Madam Speaker, I rise today to respond with very mixed feelings to the government's economic statement. In one sense I have a heavy heart about the choices the government has made as expressed in today's mini-budget.
I must say in another sense I have a real feeling of optimism about what Canadians are going to say about the priorities expressed in this budget. I have a feeling of optimism about what Canadians are going to do to seize the opportunity the upcoming election will give them to take corrective action and corrective measures to try to put the federal government back on a more progressive course.
Budgets and economic statements are an expression of a government's values. They are an expression of its priorities and its choices.
Once again what we have seen today is that the government has chosen to leave a great many Canadians out in the cold. Once again the government has chosen to give a major nod and a major boost to the tax cut lobby in the country. It has chosen to continue the Liberal obsession of catering to the interests and dictates of large corporations and the wealthy elite.
For seven years the Liberal government has had the opportunity to make different choices. Yet at every turn it has chosen to cut services for people who need them and now to cut taxes for the wealthy and the powerful.
The Liberals have chosen to cut taxes over cutting waiting lists for hospital beds and for cancer treatment. They have chosen to cut taxes over cutting rates of child poverty, over cutting down on the numbers of homeless, over cutting pollution of our air and our water.
Today's economic statement sounds more like a page from the reform alliance platform than a progressive vision for Canada's future. They actually seem proud of that. The member for St. Albert actually stood and said that this budget is playing catch up with the reform alliance vision for Canada. I say that this is a government that has swallowed whole the reform alliance vision for Canada. We could hear the loud burp of the indigestion of members opposite on that revolting decision to swallow whole the reform alliance platform.