Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments and question from the hon. member. I would like to start with a little point of clarification. The hon. member said that I had difficulty preparing constituents for cuts. That is not the case at all. In fact they recognized the need for these cuts because they know that is the only way these social programs can be preserved. That was not the problem.
It was not a problem but it was very difficult for me and painful for them to lay the situation out, having them realize there is no other place to make the cuts other than in social program spending and in other areas of federal government spending. In other areas $10 billion would be about the maximum. It would be very difficult to cut $10 billion from the $43 billion in other spending.
That means there have to be spending cuts of between $12 billion and $16 billion from social program spending. I was asking them as they went along: "Does this make sense to you?" They told me: "Yes, we know this has to happen and your presentation has really made it that much more clear, especially in regard to the aging population and the number of people on pension".