I thank my colleagues for that, particularly my friend from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. That was very kind of him.
The government did not say it was going to break all those commitments and did not make it clear what its real agenda was. For that reason then, yes, the government is on trial and that is what we are going to be using this budget debate for, to put the government on trial for broken promises. When we look at the F-35s and the prison agenda in terms of fiscal mismanagement and when we look at the facts as I am rolling them out now, we have only come to the first three key economic indicators but the government is also on trial for economic mismanagement. We are going to hold it to that.
Let us look at the job situation over the last few months, since the government has gutted the manufacturing sector. Look at the last quarter of 2011 and look at the first couple of months in 2012. That time frame is prior to the budget, which kills 40,000 jobs, roughly, if we believe the government's figures. I am a bit skeptical because austerity budgets or draconian budget cuts tend to have a multiplier effect, but let us give the government the benefit of the doubt and say it is killing 40,000 jobs with this budget. Prior to its killing 40,000 jobs, both in the public sector and from the multiplier effect in the private sector, 50,000 full-time jobs were lost in the last quarter of 2011. We saw that in October, November and December. We saw that in January and February as well.
All of us on the NDP side of the House are acutely aware of what that means. That means fathers or mothers are going to work and getting a pink slip, feeling a deep and sickening feeling in their stomachs that their jobs are no more, that the jobs they worked on for years or decades have disappeared, that the jobs they got so good at doing and the companies they devoted their lives to, by coming in on weekends and evenings and juggling family responsibilities, as we all do, and gave their heart and soul and sinew to, are no more. They get the sickening feeling that all of those years of dedication are no more.
Coupled with the sickening feeling of that sense of loss is the economic reality. Far too many of those who become unemployed do not even have access to employment insurance because of the changes that the government has made. The Canadian Labour Congress estimates that most unemployed workers do not have access to employment insurance. Some do, but even those who do are facing a tremendous financial challenge. They then have to drive home and tell their family. Maybe it is their parents who need the family's help to buy medication. Maybe it is their kids who want to enrol in a special program, or they want to go to summer camp, or they want to buy a computer, or they want to get involved in sports, all of which costs money. Then that family, because of that pink slip and because of that devastation, has to make tough decisions about who has to give up what and what they have to do if they want to keep a roof over their heads.
It is not about statistics. It is about the impact on each one of those families across the country, the 50,000 who went through that over the course of the fall, and the 40,000 who will be going through that because of this budget. It is the impact on the families that we are most concerned about. We say profoundly that Canadian families deserve better than a government that throws their breadwinners out of work. We say Canadian families should come first with the government.
That is the fourth indicator.
The government would say, “Well, okay. We did a lousy job this fall. We did a lousy job early in the year.” At least I think that is what the government members would probably say. I certainly hope they would come clean, be honest and say they did a lousy job.
However, the government has this statement which the finance minister sometimes rolls out, “We did a good job before. Remember? After the recession, we did a good job.” It throws out a figure which I am very skeptical about. The government has had a history of a certain amount of fake stuff. We recall the fake lake and the $1 billion it spent on the big conference in Muskoka. There were the fake new citizens at the fake citizenship ceremony. Those fake job figures are part of that trend.
If we go back to May 2008, we have to look at the job figures as we were going into a recession. May 2008, members will recall, is the time when the economy went into a downturn. It started right there. That has to be the reference point.
From May 2008 right through to the summer of 2011, which is our reference point, before the 50,000 jobs which the government lost over the course of the fall and the winter, and the 40,000 jobs that it announced that it is really cutting, if we are being realistic and straightforward with the public, before all that, there were 200,000 jobs created in this country from May 2008 right through to the fall of 2011. It is not the number that the government tries to use. It is not even close. The government's numbers are, quite frankly, bogus. One might say that at least there was some job creation going on.
Here is the problem, and this is something which the government has never acknowledged. Statistics Canada is aware of it. Perhaps it is because it has come clean on what is actually happening in the Canadian economy that it is taking a big hit in this budget. The science of studying what is really going on in the Canadian economy is something that Conservatives seem to fear, so Statistics Canada is taking a big hit.
Let us look at what Statistics Canada says. The labour force grew by about 480,000 over that same timeframe. We are talking about people who finish school and then get work. Parents, fathers and mothers, who finish raising their children can go back into the workforce. There are a wide variety of factors why the labour force, because of our population growth as well, grows considerably. Over that same period 480,000 job seekers hit the sidewalks and went into the labour market. How many of them found jobs? Two hundred thousand.
That is the problem. It is not the bogus numbers that the government puts out; it is the difference between the vapid spin and reality. The reality is there are more than one-quarter of a million Canadians who came onto the job market who are still looking for work, hitting the pavement, going door to door. They have that sickening feeling every day wondering how they are going to pay their bills, keep a roof over their head and provide for their family. Every single one of them has been abandoned by the Conservative government.
If we look at a net shortfall of one-quarter of a million jobs, add to that the 50,000 jobs lost over the course of the fall and early winter, and then the job loss budget, the end of prosperity budget, the end of growth budget that puts another 40,000 breadwinners out on the street, that is the real problem with the Conservative government's approach on the economy.
That is the fifth statistical indices I want to raise today as we put the Conservative government on trial for what has been its real economic performance, not the fake one, not the bogus one, but its real economic performance.
I will now turn to the quality of jobs. We have talked about manufacturing job losses and how the government in the last few months has done appallingly badly, but even since May 2008, it has not done well at all. What about the quality of those 200,000 net new jobs? Two hundred thousand net new jobs is the real figure. It is what the government has to go with. It is what Statistics Canada actually backs up. How many of them are part-time and how many are full-time? This is something else that is not part of the Prime Minister's talking points, but nonetheless, it is vitally important. Eighty per cent of those 200,000 net new jobs, and we needed nearly half a million, are part-time.
We are talking about part-time workers who earn less than full-time workers. The average wage for part-time workers, as members well know, is $16 an hour, which is not enough to keep a roof over one's head or pay for shoes for the kids. At $16 an hour, one is perilously close to the poverty line. Full-time jobs pay much more, an average of $25 an hour. When part-time workers are looking for full-time work and cannot find it, there is a fundamental problem in our economy.
There is another point I want to raise on the 200,000 net new jobs over the last three years, almost all of them part-time, and I will come to that in a moment, if not before question period then hopefully after. I want to talk about how Canadian families are faring under this budget.
I am sure my colleagues would like me to talk about the issue of wages. The member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing has just said that Canadians have a right to know and I certainly agree with her on that.
Wages are not keeping pace with inflation. Part-time workers saw their wages grow 1.4% over the past year. Full-time workers saw their wages grow almost at the rate of inflation. In both cases neither part-time nor full-time wages are keeping pace with the rate of inflation, but for part-time workers it is much lower. It is much worse and a much greater problem.
This is a fundamental issue which, as Canadians, we certainly have to wrestle with. When we see only 200,000 net new jobs since May 2008, when we see that the vast majority of those jobs are part-time, and when we see the wages for those part-time jobs are falling further and further behind at $16 an hour on average and far below the rate of inflation, we are setting up a permanent situation of insecurity for Canadian workers. It is undeniable. We are seeing with so many Canadian families a sense of insecurity because they do not feel the government is doing a good job.
Even though I have not completed the statistical analysis of where the government has failed on the economy, it is important to go over again what I mentioned regarding the economic failures of the government. In fairness, the government will say two things. It will use a bogus job number, not 200,000 which is what Statistics Canada says is the real number. The Conservatives chose another number. I do not know where they found it. Maybe it was written on the back of a napkin and it looked good. The number probably sounded as promising prior to May 2 that health care transfers would be maintained, that retirement security would not be touched, and that the services Canadian families depend on would be maintained. The Conservatives will say that the number is not 200,000, that it is another number.
The Conservatives' other argument to pretend in some way that they are managing the economy effectively is that Forbes magazine likes them. That magazine is owned by a billionaire. They listen to that and say it is a good thing.
On this side of the House we have a different way of looking at things. It is fine that a magazine likes them. However, we feel that the people we should be listening to are Canadian families. The people we should be listening to are Canadian seniors. The people we should be listening to are Canadians from coast to coast to coast who are struggling under record debt loads, who are seeing their wages degraded, who are living under profound economic uncertainty because of the actions of the government.
It is a government that chooses not to help them, not to provide additional services, not to provide the supports that Canadians need. It is a government that says when it comes to health care, in a few years Canadians will be on their own. It is not going to be funding health care the way it ought to.
The government says on retirement security that Canadians are on their own. It is going to force Canadians to work two more years rather than take the responsible Canadian approach for those seniors who have laboured all their lives and contributed to their families, their community, their region, their province, their country.
We say that because those seniors paid into those pension plans and made contributions to our country we need to take care of them. That is our approach. It is different. We listen to Canadian families. We listen to seniors. We want to make sure we are building the kind of Canada where everyone matters and where nobody is left behind.
I am going to be speaking after question period as well, but I would certainly appreciate getting a sense from you, Mr. Speaker, of when I have one minute to go.