Mr. Speaker, it has been an interesting morning listening to the debate. I am sure that it is a healthy debate, but my blood pressure rises once in a while according to the statements and arguments I have heard.
We know we are debating Bill C-71, the budget implementation act. This omnibus bill will implement programs from the 1999 budget. The first part of the bill includes an increase in the CHST for the purpose of health care funding.
Let us make no mistake. A shell game is being played. In 1993 when the Liberals took office the CHST was $18.8 billion. The measures in the most recent budget restore it to $14.5 billion, which is still $4.3 billion per year less than when the Liberals took office.
We see the pattern where the government guts health care and then a few years later tries to create the illusion that it is the defender of health care by throwing money back into the pot. At the end of the day we are getting less health care than when the Liberals took office.
These tactics have been used for years by federal governments that think the public is easily fooled by the shell game. The public is more aware than the Liberals think it is. The public is not being fooled. It knows the Liberals are removing $3 from the system for every $1 they put back in.
When the 1999 budget came down it amounted to a Liberal apology for their reckless gutting of the health care system. The government tried to regain some support by putting money back into the system, but Canadians realize that they have never paid so much for so little as they have under this government. There were 188,000 Canadians on waiting lists for health care services who would not accept this Liberal apology.
When I look at my own community I see a tremendous number of people going to the U.S. for easily accessed CT scans and health care services, I wonder what the government is thinking.
Nurses are on strike. Nurses are demanding that they get some more help. They are overloaded. Nurses are going to the U.S. When we look at the nurses going to the U.S., they are not the 40 and 50 year old nurses who are established. They are the younger trained nurses, the brain drain, the people who are leaving the country.
It is the same for doctors. They are leaving for the U.S., not just because of better pay but because of less taxes and more opportunities to practise their expertise. If it were not for South African doctors emigrating to Canada, we would be in a terrible mess as far as the health care system is concerned.
The 1999 budget shows that the Liberal Party is still not interested in listening to Canadians. Instead of providing tax relief, the government chooses to spend. The budget announced $8.5 billion in cumulative new spending initiatives over the next three fiscal years. The budget did not contain any significant debt or tax relief measures that would increase disposable income or create investment opportunities for entrepreneurs. This is despite mounting pressure from Canadians to lower taxes.
In the past few weeks we have been faced with the spectacle of large firms operating in Canada threatening to pick up and move south because they are no longer willing to contend with the high taxes and the high cost of doing business under the Liberal government.
The voices of these CEOs join the chorus of thousands of Canadians who have been trying to tell the government the same thing for years. However, the Liberals are ignoring the message just like the Conservatives did in 1993, and we remember what the results were.