This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was prorogation.

Topics

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is always dangerous on this side of the House to speculate as to what members on the other side are thinking. In this case, I would simply say that I do not know if they were thinking. If they were, they certainly were not communicating with each other.

As has been pointed out on a number of occasions today, not only is the Liberal Party represented at that committee, but its deputy House leader, its whip, and its deputy whip are the primary personnel on it.

I totally agree with my colleague. I do not know why we are not discussing the economic situation, which we know is fragile. We are on a good journey, but we cannot take it for granted. I do not know how many questions we have had on the economy all session from the Liberal Party, but they have been few.

It does concern me that we are not really facing the issues that are important to Canadians, especially the Canadians I am hearing from in my riding of Kitchener--Conestoga.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member says that we have not talked about the economy, but the economy speaks for itself. The government had a surplus when it was elected in 2006, and destroyed it. Now we have a $50 billion plus deficit, the biggest in our history.

When the government has to borrow over $1 billion to finance the fake lake and the G8 and G20 summits, when it has to borrow money to give corporate tax cuts to companies that already have some of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, I have to wonder if this is proper fiscal management. I would say that it is not.

The member is suggesting that the economy is not an issue in this place. It does not have to be stated in this House each and every day, because it speaks for itself.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was going to thank my colleague for the question, but to be honest, I really did not hear a question there.

It really puzzles me that every time the Liberal Party talks about the economic situation in a negative way, those members forget to mention the $37 billion that this government paid down on our national debt. They also conveniently forget to come up with answers as to how that $39 million went missing. As far as we know, it is still in the pockets of Liberals across this country.

Those are economic questions that the people of Canada really care about. I have not heard any reasonable explanation. We have been calling for it for many months. I think it is time the member provided an answer to Canadians.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague's excellent speech.

I remember in the 2006 election campaign, when then Prime Minister Paul Martin was campaigning on the notion of removing the notwithstanding clause from the Constitution, which we thought was pure folly. The whole reason it is there is because Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed thought it was a good idea so that in case there was tyranny of the majority of provinces, a province would be able to opt out of any federal statute.

Again we see the notion of prorogation being discussed here today. Prorogation is a tool used by the prime minister. It has been used throughout the history of our constitutional monarchy to relieve the situation of tyranny of the majority, which we have in the opposition parties.

I just wonder if the member for Kitchener--Conestoga could elaborate as to why it would be such a foolish idea to mess with these tools.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, not only would it be foolish to mess with the tools, and I am going to read a couple of comments from our experts on that, but what would really be foolish would be to create a duplicate committee tasked with the very same thing the procedure and House affairs committee has been studying for three months. It has heard from 16 witnesses and has spent all that energy and time.

All parties are represented. We have been working very well. Our chair has been applauded many times today for his good work on that committee. The NDP member has--

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I will have to stop the member there. His time is expired. I am as disappointed as he is.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, “do not steal my money, and do not waste my money” was the instructive advice I was sent to Ottawa with when I was elected on June 28, 2004. That is probably the reason I was elected, because the previous government had stolen some money and had wasted lots of money. Seriously, I do not want to talk about stolen money, because Mr. Justice Gomery looked after that. We know that there was some money misappropriated. It is gone. Gomery has decided that, and that is over. I do not want to talk about that.

Let us talk about wasted money. My constituents said to me, “We will elect you, Guy, but you had better not steal our money or waste our money, because we do not want another $1 billion HRDC boondoggle”. They told me that if they ever caught me involved in anything like that, I would be de-elected really quick. They talked about a $2 billion gun registry, a total waste of money, and they said, “If you get into that kind of government, there is no way that you will ever be re-elected”.

That is what I was sent to Ottawa with. I get here, and what do we have here now? We have a motion that we have been discussing for I do not know how long, all day, hours and hours. Three hundred and eight members are seized with this here today. The opposition has suggested that we should talk about prorogation for six hours. We have been discussing it for three months. Where have those people been? It is incredible.

My constituents and their constituents said do not waste the money. They are wasting money. What is it about this that they do not understand?

I thought--

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, order. I know that members may be anxious about what might happen later on this evening, but I think the member for Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry would appreciate a little bit of quiet so that he can finish his remarks. I promise members that there will be an opportunity to ask questions or make comments when he is finished his speech.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I seriously wanted to try to understand why we should be discussing prorogation today. I thought about that. When I found out that this was the motion that was put before the House as the opposition day motion, I wondered why they would do that.

Then it occurred to me that if I was in opposition and was over there, and I was looking at a government that had created 300,000 jobs, had been recognized around the world as a leader in economics, and had the best economy in the world right now, if I were sitting over there looking at a government that had accomplished that, I would try to change the channel.

Out of desperation, what would we think of? I would have thought of something better than prorogation, I must admit. However, the Liberals do not want to talk about lower taxes. They want to raise taxes. They do not want to talk about the fact that now the average family of four pays $3,000 less in taxes than when we took over four years ago. There is no word about that.

If they had used the economy as something they wanted to discuss today, they would have had to give us accolades. They would have had to say that the government is darn effective. Therefore, they talked about prorogation.

What about crime? Why did the Liberals not come up with something on crime? Why did they not come up with something about the faint hope clause or something along those lines? That would have made some sense. However, to pick prorogation, nobody can believe that. Talk about the faint hope clause, that is really faint hope. I am not trying to be funny. This is serious.

Three hundred and eight members have been sent here to not steal money and to not waste money. The Liberals should be ashamed of themselves and the fact that we have talked about prorogation, because they have wasted a terrible amount of taxpayers' money on this day. This has been a total waste of the taxpayers' money.

You have to go home. You are heading home tonight—

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I just want to remind the member to address his comments through the chair and not directly to other members.

Everyone else, just hold off on the questions and comments until the member is done his speech.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry. I got carried away. The truth of the matter is that each and every one of the 308 members here, including the Liberals, are going to go back to their constituencies this evening or tomorrow. We are going to have to face our constituents. When I talk to the people who sent me here who said to me “do not steal my money and do not waste my money”, I am going to be able to say that I did not steal their money, and I did not waste it. I did not suggest that we talk about prorogation today, on June 17, just to have something to do so that I would not have to give credit to a good functioning government that created 300,000 jobs. We are in a recession, and the government has created 300,000 jobs.

When we, the 308 members, go back to our ridings, how are we going to explain that we spent all this time today, June 17, talking about prorogation? I do not know how we are going to explain that.

This motion and the three-month study on prorogation is a terrible waste of taxpayers' money. This debate was totally unnecessary. I am going to go back to my riding, and I am going to tell my constituents that I did not want to do this.

I was forced to do this by an opposition that is totally leaderless. If I were in the opposition and I had the leader they have, I would want to talk about prorogation. I would talk about anything other than leadership. This is a party bankrupt of ideas, totally bankrupt. The best they can come up with on the last day of this session is prorogation. That is the best topic they could come up with.

I am going to ask each and every one of the 308 members to go back to our ridings and say to every one of our constituents, “I promise that I will not waste your money and I will not steal it, and we will never discuss prorogation again in this House.”

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member said that he did not want to be funny but his opening statement was especially funny when he said “don't waste my time and don't waste my money”. I would like the member to comment on the time that was wasted when the government was prorogued. We probably wasted three or four months. We could have spent the time passing bills on crime. We could have spent time talking about the unemployed.

He talked about wasting money. I would like him to comment on the money that is being wasted in the riding of the industry minister on a boat that does not float, toilets that will never be used and a sidewalk that goes nowhere. What kind of waste is that? Is that not wasting money?

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it terribly unfortunate that the member wasted time when the House was not sitting. When I leave here tonight and go to my constituency tomorrow, I will not be wasting time.

When the House was prorogued, our ministers were travelling across this country and asking Canadians how we could get out of this recession. We must have gotten it right because 300,000 jobs were created in the last eight months. He may call creating 300,000 jobs for Canadians wasting time but I do not.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member reminds me of my old profession of being a TV weatherman. I have no doubt that he would stand in the House on a beautiful sunny day and take credit for that, too. I am sure he would and, by goodness, maybe he should.

I have a quick question for him. He emphatically said that they sent him here not to waste their money and time. Why did they shut down the House for so many months when so many people were against it?

I have a better one and it is very specific. When we do this, we can all start a wave in praise of all 308 members of Parliament. He does not want to waste the money. This is a simple question with a yes or no answer. Will you say yes to the Auditor General going into your office on Monday? Yes or no?

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I just reminded the government member and I will remind the opposition member not to address comments directly at colleagues but through the Chair.

The hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, thank you for that reminder. I want to remind you that when I started my comments, I said, “Do not steal my money and do not waste it”. I also said that the reason I was sent here is that the former government stole the money and the former government wasted the money, and I have examples. As a matter of fact, I gave proof. I gave the Gomery inquiry, commissioned by a former Liberal prime minister, which declared that $39 million were missing and that the Liberal Party was responsible for it.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 6:30 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the opposition motion.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Opposition Motion—ProrogationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 81(18), the division stands deferred until later this day.

It being 6:30 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, we will now proceed to main estimates.

MAIN ESTIMATES, 2010-11Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

moved:

That the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, less the amounts voted in interim supply, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, I thank members on this side of the House and on the other side. This is an important issue that we need to deal with regarding the appropriation of moneys so that the government can do the things it has committed to do.

As the House is aware, we are on track with our budget this year to see our deficit eliminated. We are moving toward a balanced budget in the year 2014 and, obviously, to carry out the plans we have in place right now, these appropriations have to come forward.

We are doing a number of things this year. We have announced that about a third of all government departments and agencies will undergo each year what is called a strategic review, and, in that review, we will look for savings of 5% from each of those departments and agencies. Our estimation is that savings will yield this year about $1.7 billion. We can say that with some confidence because last year, when we went through a similar exercise with departments and agencies, we actually wound up with savings of about $287 million. This year the group of departments and agencies that will go through this exercise are considerably larger and, therefore, we will see a larger return on that 5%.

We also want to continue with our economic action plan, but we have indicated that this being the second year of the plan, this would be the last year of the plan for the stimulus spending.

We said at the beginning of the global downturn that the stimulus spending that we would introduce would help our economy through this time of global downturn, and we knew we would take on a deficit to do that, but we were also very clear in saying that this would be temporary. Members will see the $19 billion that will go into the stimulus spending for this year, 2010-11, but that will end at the end of this fiscal year, which will help us because that will be $19 billion coming out of the deficit right there that will help us move toward a balanced budget.

We also announced, although it does not often get talked about, that we have gone into an operational freeze of all government operational spending, not just this year but for the next two years. That is three years in a row where there will not be an increase in government spending on the operational side. That also means that the salaries of members of Parliament on both sides of the House, of cabinet ministers and the salary of the Prime Minister will be frozen.

We are taking a number of steps to move us toward a balanced budget. We are also freezing all hospitality and travel at 2009 levels. So we are taking a number of steps to ensure we hit that target of a balanced budget.

We need the moneys in this appropriation, specifically in terms of dollars under these votes, one of approximately $1 billion, to address programs for vulnerable people; another of approximately $1 billion for a knowledge infrastructure program because we want to ensure that continues; and the $3 billion are to go on with issues related to our infrastructure that is still in need. We will continue infrastructure spending in a planned way over the time ahead, even though we plan to eliminate the $19 billion at the end of this year. The approximately $5.4 billion that we are asking for today in appropriations will be for the EI payments.

When we really look at it, about 45% of what we will be doing is related to these programs and spending on social programs, spending on programs for people.

One of the very distinct differences between our method of getting to a balanced budget as opposed to the former Liberal government, which achieved a balanced budget in the mid-nineties, its main reductions and cuts per se were in transfers to provinces and the virtually overnight slashing in health care spending by 30%. We are not doing that. We are looking at our own government spending. We think that is the responsible way to do this, which is why we are taking that particular approach.

About $259 billion is the actual expenditure that we are looking at in these appropriations. The full amount will be $261.2 billion but there will be a decrease of $2.2 billion in non-budgetary expenses that are related to certain loans and investments.

We want to see this achieved because we need this money to continue to run the affairs of government and take care of programs for people.

The finance committee of the Senate has also looked at these expenditures. Officials have reported there on that particular part of the program.

Some people might ask what the purpose is of bringing in restraint measures and having a balanced budget. We are still on a program to reduce our taxes right through to the year 2012 on the corporate side. We laid out a long term plan for that over two years ago.

We have sent a signal, not just to Canadians but to those around the world that we are reducing debt. We have the lowest debt to GDP ratio of all the developed nations. We are reducing deficit. We have the lowest deficit to GDP ratio of all developed nations. We have the lowest and most competitive tax on the business side, small, medium and large businesses, among the G8 countries. We sent the message out that we are holding the line on spending.

What is the result of that? The result is that around the world, where we know there are large pools of capital twitching, looking to where they should be investing, they are looking for places of confidence, places of fiscal predictability and places where the government has things under control.

We can talk about that here and we know that here but when we say it, it gets very little response, especially from across the way, even when it is good news. However, where it gives credibility is when we get the evaluations from agencies, organizations and individuals outside of the country.

The Economist Intelligence Unit says that we are an economic star among other countries. The OECD says that Canada's economy shines among all other countries. The International Monetary Fund says that Canada is best positioned coming out of this particular downturn.

We have seen close to 310,000 new jobs since last July. Even as I say this, some in the opposition are shaking their head, in contempt I guess because we are in such good shape. However, I want to add a couple of warnings. This is a fragile global recovery. Canada is doing well but it is fragile and we must continue to take care. That is why we are resisting so many of the requests for wild increases in spending that come from the opposition and why we are resisting the Liberals and the NDP when they say that we should move to a 45-day work year, that we should allow Canadians to work for 45 days and then get EI benefits for the rest of the year.

We have to resist that kind of thinking that got countries, like Greece, into the difficulties they are in today. We are proud of the record that we have established. We are attracting attention and we are seeing the investment from other countries come to Canada.

Last year's investment from China alone, foreign direct investment into Canada, was $8.8 billion. That is almost a 70% increase from the year before. The head of the largest investment bond fund in the world just recently said that he was advising his institutional investors and clients to look to Canada as the place of stability to invest.

It was only a few weeks ago that Russia announced that to shore up its own currency it would be buying Canadian dollars.

One after another, the endorsements from outside of our country continue to come in that we are on the right track, that Canadians can have some sense of security about that and that Canada is the place to be, which is what these appropriations are all about tonight.

MAIN ESTIMATES, 2010-11Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the estimates, but I would also like to speak to what the minister had to say during his speech.

First, the fact that we have the lowest debt to GDP ratio is thanks to the Liberal government and the hard work it did during the 1990s and 2000. I would like to remind the minister that the increases we are seeing now in the debt to GDP ratio is actually increasing under his watch.

I would also remind him that the best banking system in the world, the most secure, is due to the fact that the Liberal government of the day made sure we had the proper regulations. The minister well realizes and recognizes that it was his party that actually wanted to deregulate the banking system, which would have caused havoc, but thankfully the Liberal government at the time did not do so.

I would remind the minister that he indeed has the highest spending government in the record of our country. The highest deficit that this country has ever seen in a budget came from the Conservative government.

Let me get back to the estimates. The estimates is a process by which Parliament approves the overall numbers and the general purpose for the funds. The actual spending of that money is up to cabinet ministers who represent the Government of Canada and taxpayers. The government has shown time and time again that waste, mismanagement and overspending is its creed.

The worst example is the money spent by the government on the G8 and G20 summits. It is simply staggering. Both the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Budget Officer have said they are going to investigate the spending, both the large amount of money being spent and how it is being spent.

The costs for this three-day summit, 72 hours, are higher than the costs of security for the entire 2010 Vancouver Olympics, at which there were hundreds upon hundreds of athletes and weeks upon weeks of events, and still for a 72-hour meeting, the government is still spending more money.

It is almost six times the approximate $190 million spent for the two-day G8 summit in Alberta in 2002. This summer Canadians are watching the World Cup in South Africa. FIFA, the organizer of the World Cup, is spending roughly the same amount of money for a month-long tournament that the government is spending and it provides significantly tourism revenue to South Africa. The same amount of money for a month is being spent for 72 hours. It is almost more than 20 times the total reported cost for the April 2009 G20 summit in London, not that long ago, which is astounding, and much higher than the security costs at any previous summit.

The Gleneagles G8 summit in Scotland in 2005, for example, was reported to have spent $110 million on security, while the estimate for the 2008 G8 gathering in Japan was $381 million. That is a long way away from the $1 billion plus, the loonie boondoggle, as The Economist magazine calls it.

In particular, when looking at specific expenditures, it seems the Minister of Industry has led the charge in the Conservative cabinet. This minister and this government spent $.25 million building a toilet 20 kilometres away from the meeting site. He built a gazebo at a cost of over $100,000, more than an hour's drive away from the meetings.

He spent nearly $400,000 refurbishing a steamboat that world leaders will not see because it will not be ready until weeks after the leaders have left. It is not just a steamboat that will not be ready. Close to $7 million of G8 projects, and counting, are not even complete.

What about the spending in the city of Toronto, site of the G20 meeting? The $1.9 million fake lake has clearly outraged Canadians and with good reason. Lake Ontario is a mere 850 metres away and the government chose to spend money recreating Muskoka in downtown Toronto rather than any number of investments.

Another example, one which really gets my blood boiling, is the money that was spent on a fake wooden lighthouse. It is part of a tree stump and it is part of the G8-G20 spending. At the same time, the current government has announced plans to sell off or scrap lighthouses across Canada, close to 1,000 in all.

The Cape Spear Lighthouse is in my riding of St. John's South—Mount Pearl. Cape Spear is a symbol of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, a marker of the most easterly point in North America, an iconic welcoming beacon to North America. The people of St. John's South--Mount Pearl are clearly concerned that the government would threaten the Cape Spear Lighthouse. Instead of focusing on maintaining such important symbols of our country, the government has spent money building a fake version for world leaders some 40 kilometres away from the summit site.

I cannot go on without mentioning the massive inconvenience to the residents of Toronto because of summit-related disruptions. By moving the G20 into downtown Toronto, the government not only massively increased the cost to taxpayers of hosting these summits to the tune of $400 million, but also caused many businesses to have to close up shop. Bay Street has been disrupted. Productions in the theatre district have been cancelled. The Toronto Blue Jays had to leave town.

All of these disruptions will have a significant economic impact on businesses in Toronto and are added costs to the summit. Allow me to go on and elaborate on this because it is so detrimental to Toronto, not only from a life perspective but from a tourism perspective. We now learn that the government of the United States has put out a travel advisory to the city of Toronto because of the G8 and G20.

With all this money going out the door for questionable items the government's plan to tame the deficit seems to raise more questions than it does answers. To give an idea of the magnitude of the task at hand, the Conservatives have increased program spending from $175.2 billion to $237.8 billion in their first four budgets. That is a 26% increase. That is a lot of money. It is $62 billion. Imagine if they had spent it on things to help Canadians.

The government says it has a plan to fight the deficit it created. It can simply freeze departmental operating budgets and let public servants determine what services should be cut and reduced as inflation and population growth squeezes their bottom lines. Allow me to tell members about the Public Works and Government Services officials who came before the operations committee of which I am a member. They came before us and said the freeze will affect $8.7 million. That is a very small amount of the billions upon billions that Public Works and Government Services utilizes. When we look at the freeze, it is only a freeze on $8.7 million. It is not going to yield the kind of numbers that are required.

Now we have learned that there is a very complex process by which public servants can gain up to an additional $10,000 and get their suggestions reviewed by a complex process put forward by the public service to find savings. As I stated in the House, if the government needs some assistance in eliminating wasteful spending, it could just start with the fake lake. That will save it a lot of money and we can go on.

Conservatives have been spending a heck of a lot of money, for example, on management consultants. If they were to look at all the money they spent on the wasteful G8 and G20 projects, they would be well ahead. But, it is also important to highlight that the government continues to spend huge amounts of money on self-promotion and advertising. For example, in supplementary estimates A, the government has asked to spend an additional $30 million. This is in addition to the budget amount. This is another place government could save money and instead put it to good use for Canadians.

Allow me to give a run-up as to how much money the government has been spending in advertising. In 2004-05 the amount was $49.5 million. In 2005-06 it went down a little bit to $41 million. In 2006-07 it skyrocketed to $86.9 million and it continued to rise since then. Last year it spent $89 million. So let me go back and give those numbers again. In 2005-06, when the government came into power, it was $41.3 million. It has now gone up to $89 million.

All this at a time when Canadians have the highest debt on a per household basis according to the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada. The average debt load of Canadians is $41,740 each. That is the worst among the 20 advanced countries in the OECD--