House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was lake.

Topics

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is interesting. In my remarks I asked how we are to know where this money is going. There is a lot of assuming going on here on behalf of the NDP. If those members are going to make a deal with the Liberal government, they had better get it spelled out pretty clearly as to how it going to be applied. There is no indication of when and how this money is going to be dealt out. I think the NDP members are in for a big surprise. When all the smoke clears, I think they are going to end up getting a very small portion of what they have agreed to.

The member talks about giving some tax money back to Canadians and asks why not. That is exactly my point. Why take it in the first place? Why take it and then give it back? The most equitable way to do this is to leave it in the pockets of the people who earn it and let them make the decisions on how they are going to spend it. There are certain areas that the government needs to be dealing with, such as the security of our nation, the funding for the armed forces, the international issues that face us and monetary policies. All of these issues need to be dealt with by the federal government.

However, a lot of what the federal government is doing here, with the support of the NDP, I might add, is pushing more and more into provincial territory. The gas tax rebate is something we support but we want to do it in a very different way. To get that money to municipalities there must be provincial involvement. For the federal government to say directly to a city or a municipality that it is going to do this, thus bypassing the authority of the province, is a dangerous precedent. If we are going to do it, let us get involved with the provinces and let us make sure there is an agreement for them to pass that money forward.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Wajid Khan Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party has just demonstrated why it has been in opposition for 12 years and I anticipate it will remain there for another 12.

Let me set the record straight. Before I do that, the rambling speeches that I have heard in the last couple of days are full of inaccuracies to the extent that they could probably make the Guinness Book of World Records .

The fact is the deficit, unemployment, interest rates and the bankruptcies were soaring when that party was in power. Surplus after surplus after surplus has brought nothing but good to the Canadian people. The rates are low, affordability is high, tax cuts of $100 billion have been given to the people over the last five years and the country is prosperous.

I cannot understand why the government was so corrupt when Bill C-43 was before the House and the same corrupt government, supported by the Conservative Party, voted in support Bill C-43. Initially the Conservatives opposed it and then they supported it. Now Bill C-48 is corrupt. Will they make up their minds and support Bill C-48? It is for the greater good of the people.

Members opposite said that the deal was recorded on a napkin. It does not matter where it was recorded. They also said that the government saved its skin by making the deal with the NDP. We have saved the skin of Canadians who do not want to be burdened with the deficits, tax burdens and all those things that party wants to impose on them. Why did they support--

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Lethbridge.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the one thing on which I agree with the hon. member is the Liberal government is corrupt. I will just repeat what he said.

We are short on time, but one area of the economy that the hon. member boasts about is the agricultural community in the country. The agricultural industry last year was in the red. If we add it up, the entire industry lost money. That is due to the Liberal government's failed attempts at negotiating fair deals for our producers. It is due to the high taxation policy of the government. It is due to the government taxing the industry into the ground.

As the hon. member said, one of the basic pillars on which the country was built is the agricultural community. As an entirety, it lost money last year. It is a damning statistic that comes from the government's failed policies, whether it is agricultural, economic or trade. They have all contributed to that.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Oshawa, I will be speaking against Bill C-48. By supporting it, it would be encouraging and allowing reckless spending, spending that is being deployed by the government in a desperate attempt to hold on to power.

The Conservative Party will not allow the government to spend without a plan and we will not allow the Liberal Party to buy the votes of Canadians. We cannot give our approval for an irresponsible budget to a corrupt government that lacks the moral and constitutional authority to govern. The Conservative Party is committed to standing up for Canadians and Bill C-48 is clearly not in the best interests of Canadians.

In exchange for NDP support, the Liberal government has made careless promises and is engaging in reckless spending. Even before the deal was made with the NDP, program spending under the Liberal government soared by $18 billion, or 12% more than last year to more than $158 billion. The Liberals have now committed to spending an additional $5.1 billion over the next two years, funded entirely through contingency funds set aside for unforeseen circumstances.

To fully implement all the programs included in this bill, the government would need to post $8.5 billion in surpluses over the next two fiscal years. Leading economists have warned that these spending commitments rule out fiscal flexibility to cut taxes, reduce the debt or increase spending over the next few years. The Conservative Party will not support such irresponsible fiscal policy.

If enacted, this bill will have detrimental effects for Oshawa, as it would for many cities in the country. Let us not look at the fact that this is a bill to spend without a plan, but let us look at where the Liberals claim the money will be spent.

The Liberals say that this is a bill to lower tuition for students, but when reading the bill, not once does it say student and not once does it say tuition. It is not mentioned. It talks of supporting training programs and enhancing access to post-secondary education. This is an example of misleading the Canadian public. This statement could mean anything. If the Liberals wanted to lower tuition, why did they not just say so?

They claim the bill is for the environment, for low income housing and for improved public transit. Recently we have learned that by far the greatest benefactors of the gas tax are the big cities. For example, Toronto, which only has 20% of the population in Ontario, will receive half the gas tax. The NDP mayor of Toronto was recently quoted as saying that he was thrilled with the results of the public transit deal. That is not a surprise, considering Bill C-48 disproportionately benefits big cities.

I stand here today on behalf of the hard-working taxpayers of Oshawa who are sick and tired of subsidizing these big cities. According to my calculations, Oshawa pays approximately $30 million per year in gas taxes, which means $150 million over five years. According to the Toronto Star , that Liberal paper right from the centre of the universe, over five years Oshawa would receive back a total of $11.3 million. In other words, we take out of Oshawa $150 million and we get back $11.3 million, a difference of $138.7 million.

This is not acceptable. This bill is merely an attempt by the Liberals to buy big city votes while taking advantage of small-town taxpayers and rural Canadians.

Experts agree that to fund its budget, the Liberal government will have to use up the majority of the federal emergency reserves, a move that rules out any potential personal tax cuts at a time when Canada is dealing with near stagnant economic growth. Experts argue that this is just one more sign of the Liberal government's failure to acknowledge Canada's productivity crisis.

Over the past decade, Canada has ranked 18th out of 24 industrial nations in average growth, labour and productivity. GDP per capita is estimated at just 84% of that of the United States as a result of lower productivity growth in Canada. A recent Statistics Canada report indicates that last year was Canada's worst performance in terms of productivity in almost a decade. The finance minister commented on it and blamed the corporations. As a result, our standard of living is at risk.

Experts say that to improve this situation, Canadian corporations desperately need the $3.4 billion in tax relief that the government offered in its original budget. By reneging on this commitment, the Liberal government is ignoring the productivity crisis in the country and allowing the prosperity gap between Canadians and Americans to grow.

The government's agreement to scrap the corporate tax cuts in exchange for NDP support will also damage manufacturers and exporters that are already burdened by over regulation and an uncompetitive tax regime as a result of Liberal policies over the last decade.

The government has been warned that if these policies do not change, we are unlikely to be the number one trade partner to the U.S. five years from now if it refuses to address this reality.

I represent Oshawa, the jewel of Canadian and North American auto manufacturing. The manufacturing plants in Oshawa recently won the J.D. Power award for top automotive quality in North America. This is something of which I am very proud. For someone who worked on the line at GM while growing up, I know how hard the employees work and how much pride they take in their achievements.

Over the past few years General Motors, along with other Canadian industries, has dealt with a 30% appreciation of the Canadian dollar that has consequently harmed competitiveness and productivity. In other words, with our greatest trading partner, the United States, everything that we put across is costing 30% more.

The Canadian automotive industry is facing unprecedented challenges and competition from the offshore auto manufacturers. The threat of an influx of Chinese automobiles right now in North America is a threat that needs to be taken seriously, not ignored.

Recently General Motors announced 25,000 layoffs in the United States. According to the CAW, there will inevitably be a fallout here in Canada. Canadian auto jobs are at risk. What did the NDP do, the supposed champions of labour, at a time of unprecedented offshore challenges and a high Canadian dollar? In conjunction with the Liberals they hit the automotive industry when they were down. By removing the corporate tax cuts, they are further putting Canadian jobs at risk. If the NDP thinks it can affect the automakers bottom line without directly affecting jobs, it is not fooling anyone.

When the NDP members had the Liberals on the ropes and the Prime Minister was willing to agree to almost anything, they failed to make Canadian auto workers a priority. They could have easily forced the Liberals to table their elusive auto strategy. We have been hearing about this auto strategy for months. Where is it? They claim it is in the works, but they fail to release a transparent auto policy for all to see.

Instead the NDP members sold their votes for a deal, a deal that will ruin the finances of the country by allowing the government to spend and to spend without a plan and without accountability. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

To support Bill C-48 would mean the Conservative Party of Canada supports a government that does not have the authority to govern. We stand strong in our belief that accountability and transparency in government are vital to democracy in our country and that the well-being of Canadians should come first.

I stand in the House today to assure the people of Oshawa and Ontario that I, along with my Conservative colleagues, will not support reckless legislation that will harm Canadians and put Ontario jobs at risk. Therefore, we will vote against Bill C-48, and our votes cannot be bought.

The Conservative Party of Canada believes that our goal should be to give Canadians the highest standard of living in this world. Every Canadian who wants a job should be able to get a job. Our policies should be reflective of this. Every region, such as Oshawa, in the country should enjoy economic growth and new opportunities for the people in these regions.

Our goal is to make Canada the economic envy of the world. We want every mom and dad, every child in the country, to go to sleep at night and know that they can reach the Canadian dream.

Every family and person should be able to buy a house, save for their retirement and ensure that they have a little left over if they want to go to summer camps or on vacations. Maybe Canadians want to use their money. We should leave it in their pockets because they may want to start a business some day. That can only be done if the government does not tax too much and does not spend too much.

Bill C-48 is just that. It is opening up a blank cheque for the government to reckless spending. We cannot support this bill.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Liberal

Judi Longfield Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, I listened with some interest to the young member across who said that he was here to defend his constituents in the city of Oshawa. I would remind the member that I also have the great honour of representing the citizens of the city of Oshawa.

I was quite surprised to hear the member indicate that this government has not helped the city of Oshawa. What about the government's $200 million grant to General Motors for its Beacon project? This investment by the Government of Canada will allow General Motors to invest $2.4 billion in the very city he says that he wants to represent and where he wants to protect jobs.

How does this $200 million investment kill jobs and how does this investment not help his constituents?

The member says that he will be voting against Bill C-48 but he also says that he agrees with affordable housing and with cleaning up the environment. As a former chiropractor, I am sure he understands that clean air is what gives us all a better quality of life. When I read Bill C-48, I see money for the environment and for affordable housing.

If he were to talk to the chair of social services in the Durham region, she would tell him that Durham region is in need of affordable housing and that it is happy to have the money that this government is putting in.

If he were to talk to the chair of the region that he represents, who is also the president of AMO, he would tell him how excited and pleased he was about the gas tax rebate.

If he had attended the meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities he would have heard mayor after mayor from small communities extolling their absolute delight at the kind of cooperation they were finally getting from a federal government that considered them partners.

I am surprised that the member opposite is not listening to his constituents.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to say where to start and where the question was exactly in there.

In talking to the 40 mayors who came up to visit the Conservative caucus, they were concerned because for the last 12 years they have had no contact with the Liberal government. As a matter of fact, they said that they were happy with the little crumbs that were finally being thrown at them by the Liberal government after so many years of neglect and so many years of downloading from the Liberal government to the provinces and then to the municipalities.

What my constituents are telling me is that they are sick and tried of paying increased municipal taxes to subsidize the big cities where the NDP and the Liberals want to vote buy.

She talked about the GM Beacon project and how the government is investing $200 million. Well I say thanks very much, finally, for an investment in the infrastructure that General Motors is going to invest in as well. However this is just an example of the Liberal government's policy toward industry.

What the government first wants to do is overtax the corporations, then over-regulate them and then, as we have seen at General Motors Corporation, once they start to struggle, subsidize them. This is typical of the NDP and Liberal approach. What they want to do is choke off business by overtaxing them and when they are running into problems, hand them out money.

That is not our approach. We are not into giving blank cheques to corporations. We are looking very closely at the money given to General Motors. I am very pleased to see that we are finally getting an investment but it is just a little bit. I would liked to have seen a little bit more planning.

If we are looking at an auto strategy, the Minister of Industry has been promising an auto strategy for years, and an auto strategy is not about throwing money at corporations. An auto strategy is investing in the infrastructure required to make investment, not only automotive investment but all industry investment, here in Canada and in our province of Ontario.

Where is the new border crossing at Windsor-Detroit? When the NDP had these guys on the ropes, it could have talked about that. The recent Senate committee said that it was an emergency situation, not something that needs to be put off another 12 years before the government decides on it.

We need to see some leadership from the government to move forward to get that border crossing put in there, not 10 years from now but now. We needed it 10 years ago. Where is the planning and the looking ahead? The government fails to look ahead and fails to plan.

If the government does not understand the situation I will explain it. One in seven jobs in Canada is related to the auto industry. Over $1 billion in revenue goes across the Windsor-Detroit bridge every day. When will the government step up to the plate? When will it look at the regulatory problems, the infrastructure and a power coordination over the entire country so that when industry wants to invest and do business in Canada we will a have stable electrical and power supply? When will that happen? That is what I want to see from the government.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, putting together a budget is mainly a science, although not 100%. It is also partly an art with a little bit of a hope, on a wing and a prayer, because one is never sure in the upcoming year what kind of economic factors one will face as a country that may be out of one's actual control.

It takes a lot of work from a lot of people giving it a lot of thought to come up with a budget that they think will carry the nation through for a year, and with these Liberal budgets even further than that, and properly provide for the essential services based on the amount of revenue that will come in from a variety of sources.

However we need to take into account the interest rates, the commodity rates and what the price of oil and gas will be. It is definitely a science that has to be followed carefully and rules have to be applied and followed, otherwise the budget goes off track.

It is not a lot different than preparing a household budget. Every family that is prudent knows that they have to take a look at what is coming in for the month, look at what the expenses are going to be and base their spending accordingly. Anybody who has ever put their household on a budget also knows that if one suddenly lurches from one's budget plan, one can be headed for trouble. There might be things that the family might look at and like to buy but we would consider those things in light of how much income there is or what is predicted to be coming in. Departing from that path could lead to a financial disaster in the household budget.

Canadians need to understand that this is precisely what has happened with the federal Liberal government. It came out with a main budget and when we looked at it as an opposition party there were some things that we did not like but there were some things in the budget that we did like. As a matter of fact, a number of the key factors in the federal budget, which was originally presented, were there because of our input. Our leader and various critics had gone over certain areas and came up with some suggestions. It was our suggestion that a portion of the federal gas tax go back to municipalities, so of course we support that in the budget.

We supported a lot of elements in the main budget but then an extraordinary thing happened. On the way to tabling the budget, which the Liberals did table and to which we gave tacit support because of our own input, all of a sudden there was a lurch and the budget went off the rails because the government made a deal with the socialists, the NDP, and came out with an unprecedented and unplanned amount of spending in the neighbourhood of $4.6 billion. This was out of the blue.

Earlier, when we had been proposing other measures, the government said that it could not be done because it had carefully budgeted, that it was a science and a bit of an art. It said that it had considered everything very carefully and that it had a budget. However, out of the blue, it put $4.6 billion on the table to buy 19 socialist votes. I ask members to do the math. It roughly works out to about a quarter billion dollars per vote. In a frantic effort to survive, the minority government went to the NDP and asked what it would cost and said that it would pay whatever the price. The price was $4.6 billion.

Some people have criticized the NDP members for striking this deal with the Liberals but I do not. I say, good for them. They said that each one of their votes was worth a quarter billion dollars. If we accept the amount that the Auditor General said the government blew in the province of Quebec on the sponsorship scandal, which was about $350 million, and we accept that Quebec has four million or so voters, that means that each voter in Quebec was worth about $80 to $85 to the government. However members of the NDP were worth a quarter billion dollars each. We are talking about egalitarianism gone wild.

The government just tossed out this $4.6 billion of taxpayer money. If we were to depart from our household finances as radically as the Liberals have departed from the finance of the nation we would get the attention of our bankers, our creditors and our suppliers who would be saying that we are out of control.

The exact same thing will happen here and is already happening. Outside sources monitor what Canada is doing. Governments have to contend with credit agencies and rating agencies because their bonds are based on the kind of stability and confidence these external agencies have in their projections. When we take a $4.6 billion lurch, that introduces a notion of instability in people who are banking literally on our bonds and on our credibility.

The $4.6 billion caught the attention of the Economist magazine, one of many, which is a non-partisan magazine, but pointed to the government being out of control.

I have heard Liberal MPs try to blame previous governments. We all know that it was in the 1970s moving into the 1980s when the Liberal government, under Pierre Trudeau, departed from all sense of economic reality. That is simply a fact. Deficit financing was introduced at a gigantic, unparalleled, unprecedented rate and the country was plunged into record deficits like it had never seen before. That is when it started.

Pierre Trudeau had bought into the philosophy of John Maynard Keynes who said that when we run into trouble we just keep borrowing. That is basically what it comes down to. When John Maynard Keynes was asked what would happen in the long run when deficits kept piling up and we started hitting compound interest, he said that in the long run we would all be dead.

That was an irresponsible approach and this was an irresponsible approach to throw $4.6 billion out the door just so the Liberals would not wind up dead in the next election. That is irresponsible to future generations.

The mayors and councils of municipalities in my constituency could not get away with tabling a budget one day and then, in a matter of days later, radically depart from that budget. The ratepayers would not allow them.

The mayor of Okanagan Falls; the mayor of Naramata; Mayor Perry in Penticton; Mayor Tom Johnston in Summerland; Mayor Bob Harriman in Peachland; the regional district in Westbank; Mayor Laird in Merritt; and Mayor Brown in Logan Lake; those people could not get away with departing from the budget and just telling the taxpayers to trust them and that the money will be there.

The former finance minister, who is now the Prime Minister, had built up a bit of a false legend about himself being a great deficit cutter. What he did to dig into the deficit was that he slashed the health care transfer to the provinces overnight by 34%. It was no act of genius.

Regardless, he had built for himself a bit of a reputation as someone who was concerned about a deficit, but suddenly, like a drug addict who had finished the rehab program, he went crazy when he had a budget and he thought he was going to be curtailed; $4.6 billion one day and in the next 21 days the Prime Minister went coast to coast after his sad appeal to Canadians on national television and announced spending of $23 billion, even outstripping the amount that he paid to buy off that NDP vote.

The other concern is with whom he has struck the allegiance. He has struck the allegiance with NDP members of Parliament, people who operate on a failed socialist philosophy, an NDP philosophy that plunged the province of Ontario into unprecedented debt and deficit and racked and ruined the economy. They did the same thing when they had the opportunity in British Columbia.

NDP policies are not built on reality. It will take whatever jurisdiction and plunge it into debt and deficit and therefore the inability to pay for essential services.

On this side of the House we are concerned about Canadians. We want to see essential services maintained, strengthened and, where necessary, expanded. We have already support Bill C-43, the main budget, but the only thing that will expand under Bill C-48 is the sense of recklessness that will lead to increased deficit and possibly even debt. We want to stop that. It is not wrong for opposition MPs to stand in the House and try to put a stop to the recklessness that the government is now putting on the shoulders of Canadians.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a short question for the hon. member.

Given that under Bill C-48 new spending only comes into effect if there is a federal budget surplus of $2 billion or more, would the member not call that budget bill a no deficit budget bill?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker, because the spending that the Liberals are talking about is unplanned. It is almost laughable. I do believe the member is being sincere here, so I am not laughing.

It is almost laughable when he talks about surpluses because we have seen the Liberal record when it comes to predicting or projecting surpluses. The Liberals tell us there will only be a certain amount at the start of the year. All the economists warn that they are way out of line, that the surpluses will be huge and that we should be giving money back to the people of Canada. They have been over on their surplus projections by untold amounts, so they have constructed for themselves a carte blanche.

They have drawn up an arbitrary figure of $2 billion and say that if they hit it, then all this spending kicks in. They can make that spending kick in at any time because their projections, according to every credible economic forecaster and every external commentator, is absolutely out of control. It is based on one thing and that is to have a hidden surplus near the end of the year or at election time so they can go on a vote-buying spending spree. We cannot trust that kind of surplus projection.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla and to several of his colleagues, screaming and yelling about how this $4.6 billion, very carefully allocated to some very clear priorities that are absolutely supported by Canadians and desperately needed by people, is somehow reckless, irresponsible, and it will break the bank. They infer that it is just totally irresponsible for this kind of big money to be dedicated.

Yet the member just stood up and acknowledged himself, in a very accurate way, that there have been very large surpluses that the government has not acknowledged. The potential is there for it to trot out the surpluses. The last time around the projection of the surplus was $1.9 billion and the surplus was actually $9.1 billion. What is the reversal of those two numbers? Something like $8 billion. What is the problem?

How is it that the Conservative members who understand this would not support something as clearly targeted to the needs of Canadians. Bill C-48 deals with four things: first, accessible and affordable education that we know is critical to a prosperous and productive society; second, affordable housing, which is an important job stimulus as well as something that Canadians desperately need. I heard the member for Central Nova talk about making sure families can live together. Affordable housing is part of that. Third, public transit; and fourth, energy retrofitting of low income housing, so we can have clean air to breathe. In addition, we finally make a tiny step in the direction of meeting the 0.7% commitment to international development aid, which his own party has now finally reluctantly come around to support.

How can the member explain the contradiction between the excessive rhetoric on how this cannot be afforded and what he knows to be the facts?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have given our support to each and every item that the member has mentioned. There are elements of that in the first budget that was tabled, Bill C-43, the very elements to which we gave support. We do not and cannot support unplanned and unprecedented spending.

The member for Halifax is quite right. I said in my remarks that when the government projects a surplus, it is wildly off the mark, but intentionally so. It hides the surplus throughout the year when we are asking for the true needs of Canadians, until we approach either election time or the end of the budget year, which we call March madness, because we know in March, spending goes crazy. It was close to seven times the amount. The member was quite right, $1.9 billion is all the government said it would have as surplus. We get to the end of the year and surprise, it is $9.1 billion.

Where does that excess come from? One of the biggest areas of excess is from an EI fund that is grossly overtaxed. We have hardworking employees paying out of their paycheque every day into the EI fund. Even the Auditor General has agreed with our figures and told the government that it was putting way too much burden on the shoulders of hardworking people in the EI fund and the business community, especially small business. They are paying far too much into the EI fund.

There is enough in the EI fund to take care of long term unemployment problems or even a catastrophic crisis in employment. Yet the Liberals continue to tax at too high a level. They are overtaxing hardworking Canadians to get surpluses that they hide and then announce with unplanned and unprecedented budgeting. It is not the way to go. It is not honest. It is not good for the economy and it is not good for hardworking people.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is important to review the events that led up to the introduction of Bill C-48 and how our socialist friends in the NDP down at that end have reacted with the corrupt Liberal government.

In weeks prior to the deal being made in some hotel room with respect to Bill C-48, the NDP stood up on a daily basis in the House reflecting and railing about the corruption that was being made public through the Gomery commission. This corruption was not being made known through arbitrary allegations, but through sworn testimony and sworn confessions by key Liberal Party members who had participated in the biggest corruption scandal that we have ever had in the last decade.

The NDP knew that. It acknowledged that on a daily basis. Those members criticized the government over and over again, every single day, for the corruption and the ripoff of taxpayers' money. Those NDP members cried about the Liberals scooping that money for their own campaign coffers when it could have been used on things such as affordable housing, the environment, and helping students with tuition fees. Those members talked on a daily basis about the nasty corrupt Liberals.

Then came the time when the corrupt Liberal minority government was possibly going to go down in political flames through a non-confidence vote. We have to perhaps forgive the leader of the NDP for being a little naive about the honesty of the Liberals, but then again maybe not because several people in his caucus have a lot of experience dealing with that crowd over there.

The NDP leader and some of his party members knew the Liberals were corrupt. They knew the Liberal Party stole tens of millions of dollars from taxpayers and had given it to their friends or used it on their campaign. However, the NDP members felt the Liberals were in a real tough spot and were going to go down in flames on a non-confidence vote, so they thought they would see what they could get out of it. The NDP members thought they could scoop some of the money for some of their projects.

In the blink of an eye NDP members went from calling the Liberal government corrupt, which it is, to being best friends via a deal made in some hotel backroom brokered by Buzz Hargrove, the new Liberal finance minister apparently. They came up with a deal. The NDP knew the Liberals were corrupt. That party knew the Liberals did politics in a very suspect way. The NDP members told the Liberals that if they received about $4.5 billion for some of their projects, they would forgive them, sleep with them, and everything would be fine. I did not say this, but that type of arrangement has been described by some as basic political prostitution. I did not say it, but I tend to agree with that statement.

Here is what happened. The Liberal finance minister presented a budget in February 2005, Bill C-43. The Conservative Party proposed some amendments to the legislation because we did not quite agree with it. The Conservative Party wanted to make this Parliament work. We were committed to making this Parliament work, so we decided to propose some amendments. We decided to support the legitimate budget, Bill C-43, for the 2005-06 parliamentary year.

Suddenly, because of the sinking ship fiasco, this new deal came along with $4.5 billion written on a napkin with Buzz Hargrove's signature on it. The NDP made a deal with the Liberals to provide them with support for the non-confidence vote.

This is $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money that came out of the sky, 23 floors up in a hotel, that the Liberals want us to accept when there is absolutely no plan for spending attached to it. There are some vague areas, but there is no plan. The areas that they describe are ones that have been criticized soundly by the Auditor General and we cannot support them.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

We will now move to statements by members.

The 1918 Anti-Greek Riot in Toronto
Statements By Members

June 21st, 2005 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about a turbulent time in our history. Between August 2 and 5, 1918, mobs of about 50,000 people took to the streets in Toronto waging pitched battles with police and destroying every Greek business they came across. The riots were the result of prejudice against new immigrants and the belief that Greeks did not fight in World War I.

Today, Mr. George Treheles, Mr. Michael Vitopoulos and Mr. Thomas Gallant presented a book entitled The 1918 Anti-Greek Riot in Toronto , documenting the causes and the results of the 1918 riot to the Library of Parliament.

I want to thank these gentlemen for writing and publishing this book so that this tragic event in our history is not forgotten. Although the riot took place in 1918, it brings into sharp focus the need for all Canadians to respect and accept the cultural diversity which makes Canada such a vibrant place to live and bring up our children. We must remember our history so we do not repeat our mistakes.