Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague raises a great question, because one of the fundamental principles of economics is how we pay for something when we do not have the money. When there was a $13 billion surplus, the Conservatives blew through it as fast as they could and it was not spent on targeted tax investments.
Targeted tax investments play a really crucial role in stimulating necessary elements of the economy. The Conservatives blew it across the board. Big profitable corporations got lots of money, and a struggling forestry company got zero money because it did not make any profits. Now they have put us in a deficit position because we do not have the revenues anymore to sustain major national projects and they are adding to the deficit, which we are going to have to pay for through borrowing.
A great example is Canada's forestry industry, probably the second or third largest industry in this country. What did the government do with forestry? As soon as it was elected, it wanted a quick, desperate deal with the United States, so it signed on to the softwood agreement. Basically, whatever the Americans wrote on the paper, it signed on to, even though Canada had won every single legal challenge under international trade law.
We had won every single challenge, but the Conservatives came in, and with a stroke of a pen, crossed out all those rights. They not only crippled our industry but our access to markets and we have not recovered. Then, of course, we add the crisis in the United States and the fact that our major competitors in the U.S. in the forestry industry are subsidizing their own industry again and again, so our pulp and paper companies cannot compete.
Abitibi decided that it was not going to invest anymore, that it was going to walk away, and Danny Williams stood up to Abitibi and said, which is what should have happened in Ontario, that Abitibi had access to the forests and waters of Newfoundland as long as it was willing to invest. It was an agreement between the people of Newfoundland and Abitibi so that both would benefit.
Danny Williams took the position that if Abitibi was not going to make its share of the investment, then the resources of the people of Newfoundland should go back to the people of Newfoundland.
What did the government do? It sold out the people of Newfoundland and Canada. It said if a big company such as Abitibi wanted some cash, it would give it to it, and not give a tinker's damn for the rights of the people of Newfoundland.
Once again, we have a government that will do anything ideologically, without a long-term plan for the development of its economy. That is a very shameful way to run a country. We see it in its handling of the long form census and in its vicious attack on the privacy rights of veterans who speak up against it. We see it at every single level of the government.
In the United States, we see the poison waters of the Tea Party. What we are seeing here are the poison waters of the “me party”, an autocratic ruler who says it is his way or the highway and has never encountered a piece of reality that has stopped him from pursuing his agenda. He is rewriting the rules on everything. Who knows? When I am walking past the West Block, will I have to walk past construction helmets with “Hells Angels” on the back?
What is happening under the government's watch is outrageous. We need some accountability, transparency and a measure of prudence in the decision-making on how money is being spent.