Well, okay, I have never been wrong. Surely an opposition party wishing to become the national Government of Canada did not have to put all of those words. It could have been clear and unequivocal unless of course one is trying to use the shotgun approach.
I am saddened that hon. members opposite have seen fit to bring forward this particular motion and focus on an element of society who look to governments, and note I use the plural and not the singular word, for assistance. They sit in their wonderful parliamentary offices. They eat food from the parliamentary restaurants. They take their fat paycheques home to their constituencies. They wear their Gucci shoes, their Boss suits and their tailor made shirts, but they are the first crowd to say to low income Canadians that they want to do away with the RRAP, a rehabilitation program for people on low incomes.
What sort of intestinal fortitude do members opposite have to do that? Hon. members have had their say and as sure as God is our creator, I am going to have my say. They can yell and catcall all they wish but the point remains that members of the Reform Party stand in this House and mould expressions with regard to assisting Canadians on one hand and then stand in their place and do the exact opposite, which is to take away from those Canadians who deserve assistance, leadership and the compassion of the Government of Canada as well as all other governments across this country.
Part of this mammoth opposition motion that one could never put on a marquis, that one could never get into a one-line sentence, says that they want to get rid of the RRAP. That is one thing they want to do. What is the other? They want to get rid of the national infrastructure program.
Perhaps hon. members later in the discourse will have an opportunity to rise in their place and correct the record, but I thought when the Reform Party talks about democracy and the will of the Canadian people, that was paramount in their deliberations. That is what they say on Fridays but on Mondays it is a different thing.
Today they want to rid us of the national infrastructure program. Provincial governments, municipal governments, numerous councillors in every region of Canada, and provincial MLAs commissioned by votes in the respective legislatures support overwhelmingly the objectives of the national infrastructure program, but we have here today the Reform Party members once again speaking out of both sides of their mouth, saying on Friday that democracy and the will of the people is paramount, but when the Government of Canada delivers the goods with regard to servicing that constituency, it is they and they alone who protest.
I suggest there is a reason for that confined to opposition parties, particularly those that are on the rump side of the House
and not necessarily the official opposition, which is to try to play all sides and cater to all sides whenever convenient.
Hon. members must realize that members on this side of the House, provincial governments, municipalities, individuals, construction companies, reasonable Canadians both young and old support overwhelmingly the national infrastructure program.
The hon. member will rise in his place and provide us with a quote that says that so and so from somewhere in Canada is opposed. However the fact remains that Canadians overwhelmingly support the national infrastructure program.
I say to the Reform Party members that if they do not want moneys spent in their constituencies as they relate to the national infrastructure program and if they have their province on side, why do they not do the honourable thing? Why do they not stand in their place and say to the people of their riding that there are no moneys in this area of Canada for the national infrastructure program? That is if they have the intestinal fortitude. I ask the hon. member opposite who reads his book, reads his "Quorum", flips his glasses, who wishes to catcall from his seat: "Do you have the intestinal fortitude to turn it down?" The hon. member will have an opportunity later to give us his answer. I say to the hon. member through you, Madam Speaker, that there are numerous members on this side of the House who will take that money and spend it on behalf of Canadians.
I am always reluctant to enter into debate, but I have to say on the floor of the House of Commons in terms of the motion that is before us that there are two things on which I would like to comment as they relate to this mammoth opposition motion.
Third is the youth services corps. This is the same crowd that puts their hands over their chests, stands on guard for Canada, and says they are all in favour of motherhood and apple pie, which I am too. However, when it comes to providing some economic assistance to youth in this country, who are the first to oppose it? The Reform Party of Canada.
Perhaps I am incorrect. Perhaps it really is not the Reform Party of Canada. Perhaps it is just the Reform Party that happens to represent an area of Canada and not all of Canada. That is the issue.
This government's vision of Canada includes all Canadians, irrespective of their income, their language or their social status. Our vision is that of a country where everyone enjoys some quality of life, a country where we are responsible for the well-being of others and where people still have hope both for themselves and for their children.
There is no doubt in my mind that this vision is tied to the provision of decent housing to all Canadians. Also, there is no question of excluding certain people from this vision just on account of the fact that they need help to meet their basic housing needs.
I am saddened that members opposite would use this opportunity, a privilege which I would say to the mover of the motion is only granted to a select few Canadians who have earned the right to sit in this Chamber and voice the concerns they believe to be important in public policy matters affecting this nation. I for one would never, ever disagree with hon. members opposite exercising that fundamental right. But having agreed to exercise that right, do not be fooled into thinking that those of us on this side of the House are consenting or in any way agreeing with the public musings nor the contents of the resolution which have been put forward by the Reform Party of Canada.
We in the Liberal Party oppose now and will continue to oppose these Draconian, inarticulate, vague concepts of public policy as they confront Canada. The hon. member may laugh. He has that right. I say to him that those who have been elected to this side of the House also have the right to stand in this place and stand for Canadians who want assistance, leadership and economic activity from their government.
In this recent budget we have provided that leadership and we have provided that direction. I find it unacceptable for members of the Reform Party to waltz in here and put a motion before the people of Canada which I suggest is nothing more than griping at its best. They have not provided alternatives. They have not spoken to the real issues which affect Canadians. Yes, deficits are important, but it is not the only thing that confronts Canadians. To suggest otherwise is being totally irresponsible as a member of an opposition party.
It would be equally irresponsible for those of us on this side of the House not to talk about deficits. We have talked about deficits. We said in the campaign, in the throne speech and now in the budget that all of our commitments in the red book have now been put into effect and we are moving in the direction we said we would with regard to deficit control.
I find it unacceptable that a seasoned member who has experience in public life would raise on the floor of the House of Commons the chopping of our youth, chopping our senior citizens and low income Canadians and dissipating and doing away with the national infrastructure program which is a program needed, wanted and delivered by the government.
I want to talk about several other issues since hon. members dared to tread that line. They talked about pensions. They said: "How terrible it is for members of Parliament to receive pensions". The Prime Minister said clearly and unequivocally: "Yes, that matter will be addressed". However, was that sufficient enough for members of the Reform Party? No that was not
sufficient enough. They continuously raise the issue of pension reform when they know the matter is being given due consideration by the appropriate authorities and at that time they will have an opportunity to address that particular issue.
However, what do we hear? We hear that if this is not corrected the heavens will fall and the country will disappear. That is the way in which they paint the issue. That is not to suggest that the hon. member's points deserve consideration. Again, as I said with the national infrastructure program, they should be careful and prudent in the way in which they present their arguments because a number of Canadians perceive, perhaps quite rightly and or indeed quite wrongly, that the Reform Party is nothing-these are not my words and I want to be very clear because I do not wish to be unparliamentary-more than a bunch of antis: anti-immigration, anti-French, anti-regional development, anti-seniors, anti-women, anti-youth. That may be unfair or it may be fair, it could be unfair but then again it may be fair. These are not my words, that is what Canadians tell me from time to time as I travel the country.
Let us not be unfair. Let us be fair and let us say that the resolution which the hon. member put down is not deserving of the support of members on this side of the House. It is not deserving of support of members on that side of the House. Certainly it is not deserving of the support of the member's own political party. I am sure that in exercising their free vote they want to be fair, not unfair. They will exercise their free vote and they will vote against this particular resolution put forward by my colleague opposite.
Finally, in closing-I will probably get a few questions, at least I hope I will-I want to say to members opposite that when they are developing an opposition motion they should give it some more thought, do their homework, go back and think what it is they want to accomplish. Do not put it in vague terminology; long, windy, whiny sentences. Do not do that. Their grade seven English teacher, my grade seven English teacher, would tell us that when we are writing a composition or a resolution. Chop it down, be focused, be specific before bringing opposition motions before the House of Commons for adjudication by members and ultimately by the people of Canada.
But to say, as the hon. member did in his remarks, and to imply in the resolution that somehow it is low income Canadians who benefit from RRAP, that somehow it is disabled Canadians who benefit from the residential rehabilitation assistance program, who are the cause of the deficit, that they, the weakest members of our society, should not have leadership from their governments, is a pretty gutless way really to represent Canadians. I mean there is nothing tough, is there? Is there anything tough? Is there anything really tough about saying this to senior citizens who happen to be disabled?
I will close with this message. Today I received a letter from a lady who has multiple sclerosis, and she is going to be a beneficiary of the RRAP disabled program announced by the Minister of Finance. If the hon. member is saying to those kinds of Canadians that yes, they are the ones that we want to chop off and that yes, they are the ones who do not deserve any attention from the Government of Canada, let him say it. Do not do it in a phony motion, comprised of many words written by some staffer in the back rooms of his political party. Have the intestinal fortitude to come to the floor of the House of Commons and say to disabled Canadians, low income Canadians, the youth, the municipalities, councillors across this country that the programs we put into effect are not necessary and are not needed by Canadians.
If not, the hon. member should do the honourable thing.