First, on the third question, Mr. Speaker, absolutely. The Government of Canada will operate within its jurisdiction and it will respect the jurisdictions of other orders of government.
Second, the reason why surplus figures are sometimes higher than anticipated, and I believe the opposition finance critics would know, as they go through the arithmetic and see where the changes occur during the course of a fiscal year, is the numbers on both revenue coming in and expenditures going out often move over a period of 18 months. That is only logical and can be expected. Over the last number of years, the biggest movement has tended to be on the revenue side of the equation. That has been very good news from Canada's point of view, certainly from the government's points of view, and I would think from the opposition's point of view as well.
It is significant that none of the in-house economists who work for the Government of Canada, or the official opposition parties, or the provinces or the private sector have over the last number of years been able to anticipate the magnitude of improvement in the Canadian economy.
I believe two fiscal years ago we had a situation where corporate profit went up by about 17%. Corporate tax rates went down, but revenue from corporate taxation went up by about 25% or 26%, which is a very positive development. However, it shows that the fundamental factor underlying the change in the numbers is the underlying strength and success of the economy of our country.
On the issue of the alleged fiscal imbalance, I once again point out that over the last 20 years revenues flowing to provinces have been consistently higher than revenues retained by the Government of Canada. Transfer payments are now at their highest level ever in history. Over the next decade they are scheduled to go up by another $100 billion. The debt being carried by the Government of Canada, even though it is vastly improved today from what it was 10 years ago, is still roughly twice as large as the debt carried by all the provinces and territories combined.
For all those reasons, I do not think the hon. member can sustain the argument that there is a vertical fiscal imbalance. However, the Government of Canada will continue to be very proactive within its sphere of jurisdiction to invest in those priorities that make a real difference in the lives of Canadians. At the same time, we will balance the budget, pay down debt and reduce taxes.