The Canadian people voted the Conservatives out. They did not vote a red book in.
Government members say: "Why not spend $6 billion of the taxpayers' money on infrastructure jobs? Let us find something else to spend our money on. After all we are only borrowing $40 billion. Why not create 150,000 child care spaces if the economy goes to 3 per cent of GDP? That is a good idea, but we do not want to show the people out there that we are borrowing $1.5 billion to do that. Therefore we will spend $750 million federally and we will ask the provinces to spend $750 million". Here we go again spending another $1.5 billion on the backs of
the taxpayers. And it is in that silly red book if you do not believe me.
Where is this government going as far as spending money? In actual fact it is spending $3 billion more this year than last year. Yes, it has made some cuts. I am going to go through some of these cuts, but they are surface cuts and it has really not touched the problem at all.
By the way, I should not forget to mention it did give about $3 million to the Prime Minister's riding to help build a museum of industry. I think there was another $33 million given to Quebec City for a conference centre. So maybe the government is looking at cutting back somewhere somehow.
What do you say to a government that comes up with estimates and we debate them when in fact it is spending more money than it should? How does one get excited about discussing estimates? Why is it that we have not had a reduction in the estimates in the last 20 years? Just what is wrong with governments in this day and age, in particular this federal government? What is wrong with these folks that they do not understand that people want them to cut back, not spend more?
The government is cutting some surface things and spending more on other things. It is amazing how these governments continue year after year to justify their existence and justify the spending of more money.
We are the directors of Canada corporation. All 295 members are the directors. If you were a director of any corporation and you said to your shareholders: "Well we sort of overspent this year but it is only $40 billion. Next year we are going to overspend by $30 billion", what would the reaction be of the shareholders? I suggest that in private industry, in the real world out there, the directors would not be directors any longer. And this government sanctimoniously stands up and talks about cutting $2.4 million? It is not really a cut. Surface spending is all it is.
Changes have been made in some of the House of Commons expenditures. Why is it that it might be seen as a vote of non-confidence if the estimates were more reflective of that fact? What we have asked for is to have these estimates amended and sent back.
I am going to go through some of the changes as the government whip did. However, I am going to put another side to the story because the warm fuzzies that were presented are not so warm at all. In fact, even some of these small cuts would not have happened had the Reform Party not been here. We pushed this government to make cuts in all of its perks and it still came up with some surface stuff.
The suggestion has been made that we give ourselves too much credit, but we probably do not give ourselves enough. We will give ourselves more credit when we oust that motley crew.
Let us look at some of the reductions. It was talked about that we are going to save approximately 15 per cent of $98,000 and what is that on? The shoeshine service has been eliminated. The number of the barbers has been reduced from three to one. I am not a fan of barbers, as you might have guessed. However the facts are it is really despicable that any government would have the unmitigated gall to stand in this House and say: "We have done you a favour, Canadians. We have cut back on three barbers to one and on the shoeshine service". It is despicable and there is no other word for it.
However the government did save on the messenger service and some office renovations. As I say, the whole list of savings the government whip talked about amounts to just a little more than 20 minutes' worth of interest on our debt. I do not know how you can get in this House and really talk high on something like that. The people of this country should be ashamed of what is going on here.
I notice that we did leave something in the House of Commons budget. There are all kinds of things in there. Let us talk about the $9.2 million it cost for information services. It is still in there. You know what that is besides a PR exercise. It is more paperwork than Mount Baker which is very close to my riding. If you piled the paperwork up in this place you could probably build a small mountain out of it. It would not take a brain surgeon, as my colleague from Wild Rose says, to figure out there is a lot more money to cut in here. To throw some of these little numbers out as government is doing is really incredible.
I could go on about many of the costs in here, but there is a point to be made. This government has not got the idea yet that Canadians by and large, regardless of their political affiliation are looking for significant reductions, a sign that government is in control of itself. Two separate Auditor General reports said specifically that the government is out of control financially. I would be one who concurs with that and I think the greater number of Canadians agree. In fact I probably would guess even people who vote Liberal might think that, although the people they elected seem to have walked away with a different philosophy.
The bottom line is that we do want a change. We are desperate for a change. This country is going broke. We have to stop borrowing money. We have to stop the facade that it is okay to spend more of taxpayers' borrowed money to show people that there is a little blip in employment. That just will not do in the long run.
In line with that, I would like to move the following amendment to the motion:
That the motion be amended by deleting the amount of $164,985,000 and substituting $162,514,000.
That amendment reflects the fact there were some commitments on behalf of this government to make some changes. That is the list my colleague was referring to earlier.