Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member's speech. He kept talking about whether this is unusual legislation. In truth, it is unusual legislation. We are in a happy circumstance where we anticipate, over the next five years, surpluses.
What would the hon. member rather have? Does he want to be in a situation where there is no plan on the part of the government as to how to deal with surpluses? Or would he prefer to be in a situation where we are actually saying to the people of Canada that in the event of a surplus this is what we would spend the money on?
I put it to him that he should review the remarks of the Comptroller General of Canada, who said, first, that this is enabling legislation, not mandatory but enabling. Second, he said it is the first time that spending authority will be provided once there is a minimum fiscal balance, in this case, $2 billion. Third, he said that it is a prudent approach. Fourth, he said that there is a cap on the amount of money being spent, namely, $4.5 billion. Fifth, he said it gives some lead time to the government and the people of Canada to determine the ways in which such a measure should be approached. Sixth, he said that all initiatives will require Treasury Board approval.
It is unusual legislation, it is novel legislation and it is unplanned surplus legislation, but I put it to the hon. member that in fact it is well within fiscal guidelines and is an intelligent, reasoned approach to unplanned surplus.