Mr. Chair, I ask these questions of the minister for this reason. We are experiencing an economic growth issue in the country right now. It has been correlated directly to what we are experiencing in terms of the commodity shock. My concern is that the government has done nothing to try to ebb whatever is happening there in terms of doing investments directly to the places that need help the most, that have the economic slack, that have the ability to increase production, because quite frankly there is a great want for something to happen out there. This spend does not necessarily benefit them if it is done all the way across the country. A targeted investment is something that Canadians understand, and it is a good reason to go into debt, just as we did in the 2008-09 recession.
The difficulty I have with the plans that the government has put together is that quite frankly there is no plan. If there is a plan in order to stem what is happening in the economic shock, then why did the Liberals layer on regulations to make it more difficult to have businesses invest in those areas? Why do they give us such great uncertainty about whether or not private projects are going to go forward? Why do they talk about increasing taxes? Those things do not help growth.
What we have here today, and what we are looking at both in the main estimates and in the budget, is the realization that the government is just about spending Canadians' hard-earned tax dollars. That is all it is.
While he glowingly quotes the puff pieces he is reading from different places around the world, I can attest that there is only one finance minister in our great country who has ever received an international award for being the best finance minister. That is the late Jim Flaherty.
There is a quote I would like the minister to remember as he walks away from this place tonight. I thank him for his time and I thank him for some of his answers. Some of them were talking points, but that is okay; we all do that on occasion.
I would like him to remember this as well. The greatest concern right now is that there seems to be one plan and one plan only that involves spending a great deal of Canadian taxpayer money, and it is all put on the dice. The roll of the dice, as he eloquently pointed out at one point in time, is hoping that Canada's economy will grow. However, Maclean's wrote about this recently as well. Despite all these great articles being written around the world our own magazine says:
When all is said and done, [the Minister of Finance's] plan to put Canada deeper into debt to boost growth may not result in any additional growth, just a whole lot more debt.
That is exactly what Her Majesty's loyal opposition is concerned about. Therefore, at the very least, to conclude and finish with the question, does the minister have a plan B?