Mr. Speaker, I was very proud a couple of years ago to stand with the NDP caucus and amend the budget at that time to eliminate the corporate tax cuts and put that forward for the reinvestment of $4 billion in things such as public transit and housing. I will never forget the current Minister of Human Resources and the current Minister of National Defence ripping up Bill C-48, saying that this was fiscally irresponsible and was going to do damage to our nation.
And what did they do when they formed the government? The Minister of National Defence, as the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, was in Halifax giving out a cheque for public transit, money that the NDP fought for in the budget. The Conservatives can howl all they want, but the reality is that when banks and petroleum companies are making record profits under the current tax regime, giving them tax breaks is not the answer.
If we really want to give people a tax break, we can eliminate taxes on funerals and crematorium services. We can eliminate taxes on over the counter drugs. We can eliminate taxes, for example, on home heating essentials, as we are advocating in Nova Scotia. That is a good tax break. We also can help the poorest of the poor and stop taxing their disability pensions, for example. That is where good tax relief should go.
I have always believed in a one-third, one-third and one-third approach: one-third of the budget on debt relief, one-third on strategic tax incentives and one-third on social reinvestment. But those folks over there put the vast majority of it to the most profitable corporations.
What do we tell veterans and their widows? We cannot help them. What do we tell fishermen and their communities? We cannot help them. What do we tell the Inuit in the far north who are trying to get housing? We cannot help them. What do we tell students who are struggling under massive debts? We cannot help them. What do we tell parents with autistic children who are struggling to pay for the treatment the children require? We cannot help them.
It goes on and on. I remind the government about the children at Base Petawawa. When some of those kids whose fathers died in Afghanistan were having psychological problems, we asked a question in this House and the Minister of Health's response was that mental health issues are “a provincial responsibility”. What nonsense. They were kids from a military base who required assistance. Thank goodness for the report of Ontario ombudsman André Marin, who slammed both the Ontario government and the federal government. We are glad to see that there was an arrangement after that.
However, we should not have had to have a report. We should not need to have media influence in order to do the right thing. If the government has this kind of surplus, when is it going to invest in the people and communities of this country? My colleague from Toronto is absolutely correct, but it is not just Toronto that is struggling under a massive infrastructure debt. Halifax and others are as well. I will continue this right after question period, Mr. Speaker.