Mr. Speaker, I am much better in debate than I am at making speeches. I appreciate that the member would entice me to get involved in the debate.
One of the things that concerns me about the Reform Party's continued approach of the zero in three, which was part of its main plank in its campaign, that it could reduce the deficit in three years, is the fact that Canadians did not believe it.
If in fact they did believe the Reform Party, it would be sitting over here and I would be sitting over there. Let us face it, there are times when members in the opposition, when members of Parliament continue to suggest things that may appear to be a good political tool to get governments to react to certain issues. We lay down the facts and give the numbers as the Reform has done. I am one of those who has read the direction you would like to go as far as reducing the deficit in three years.
For example, if it reduced $20 billion, which is what it suggested roughly during the campaign, if you take the very conservative estimate of a reduction of a billion in an export economy, a billion dollars relates to 15,000 jobs of reduced activity per billion. It does not take a rocket scientist, as has been mentioned on the opposite side, to figure out how many jobs would be lost if we reduced that quickly out of an economy that is used to having $20 billion creating economic activity.
What I am suggesting is that we would not have 11 per cent unemployment, we would probably have somewhere in the neighbourhood of 17, 18 per cent unemployment.
I am a history buff and my colleague who sits on the committee opposite me will know that in the thirties there was a Conservative by the name of Bennett who tried the same thing, who used the approach that the quicker you slash everything the quicker you will get more economic activity. He drove the economy of Canada right into the ground completely within a period of three or four years. He said: "It is an international recession, we cannot do anything about it".
My understanding, and the history books will prove this, is that as soon as the Liberal government came back in after Mr. Bennett and reversed those programs, the economy took off and we started to make money again, people started to pay taxes and we started to pay our debt off.
That is the only issue that I am relating to members on the opposite side. People do not believe that if you were in govern-
ment you could reduce this massive deficit that we inherited in three years. You should stop kidding yourselves about that.
The issue is we believe that a balanced approach is a better approach. We were elected on that platform. We are going to reduce the deficit. We are going to make some very tough choices. I want to suggest to the member from Beaver River, if I am mistaken, and I would hope that my colleagues will back me up, you will be one of those who will be very happy to see the next budget in February of next year when we will be making more severe cuts to make sure that when we get our fiscal house in order it is done in a very balanced and structured way.
That is why you have to negotiate with the provinces and not do as our friend Brian Mulroney did and say to the provinces it really does not matter what they think, this is what we are going to do. We know how many seats the Conservatives have.
The opposition members should stop suggesting to Canadians that the zero in three is the way to go, because it is not. Nobody believes it. As a member I know that it will not work and they should revamp that strategy.