Mr. Speaker, I am surprised. When I tried to fulfill their election promise, Liberal members came out of the bushes and said they did not want to do it. I am really surprised. They ran on that election promise. I thought they would be quite willing to accept the motion that the GST be eliminated because that is what they ran on. It would have been done and they could have gone home and said, “Look, we have fulfilled our promise”, just by staying in the bushes behind the curtains when a member of the official opposition moved that motion.
I also have a general statement about Bill C-24. It is illustrative of the things the government does. The budget is much more of a PR exercise than most people are aware. The announcements made in the budget every year by the Minister of Finance are numbers which are really designed to make people feel good.
There were announcements in last year's budget for example restoring $13.5 billion to health care. Canadians felt so good about that. Wowee, after all the money that has been taken out of health care. We all know how our health care system is suffering and now the government is putting back $13.5 billion. That is the messaging the Liberals do. What people do not know, and I guess it is the job of the opposition to point this out to Canadians and we need to repeat it over and over again, is that is a cumulative total over five years.
In my humble opinion it is bordering on dishonest in a one year budget to use numbers like that. It implies that $13.5 billion per year is being restored to health care when that is not true. It is $2.5 billion in the budget year, $2.5 billion the next year, $2.5 billion the year following, and then a couple of other payments in the next two years. Over five years the government will manage to put $13.5 billion into health care.
It makes us wonder why the government did not say $20 billion spread over 10 years or $40 billion spread over 20 years. Why did it not do that? The government could have got a bigger kick out of saying $40 billion instead of $20 billion or $13.5 billion.
Bill C-24 very much illustrates this because over and over it talks about implementing measures that were introduced in the 1999, 1998 and 1997 budgets. By voting in favour of this bill, if anybody does, they are simply saying to the Liberal government that it is okay for it to lie to the Canadian people and to totally misrepresent the budgetary facts by putting these things into place and talking about them.
Way back in 1997 there was the announcement of the millennium scholarship fund. The government got three years of kick out of it but did not put any money into it. The students' lives were not made any easier; their tuitions and costs did not go down. Meanwhile the government had this $3 billion millennium scholarship fund and all of the young people said, “The Liberals must truly be wonderful because they are giving us $3 billion”. But they did not. Over the objections of the auditor general, they billed it to that year's expenditures but they are simply taking it, hoarding it and putting it aside somewhere to spend in the future.
The same thing is true with many of the other issues the Liberals come forward with. What about the tax cuts? In this year's budget the Minister of Finance said that there would be $58 billion of tax cuts. Even Canadians like me feel like jumping up and kicking our heels because $58 billion of tax cuts is pretty exciting. Those are the words they used.
Let us look at our pay stubs. Is there any effect there? No. Our total taxes have actually gone up because the CPP premiums went up. The reductions are way down the road, five years from now. It is very presumptuous of the finance minister to do things like that. How does he know if he will even be in power five years down the road? The Liberals' mandate ends in the next year or two. It is very presumptuous of him to make promises of accumulated tax cuts. However, he gets the PR kick out of it and people feel good.
Unfortunately, feeling good does not affect our economy. It is only when we physically leave more money in the pockets of the taxpayers that our economy gets the real kick. Only then can Canadians buy the things they need for their families thereby promoting the economic well-being of businesses in their communities and the economy takes off. That only happens when they actually get the tax cut.
Meanwhile the Liberals are so interested in all of this spinning that we end up on May 9, 2000 implementing parts of the 1997 budget speech. Finally we are implementing the things that they promised three years ago.
The conclusion is simply that Bill C-24 is not good enough. It is a bill that has one or two good provisions as I said. I would love to vote in favour of them, but I cannot because of the other things.
The overriding issue of course is that in many areas we are revisiting and revising the implementation of the GST provision when in fact the government promised that it would eliminate, kill and destroy the GST. It has not happened. The Liberals who stand up and vote in favour of Bill C-24 will once again be standing in front of Canadians and saying “You cannot trust us. You cannot really believe what we say because we are implementing exactly the opposite of what we promised in the election campaign”.