Madam Speaker, when I listen to my colleague opposite, he sounds just like the members beside us. We hear the most interesting things.
They talk about the fight to bring down the deficit. I will tell you how to go about ruining the social fabric. When all is said and done, yes, I agree that the deficit must be eliminated. Deficits are a drain on future generations. But it is all in how you go about it.
I have a question for my colleague across the way: How is it that our economy is doing so well right now? The indicators show that we are in a period of full economic growth. Businesses have been making record profits for a few years now. How is it that, with business doing so well, poverty is on the rise?
They wanted to reduce the deficit. The federal government has taken the easy way out and cut transfer payments. The provinces are then obliged to make cuts in the social fabric: health, education. Right now, there is unprecedented poverty. The worst is that it is a trend, and that is what worries me. While the economic indicators certainly look very good, it is a bit like Canada Dry: it looks like champagne, but it does not taste like it at all.
What worries me is that, instead of making cuts as the government has done or lowering taxes as others have done, we should be debating the issue, as the Bloc Quebecois suggested at one point. If we are in a period of economic growth, that means there is money, there is wealth being created.
If wealth is being generated, why are we not able to get at it? I am alluding to tax increases, to ways of getting the money where it is, namely in the pockets of the wealthiest.
So, why is it that major corporations can take advantage of tax avoidance schemes, tax havens and all these sorts of things? Governments turn a deaf ear, and I feel that, all too often, they are puppets of the corporate world and of the wealthy. The government does not care about young students getting into debt, or about the poor. What is more worrisome are the new types of poverty currently found in our society. All this leaves a very bitter taste; the champagne has turned to vinegar.
I put the question to the hon. member opposite: How does he explain the fact that there is an ever widening gap between the rich and the poor?