Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen: This is an important week for our two clubs. We are hearing from the leaders of Canada's two major political parties. While the election campaign has no doubt prompted, or perhaps pre-empted the timing, it is the culmination of long-range planning on the part of both clubs. Mary Alice Stuart, the President of the Canadian Club, and I, first met on March 14 to discuss the possibility of a federal election, and to agree that we should, jointly, host luncheons for the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable Brian Mulroney.
In the midst of an election, with all the attendant publicity, I feel confident that most people in the audience will have heard of our speaker. Some may even be active supporters of Mr. Mulroney and his party. At the same time, I have read press reports suggesting that there is some difficulty in distinguishing between our speaker and his major opponent. In an effort to clarify matters, Mr. Mulroney is quoted as saying, "I was working as a truck driver in Baie Comeau when my opponent was dancing with Princess Margaret." Well, Mr. Mulroney, I observe that once again you have missed being part of the Royal scene. The record will show that you were the leader who did not un-invite the Queen earlier this summer.
But regardless of history, we are here today to judge for ourselves what manner of man leads the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. I shall briefly state the facts. Mr. Mulroney is from Baie Comeau, Quebec and he is a graduate of two Canadian universities - St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, and Laval University, Quebec. He has earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a degree in law. He has practised as a lawyer in Montreal, and is notable for his participation in the Cliche Royal Commission on Violence in the Quebec construction industry. In 1976 he was appointed Executive Vice President of the Iron Ore Company of Canada, a company in which he then served as Chairman and President until his resignation in 1983.
Throughout the years, Mr. Mulroney has been active in the Progressive Conservative party. He first came to national attention in 1976 when he ran for the leader-
ship of the national party at the age of thirty-six. While he was not successful in his early bid, he was elected to the leadership of the party at its next convention, in 1983.
This summer, for the first time, he leads his party in a national, general election. This election, to quote Mr. Mulroney, "is about a new day, a new attitude, a new prosperity. It's about new hope and challenges for Canada". We are ready for the challenge and we welcome the candidate for Manicouagan, the Leader of the Official Opposition, the man who would be Prime Minister, the Honourable Brian Mulroney.
Ladies and gentlemen: It gives me great pleasure to be able to address the combined meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and the Canadian Club of Toronto. Thank you for inviting me.
Au debut de la campagne electorate, j'ai promis personnellement aux electeurs canadiens, que j'exposerais le cout et les avantages financiers de la strategie progressiste conservatrice, pour la relance economique et la creation d'emplois. Je preconisais oiu nous allions investir, oii nous etions en mesure de realiser des economies, et comment nous prevoyions receuillir des recettes gouvernementales. Il y a quelques jours a Vancouver, j'ai enonce la strategie macroeconomique d'un nouveau gouvernement progressiste conservateur. Aujourd'hui, je voudrais exposer les repercussions financieres de notre strategie.
... I made a personal pledge to the Canadian electorate ...
At the beginning of this election campaign, I made a personal pledge to the Canadian electorate that I would outline the costs and benefits of the Progressive Conservative strategy for growth and jobs - where we would invest, where we would save, and how we planned to raise the revenues. A few days ago, in Vancouver, I described the macroeconomic strategy of a new Progressive Conservative government. Today, I want to describe some of the financial implications of our strategy. May I sav that it is with a sense of irony that I do so. It seems like only yesterday that the Liberals were saying the Progressive Conservative party had no policies. Now, they say we have too many! They were wrong then. And they are wrong now.
The policies which we have outlined during this election campaign have been the result of almost twelve months' work by our national caucus - a process that is entirely without precedent in Canadian political history. Using the limited resources available to an Opposition party, we have attempted to evaluate existing and new policy initiatives so we could outline our plans before election day not after, as the Liberals have done time and time again. We believe our efforts have been a uniquely positive step - we hope so in any case-one which should be continued in future elections. I say that without any malice because I genuinely believe it would limit the hidden agendas which Canadians have suffered under successive Liberal governments.
Do you remember?
- 18 cents a gallon is too much
- wage and price controls; zap you are frozen - the end of the Crow
- the National Energy Policy
- drastic cutbacks in Via Rail by order-in council, late on a Friday night?
These policies were either fought against or never mentioned by the Liberals during national election campaigns - and then they totally reversed themselves once in government. This is the kind of agenda which Mr. Turner I suspect is hiding from the Canadian electorate during this campaign. Indeed, I would be very interested to hear Mr. Turner explain, as I expect he shall, to us how his words of fiscal responsibility match his actions and those of his lieutenants. Because together, the Liberals have promised at least $4.5 billion in election goodies since April. But enough of past Liberal ways. Today, with your indulgence I want to look to the future, and outline what Canadians can expect from a majority Progressive Conservative government. As you know, the next government of Canada will be taking office mid-way through the current fiscal year, 19841985, which began on April 1. Budgets for this year were set last February and most of that money has already been spent by the Liberal party in a desperate attempt to maintain power. The new government will also be taking office at a time when interest rates are high, and the recovery is fragile. Given this reality, what can Canadians expect from a new government?
No responsible Canadian anticipates for a moment that all our programs - with their costs and attendant benefits - would be introduced within the first day or the first month of a new government. In fact, when we announced a series of economic development policies in Prince Albert, I said in a formal statement released to the media on July 5:
"Our policy commitments will be introduced over the course of our mandate to complement and enhance our national program for economic renewal."
This point was re-emphasized in Sherbrooke, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we announced additional policy initiatives. Our policies, with their costs and their benefits, are designed for introduction over a four- to five-year period, the normal life of a majority government.
Canadians can expect, however, a new government to be open and honest, and to introduce new concepts of consultation and cooperation.
(1) Accordingly, we will be releasing a new financial statement as soon as possible, updating the forecast for this fiscal year and for fiscal year 1985-1986. We will tell Canadians what the leader of the Liberal party has refused to tell them - the true state of our public finances.
(2) We will permit the Auditor General of Canada unrestricted access to all spending sources of the government with a view to providing the Canadian people with a full and complete accounting of the public finances of the government of Canada.
(3) We will convene an early first ministers' meeting on the economy to begin consultations on the next fullscale budget. We want the input and counsel of the premiers and the provinces so as to articulate national economic strategies in a coherent and complementary manner.
(4) Parliament will be recalled at an early moment to deal with national economic reconstruction and other urgent and outstanding issues, including some of those I will be discussing today.
(5) We will then expand this process of consultation at a national economic summit, where government, management, labour, women's representatives and other major groups will meet to define new national goals for Canada and a fair and equitable manner in which they can be achieved.
Within the severe financial constraints we shall inherit, we believe the following initiatives are appropriate this autumn. In order to offset the high cost of credit in key sectors of the economy, we will move to eliminate refinery taxes on petrochemical feedstocks and the nine per cent sales tax on fuels used by our primary producers in those key export sectors of forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture.
There is no use deluding ourselves that Canada can have made-in-Canada interest rates overnight, unless we want to change from an open and mixed to a closed and fixed economy, and that would mean a huge drop in our standard of living. Given this fact of economic life, we believe the prudent response to our current dilemma in the short run, is to keep our interest rates as low as possible without causing a run on the dollar, and to offset the high cost of credit in key sectors of the economy by lowering other production costs.
... There is no use deluding ourselves that Canada can have made-in-Canada interest rates overnight ...
We will announce changes to the personal income tax system for calendar year 1985. We are committed to simplifying and reforming the Canadian personal income tax system; we want to make it more fair and more productive. Our goal is to ensure that wealthy Canadians with substantial unearned income cannot use tax shelters to avoid paying a fair and reasonable tax.
Our goal is also to unfetter the private sector - especially the small business sector - so as to enhance that entrepreneurial spirit and creative genius that encourages risk, rewards productivity and creates new economic opportunities for Canada.
As I have said repeatedly, the goal of a Progressive Conservative government will be to protect and improve the social safety net. We believe the plight of Canadian widows and widowers between the ages of sixty and sixty-five calls out for urgent attention. Spousal allowance reform will be implemented as soon as possible.
We are committed to putting our unemployed back to work and we will begin to implement our strategy to combat unemployment, including special initiatives for youth, upon taking office.
We will implement measures to assist producers in drought-ridden Western Canada.
At present, we envisage combined tax relief and increased expenditure of between $300 and $500 million in discretionary spending for the remainder of the current fiscal year, to be offset by savings. As you all know, Mr. Turner found $307 million with a couple of phone calls.
We will begin to put those policies in place which will achieve our goals, and I outlined in Vancouver, five problem areas for the Canadian economy which I dealt with at great length.
Our estimate is that the gross incremental cost in the first year of our proposed strategy - the revenue forgone and new investment - will be approximately $1.7 billion, or about one and a half per cent of current government spending. Our plans for the second year - fiscal year 1986-1987 - will have a gross cost of $2.1 billion in cost outlays. Earlier today, I gave to the media, in great detail, a full accounting for years one and two of the policies outlined by my party during this election. Some of the highlights I would like to share with you today:
- $224 million in Agricultural Expenditures - $50 million in Small Business initiatives
- $268 million in Tax Relief for the Energy Sector - $45 million for the re-structuring of the Fisheries
- $150 million in Mining Investment and tax relief for Northern Workers
- $265 million in Health and Welfare
- $285 million in Training and Youth Employment - $100 million in direct Research and Development investment
- $22 million in Assistance to Canadian Veterans and their spouses
- $190 million in Defence Expenditures - $75 million for Shipbuilding; and
- $8 million in Justice Initiatives.
I have noted that $1.7 billion represents the gross cost of our proposals. Our fiscal framework calls for little, if any, overall increase in discretionary spending, as we plan to finance these investments through a reduction in government overhead expenses, program re-allocation and tax reform. And we will achieve our targets without affecting existing social programs.
J'ai souligne que ce chiffre de 1.7 milliard represente le cofit brut de nos propositions. Notre plan financier n'exigera a peu pres aucune augmentation globale des depenses discretionnelles, puisque nous prevoyons financer ces investissements a meme la reduction des frais generaux dans 1'appareil gouvernemental.
As Mr. Turner has himself admitted, during the televised debates, and here is exactly what he said, and I think it is important - a direct quote from the French language debate:
"There is a lot of space to reduce and cut expenditures and duplications. Programs which are no longer in force, which are no longer pertinent, wastage in public administration. I believe this reduction in expenditures could save us billions of dollars."
Our party has been saying this for years. In cooperation with the Auditor General, we plan to root out this waste and invest the savings in job-creating initiatives such as those I have laid out today.
We are confident that, by spending smarter - by investing in more productive purposes, by enhancing productivity, by increasing the competitiveness of key export industries, by engendering genuine federalprovincial cooperation, by civilizing our labour relations, and by prudent management of government finances, we can stimulate the growth and create the jobs which will start the deficit on a downward course.
... we can stimulate the growth and create the jobs ...
We are convinced as well that our economic strategy makes far more sense than to follow Mr. Turner's plan "to wait for growth" as he said during the English language debate.
As the Conference Board of Canada has recently stated, if we just sit and wait, if we do not change course, Canada could lose 100,000 more jobs in the next twelve months; unemployment would be twelve per cent and rising; and our deficit would increase substantially as outlays go up and revenues fall. If we sit and wait, the Conference Board has already forecast a deficit (on a Public Accounts basis) of $34 billion in the current fiscal year, $40 billion next year, and $46 billion the year after. That, and I say it without malice, is the legacy of twenty years of Liberal rule.
That is where Canada is headed if we accept the status quo, and simply wait for growth.
Perhaps, that is why Mr. Turner has consistently refused to share with Canadians the information he has received from the Department of Finance, other than to say that the deficit this year will be "higher than expected."
How much higher, Mr. Turner? $1 billion?
$3 billion? $4 billion?
Si les derniers jours de la campagne nous apprennent quelque chose, c'est que desesperes, les Liberaux font ce que les Liberaux ont toujours fait, chercher a diviser les Canadians pour sauver leur peau. Il y a quelques jours a peine, Monsieur Turner a fait la declaration absolument remarquable qui implique mon ami egalement, le premier Ministre de l'Ontario. La citation, c'est la suivante: "Si j'etais Quebecois, en voyant un premier Ministre potentiel comme Monsieur Mulroney, qui s'entend comme larron en foire avec Monsieur Levesque, Monsieur Davis et Monsieur Lougheed, surtout dans 1'ombre, derriere les portes closes, dans les coulisses, si j'etais Quebecois, je seras extremement mefiant." Ma reponse a cela, est simple et directe. "Mon desir de collaborer avec les premiers Ministres Provinciaux est tout aussi vif que mon desir de collaborer avec le milieu des affaires, le mouvement syndical, et les simples citoyens canadiens." If the last few days of this campaign tell us anything, they tell us that when desperate, Liberals will do what Liberals have always done - seek to save themselves by dividing Canadians. Just the other day, Mr. Turner made this absolutely remarkable statement, and I ask you to reflect upon it. Here is a direct quote:
"If I were a Quebecer, to see a potential Prime Minister like Mr. Mulroney, very friendly with Mr. Levesque, Mr. Davis, Mr. Lougheed, especially in an underground fashion, behind doors and in hallways, if I were a Quebecer, I'd have very deep suspicions".
Can you imagine saying something like that about someone from Brampton?
My answer to that is simple and straightforward. Other than an absolutely ringingly eloquent defence of the integrity of the citizens of Brampton it is this: My desire to cooperate with the premiers is no less than my desire to cooperate with the business community, the trade union movement and with individual Canadians. We want to rebuild a devastated economy which has suffered too long from the kind of suspicion and hostility which Mr. Turner clearly seeks to perpetuate. This is a time, my friends, to heal old wounds, and not to think of settling old scores. This is a time for national reconciliation and renewal. I stand before you today, with my imperfections and those of my party, committed to drawing Canadians together - to reconciling opposing views, to uniting the regions, to building a new consensus based on tolerance and understanding.
And this is why, on September 4, I believe Canadians will give the Progressive Conservative party a mandate: - a mandate for change;
- a change to a truly national government;
- a government with representatives from all parts of Canada;
- a government which I assure you will stop exploiting the differences between us, and start emphasizing what we all share in common.
I am not saying, nor shall I ever say, a Progressive Conservative government can solve all the problems of this troubled country overnight. Nobody can. Our problems have been years in the making, and they are going to take time to solve.
But I tell you today that this country, this splendid Canada, ce Canada tellement magnifique, qui exige et qui a besoin de la prosperity, puis un nouvel e1an, puis un nouveau depart, ensemble ...
Together, we can reconstruct that grand alliance and make of this country a model of tolerance, and harmony, and prosperity which will do honour to you, to our citizenship, and to the world.
The appreciation of the audience was expressed by Mary Alice Stuart, President of the Canadian Club of Toronto.