Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to stand in the House on the last day of debate on the budget that was presented to the House in December. As it is now almost the end of January it tends to lose a little bit of its urgency. However it does give us an opportunity to look at what has happened over the last month with this particular budget.
I would like to thank the member for Fraser Valley. It is very difficult for me to walk in behind my newfound best friend and all the wonderful things that he had to say, certainly about this coalition and certainly against the government. I would agree with him on all of the points he made.
I have been in the House all day listening to the last day of the budget debate. I have to say that I cannot go forward until I respond particularly to the member for Guelph--Wellington. When the member spoke she effectively epitomized the Liberal pap that goes on on that side of the House that is regurgitated and supposedly sold to Canadians. I was embarrassed as a Canadian and as a thinking individual to think that she honestly believed that what she told me I would take as gospel.
I must respond to three things the hon. member said and then I will get into the budget debate and to what I feel is right and what is wrong with it.
The first thing the hon. member said was that this was not a budget that was planned for. Take that in context. The government had over two years to plan a budget. All of a sudden, with the September 11 scenario, the government comes forward with a budget that was not planned for. It was a reactive budget, not proactive. That in itself speaks to the kind of management by this government which is totally reactive, never proactive, does not have any vision and does not understand not only the economy of the country but what really is happening to the grassroots, to the people.
The second thing was that the member for Guelph--Wellington decided on a number of occasions to talk about 1993 and the pre-1993 era. She talked about the deficit and about the unemployment of the day, but she forgot, and I am sure it was just an oversight, to talk about the free trade agreement that her and her government decided they would get rid of when they formed the government. I did not see that happen.
I am sure it was an oversight but she forgot to talk about the GST and the dollars that were generated from that GST being put into the budget deficit. She did not talk about the interest rate policy that was put into place at that time and which her government right now is taking advantage of to balance the budget.
I find it unfortunate that she did not deal with those things.
The last thing she did talk about was the $5 million that was going to her university in Guelph. That speaks to the mismanagement of the whole Liberal government. That speaks to the HRDC issue that we dealt with in the House. That deals with the way the government thinks, that in fact the budget and the economy are built around her riding and her university in Guelph.
We all have universities. We all have needs and desires. She did not decide that was important. She decided that only her needs were important.
In my opinion after the December budget the Liberal government is still in denial. We hear it in the House every day. We heard it today and we heard it yesterday. Let me say that this propaganda, this spin doctoring of what is happening in our community, will not sit well with the citizens of our country.
Let me talk about the propaganda. Yesterday and today I heard that there has been no deficit for five years, that there is a huge trade surplus, that interest rates are low, that the inflation rate is low and that everybody should be happy.
What we heard was that there was nothing wrong with the economy and that the December budget satisfied all the needs.
Let me talk about reality. The reality is the unemployed. The member for Guelph--Wellington said that the unemployment rate was seven something. I remember that when the Tories were in power it was 11% but right now it is just seven something. Well the unemployment rate today is 8% and going up. As I stand here right now 80,000 Canadians have lost their full time jobs over the last few months. One million three hundred thousand Canadians are currently unemployed, but it is only seven something. It does not matter much to the Liberal government.
The jobless rate in Canada jumped from 7.5% to 8% in December, its highest level in almost three years according to Statistics Canada, but it is only seven something. It does not really matter because our government is doing such a wonderful job. By the way, the interest rates are low, there has been no deficit for five years and there is a huge trade surplus, but there is an 8% unemployment rate.
Let me talk about another reality. Today we heard that the currency basket, which we are being compare to, the krona and the pound, the Canadian dollar is doing just wonderful. It went below 62¢ yesterday. It is trading just above 62¢ today. The reality is that at that level the Canadian standard of living is falling like a rock. It has lost 20% of its value against the American dollar. The spin on that side is that it is strong against the yen and against the pound. Eighty-five percent of the trade that we do within the world goes to the United States. Thirty-five percent of what Canadians consume is imported from the U.S. That in itself translates into a 7% reduction in our standard of living since the Liberals took government.
The Liberals can spin all they want and tell Canadians they are doing really well but the fact of the matter is that we now have a 7% lower standard of living today than we did when this government came to power. That is reflected in the budget because nothing has changed and nothing in the budget will allow that to change.
There is another reality, the reality of Canadian personal disposable income. Since the government took power, Canadian disposable income has fallen 8%. Today, compared to 1993, Canadians now have 8% less disposable income. Why is that? Taxes usually come to mind.
At the same time, American personal disposable income rose 20%. Why is that? More productivity, a stronger economy and less taxes are the reasons. That is what the American government did as opposed to what the Canadian government has done for our Canadian consumers. We are poor.
Another reality is health care. We heard from that side today that we have the best health care in the world. Who says that? The people who have never accessed the health care system in this country say that. The people on that side say that we should not worry, that we should be happy because we have the best health care system. They say that health care does not need more money and that the money taken out of it since 1993 does not really matter. I guess it also does not matter that we will never reach 1995 levels until 2004 because we have the best health care in the world. The only ones who think that way are the ones who have never accessed it. We could have some really good conversations about that.
Reality number six is the markets. They are reflective of what is happening in the country. Capital is fleeing from our markets in Canada. They are down substantially and the dollars are going to other places. That speaks specifically to the finance minister and the budget.
In a previous life I had the opportunity of doing a number of budgets. What we did was line by line zero based budgeting. With this particular government it is what it had last year and then add on top of that.
In the auditor general's last report she indicated there were 16 departments in the government that were out of control and could not control their spending.The auditor general also said that $16 billion in grants and contributions put public funds at risk. I would have thought that in a budget that goes to zero based budgeting, it would have allowed the government to reduce costs in these departments because the auditor general said that it had the ability to do that.
No, the government did not do that. It simply kept those dollars in place, spent some money on some priority areas and did nothing for Canadians beyond that. The necessary dollars were not put into defence. The reason I mentioned the 16 departments and the $16 billion is because we can find dollars from those areas of mismanagement and misappropriation and put them back into the areas of priority.
We know that the reason we have a budget today as opposed to perhaps next month is because of September 11, a reaction instead of being proactive. It was said so by the Liberal members. We should have put those dollars into defence a long time ago.
All I can say is that Canadians are smarter than the government gives them credit for. They recognize that this budget is not the budget they really deserve. Agriculture should have been--