Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak right after the prayer for our country. I regularly get phone calls, letters and cards saying that Canadians are praying for this Parliament to have the wisdom to do the right thing.
I am one of the members of the rookie class, elected almost a year ago, but I came here not being a rookie to serving our community. I served as a city councillor for 14 years, almost 15 years now. Over those 14 years in municipal government, we would wring our hands and work hard on the budget, and I will speak on the plans in Bill C-48.
Months were spent in deliberations, trying to be accountable for every dollar in local government but it became increasingly difficult. Over the last 12 years, the dollars became more and more scarce. The finance minister of those days, our now Prime Minister, squeezed and pulled more and more money out of provincial and local governments with the plan to save more money for the federal government.
At the time I was first elected, 50% of the money to fund health care came from the federal government. Now it is only 20%. That is just one small example. It continues to be difficult.
Now that finance minister is the Prime Minister, the difficulties in local government for our citizens, our taxpayers, continues. I supported Bill C-43. That was our budget and consultation had gone into it. It was not a budget with which everybody was particularly happy but we could live with it. We did not want to call an election over it so we supported the bill.
However, along came Bill C-48. Why are we having the debate on Bill C-48? We had a crisis in Parliament because of the corruption and sponsorship scandals. A cloud was hanging over the government. A flurry of offers and deals were being made in an effort to bolster the government. Without the help of the NDP, the government would have fallen. Over the weekend, on a napkin deal, we had Bill C-48.
Bill C-48 does not involve planning. It does not involve consultation. It involves a backroom deal, a napkin deal, that does not represent the wishes of Canadians. Our responsibility is to serve Canadians and to be extremely accountable for every Canadian tax dollar that is sent to Ottawa. Bill C-48 does not represent that. It is a plan that was concocted with no thought or consultation. It is a plan where $4.5 billion will be given to the finance minister to spend at his discretion. How can anybody support that? Canadians do not support that. They want accountability and we do not see that in the government. We do not see that in Bill C-48. When I say government, it is basically a coalition government of the Liberals and NDP.
When I thought about the two parties, I wondered what we would call the Liberal and NDP if we were to mix the two. We would probably end up with the nibble party, a party that nibbles away at Canadians. It is not a party that we and Canadians would be proud of.
Without accountability, Canadians do not know what is going to be done with that money. Do Canadians trust the track record of the last 12 years of the government? They do not.
Part of the $4.5 billion funding in the bill is to go toward the environment. Are we supposed to trust the government to spend it on the environment? Again, it is a promise that over the next many years there will be funding for the environment. For 12 years the government was supposed to do the right thing for the environment but over the last 12 years pollution levels have continued to increase, not decrease.
What about the Kyoto plan? This party said that Kyoto had some merits but that it was not good enough. Canadians are demanding better. Yes, we need to deal with carbon dioxide and the effect on global warming. We acknowledge that but we need better. Kyoto only deals with the carbon dioxide effects. We need to deal with the particulates, the pollution. Every year, hundreds of Canadians are dying prematurely because of the high pollution levels.
Over 12 years, has anything happened there? No. Just a few months ago, even after the 12th hour and pressure from this party to come up with a plan, we finally received a plan. However the plan shows that it will be very difficult to achieve the targets and it is Canadians who will have to help solve that problem. A plan that says the targets will be very difficult to achieve is not a plan. The plan will involve going back to Canadians for more money. With Bill C-48, $4.5 billion of overtaxation will be taken from the Canadian taxpayers.
How do we meet those Kyoto targets dealing with the pollution? We will have to increase energy costs. Canadians are furious over having to pay approximately $1 a litre for gasoline and gas prices that fluctuate daily. However as the government starts implementing the Kyoto plan, the money to buy those carbon credits, the billions of dollars, will be coming from the Canadian taxpayer for energy costs. We are looking at $2 to $3 for a litre of gas with this no-plan.
We still are not dealing with the pollution. Even after 12 years, the government is still allowing raw sewage to be dumped into our oceans. It is unacceptable and Canadians want that stopped. The Liberals have had chances to stop it and they have not. The fact is that the NDP had a chance to clean up the raw sewage being dumped into Victoria Harbour but it did absolutely nothing. Maybe this unholy alliance really is not that uncommon because their values are very similar. They both accept dumping raw sewage into our oceans as an acceptable environmental standard. Canadians demand better.
Canadians demand better for health care. A number of seniors in my riding of Langley have come up to me demanding respect and demanding health care. A number of these people have been waiting for a hip replacement for over four years. That is not acceptable.
We need to have more consultation. At the committee stage of the bill the Conservative Party offered a number of amendments that would have improved the bill but they were not accepted? Why were they not accepted? Because the Liberals wanted to rush Bill C-48 through with no accountability, just trust. They are asking Canadians to trust them. Canadians do not trust the Liberals and they are telling us not to support Bill C-48.