Mr. Speaker, that is a concern. It led off question period today as ostensibly the number one concern of Canadians. Thousands of Canadians have been losing their jobs in the manufacturing sector.
Since the present government came in, much to the shock of Conservatives across the country who have been calling their own members to task, it has been the largest spending government in history. It has spent so much that it has pushed the government very close to a deficit. The previous government had a $3 million contingency fund and always made sure that when things came up, like SARS and the various emergencies that always come up such as this, there was room to move. However, it seems that the present government does not even have the will to move.
The Prime Minister basically said today, to paraphrase him, that these things happen. That is not a very good answer to those families that cannot feed their children and cannot pay their rent, and the thousands of people who are unemployed. To hear that there is not even an attempt to help them at this time is very sad.
We need to put in things like the increases we put in for research; for the program for green manufacturing that would have created all sorts of jobs for exporting; and for the manufacturing equipment to make companies more efficient so they use less oil and energy, which, of course, was visionary because that was our plan even before oil and gas prices went up. Had that plan been in place for modern, efficient, competitive and green factories, they would have been much more economical and less likely to close because they would have been using less energy.
As well, getting rid of the millennium student fund, some of the research funds that were so critical in their first term and even the cutbacks in literacy, which we fought and mostly got reinstated, affect productivity and the ability to keep companies open when we get under pressure like this.