Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence.
I stand today to voice my disappointment with this budget, but in today's speech I first want to turn my thoughts to the words of the right hon. Prime Minister when he was leader of the opposition. It was 2005 and a Liberal budget had just delivered a surplus; yes, that is right, a surplus. Many in the House have probably forgotten exactly what this word means because we now have to watch a government that has absolutely no clue how to balance spending and revenues.
In his response, the Prime Minister, the then leader of the opposition, stated:
I got into partisan federal politics originally because I wanted to see something done about the federal deficit.
After the last few budgets delivered by the current government and the Prime Minister we now know what he wanted to do about the deficit. He wanted to grow it to record breaking levels. The Prime Minister also seemed to have concerns about over-spending when he was on this side of the House. Once again, I quote:
We are also concerned about the rate at which the government plans to increase spending, that is 7% for the next few years. We have past experience with the results of unplanned spending, when this government spends without any specific plan, without the knowledge of Parliament, and without the slightest respect for the most basic accounting practices.
It seems as though those concerns have disappeared now. The government is not even focusing on how to bring this deficit to a balanced budget.
Let us examine the record of the government since taking office. Since 2006, government spending has risen by $58 billion, that is, by over 25%. In fact, with the exception of next year, this is going to grow until the year 2015. In a time of supposed fiscal restraint and in consideration of the past comments by the Prime Minister, this is hypocrisy at its finest. This is a government that is completely out of control, and what is worse, it has absolutely no plan as to how to emerge from these deficits.
Now before I am asked a question about whether stimulus spending is beneficial, I want to make a crucial distinction. The government was spending way above its means long before it could use the excuse of stimulus spending.
Even the way the government handled the so-called economic action plan has been a disaster. Communities were given little to no information on guidelines and criteria. Deadlines were set within weeks of announcing the program. Billions of dollars were stuck in Ottawa, with projects hanging in the balance because of delays. Building seasons were lost because of projects not receiving funding before the winter.
This leads me to my next point. The government has spoken about a plan to return Canada to balanced budgets by 2015, yet the government's projections for growth are overly optimistic according to many economists across this country, and the government is without a plan to create economic opportunity.
The government's plans for job creation rely on $19 billion from the so-called action plan, even though 92% of that money has already been committed. To clarify, that means there is no new money to create jobs.
Then we have the government trumping its work-sharing adjustment program, which provides income support to workers eligible for employment insurance when business is slow for their employers.
So again, let me clarify: Instead of working on creating a good economic climate or acting to improve the prospects of employers across the country, the government thinks that a temporary income supplement alone is the answer. Once again, the government is completely out of touch with the gravity of the situation. The facts are that 1.6 million Canadians are out of work, and 330,000 of them have lost their job in the past year.
I recently had a constituent approach me about the situation at Abbey Window Coverings, which is closing its Surrey manufacturing plant and recently handed out layoff notices to 140 employees. The constituent was particularly upset by the fact it was a local operation bought out by an American company just two years ago, only now to have those jobs shipped out of the country, likely to Mexico.
The fact is that the government has no plan for job creation and no understanding of how to get people back to work, and it offers only temporary measures for a limited number of workers facing layoffs and is recycling stimulus announcements with little new money.
The government has come up with a laissez-faire approach to controlling our economy and is relying on razor thin projections to pull our country back into a strong economic position.
I am sorry, but to the constituents I encounter in my riding who have lost their jobs, and to the families across the nation who are worried about where their next paycheque is coming from, this approach is completely unacceptable. It shows a complete lack of empathy, and once again proves that the government has no clue about how to manage the economy.
My party will not support the budget, but it will not bring the government down on this budget, because that would not be in the best interests of Canadians. We learned a lesson in the fall. We understand the huge financial and other costs involved in an unnecessary election. Unlike the government, which examines every decision within the framework of political gain, we do not.
It is time for this House to generate a plan to create jobs, because job creation, at the end of the day, is the focal point of any economic recovery. I urge the government to bring in an economic recovery plan that would create jobs, instead of it playing politics.