manner.

There are other examples of government waste. I should like to refer to one which has been localized and raised in the House before. It is an ad which appeared in a small weekly newspaper in my constituency. I believe this ad has appeared in every weekly and daily newspaper in Saskatchewan recently. The one I have in my hand appeared in a weekly publication known as the Foam Lake Review on March 14, 1979. It is an ad which could be almost labelled a political one, except that it is paid for by the Government of Canada. It is in the name of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Lang) of Transport Canada. The ad is entitled: "Can Canada really export 114 billion bushels of grain a year by 1985?". The ad refers to the tremendous achievements of the government in the last few years by building export capacity for the movement of grain. I should like to know how much such an ad costs.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

It pretends to be an article.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

As the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands has stated, it looks like an article. There was another such ad in Vancouver. It referred to saving thousands of dollars on car fuel over the next five years if one could. It was in the name of the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Gillespie), the honourable czar of energy. There are various ads of that sort. I see the hon. member for Battleford-Kindersley (Mr. Mclsaac) smiling. He is really very ashamed about this.

What about PRAC? PRAC was established by the Minister of Transport to look at rail line abandonment in the prairies. I should like to quote from the ad wherein it refers to PRAC. It reads as follows:

You can fight for unprotected branch lines several ways, starting right now. Here is what you can do:

1. Form a local retention committee. Co-operate with other retention committees on the same rail line.

2. Study the reasons why the Hall commission or PRAC recommended abandonment. You may find an important mistake or you may find the situation has changed.

Many mistakes have been made by the Prairie Rail Action Committee. The ad continues:

3. Let the western arm of the CTC know you plan to defend a line. It will be alerted that people are interested in saving a line and want a hearing.

The minister could be saying this in press releases and in speeches. One can go back to the fact that most of the lines should not be abandoned in the first place. It continues:

The western arm of the CTC can deny an application for abandonment for Five years or so. The western arm of the CTC can also recommend to the

Waste and Mismanagement

Minister of Transport that a line should be added to the permanent network,

guaranteed into the next century.

The Minister of Transport can add lines to the permanent network.

One must remember the cost of such ads to taxpayers. This type of thing makes Canadians very, very cynical about government, the management ability of politicians, bureaucrats and public servants. That makes me very sad because I do not think Crown corporations, governments or public servants are any less capable of managing money than the private sector. I do not think they are any less capable of planning the economy than the private sector. It is ads such as this which lessen the credibility of government as an institution. They lessen the credibility of people who are involved in public life and manage the funds of the country. It is nothing less than a blatant political ad. The government is sticking its hand and greedy fingers into the pork barrel in an attempt to be re-elected in a few ridings in western Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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?

An hon. Member:

That is the way to do it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

I wish the hon. member opposite would rise to his feet and say that this is the way the government should go about doing things for the country.

In a debate of this type we should look at the priorities in managing money which the government has set. It is not only that the government wastes money, but we should look at its priorities. It is willing to give millions of dollars to professional hockey teams for rinks, but when a small town wants to build a rink for amateur sport, suddenly it meets the government's restraint program head on. I ask why?

Then look at what is being done about medical research in this country. Again, this has been cut back. When we look at the problems the native people have, and problems in respect of Indian housing, again we see that we are running into restraints. I think that is mismanagement of government funds.

Millions of dollars are being handed to the pulp and paper industry in spite of the fact that these companies are making profits and are not broke. Still they are receiving over $200 million in public funds. I think that is mismanagement of government funds.

When I look at the gifts the government opposite gives the huge corporations I am reminded of the fact that this government has probably borrowed more money abroad than any government in the past in order to prop up the falling Canadian 85-cent dollar, about which the government boasts sometimes. It is now printing a new $20 bill which is not worth much more than the dollar of a few years ago. This government has borrowed billions of dollars to defend the falling dollar, and we are now paying all kinds of interest on that borrowed money. At the same time this government is deferring corporate income taxes. That is money this government could use to reduce this huge deficit, money that could be used

March 26, 1979

Waste and Mismanagement

to build up the economy in this country, making it much stronger.

I notice that corporate deferred taxes have gone up $1.6 billion in the third quarter of 1978 compared to the third quarter of 1977. I understand these deferred taxes now stand at some $12.3 billion as of the third quarter of 1978. These are deferred taxes. I am sure that if the poor people in this country, such as those women working in the squid industry in Newfoundland, wanted to defer a few bucks in taxes it would not be long before the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Abbott) was demanding that they pay these few bucks to the national revenue department.

These are the things I think we should be noting when we are talking about government mismanagement of funds. We should look at this government's priorities to see whether it is governing for the ordinary, little person in this country. I think we should also be futuristic and think about the way this government is planning the economy. Just think of all the types of priorities this government has. If we look at these priorities in hard terms I think we must conclude that the government is wasting all kinds of money and is not planning the economy.

We should look at a number of different areas, for example grain handling. The Wheat Board has said that if we had put more money into boxcars we could have sold an extra $350 million worth of grain this year alone. We could have done that if we had adequate rolling-stock. We have seen many reports that say that if the government had a proper program in respect of nutrition to inform people about the foods they are eating, we could save hundreds of millions of dollars each and every year in terms of hospital bills that are escalating so rapidly in this country.

There are many other things one could point out. I think of the money wasted in relation to our human potential, particularly when I look at that vast reservoir of unemployed in this country, the result of a lack of planning in our economy. I look at the fact that we as a nation import more manufactured goods per capita than any other industrial country in the world. Surely to God we can do more processing of our raw materials in this country, for example, by upgrading the nickel in Nickel Belt and the Sudbury basin. By doing this we could be providing jobs for Canadians. I think that is one of the most condemning features of this government's lack of ability to manage and plan our economy in a proper way.

We should look at the food picture, something about which I am very interested in terms of agriculture and the consumer. We are becoming less and less self-sufficient in the production of food. If we had proper government management of the economy we could be producing a lot more food in this country. Some 70 per cent of our strawberries, for example, are being imported along with some 30 per cent of our cabbages, 44 per cent of our onions and 24 per cent of our cherries.

Many of these things that are imported could be produced in this country. I look across the way and see my good friend, the Minister of State (Environment) (Mr. Marchand). I do not

have the clipping with me, but that environmental czar over there said about a year ago that if we could use the energy that is wasted in this country we could produce an extra $2 billion worth of fruits and vegetables. He said that we could do that if we had proper planning of resources for the Canadian people.

In fact, if we discount grains and oilseeds we find that in 1978 our net deficit in the production of food amounted to about $1.6 billion. We are only about 90 per cent efficient in the production of beef. Just think of our very small population and the huge acreage we have in Alberta, Saskatchewan and other provinces for the production of beef. If we had proper management of the economy we could be more than self-sufficient in the production of beef in this country.

These are some of the things we should be looking at when we are considering a motion such as the one before the House today, and this brings me to the second part of the subject I wish to discuss. I do not think it is just the government across the way that does not know how to manage things. I got the impression from the Conservative party that it was a super manager and would get rid of government debts. I got the impression from members of that party that they would cut back on government spending. I used to believe them as I am basically a person who believes everything everybody tells me. I always believed that people were telling the truth. Perhaps I was naive in thinking that they would not mislead me. I did a little bit of research to see whether the Tories have a monopoly on prudent government spending, small deficits and proper management and planning. That is not what I found at all. I think this House should know some of the facts.

I just noticed in the paper on Saturday that Premier Lough-eed had added another five our six members to his cabinet, and with 29 cabinet ministers in the province of Alberta he has the largest cabinet of any provincial government. In terms of a small Tory management team, again this is an indication-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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?

An hon. Member:

Tell us about Barrett.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

Barrett had a much smaller cabinet than that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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?

An hon. Member:

How many people are there in Alberta?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

The population of Alberta is something under two million. The population of Quebec is over six million and the population of Ontario is well over seven million, yet Alberta still has by far the largest provincial cabinet in this country.

Let us look at numbers in respect of public servants. The province of Saskatchewan has 1.8 per cent of its people in the public service. In Nova Scotia, 2.3 per cent of the population is in the public service. In that Tory bastion of Alberta I am told that 2.4 per cent of the people are public servants, and in Tory New Brunswick the figure is 3.4 per cent. I understand that the national average is 3.3 per cent. This shows that the government that is a socialist government is the one that knows how to manage. Saskatchewan is by far the best managed province in this country.

March 26, 1979

Let us have a look at capital spending. When Tories hear the facts they cannot face them and they leave the House, like the hon. member for Edmonton Centre (Mr. Paproski) is now doing. Let us have a look at per capita spending. The hon. member for Calgary Centre talked a lot about government spending, but which province in 1976 had the lowest per capita spending in the country? Was it the province of Ontario or the province of Alberta, or was it a Tory province at all? The answer is no; it was the province of Saskatchewan. It spent $1,436 per capita. Alberta had a per capita expenditure of $1,657, with Ontario spending over $1,700. All the other provinces had per capita expenditures that were higher, including Tory Ontario.

Let us look at government debt. Everybody knows that Saskatchewan for years was a very poor or have-not province. It was a province that always received transfer payments from the federal government. Let us look at government debt because we often get lectures in this House by Tories about how they would get rid of debts if they were in power. The lowest per capita provincial debt in this country is not the debt of a Tory province, and not that of the province of Alberta, but rather the province of Saskatchewan with a debt of $980 per capita. The province of Quebec is second with a per capita debt of $1,803. Alberta, with all its wealth and immense potential, its heritage fund and everything else, has a per capita debt of $1,880; in other words, twice as high as the per capita debt of the province of Saskatchewan. Then there is wealthy Ontario with a per capita debt of $2,059. In poorer provinces such as Newfoundland, the per capita debt is $3,000.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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LIB

Maurice Adrian Dionne

Liberal

Mr. Dionne (Northumberland-Miramichi):

Oh, oh!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

Tory New Brunswick is very, very bad. In Saskatchewan, however, one-seventh of every cent goes toward paying off the debt of the province, whereas in Ontario eight cents of every tax dollar goes into paying off the provincial debt. We must put into perspective the fact that, the Tories are very, very poor when it comes to managing the taxpayers' money. I am not quoting the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) or the hon. member for Edmonton Centre or anybody else in that party; I am merely quoting the facts as they are stated by statistics Canada with regard to the various provincial governments in this country.

The third area which I would like to talk about in the three minutes I have left is corporate waste. We talk a lot about government waste, but there is also corporate waste which in many cases, I think, is more extravagant or, at least, as extravagant as the waste by the government of this country.

I remember CEMA and the great debate about the egg marketing agency a few years ago. People hit the roof because a few million eggs had spoiled. The spoiled eggs represented about one half of one per cent of the eggs produced in this country. It amounted to about one day's production by all the hens in Canada. If a company had a margin of error of less than one half of one per cent, I am sure that many people would say that they had a very efficient board of directors.

Waste and Mismanagement

There are many cases of corporate waste. For example, I have a report commissioned by the Food Prices Review Board called the Mallen report. The report discusses the waste in the retail food system of our country and how Canadians are paying more than they should because of the fact companies are so wasteful. The report also discusses excess capacity. They said, for example, that the average excess capacity increased the price of food by some 3.7 per cent. In Sydney, for example, people are paying-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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PC

A. Daniel McKenzie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McKenzie:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

One of the Tories is terribly upset. I wonder if anybody has a valium tablet.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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PC

A. Daniel McKenzie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McKenzie:

I will cover it when I am on my feet.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order, please. I regret to interrupt the hon. gentleman but his allotted time has expired.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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?

Some hon. Members:

More, more!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Nevertheless, he may continue if there is unanimous consent.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
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Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-NON-CONFIDENCE MOTION- CONDEMNATION OF CONTINUING GOVERNMENT WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT
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March 26, 1979