Mr. Speaker, the motion and the well researched speech by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni are very important and stir the sentiments of many in the Chamber who share the views with respect to the importance of continuing this effort.
I remind my colleagues in the Reform Party it was the Liberal Party and the Liberal government which initiated the infrastructure program. Even if the method by which the program was launched is not 100 per cent satisfactory, programs related to sewage treatment, water improvement and the like have been set in motion which permit the debate tonight in a search for ways of improving what is under way.
The infrastructure program is a good measure. It has helped to create jobs for Canadians and it has helped to finance initiatives environmentally oriented in conjunction with other initiatives, as the hon. member for Comox-Alberni has already indicated and as the parliamentary secretary indicated in his reply.
What needs to be stressed in the debate is the importance of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities and of the respective provincial governments in deciding how the money is to be allocated. Evidently Ottawa, even if it wanted to allocate 100 per cent of its funds to a specific purpose, would have to obtain the concurrence of the other two partners. Therefore there is the necessity of working very closely with and convincing municipalities and provincial governments to agree to what we think are the priorities for the infrastructure program.
However, the infrastructure program has come to an end. This is year two and the scheme has virtually been completed. The question is how to continue. Obviously in considering the economic policies of the Reform Party and the limitations which have been imposed by the budget one would have to be very creative in the search for the funds.
I invite members of the Reform Party to look at a study conducted by the Department of Finance in December of 1993 and January of 1994 entitled "Tax Expenditures". There is one item which is rather considerable, a tax expenditure which is the equivalent of a loophole in the taxation system with respect to lottery winnings. In 1991, because of non-taxation of lottery winnings, the loss in revenue amounted to some $860 million. I suspect that amount increases every year. Therefore there are places where moneys can be found by way of improving our taxation system and by closing loopholes.
I bring these thoughts to the attention of the hon. member for Comox-Alberni because I am sure he is very keen in his search for funds required in order to continue the infrastructure program in years three and four.