Mr. Speaker, while I thank the parliamentary secretary for the riveting speech, I hope he did not overpay for it.
I will be splitting my time with the member for Halton. I have only a few minutes left, so I take it that I will see everyone in the morning.
We have all noted that the finance minister has been running around the country for the last three or four months saying there is no money in the cupboard, the cupboard is bare, we are broke, and telling us to not have any great expectations of this budget, and for certain yesterday he delivered on that expectation. There were very low expectations and he certainly met those low expectations.
Interestingly, the Globe and Mail this morning in its editorial picked up on that very theme and talked about Minister of Finance's “empty cupboard”. The point of the editorial is that it was the Minister of Finance that emptied the cupboard in the first place, so naturally he does not have any money for anything. As a consequence, we see what we see in this rather pathetic budget.
What is really sad is that the Conservative government started out with a fiscal surplus. It started out with 13 years of sound fiscal management. It started out with one of the most prosperous economies in the G-7.
Also, interestingly, it started with almost $100 billion in a five year planning surplus, going from 2005 through to 2010. But where will we be in 2010? If we look at page 25 of the government's budget, we can see that the surplus will be down to $1.3 billion. I do not think that even Paris Hilton could spend it that quickly. These guys are in a league by themselves. I am sure that Paris Hilton is probably watching this debate and wondering how in heaven's name they did it.
Again, I direct members' attention to page 25, which is really the only page we need to read in the budget. The rest of the budget is a 415 page spin document. Let us look at their document. The Conservatives actually increase their revenues over a four year period by $16 billion. Over the same period, they increase their spending by $30 billion.
I do not know how other members do their budgeting, but in my house and I dare say pretty well all the members' houses, people cannot actually spend more than is brought in. Households cannot be run that way. Businesses cannot be run that way. Certainly a government cannot be run that way. It is an incredible testimony to the incompetence of the minister.
I do not want to disturb the Minister of the Environment in his reading of Frank magazine, which constitutes his briefing materials most days, but even he would understand that we cannot spend faster than we bring the money in. It is pretty simple.
For the particular year that the government actually presents for this year, the fiscal year 2008-09, the government has actually reduced the revenues by about $2.5 billion. Meanwhile, the government's expenditures in the same year go up by $7 billion, the consequence of which is that this country actually ends up perilously close to a deficit.
The government has canned the whole idea of prudence money. When a Liberal government was producing budgets, we had a minimum contingency of $3 billion and frequently built into the budget another $1 billion, $2 billion or $3 billion to actually create cushions for unanticipated events. For instance, SARS was an unanticipated event. As well, the peso crisis was an unanticipated event.
The incompetence in this budget is manifest. We are very close to a recession. Certainly there is a recession in the U.S. The government has actually taken its GDP numbers and reduced its GDP numbers in the last three months by 25%. That brings them right down to the edge.
Again, if the hon. Minister of the Environment could actually read his own budget, he would realize that he was one of the ministers who was left out. The word “environment” is virtually not mentioned in this budget.
Here we have $16 billion going down the drain. We simply cannot carry on this way. Traditionally in prudent budgets, we do build in some cushions, but that government and those particular members do not seem to understand prudence. They do not seem to understand that we cannot spend more than we get in. It is rather amusing to hear them traipse on about how they think this is a good thing--