Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak on the issue of the budget. It is always interesting when the debate is more fierce and when the microphones are not on at the designated speaker. However, that is just the way it goes sometimes when we have the cameo appearance by the member for Simcoe—Grey in the House.
There is one thing I did want to comment on and that was the issue of the debt. It was mentioned by my colleague from Red Deer. It is a fact that the net debt has been revised up by $27 billion in this budget to $563 billion from $536 billion.
I would like to point out that I am the youngest member of the House, I was elected at 24, I am 26 years old now, and the Canadian Alliance is the youngest political party in the House of Commons with the youngest members of Parliament in the House. The fact that the debt continues to climb under the Liberal government is a serious problem for young Canadians.
Debt is a serious reality for young Canadians when they graduate from university and they owe $15,000 or $20,000 in student loans and other associated debts from going to university. They owe their family, Visa or MasterCard. On top of that the provincial and federal governments hit them in the face and say here is another debt that they have to swallow and deal with. It is a huge problem.
The member for Simcoe—Grey was saying that the federal Liberal government enjoys some sort of balance. That is true. There is a balanced Liberal approach to fiscal policy. The balance is that since 1993 taxes have gone up, debt has gone up, and the size of government has gone up. That is a balanced record. The government is bigger today, personal freedoms are less today than they were before, taxes are going up and this is not a good way as we go into the future.
Specifically, I want to talk about a few of those spending increases. Overall spending over one fiscal year has increased in this one budget by 11.5%. In fact, program spending has increased 31.5% since the Liberals balanced the books in 1997-98.
The year 1969 was the last time prior to the 1997-98 budget that the federal government of any political party balanced its books. In 1968 there was Trudeaumania and Pierre Trudeau was elected with a mandate to implement his “Just Society”. He had a mandate to do it. The vast majority of Canadians regret the fiscal portion of that reality.
The fiscal reality of the Pierre Trudeau legacy was again massive tax increases, massive inflation of the civil service, huge spending increases and a massive debt. The debt in the 1980s came up against a wall of increases in interest rates. The cost of interest rates on the accumulated debt and deficits caused the debt to go through the roof. That caused the federal Progressive Conservative Party to implement the goods and services tax in order to replace the manufacturers tax.
The Liberal government said that it would control spending and get rid of the GST. The fact is the Liberal government has done neither. We still have the GST on the books. It is still ripping off Canadians, hurting middle class and low income Canadians, and spending has not gone down. In fact, it has gone up. Spending has gone up in this particular budget, the one we are debating today, the budget of the member for Ottawa South, the finance minister.
This budget goes up more than any budget since the days of Pierre Trudeau. This is the largest budget in a generation. This is not good for young Canadians nor is it good for the future of the country.
Some of the spending is totally going in the wrong direction. Let us look at some of the spending that the Liberals are putting into corporate welfare and channeling to projects that do not make any sense at all. Here are some specific numbers. Transfers to businesses, read corporate welfare, are totalling $6.3 billion in the budget. That is up 12.5% since the Liberals first came to power in 1993.
New funding for the Business Development Bank of Canada has gone up. Transfers and subsidies of over $2.6 billion to various crown corporations and a host of other regional development sustainability programs has gone up. Spending is going up in areas that do not make sense. However, spending in areas where it is needed is not happening.
I will give an example of where spending is needed and it is not going up. I raised this in the House today when I delivered my Standing Order 31. The city of Coquitlam, the largest city of the five in my riding, spends $17 million per year on policing. This is because of the tragedies that have happened in my riding. The Robert Pickton case and the massive investigation that is happening there is in my constituency.
We have had the murder of a 17 year old girl who had a physical disability. Some guy preyed on her, stripped her down, beat her, killed her and threw her into a river. We have had the case of a 17 year old high school student who was beaten, shot and killed in an Internet cafe in Coquitlam.
My riding has been hit hard by the realities of crime. The City of Coquitlam has $17 million for policing. It cannot police some of the small and petty crimes. Just in the past six days, two masked men with bear spray and a gun held up a McDonald's in my riding. A student who was on her way to school in Port Moody was grabbed by an attacker. Fortunately she got away, but unfortunately the attacker got away. An 18 year old woman might be losing her eyesight because she was assaulted by some teenaged guy. Thieves broke into four homes in Port Moody on Jane Street, just behind my constituency office. This was in just the last six days.
The City of Port Moody, the City of Coquitlam and the RCMP do not have the resources they need in order to enforce the laws against crime, in order to punish people, catch people and run proper investigations to convict people after they have been caught.
We can think about it in this context. The City of Coquitlam is one of the larger cities in the Province of British Columbia, which is the third largest province in Canada. The City of Coquitlam spends $17 million a year on policing. In the budget, the federal Liberals found $114 million for a new official languages initiative, like we needed other ones.
I am bilingual, I speak both official languages, but not because the federal government gave me or my school money. I speak French because, when I was young, my parents told me that it was important to learn both languages. It was my parents, not the federal government, who forced me to speak French and learn another language.
Yet the federal government says to throw $114 million into official languages. Again, we can contrast that with the $17 million for policing and the problems we are having in some of these suburban ridings that are sprawling out.
The federal Liberals spend $172 million on an aboriginal cultures centre and $150 million more on top of what they are already spending for television production in Canada, but not a single dime went to new policing initiatives to help small and medium sized communities or even larger communities like mine. My constituency is actually the third largest in Canada in terms of population. But to help us with policing realities?
There is a lot of corporate welfare. Taxes have, net, gone up. The debt has, net, gone up. Spending has gone up. That means the debts that are going to be paid by my generation are larger than they have ever been before in Canadian history. I appreciate that the Liberals are proud of their record, but the blunt reality is that long after most members in the House are gone, young Canadians like me and like the pages in the House will long be paying the debts that the Liberal government is foisting on young Canadians. The Liberals are doing it with good intentions. They are doing it because they want to help people. They are doing it because they are compassionate. I respect that and I respect that the Liberals believe they are doing what is in the best interests of the country.
However, they are not, and young Canadians are going to be paying through the nose. And we will be paying for a very long time. It is a destructive legacy of high taxes, high spending and the biggest spending budget since the mistakes of Pierre Trudeau.