Mr. Speaker, let me say that I very much appreciate the comments by the member for Simcoe—Grey and congratulate her on them. I also want to say that the focused comments she made and the strength of those comments is a reflection of the strength of the Conservative Party and the number of new members that we have. They have been such a source of new strength to this political organization. They will be such a source of strength to Canadians in the future.
Two weeks ago the annual budget circus came through town. I want to make some comments about it. It is an annual event in Ottawa. It is promoted with the newest version of the red book. Special interest groups come down to the midway out here looking for free rides. The media act as carnival barkers hyping the newest Liberal act or the newest Liberal special concession. All that is missing is a big red-nosed clown with a pair of oversized shoes. Perhaps that is an idea for the finance minister next year, something he could do to dress up more appropriately.
What passes for dramatic, high quality theatre in this insular little community, this little backwater, has long ago worn thin in the more civilized metropolitan areas across the country where this budget exercise is seen accurately for what it truly is: the dull, monotonous, repetitive noise of a theatrical troupe that long ago lost its capacity for original thinking. If it inspires at all, it only inspires tired yawns, because everyone knows that when the circus leaves town, it takes our money and we are left to pick up the garbage. There is an old song that goes like this:
It's a Barnum and Bailey world,Just as phony as it can be,But it wouldn't be make believe,If you believed in me.
What is there to believe in with the government? The same Foghorn Leghorn hoopla about fixing health care, day care and the dirty air that we have heard for over a decade since those guys came in. Is anybody out there still buying this? Have my fellow citizens not caught on to the deception yet? Do they not realize that the midway is full of con men and pickpockets bent on relieving them of their hard-earned wages?
P.T. Barnum may have been right; maybe there is a sucker born every minute. The government certainly has placed its faith in that philosophy. It will fix our roads, later. It will fix our military, later. It will help our students, later. It will sharpen its pencils, much later. It is not even trying to buy Canadians with their own money any more. It is trying to buy them with a promise to return a portion of their own money at some indistinct time in the future. It is trying to buy Canadians' votes with a postdated cheque.
It is pretty clear that the Liberal government has as much respect for Canadian taxpayers as a loud-mouthed, top-hatted carnival barker luring the hayseed, gap-toothed farm boys down to the midway so they can part with their hard-earned chore money on a cannot miss proposition, a cannot miss game of ring toss, a cannot miss game of chance. “Try again, sucker, you can't lose. You're a guaranteed winner”. That is the philosophy the government has revealed by this year's budget.
What I despise about the government's budget spin is the sheer phoniness of it. All the caring words have been clearly driven by polls, clearly crafted by communicators who know and who will tell us if we care to listen that Canadians do not care much about what we know; they only care about how much we care. The Liberal budget and its promotional documents are all about caring, but they are not much about knowing.
There is an old adage from the business I come from, estate planning, that estate planning is about caring and caring enough to act. The Liberals care; they just do not care enough to act. They have constructed a house of mirrors designed to show compassion, but the images are distortions of the truth.
The Liberals promise a more generous employment insurance program, pouring hundreds more millions into a program to make EI more easily accessible, sooner, for longer, with more generous benefits. We are supposed to see an image of caring for an unfortunate laid off worker, but the reality of the government is $45 billion overcharged, excessively high premiums that have been misappropriated year after year from working people and from small business people from coast to coast. That money could have helped to create real jobs. It is money that could have helped to provide sustenance to real, deserving, low income Canadians.
The reality is that the government's mismanagement of EI has become an inducement for people to become dependent on the program. The reality is mothers cannot get their teenagers to study. They cannot get them to continue their education. Why? Because it is too easy for them to go on the dole.
The reality is it is harder for businesses in the very regions the Liberals pretend to help to find willing workers, to find trained workers, to find trainable workers. The reality is elevated unemployment because of the program itself. But it does result in more repeat customers for next year's carnival and that is the government's objective.
Liberal social policies are like a fire that creates its own wind. They are like the circus promoter whose marketing strategy consists of nothing but yelling louder into a bigger megaphone.
Maybe we should lure people to come to the compassionate aboriginal tent where they can view the captive noble Indian. The Liberals care so much about aboriginal people. We can tell because they are spending $700 million more this year on new houses and $10 billion in total on aboriginal programs out of two dozen government departments. They must care. Here is the biggest shell game of all because every person in Canada knows the big lie: spending more equals better results. It never has and never will, except on budget day.
Here is the problem with throwing more money toward aboriginal houses. Aboriginal homes are a myth on almost all reserves in Canada. There are no aboriginal homes. There are only houses. Why? Because no one owns them. They will cost twice as much to build. They will last half as long. Why? Because no one owns them.
A few first nations communities have independently established their own programs for personal home ownership with exciting results. There is better maintenance, better security, better neighbourhoods, reduced crime, reduced vandalism. People do not vandalize their neighbour's house when they have responsibly managed their own. When people grow up with property rights, as most of us in the House have had the privilege of doing, they tend to understand certain things about managing property and they tend to develop respect for others.
Too many aboriginal young people have not had that right given to them. It needs to happen and aboriginal people in some reserves are taking the lead. If the Liberals really cared, why would they not have years ago encouraged the development of such uplifting programs across Canada? Because they want us to see how compassionate they are every year at budget time. That is made much more difficult when aboriginal communities are well governed and independent.
The definition of insanity is doing things the same way as in the past and expecting different results. This is an insane government. It asks Canadians to spend more on expensive canvas and paint every year but the expensive veneer of caring hides the reality of welfare and drug addicted Indian reserves, crime ravaged neighbourhoods, unaccountable bureaucracies and yes, unaccountable chiefs, and abused women with no rights.
As my colleague from Simcoe—Grey alluded to, after 12 years one would think that a compassionate government would at least have acted to provide matrimonial property rights, but apparently $10 billion a year only buys so much. It certainly does not buy results.
What would our wild west show be without cowboys? The BSE crisis has made these previously independent frontiersmen of the cattle industry prime candidates for Liberal caring. Promises of bailout packages, promises of increased slaughter capacity, the Liberal government must really care. Yet again, the reality is quite different.
When the polls have it that it would be a more popular approach for the government to put a stick in the eyes of the American trading partner, particularly the Quebec polls, let us watch how the Liberals care. Let them show us how much they care. After all, why would they risk their popularity and help the Americans of all people?
Why would we who are so secure and so fiercely independent not help Americans protect themselves against a North Korean missile? There are two reasons. One, the government needs the anti-American vote. Two, we are only compassionate domestically.
The real reason the Liberal circus has retained its patrons is that its patrons have no choice. The big top is the only one in town. The MPs ride around on the bumper cars, careening and occasionally colliding, shouting at one another and forming committees.
The media report on the ups and downs from the Ferris wheel. Unbeknownst to them, though it occasionally provides a somewhat different perspective, it is not really moving, while the special interest groups go for the brass ring on the merry-go-round.
“Get your tickets and step right up”, they say. Sure, it is not the greatest show on earth, and it probably never was, but hey, the Liberals gave us $16 back on our taxes. Buy some cotton candy. The show is about to start. Here come the clowns. Or is that a mirror?
The Conservative Party is going to close down the old Liberal carnival. We have new ideas. We have integrity. We have new energy. We are willing to keep our promises, something this government has not ever learned how to do.