Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. members opposite are all fussed about an “unnecessary election”, but this time last year we were in the middle of an unnecessary election. It was interesting to go back to the quotes of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance during that unnecessary election and find out what they were thinking at the time, or at least telling Canadians about the deficit.
The Prime Minister, on CTV Question Period, on October 12, said:
We're not running a deficit. We have planned a realistic scenario. We've got conservative budget estimates.
That is probably true; we do have Conservative budget estimates.
We've got a modest platform that doesn't even fill the existing fiscal room....
Before the Business News Network, he said:
I know economists will say that we can run a small deficit, but the problem is once you cross that line, as we see in the United States, nothing stops deficits from getting larger and larger and spiralling out of control....
Come on, I do not think so. Some economists will say it is probably true. It is more true than possibly what a politician running an election wants to tell the Canadian public. The finance minister, who should know the numbers better than most, on October 9, just a year ago, said:
We will not run a deficit.
On September 16, he said:
We're running a balanced budget, we're running a surplus, we're paying down debt, so our government finances are solid.
Even during that fiscal year, the finance minister and the Prime Minister were being a touch economical with the truth, because this fiscal year is not the first year that this government has run a deficit. It was the last fiscal year. It is the fiscal year during the election, that unnecessary election that we were told we did not need.
Deficits do not just spring out of nowhere; we actually have to work at it. We have to really work at mismanagement in order to take a $13 billion surplus that we inherited from the previous government and run it into a $60 billion deficit over a period of four budgets. The Conservatives started out with revenues, in really their first year of administration, of $236 billion. The revenues then went up to $242 billion and that is where they peaked. They went down to $233 billion, and then down to $223 billion, roughly where they were five budgets ago.
That is fine. We are all in favour of reduced taxes. If I listen to the members on the opposite side, they can hardly speak a sentence without using the phrase, “reducing taxes”, et cetera. I am all in favour of that. We all like to reduce taxes, but there is another side to that equation, which is that the Conservatives are spending and spending. They started out in, effectively, their first fiscal year with $222 billion worth of spending, and over those years they ran it up to $272 billion worth of spending. That is $222 billion to $272 billion, $50 billion worth of increased spending. Meanwhile they destroyed or flatlined their revenues for a variety of reasons, largely having to do with the ideological predisposition to cut taxes at every corner.
Essentially, the Conservatives made a $25 billion paydown on the debt, and we will even give them the $13 billion from the previous Liberal government, so we will say that is north of $35 billion, $38 billion worth of paydown on the debt. That is all good stuff. We like that. In the last two years, they have run up the deficit by $60 billion. So in that four- or five-year budget cycle, that period of time, they have essentially run the government into a deficit position.
This is not even within the Mulroney era of deficits. The last time we had a Conservative administration it was $42 billion. These guys have exceeded Mr. Mulroney and now it is $56 billion.
I was amused at the fantasyland of going from September or October of last year, where they said they were not running a deficit, that the nation's finances were under control and they would not do the dumb things that were being done in the United States, to the fairy tale in November called “the fiscal update”. The fiscal update showed a small surplus of $1 billion.
They then induced upon themselves a political crisis and suddenly they got a little more realistic. Between the end of November and the beginning of February, we went from a small surplus to a $34 billion deficit. Then we went from January and February to May of this year and we were up to a deficit of $50 billion. As of last month, we were at a deficit of $56 billion.
Lord knows what next month will bring as far as a fiscal update is concerned. Perhaps we will be getting more fanciful statements from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance saying that the nation's finances are under control, that it is a conservative budget. It certainly is that. It is a Conservative budget. It is a Conservative example of gross mismanagement of the nation's finances, and members wonder why the Liberal Party would withdraw confidence in the government.
The Prime Minister is given enormous powers in our system of government. He gets to control the executive of the government by appointing the cabinet. He gets to influence the judicial branch of government by appointing the justices who sit on the Supreme Court and all the ones below that. He gets to influence the legislative branch of government by appointing senators, and he of course has shown some great enthusiasm for appointing senators lately.
There is enormous power concentrated in one person and in one office, and the only thing that this system requires of the Prime Minister is that he maintain the confidence of the House, and he has not. He does not maintain the confidence of the House.
When we were allowing him to govern, he spent an inordinate amount of taxpayers' money ridiculing the leaders of our party, and I imagine those expenditure go on. He spends an inordinate amount of time and money destroying the nation's finances. We got to the point where enough was enough and the confidence of the Liberal Party has been withdrawn from the government.
One would hope that the government would learn its lessons but I have no great anticipation that it will do so. It appears to be the same gang that ran the Mulroney show, which ran deficit after deficit.
In four budget cycles, five if we want to count the tail end of the Liberal administration, we have gone from revenues of $222 billion to revenues of $223 billion, which is wonderful. They have flatlined it. Meanwhile, the population has grown over that period of time by a million people and expenditures have run from about $209 billion to $272 billion, an increase of $63 billion.
Mr. Speaker, I do not know how you run your household, but I imagine that everybody sitting in this room has to run their households within their fiscal ability, and if they do not have an increase in their revenues, they cannot go crazy on their spending. The government has gone crazy on its expenditures and we will pay and we will pay and we will pay.
In today's news, there was an item about an Australian bank raising its interest rates. If one does it, they are all going to do it and the low-interest environment that the Bank of Canada has created here will go. If it goes, then all bets are off, because in terms of what we see here now, we ain't seen nothing yet.