Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to add my dialogue to this debate at report stage of Bill C-48 on behalf of the people of Yellowhead.
I would like to begin where my hon. colleague finished and ask a question. How did we get into this mess? How did we actually get to position where we are deciding and trying to discern what to do with this piece of legislation?
I see it a little differently than my colleague. He said that it is all about a minority government and that the Canadian people want a minority government to work. To that point, I would agree.
If that was a fact and the government wanted to work together collaboratively with the parties to bring forward legislation in the best interests of Canadians, it would have added that negotiating power and negotiations would have happened in Bill C-43, not Bill C-48. A plan could have been set out along with the criteria around that plan and how it would be delivered.
It would not have happened in a Toronto hotel room as a desperation move by a government that will go down in history as the most corrupt government to serve the Canadian public. It would not have been done with the input of the labour movement.
It would have had some of the accountability measures that we need to have in place with all legislation, particularly in light of what has happened with the government with regard to the lack of accountability and the lack of planning that we have seen. If we are to be honest in this place when we come here to debate, we should do it with the knowledge and the full understanding of what actually happened.
The NDP members decided that they were going to sell themselves with regard to their votes and prop up this corrupt government. They said “What can we get for that? Let's go into the hotel room and see what we can get. Let's name our price”.
Let us take a look at that price and take a look at what they actually got. Once the NDP members were prepared to sell themselves, in the sense of giving a vote to prop the government up when things looked very desperate, they said “Let's set our priorities”.
I know what happened with the priorities in my riding. We have gone through significant difficulty in rural Alberta with regard to the BSE crisis. Before that we had two years of drought and grasshopper problems, and Atlantic Canada and central Canada had to help to contribute to some of the causes with the hay aid program.
It was a devastating situation for agriculture. Agriculture has never been in the situation that it is right now. We have a government that has failed farmers time and time again. In fact, the farmers of my riding are so desperate that they are really not sure what to do. Many are at the stage where they are losing everything.
When a farmer loses everything, it is not just that he loses his job, but he loses his whole life and in many cases the family history. Many of these farms are generational farms. It is a devastating situation.
What is the NDP priority? There is not a word for agriculture. There is not a bit of help for agriculture. It is not only western Canadians involved with agriculture in Alberta. Agriculture from coast to coast in this country is facing the same situation and the same difficulties.
After deciding to do what was in the best interests of Canadians, surely the NDP would have this as a part of its priority. It was not so. We have seen that it cooked up this little deal with 400 words on a sheet of paper and brought it forward saying that it would bring in this new piece of legislation, Bill C-48. It has no criteria on how it will be spent. It has no accountability and no plan. I suggest also that its priorities are not necessarily in the best interests of Canadians.
If it was about a government that wanted to do what was in the best interests of Canadians, this budget would have been negotiated in Bill C-43. We have to be honest here. The honest part of Bill C-48 is that is not what happened.
How much money was actually spent in this House in the last two months for the benefit of Canadians? If we look at it from that perspective, we can see that the price tag on this was $4.5 billion. However, we have to accumulate that on top of all the announcements that the government made to buy votes, not only the NDP votes which cost $4.5 billion. We must add to that another $22 billion. A total of $26 billion of Canadian money has been spent to illegitimately prop up the government. That is the reality of the situation we are in.
However, it did not stop there because that was not quite enough. The Liberals needed the 19 votes from the NDP to stay in power. However, that still was not good enough. They had to buy some opposition members. We saw that happen, as well, in this House.
It is the most disgraceful thing because it is not about the money and it is not about where the money went. It is about respecting the role of a parliamentarian in this House and respecting the very democracy that we try to protect for the benefit of all the people back home in each of our ridings.
I have become as cynical as some of the people back home when I talk to them about politicians because it reflects badly not only on the Liberal Party and the NDP but on every one of us in this House. I almost feel like we have to go home on weekends and shower multiple times just to get some of the sleaze off from what we see happening in this House because it is not in the best interests of Canadians. It is not in the best interest of this House or democracy, or this great nation, one of the greatest nations in this world.
What can we do? We should be concerned about the content of the actual piece of legislation, Bill C-48, because of what we have seen the government do with regard to other knee-jerk reactive measures and programs. If we want to know what individuals are going to do, look at what they have done and that will tell us where they are going.
If we look at the Davis Inlet project, the government's knee-jerk reaction was to relocate the Inuit natives at a cost of $400,000 per individual. That did not solve the problem. HRDC was another scandal. The gun registry that was promised at a cost of $2 million and that has ended up costing $2 billion is an absolute disaster. That is continuing on a daily basis and a yearly basis. I think last year it cost 125 million more dollars.
Then we look at ad scam, the mother of all scandals, trying to buy off Quebeckers. No wonder Quebeckers are so slighted by what is happening because they take it as a personal slight. The government cheapened Quebeckers by the way it handled the ad scam.
Not only did the Liberals try to buy Quebeckers, in the last two months they tried to buy Canadians and then opposition members. It is an absolute abomination to this House and everything that is good about this place and good about Canada.
That is why the opposition is so upset with this piece of legislation. The piece of legislation is coming forward with no plan and no accountability measures. It will just go down as a $4.6 billion ad scam or a $4.6 billion gun registry because of what will actually happen.
If we want to know what will happen with this money, just look at what the government has done with past projects and that will tell us exactly where it is going. It is unfortunate that we see this sort of thing happen in this House because it is a terrible situation for Canadians.
How are we going to fix that? At report stage, we have an opportunity, after coming out of committee, to put forward some amendments in order to put some sanity around the ridiculous situation that we have seen in this House over the last couple of months.
We put forward a plan. We must repay the debt load that governments in the past have built up. We have to look at how we deal with that. We put forward an amendment for that one. We put forward an amendment to put a plan around this money so that we do not allow it to turn into another scandal. We want to put some accountability in there as well.
We moved three amendments that would address all three of those things and we hoped that the government would accept those as we moved forward in the debate at report stage, so that we could actually see some good come out of it.
I believe that Canada is the greatest nation in the world and I believe most people in this House and most people in this country do as well. However, it has not achieved what it should have achieved. The reason it has not is that we have a government that has not really taken the opportunity to develop, what I like to call, the Canadian dream. This cooked-up deal will take 3,000 plus dollars out of the pockets of every family in this country.
That is exactly what has happened. That is money that could have been used to raise the standard of living, money that could have been used to help every Canadian achieve their Canadian dream and be the envy of the world. I would challenge anyone to say what population of 32 million people has the amount of resources that Canadians have.
We should be the envy of the world. We should have the highest standard of living in the world, which we do not, even though we have the best of everything. The government should be leading this nation instead of being an abomination on some of the issues where it is not doing the job.