Mr. Speaker, I was particularly interested in the comment made by the member of the Conservative Party who said that his party put the motion not to deal with specifics but rather to deal with the big picture. I am not surprised. I do not think the Conservatives would want to deal with specifics when we consider that at their recent policy conference they approved $23 billion a year to be spent in debt reduction and over $100 billion over five years for tax relief.
Just about everybody who knows anything about what is going on around here knows that the total surplus that has been announced as available is about $95 billion. Both private sector and government figures have confirmed that. I would not want to get into specifics too much about a transportation policy if my party's policy called for spending in the area of tax relief and debt reduction $123 billion out of a surplus of $95 billion. That would not leave a lot for specifics or spending on transportation. That was just a side point with regard to the member's comment.
When talking about national transportation in this country, it is most helpful if there has been an opportunity to travel in Canada and see exactly what our transportation networks are about. I recently had the distinct privilege of spending four days with my wife travelling through Nova Scotia up into Cape Breton and around the Cabot Trail. I would also point out that it is a province which is represented by many Progressive Conservatives.
We had the pleasure of landing in Halifax, renting a vehicle and travelling to Digby. Members will know that Digby scallops are the finest in the world. We enjoyed the wonderful friendship of the people, the seafood, the ambience. Interestingly, we enjoyed some incredible highways. Having travelled in every province in this country, the transportation network in Nova Scotia is second to none. It is quite remarkable.
We drove almost 2,000 kilometres exactly. When we got the rental car back to the airport, we had done 2,000 kilometres around Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. I do not intend to give a travelogue, but I was so impressed with the quality of the roads, the lack of congestion, the monitoring, the safety and everything that I saw. Of course to do that kind of mileage we were in the vehicle eight and nine hours a day travelling from point to point.
We left Digby and went up through Mahone Bay. My wife did a bit of shopping. This was a vacation opportunity for us to see that part of Canada. We went into Lunenburg and from there up to Truro where we spent the night. Once again I was immensely impressed with the quality of the roads. Even the roads that were off the beaten path seemed to be very well maintained.
From there we travelled across the Canso Causeway into Cape Breton and the home of Al MacInnis, a terrific hockey player in the NHL. We went up what I believe is the north coast of Cape Breton Island along the Cabot Trail. It was spectacular scenery but I must say quite spectacular roadways. The Cabot Trail of course is historic and known throughout the world. There is a transportation system that is truly a marvel. We went right into Sydney, then on the last day from Sydney down the south coast and back through the heartland to the Trans-Canada Highway at Antigonish and from Antigonish back into Halifax. We flew home the next day.
My point is that the quality of the roads was superb. The traffic management systems were superb. It is interesting to have the party that represents most of the ridings in that province, unfortunately for us at the moment, telling us that we need some kind of transportation strategy. I think Nova Scotia has obviously done very well.
On other occasions I have had the privilege of driving from Halifax through New Brunswick and across the bridge into Prince Edward Island. The fixed link is truly a wonder of the world. It finally brings P.E.I. into the world of modern transportation. I am not 100% sold that the islanders necessarily want to be brought into that world. I think they quite enjoy their beautiful island and are happy to be left alone in some instances. But in all seriousness, they understand the importance not only for tourism, but also for moving goods to and from their island for export. They are very successful in exporting a number of their products, in addition to potatoes.
On the east coast we see a situation where transportation on the roads is second to none. I did not hear members opposite representing the Conservative Party say that. If I lived in that province I would be shouting about the successes that exist in that spectacular part of Canada. I would be telling Canadians to come and enjoy Nova Scotia, Halifax, the Cabot Trail, Sydney, Rita MacNeil's beautiful tearoom in Big Pond and all of the spectacular things that are there, and to admit that there is a physical infrastructure in place in that province that is second to none.
It brings me to the concept of a national policy. Let us look at Ontario. People would recognize in my case at least, I come from the city of Mississauga where one of the great strengths is the transportation available to us on the Great Lakes, on the roads, on the rail system and certainly in the air with Pearson International Airport.
There has been some concern about toll roads. The province has sold Highway 407 to a private sector consortium which in turn will be increasing the tolls to replace the income that was lost in the share that goes to the government.
There is a double sided edge with toll roads. Was it Nova Scotia that eliminated the toll road? The member opposite would know.