And the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, as well.
The second less kind comment I received was, “Who are you to comment on the Conservative economic record?”, implying that we should not question what the Prime Minister's Office puts out as a spin to cover up Conservative failures. That person implied that somehow I had not worked in a real job.
I just want to say through you, Madam Speaker, to this Canadian, I started working at the age of 12. I worked as a manual labourer for many years, saved up my money to go back to university as an adult learner and became a financial administrator. I worked for a number of organizations, both nationally and in the province of British Columbia, as a financial administrator. I always balanced my budgets, paid down debt and maintained services. That is a particular talent of New Democrats.
As financial administrator and executive director for WIDHH, a social enterprise, I was fortunate, on behalf of that organization, to be a recipient of the Consumer Choice Award for Excellence in Business in 2003 and 2004. My longest affiliation, of course, has been with the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce. I am also a proud member of the Burnaby Board of Trade.
This NDP caucus, the largest in history elected to this Parliament, including the class of 2011, which is a brilliant and dynamic class, comes from a wide variety of backgrounds. We have business experience. We have labour experience. We have experience in a wide variety of occupations, running small businesses, as doctors, as lawyers, as teachers, as nurses, as people who have come from manual professions. There has never been so much diversity around occupations as we see in the current NDP caucus. We bring that multitude of experience, that raw depth of experience to the House of Commons.
The other point that I want to raise is the NDP's record on fiscal management. Members should know that the annual fiscal period returns published by the Ministry of Finance show which parties are best at balancing budgets. It is important to note that every year now for 20 years, as the fiscal period returns are presented, one party outshines the rest. Now, of course, the NDP governments that are part of those fiscal period returns are provincial governments. We have not yet governed at the federal level. We are fighting very hard to be governing as of October 20, 2015.
However, NDP provincial governments, compared with Conservative and Liberal provincial and federal governments, have had the best record at balancing budgets and paying down debt for every single one of those 20 years.
So, to the individual who asked who am I to question to the Conservatives and who is the NDP to question the Conservatives, it comes from having strong fiscal management experience on a personal level, always managing money and paying down debt without cutting services, because that is how Canadian families do it. They do not invest for thrills like F35 fighter jets and stick to it even when the budget goes from $9 billion, to $13 billion, to $15 billion, to $20 billion, to $25 billion, to $30 billion, to now somewhere between $30 billion and $40 billion.
With an NDP government in power, we would have tendered it in the first place and kept the close cost accounting in place so that boondoggle, that fiasco, would never have occurred. I will come back to that in a moment.
The government pushed through the crime bill to build more prisons in the country. I will come back to the study that evaluates the overall cost at $19 billion, at a time when the crime rate is falling. This agenda was put forward for political reasons. If we look at that package, we can say that the NDP does have the best record—