House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Souris—Moose Mountain for his remarks. We discuss this issue constantly in the transport committee, both officially and unofficially. The fact of the matter is it is a national disgrace.

What has really gone on in Canada is that highways have not been maintained properly for the last five to ten years. Highways do not deteriorate on a straight line basis, surviving for a long time and then suddenly starting to break up very quickly.

There is actually a highway deficit in this country. It is not on the books of the government, but it is a very real debt and a very real deficit. We owe money to our national highway system. It is going to get a lot worse as these highways continue to deteriorate. Once they break up, the moisture goes down, the frost gets in, heaves them, breaks them more, more moisture and more frost and so on. We are in for a tremendous requirement for money for both our main and infrastructure highways.

My numbers for Saskatchewan are even less optimistic than the member's numbers.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Reform

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

I was being generous.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the member is being very generous, as he always is. Saskatchewan has truly not fared well in the highway casino.

As I mentioned, the provinces on either side of Nova Scotia will each get more than $100 million in the next two years. Nova Scotia gets zip. I have Saskatchewan down here in my information for a big zip, too. Saskatchewan is going to suffer from the same problem as Nova Scotia.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on Bill C-32, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in parliament on February 28, 2000. I do not want to go over in detail the whole bill, but there are a couple of areas on which I would like to comment.

When the Minister of Finance stands in this House and tables a budget about how he is going to raise or lower taxes, how he is going to spend on new programs and how he is going to eliminate other programs that are obsolete, one would think as the chief financial officer of the organization that he would have his figures down pat and would know what he was talking about.

Part 4 of the budget implementation act deals with enabling 13 first nations identified in the schedule to impose a 7% value added tax. The rest of the country has the equivalent tax called the GST on fuel, cigarettes and alcohol. Now certain first nations are being given the responsibility to collect 7% as well.

I want to point out a couple of things. The 7% GST goes to the federal government. The 7% that is going to be collected under this act is going to the first nations that will be collecting the money. There are no regulations about how this tax is to be administered. It only stipulates the right to collect it, no doubt because under this Liberal government the first nations have been given in essence sovereign powers to pass legislation in their own right. We have to concern ourselves about the regulations and how this money is going to be split between the federal government collecting GST and the first nations tax.

I had an occasion to stop at a gas station on a first nations reserve. My gas bill was approximately $31. It was before gas prices peaked in the last few weeks.

The guy in front of me paid for his tank of gas, which cost him $12 because he did not have to pay tax. After he had paid his $12 to fill his tank with gas, he bought cigarettes. Lots of people buy cigarettes, but it seemed to me that the typical purchase of cigarettes on the reserve was $130.

Behind the counter they had these little plastic shopping bags full of the standard purchase of cigarettes, so that when somebody was buying cigarettes they would get their $130 worth, which to you and me, Mr. Speaker, or anybody else who would have been buying the cigarettes, might have been worth $300.

I said to myself, other Canadians do not normally buy $130 worth of cigarettes at a time, any time I have seen people buying cigarettes in a store, so why would it be that the standard cigarette purchase would be $130, tax free? I wonder, because I have no proof of this, if it is because it was next to a large city and perhaps these people had a ready market for these cigarettes. Maybe not, but perhaps. It is worth thinking about.

As these cigarettes are purchased on the reserve by status natives, the transaction is legal, according to our laws, but the second transaction, if they sell them on the street at more or less the going price for others, then that is illegal and the Minister of Finance is losing out on his tax collection, if that is happening.

Now that we have instituted this tax we will have the same store collecting 7% in GST from Canadians and 7% on the alternative tax from the natives who have the card which they can produce. It is the exact same amount of tax. How will the Minister of Finance be able to determine whether that tax should be remitted to the Department of Finance or whether it should be kept by the band for its own use? There are no regulations attached to this bill. As I mentioned earlier, because they are largely sovereign, I think they could tell the minister that they will write their own rules as to how they will collect the tax. I am fairly sure we will not see very much GST money. I gave the example of the cigarettes. That disturbs me, because I spend, as chairman of the public accounts committee, a lot of time focused on the area of bribery and corruption.

When there are loose rules that are open to interpretation, open to management, open to subtle bookkeeping and other opportunities, it then starts to dribble down through the holes in the floor and we lose sight of it. That concerns me because it allows people to develop bad attitudes toward paying taxes, being honest, having high morals and ensuring that everything is honest and above board. I am seriously concerned that we are providing these opportunities and challenges. It bothers me immensely.

Continuing in the same vein, with respect to the Minister of Finance collecting the taxes and ensuring that Canadians get value for their money, the auditor general tabled a report this week which had nine chapters. One of them dealt with elementary and secondary education by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. I really want to put the emphasis on the question: Are we getting value for our money?

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1 p.m.

An hon. member

That is a good point.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

It is an excellent point, as my colleague says. The auditor general said that the department does not know how much money is being spent by the first nations on education because it gives block funding to the first nations, who then provide education. The department has the responsibility to provide that education money, but it does not know how much money is ending up in education. It may be ending up in welfare. It may be ending up in someone's pockets. It may be ending up somewhere else because the department does not know how much money is being spent on education.

The report covers a number of horrifying things. In paragraph 4.72 the auditor general writes:

We further observed in one departmental region that a master tuition agreement between the Department and the provincial Ministry of Education had expired in 1992—

This is the year 2000. That was eight years ago. The agreement had expired. No one had really bothered to do anything about it. They just wrote the cheques and carried on.

What about things such as special needs? We are concerned about special needs. However, the department does not know whether special needs students are being appropriately identified or assisted. Special needs students are those who are psychologically disadvantaged or who have learning disabilities. We agree with that, but because of the reported lack of diagnostic expertise on the reserves, the auditor general believes that the potential for under and over identification of these students is high.

In addition, the department does not know whether all funding provided for diagnostic and remedial services is actually used for this purpose. The department does not know. In one region this amounts to $581 per student. Take note of the $581, per student year, for all students. Furthermore, the department does not know the length of time the students are maintained in special needs status. This makes it more difficult to identify opportunities for improved services in another region, where costs range from $2,047—remember that I said it was $581 in one region, and now it is up to $2,047 in another region—to $65,650 per special needs student, and there is no process or mechanism to ensure that the students' needs are being served.

I have a problem with these kinds of numbers. In one region special needs students are getting $581 and in another region they are getting $65,650 per student. Should we not be asking the question, what is going on? There was no process or mechanism to ensure that the students' needs were being served.

The Minister of Finance collects taxes and he gives the money to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and the minister does not have a clue about what is going on in his department. We know what happens with the minister of HRDC. We have said many times in the House that she does not have a clue, and now the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development obviously does not have a clue.

What about the lack of education funding agreements? I mentioned one region that did not even have one. In one region they noted 244 instances where they expected to find agreements between first nations or the department and provincial educational authorities to cover student enrolment in provincial schools. However, the department was able to identify agreements in only 58 cases. There were 244 instances where they expected to find them, but they only found them in 58 cases. Further, the department did not know whether any agreement was in force in 128 cases, and determined that no agreements existed for the remaining 58.

What is going on, Mr. Speaker? Do you not think we are entitled to ask legitimate questions about what is going on? Does the department know what is going on? Or, should it just admit that it does not know what is going on?

Our first nations are at the bottom of the economic and social ladder in the country. We surely have some obligation to help them take their place in the economic society we have built and to provide some prosperity for them.

Native people watch the television ads which sell everything from soup to nuts, cars, TVs, television programs and so on, but they cannot have those things. All they have is a welfare cheque that we hand out because they do not have the education required to take a job, which would provide meaning in their life, which would provide purpose in their life, which would motivate them and give them the ability to understand this complex world. If they could acquire that education they could work with computers, such as we have in front of us. Native people cannot do that. The department does not even know if they are going to school.

Paragraph 4.2 of the auditor general's report indicates that the percentage of natives who are not enrolled in elementary or secondary schools is 20%. The figure is not available for all Canadians. The dropout rate before completion of grade 9 in native schools is 18%. The figure for all Canadians is 3%. The percentage of youth between the ages of 18 and 20 who left school totals 40% for natives, 16% for all Canadians. Of youth between the ages of 18 and 20, only 30% of natives graduated from school, compared to 63% for all Canadians. The population with the least high school education amounts to 37% on reserve and 65% for all Canadians. Only 30% of the native population graduates from high school and it costs taxpayers $1 billion a year. Only 30% succeed in meeting the basic fundamental requirements.

The minister does not have agreements with the school boards. The minister gives block funding to the bands and does not ask them to account for the money. Agreements expire and he does not follow up on them. Kids are dropping out of school and he does not know how many. The department is a disgrace.

The Minister of Finance stood in the House on February 28 and said that the government was going to tax Canadians. The government continues to tax Canadians so that money can be given to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, who in turn does not know what he does with it. He has no clue. Unfortunately, he is not the only one.

In the news the last couple of days we have heard much about the scientific research tax credit. The idea was to motivate Canadian companies to do research and development, and a tax credit would be provided to them because this was good for Canada. It was good for Canada. We got an extra $50 million punch out of it. The bad news is, it cost $2 billion to get the $50 million punch. For every $40 spent, we received $1 back. Where is the logic?

I do not know where the logic is, but I do know that in 1997 the Minister of Finance had an evaluation in front of him, telling him that for every $40 spent the government would receive $1 in return. The minister kept the study under wraps. In 1997, 1998, 1999 and again in 2000 he stood in the House and said “We are providing value for money for Canadians”. In the meantime, for every $40 the taxpayers put into this program, they got $1 back. I cannot understand it.

How bad is it? Let us take one particular claim as an example. It was a complex claim. Why? The taxpayer did not provide a lot of documentation to say what he was trying to do.

Revenue Canada sent in the auditors who spent 10,000 hours looking at this claim. The average person works about 1,700 or 1,800 hours a year; throw in some overtime and call it 2,000 hours a year. That was five years of auditors' time on one claim. There are 16,000 to approve. When are they going to finish? They spent 10,000 hours on one claim.

They had to get some scientific expert advice. They spent $300,000 of taxpayers' money to get a professional opinion on this claim because it was not well justified. The claim finally went through process. They said that the particular claim was entitled to tens of millions of dollars. We are not sure how many tens there were. Presumably somewhere between $20 million and $100 million is what was paid out. In the final review they scratched out the millions and doubled it for no particular reason.

Let us look at the rationale. This is how crazy the rules are and how the taxpayer gets taken to the cleaners.

The subcontractor did the research and development. He put in his claim and got his refund of tens of millions of dollars. It was in the bank. He sold the R and D to the main contractor who said “This is research and development done in Canada, send in the claim”. He got it again. The rules allowed him to get it again. The reason it was doubled was it had to approximate the claim by the general contractor.

Even though the subcontractor was audited and all the information in its own files said that the subcontractor was entitled to so much money, the main contractor had approximated and exaggerated the claim. It was “unable” to verify that because the main contractor did not have the files. They were in the subcontractor's office which had been audited by Revenue Canada but Revenue Canada said it could not look at the file a second time. Knowing full well it was paying out too much, it had to go with the main contractor's estimate and exaggeration.

The taxpayer paid and the Minister of Finance did not even blush when he stood in the House and said he needed $165 billion to run this country. I know and members know he could do it with a lot less.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Reform

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, members of the House, people across Canada and I should thank my colleague for drawing our attention to a very serious problem.

The second school I happened to teach in was in northern British Columbia. The attendance was near perfect. The expenditure of funds was letter perfect. For 21 years my signature went on forms to extract money from taxes and government grants for special education students. Whether it was in the Hutterite schools or in private schools that I supervised or in the public schools, whenever a claim was made for a special needs student, solid proof was needed that the money was being expended on that particular student.

The situation that exists within my province and across Canada is a sin against geography and the nature of government. These children who are just as important as any child I ever had in front of me or supervised are not getting funds spent on them for education. What will we do? One word can sum up the last 20 years: nothing. Nothing has changed and it is getting worse.

I want to thank my colleague for drawing attention to this situation. With the billions of dollars going out on these expenditures, what does the hon. member recommend that the government re-examine during the current fiscal year?

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that question because it allows me to wax on my private member's bill that I tabled this morning. It deals with program evaluation. Providing education to our young kids on the reserves is another program provided by the government.

My private member's bill says that on every program provided by the government, including education to our natives on reserves, we should ask four questions. The first question is what is the program designed to do? The goal is to provide educated children on reserves. The second question is how well are we achieving that? We will have to move further through the alphabet than F to find out how the government is doing it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Reform

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

F

minus.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, it would be F minus half a billion dollars I would think.

The third question is, is it being done efficiently? I pointed out that agreements had expired in 1992 and it never bothered to get them renewed. The government does not have a clue. There is no efficiency. There is no productivity. The department's mind is in a fog. The minister's mind is in a fog. Nobody seems to care.

What about the student who is not getting an education? He or she should care and we should care. We care and the government should care.

The fourth question is can we achieve the same or better results in a different fashion? We must always be creative in seeing if we can improve ourselves.

There are four fundamental questions: what is it we are trying to do, how well are we doing it, are we doing it efficiently, and can we achieve better results in a different way? If we asked these simple four questions for native education and everything else, we could provide many more services for much less cash.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak on behalf of the Calgary East constituency. This is my second speech on the budget. I have chosen to speak on this topic again because I would like to tell the House what my constituents and other Canadians have been saying. My remarks are based on two concepts.

The first is what constituents are saying are their two major concerns. Time after time the phone calls I receive have one theme, that people's take home pay is dwindling. People are having a hard time making ends meet. One of my constituents wrote, “We love our work but we are always in a financial bind due to low wages and no recognition of our qualifications and college degrees”. Despite having a college degree all she earns is $7.50 per hour.

I understand it is quite difficult to tell a business to raise wages. But a lot of our money disappears into the government coffers. It is interesting the way the whole taxation system is designed. We take it at one end and then we go around in circles and try to send it back in another way, and either we tax them or we say that we do not tax them and that we are taking care of the lower income workers. At the end of the day, at the time when people need the money which is when they get their weekly paycheque, the money is gone. It takes months for the money to come back to them at the other end. In between what are they supposed to do? How are they supposed to live?

My riding is made up of blue collar workers, single mothers and parents trying to send their children to school. When I go knocking on doors I hear time after time, “I am earning $30,000 and I cannot make ends meet. I am paying so much in taxes”. Many government members have said to me “No, no, we are taking care of all these things”. True, it comes back through social outlets such as cheques for family allowance, child care, GST refunds and all those things. The GST refund can take four months. What are they supposed to do until then?

Why can the government not address the issue for single parents, growing families and those who are earning low wages? Why not give it to them up front so they have more take home pay?

I have a letter from another individual in my riding. He asked for a T-1 slip. He had to go through a huge bureaucracy. Revenue Canada said he had to fill out so many forms and the guy just said to forget it, that he was not interested. The paperwork burden in the taxation system is so humongous that people are fed up. I have heard time and again “I am not going to respond to Revenue Canada. I am not going to fill out all the paperwork”.

A constituent phoned me, a pensioner, who said on the one hand the government gives money to pensioners and then, bingo, Revenue Canada needs $248 back right away. For what? He got phone call after phone call and letter after letter until he was fed up. We intervened and the matter was resolved, but why did it not get resolved in the first place?

The finance minister has said that we have not been asking questions about the budget because he thinks the budget is great. Perhaps the poll which came out today indicates why the opposition has not been asking the finance minister questions on the budget. There is nothing to ask. He will talk about budget cuts and all those things but we know, Canadians on the street know, and students know that when they look at their paycheques and when they look in their pockets, their take home pay is less.

It does not agree with what the finance minister is saying. It is better to tune out what the finance minister is saying than to listen and ask where is the tax break he is talking about. He gives a tax break, but at the same time CPP premiums are hiked up.

Look at EI. Surplus after surplus is going into the EI fund that the government is using to spend in other areas. It will not even reduce the EI premiums. How will Canadians feel? Will Canadians actually get the feeling from their take home pay that taxes are going down when the government is set on spending?

We have people in the government who have their own agendae. Our heritage minister wants to be recognized as the Canadian cultural protection person. She keeps writing out cheques, cheque after cheque, and doing her best, but what do we hear on the streets? We hear on the streets from Canadians that their take home pay is shrinking.

Let us go to the issue of the economy. I am critic for international trade, so what happens in the economy is quite important and of concern to me. I have been on many trips to see how Canadian trade officials have been working hard to promote trade in Canada. That is one of the areas of prosperity for the country.

Time after time the Minister for International Trade boasted in committee and everywhere that 43% of our GDP is in the export market. That is great. I applaud him for that. I hope it goes higher and higher. After all, it helps the Canadian consumer and it brings prosperity to Canada.

I give credit to our trade officials, those who are in the field and have been working very hard to ensure that Canadian companies are out there seeking the opportunities that globalization has opened for them. I commend them. I have seen them hard at work. I have seen Canadian companies working hand in hand with these people, promoting the goods and technology that Canadians have developed.

The subcommittee on international trade is now studying how to improve trade with Europe. As we know, trade with Europe has been gradually declining. It is improving but not to the level that we thought it should have improved.

All this points to the fact that there are people who recognize the need for Canadians to be taking advantage of globalization. If there are problems at home with Canadian companies which we have not fixed, how will we market ourselves outside the country? If the foundation at home is not strong, what is the point of trading outside? Somewhere down the line it will crack.

We have free trade agreements through NAFTA with Mexico and Chile. We are trying to get agreements with Costa Rica and other countries. We have seen the demand coming in for Britain to join NAFTA. These are all good things. They are great things, but we need to address the issues at home.

Time after time new cries are being heard that there is a need to address the issues at home and the need for productivity. The biggest one is taxation, the way we are taxing our companies. The way our economy is being overtaxed leaves little room for companies to aggressively seek foreign markets.

Let me quote here for a second an editorial in the Globe and Mail . Where it says country, I will substitute that by saying the past government was too dumb to understand that 25 years of high deficits would lead to a debt and tax crisis and maybe too dumb to understand that another 10 years of uncompetitive taxes and regulations would lead to a permanently reduced standard of living.

Let me read from the Calgary Herald of today, written by one of the CEOs of Alberta Energy Company Ltd. He said that Canada looked good but was moving too slowly. Perhaps the finance minister should read the article which contains that warning from an executive of a very important company in Alberta.

All of them have one simple straightforward message: taxes are too high. If the government does not address that issue and take it seriously, 43% of GDP in exports will start going down. Canadians will be unable to take advantage of the globalization of economies that is taking place.

Our ambassadors, including the minister of trade and I, travel around the world pushing to expand trade. We sign agreements but if at the end of the day there is no competitive advantage for Canadian companies, what is the point? They must be able to take advantage of market opportunities. The government is not selling the products. It is the Canadian companies that are selling them. They are the ones who are out there selling their products.

We talk about the greatness of Bombardier, SNC-Lavalin and other big companies. At the end of the day we look at the companies that do the majority of the exports. We could name 10 of them. That is all. Big companies like Bombardier, SNC-Lavalin and mining giants are the few that are on the international market. If we want to have prosperity we need small and medium size businesses. Everyone knows that. I do not have to repeat it. Everyone talks about it. Everyone says they are the vehicles of growth and that is what should happen.

Time after time when we talk to them they express concerns. They do not have the infrastructure or the competitive advantage to go out and grab these opportunities. The Americans are doing it and now we have the European Union with its $500 billion market. They take advantage. Canadian companies need to be aggressive.

We are saying that Canada should be the route for European companies into NAFTA, into the U.S. market. That is a great idea. It is fantastic if we can do it. At the end of the day, if taxes in Canada are not reduced, competitiveness will not be there. How will we become the conduits that we aspire to be and our trade officials want us to be?

It is time the Minister for International Trade had a talk with the Minister of Finance and said that something should be done. There is no point in each one going in different directions. Then the industry minister, who recognizes what is happening, tries to speak out but his chain is pulled back.

Canadians are worried. Today's polls indicate the priorities of Canadians. Health care is a priority of Canadians. Irrespective of what the government wants to say, every Canadian knows that it is the federal government that cut the money. This is creating the crisis in the health care system across the country. It is the number one concern, and rightly so. Why should it not be? The population is getting older and is looking down the road to see that health care will not be there when it will be needed.

This is a government run by polls. Everything it does is by polls. Maybe it will wake up and address this issue. I am sure it will. Today's poll said that Canadians want the federal government to put more money into health care.

We know what happened when the industry minister tried to give money to professional hockey. I am glad that Canadians spoke up about it. That is what Canadians should do.

Let us talk about health care for a moment. There is a hue and cry about bill 11 in Alberta, saying that it is an attack on health care. We listen to the grandiose statements of the Minister of Health. He is a lawyer, after all, so he can use the flowery words he loves, but at the end of the day the point is that the government cut money for health care.

This has created a crisis for the provinces. They are trying to address the needs of their constituents. The federal government is saying that this is the money the provinces will get and that is about it. There are millions of dollars sitting in Toronto which have not been used, but we are asking for long term solutions. We are asking for stable funding on which the provinces can count so they can address their health care needs and not deal with the business of either a reduction in the budget or little more than crumbs.

There is no stable funding for the provinces so they cannot address long term health care needs and issues. When they come up with a solution we hear the government screaming. I would like to state that it is very important for the government to address what the economy is demanding. The budget has not addressed it. We all know that.

The Canadian Alliance, with the proposal it is putting forward in the 17% solution, addresses many issues. Why do we propose the 17% solution? It is because we have heard from the grassroots. We have heard from businesses. We have heard from Canadians who have told us their priorities. The 17% solution we are talking about is something Canadians want. Hopefully when we form the next government that will be the solution.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Saint Boniface
Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification)(Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, I have been here for most of the morning listening to the speeches of opposition members. I find them rather interesting. I snuck out to see what the news media across the country were saying about the budget. Overwhelmingly it is positive. There are articles questioning a number of aspects, but it has been overwhelmingly positive.

Perhaps my colleague could explain to me why it is that all the speeches given by members of the opposition were negative. Perhaps he could explain to me why one positive point was not raised. Perhaps the member could explain to me why none of his colleagues chose to talk about the investments the Government of Canada made in the granting councils, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the millennium scholarship and the 2,000 chairs.

Why did my colleague not talk about the elimination of the $42 billion deficit left by the Conservatives, the very party that his wants to join in order to make it stronger? Why did they not talk about the $58 billion tax reduction or the tax reductions for businesses? Why did they not talk about the UN naming Canada seven times in a row as the best country in the world in which to live?

Why did they not talk about the low inflation rate, the low interest rate, the employment rates which are the highest in decades, and the first series of surpluses we have had in years? Why? Can they not stand positive news?

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right in saying that this is the best country in the world, but if the Liberals continue to govern for very long, it will not be the best country in the world.

It is quite interesting that he would ask why we are not saying good things about the budget. I will tell him why. If we ask Canadians what has happened to their take home pay, perhaps we will get an answer that will tell him why nobody in the opposition is so thrilled about the budget.

We could look at today's poll and ask the people who want health care. The hon. member's government is the one that killed the health care budget. I am sure those people will tell him why nobody is so excited about the budget.

With regard to reducing the deficit, that was done on the backs of Canadians and not on the government's back. It did not come up with any innovative ideas. Instead it has set us back. It is just flying straight. Nothing great has come out of this. The budget deficit was killed on the backs of Canadians. Ask them about their take home pay. They have seen it go down and down. That is how the budget deficit was killed. There is nothing to be very excited about there. Let us listen to what Canadians are saying and address the issues.

As I said, 43% of our GDP is now in export. Great, but it will not last very long if you do not address the issues. Now you sit sit over there and claim that the government is doing great. It will not last too long.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I need to remind hon. members that when passions get raised, they should address each other through the chair so we can keep from coming to blows.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was very interested in my colleague's remarks about tax reductions. I know that he mentioned how families need tax reductions and tax fairness. I would be interested in having my colleague expand on his views about the needs for Canadian families to have some tax relief from the load that is placed upon them by the federal government.