Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow up on the point my hon. colleague raised. Our party has very little problem with freezing salaries. However when we start talking about freezing increments it goes a little bit further.
With the RCMP constables the government is cutting into what was considered training advancement through an incremental process.
British Columbia has the largest number of RCMP. It is the largest division in the country. There are over 700 constables in the E division. A large part of the cost the member is talking about controlling is municipal. It is through the municipal taxpayers.
In the Surrey detachment 90 per cent is picked up by the municipality. Provincially, 70 per cent is picked up by the province. When the hon. member starts talking about saving real dollars for the federal government he is talking about minimal savings on the backs of low paid constables who are in training.
The Reform Party certainly supports the concept of freezing salaries. However it does not support freezing increments which are based on training that are part of an ongoing contract with these individuals and should not have been put into a collective package.
I do not think the government can make those kinds of decisions without looking at individual circumstances in different programs that fall outside the normal salary range. I would like the minister to give this further consideration.
Morale in the RCMP is at an all time low. There was a meeting of 800 members of the RCMP in my constituency last night. The deputy commissioner made the statement: "It would be futile for me to say that there is not a morale problem in terms of this incremental freeze". Would the hon. member please respond to this.