EDMONTON -- Former United States president Gerald Ford urged business leaders Friday to get involved in the 'drudgery' of politics to ensure economics policies favoring free enterprise were adopted in Canada.
Speaking at a luncheon arranged by business and sports entrepreneur Peter Pocklington, Ford told invited guests a study in the U.S. showed that there had been 'an overloading of the economy by countless laws passed by the Congress and a multiplication of bureaucratic regulations.'
It has cost businesses 'better than $100 billion every 12 months' to comply with those regulations, said Ford, who has joined seven corporate boards and become a consultant to six firms since his defeat in the 1976 election.
'I'm just talking about those things that cannot be justified on a cost to benefit ratio. That's the way we have to look on the imposition of regulations by government on our lives and our business activity.
'If they can't meet that criteria, throw them out the window,' he said.
Ford said President Ronald Reagan was trying to cut regulations but 'you have to be prepared to participate in the day to day drudgery of political life' to ensure similar policies were followed in Canada.
'If businessmen in the United States had not become more and more politically active in 1978, 1979 and 1980 there would have been different election results in 1980.
'If you turn it all over to the politicans you get what you deserve,' said Ford, who served 13 terms as a congressman as well as being the 38th president of the U.S.
He said he expected Congress to approve '80 percent' of the President's proposals, including income tax cuts and corporate tax credits.
Ford added that while Soviet intervention in Poland could affect western economies, he doubted the USSR could afford to take over the $38 billion debt that country owes to western nations and banks.
Commenting on the middle-east the crisis in Lebanon, Ford said the problem 'is far, far more dangerous than the public really understands.'
If Israel and Syria went to war 'there's no guarantee the U.S. and the Soviet Union wouldn't be face to face in a military sense,' he said.
Ford said his optimism for both economic recovery and world peace were fostered by Reagan's policies and the support they were receiving from world leaders the former president met in a recent 30-day, 11-nation tour.