Mr. Speaker, I was certainly pleased to hear the member's speech. I would like to bring the member up to date on some other facts, because he gave us many facts. I will start with 12 or 14 years ago when we became involved in what are real problems for this country. That of course was the serious debt that the country was getting into.
I remind him that in 1969 we had zero debt. Under Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Chrétien, who were then the prime minister and the finance minister, it went to $18 billion by 1971. By 1984 it was up to $170 billion to $180 billion. From there it went up to $480 billion by 1993. Of course today it is at $530 billion. Basically, some $40 billion a year is spent simply on interest payments.
That is what concerned us. That is why we came here. Our philosophy was to leave money in people's pockets, let them spend it with less government, less bureaucracy. That was the philosophical reason behind why we came here.
Of course, we came to a tax and spend Liberal government and that has not changed. The fiscal recklessness of that party is only demonstrated by Bill C-48, the Buzz Hargrove budget, where $4.6 billion was spent to buy 19 votes in a hotel room in Toronto.
My constituents are seniors and low income single moms who have to pay their income tax. They are farmers who have the lowest grain prices they have had for many years. They are young farmers who are losing their farms because they cannot make their mortgage payments because of the cattle crisis. Imagine what they think about this hotel room budget drawn up on a serviette. Really it is a blank cheque.
I remind the NDP and the Liberals that is the way to get sponsorship, to get ad scam, the way to get Shawinigate, the HRDC boondoggle and the gun registry, the nine foundations where money has been socked away unaccounted for and not audited. That is how to get a blank cheque which is what we have received from this. There are few details. There is no accountability. Certainly from my perspective and from my constituents' perspective, this is a disgrace.
As far as the environment is concerned, there is $900 million budgeted and $800 million for rapid transit. Obviously we think that is a worthwhile project. We would like to see some details, however. We would like to know how that is going to be invested, how it is going to be accounted for, and how we are not going to lose it all in bureaucracy. As far as the $100 million that environment gets, again I am sure that the Liberals will find a way to dispose of that with no business plan, no vision and really no long term planning.
What else has the government done? The last speaker talked about how great we are and how we are leaders in so many areas. Let me mention a few examples, and I hope the member has his pen in hand so he can take notes on this. As the critic for the environment, I feel it is my job to read into the record some of the statistics for the member's benefit. He and I have been here quite a while now, he for much longer than I have, but he would be interested in this.
In terms of sulphur dioxide, the OECD rates us 27th in terms of our release per capita out of 28 countries. For nitrous oxide, we are 25th out of 28. For volatile organic compounds, we are 25th out of 26 analyzed. Does that possibly let the member know why we have a record number of smog days in Toronto, Ottawa and many other cities? If he looked at those figures, he would see that we are at the bottom or within one position of the bottom. For carbon monoxide, we are 26th out of 27. For greenhouse gas emissions, we are 27th out of 29. For water consumption, we are 28th out of 29.
I will try to go a little slower so the member can get all of this down. In terms of energy consumption, Canada is 27th out of 29. For energy efficiency, we are 28th out of 29. In terms of recycling glass and paper, we are 23rd out of 27. For hazardous waste production, we are 24th out of 27. For nuclear waste and storage, we are 28th out of 28. For consumption of ozone and ozone depleting substances, we are 13th out of 16 analyzed. For fertilizer use, we are 25th out of 28. For the volume of fish caught, kilogram per capita, we are 20th out of 28. For forest consumption in cubic metres per capita, we are 27th out of 29.
Members can see that this country is at the bottom in terms of environmental rating. That is not the kind of stewardship that I think the member would like to brag about. Obviously he decided to ignore some of those figures in his comments when he was bragging about where we were at.
Again I come back to the taxpayers who are asking, “What is happening? What is the government doing? How can it come up with a budget of $4.6 billion after it has already come out with a budget of $170 billion plus? How can it do that?” It is strictly politics. The Liberals are playing politics with our country.
Members who have travelled very much can see that when they go to other countries. They see how our influence is declining. We are not able to maintain the status we used to have largely because the government has lacked vision. It has lacked a vision of where we are going. There is no plan. There are no details. The government has no direction.
As a result, while the last speaker said that our country is a great success story, I would put forward from an environmental perspective that it is anything but that. Actually, we have a long way to go. When we talk about it, we should put some options forward.
What would the Conservatives do? I have elaborated a number of times in the House on some of the things we would deal with. We would deal with a clean air plan. That would deal with all of the products that are producing the pollution and smog that is infecting our cities and causing health problems for so many of our seniors and young people.
We would deal with the water. We would map our aquifers and deal with how our water exchange is occurring. We would plan with the provinces just how to deal with that. We would deal with the cross-border issues. Whether it is the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, Devils Lake or the Fraser Valley and the Sumas River, we would deal with those as issues and we would have a plan. The environment takes long term planning.
In terms of soil, we have contaminated sites. Just about every municipality has brownfields, such as a street corner where a service station used to be but which closed long ago. Services pass and the municipality gets no taxes from that area. If we really want to help municipalities, we can help them find solutions to clean up those brownfields.
Along with that, of course, there is conservation. There is preservation of our watersheds. That becomes most pertinent when we look at some of the flooding and so on that is occurring today.
Finally, we need to deal with energy. We need to deal with how we are going to protect our present fossil fuel industries in the long term, how we are going to develop conservation, transitional fuels, alternate energy and all those exciting areas we can get into.
Above all, it takes vision. It takes a plan. I say that Bill C-48 is an example of no plan, no direction and is considered to be totally despicable by the constituents in my riding.