I apologize, Madam Speaker. That was my error.
The article states that:
The man advising [the Prime Minister] on building a new infrastructure financing agency was told the body could take on a “significant” amount of risk to help projects come to fruition.
The agency would “help bear a significant portion of the risk” in a project if the government took on an equity stake to make a project more attractive to private investors, says a confidential briefing package prepared for special adviser Jim Leech.
The Feb. 20 briefing document says the bank could take on debt that allows other debtors to be paid first in order to provide a “loss buffer” to the private sector, or invest on an equal footing “at concessionary terms.”
That latter reference could mean giving a private partner exclusive rights to use and receive revenue from a piece of infrastructure, like a rail line—such as the arrangement between the U.K., France and the private companies involved in the Channel Tunnel.
With reference to the infrastructure bank, we have asked time and time again in the House of Commons if there will be risk to the government and to the private sector. All the opposition side, whether the official opposition or members of the NDP, has heard is that the only person on the hook for this will be the taxpayer. The only way we were going to get this type of information was through an access to information request, and it was requested by the Canadian Press. The government has backgrounders on information and it is not willing to share because it is against its mandate and agenda. We see that with the carbon tax and the infrastructure bank. We are asking for some transparency on behalf of taxpayers. Somebody needs to be the voice of the taxpayers.
By no means am I an economist. I like to look at things as simply as possible. I am looking at information from the Fraser Institute, which noted that in 2016-17 the combined debt of the federal and provincial governments will be $1.4 trillion. I know we have talked a lot about this. People have said that deficits do not matter. We have heard that over and over again. However, when the government continues to spend greater than the revenues received, it will matter. It will have an impact on those things that are vital and important to Canadians, our top priorities.
If we know we are spending billions of dollars, a lot of which is money that we have borrowed, imagine when we have to start paying interest on that, money that could benefit Canadian society. I believe the cost would be over $37,000 per person if we were to divide the debt among everybody. That is more than the cost of my new car. That means everybody would be able to buy a brand new car as of today. I want to put that into perspective, because most families are buying a used car or cannot afford a car at all.
The government is spending all of this money. If we are looking at $62.8 billion just in interest in 2015-16, let us put that into what really matters. The member who sits beside me could buy the Toronto Maple Leafs 62 times over. Everybody knows how wealthy the Toronto Maple Leafs team is. Our debt is 62 times the worth of the Toronto Maple Leafs. We could buy 315 F-35 fighter jets. Would that not be wonderful for our troops? Instead, we have to worry about a debt that will continue on.
I look at the effects this will have on our generations. We talk about the debt, but we really do not understand the effects of that debt. What will that mean to the future of our health care system or our our educational system? How will that affect the environment, something so important to the government? How will that affect the government if we spend all of the money today? Later on we will be unable to afford anything. It concerns me because as we move forward with the great plans of the government, all we see is debt. We have already discussed that the debt we are accumulating is all on borrowed money. Who is going to pay this debt back? Debt and deficit do not seem to be key words for the government, but for most families it is.
As the critic for family, children, and social development, what would happen if we budgeted that way in our own homes? We would lose our cars, houses, and everything we ever owned. We cannot max it out time and time again. This is what the government is doing.
A lot of times when we have this conversation, the government of the day will reflect back to the spending of the previous government when we went through a global economic downturn. There was one in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We were the first country to recover, and we did so very well. I would like to thank the late Minister Flaherty for doing such a phenomenal job in the work that was done in Canada. Out of that spending, there were new arenas, new roads, new facilities for our communities, and a lot of growth in the economy as we went forward.
Now we are spending for the sake of spending and it does not make sense. We are not in a global recession when we need to go up against huge debt. I do not know why the government is putting our future in debt time and time again. The next generation will pay for this. When we look at medical care, such as palliative care, as Bill C-277 put through, why are we not investing in things that are really important to Canadians? Why are we not investing in long-term plans? We are spending so much money. I could talk about the $130,000 spent by the Prime Minister to travel abroad. Something as simple as that reflects respect for Canadian taxpayer dollars, and we do not see that.
I will bring this back in layman's terms. A lot of times when we talk to Canadians, we often talk about such big numbers, and they cannot grasp it. We are talking about miles and miles of money. If we laid it down, how much would it look like? A lot of times Canadians cannot put it into perspective because it is so grandiose. We want to do a lot of things in Canada and I am really fearful of where this ongoing debt and bad plans, such as the infrastructure bank and all of the other things that are planned, are going to put our country. It is going to put our grandchildren far behind the eight ball. What is going to happen to their education and health care? These are so important that we have to step back and ask ourselves how we can do it better. We are spending and spending and there is no plan to get back to a balanced budget.
Again and again, the opposition side has asked the government for its plan to get back to a balanced budget. Unfortunately, I do not think any member on the government side has actually said there is a plan. All we are hearing is 2035, 2055, or whenever it may be, but it will not be in two or three years, as it should be. When the government was elected, you said there would be a $10 billion deficit and I am not sure why you, time and time again—