March 22, 1965 (26th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Joseph Arthur Lesage

Mr. Lesage:

No, they don't. Because of the reasons I gave you, that the people, the French speaking of Quebec since they have a majority in the provincial house, give more importance to the provincial government than they do to the federal-
I quote this statement, Mr. Speaker, as evidence of the fact that a year ago the ten provincial governments entered into this arrangement which we have before us now, not only reluctantly, but one of the premiers was under tremendous pressure from the extremist groups in his province. In order to help him relieve this tremendous pressure, the agreement was made which is the basis of this bill. I suggest now that a year has passed by and the pressure is no longer as great, the terror has disappeared, and a more rational approach can be taken. I think this rational approach should be put on the basis of a solid argument. I should like to ask
Dominion-Provincial Relations the house this question: Why are there shared cost programs?
First of all, before I enter that discussion, I may say I was somewhat surprised when the minister said upon introducing this bill that the demand for these shared cost programs is not so great now as it was. I should like to remind him of the views I have already quoted of Premier Robarts. I should like to remind him, too, that at this particular moment in Canada we are facing tremendous challenges to do certain things. Does this mean we are not going to be able to move in the field of medicare, for instance? I could give a list of things, and I intend later on to list a few other examples. The major purpose of these shared cost programs is to achieve national standards. To this end, I am going to remind the Minister of Finance, and I hope he supports me in this, that he has a tremendous task to meet the challenges put before the government by those that we select to keep us informed on monetary policies. I hold in my hand a copy of the Ottawa Journal for March 16, 1965 which contains the Canadian Press story concerning the report of the governor of the Bank of Canada. The headline is "Bottleneck Ahead?". If I may be permitted to quote four little paragraphs, I think my point can be made clear:
Canada must employ its resources more intensively and adapt them more readily to domestic and world needs in order to keep up its rate of expansion, Governor Louis Rasminsky of the Bank of Canada reported Monday.
I think we all agree with him.
We shall have to rely to an increasing extent on improving the adaptability of our growing resources in order to avoid serious bottleneck problems and price pressures...
The Canadian economy must do better (in foreign trade) than it has in the past. This means that we have to make continuous headway in achieving a greater penetration of export markets and in bettering our capacity to meet import competition.
To improve the competitiveness of the Canadian economy we have to aim at large improvements in our productivity and at a performance in respect of price and cost stability that compares favourably with that of our principal trading partners.
I have quoted four recommendations given in a Canadian Press dispatch describing part of what the governor of the Bank of Canada, as he is charged to do, has made available as a challenge to the Canadian people. How can these challenges be met? Can they be met by the provincial governments alone? Can they be met even by the federal government alone?

Dominion-Provincial Relations
There must be co-operation. There must be the federal government with the power of initiative to move into the provincial fields of jurisdiction in shared cost programs in order to maintain this initiative and meet these challenges.
Shared cost programs have four purposes. The first of these is minimum national standards. Over the last 15 years we have talked a great deal in this house about welfare programs. We are presently engaged in putting the Canada pension plan through parliament. On the horizon we have the medicare proposals of the Hall report, and I would suggest that even on the very delicate subject of education the people of Canada are looking to us. Here is a subject which is purely an unadulterated part of provincial jurisdiction. No party, no individual wants to touch the provincial control of education, the essence of education; yet you, Mr. Speaker, know and I know, that the financial problem of education must be met in Canada.
The province of Quebec has just received the Parent report outlining what is necessary in that province over the next few years. Can the province of Quebec alone carry that out?

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