Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to address Motion No. 3 on Bill C-11. In particular, I wish to discuss the Reform Party proposal that would allow the provinces to continue to have a say in how things are administered at the provincial level when particular policies issue forth from the federal government.
I also wish to discuss and answer some of the concerns from the member for Gander-Grand Falls who made some rather hysterical remarks about the Reform Party and what it would propose to do should it become government. I feel we must set the record straight in addressing Bill C-11.
The hon. member and many members from Atlantic Canada are frightened after the showing of the Reform Party in the recent byelections, and they have good cause to be. They saw a party that had little support there in the 1993 election and now all of a sudden it is threatening the members across the way in their seats. They have good cause to be concerned because the people in Atlantic Canada know very well the system has not served them well. They are tired of having 20 per cent and 25 per cent unemployment. They are tired of not having prosperity. They are tired of not having the infrastructure enjoyed by the rest of the country.
The member for Gander-Grand Falls stood up and talked about how the Reform Party wanted to put tolls on all the roads. That is an absolute fairy tale. I think he is getting mixed up with trolls under the bridges.
What our party has said is that the people in Labrador should have a decent road. Instead of sending money to countries around the world so that they can build roads, we are saying the people of Labrador deserve a decent road between their two biggest centres. We are saying that the federal government should not spend money on sky boxes in hockey arenas, that it should not be building bocci courts for ministers in downtown Toronto. We are saying that when we have infrastructure money we should spend it on infrastructure. That is not so radical.
I want to set the record straight on some of the remarks the member for Gander-Grand Falls made with respect to the Reform Party approach to reducing spending. The hon. member said we would gut health care. Let me remind the House and the hon. member that the government is cutting four times as much out of health care as our party ever said it would cut. The government is cutting $3.2 billion in health care. It is closing hospitals and hospital beds across the country today because it did not have the nerve to act in its first budget and reduce spending. Had it, we would have a much healthier economy today. We would have sustainable social programs.
I also want to address the issue of higher education. Not only would the government cut far deeper in health care but far deeper in higher education. It would cut six times as much as the Reform Party when it comes to higher education, 600 per cent.
In our taxpayers budget in 1995 we said we would cut $200 million. The government is cutting $1.2 billion. That is unbelievable. Again it points to the cost of delay. Had it attacked the deficit more aggressively, it would not have to make those cuts today.
Now people across the country are paying the price in a very heavy way for its delay.
I also want to address what the hon. member for Gander-Grand Falls has said recently about banks. We had a debate about that this morning. He touched on that issue. He talked about the need to hold financial institutions accountable.
Why did he not mention that he has sat idly by while his party took $250,000 from the banks? Why did he sit idly by when that was being done? I do not recall his speaking out against his own party's taking all that money. Where is his sanctimonious attitude when that happens? I did not see it.
I did not see him standing up and speaking against the Reform Party motion the other day when we proposed to set things right in Labrador, when our party moved a motion to revisit the agreement on Churchill Falls so that the people of Labrador could enjoy some of the fruits of their own labour as opposed to sending it into Quebec.
I did not hear the member for Gander-Grand Falls then. Where was he? Why was he not standing up for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador? He claims to be somebody who defends his province. Where was he? He was absent. He had absolutely nothing to say.
On the issue of defending the provinces, the member has nothing to boast about. He has let his people down. That was reflected in Labrador the other day. It was also reflected in Humber. We are starting to see some hon. members opposite panic about the next election.
Frankly, it looks good on them. It is time people in Atlantic Canada were served well. That is not happening today. To the hon. member opposite, stand up and be counted the next time. When people come to the defence of his own province, next time vote with Reform.