Mr. Nunziata did not resign on that and the member knows that very well.
The member also said “squandered the money and nothing to show for it”. As I said earlier, thank God for immunity in this chamber. The member is known to be one of the greatest story tellers in this chamber.
Let me also tell him where we have indeed squandered this money. The national debt then was $562.9 billion. Today it is $499.9 billion. The debt to GDP ratio was 68.4%. Today it is 38.7%. Our foreign debt to GDP ratio was 43% in 1993. Today it is at 15%. The debt charges to revenues were then at 37.6% in 1995-96. Today they are at 17.2%. Unemployment, as I said, was 11.2%. Today it is at 6.7%. Over 3 million jobs have been created.
That is squandering? Take the almost $43 billion, the debt the government inherited from the true Progressive Conservative Party, and eliminate it. If the government takes almost 60-odd billion dollars that the debt has been retired by, that is over $100 billion. If that is fiction, then I must look that word up in their new dictionary. If we add over the past five years the $100 billion of tax relief to Canadians as a whole, that is almost $200 billion. Then add the various other investments in seniors with respect to GIS most recently, in housing, in health care, in Sports Canada, the offshore accord and the list goes on. These are not only hundreds of millions of dollars. These are billions of dollars.
We have the cities agenda, the GST rebates. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has applauded the Liberal government continuously for the support it has been getting.
Then there is national defence. I happen to be the chair of the national defence committee. Almost $13 billion has been invested in national defence. We need to do more because now our obligations internationally have changed. If there ever were a time to support our men and women in uniform, this is the time to do it. I do not want to get off topic there.
Crimes rates, which were also very important, back then were about 7.5% to 7.8%. Today crime rates are hovering around 3%. What does this do? This allows our economy to move very positively. This allows young couples, for example, to buy homes. That quarter of a per cent or 1% makes a big difference in their monthly income.
For a moment, I want to talk about the EI situation discussed earlier. That is a very important issue for people to understand. I know I have heard comments from Bloc members who have said that we took money that did not belong to us.
I tend to look at the government or the country as one big family. I know when I was growing up and the revenue was coming into the household, my mother did not say that this was her share. Nor did my father. They did not say that this was her bank account and that was his account.
My parents said that it was one account because it was family. They looked at their expenses such as shopping, paying the mortgage and paying other expenses, et cetera. If there were money left over at the end of the year, they had the opportunity to go to the bank and pay down the mortgage in an accelerated way. This allowed the debt to be reduced as quickly as possible. Then whatever money would be left over would allow them to address other needs, whether it be in post-secondary education or a car for the household, or a vacation or whatever.
Why did I point that out? Because part of Bill C-67 would do exactly that. I was pleased when the Prime Minister, the then minister of finance, brought forward this program with the support of all of us as colleagues at that time, the contingency initiative of $3 billion. He said that we would go down the list of expenses. In addition, we had the contingency fund for a rainy day. That is good money management and proper thinking.
If the government does not use that money for unexpected expenditures, it then can take and pay down that mortgage or pay down that debt, which is what we have done year after year.
The government could not have done that. We could not have been in the position to do that if we had not made those tough decisions back in 1993, 1994 and 1995, to streamline government, to change the way things operated around here. Doing that has provided us with eight consecutive balanced budgets. It provided us with surpluses never heard of before in the history of our country. I do not think another country could say the same thing.
What have we done year after year? We have taken a good initiative toward retiring the debt. If the contingency fund is not utilized, that too will go toward addressing debt retirement.
Bill C-67 would go beyond that. It would let Canadians know that we have heard them. Constituents on my streets in Scarborough Centre repeatedly ask for a fair deal. They want a balanced approach. Meaning what? They want some tax relief. They want the government to invest in programs that they want. Some were addressed, and I mentioned them earlier. Canadians want us to look at debt retirement. That is exactly what Bill C-67 would do. In addition, a $3 billion contingency has been set aside. This is planning for a rainy day.
I am quite proud to stand here today almost 12 years later. I appreciate the comments from the member for Edmonton--Sherwood Park who pointed out that time flies. We both were elected some 12 years ago in 1993. We have enjoyed some good moments together and some heated debates.
I like all my colleagues feel very proud that we have put ourselves in the position where we can give the Minister of Finance the ability to bring forward something such as Bill C-67. This tells Canadians once again that we are listening to them, that the balanced approach we talked about in 1993 has continued.
This initiative is not revolutionary. This initiative is simply one of common sense. It makes a lot of decent sense. I do not want to hit below the belt, but I am compelled at this point in time to respond to my colleagues.
One reason I decided to seek political office in 1993 was this. I was tired of seeing good revenue come into the country, yet a Conservative government could not meet its budgets. In the late eighties and earlier nineties I was an independent businessman who did not mind paying taxes. I felt that if I were paying taxes, it meant thank God, I was doing okay. The Conservative government at that time was following this Reaganomics agenda. It did not meet one budget target in the nine years it was in government. I challenge those members to tell me that is not true.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance quite eloquently pointed out how the Minister of Finance at that time, Mr. Wilson, wanted to do the right thing. Unfortunately, he kept having the rug pulled out from under his feet all the time and was not allowed to implement some of his proposals. Things might have been different. Why could that government not meet one budget target?
Bill C-67 is an add on to what we have been doing. It is showing accountability to Canadians. It is making things more transparent. We are judged on what we did yesterday. The $100 billion tax relief of 2005 is reflective of what we are doing here now. Canadians can rest assured that this proposal will come to fruition. It will show them the fruits of their consideration for us over the years. We will keep our word.