Mr. Speaker, the government's review of social policy should be accompanied by a review of the policies which really caused the deficit. Social spending in Canada is not out of line with what is spent in other developed countries. It is how we finance that spending that needs a hard look.
On the revenue side, successive Canadian governments have given up billions of dollars in the form of tax breaks of one kind or another, starting with John Turner's budgets in the mid-1970s. On the monetary policy side, a policy of high interest rates combined with a diminishing of the role of the Bank of Canada in the financing of Canada's debt has led to a deplorable dependence on foreign lenders and bond holders.
Of course on the economic side, the so-called free trade and free market fetish has destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs and stressed the social system designed for less stupid economic policies.
The government would do well to look at these things rather than blaming social programs and/or their recipients for our fiscal problems.