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House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ndp.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, we have certain challenges in Atlantic Canada as we move from the traditional economy to the knowledge based economy. Some of the initiatives that have been led by the minister and by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency have helped immensely.

The minister referred to the Rising Tide initiative which was developed by the members of the Liberal caucus. The executive responded with a certain funding increase to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency which will increase the amount going to industry-led innovation, to skills training in Atlantic Canada.

Is this funding, which I believe has the support of all members of Parliament from Atlantic Canada, conditional upon this House passing Bill C-43 and Bill C-48?

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, five years ago for the first time, through “Catching Tomorrow's Wave”, a $300 million fund was established for Atlantic Canadian businesses and universities to try to catch up with the R and D initiatives that were available to the rest of the country, particularly in central Canada, and to a lesser extent in western Canada. Still western Canada was way ahead in the R and D funds available as compared to Atlantic Canada.

Because that fund was so successful and the uptake was enthusiastically applied for, the fund was really too small to address the appetite of the universities and entrepreneurs in order to do what they wanted to do in the area of research and development and commercialization of that. This fund, as with all the other economic initiatives, necessitates the passing of this budget on Thursday. We look forward to all Atlantic Canadian MPs on both sides of the House supporting this budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on this bill. I will need to cross over between the two bills a little, if members will excuse me. Traditionally a budget is presented as one bill to Canadians, but in this case two bills deal with the Canadian budget.

I want to emphasize that I have had the opportunity to sit in a provincial legislature where when a budget is presented, it is presented as a plan, a blueprint for the future of the province. In this case, it is the country. Debate takes place. Amendments are put forward and in certain cases accepted, but more often than not, in my experience, the government moves forward with the agenda that it presented to the Canadian public as the government agenda on what should be the fiscal spending plan for the following year.

In fact, the Minister of Finance told this House many times, as did the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, that this budget could not be stripped away piece by piece. That was particularly in response to our questions asking the government to move the Atlantic accord, which is a two-page, nine paragraph document that could be approved by all. Every day we have asked the government to do that, yet it has chosen to refuse. Instead, the Liberals want to wrap it in an omnibus budget bill with a part deux from the NDP and want to force us to vote for or against it based on the entire package.

This is interesting after having the Liberals telling us day after day that this could not be a piece by piece budget. There they were, in a dark room, I presume, with the Leader of the New Democratic Party and Buzz Hargrove, in a dimly lit corner where no one could see them. I suspect there were people on guard outside the door. It was there that the government of the day moved to increase spending to Canadians by $4.6 billion.

At the whim of the NDP leader and Buzz Hargrove, the Prime Minister caved and gave $4.6 billion of new spending to his budget, undercutting the finance minister's position, undercutting everything that the finance minister had said to Canadians about how the budget could not be taken apart, could not be dismantled and passed piece by piece. The Prime Minister did the exact opposite.

Not only did he do that, but while he was doing it he agreed to toss out the tax relief that was offered in the budget part one, which would have created thousands of jobs. In fact, many are saying that it would created hundreds of thousands of new jobs for Canadians. He did that in a matter of moments.

Yet when the Prime Minister was confronted with this and discovered that perhaps the Canadian taxpayer and the Canadian business associations that are the job creators of the country were offended by the Prime Minister allowing this to happen, he said, “No. Wait a minute, Canadians. That isn't what I meant”. What he meant was that he was going to give the NDP and Buzz Hargrove their $4.6 billion in new spending, and although he told them that he was going to take that tax relief out of the budget, really what he was going to do was not take it out of the budget, introduce it in a separate bill and try to please everybody.

In the short time that I have been here in the House, I have been amazed by the Prime Minister's many changes of position. It baffles me that not all Canadians are starting to question the motives of the Prime Minister, but in reality they are. They are starting to question the willingness of the Prime Minister to make a decision and actually stand on that decision.

We have seen a Prime Minister who has been tagged by most Canadians as a ditherer who is unable to make a decision. When confronted by forces that suggest he might not be sure, he moves his position. He moves where he stands on the issue and tries to please all Canadians.

What we have seen in the past few months is a Prime Minister who has become desperate. He is prepared to do anything, such as cutting a deal with the NDP and Buzz Hargrove for $4.6 billion. He is prepared to try to spend his way through Canada, at a rate of about $1 billion a day since he made his national plea for mercy from the Canadian public. He has had absolutely no hesitation in spending as recklessly and carelessly as he possibly can.

What most amazes me is that after 12 years in government, during which the Prime Minister was the finance minister for a little over 10 years, I believe, suddenly everything that has happened in the last few weeks boils down to how “it must happen today”, how if it does not happen today and if the budget does not pass, all of Canada will come crumbling down.

I heard the child day care promise back in 1993. I heard it again in 1997. I heard it again in 2003. This is an endless story. The question I have and which I am hearing from people in my community is this: does he really mean it? Has he really committed to doing this or is this just what he is saying again today to get himself elected?

In the past we have seen a government in desperation announce all sorts of spending commitments without a plan behind them. I am going to give the House a few examples. There are more to come, which I would be happy to share. The firearms registry was a way of dealing with criminal misuse of firearms. The Liberals told us that it was going to cost $2 million. It has now cost $2 billion or very close to it. Again, that is spending without a plan.

We all witnessed national news television reports about the tragedy the children in Davis Inlet were facing with addiction. Without a plan, the community was moved into new housing a few miles away at a cost of $400,000 per person, and the problems went with them. Again: spending without a plan.

Canadians are only too familiar with the Quebec referendum that shocked the nation. The Liberals and the Prime Minister responded by throwing money at it, but they had no real plan. The result is what we are hearing and seeing on television news and in the newspapers every day of the week: hundreds of millions of dollars illegally funding Liberal friends and the Liberal Party. Even worse, that reinvigorated Quebec separatism.

The list goes on and on. We have continued to see the government travelling across Canada over the last several weeks, making promises and spending commitments without a plan. It becomes very obvious that a government with a treasury to spend without a plan is a government in trouble.

I will even cite a few new examples that are part of the current government's plan. Agriculture is a huge part of my constituency. In fact, I was surprised at the number: 84% of the economy in Brandon—Souris in Manitoba is generated in the agrifood industry. I was asked that question by the agrifood retailers. I took a guess. I said the figure was about 70%. I was astounded that it was so high. It is one of the highest in Canada on a per capita basis.

The government announced a savings program for our struggling cattle producers. Unfortunately there was no plan behind the money, and today our producers are still waiting. They are still anxiously filling out forms to access the money that was announced by the government.

I know that governments like to announce that huge amounts of money are being given to some segment of the Canadian society, but the bottom line is that the people do not receive it. The money is of absolutely no benefit to the people it was meant to go to and again we have spending without a plan.

Recently the Prime Minister signed a deal for health care that is worth $41 billion. It is a good plan. We supported it. Unfortunately we have yet to see how the plan will be implemented to actually shorten waiting lists. In fact, over the last several years we have seen waiting lists rise under this government's mandate.

As I said earlier, I was part of provincial government. I saw this Liberal government, this finance minister and this current Prime Minister gut health care. The Prime Minister did it all in the name of saving the economy, but unfortunately now he has to repair the sins of his past and it is a very hard thing to do.

Budgets are about the future. Budgets are about plans. Budgets are about making decisions on where to spend money, where to spend Canadian taxpayers' money, where it benefits and where it is needed by Canadians. It is not to be spent by a government at the whim of saving seats in an election, at the whim of satisfying its own personal goals. That is not what a budget is about, but that is what this budget is about. That is why I will not be supporting this budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, my friend across the way talked about the Prime Minister changing his tune. I want to remind my friend that we had the budget tabled here in this House a couple of months ago. It was a budget that reflected the priorities and concerns of all Canadians. It talked about the environment. It talked about increased defence spending. It talked about increased funding for the cities and towns and communities right across Canada. It talked about funding for early childhood development.

It was received well by all Canadians. The first person out that door to support the budget and tell the Canadian people that it met his priorities and the priorities of all Canadians was the Leader of the Opposition. For some reason shortly after that, a poll or something told him that things had changed in someone's mind. He told Canadians that, first, he was not going to support the budget, second, he was going to make a deal with the Bloc Québécois, and third, he was going to call for an election that Canadians did not want. He subjected himself to ridicule and embarrassment.

My question for my friend across--

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. member opposite just referred to a “deal” that he knows was made between the Conservatives and the Bloc. I would ask the hon. member if he could table that deal.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I think what we have here is a point of debate. I do not think the hon. parliamentary secretary is referring to a particular document. He is talking rhetorically, I believe, but if the parliamentary secretary would put his question so the member could answer it, I would appreciate it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Yes, Mr. Speaker, and thank you very much. I was going to get to that, but before I do I just want to point out that I was not privy to that deal. If I had been, I certainly would table the agreement.

Here is my question for my learned friend. Do you agree with the actions of your leader in this regard?

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I remind the hon. parliamentary secretary to address his comments to the Chair.

The hon. member for Brandon--Souris.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would have to advise the member opposite that we were not available for the deal that was made with the NDP leader and Buzz Hargrove. We have yet to see it. All we have seen is a document that suggests there will be $4.6 billion. We have seen no plan behind it.

In response to the question, it was his Minister of Finance who stood in this House and presented the budget. He said to all Canadians, “This is the budget that Canadians want”. My thoughts are about the Minister of Finance; pardon me, not the Minister of Finance, because he did not know anything about the deal. Why would the Prime Minister go out and make a second deal?

If the government felt so comfortable and the Liberals knew their budget would pass as first presented, why did he feel he had to go out and make a second deal with the NDP? That is the real question. This is the question that is upsetting Canadians. How does a Minister of Finance stand in this House and defend a budget that he did not write?

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I know it has been a hard day for Conservatives given the developments pertaining to the member for Newmarket—Aurora, but that still does not explain how the member for Brandon—Souris is imagining and seeing things that are not real.

He has been spooked by something and it certainly should not be the open and transparent deal that occurred between the Liberal government and the New Democratic Party in the interests of making a better balanced budget for Canadians.

The member for Brandon—Souris will know that the deal which is fully available on paper in great detail is based on the principle of not accruing any deficit. It is about a balanced budget. It ensures a minimum of $2 billion going toward a contingency fund, that means money will go against the debt. It is about transferring money that was going for another corporate tax break, to the tune of $4.6 billion, and putting it into education, foreign aid, and pressing issues of importance to Canadians.

What part of that better balanced NDP budget does the member not like? Is it the lower tuition for students--

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is very true and all Canadians should know that this is not a Liberal budget; this is an NDP budget.

However, it is not what Canadians want or what more Canadians want, it is who was left out of this picture for $4.6 billion? There was not one word mentioned about agriculture or the lumber crisis in this new deal. There was not one word mentioned about enhancing and moving forward the spending in our armed forces. There was none of that. I would suggest that if the NDP can be bought for $4.6 billion, how much more could it have received?

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Boulianne Bloc Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking today on this bill and the budget in general with great interest. The Bloc Québécois opposes this bill. Our logic is quite simple. We opposed the budget right from the start, because it is incomplete and inadequate, and it does not defend the interests of Quebeckers.

However, Bill C-43 should have been the opportunity to make significant amendments to satisfy the interests of Quebec. This was not the case. Not only did the Liberal government refuse to make the recommended changes to EI but, as my colleague from Saint-Maurice—Champlain said earlier, it also refused to correct the fiscal imbalance. It even went so far as to add things that are completely unacceptable to Quebec, such as the agreements with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Furthermore, it has adopted the polluter-paid principle with regard to the Kyoto protocol. Clearly, this budget does not protect Quebec.

We can name at least five reasons to vote against Bill C-43 and against all potential corrections to the budget.

The fiscal imbalance is one major reason. Even the word makes the government afraid. It cannot even say it, so it is far from recognizing it. The budget contains no additional measures to loosen the financial stranglehold on Quebec. Ottawa refuses to acknowledge this problem. Anyone who follows the political debates in Quebec City at all can see the effect of this financial stranglehold on Quebec's development and evolution. There is nothing in the budget for this.

The same goes for the agreements on health and equalization. Once again, it is clearly not enough, at the very least, to pay down the deficit.

The problem is that there is a contradiction. The federal government has the financial means to do so much more. What is lacking is the political will, or else it is acting in bad faith and directing its interests elsewhere. It has the leeway. The Liberals have enough financial leeway to do much more. Now, there is talk of $50 billion over the next three years. This is a significant amount of money that could have been distributed to the regions to resolve the fiscal imbalance or, at the very least, alleviate it.

The second reason has to do with employment insurance, a topic we constantly come back to. A subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities called for a comprehensive reform. However, no improvement to employment insurance be can implemented immediately. The 2005 budget goes even further and prevents any improvement to the employment insurance system. That is the second reason Bill C-43, the Budget Implementation Act, 2005, or Bill C-48 resulting from the agreement reached with the NDP, cannot work.

There is a third major argument that we have always defended and will continue to defend: respect for jurisdictions. For some time now, regardless of what bill is being considered, the practice is to encroach on Quebec's powers.

On the issue of parental leave, an agreement was proposed. Simply put, Quebeckers' money would be returned to Quebec. It is like a circle. It has nothing to do with asymmetrical federalism.

The same goes for child care, as mentioned earlier. I think that, currently, five agreements have been reached. However, in Quebec, the child care agreement is still unclear. Even the Prime Minister promised to allocate federal money for child care with no strings attached. We are still waiting. Again, even though Quebec is a model in this matter, pan-Canadian standards are still applied as well as accountability. Respecting jurisdictions is a problem that is seen not just in these bills, but also in Liberal Party legislation in general.

In connection with the gasoline tax, there is another important piece of evidence involving the municipalities. It concerns the distribution among municipalities, a matter also clearly under Quebec's jurisdiction. Here again, interference is systematic.

The fourth reason concerns the Kyoto protocol. A number of people have spoken of it. It is a blank cheque for the major polluters. It is a failure of the Minister of the Environment. A voluntary approach is being proposed to the major polluters. Obviously, they will stick to that. The standards are not very strict or precise. There are a few, but they are within easy reach of these companies. This way, the objectives can be reached in part, but surely not the greenhouse gas emission reduction objectives.

Under the Kyoto protocol, the public assumes the financial burden, not the major polluters. The budget penalizes Quebec in connection with its progress, the infrastructures it has set up and the model it created under the Kyoto protocol.

Obviously, there are others. My colleague for Saint-Maurice—Champlain spoke of social housing. The federal government has totally ignored the repeated calls of the Bloc Québécois in response to social consensus in Quebec, where the needs are critical. Meanwhile, it invests, as we have mentioned several times, in sectors that are not priorities of Quebec or the people of Canada.

In terms of international aid, the government's commitment is very timid. However, it may be bumped up at some point in order to attract votes, as we saw with Darfur. It was a one time thing and served the interests of the Liberal Party.

There is no new money in the agriculture budget either. We will come back to the francophone community in Canada. Based on this bill it is impossible to say whether there has been any development in economic or infrastructure terms.

As far as Bill C-48 is concerned, a new bill has been introduced. It enables the Minister of Finance to make certain payments. This is the outcome of an agreement with the NDP on this matter, but proper scrutiny will show that the agreement in question has not been respected. We wonder how the NDP could have been so taken in, and yet still support this government. First of all, the government has not done what the NDP asked. It has not cancelled the corporate tax breaks. Second, new measures have even been presented in a new bill, which will not be effective.

Quite simply, we see this as just one more last minute addition to the true budget, which is why we were opposed to the budget. It is unacceptable to Quebeckers for the reasons I have already given: fiscal imbalance and employment insurance. They are thumbing their noses at everything Quebec has developed.

In conclusion, we will be voting against this bill, just as we voted against the federal budget in February, because once again it is ignoring the priorities of Quebeckers. We cannot therefore support this bill, and even less so its implementation. It is, in fact, obvious that this bill will have a negative effect on Quebec.

The federal government has, however, decided otherwise. It has decided to refuse to make any improvements to employment insurance and fiscal imbalance. Rest assured, we are going to vote against Bill C-43, that is, against the implementation of the budget and the budget itself.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Correctional Service of Canada.

Message from the SenateGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2005 / 4:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed certain bills, to which the concurrence of this House is desired.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-43, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Budget Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on the budget, the eighth consecutive surplus budget of the government.

After eight years of surpluses, it is easy to think that Canada's fiscal condition has always been this good. It easy to think that Canada has always had a low unemployment rate. It is easy to think that Canada has always had a low interest rate. It is easy to think that the economy has always been strong, our growth so high and our future so promising.

For those under 30 years of age in Canada watching this, that thinking is forgivable. However, I am not in that cohort of Canadians. I have lived through other regimes in the history of the country. I have seen interest rates at 24%, unemployment at 12%, the annual deficit of the country rise to $43 billion and our debt to GDP ratio rise as high as 71%. I have seen what can happen to the country when the central government loses control of the fiscal and monetary controls available to it.

If we do not pay attention to what has gone on in the past, we are bound to repeat the mistakes of the past. The fiscal mess the government inherited reminds us vividly of what happens when a government does lose fiscal control. This government took that mess and turned it around with the best fiscal track record of any government since confederation and $61 billion has been paid down on Canada's accumulated debt.

The debt to GDP ratio has been decreased from 71% to 38%. Canadians now enjoy the highest rates of job creation and standard of living of all G-7 countries. Year after year the government has produced a sound, balanced budget. I can tell members of the House and all Canadians that this year is no different. The government is firmly in control of the fiscal and monetary levers available to it.

I first had an opportunity to speak to this budget when it was introduced in February. The budget at that time had been applauded by members of the House, private organizations and Canadians from coast to coast to coast. I congratulated the Minister of Finance and remarked at the time that the footprints and handprints of the other parties, the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois, were on the budget. I stated at the time that good things happened when people worked together. This was a very good budget.

I thought that I was the first one in the House to embrace the budget, but I was not. The first person was the Leader of the Opposition, and quite rightly so. Unfortunately things have changed. For reasons unbeknownst to me, the Leader of the Opposition changed his mind. He said that he would no longer support the budget. Once he said that he would not support the budget, he said that he would make a deal with the Bloc Québécois. Then he told Canadians that he would try to use every method at his disposal to have an election called, an election that Canadians do not want.

This is a very important point to remember. Less than a year ago Canadians chose a minority government and they, quite rightly, expected that government to work. The budget that was tabled in the House and that was embraced by the Leader of the Opposition, by myself and all Canadians, showed clearly that a minority government could work, that the parties could put aside their differences for the common interests of all Canadians. That is what Canadians have, a budget that addresses their interests, values and priorities. It is a budget that the people of this country want to see passed. They want it to become the law.

Canadians want the budget passed so they will have a system of high quality, universal, inclusive, accessible early learning and child care. The government has committed $5 billion over the next five years toward this initiative which aims to give all Canadian children the very best possible start on the future. Deals are already in the works with many provinces. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia already have signed agreements with respect to this initiative.

Canadians want the budget passed so they will have modern infrastructure in their home towns through the government's new deal for cities and communities. Across the country municipalities are already enjoying the benefits of the GST rebates and are counting, and in fact it is in many of their budgets, on new allocations to meet the needs of the residents of these cities, towns and communities. They want to know that agreements between their provincial governments and the federal government, which promise much needed funds for infrastructure, will be honoured by the House.

Canadians want the budget passed so they know that their fundamental needs for clean air, fresh water and a healthy environment are being addressed. They want to know that the environment is front and centre, that it is being protected and that the serious issue of climate change is being addressed.

The $1 billion clean fund, the action plan on climate change and the many other environmental and sustainable initiatives are all very important to Canadians from coast to coast.

Every day my office hears from Canadians, not only from my riding of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island but from across the country telling me, writing me, phoning me and emailing me that they want the budget passed.

I have received letters from mayors and town councillors emphasizing how badly the funds promised in the budget are needed. I have heard from families who are counting on the government investing in their children. I have heard from individuals who are counting on the commitments to our environment.

I have not heard personally, but I have read about it in the media of the many premiers who are asking the House to pass the budget. The most recent spectacle is the Premier of Newfoundland who is asking all 307 of us to pass the budget. Apparently two members from his province, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, will put politics ahead of the people of that province. People will be watching them on Thursday.

I have heard from Canadians from across the country, from all ages and backgrounds, who expect Parliament to work. Canadians have chosen a minority government. That was their decision and they had that right. We as their elected representatives need to honour that decision and ensure that Parliament continues to work on their behalf.

The budget does work on their behalf. It is for that reason I will add my voice to all those across the country calling for the budget to be passed. That is what Canadians are asking us. Therefore, I tell every member of the House, let us turn the page, let us get the job done, let us pass the budget.

Budget Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, we listened to the impassioned plea from the Liberal member who asked the House to put aside differences and pass a budget that now reaches $24 billion more than the budget presented in February, a budget that we in the Conservative Party were prepared to support because at that time it did express interest in the values and the priorities of Canadians. Unfortunately, as the NDP portion was added onto that budget plus another $24 billion in election promises, we have now a budget that expresses the interest of a corrupt and sinking Liberal Party that will do or say anything to stay in power. That $24 billion extra in promises may never be kept.

Let us be clear. The history that I have seen in the House is that truth has never stood in the way of a Liberal election promise.

We were prepared to support that February budget. As a matter of fact on two occasions we did when it came to a vote in this House. We kept the Liberal ship alive when the NDP and their new-found friends and bedmates, the Bloc, were prepared to vote against the budget and bring the government down. We supported the budget on those two occasions because we wanted this Parliament to work.

Then the Liberals decided they were going to start to play games with the budget. They played games with the offshore oil resources deal, the stand alone deal that was made with the Premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, a deal to which the Liberals were committed, and we were happy with that. Then they decided to throw it into a large omnibus type bill and bury it in with a bunch of things that were unacceptable to us and that were never present when the deal was made.

I have to ask the question as have my colleagues. Given the way the Liberals have jumped into bed with the NDP, they have now reached spending of $24 billion in pre-election promises that may never be kept and likely will not be, and given the 12 years of broken promises of the government, how on earth could any Canadian believe that corrupt Liberal government now?

Budget Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, in the last part of the member's question, he talked about getting in bed with the NDP. One thing I will never be party to in the House is to be a member of any party, like my friend across, that gets in bed with the Bloc Québécois. Never will I get in bed with the Bloc Québécois, and the member should be ashamed of that.

He talked about the $24 billion. That is ongoing programs and initiatives. However, there is one thing the government pledges to Canadians. It will not go into a deficit. When the hon. member's party left power in 1993, the annual deficit, not the accumulated deficit, was $43 billion. I have asked the question a hundred times. Why did things go so wrong? How could an annual deficit get to $43 billion? I have asked them 10, 20, 30, 100 times and they have never given me an answer. All I can say is that they were totally incompetent in running the economy of the government.

Budget Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear what happened during the Mulroney years. The Conservatives inherited $38 billion worth of deficit from the Trudeau Liberals. They managed to operate the country without cutting transfers for education and health care and they continued to deliver services for Canadians. They managed to operate the country when interest rates were 19%. They never shut the border down to beef. They never shut the border down to softwood lumber.

If you want to take a government's record, I will put it up against the pitiful state of affairs that you have run the country into any day.

Budget Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I would remind the hon. member to make his comments through the Chair.

The hon. member for Charlottetown.

Budget Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the member who just spoke. The deficit did not start at $38 million. It started quite a bit lower and that party drove it up to $48 million. I have a quick answer as to why we had interest rates at 19%. The reason is because we had a Conservative government.

Budget Implementation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Randy White Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, members opposite have been talking about universal child care, accessibility, infrastructure, environmental protection, and all those things we all talk about in this country, the big stuff. I want to talk about what is important in my area in the Fraser Valley and Abbotsford in particular. We have ridings next to each other, Mr. Speaker, and there are things that affect your area that I have not heard about in this budget.

The government has been throwing out billions of dollars, making deals here and there, and I guess that is politics. What really rankles me are the things that it still ignores, the things that affect people in my riding, for instance, clean air.

We have been fighting the issue of SE2 in my riding of Abbotsford and surrounding areas for about four or five years, and yet members on the other side have been talking about putting money into the environment. That does not resonate in my community where we are fighting tooth and nail to keep American corporations from polluting our air, which is already polluted.

We only have to look at a few harbours in this country to see how polluted they are. I was fighting for the Sydney tar ponds project in Sydney some 11 years ago and it is still in bad shape. Yet, in every budget the government says it is going to do something for the environment. It does not resonate in areas where we live.

I would like to tell the government that if it is going to do something for the environment, for goodness sake, do it where it affects people most and that is in their own communities. I do not know how many bureaucrats the government has been hiring, but they are not getting the job done. My area of the Fraser Valley has the third worst air pollution in the country and it is getting worse not better. There is not a darn thing being done about it.

Let me talk a bit about drugs which are a cancer in our society. I brought George Chuvalo into my riding in 1999 and since then George and I have been raising significant awareness of the drug problem, particularly heroin and cocaine in those days. George continues to work on this issue. Many people across this country are now focusing on drugs like crystal meth which has become a big issue. Yet, I have not heard any significant mention about it here in the House of Commons. The government had ample opportunity to deal with the drug issue after a committee was established to look at the problem.

The government came out with a solution to decriminalize marijuana. In my area, which is big on marijuana grow ops and usage, that is so insignificant to the drug issue. People are wondering why on earth the government has bothered with such a minuscule issue as compared to people's addiction to heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, pills, angel dust, and so on.

This is the second item that was supposed to be in the budget to help with education, advertising, rehabilitation. It is not there and we have brought it up many times in the House. I have headed this issue for many years here and I am totally dissatisfied with the rhetoric that I hear in the House on who did what, who said what, and who joined who.

Meanwhile, in my community there are hundreds of young people addicted to drugs. It is all over the place. One of the answers that the government foolishly bought into was supporting millions of dollars in an injection site, the very opposite of what we are trying to do in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Millions were put into an injection site when we have children of all ages trying to get off of drugs with no place to go.

When was the last time anyone in this country saw a decent ad on television or in the newspaper or heard on a radio that drugs are bad? When is the last time someone went into a school from the House of Commons and told kids that drugs are bad? When is the last time the government put one red cent into that? Yet, the Liberals say we have universality, accessibility, infrastructure, health care and all these things that are just globally supposed to attract people into voting for them, when in fact our problems are much deeper than the government understands. It is disappointing that in my community we have so many young people on drugs and so little being done for them other than the generosity of private industry and private individuals.

We are going to throw multi-millions into child care. We are going to fix everything that ails us and that will attract people to vote for us. I just came back from Guatemala where for 10 days my wife and I volunteered at our own expense to help people who cannot help themselves, people who are starving, people who are handicapped, and AIDS victims who are left on their own for survival.

There was not one red Canadian cent from the government in that place. However, the Liberals throw out the message that they are so kind, gentle and caring for people. I would think that the budget might have even mentioned the places where I have been helping young people and seniors who are basically left to die on their own.

I talked many times about avian flu in the House, a serious situation that affected my area in Abbotsford, British Columbia. There are many people still waiting for justifiable compensation. There was no mention of that in the budget. There are farmers in Abbotsford. Maybe the Liberals do not get votes there because I win the election pretty handily, but people in my area listen to all the rhetoric that is flying around this place. They are wondering where in the name of blue blazes is the government anyway? Why do Liberals not deal with the issues that affect them?

I said the other day that it was my last speech in the House of Commons. I guess it was my second last because today I am back again. I have said for 12 long years that the prison system has run amok. It is poorly managed. There was nothing in the budget for a study of the prison system that does not work. Rehabilitation is much more like warehousing criminals today. We let them out too early, unprepared to be back out on the street. In many cases they undertake more crimes and go back into prison. It is a vicious circle. We have left that idea of justice on the table somewhere. That did not make it in the budget. My area has seven federal penitentiaries around it and residents wonder where is the government today? Why do Liberals not pay attention to that?

I am being nice. What I am portraying today is that we stand in the House to debate, fight and name call: “You did it”, “He did it”, “She did it”, “This person went there”, “We put millions there”, and “We made a deal for billions there”. People in my riding are asking, “What is it with you people? You do not understand a damn thing you are doing”. They are saying that nothing we are doing is affecting them. They have dirty air. They have far too many drugs. There are too many people getting out of prison everyday ruining their communities. They have the avian flu. They have more hit and run cases than most other countries.

We are not dealing with those things, so is it any wonder why people in communities say that politicians are really kind of useless? That is my opinion. I do not think the government has served us well. I do not think it has addressed the issues in this budget. It certainly has not addressed the issues in this budget that affect my community. It is too bad because all of the people in the community of Abbotsford, British Columbia are good people and deserve better than what they have received.

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Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the member was being nice in his speech, so I will be nice too. I know he is passionate about the drug situation and after I make two quick comments, I will give him an opportunity to elaborate further on that.

The opposition continues to be unaware of the billions of dollars being put into agriculture. I do not know how people expect Conservatives to run the country if they cannot keep up with that. They know we have a whole list of programs being provided to the farmers. It was outlined in question period.

He made a point about Canadian aid and that a particular area he was in did not get one red cent. That is a distinct possibility. I did not hear the area.

In our new foreign policy just announced, we have rationalized aid around the world. Dozens and dozens of wealthy countries cannot give aid to every country in the world. We are actually cutting down on the number of countries, but over the years have increased the amount of aid being given around the world. We are going to increase that even more. It is only fair to outline that.

I have heard the hon. member on a number of prior occasions talk about drugs. If he were the minister responsible at the federal level, what types of actions could we take in that area to improve the situation. I agree with him because I want to improve that situation as well. I know he has thought about it and I would like to hear his thoughts on some of the things that we could do in a constructive manner.

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4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Randy White Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the aid I was talking about was for Antigua, Guatemala and surrounding villages. There was not one red Canadian cent there and that is a shame.

Quite possibly, if the government had thought about giving $1 million or so to an area like that, it could have done a lot of good, instead of giving it to its buddies in Montreal and other places. I look at it in perspective. Why give it to party hacks if it can be given to people who need it? It is embarrassing to be in an AIDS hospice trying to help people who are dying knowing full well that money that could be helping them has gone into somebody else's pocket to make rich people richer. That is my first cutting remark.

Second, money for agriculture is exactly what I was talking about. A government member will stand and say that the government has put millions and billions into agriculture. It did not put it into the avian flu. That was a real problem. Why not do something about it instead of saying it is going to mastermind a whole bunch of other programs?

Finally, what would I do about the drug problem? I would first try a national drug strategy. In that national drug strategy, I would put a minimum number of hours per year into advertising to sink it into our young people's heads that drugs are bad. Second, I would put a lot more effort and money into the education system in this country to make children at a very early age understand the consequences. Third, I would put a lot of money into rehabilitation and detox facilities to get people off drugs. I sure as hell would not put it into injection sites.

When one really gets down to it, our opinions are too far apart to get together, but then who am I? I only work on these things at the street level, which is far away from the government.