Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Acadie--Bathurst.
It gives me great pleasure to rise this afternoon to speak one last time to Bill C-13, the Budget Implementation Act. It was interesting to listen to some of the Bloc members suggest that this bill is now supported by everyone in the House and that the budget has been approved by all parties. I think they doth protest a little too much. Perhaps they were looking for an opportunity to reverse their support of the Conservative government and that opportunity did not happen and they are disappointed.
I am here to say that the New Democratic Party stands opposed to this bill. We were opposed at the beginning. We were opposed at second reading. We were opposed at committee. We are opposed today. We are opposed for very good reasons. The Bloc members are foaming at the mouth in the hope they could join us because they are embarrassed by their position of support for the Conservatives and the budget.
Let us acknowledge what happened today. There was some procedural confusion and as a result, this afternoon we are having a debate on Bill C-13, in another form perhaps than is normally the case, but certainly it is a debate where every one of us can put on the record our party's position with respect to the bill.
We were opposed from day one for the very reasons that the Bloc opposed the Liberal budget last year. There was a lack of reference to housing, a lack of reference to aboriginal Canadians, a lack of reference to health care, a lack of reference to child care, and a lack of emphasis on urban transportation. These are all issues that Canadians raise with us day in and day out, which the Bloc last budget year when we were dealing with a Liberal minority government thought could just be put aside, that those issues did not matter and the budget could pass without any such reference.
Those members across the way were very disappointed when the NDP actually managed to get something in the Liberal budget for Canadians. Much to the dismay and disdain of those members, we actually managed to achieve $4.6 billion for Canadians. We actually managed to get money for housing, money for education, money for aboriginal Canadians, money for urban transit, money for the environment, and money for international development.
Those members of the Bloc could not bring themselves to support us in that initiative. Yet interestingly, when it came time for them to justify their support for the Conservatives, what did they point to? They pointed to every element in the present budget pertaining to the NDP better balanced budget, Bill C-48. They pointed to the money referenced in this package for housing, for education, for aboriginal Canadians and for urban transit. All the items that they are now bragging about were a result of the NDP balanced budget a year ago when we were dealing with the Liberal government.
Those Bloc members are so confused they do not know what end is up.They have put themselves in the very embarrassing position of not standing up for the working people, for ordinary families in this country, including those in their own province of Quebec. They have bowed to pressure from the Conservatives because of a political agenda and have succumbed to a government's agenda that in no way represents working people and working families.
One cannot stand in the House today and say that this budget is good for working families. This budget helps big business and big corporations. It is a very good budget for wealthy Canadians and large corporations, but there is nothing for ordinary families. Under this budget child care wait lists will go up, family allowance will be diminished, pollution will go up and student debt will go up.
The Bloc can support this? The Conservatives can present this kind of budget? This budget in no way reflects the realities of working people and the kinds of difficulties they face on a day to day basis.
Let me give members opposite 10 reasons why we oppose this budget. Let me start first of all with the fact that it is a budget for business, not a budget for working families. The minister himself said so. He said he listened to business. There is a National Post article dated May 26 saying the Minister of Finance “delivered in budget. Listened to business”. He admits that he sought out the wisdom of business to make this budget business friendly.
He did not say he spoke to working people. He did not say he spoke to ordinary Canadians across this country because he cared about what they had to say and he wanted to make sure this budget was balanced. No, he did not. As a result, we are dealing with a budget that is flawed and that does not address ordinary families by any stretch of the imagination.
He gives huge corporate tax breaks of $7 billion. The Bloc and the Conservatives together, I might note, gave $7 billion in corporate tax breaks at a time when corporate profits are now running at 14.6% of GDP, the highest level on record. Profits rose 16.4% in the last quarter of 2005, 13% higher than during the same period a year earlier.
Corporate Canada is sitting on so much cash right now that even its own analysts are concerned. One banker admits that at least $80 billion in excess liquidity is sitting out there and that this figure is likely to rise by another 11% this year. We can go on with the statistics, but let me say that is the number one reason why we oppose this budget. It caters to big business. It ignores ordinary families.
The second reason is that it does not help small business. If the government is so concerned about small and medium sized businesses, the mom and pop shops and the small entrepreneurs, those who are really the backbone of this country, this budget does not do it. It does not give them any special supports.
When it comes to the one tax provision that the Conservatives say is progressive, which of course we dispute, the reduction of the GST by 1%, they refuse to give a penny of assistance to small businesses that are having one heck of a time trying to adapt all of their systems in order to accomplish this reduction in the GST. We asked the Minister of Finance point blank in committee on May 30. He absolutely refused to do one thing to help small business and would not even provide some support program or some assistance to help them deal with the fact that this is a big deal when it comes to businesses that are very small and have few employees.
The third reason we do not support this budget is that it does not at all address working families. I have hinted at this by mentioning its bias in terms of the corporate tax giveaways, but let us be clear that when it comes to ordinary working families, the burden of paying for government and all the supports we need has shifted onto the shoulders of ordinary families, with a much greater percentage of revenue coming from income taxes from individuals, not corporations.
I thought this country was about balance. I thought we were interested in ensuring that everyone plays a part, that individuals are not singled out and that big business pays its share. Why, then, does the government continue to favour big business when ordinary Canadians are suffering?
Why does it not look at the huge blows being taken by our manufacturing sector, especially because of the high dollar, the loss of jobs, the high unemployment rate among young people, the way in which women are trying to juggle working family responsibilities, and the way in which so many working people are holding down three and four jobs just to make ends meet?
Is it not time that those Canadians got a raise? Is it not time that those Canadians got a share of the pie at a time when we have this huge fiscal dividend of something like $83 billion over the next five years? Yet the government could not find it within itself to put some money toward programs that actually make a difference to ordinary families, programs in the areas of education, training, child care, housing, the environment and aboriginal concerns. That is where we must start for a truly meaningful budget that meets the realities of Canadians.
The fifth reason we do not support the budget is that there is absolutely no focus on the future of this country in terms of equalization. There is no plan today to address the O'Brien report that came out yesterday in terms of defending and supporting a program that is meant to equalize conditions among all Canadians and regions.
There is nothing on housing, except, of course, for the NDP money that we fought for last time.
There is nothing to help aboriginal concerns in terms of on reserve housing, which we have just heard about from my colleague from Vancouver Island North. There is nothing in terms of urban aboriginal housing. In fact, there is nothing that really gets at the very root causes of serious problems in our communities today.
On the environment, what does the government do, besides all the mess around Kyoto? Nothing. There is nothing in terms of the EnerGuide program.
Let me finish by saying that there is nothing in terms of child care. There is nothing in terms of health care. The issues that matter to Canadians are not addressed by the government and it is high time they were. We will continue to fight with everything we have to make minority Parliament work.