Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to the second half of the Liberal budget bill, Bill C-48, that the NDP and the Liberals put together in the dark of night in a hotel room to save the government basically. It is not outside the realm that this is basically an IOU. There are only 19 people in the country who believe that IOU will ever be fulfilled and they sit at that end of the chamber. For $260 million a vote, the government bought a little more time. That is really what Bill C-48 does.
The finance minister of the day had made statements in the media. When we questioned the original budget and said we would support it but wanted to see some amendments done in committee, and we talked about some of those amendment, the finance minister went on record at that time with a bit of a rant saying that there was no room for any amendments. This was the most complete budget. He was not going to change a thing. Nothing was going to persuade him to change or tweak anything in the budget. He is on record saying that a number of times.
Not long after that we suddenly get an edict from the Prime Minister, without consultations with his finance minister, saying that the Liberals were going to add another $4.5 million worth of spending in programs that they already agreed with. They did not put them in the original budget but they certainly agreed with them.
There is a problem with that. If that type of thing had happened to the now Prime Minister when he was Chrétien's finance minister, he would have gone berserk. He cut the legs out from underneath his finance minister. The finance minister of the day will tell us straight to our faces that he has not got legs to spare. He is already height impaired. To cut the legs out from underneath him like the Prime Minister did to buy votes is just unconscionable in this country. That is $260 million a vote.
Canadians will assess before the next election and during the next election as to whether that was a good use of taxpayers' money. I would argue that it was not and not anywhere close.
This is a modern day fairytale. I do not know how many years ago the old fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk came out. The bumbling guy, Jack, on his way to town traded off the family cow, the cash cow, for a few magic beans. We have the same situation here. We have Jack bumbling on his way to Ottawa, trading off the cash cow, taxation, on a few magic beans, some promises that will never ever be fulfilled. It is an IOU, as I said.
If we want to talk about the Prime Minister standing behind his IOUs, then we want to talk to Premier Danny Williams. We want to talk to Premier Hamm of Nova Scotia and find out how that Prime Minister lived up to his IOUs. We can also talk to Premier McGuinty in Ontario as to how the Prime Minister and his finance minister are standing up to their IOUs. We can talk to any province across the country that had their health and social transfers cut by $25 billion. We can ask them how the Prime Minister then finance minister stood up to their IOUs. They will all tell us that their track record stinks.
Now we have more IOUs piled up. We have 19 people here who believe this. They swallowed it hook, line and sinker and it does smell fishy. When we look at all of the things that are outlined in the bill, they are holding the so-called corporate tax cuts for big business in abeyance. They did not kick in for four to five years to begin with. We needed the cash flow from that in order to pay this type of wishful thinking, this budget that is never going to happen.
The NDP members love to rant and rave about how they stopped the tax cuts for big business. Yet we had the leader of the NDP stand in the House last week decrying the fact that General Motors, one of these big businesses, is going to pull out of Canada because of productivity. It cannot make a go of it here because the regulations and taxation are too high. Yet his own budget is the thin edge of the wedge that is pushing big companies like that out of the country.
We cannot have it both ways. When we flip a coin there are two sides. The NDP members say it is going to land on its edge and they can have the best of both. It is never going to happen.
The NDP members say that these promises that are in the bill cover everything on the NDP wish list. They completely missed agriculture. They talk about being there for the little guy. There is absolutely nothing in the Liberal-NDP budget to address agriculture.
We talked about putting amendments through on Bill C-43 to address the shortfall in agriculture. The government programs do not hit the mark and do not get out to the mailboxes on the farm. Therefore the NDP missed on that one.
There is nothing for shipbuilding. Members of the NDP stand here day after day decrying shipbuilding in this country while the Prime Minister gets his done in China at discount rates, yet there is nothing in here about shipbuilding. There is nothing for seniors. There is nothing in here addressing the problems we have with the equalization formula.
It is fine that the NDP made this backdoor deal in the dark of night with Buzz Hargrove and the Prime Minister, but it missed the mark. The NDP could have built on Bill C-43 and instead it is going to tear it down. The good news is that we put through an amendment that $2 billion of the debt has to be addressed in the next two fiscal years before any of this takes place. That is the poison pill, and by putting through our amendment to make it $3.5 billion, this will thankfully never happen.
We need to see some common sense applied in this place and it is not in this particular budget. We sat fast and allowed Bill C-43 to go to committee. That is the right thing to do. Canadians had to see what was in there. We talked about amendments. We brought it back to the House. It is better than it was. It is still not good enough for Canadians because we also see the finance minister agreeing with us that Canadian productivity is lagging.
How do we address that? We do that by taking the boot off the necks of taxpayers, letting them do what they do best, and produce things in this country that we can export. We are an exporting nation. This bill will be regressive. I could never sit on my hands or not vote against this type of a bill.
There is good money going after bad. The government talks about money for housing. Everybody agrees with that, but we spent $2.2 billion in the last little while with no benchmarks that there has ever been any positive effect. We are going to add another $1.6 billion. I can hear the toilet flush now. There has to be a plan.
The finance committee brought four of the ministers who will be involved in this before the committee. None of them could say how this money will be spent. Where is the plan? There is nothing in the original budget other than a big bill for the environment, but no solid plan other than the Kyoto accord which everybody knows is a flawed document.
We are seeing good money flushed after bad in this one. Jack got the magic beans, but they are not going to grow. As I said, it is just a major IOU. We have economist after economist and all the major banks decrying this. We have the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, that represents big, medium and small sized businesses, saying this is ridiculous.
We have become a laughing stock to the rest of the world because of this type of economic action. If any of this was reasonably good to begin with, why was it not in the original budget? Greg Weston in the Ottawa Citizen says:
In practice, here is how the money will flow -- or more likely, won't flow: First, nothing can flow anywhere until the government determines if it has a surplus--
The government is great at spending that surplus, so there is no surplus. There never will be any money to address this and these guys fell for it. They sucked it all up and said, “Look what we did”. They sold themselves out for an ideal that the government will never ever respond to.