It was actually 35%, the learned member from St. John's East has pointed out to me.
If there is one investment that the government needs to make it is to ensure that we put more money into post-secondary education so that our best and our brightest can go to school. I have talked to the member from Compton—Stanstead about this on numerous occasions and I know that he shares the same sentiment. He is very fearful that some of our best and brightest will choose to not even go to university. I am extremely concerned about that.
The government has no plan, in terms of health care, to attract doctors or nurses; nor does it have a visionary concept to attract doctors to rural Canada. That is very important to the residents in my riding of Fundy—Royal.
The government takes credit for putting money back into health care through the transfer payments, the CHST. However, the province of New Brunswick was getting less money. It was getting $11 million less because of the 1998 budget. This year it is actually getting a little more. The government is playing a bit of a shell game with our health care dollars. I find that to be a travesty.
I will sum up by indicating what this government missed in the 1999 budget.
There should have been a prudent, serious commitment to paying down the $600 billion national debt. It should have sent a signal to Canadians that it was the right step.
It should have provided Canadians with the broad based tax relief which they rightfully deserve. Doing that would have given our economy the injection it needs so that we could become the country we know we can be.
I want to ensure that the government puts money into priority programs, not silly programs like the transitional jobs fund. We need to put money into priority spending areas, such as health care. I am particularly concerned about rural health care. We also have to ensure that our best and brightest have access to affordable post-secondary education.
As the environment critic for our party, I would point out that the finance minister is a former environment critic, yet the environment department is still one of the most underfunded departments in this government. That is a shame.
To set the record straight, it was the provincial governments which actually provided the political leadership in terms of fiscal responsibility, primarily the Progressive Conservative governments of Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta.
We also need to pay tribute to the people on the front lines of this debt and deficit debate, the Canadian taxpayers who sacrificed to get the job done.