I have only one more.
The final one is from Jeffrey Simpson who said: "If the federal government 10 years ago had introduced budgets like the last two, including yesterday's-The fight against the deficit-debt has been waged, thus far successfully, without major tax increases, to which Canadians have become politically resistant. It has instead being fought where it belonged-in the government's own spending and in transfers to the provinces".
These comments, along with others, are from people who actually follow this place and understand the government's approach to the question of the debt and the deficit and its need to borrow to finance that, which is the purpose of Bill C-10.
As I indicated in the letter that I wrote to the finance minister, the stability and the confidence demonstrated by the government are extremely important.
In one of the first speeches that the finance minister gave in the House, he included in his statement: "Good social policy makes good fiscal policy and good fiscal policy makes good social policy".
I listened today to the speech of the member for St. Albert who was talking earlier about the infrastructure program. He was talking about spending $6 billion. This money was borrowed pursuant to a borrowing act similar to the one we are talking about tonight. He tried to explain to us how that really was not an appropriate expenditure.
What he did not talk about was that the $6 billion, which was a contribution to all Canadians right across the country based on population, also had contributions from other levels of government that matched those moneys. Jobs were created, real jobs for people who were probably on unemployment insurance, people who were looking and desperately wanted the dignity of a job. They got it. Those jobs were created.
Because of that program people got off UI, they got off welfare. They started paying their fair share of taxes. They had the dignity of a job. I do not know how the member concludes that giving people jobs is not a good thing for us to be doing.
I listened also today to the member for Calgary North who started to argue what a terrible thing it was that RRSP limits were not increased from $13,500 up to $15,500.
Members probably know that to be able to contribute to an RRSP of $13,500 one would have to make $75,000 per year and much more to contribute $15,500. In most of her speech the member argued what an awful thing it was because we did not give a further tax break to the top 2 per cent income earners in Canada. This is unbelievable. Average Canadians are living from pay cheque to pay cheque, never mind contributing to RRSPs.
President Clinton said we have to balance the needs of the citizens and balance the budget. It must be done in an honourable way, not on the backs of the poor, the disabled and the aged, which is what I hear from the Reform Party. This is the kind of thing that defines the differences of the philosophies of members of the House.
One member is arguing on behalf of the top 2 per cent of income earners in Canada. I say that when the budget includes things such as eliminating the seven-year limitation on the carry forward of unused RRSP amounts, it is a positive step because it makes sure young Canadians who are just starting out and who do not have the cash to put into RRSPs will be able to make it up later on in their lives once they get a little cash in the bank.
I also heard the member for Lethbridge argue the Reform Party budget would have chopped health care less than the Liberals. It would have chopped post secondary transfers less than the Liberals and also that cuts to seniors would have been less than those of the Liberals. He also said Reformers would lower the deficit and start paying down the debt.
I did not get the chance to ask the member a question. How can Reformers do less cutting of spending than we did and still have a lower deficit? They did not answer the question. It cannot be both ways. These are contradictions.
The member for Nanaimo-Cowichan stood in the House and made the argument that we are not creating jobs and that jobs are the problem. I looked at the report which came out from Statistics Canada, March 8: 44,000 new jobs were created in February, following the creation of 44,000 jobs in January and 49,000 jobs in December 1995, for a total of 137,000 new jobs created in the last three months, 82,000 of which were full time jobs. That means that more than 600,000 new jobs have been created since the government took office in 1993.
Is that enough? No, not for a moment. There are still a million Canadians who want work. There are still young people looking for work. I have a son who is graduating from university at the end of this semester and he will be looking for a job. He wants the dignity of a first job. Unemployed young people, 25 per cent, want the dignity of a first job just like we had. We have to work harder to make sure they get it.
I mentioned that good social policy makes good fiscal policy. It made me think about an element in the budget, child support payments and their taxability. I quote again some points the president of the United States raised in his state of the union address a few weeks ago: "We must cherish our children and strengthen our families. We must take responsibility for our children. It is hard to be a parent, but it is even harder to be a child. All strong families begin with taking responsibility for our children. Families are the foundation of our country's life. Strong families mean a strong country".
He said all those things and the word family was repeated over and over. I thought about the words of the Finance Minister that good social policy means good fiscal policy and about the taxation of child support payments. I thought we have a tragedy here. We are upset and spending our energies debating who should pay the taxes on child support payments and we forgot that the family was eroding. We forgot about this being the result of two people who decided for one reason or another they were better off apart even when there were children involved.
How could this be that we are arguing tax dollars when it is the children there? How can we be arguing this when we know that family breakdown is a result of spousal abuse, economic and financial abuse and all these things? How is it we are arguing about the taxability of things?
The lady who argued this case in front of the Supreme Court, Suzanne Thibaudeau, made a very passionate plea. Here is a person who was paying less tax apart from her husband than they were paying when they were together.
Why is it that they are better off from a tax standpoint being apart than being together when we know that the family is the foundation of our society? The change was made to the taxability of the child support payment back to the husband and not to the wife. It simply puts couples who separated on the same footing as families have always been. That is the success in the budget move.
It is not a change in the taxability. It is a change that puts separated couples on the same basis as the family. It is amazing. I support the principle included in the budget but for a totally different reason. The family is the fundamental asset that we have in society.
If the family were cared for, if the family were honoured and cherished, if working in the family home and caring for our children were an honoured profession again, if spousal abuse were treated the way it should be in society where the costs of all the aggravation of spousal abuse in society were totally eliminated, the deficit would be gone. If the family were strong, the deficit would be gone.
That is the message that has to get out. It slowly came out in the state of the union address. It will slowly come out in the debate on the budget, on the borrowing bill and in the throne speech. It will slowly come out if the people in the House have the guts to stand up and speak up on behalf of the family. It is the family that will make it. If a strong family exists in Canada, Canada will be as strong as it can be. I wish I could spend the rest of my time talking about the family. Most of my work has been related to family issues and to taxation of the family.
The issue we are talking about, balancing the budget, has to do with getting right back to what I wrote to the finance minister in the very first place, stability and confidence. It is saying and showing by one's actions as well as with words that one cares about the country, that one cares about fundamental principles, dammit, including family values. Those have to be there. They are not strong enough. I will continue to speak out on behalf of the family. I will continue to fight for tax fairness and equity within our system.
We have opportunities before us and I hope all members will look for those opportunities so we can one day, very soon I hope, announce that not only do we have a balanced budget but that we will start paying down that awful national debt.