As the Canadian Association of Retired Persons has said, and the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has repeated very eloquently: we are punishing future generations in an effort to spend tens of billions of dollars on an over cost fiasco. We are saying Canadian families deserve better than that.
That was the F-35s. I am now going to address the issue of prisons, which are the second part of what we are discussing today, because these are the government's two priorities.
We already know that there are going to be budget cuts, cuts to old age security. We have already seen how this government is attacking ordinary families across the country. Middle-class families and the poorest Canadians are being affected by cuts to services. In this budget, the government claims that the bills it is proposing, for example, the crime bill, will not cost any money.
First, I must point out that, right now, there is a low crime rate. The number of crimes being committed in Canada is decreasing. At the same time, the government made major cuts to programs to prevent and combat crime across the country. We know full well that every penny or dollar spent on a crime prevention program will save us six times that amount—6¢ or $6—down the road in other parts of the judicial system, whether it be costs related to police, criminal courts or, of course, prisons. However, this government has cut funding for programs to prevent and combat crime.
Then, instead of presenting an agenda that we could agree with, the government presented its prison agenda. In the budget, the government says that this will not cost anything. Frankly, we do not believe it. In the studies that were conducted, the government never divulged the real cost of its programs and bills. It never made any estimates or calculations. As a former financial administrator, I am wondering how anyone could go ahead with a bill without doing any calculations at all to determine how much it will cost.
In this case, the government has not done any calculations or made any estimates. It has no idea of the cost. Even in the budget, the government clearly stated that we do not need prisons. Provinces all over the country know full well that the hodgepodge bills that the government has been introducing one after another will cost taxpayers a lot of money. The provinces will have to build prisons, and we also know how much that will cost us.
The Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-économiques did a study that took all these factors into account. It is too bad that the government did not try to do the same. I know that the Parliamentary Budget Officer provided a good estimate of some aspects of the programs, but the only valid estimate, the only valid and complete calculation of the cost of these programs comes from the Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-économiques, which said:
Don Head, the Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada [he did his own calculations], later said that he estimated that federal prisoner numbers would increase by 3,400, requiring 2,700 new spaces, at a cost of $2 billion to support that increase.
The increase will result from the bills this government has introduced without calculating the costs associated with them. This will also have an impact on the provinces.
The study also states:
Although passed by the federal government, many of the bills introduced will have a significant impact on the provinces and their public finances. According to some estimates...for Bill C-25, the provinces will be forced to bear most of the cost of funding the new prison system. The PBO predicts that, for the Truth in Sentencing Act alone, which came into effect on February 22, 2012, provincial and territorial responsibility for funding the prison system will increase from 49% to 56% compared to the federal level. The provinces will have to bear 78% of the cost of building these new cells, that is, $12.655 billion. Quebec's share alone will be $2.6702 billion. There is nothing to indicate that future legislation will reverse this trend.
As for all of the construction-related calculations, not to mention the annual costs associated with these bills, the eminent researchers with the Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques, very reputable people, reported the following:
This socio-economic report has demonstrated the misleading nature of the Canadian government's statements regarding its crime-fighting policies. The changes made by Bill C-25 and Bill C-10 are very unlikely to have any impact on Canada's crime rate. As recent experience has shown, an approach that focuses more on offender reintegration and rehabilitation is more likely to effectively reduce the number of crimes committed. What this report adds to the file is that not only are the government's measures likely to be ineffective, but they will also be very costly for taxpayers.
This is a very important point.
They will require investments of at least $18.802 billion in prison infrastructure and engender ongoing costs of $1.616 billion for the federal government and $2.222 billion for the provinces. In addition to the federal investment, the changes will force Quebec to invest $3.057 billion in its own infrastructure. Bill C-25 will also cost the province an extra $407 million per year, and Bill C-10 will cost an extra $82 million per year. The government of Quebec allocated $379 million for prison operations in 2011-12. These additional annual costs will increase that budget by 129%.
Since the justice minister...promised that, “This is just the beginning of our efforts in this regard. We'll introduce other legislation as well," we feel it is important to point out other solutions. Focusing on reintegration and rehabilitation, which are proven solutions, would enable the government to spend much less on prisons, giving it more flexibility to invest in social policy.
This is extremely important. We are talking about two programs. One would probably cost about $40 billion and the other $19 billion, with additional annual costs of $1 billion to $2 billion.
We find all these priorities to be unbelievable. The government has no credibility since it is telling us that there are cuts coming for seniors and ordinary families, but then it is willing to spend whatever it takes on its pet projects.
We are saying that Canadian families deserve better.
I can honestly say that the NDP caucus, which is made up of dynamic and energetic individuals, is really the best in the world.
One would never imagine that we came from a convention over the weekend during which nobody slept and right into the budget deliberations. We have our new leader in place, the member for Outremont. Everybody in the NDP is still full of vim, vigour and energy. It is a wonderful thing to see. What a fantastic, amazing group. One can just imagine how much more energy we are going to have on October 20, 2015, when the first NDP government is formed.
It will not be a government that is going to spend $40 billion on a fighter jet whose costs have simply exploded. We are going to be tightly monitoring budgets so that kind of thing does not happen. If a project goes off the rails, we will cancel it. We are not going to spend $19 billion on prisons when the crime rate is actually going down. We think we should be investing in crime prevention programs. We think we should be investing in bringing the crime rate down even further. We should be investing in addiction programs.
We will be doing something for our police officers and firefighters as well. It is important to mention this. Five years ago the Conservatives voted for the NDP motion to establish a public safety officer compensation fund to ensure that when firefighters and police officers pass away in the line of duty, their families are taken care of. We have been waiting and firefighters and police officers have been waiting now for six years for the Conservative government to bring that in and the Conservatives have not done it. They have left those police officers and firefighters out in the cold. When an NDP government is elected, one of the first things we are going to bring in is a public safety officer compensation fund.
Ultimately, that is what we are all about in the NDP. We take care of Canadian families. We take care of Canadians. We are folks who work very hard. NDP MPs have the reputation of being very strong constituency advocates. We work very hard. We can see the energy people have been putting in, even over the course of the last hour, which is remarkable, given the last few weeks with everybody working double and triple shifts every day of the week.
We do that because our energy comes from Canadian families. We represent them because we truly believe that our place in the House of Commons is to stand up for those Canadian families, to represent them, to be their voice in the House of Commons.
The many emails and faxes, the postings we are getting on Facebook and the tweets that are coming in on Twitter all attest to the fact that the majority of Canadians out there are concerned about the direction this country is taking. They are concerned about the kind of country we are seeing increasingly, with a small minority of people who seem to have most of the pie and where families are increasingly left out in the cold. They are concerned about the fact that they see families struggling more and more to make ends meet as their wages go gradually, but on an ongoing basis, lower and lower. They are concerned about seeing families in their neighbourhoods lose a breadwinner because of plant closures. I prefaced my remarks this morning by talking about the dozens of plants and factories that have closed in this country only in the last few months. They are concerned about what they see as a meanspirited government, a government that does not respect democracy, a government that does not respect input, a government that says seniors and future seniors have to pay the price for its misguided priorities of prisons and fighter jets before future seniors and services that Canadian families depend on.
That is what is happening with more and more Canadian families. The majority of Canadian families are very concerned.
The Conservative government was elected on May 2 on the promise to maintain health care funding, on the promise to maintain retirement security, on the promise to maintain services for Canadian families.
This budget is a betrayal. It is a betrayal of those promises that were solemnly made by the Prime Minister. He looked Canadians right in the eye, shook their hands and said, “I will not touch health care transfers. I will not touch retirement security. I will not touch the services your family depends upon.” This is a betrayal--