Mr. Speaker, congratulations to you on the exalted position you have been returned to.
How does one follow the oratorical splendour of the previous speaker? He neglected to tell the House that the event he was talking about last evening was his 50th birthday party. We should say happy birthday to our friend from Pembroke. I was also interested to hear him tell the House that his mother and dad had 10 children, as did mine, interestingly enough. We have a few other things in common. We are brothers. It appears we must be related.
He talked about his father. The interesting thing about my situation is that my dad was a national labour leader. I often say that having 10 children, my mother and dad were the only couple I knew who were constantly in labour together.
I find it interesting, though, returning to the issue at hand, to listen to what clearly amounts to nothing more than a feeding frenzy by the opposition.
I thought about this place over the break this summer. I thought that it would be interesting to try to bring some civility into parliament. I must admit that sometimes I have contributed to the rising temperature in some members opposite. I was shocked this morning, when I got back on my elevator to go upstairs in my apartment building, to see the member for Wild Rose coming down. My God, he is in my building and there goes the neighbourhood. Property values are apparently in serious trouble. I will have to look for alternative accommodation.
The Reform Party spent the summer, as we all know, busily bashing one another. Infighting occurred. Expulsions into the back row or oblivion or right out of caucus appeared on the front page of every journal in the country on a regular basis. Then when Reformers got tired of that they bashed poor Joe Clark. It seems that Mr. Clark has rejected their amorous attempts to bring them together in bed. All this internal combustion that has been taking place appears to be exploding. Someone has lit a match under them, I guess, and it appears to be now exploding back into this place in parliament.
As much as I really want to try to deal with the issues, it would be interesting if the opposition parties could try to do the same thing. What they are doing now is just simply, mindlessly, without any kind of proper research other than perhaps the National Post , casting aspersions.
I talked to Canadians all summer. When they watch this stuff they get confused. They ask who is right and who they should believe. Should they believe the Reform Party? We are saying we will cut taxes. The Reform Party cannot take yes for an answer. Canadians look at it and wonder if they should believe these guys in the opposition or believe the government.
I heard one thing this morning from the opposition that I agree with. The critic for finance said that Canadians deserve credit for the financial turnaround of the country, and he is absolutely right. Unfortunately he then went off into a tirade of nonsensical nonsense, if there is such a thing, a double standard, and he lost a very good point. It is the people in Canada who indeed have worked hard, who have re-elected the government because they believed in the platform that we put forward.
We put our cards on the table. We said that we would eliminate that $42 billion deficit. We said that we would reduce taxes. We have done that, regardless of what the opposition continues to say, by some $16 billion in the last budget. We will reduce taxes again in spite of what members opposite say. Over 600,000 low income Canadians have been taken off the tax rolls altogether.
Have we done enough? I do not think so. Could we ever do enough to satisfy the appetite of members opposite? I do not think so. Canadians can ask themselves one question, which is the measure of whom to believe: Are we better off as individuals Canadians than we were in 1993?
Members opposite say we are worse off. The United Nations says this is the greatest country in the world in which to live. We know that. I find it interesting that one can say it is the greatest country in the world in which to live unless one lives here. People want to complain.
I had an experience this summer when I went to Strasbourg, France, to the Council of Europe. I listened to the issues that were being debated. There were 41 countries from Europe that got together in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe, a 50 year old institution. I listened to issues they dealt with. They dealt with war, death, destruction of communities, ethnic cleansing and annihilation of entire races of people.
I am not denigrating or putting down the problems we have in the country. Some of them are extremely serious but let us take a look around the world. This country is a marvellous place. Perhaps opposition members could at least concede that this country is a marvellous place and that Canadians are not boastful people as our Prime Minister said. We are quiet, industrious and hard working as a nation. We are known for that throughout the world.