Yes, I apologize, Mr. Speaker.
The Minister of Innovation joined us. One of the programs the government had funded was the car of tomorrow program. Interestingly, the previous government had put in a few bucks as well, but there was now a $20-million investment taking place into that program.
I asked the obvious question: What is it that the people of Canada, the ratepayers, the citizens are getting in return for $20 million of investment? He proceeded to give an answer. I asked what the measurables were. It was an answer that did not give me measurables. I asked how many jobs were being created. Three to five, I believe, was his answer.
The report actually said that three to five jobs were indirectly created, meaning that we were investing $20 million as a government in a program that created zero jobs. That is the problem of the political class within government, the culture that exists, and we see it over and over again in the budget this year.
The Auditor General said it more succinctly:
In the current culture, the two perspectives are out of balance, with the political perspective being dominant. This is largely because of instant digital communication, which means that politicians are more concerned with message and image management.
When I came to Ottawa to represent the people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, I really hoped that the most important thing would always be the people we serve. However, we see in announcement after announcement that it is not about the people we serve, or there would be measurables put in place. It is actually about looking good in front of the public.
That will not do for our citizens. It will not do for the taxpayers we represent. Again, last week we saw a $4.5-billion investment into Kinder Morgan when the private sector was walking away. I will call it an investment, although I am not sure it is one. The Liberals say they are trying to de-risk the project. They are not de-risking the project; they are de-risking the owners and investors of Kinder Morgan and then taking that risk and putting it on the taxpayers of Canada.
This is the type of spending we are seeing. There are no measurables in place. I wonder whether the $7-billion fund that is being staked out by the treasury, the fund we do not know where it is being spent, is where the $4.5 billion for Kinder Morgan is coming from.
It did not matter whether I was at the municipal level of government or in the private sector, in finance; one thing was always consistent: There need to be measurables put in place when the government is investing dollars. As I look through the budget, it talks about spending, spending, spending, but it fails to talk about how it is actually going to influence the lives of Canadians, the measurables that are being put into effect to show us that the dollars are actually well spent.
It may come at some point during the year, and if it does, I will be the first to congratulate the Liberals, but I have a feeling, based on the last two and a half years and perhaps even longer, considering it is not just the current government, that it will not happen. I ask the government to start putting measurables in place for the dollars it is spending so the taxpayers and citizens of Canada know that the dollars being spent on their behalf, taxpayers' dollars, not government dollars, are spent correctly.