Mr. Speaker, I would appreciate the indulgence of all members, because I have a touch of the flu. I may need a few breaks.
I am pleased to join the debate on the motion before us today. Considering the commotion it is causing in the House, we seem to have touched a sensitive spot that needs to be explored. I am pleased to have the opportunity to do so. It can be hard to have to speak following my colleague from Timmins—James Bay, who is always so eloquent and who was able to present various examples of abuse of power by the other two parties, but I will do my best. He already gave all the best quotations, but it would be worth hearing them in both languages. This is an important moment for my colleagues from Quebec.
Even though I have the opportunity to rise in the House to discuss the motion before us, I am disappointed because the motion speaks to something so obvious and so logical that I do not understand why we are even talking about it today.
When the Conservatives were in opposition, they complained about this type of abuse of public trust and public money. Still today they are trying to pass themselves off as great defenders of the use of public money. They ask Canadians to trust them with their money and to give them the responsibility to run the country. They say that they will not be like the Liberals, they will not betray Canadians and they will use the money wisely. If the Conservative Party had truly adhered to that principle, we would not be here today talking about this and instead might be discussing things that Canadians are interested in and concerned about.
My colleague was talking about the cuts to veterans' services. CFB Valcartier is in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. That base sent an incredible number of soldiers to the front lines in Afghanistan. I have had the opportunity to welcome a number of them home since being elected. Every time, it is an unsettling and difficult experience for me. I am 28 and I see people younger than I am returning from Afghanistan, where they experienced things I cannot even begin to imagine. They need help from our government, but our government tells them that it has to balance the budget by 2015, in time for the election. The government tells them that they will have to wait a while because it does not have a social contract with them. That is a matter for another speech. It is terrible to say such a thing. It is even worse to try to use such a defence to create a legal precedent.
I am straying somewhat from what we are debating, but I am using this example to illustrate the Conservatives' bad faith towards those truly in need. There have been more than 10 cases of suicide among soldiers who needed help. According to the DND ombudsman's most recent report, we need 15% to 20% more mental health care professionals.
Just recently, we heard that our francophone soldiers in Afghanistan had to obtain psychological services from the U.S. forces. DND did not even have the decency to provide them with services in their official language. We are told that it is not possible to deploy psychologists and other professionals. That shows a poor understanding of national defence. That is the argument that I heard and I could not believe it.
The U.S. can deploy psychologists and provide essential services to their troops. DND says that there was a problem, that it was not an ideal solution and that there might be a cultural or language shock, but that it would eventually resolve this situation when it has the time to consider it.
Such terrible things are being said. Then the government tells us that it supports our troops, but that we all have to tighten our belts. It says that everyone has funding problems and that everyone has to make sacrifices. Everyone has to tighten their belts, except for the Prime Minister's cronies. That is another class of Canadians, the pampered elite. Personally, I do not get to pay the equivalent of economy class for flights worth $11,000. That never happens. I cannot afford that kind of luxury even with all the Aeroplan points I collect because I travel a lot.
It is a whole different story for people who raise over $3 million for the Prime Minister's election campaigns. Those people can travel on the Challenger. They are spoiled and can go wherever they want at very affordable prices. I should spend more time talking to the Prime Minister so that maybe I too can enjoy these privileges. I would like to experience that luxury sometime. I find the whole thing mind-boggling. There are no other words to describe how I feel about this situation.
I am going to follow my colleague's example and give some quotations. I find them delightful. Here is one that we have not heard yet today. I will start with the Prime Minister. At the time, he was an entrepreneur. He has worked hard in his life, and he understands the issues facing the middle class, people who do not have very much money. At the time, he and his wife owned a small business. He said:
My wife, Laureen, and I ran our own small businesses. We had to pay our own health care premiums. We had to purchase our own supplemental health care coverage, like most people in the country. We cannot afford to fly to clinics in the United States to get health care when things go wrong and we certainly cannot afford to get on Challenger jets to do it.
He said that on October 1, 2005. Much has changed since then. Apparently, the Prime Minister can now afford to travel all over the country for various reasons. If I am not mistaken, he travels to many different places, not only in Canada but also abroad. That is a problem. In the quote that I just read, the Prime Minister was trying to show Canadians that he truly understands the problems of the middle class and that he is there to listen to them and to ensure that their money is spent wisely. However, now that the Conservatives have a majority, it is too late to go back. We are stuck with them until the next election. We are stuck with people who regularly betray our trust.
I feel shortchanged, and so do the voters in my riding. People voted for the Conservatives because they hoped to see something new. The Conservatives played the game right, and many people put their trust in them. I can understand that. Unfortunately, people very quickly became disillusioned.
It is rare to see people looking forward to another election. People are realizing that a lot of money is being spent and a lot of time and energy is being wasted. People want their elected officials, their members of Parliament, to work for them, to represent them in the House and to be genuinely deserving of their trust. When I visit my riding now, people ask me when the next election will be so that they can toss this government out. The Conservatives have told them so many half-truths and have regularly shaken their confidence.
Voters do not want an election so they can bring back the Liberals. On the contrary, my constituents want something new. They have not heard any policies from the current third party. I am still waiting. I would like to be able to debate policy, since that is my job. I was sent here by taxpayers and Canadian citizens to debate issues, present ideas and try to put forward solutions to make Canada a better country. I am still waiting for proposals from the Liberals to give me a little something to debate. I imagine that we will see something in 2015, which is still a ways away.
Regardless, people are looking forward to a change and to getting the government they deserve: a New Democrat government that will defend their interests and ensure that the taxes it collects—because taxes will have to be collected, as they are now—will be used properly to provide services to the public. Furthermore, a New Democrat government will not use public funds to help Conservative friends and backers live in the lap of luxury. That is completely unacceptable. We saw that under the Liberals, and it is still going on under the Conservatives. In 2015 it will be time for a change, time to elect a New Democrat government.