Madam Speaker, since most of the policies of the Conservatives are based on conservative urban legend, it is easy to understand how they can come up with billions for prisons for unreported crime.
The member may remember the press conference with the Minister of Public Safety. He said that there were actually lots of criminals out there. But when asked to prove what he had just said, he said he could not because so many of the crimes were unreported. When asked how he would know the crimes were committed if they were unreported, he said that there must be lots of studies on this. Then he turned beet red and left the press conference. End of story.
It is part of Conservative branding, but their branding is being done with public money. Canada does not need billions of dollars' worth of new prisons. We had a good prison farm program where people could get back to work, learn the value of a day's work, and apply it as part of their rehabilitation.
The Conservatives do not believe in rehabilitation. They want to position themselves as being opposed to rehabilitation, which brings us back to a similar situation in the United States. There is a high rate of recidivism in the United States, because people feel they should go all the way if they are facing stiff time. The Conservatives are bringing us to that.
To stick with one of the themes of our interventions this morning, Canada had a balanced approach. Yes, real time for real crime. Yes, severe mistakes need to be punished. If we want to get people back into society, we have to invest to make sure they do not go back to prison.
The only policy left for the Conservatives is to build prisons for people who commit imaginary crimes for ideological purposes. It is insulting to see the government spending billions of dollars on prisons, almost $10 billion, when we look at how little they are spending on real things. We see seniors having to pay extra for home heating oil in northern Ontario, and being given $1.50 extra on their guaranteed income supplement. It is insulting to see billions of dollars going toward prisons and more than $10 billion for fighter aircraft that were bought without even a public tender process that might have allowed us to get the best bang for our buck.
That is the Conservatives. It is sheer hypocrisy. They talk a good game on public administration. But then they scrap the census to make sure they do not have the information to administer social and other programs correctly. They are always tipping their hand.
For ideological reasons, the Conservatives are poisoning the possibility of good public administration. They simply do not believe in government. They do not believe in applying social and other programs for the public good. They would rather destroy the source of information and have press conferences where they evoke imaginary unreported crime to justify a decision that had already been made, a decision that was totally unjustifiable.