That is unacceptable. I have read the red ink book.
The Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions described the paper brought in by the Reform as containing positive suggestions. It is refreshing the hon. minister recognizes the value of some of the ideas being batted around in the House.
I remind everyone of the precarious situation of our country. We have a debt at the federal level of $530 billion or $540 billion. We are increasing that debt. As of this year our deficit spending looks like another $40 billion, which works out to a rate of $110 million each and every day we go deeper into debt. It is a serious problem. The public at large in Canada is finally starting to haul it aboard. Certainly the financial institutions have hauled it aboard. It is time the government did so.
I will touch on one small area today and perhaps two if I have time to show what we can do to wrestle with reducing spending. I am the critic for official languages. I would like to suggest that we can save in the area of $310 million annually. This is not a big deal relative to the amount of deficit spending we are going through, but if each area can pick up $310 million in a year and spread it across the board we can get this thing under control.
Because I am talking about savings in the area of official languages I know they are waiting across the way to jump all over me and tell me how terrible our policies are. Let me reiterate with regard to bilingualism and official languages that the Reform Party is pro-bilingualism, not anti-bilingualism. The more people have French and English the better off we are. The more multilingual people in the country the better off we are in trade with the Pacific rim, with Europe and around the world. We are not anti-bilingualism; we are anti-waste. A lot of waste spending is incurred under the aegis of the Official Languages Act. We have to cut that out.
Another policy would be to give language and culture to the provinces and say they are theirs to take care of; if they want to spend money on them they can go ahead and decide to do so. We would leave it to the provinces. From the $310 million I am talking about we could trim about 30 per cent or $80 million from funding for official languages education. We could leave that to the provinces, keep the federal government out of it and save $80 million. Education, after all, is a provincial responsibility and should be left to the provinces like culture and language.
It should also be noted that most of the money is used to fund immersion programs. Immersion, especially French immersion of youngsters, has been touted by powerful special interest groups like Canadian Parents for French as the best means to create bilingual children. This is simply untrue. Several studies indicate that French immersion, especially at the younger ages, has been a failure.
Dr. Hector Hammerly of the linguistics department of Simon Fraser University has done extensive research in the area and has concluded that French immersion is based on a series of incorrect assumptions. Rather than producing graduates fluent in both languages, it turns out people who he says speak frenglish. They speak and write French poorly and they have difficulty in English. Dr Hammerly has discovered that core French is as effective in producing bilingual graduates as French immersion and costs less to operate.
Therefore, if we are spending money on something that does not work, surely we can afford to cut that spending.
I am always available to discuss any problem involving bilingualism or French immersion with anyone.
Second, we can save $41 million by eliminating grants-