Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the comments of my colleague from Nova Scotia, in particular his reference to ACOA's budget. What he stated is, of course, patently false.
He would know as a member of the previous government that it was under his administration in 2005 that 30% of the ACOA budget was actually cut. That has been the only time in recent history when the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has undergone cuts of that nature. In fact, those cuts are still being felt by the department that I now lead.
Our budget has remained constant. The Conservative government has kept ACOA fully funded. What has happened in fact is that some of the responsibilities that were once under the ACOA budget have been transferred to the Department of Transport. That may account for some of the things that he is referring to.
As far as actually removing money from the budget, he would have to admit, and one only has to look at the Treasury Board to know, that what he has said is completely false, untrue and inflammatory. In fact, what he is trying to do is cast aspersions over the strong fiscal record of the Conservative government.
I only have to point to the $38 billion deficit that was inherited by the Conservative government in 1984 upon coming into office, which was ratcheted and racked up under the government of Pierre Trudeau, one of the member's great heroes, I am sure.