Mr. Speaker, if I appeared to be smug about any of our accomplishments I want to dissipate any notion of that kind because I think it has been a mighty struggle. I make no bones about it. I have said it in this place and in many other places that had one of my friends, the predecessor to the present Minister of Finance, been given the opportunity to do what he wanted to do in 1985 and 1986, I think Mr. Wilson would have been able to arrange the affairs of this country in such a way fiscally at least that we would be much better off today.
That is why I complimented my colleague, the Minister of Finance, and the Prime Minister for backing him. We have begun the process of going from a situation where the deficit to GDP ratio was 7 per cent and we have got it down now to 3 per cent. The minister has made an undertaking to go to 2 per cent. I know it is not as fast as my hon. friend would like to see it move. At least after many years with various stripes of government going in the
wrong direction, I hope that my hon. colleague would at least respect the fact that over the last couple of years the current Minister of Finance has been moving toward balancing the budget.
Besides that an interesting part of all of this is when we get to the cashflow situation which allows us to eliminate borrowing. In other words we will be able to operate on a current account with enough cashflow to be able to pay for our day to day needs.
There are a number of indicators out there. I understand how frustrating it must be for people who would like to have an instant solution to a very longstanding problem. We will continue to do the best we can to get a very difficult deficit situation under control. As Canadians who understand this recognize, we cannot start to do anything about the debt until we have cleaned up the deficit. We are on the way to doing that. I do share the view of the hon. member that we should get to balanced books and begin to pay down the debt as soon as we possibly can.