Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the hon. gentleman has referred to that period of time when I had the honour of serving this country as minister of finance.
At that time the Government of Canada, because of 10 years of hard work by the Liberal government, had eliminated the deficit. Prior to that the deficit had existed in this country. The red ink had been flowing for 27 consecutive years. We made the decisions that were necessary to get rid of the deficit. We balanced the books. We ushered in an era of 10 consecutive surplus budgets.
We reduced the corporate tax rates. When we started out they were at 28%. They were globally uncompetitive. We took those rates down on the track that we had established to about 19%. The government added one more percent to take it down to 18%.
All of that was done when the country was running robust surpluses. When we left office in 2006, we left our successors with a $13 billion annual surplus and fiscal flexibility going forward five years of $100 billion. Transfers to the provinces had been raised to an all-time record high, including $41 billion for health care, a new transfer for municipalities and a better deal on equalization, the best deal the provinces had ever had.
The difference now is the Conservatives have put us into $56 billion of debt and their corporate tax cuts are unaffordable.