Mr. Speaker, where do I begin on Bill C-48? Perhaps I should just pick up where the member from Nova Scotia left off.
I was jotting down some notes in thinking of how to start off this debate. Government should be about addressing the real needs of Canadians as opposed to the political needs of the party it represents; in this case the Liberal Party of Canada.
The parliamentary secretary is yakking away on his side of the House. I would expect him to at least listen. When it is his opportunity to speak, I will listen and we can debate it back and forth. However, his yakking over there does not really add much to this place.
I would question whether the real needs of Canadians are being met in Bill C-48. The member from Nova Scotia set out some of the areas in Nova Scotia where a little of money could make a big difference in terms of jobs and stability in our agricultural sector, research and so on.
I want to point out some of the same issues in the province of New Brunswick where a little money could make a lot of difference.
Some of these we could argue are not a little money but a lot of money. For example, there is the refurbishment of Pointe Lapreau. The Government of Canada has said that it would assist the refurbishment of Pointe Lapreau. It is a $1.5 billion expenditure. Most of it will be borne by the Province of New Brunswick and the utility, the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission. They are asking the Government of Canada to come in with some assistance. The number that is being thrown about is somewhere between $200 million and $400 million. We are not sure what it is going to be, but we are hoping the Government of Canada will be there.
It could have been there, but when one goes on a wild spending spree with no plan for the future, as Liberals have done, the question becomes, how much money is going be left over for those programs and spending priorities that should have been there in the first place?
In addition to that, we have an aquaculture industry in New Brunswick. I know, Mr. Speaker, you are familiar with that, coming from the west coast which has a significant aquaculture industry as well. To restructure and get through some difficulties the industry has experienced through new fault of its own in the last number of years, it needs somewhere in the order of $60 million is required. That is way short of a billion dollars. Just to remind the House and Canadians a billion is a thousand million.
I was making some notes before I came to the chamber because it is kind of interesting when we actually measure. How much is a billion dollars? A thousand million. How much is a thousand million? It is normally not the kind of change we are familiar with. It is a lot of cash.
I invite members to carry out this research, but they will have to believe me on this one. A million dollars is two metres high if it is being counted in $100 bills. If we had $100 bills stacked on top of each other, it would be just about my height. Therefore, think of this as a billion is a thousand million. Therefore, a billion dollars would be 2,000 metres high, about a mile and a half high in the sky. Talk about pie in the sky.
Therefore, when we are talking about almost $5 billion, we are talking about a 9,000 metre high pile of $100 bills stacked on top of each other. I believe Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada. It would dwarf Mount Logan. I am sure it would dwarf the tallest building in your riding, Mr. Speaker, with a lot left over to spend.
That is the point that I am making. It is a lot of money that has been just thrown out there for nothing more than political support. It is a life jacket for the Liberal Party of Canada. Basically, it bought off the NDP with a lot of money, $4.5 billion. On top of that, it could be argued that the member for New Brunswick Southwest is on a political mission. We probably all are on a political mission.
I want to go back to what has been reported in the national press in terms of this $4.5 billion spending spree. I quoted from an article written by Jacqueline Thorpe, in which she quotes what some of Canada's chief economists have said about this. She has saying that this is a deal makes no sense. I will quote an another article that appeared today. She says:
The NDP deal, for example, funnels federal spending specifically to post-secondary education and training, affordable housing and energy conservation, areas that provinces would have funded through federal social transfers--if they so wanted.
The government is out on a patchwork, hodgepodge spending spree simply to get the support of a political party in order to survive a vote on the floor of the House of Commons. It boils down to the fact that the Liberals simply do not want an election. However, it is costing every Canadian and it is costing the credibility of the Government of Canada.
When this same government lost power in 1984 to the Conservatives, it bragged. I believe it was Jean Chrétien who authored these words when the Liberals left office in 1984. He said, “There's nothing to worry about, because we left the cupboard bare”. The Liberals bankrupted the country when they left office, knowing it would be very difficult for the next government to get its financial house in order, given the level of bankruptcy in which they left the Government of Canada.
The Liberals brag about what they have done in terms of managing the economy. However, most Canadians know that the deficit has been eliminated. That is fine. We know how that was done and we will not argue the point today. We will give them credit for that. Obviously they did it because of the growth in the economy, because of free trade and because of the revenues flowing in from the GST.
What the Liberals do not talk about is the accumulated debt in the country, which is still approaching about $500 billion. In terms of interest charges, that is costing Canada today, as we speak. Every time we pay interest on that $500 billion accumulated debt, which we still are, it costs every Canadian.
This is one of the lines that our finance critic came up with and it is quite clever. I know the Liberals hate to hear this, because he is much more clever than they are. He says, “The Conservative Party will clean up government, but the Liberals want to clean out government”.
That goes right back to the same old philosophy of the 1980s: “Spend it because we're in power. Forget about the future of Canada, forget about what we could be doing with that money”. This is absolutely irresponsible spending at the hands of the Liberals. They simply do not deserve to be re-elected when an election takes place. This is simply a lifeline that they are throwing out in order to survive votes in the House of Commons. They basically bought the NDP. They bought 19 members of Parliament to the tune of $4.5 billion on a plan that was written on the back of a napkin, courtesy of Buzz Hargrove, in a hotel room in downtown Toronto. That is just about as sad as it could possibly get.