Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I do appreciate the opportunity to speak on this legislation. I understand that I may be the last speaker tonight.
It has certainly been interesting to listen to the remarkable man from Red Deer, for example, our hon. colleague who is the environment critic for the Conservative Party. It has been remarkable to listen to him and hear his plans for the environment of this country. We know there is hope for improvement in the environment under the guidance of this gentleman. When he becomes the environment minister in a Conservative government led by our leader, the hon. member for Calgary Southwest, I know that the environment will be on its way to improvement. The member is a remarkable man and a remarkable environmentalist. It is something to look forward to.
We are here tonight speaking on Bill C-43, the Liberal budget bill. This is the bill that was put forth by the Liberal finance minister. We are not speaking tonight about Bill C-48. Bill C-48 is the bill that was put forth by the New Democrat finance minister.
The leader of the New Democratic Party somehow now has become a finance minister, the second finance minister for the Liberal government. The Liberals and the NDP have presented Bill C-48, which is the bill that the Conservative Party will not support. We will not support that legislation. There are billions and billions of dollars, somewhere over $4 billion, in the New Democrat budget, which, sadly, is supported by the Liberals just so they do not have to face an election. The Liberals will do anything to avoid an election. Bill C-48 is not the bill we are debating tonight. That is the budget bill we will be dealing with tomorrow, as I understand it.
We do support Bill C-43, not that it is a great budget, because it certainly is not, but on balance when we went through it we recognized a lot of things that we have been proposing for some time. When I say “recognize” I do not say that lightly, because there is a resemblance. In some areas, the Liberals are headed in the same direction that we have proposed, but of course it is a half measure. They have gone only part of the way and it is certainly not the way the Conservative Party will do it. Bill C-43 was moving in the right direction on issues that we feel are important. Therefore, we are supporting the bill.
When we look at tonight's debate and the debate on this bill and other legislation over the past several days, there is something that we cannot help but note. We have Liberal members of Parliament who stand up day after day, speech after speech, and say, “We have done this. We will do this”. It sounds so good. It just sounds good. The Liberals truly are masters of saying things that appeal to people across the country. They say those things, but what they say is so different from reality. This is something that we cannot help note.
We can look at any of the major issues that Canadians feel are important. Health care is an example. I heard Liberal members say today, “We are going to fix health care. We can still fix it”. As for the Supreme Court decision which will now allow private delivery, the Liberals say they can fix it so that we do not need it. They say, “We have put $21 billion into health care”. That is what they say, but of course the reality is that they cut $25 billion from health care when the current Prime Minister was finance minister. The Liberals cut $25 billion in transfers to the provinces over about a five year period. Of course they do not mention that.
More disturbing than that, because the amount of money that is put into health care really is not going to determine the success of the program, is the reality is that after 12 years of this Liberal government, health care is worse today than it was when the Liberals started. So why would Canadians believe them when they say suddenly today that they are going to change things to make it better?
The reality is that our health care is so bad in this country now that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last week it cannot be counted on to deliver a reasonable level of health care to Canadians. Therefore, the court said, we must allow private delivery. That is the reality. The Liberals say how wonderfully they have done, but the reality is that it is so bad we have to allow private delivery. The Supreme Court has ruled that.
On the foreign affairs agenda, the Liberals stand in the House and say again and again that Canada is the greatest country in the world, that it has stature in the world, that it is a real player. Of course, we are all proud to be Canadian. This is the greatest country in the world, but sadly, the fact is that Canada has lost its stature on the world stage.
There is something that demonstrates that better than anything else. I am a member of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association. I travel about three times a year to meetings of the NATO parliamentarians. Every February we go to NATO headquarters in Brussels and I have continued on as a Canadian representative to the OECD in Paris.
We receive economic forecasts from the OECD. In the past these economic forecasts have talked about the G-8, when we thought Russia was becoming a player. Russia was dropped from that list because Russia has not been able to control its organized crime and really does not belong on the list of recognized economic states, so it is the G-7 that the OECD has talked about over the past several years.
A sad demonstration of what has happened to our country under the Liberal government is that this year the economic forecasts were for the G-6, not the G-7, but the G-6, and Canada was not even on the list of countries referred to in the economic forecasts. The G-6 was referred to, not the G-7. That is a sad commentary on what the government has done to our wonderful country. A respected world body like the OECD no longer considers Canada worthy of being in the top group of countries. It is a sad commentary.
On the agenda of taxes, how many times has the government said it was going to lower taxes? The most notable example was in the year 2000 when the Prime Minister, who was the finance minister at the time, said he was going to reduce taxes by over $100 billion. That was in 2000.
I encourage people to look at their paycheques from 1999 and compare them to the ones from 2001. I invite them to say that their taxes have gone down. Of course, they are not going to say that because taxes have not gone down. I invite them to look at their payroll deductions for 2005 and compare them to the ones for 1999. They will see the sad reality that the $1 billion tax cut the finance minister said was put in place does not exist. It does not exist. If people compare their 1999 and 2005 pay stubs, that $100 billion has somehow disappeared. That is a sad commentary.
The Liberals say things that sound so good. It makes many Canadians want to vote for them, but the reality is something entirely different. In health care that is the case. In foreign affairs that is the case. In taxes that is the case.
I do not have to talk about the environment because the environment critic made the point very well. From what government members say about the environment, it sounds as if they are great environmentalists. It almost makes people want to vote for them on the environment. However, when they talk about the reality of what is happening in our country with the environment, it is entirely different. The reality is entirely different from what the government says.
In my constituency, agriculture is an extremely important industry. The agriculture minister and other Liberal members stand in the House and say over and over again that the government is doing so much for agriculture, that agriculture is in great shape in this country. The fact is that after 12 years of Liberal government, the farmers of this country are having more problems and are in worse shape than they have ever been.
The government says how good things are in agriculture and what a great job it has done, but the reality is entirely the opposite. All one has to do is talk to the farmers to find out the truth. What Liberals say is one thing, but the reality is something entirely different.
I could go on and on but my time has expired. The Conservatives will support Bill C-43 because it is at least a step in the right direction, but the NDP budget bill, which we will be talking about tomorrow, is another situation entirely. We will not support it. We will do everything we can to defeat that budget bill.