Madam Speaker, the hon. member said something along the lines that the government spent the fiscal dividend on education, that the economy is going to decline, that it will go into a downturn and then we will be back into deficit financing.
I am sure the hon. member was here when the budget was put forward. The finance minister said that we would balance the books this year, next year and the year after that for the first time in a very, very long time.
In fact, if we look back to 1993 we have not missed a target. We have always bettered the target. I am not sure whether the hon. member really has his facts right. He should probably clarify that.
On the other point, the hon. member talked about the transfers and the importance of transfers to the provinces. I agree with him that transfers are important to the provinces. However, I also want to remind the hon. member that during the 1997 election his party was promoting the fact that we should eliminate all cash transfers and just deal with tax points; in effect, eliminate the federal role in transfers to the provinces completely.
I am sure that is something members of the Bloc Quebecois would agree with, but I am not sure it is something that the hon. member wants to stand to defend, that being the elimination of the federal presence in transfer payments to the provinces.
I ask the hon. member, when he speaks about transfers, whether he would pay some attention to the tax points portion of the transfers and the fact that equalization payments to the provinces in Atlantic Canada were not in any way affected. Those provinces require assistance and this government did in fact make those changes in consultation with the provinces.
I ask the hon. member whether he is prepared to stand to defend the fact that his party wants to eliminate the federal presence in transfers to the provinces.