Mr. Speaker, the federal government is ahead in its fight against the deficit, but it has not been as successful in reducing its own expenditures.
If we look at the figures we see that, between 1994-95 and 1997-98, Ottawa cut its internal expenditures by only 9 per cent and not the 19 per cent promised in the 1995 budget.
According to Treasury Board's latest release, federal expenditures, excluding transfer payments, will reach $50.2 billion in 1997-98, or $8 billion more than predicted two years ago.
In the meantime, 54 per cent of spending was cut by reducing transfers to the provinces. Cash transfers for health and social programs dropped by 35 per cent.
Federal government revenues and departmental expenditures exceed forecasts, while the debt service is lower than predicted. In fact, the only prediction of the Department of Finance that has come true is the one concerning transfers to the provinces. The federal government has definitely reduced its deficit on the backs of the provinces and the unemployed.