Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member opposite go on and on and I was surprised by some of his comments.
For example, he made a comment that the government just blithely accepted bill 11 in Alberta. I am not here to defend the Minister of Health, but the member opposite knows that our government has intervened in the strongest way with respect to bill 11 and we will be responding over the next few months and years to ensure that what Alberta is doing meets the principles of the Canada Health Act.
The member also talked about the federal contribution to health care. He said that the federal government used to contribute 50% to health care costs in Canada. He must know that while we did contribute 50% to certain prescribed health care costs, in no way was it 50% of the total health care expenditures in Canada. In fact, it related to hospital expenditures and certain medical services covered under medical services plans but it was well below 50%.
He also conveniently neglected to talk about the tax point room in 1977 of 13 points of personal income taxes, which the provinces asked for, and about 1 point of corporate income taxes so that the provinces could move in. The provinces moved into that tax room immediately. It was totally transparent to the Canadian taxpayer. The federal government stopped taxing by these percentage points and the provinces moved in immediately to take that tax room.
At that time in 1977 the agreement with the provinces and the territories was that was in contemplation of the provinces and territories spending that money on health care, post-secondary education and social programs. There was no ambiguity about it. The tax points were there for health care, social programs and post-secondary education. There was not a lot of questioning and debate at the time. It was very clear.
People who leave out the tax points that the federal government vacated conveniently forget the huge contribution the federal government is making still to health care and social programs within Canada.
I would like to ask the hon. member opposite if he would like to check his notes again. I am sure he would find that what I have said is true and that the 50% was only certain prescribed services and not the total health care expenditures within Canada.