I thank the hon. member for his question. I know he has expressed to me both personally and in the House his concern about CFB Chilliwack. I appreciate that. He has been one of the few members who has actually publicly worried about what has happened to British Columbia's last land forces base. I thank him for those words.
I have two or three comments that are appropriate here. One is that I had said to the minister if he could show me how he can complete the mandate of the Canadian armed forces, how he is going to save money and if he could lay it out for me, I would be hard pressed to say that it is a lousy idea.
What we have been able to find so far from access to information requests, from comments by Colonel Daigle of the western forces command, whose budget briefing documents say there is no money to be saved by this closure, from General Addy who said that this is a military risk and a poor military decision, from the cost overruns in the transfer of base personnel to CFB Edmonton, now some $200 million over budget, is that there is no money to be saved. If there was money to be saved and we could do the job, we would look at it. However, there is no money to be saved and we cannot do the job. It was a poor decision all around.
If money could be saved and the job could still be done, we would have to take a serious look at it. However, that is not the case. That is why I believe this decision has been politically motivated, which makes it a doubly heinous decision. Money has not been saved and the military now says it cannot fulfil its obligations in British Columbia because it does not have a land forces presence.
On the issue of whether the government should slow down its deficit cutting, I would like to say two or three things. Government still has priorities. The budgetary plan of the Reform Party is to spend $94 billion on federal government programming. That does not include servicing the debt. That is still a substantial chunk of change which we think Canadians want and deserve.
Further discussion, I believe, will not be so much on whether the budget should be balanced. Everyone says that the budget should be balanced, whether it be done in two, three or four years. The question then becomes: at what level of taxation should the budget be balanced?
It could be balanced at $94 billion, which is our proposal. It could be balanced at $109 billion, which is the government's proposal. It could go to $120 billion-