House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order. I will respond to the two points of order.

I think the member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine answered his own question. In the budget debate, the Minister of Finance has unlimited time, as does the first speaker after, which is typically the finance critic from the official opposition. The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster has unlimited time.

I would ask all members to note two things. First, points of order are important in this place and the process of raising points of order ought not be abused. Second, if any member has questions about procedure or the rules of the House, the appropriate process is to ask at their desk in the lobby or to approach the table. Asking for clarification of the rules is in itself not a point of order.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for clarifying that. I am very happy to be back, and I appreciated the points of order just the same. It was great to have that moment because, as I am saying, even as we speak, more and more comments are flooding in. I believe the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour will be passing me his BlackBerry in just a moment.

Here is another question from a young Canadian, “If the Conservatives are so concerned about the budget and deficit, why did they create the deficit in the first place?” I think that is a very interesting question.

I have comment from a gentleman in southern Ontario who says, “Thanks to the NDP for being my voice in Parliament re: the budget. My member of Parliament, a Conservative, doesn't seem to care, unfortunately.” I am hopeful that will change through the course of this budget debate.

I do not know about other members but I am feeling more energetic than ever with the support of my NDP colleagues in the House of Commons.

I will continue to read into the record the comments from Canadian families from coast to coast to coast. This comment comes from someone in northern Ontario, “The current budget is a disaster and will deepen the recession that Canada is barely able to get out of. As we're becoming aware, Canadians are becoming aware, we did not elect this government.”

That is a very key point. That individual is raising a concern about the issue of robocalls in the last federal election campaign. Of course, it has been part of the discussions we in this House have been having over the course of the last few weeks. Canadians have become more aware of how the election campaign was interfered with, which I think is fair to say since Elections Canada is investigating. Obviously, the comment from that Canadian that the budget is a disaster because it will deepen the recession is a valid point.

Coming into the budget itself, we had already lost 50,000 full-time jobs since September. Even though the Conservatives like to throw out these very imaginative and creative numbers, we on this side of the House prefer to stick to facts, which is why we support the work of the First Nations Statistical Institute, the National Council of Welfare and Statistics Canada. The first two have been completely destroyed. Their heads have been cut off by the budget. The third is barely hanging on, with severe ongoing cuts.

However, we believe in sticking to the facts and the facts are that, since prior to the last recession back in May 2008, the Conservatives have barely managed to create 200,000 jobs at a time when the labour force grew by 500,000. We were well behind almost 300,000 jobs, certainly 250,000 jobs short of what needed to be created just to keep our heads above water.

Then came September through to February, which were catastrophic months for 50,000 Canadian families that lost their breadwinners. People went to work and were told that there was no more work. They no longer had incomes. They had that sickening thought, as they walked through the door to talk to their family, that the family would need to cut back and that they would have difficulty keeping a roof over their heads. They will need to cut back on medication for their parents perhaps, or maybe shoes for the kids, or maybe that summer camp they dreamed of for years for their youngest. That happened 50,000 times over the course of the fall and then we hit this budget.

The Canadian who just wrote to us understands completely that we will lose another 50,000 or more jobs, not just the jobs that were killed by this fewer jobs, less growth and less prosperity budget, but by the multiplier effect in the private sector. We are talking about 50,000 more Canadian families that will lose a breadwinner.

This is the most important point I would like to emphasize. As I am reading these letters into the record and bringing forward these comments from Canadians, we are understanding the wisdom and profound knowledge of the Canadian people. Canadians understand the economy. They understand that when we slice, hack and go at it like ideological Vikings breaking open the shop rather than proceeding in a responsible way, there are consequences, and that is what has happened here.

After the failure of the government to address, in any meaningful way, the recession, being almost 300,000 jobs short, after the failure we saw this fall with the factory closures across this country, dozens of factories and plants closed with tens of thousands of jobs lost, for the government at this time to hack, slash and kill 20,000 public sector jobs and 30,000 or 40,000 more private sector jobs, though we probably will not find out the real figures until tomorrow, is profoundly irresponsible.

On this side of the House, the NDP MPs believe in the solid knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the Canadian people. Canadians understand what the government is doing and they do not like it. Canadians understand the negative impacts of this budget and they do not like it. They understand the increasing inequality and they do not like it. They want the kind of country where people are not left behind and everyone matters, where democratic institutions function, where Elections Canada is not hurt as a result of taking action because of potential illegal activities in the last election campaign but that it is actually given the resources to do its work to uncover the truth, and where statistical organizations actually produce real studies because they have the financing to do so and, in that way, we can track what the real qualify of life is for first nations people in our country, and what is really happening with those who are at the bottom level of income, the poorest of the poor in our country.

That is what Canadians believe in and that is what we are seeing in case after case as I read these letters. Canadians understand the difference between current dollars and constant dollars. They understand that this country is not going in the direction they want it to go in. They understand that they were given promises that have been promptly broken by the government. They also understand that there is hope on the horizon because, on October 20, 2015, there will be a new sunrise in this country with the election of the first NDP government in Canadian history.

I am just warming up and starting to get my stride. I do not know how late we are going tonight, but I am perfectly willing to keep reading Canadians' comments into the record.

I will now go to northern Quebec now. An individual wrote to the finance minister and said the following, “Dear Mr. Finance Minister:

“Cutting public services and jobs is not the only way to reduce the deficit. In fact, austerity budgets could increase unemployment and push Canada into another recession, which, in turn, could reduce government revenues and make it more difficult to achieve a balanced budget. Your government often points to Greece as a reason to reduce government deficits and debt but Greece also provides a warning about what happens to an economy when deep austerity measures are adopted. Consider alternatives to cutbacks that could harm the Canadian economy to say nothing of the many public service workers and many Canadians who depend on their services”.

I would like to thank this individual for writing in on that basis. She is absolutely right.

An interesting and important point that we can make in this debate is that the countries that are in difficulty, Greece and Ireland, are actually the countries that have the lowest corporate tax rates. The idea that driving corporate tax rates down as far as they can go is somehow good for the economy, Greece and Ireland are two examples to the contrary. They have the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe and we can see where it led them.

I will move on to Atlantic Canada. We have some fantastic Atlantic Canadian members of Parliament.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Who are they, Peter?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

I am being asked to say who they are but all Atlantic Canadian members of Parliament are fantastic. However, there are six who are particularly distinguishing in the work they have done in Parliament: the members of Parliament for St. John's East, St. John's South—Mount Pearl, Halifax, Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Sackville—Eastern Shore and Acadie—Bathurst. Those six MPs are the strongest of the strong among Atlantic Canadian members of Parliament.

Coincidentally, coming in just in the last few minutes are some comments from Atlantic Canadians, which I think mixes very well with the strong representation they have in Atlantic Canada. I have comments from Halifax, which read, ”Corporate tax cuts, more prisons and 65 F-35 fighters bombers are no response to the needs of average Canadians. How about eliminating subsidies to big oil giants? How about closing the loopholes on corporations that hide profits offshore and give Revenue Canada the e tools human resources they need to properly investigate the billions of tax dollars corporations cleverly hide from the purview of Revenue Canada. Canadians need adequate responses to child care, health care and education as well as pensions, and a meaningful investment in green energy sources”.

That is wisdom from Atlantic Canada. We thank the person for writing in. Obviously the concern is around the prison agenda at a time when the crime rate is falling and the massive boondoggle, the F-35 fiasco. Members will recall when the government promised it would not cost more than $9 billion to replace the CF-18s. Now we are at somewhere between $30 billion and $40 billion and counting. The government just does not seem to have at any point any willingness to put the brakes on and say that it needs to start over on it.

The Conservatives are telling future seniors that they will need to pay for the government's boondoggle, its fiasco, rather than stopping the purchase, which is what a prudent NDP government would do. We would stop it. It will cost $30 billion or $40 billion. We would put the brakes on and start over. The government should tender the contract and ensure there is careful cost accounting so we are not spending $40 billion for something that was committed to at $9 billion.

Since we have not formed a federal government yet, members might ask how we can talk about financial accounting at the federal level. The Department of Finance publishes annual returns, which are called the fiscal period returns. It calculates how good governments of all stripes are at budget forecasting, how they balance their budgets and how they pay down debt. It has been doing that for 20 years. It is hardly a hotbed of social democrats, which I think members will agree with me on that, but for 20 years, year after year, it has compared NDP governments, Conservative governments and Liberal governments. Of course, Liberal governments have not been so good on the budgetary management side, so they tend to be off with the Parti Québécois and the Socreds.

The second-place award for the last 20 years for fiscal management goes to the Conservative Party.

For 20 years, without fail, year after year, NDP governments have been the best at forecasting balanced budgets, balancing the budgets and paying down debt.

If I were the one saying so, I could imagine some skepticism from the Conservatives across the aisle, but the fact is their own federal Ministry of Finance is saying that. I think that tells them if they want to up their game, they should act more like New Democrats. That is what they need to do.

Let us move on to some more comments. I am going to talk about an eight-year-old girl in the Halifax region. I believe her name is Madeline.

We have been talking a lot about the wisdom of Canadians. We have been talking about the wisdom of young Canadians who have been writing in. They understand we cannot compare apples and oranges, constant dollars and current dollars. We have been talking about the wisdom of senior Canadians and those who are nearly seniors who understand that the OAS is sustainable in its present form, as the Parliamentary Budget Officer says, as the government's own actuarial tables say. That wisdom we are getting is from a wide variety of Canadians.

Here is wisdom from an eight-year-girl in Halifax, Nova Scotia, an eight-year-old Canadian who understands what budgets are all about. She said, “Why doesn't the Prime Minister know if he doesn't use the budget to look after the environment, we will end up just like the people in WALL-E?” WALL-E is a film about the environment. It is a great film. This eight-year-old girl in Halifax, Nova Scotia understands that we have to take care of the environment or we will end up with severe environmental degradation and catastrophe.

We say to Madeline that she can trust us to make sure that, as of October 20, 2015, we are going to take care of the environment. She can trust us in pushing back on these meanspirited cuts to the environment ministry and the removal of environmental assessments. Madeline is absolutely right. We have to look after the environment. We pledge to do so.

I sure hope that the Prime Minister's Office incorporates Madeline's comments in the next briefing note that comes out. We see that eight-year-olds understand the importance of the environment. If the government does not seem to understand the importance of environmental assessments and protecting the environment, perhaps the Prime Minister should visit a class of eight-year-olds and find out from them how important the environment is to them and how important the future of the country is to them.

I am going to move from Halifax, Nova Scotia to another favourite part of our land, the great city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, which has two fantastic members of Parliament.

Mr. Murphy, who is from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, said, “The increase in the duty free allowance only serves to show Canadians the government's arrogance. I wish somebody could explain how the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister intend to grow our economy with this regressive move to encourage people to go across the border to buy goods”.

I have some more comments from Atlantic Canadians. A lot of Atlantic Canadians have been writing in and tweeting. My colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour may have another tweet to tell me about.

I mentioned Nova Scotia. We heard Madeline's comments and a number of others. We have mentioned Newfoundland and Labrador. I also have a comment from someone from Prince Edward Island and a comment from someone from New Brunswick.

Ms. Hunt, who is from Prince Edward Island, said, “I am a re-elected town councillor in Prince Edward Island. This budget is an extremely harsh budget, favouring big business but attacking the poor, the disadvantaged and seniors. The OAS attacks target poor seniors and youth. Please speak up for Canadians, including Katimavik youth”, and I will certainly be doing that in a moment. She said, “I feel like we are now becoming the 51st state of the U.S.A.”

Another young person, Ms. Henry, is from Fredericton, New Brunswick, which is another Conservative-held riding. We have been endeavouring to raise concerns that are coming from Conservative-held ridings from coast to coast to coast.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Scott Andrews

We are smiling over here.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

I thank the member across the way for his compliments.

Ms. Henry said, “Thanks for standing up in the House and opposing the disastrous Conservative budget. As a full-time student working three jobs to pay for my education, I am disappointed that the budget offers no help for students. Increasing tuition fees mean that post-secondary education is becoming less and less accessible to young people in Canada. I see my friends dropping out of university because they cannot afford to continue. We have a student debt crisis, and instead of ensuring that all young people have a fair chance, the Conservatives seem intent on creating a system where only the rich can get an education, and that is shameful. As a young person, I am outraged that the Conservatives are trying to justify their cuts to old age security by claiming to be helping young people. We are the ones who cannot find jobs now because of their mismanagement of the economy. It is my generation that will have to retire later and live in poverty in our retirement. Many seniors who have worked their whole lives are already being forced to live in poverty in retirement. Cutting OAS and throwing more seniors into poverty is bad for seniors and it is bad for youth”.

These are the voices of Canadians from across the country. There is another tweet coming in. I certainly encourage Canadians to continue tweeting or posting on Facebook.

This is a request from a constituent in Brandon—Souris, which is a Conservative-held riding in Manitoba. That individual has asked the member for Brandon—Souris to cross the floor and vote against the budget and join the NDP. We think that is very good advice.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

An hon. member

Do not stop now.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

We will not be stopping. That is for sure.

These are some of the comments that have been raised. There are tons more coming in. Before I turn to other things, I want to mention some of the concerns that have been raised around one program in particular. There is a truckload of comments coming in on a variety of issues. I have addressed the OAS concerns, the cuts to services, environmental assessments. Comments are coming in from all over. Canadians are speaking out. They are very concerned. Some comments are coming in regarding one program in particular, since we have been talking about youth.

This is about the Katimavik program.

Many Canadians have said they do not agree with the government about old age pensions or about the budget cuts, especially with regard to services. Of course, a number of Canadians have also mentioned the Katimavik program. I would like to spend a few moments, since I have a good deal of time to talk today, discussing the budget cuts that affect Katimavik, because many Canadians are worried. I will begin in Quebec.

First, I have an email from Sherbrooke that says, “I have not yet had time to read the Conservative budget, but I saw that they have made cuts to the Katimavik social program. It is a very useful program for youth development in our Canadian communities.” This young Canadian objects to the cuts.

Now we go to Rimouski, where a woman writes, “I worked for Katimavik as a coordinator in Rimouski, Trois-Pistoles and Mont-Joli. I saw how much this program helped young Canadians grow and develop and how much it gave to the host communities. I was the coordinator the first year of the program in the Lower St. Lawrence region, and I am proud of what the young people did in our city, by volunteering with a number of non-profit organizations.”

They are saying we must support organizations that can do a lot with scarce resources. On the subject of Katimavik, once more, there has been great response from the people of Canada.

Next we come to Ville d'Anjou. I would like to thank the hon. member for Anjou and Rivière des Prairies for his presence and his work in the House.

The woman wrote the following to her member of Parliament: “I live in Ville d'Anjou. First, I must admit that I know very little about politics because I am only 22. I am writing about the abolition of the Katimavik program, which was made official in today's budget. [She wrote last Thursday.] I am both sad and upset that this program has been abolished. I had the opportunity to take part in it in 2009-10. At the time, I was dithering. I had to choose between various college programs, but I had no idea of what I wanted to do. Therefore, I decided to participate in the Katimavik program. It gave me an understanding of the world and of what the citizenship means. I developed a new confidence and I learned to opt for the simple life. I also had the opportunity to see how much Canadian communities have to offer and, of course, I was able to learn English, a language in which I was deficient despite taking courses in high school and in CEGEP. After coming back home at the end of the program, I completed my education in social sciences, since Katimavik had helped me find my way. I also continued to do volunteer work in my neighbourhood, particularly with young people. In fact, this experience confirmed my choice of career. It is with nostalgia that I think back to Katimavik, program that I feel should be compulsory. During the election campaign, when my friends would show little interest in politics at the provincial or national level, I made a point of explaining its importance, because it was taught to me at Katimavik.”

That is another very important point. Young people are writing from all regions of the country. They are saying that the Katimavik program is important. They are also saying that, since this program is so useful to Canadians, the government should not have abolished it in the budget.

We fully agree with these young people. We believe that Canadian families deserve better than cuts to the Katimavik program, which is a program designed for young people. They deserve better.

Here is another young voice from Quebec, in the riding of Abitibi—Témiscamingue: “I am a resident of Val-d'Or and I am writing to express my concern over the abolition of the Canadian volunteer program Katimavik. As you know, the minister tabled his budget on March 23, 2012, and we learned in it that the program would no longer be subsidized. However, I firmly believe that they [the government] did not do their homework. How can the Conservative government deprive young adults aged 16 to 21 of their right to explore their culture and nation, particularly since the program is so useful to communities that have a great need for it? The young people who enrol in the program will not silence the party, on the contrary. They all work for not-for-profit corporations that provide a direct service to the most underprivileged, whether it be soup kitchens, centres for people with disabilities, or schools in disadvantaged areas. These young people have a direct impact on the community and on the people they meet. I myself participated in the program [it is still Mr. Gauthier from Val-d'Or talking] in 2008-09, and I swear on the Bible that this experience changed my life. I learned to live in a group, to share and to not worry about my small problems. I learned that there are people who have much greater needs than I do. Do you not think that this experience has a more positive impact on young people who, at 16, learn the real values in life? Instead of realizing the importance of this program for the years to come, the government prefers to keep young people in their communities and prevent them from discovering the essence of Canada and meeting its great and welcoming population. [This is really a message of hope.] I realize that one email is not going to change the world. However, if I managed to pique your curiosity about the Katimavik program, I will have done my share. Thirty thousand young people have already been part of the adventure and a few thousand are currently helping hundreds of communities coast to coast. Unfortunately, the group that was supposed to leave in July to lend a helping hand has been cancelled. Think of the thousands of young people who were waiting to leave and who, because of the Prime Minister, will not be of any help to our communities. If you have a few minutes, I invite you to visit the website. You should take a look at it. I do not think that a subsidy of a few hundred thousand dollars to train our youth should have been cut.”

That was another message about Katimavik. I am skipping some because there are many more. Still, I will try to read a few, because I think I have enough time.

This is from a British Columbian. He says, “It has recently come to my attention that the federal government will cut funding to essential youth development programs. One of these is Katimavik. If you are not aware, Katimavik is a national youth volunteer program focused on fostering personal development in young Canadians through voluntary community work, training and group interaction. It is a cultural exchange between communities in Canada and youth from the rest of Canada. I am an alumni of the Katimavik program. I was stationed in Steinbach, Manitoba and Chisasibi in Northern Quebec. I have seen amazing growth and development as a result of my involvement in these communities in Canada. This program establishes strong links between small communities and the rest of Canada. It also offers community partners a great economic return. According to the social and economic impact study of the Katimavik program 2006, Katimavik has a positive economic return for the community partners. Each $1 expenditure by Katimavik generates an average return of $2.20.”

He says, “If not for this program, I would not have grown to be an engaged citizen, nor come to understand this great country. Before this program, I never really understood my role in Canada. I immigrated to Canada when I was six years old. I never really felt I was Canadian, or even really understood what that meant. However, after the program, and interacting with these people outside Vancouver, I understood that Canada is a wonderfully culturally diverse place, and respecting and sharing that diversity is what it meant to be Canadian to me. I believe cutting this program would be a devastating blow to the future of Canada. This program has developed me, and each year 1,100 other youth, to be engaged in local communities and lives. It has also developed my professional and social skills. At this point in time in the economy it is difficult for youth to acquire work without previous experience. This causes a vicious circle of inexperienced youth not being hired and youth not being able to gain experience to be hired. According to Statistics Canada, the youth unemployment rate has been skyrocketing. If it were not for Katimavik, I would not have decided to study at Simon Fraser University. I can make a career out of interacting with our global, national and local communities. Before the program I was just a confused and aimless student. But now, I have direction.”

This is just another example of young Canadians writing in and saying to the government that it should not be cutting Katimavik and other programs in the budget. Canadian families and Canadian youth deserve better than what it has put forward in the budget.

We have comments from Kenora, another Conservative riding. The writer says, “We have had the privilege of having Katimavik volunteers in our community for the past three years. We have worked with over 60 youth from across the country. We are an Ojibway anglophone community with many not-for-profit organizations that have been able to enhance their staffing at no cost. Youth volunteers have assisted the Out of the Cold shelter, the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, the Salvation Army Thrift Store, the Chamber of Commerce, the Kwayaciiwin Education Resources, Cedar Bay Recreation Centre and Wawatay Native Communications Society, to name but a few. The youth have had a tremendous opportunity to learn about the culture of the settler nations of Canada, French and English, as they live and learn as a team for the term of six months. In Sioux Lookout, they have also been introduced to aboriginal culture and have learned from first nations people the history, struggles and hope for the future. The program gives youth the opportunity to learn about our great country and that there is an additional benefit to the communities that host these young people. I understand that the budget is about $15 million a year. In the grand scheme of things, that does not seem to be out of line for the benefit created. Please fight to keep this valuable program operating.”

In all these cases, we see a government that is prepared to spend, with the maintenance contracts, somewhere around $40 billion for the F-35s, for 65 fighter jets. We can do the calculation. We are talking about well over $0.5 billion for each of the fighter jets. The Conservatives are saying that because of that they have to cut pensions, services and health care. They have to cut out whole programs and statistical agencies that provide facts, to which the government seems very adverse.

We are saying that is not the way it ought to be, that does not reflect fundamental Canadian values. Canadians want to work with each other and help each other. That is one thing that Katimavik does. I have another comment from a Conservative riding in New Brunswick. It states, “As someone who has had many friends and family members participate in Katimavik throughout the years, I am concerned about this government's recent decision to de-fund this invaluable program. With youth unemployment at record levels under this government, the federal government must do everything it can to address this growing crisis. The opportunity that Katimavik provides to young people across Canada is just one of the many ways the federal government could work to address this issue. I urge Conservatives to reverse their position.”

Tweets are coming to Conservative members of Parliament. Folks are now posting on Facebook sites and sending in emails. They are saying to Conservative members of Parliament, “You've got to change the way you're going. This budget is not good for Canada”.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please. The member for Bourassa is rising on a point of order.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

April 2nd, 2012 / 5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find it very interesting that the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster is telling us about the positive tweets, but I would like him to also share the ones that say he is wasting our money and should sit down so we can have a real debate.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

We are just into a question of debate. I do not really think it is a point of order.

The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member has long experience in the House of Commons. He knows there are some Liberal members of Parliament who would like the NDP to stop so that the Conservatives can take the floor. It astounds me, because the reality is the Liberals get a few minutes of debate but the Conservatives get most of the debating time.

I have not had a single email, a single Twitter, a single posting on Facebook asking that the Conservatives take over debate in the House of Commons, as they have done by using taxpayers' money to send ministers across the country to say inaccurate things about the budget. Canadians are telling me to stand in the House and speak for them. They are telling me to make sure Canadians know what is in the budget and why they deserve better.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for ruling on the matter. It is much appreciated. I would ask, Mr. Speaker, if you could give me a five-minute signal and a one-minute signal when we come up to 6:30 p.m. That would be much appreciated, because I want to make some concluding remarks. I said earlier that I wanted to speak for a while, but I have been energized by some of the comments coming from the House of Commons and the many Canadians who are asking for their voices to be heard on the floor of the House of Commons. I am perfectly happy to keep on speaking.

I will now move on to a young woman named Alexandra, who lives on the West Island in Montreal.

She says, in a bit of a humourous way, “Thanks to the Prime Minister for cutting the program that taught me the most life skills, taught me more than any school ever did, gave me the opportunities I have now, and let me live some of the most incredible experiences. Yes, [Prime Minister], you are really looking out for Canada's youth and future generations.”

It is an outstanding comment, and she is obviously concerned about what the Prime Minister is doing to that program.

This is from a gentleman in Vancouver South, another Conservative riding. We are endeavouring to have the views of Canadians living in Conservative ridings brought to the floor of the House of Commons.

This person says, “I know first-hand how good the program Katimavik has been for the youth of this country over the past many years. In addition to a major loss for the country, one of the offices for the program is located in the city of New Westminster, which would mean a loss of jobs in that community. New Westminster has hosted a number of Katimavik projects over the years that have benefited our community.

“I'm not sure also if he asked the President of Treasury Board if the Minister of Canadian Heritage will stand up for Katimavik. I'm not sure also if he has asked the President of Treasury Board to fundraise for the summits that took place in his riding a few years back. Who can forget the fake lake they created?”

We cannot forget the fake lake. We cannot forget the fake citizenship ceremony with fake new citizens. We cannot forget the fake job figures that are brought forward to the House of Commons every day. We just cannot forget all that fakery. I imagine, as a result of the budget, there is going to be more of that, because the government is going to cut all of the statistical agencies that provide the facts on which the government should be proceeding in public policy. The government is simply not doing it.

The next one is from the wonderful riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Who's the MP there?

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

The member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is a terrific individual and good friend of mine. I cannot mention his name, though.

This individual from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour says, “I would like to voice my dismay at the news that funding for Katimavik will be cut.

“The Katimavik program provides this nation's youth with the opportunities and experiences to make better choices to improve their lives and to support their future physical and mental health in positive ways that they may not have access to otherwise. Katimavik is instrumental in building the character and competence of our youth to become the kind of Canadian citizens we need for our future.”

This is another voice of wise Canadians.

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

What a great statement.