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.