I hear some heckling from the Liberals and Conservatives. It is important to note that the Department of Finance did a long term study, the only time one has been done in Canada, on which governments managed money the best.
I think everyone in the House would agree that the people in the Department of Finance are the economic experts, supposedly. They did a long term study on the actual fiscal returns of NDP governments, Conservative governments and Liberal governments. They found that the NDP, while not perfect, managed money the best. Most of the time NDP governments actually finished their fiscal period returns, not the budget documents, not the promises and projections, but the actual fiscal period returns, and balanced its budgets or were in surplus.
What happened to the Conservatives? Two-thirds of the time the Conservatives were in deficit. We are not talking about the budget flim-flam, the budget documents and the promises. We are actually saying what happened on the bottom line. Two-thirds of the time Conservative governments were in deficit, which I think shows that they have some problems with fiscal management. In fact, Conservative fiscal management is kind of an oxymoron.
How did the Liberals do? It was the only party that was worse than the Conservatives. They were in deficit 86% of the time.
It is important to note that the federal Department of Finance, which I do not think anyone would say is a socialist hotbed, has looked at how the various parties manage money and it said that the NDP managed money the best.
Since I was getting some heckling from the Liberals and the Conservatives, I thought it was important for the people of Canada to know who manages money best.
It is true that the NDP would not be giving corporate handouts. It would not be providing $6 to corporate CEOs for every $1 in spending that touches vital and important issues like housing, health care, post-secondary education and getting the debt down, this mortgage on the future that we are imposing on younger Canadians.
We now have record levels of student debt, $26,000 on average. When these kids come out of post-secondary education they go into a labour market where the entry level wages are lower than ever before, which, unfortunately, has been accentuated by Conservative policies. I will come back to that in a moment. These people are also in a job market where most jobs that are created do not come with pensions or benefits.
We are looking at this apprehended incomes crisis where those kids, having finally succeeded in paying off their post-secondary debt, will retire, after a long working career, at a time when there is no company pension available to them. That is what has happened under the Conservatives and Liberals.
What has happened directly in terms of employment under the Conservatives? We saw that two weeks ago with the study that came out about the jobs we are losing in the manufacturing sector and the jobs that the Conservatives have managed to dig up for Canadians. They seem to be very proud. They talk about these jobs they have created but they do not mention what they actually pay. The jobs the Conservatives have lost paid over $21 an hour. They were good manufacturing jobs, family sustaining jobs.
We have lost hundreds and thousands of jobs in the softwood industry because of incredibly irresponsible policies, like the softwood sellout, and in a wide variety of other sectors, such as the auto sector and soon to be the shipbuilding sector because of another free trade deal that is a sellout. There is a complete lack of understanding of how the federal government can support key industries and put in place an industrial strategy to keep those industries, ensuring good jobs for Canadians.
We have lost the $21 an hour jobs. What have we gained? The same study indicated that the jobs the Conservatives have gained to offset that massive hemorrhaging of good manufacturing jobs are service industry jobs paying less than two-thirds of the salaries of the jobs lost.
Statistics Canada also tells us that most of the jobs created in today's economy are part time or temporary. We are not talking about family sustaining jobs anymore. A constituent in my riding told me that he guessed the Conservatives had created jobs because he had to take on three of them that are all part time jobs.
The Conservatives love to say that they have created lots of part time jobs but when a Canadian has lost a full time family sustaining job and has to take two or three jobs for $6 an hour for six hours a week, they are not better off. Their real income has catastrophically fallen. The Conservatives do not seem to understand that fundamental mathematics.
If people have a good job at $21 an hour and they lose it due to Conservative policies and then work at two or three jobs at $6 an hour, six hours a week, they have actually lost two-thirds of their income. They have not gained anything. The Conservatives continue to stand up in the House and pretend that there has been some kind of net gain. It is clearly not the case.
The extent of Bill C-50 is basically corporate handouts when support for health care, housing and post-secondary education were really called for.
What else is contained in the bill? The Conservatives, with Liberal compliance, have slipped in major changes to our Immigration Act as well. We call it the indentured servitude act because it would give the minister full powers to bring in temporary foreign workers, rather than ensuring the kind of family reunification that we used to have in Canada.
This has been put into place because we have seen, under the former Liberal government and the current Conservative government, chronic underfunding for the immigration system. The immigration system, like the health care system, has to be funded for it to work effectively, but we have seen cutbacks under the Conservatives and Liberals.
The result has been a waiting list that has ballooned to almost one million people. Seven hundred thousand of those came from the Liberal government which did not deal with the problem. Now because the Conservatives are not dealing with the problem, the list has grown even longer.
What is the solution? The solution is to invest in our immigration system. Instead, what we have is a reliance by the Conservative government on bringing in temporary foreign workers. Those folks are not subject to the health and safety regulations, nor the minimum wage laws that Canadians enjoy. This is to the advantage of a company, of course, because why pay a skilled worker from Canada a good, family sustaining wage when the company can bring in someone and pay below minimum wage?
No one objects to bringing in foreign workers when there is a skills shortage, but there is clear evidence that Canadians who could be in those positions are not being hired for those positions because the companies can bring in, with the compliance of the Conservative government, temporary foreign workers and pay them less. Then the companies send them home when their contract is finished. If the workers argue for a day off, or if they actually talk about forming a union, any of those reasons are good to send those temporary foreign workers home.
The Conservatives tucked this provision into a budget bill and the Liberals are saying that they are going to let this budget bill go through. As in Shakespeare's famous phrase, all sound and fury signifying nothing, the Liberals have stood up in the House of Commons and said that they are opposed to the immigration provisions. My goodness, they are opposed; they are opposed so much they are going to let the bill go through.