Mr. Speaker, I really miss my good friend, Rahim Jaffer, in this House.
We are into the second series of amendments on Bill C-10. Bill C-10 is a 528 page document.
There are parts of this bill that we are not comfortable with. As my colleague, the member for Scarborough—Rouge River, clearly pointed out, if we try to amend or change the bill, that will trigger an election.
My constituents keep telling me that these are difficult and trying times but what do I tell John MacDonald, the unemployed auto worker? Do I tell him that we do not care that he is unemployed, that we do not care that he cannot pay his mortgage, that we want to go to an election? We know how principled people are, and I am going to get into that as well. The member for Outremont talked about principles. This is the arena where we sometimes have the opportunity to talk about those principles, so let us put them on the table.
Part of these amendments have to do with the Navigable Waters Protection Act. The last thing I want to do is to go to Rice Lake and say that we cannot do this and we cannot do that. I do not want my constituents to be prevented from canoeing in certain areas that they use for recreational purposes. It is a difficult situation. However, as my colleague from Scarborough—Rouge River said, maybe improvements are being made to the marina, or a bridge or other infrastructure related to the area and we do not want that to be impeded.
Earlier on the member for Outremont talked about the Liberals having no principles. In order to appreciate where we are today we have to go back in history, because he is saying that we have no principles because we will not defeat the government on the budget. This Liberal team today is putting Canadians first and not our vested interests. That is why we are putting some water in our wine. There are areas in the budget that we do not agree with. There are flaws, if I may describe them as such.
I want to give the member for Edmonton—Strathcona a history lesson, because she is newly elected. I want to give the member for Outremont a history lesson as well. If we try to make amendments, it has been clearly spelled out that this will be a confidence vote and it will trigger an election which Canadians do not want, and more important, cannot afford.
What Canadians have told us repeatedly, what my constituents have told me repeatedly, and we are here to speak on behalf of our constituents, is they want us to do what we can to stimulate the economy, to bring back those jobs that have been lost.
In my province of Ontario hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost. The auto industry is hurting badly. The city of Toronto cannot repair its roads. It is having to impose levies and increase taxes continuously.
Seniors in my riding are hurting because they live on fixed incomes. They are not income generators. When we impose on their pensions by $10 a month, that is a lot for a senior. When students want to go on to college and university but they cannot afford it because tuitions have gone up, that impedes Canada's future.
The member for Outremont talks about principles, but let me remind him and the member for Edmonton—Strathcona of budget 2005. Members of the New Democratic Party, the principled party supposedly, came to us when we were in government. It was a good budget. We covered every area, but they said they wanted amendments to it in order to support the budget. They wanted more money for housing, to which we agreed. They wanted more money for urban transit, to which we agreed. They wanted more money for the environment, to which we agreed. They wanted more money for post-secondary education, to which we agreed.
It was a historic moment for the old democratic party; after all, it has been called the New Democratic Party for the past 60 years. Someone might ask why I am picking on the New Democratic Party and not the Conservative Party. We have the Conservative government today thanks to the NDP members. I hope the member for Edmonton—Strathcona and the member for Outremont are listening. Members of their party were in cahoots with the Conservative Party and they defeated the Liberal government prematurely and all those programs went down the drain.
Let us fast forward to today. There is x amount of money on the table, money that we agree with, money that was discussed by my colleagues earlier, money that needs to get out there as soon as possible. Imagine if we were to stand here as the Liberal Party and defeat the government. We would be back to square one. We would be into an election. We might get the same result, or a minority Liberal government. It would take three months to do it at a cost of over half a billion dollars. Meanwhile the John MacDonalds of the world would still be unemployed. Who is principled here, I ask the NDP?
John MacDonald is sitting there unemployed, worried about how he is going to put food on the table and there are a bunch of politicians who cannot get their act together. Well, we Liberals have our act together and we are saying that for the good of the country, for the good of Canadians, we will put some water in our wine. The day will come to address some of the draconian initiatives that have been put in the budget and which really do not make sense. There is no need for those types of initiatives in this budget. I can hear President Obama say that we are going to address the economy, but there is a caveat here and a caveat there.
I am really puzzled with the NDP's position. The member for Outremont talks about principles. The member for Outremont used to be minister of the environment in the Quebec National Assembly. He made a comment that he was in favour of selling Canadian fresh water. If he is here, he can stand after I finish my speech and deny that. Who is more responsible and more principled here?
The first conference I had the honour and privilege of attending was in New York. I attended with the then environment minister, Sergio Marchi. It was at the UN and was on sustainable development. We all know what sustainable development means, but I was very impressed. The minister hosted a reception and there were representatives from all over the world. They put Canada right at the top. I felt so proud to be a Canadian and representing Canada. They told me that Canada had it right, that Canada was on the right track.
Environmental issues are not something for which we can flip a switch and they are solved. It is an ongoing process. Things that did not happen 20 years ago are happening today. Technologies that did not exist then exist now. Yes, it is more costly. Yes, we have to make changes to legislation, et cetera.
In closing, I wish that members of the NDP would finally get their act together, be responsible and do the right thing. Let Canada move forward positively.