House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was reform.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Kitchener—Waterloo (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 38% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act May 31st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, let me start by addressing the comments made by the previous speaker from the Reform Party.

Part of his comments were that municipal governments, local governments are closest to the people and they are best able to make choices in how we might run the country. The inference was to let them have more say in how federal government moneys are spent and let us try to do more to co-ordinate.

I have absolutely no problem with having that take place. I think co-ordination of effort by all parts of government is something that would be very cost effective and it would serve the people and all local governments very well, as well as the provinces.

Let me draw a little more on my municipal experience. I spent eight years with the regional municipality of Waterloo and the city of Waterloo. Somehow there was a better focus on debate. There was a better focus on trying to do what was best for the citizens of the community in a lot less partisan fashion that happens in this House.

Being in the House today and listening to some of the debate on Bill C-17, as well as having been through question period, the amount of sanctimony coming from the opposition as well as the non-official parties is bothersome.

I heard references that go back to the 1972 Liberal government. I am part of the class of 1993. In 1972 I was not involved in partisan politics. I know what happened in 1972 but some of the programs that government came out with in 1972 are really not applicable today.

Let me read something for members. I am going to quote very briefly from a presentation made to the Conference Board of Canada by the chief administrative officer of the city of Waterloo, Mr. Bob Byron, with whom I had the pleasure of working. I found him to be a new breed of civil servant, a new breed of manager. I can say that Gerry Thompson, who was the chief administrative officer at the region of Waterloo, is also of the same mould.

He talks about governments and how municipal governments are experiencing severe reductions in sources of revenue. He states: "To compensate Waterloo has significantly reduced its workforce and actively pursued lesser cost activities. However, these are short term measures and further effort is required to achieve long term permanent savings.

Traditionally local government has looked first at its expenditure requirements and then at where the revenue would come from to support the expenditures.

What needs to be done is to look at what revenues are available and then decide how expenditures can be controlled to fit the resources available.

I believe that simply raising taxes is counterproductive and serves only to create additional hardships on businesses and individuals faced with prospects of little or no growth in their revenue potential. Reduction in service or service level which tends to alienate the taxpayer is not a solution. The solution lies in productivity gain and lowering of costs".

Certainly from the municipal perspective in Ontario that is a very good and prudent approach.

One thing that the municipal government does not have to do in our system in the Waterloo region is to offset the cost of high unemployment. The municipal government in our jurisdiction does not pay for social assistance. The regional government does. It has a different approach. Because regional governments have to pay 20 per cent of the welfare costs, when their budgets

get tight they cut back on expenditures on hard services such as sewage, roads and what have you.

I mention this because at those two levels of government you have different mandates. The regional government has no option. It has to provide 20 per cent of the welfare costs. The municipal government does not have to do it so it can plan much better within the terms of its fiscal realities.

Debates at the local level tend to bring together the collective wisdom from different frames of reference in an non-partisan fashion on to the issue. We really try to accomplish what we believe is the best for the ratepayers of our municipalities.

I do not find the same level of co-operation in the House. It seems to me that the job of the governing party, of which I am a member, is to put forward programs and the job of the opposition is to oppose it. Whether it is consistent in its opposition really does not matter very much.

I can talk about some parts of the debate where arguments came from every different angle. We have had the Bloc say that the government should not be looking at social programs, it should not be looking at health care programs, let us keep the status quo because somehow it has served us well.

The Bloc even went further and said that we did not talk about the reform of social programs or the reform of the health care system prior to the election. We did. We talked about reforming health care and there were very good reasons for it. The reasons are the way our health care expenditures have been going. We cannot just keep throwing money at a very necessary service but one that needs to undergo fundamental reform.

If you can practise preventive health care you are going to save billions and billions of dollars in terms of providing the level of service to the Canadian public that they have come to expect.

Another nice thing about it is that by doing preventive health care we also have the opportunity of having a healthier public. One of the problems we have had in the health care system is that it has been sort of a crisis care, when you get sick you go to the doctor. If you look at the mortality rate over the last 100 years, the reality is that it was not the medical profession that cut it back so drastically. It was the civil engineer who was able to provide safe, wholesome water. It has been our ability to handle waste that has made the greatest impact on health care, as well as the medical officers of health. They have been the ones who have been working on health care in the preventive sense.

Now we are looking to see if something better can be done to make better use of the dollars we have. I think that is very important. We know social services have become very expensive and that is the reason we are having the social services review.

One thing I would stress when we examine the whole issue of social services is that the Canadian public wants a safety net to catch people at a time when they might be totally disabled and we expect to support them for the long term. Certainly if they become unemployed they want us to support them in a new emerging economy where training, retraining and education become very strong components and pillars of our whole economic system.

The expectations are in the long term that no longer can people work for one company for 25, 30, 35, 40 or 50 years. The chances are they are going to be moving on to a number of different jobs. As firms get smaller they are getting smarter. They are better at responding to economic conditions. Those are going to be the major employers and the creators of new jobs.

The budget recognizes this and deals with it when it says that 85 per cent of the new jobs are going to be created by small and medium sized businesses.

When I talk about small and medium sized businesses I speak for the federal riding of Waterloo which is really one of the leaders in the new economy that has emerged. It is exciting but it also takes a lot of work trying to keep up with the changes that are taking place and watching the new emerging technologies.

Sunday evening I spoke with a gentleman from Elmira from Brubacher Technologies whose family for generations has been involved in shoe repair and building shoes. Now his company is going to be getting into the high tech production of orthopaedic shoes. Why is it exciting? It is exciting because at the present time it might take his company 40 to 60 hours to make one shoe and now because of high tech he is going to be able to do it in 40 to 60 minutes. His business is a world leader in this area.

Many other companies are leaders in the high tech field. We recently had a software firm which sold for $100 million. It was developed by a number of university professors and it had a number of university students involved with it. That is not a bad sum of money when you think about it. However, the sad part is that the new owners are American.

The challenge for us is to somehow create a climate where those businesses which are on the verge of becoming big businesses will stay in this country.

I mentioned that I found the debate to be not very consistent on different levels. When I was looking through my Quorum today, as I am sure everybody else has, I came up with a story from the Vancouver Sun authored by Barbara Yaffe. She asks: ``Do we need more MPs? Let's look at the cost''. I know that the Reform Party is very strong in its opposition to us looking at the whole question of the boundaries.

I would like to step back a little bit to my municipal mode. It is interesting that about two weeks ago I was at the electoral boundaries commission meeting. Of course, I am the Liberal member of Parliament and my former colleague, Mayor Brian Turnbull, who is a staunch Conservative supporter, was there to support me in my quest. We do not want the wholesale rearrangement of boundaries in the region.

The other interesting thing is that the NDP candidate in the last election, Scott Piatkowsky, was also there making the same pitch. A motion from Waterloo city council was also moved speaking to the point that we do not like how the redistribution was proposed and we wanted to keep the boundaries intact. That motion was moved by the former Reform candidate who is now on the Waterloo city council. Following my presentation, my colleague from Kitchener made a similar presentation. The former member for Cambridge from the Conservative Party also came forward to make a presentation.

The reason I recount this is because it amazed me. I have been on the Hill for a time and we have partisan politics. Somehow we are not able to capture that sense of community where party lines are crossed to preserve the integrity of communities. That is essentially what we did when we were in Hamilton talking about the redistribution.

It would be very useful if we could bring that kind of spirit to the debates in this House. We probably would strengthen the country. Of course there is no question that the Bloc Quebecois is not interested in strengthening Canada, certainly not with Quebec in it. That is what they campaigned on and we all acknowledge it.

What is bothersome though is at a time when there is fiscal instability around the world and a lot of our economic performance depends on the confidence of the fiscal markets, it is unfortunate that debate is being ignited even more so by the leader of the Reform Party. I thought it was just the bailiwick of the Bloc Quebecois but I see the Reform Party is picking it up. That is too bad because at the beginning of this session in January the leader of the Reform Party would stand up and say he did not want the Prime Minister to break his promise not to discuss the Constitution, that he wanted us to get on with other business. It is unfortunate he has forgotten those statements.

I raise that because another area where the Reform Party has been less than helpful is with the fiscal markets. It is forever trying to say the road we are headed on is going to bankrupt this country. It has only been six months since the election. During that time we put our plan forward to the electorate. That plan was the famous red book. When I was at the committee on human rights and the disabled today, I was glad to see one of the Reform Party members quoting from it, which is good.

However we came through with a plan and we are essentially keeping our promise of doing what we said we were going to do if we got elected. I do not believe that Reform Party members would truly expect us to go counter to what we said we were going to do.

Let me touch on another point before closing. There is no question in my mind that government, certainly at the federal and provincial levels, has to get a lot more efficient. I have raised an issue, as most of my colleagues know, on waste and move management by the government. I think we can improve that. I look forward to improving that and I look to the minister of defence to realize some savings in that area. I am sure all members could act in that fashion collectively. Let us see to what extent we can eliminate waste.

This government has recognized the fiscal realities we are in. We said we are going to bring down the deficit to 3 per cent of the GDP within three years. We recognize the deficit problem cannot be solved by cutting out programs, the safety net and the UI benefits which are put in place to assist the people most hurt by the downturn in the economy.

We recognize that job creation has to be part of the solution. There is no question in the mind of my government that the best social program we can have is to make sure there is the economic climate so that all those people who want to work are able to work and contribute to society.

I call upon members of the opposition to support that aim. Ultimately we are talking about developing the Canadian people. We are talking about developing the country and we are talking about keeping our country united.

Canadian Federation Of Labour May 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Labour is completing its national convention in Ottawa today based on the theme building Canada's future.

This organization has developed Working Ventures, a capital fund with nearly $300 million. This fund is used to start and expand businesses to create jobs to get Canadians working.

The Canadian Federation of Labour is to be applauded for developing good labour relations and eliminating the adversarial system of confrontations. As well, it is very approachable because of its non-affiliation to any political party.

The key to a prosperous and united Canada is co-operation which is being demonstrated by the Canadian Federation of Labour. We should all follow its example.

Supply May 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I note that the motion was moved by the member for Calgary Centre and the speaker who just spoke is from Calgary West. Somehow I find it to be a more reasonable combination from the members of the Reform Party.

I have two questions for the member. Earlier in the debate the member for Dartmouth posed a question to the member for Skeena on the issue of the expenditures by the leader of the Reform Party in terms of cars, suits, money that was supplied by the Reform Party coffers. The member for Dartmouth said that was funded by taxpayers' money. The member for Skeena jumped up and said that was not the case.

Could the member for Calgary West tell us how Reform Party funds are subsidized by the taxpayers through the tax credit system.

The next question is I am sure most members of this House and members of the Reform Party would agree that part of the problem is that economics is trying to do a balancing of demands and we have demands coming from various sides. Obviously we ended up with a deficit that was greater than was predicted beforehand, so the government does not have the option. We have to deal with the reality as it is handed to us.

The Reform Party keeps referring to our program, that we are going to increase the size of the debt which I guess we are and that is well known. We also are committed to bringing down the deficit. The Reform Party even in its budget would have increased the debt. In light of the new expenditures I am sure it would have increased even more.

I wonder if the Reform Party does not believe that by forever trying to say that there is a fiscal crisis in the country it is hurting the situation in the financial markets just as the Bloc is hurting

the financial situation in the markets when it says that the country is going to break up.

I would like to have answers to those questions.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 24th, 1994

Madam Speaker, we do not govern by divine right. We are mortals. We on this side of the House recognize that anyway.

We understand it takes time to put a bill together that will stand up to the scrutiny of time. That is what we are doing. We are starting the process toward it. Many members in my caucus and I very much wish that is what we are going to be looking to do.

We can possibly come up with a plan saying that for whatever constitutional consideration and to recognize some of those agreements we are going to cap the size of the House of Commons at, let us say, 300 members. I could live with that as a final cap on numbers. It is very important to get this bill moving so we can get to that.

If the big R Reformers want to improve this place, then please listen to a small r reformer. Let us get moving in that direction.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 24th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I certainly know of the separation of powers in the United States of America. I also have had the good fortune to read the book by the leader of the Reform Party. I certainly understand there is a close attachment to the new conservatism that has died out in Great Britain and the United States. Certainly the president had a great deal of monetary policies to do with the incredible increase in the debt of the United States. Let us be very clear on that.

The other point raised suggests that I cast aspersions that were demeaning to the Reformers. I get Quorum like everybody else and I see reference to their code of conduct. There is a member of Parliament who refuses to dine alone with a woman even on a professional basis. Another columnist talks about the pious Reform caucus with a score of MPs more righteous and apt at sermonising than Preston Manning. Another columnist writes that now some holier than thou Reformers are putting together their own code of behaviour. Who am I to say? I just read it and some of it must be correct.

I have nothing against Reformers personally. Mr. Connolly was a candidate against me in the last election. We got along great on many issues and personally we get along very well, but something does happen when they get into that group, close the doors and decide on debate.

The member also raised the matter of money. He said that $5 million had already been spent. That is correct, but if we continue with this process we are going to spend $3 million more. If we put in six new members of Parliament we are going to spend $6 million more every year.

If we continue with the process in the longer term we are going to keep adding members to the House of Commons. We would be knocking out those walls and the Reformers would need binoculars to see the Speaker. Therefore time is of the essence. We have to deal with this issue very quickly. However I will be fighting very strongly to maintain the number of members of Parliament at 295.

I mentioned the subject of my private member's bill. I am willing to have everybody in this House and in committee sit down to see how we can improve this place to better reflect the constituents whom we represent. This must be dealt with in a serious fashion. It must not be used as an opportunity to filibuster. My wish and my hope is that we will come up with a bill that is a great improvement over the one we presently have.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 24th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I want to make sure the preachers on that side of the House have the benefit of what I have to say. Unlike the last two occasions I certainly hope they will actually ask me some questions.

Just to touch on the comments of the member for Beaver River, she said she was amused and saddened. She wants a guarantee that whatever the government comes up with will be better. That is what the bill embarks on.

Let me say to the member that the reason we have to deal with the issue this week given our recess is that if we do not do so we will put in place a very costly process of having reviews on boundaries that will not decrease the number of seats in the House or maintain the number of seats in the House but will increase the number of seats in the House by a total of six. I say that because much is being said by the big R Reformers about this bill being rammed through. What we have is a filibuster. The local media in my community was very upset by what was to transpire even though under the present situation Ontario would gain four more seats. We want to look at the number of seats in this Chamber. I can tell members that we should have the opportunity to do that.

We do not get the light every day on this side of the House. Therefore we are unable to take a complex issue such as this and give the members from the big R Reform Party assurance that we can do it that speedily. We will send the bill to committee where the members of the Reform Party can come forward as well as every other member in every party in the House. They will be able to bring us the reaction of their constituents. They will be able to ask some of their constituents to be witnesses and over a period of time we will come up with something better.

As I was looking at making a presentation today, I took the opportunity to review what all members who spoke on the issue had to say this past Monday. I can tell members that I feel somewhat amused on the one hand and saddened on the other.

It never ceases to amaze me how the members of the big R Reform Party, the ones that always preach free votes go ahead and do the opposite and vote as a block. One would think they were tied together with Krazy glue. Perhaps when they go through the exercise of coming up with a code of conduct, one of the things they will definitely do is use Krazy glue.

Watching them in the House, I am very much reminded of another great neo-Conservative, Margaret Thatcher, who is passé now. I am reminded of another person. The Reform Party members very much have a soulmate in the former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. He got elected promising to cut the deficit and the debt. Of course the United States of America became the biggest lender nation in the world when the new right took control as the Reform dream about. He took the country from the biggest lender to the biggest debtor. However something that Ronald Reagan said is applicable here. It is that phrase he always used so well, "there they go again".

Any time I review debates by the Reform Party that certainly is the impression I get, there they go again. Let them preach. Let them be sanctimonious. Do not give credit on any of the initiatives.

When I reviewed the debates one of the things I found was that for the most part they admitted they do not want to change the size of the House of Commons.

Interestingly enough, there was not one person who would support it because if we stay with the status quo, we will definitely change the House of Commons by six members which will cost us a million dollars a member. If one starts multiplying $6 million by 10 years one has $60 million. Then one continues on and keeps adding members to the House of Commons.

Certainly that was not what my constituents told me they wanted to see done. My constituents told me they want us to do more with less and to make the House operate more effectively.

Let us be very clear we are talking about ramrodding a bill, and we are talking about that. If we did not use time allocation on the bill, we would not have the opportunity to change those costly hearings that are going to take so much time and energy on the part of Canadians. I think that is an important point to know.

The suggestion has been made that the bill by the government came through the back rooms of the Liberal caucus, that it did not see the light of day with constituents, that somehow it was all politically manipulated.

As soon as the electoral boundaries readjustment proposal for the province of Ontario was put in place I received numerous calls from constituents. I have had discussions with people representing local governments. I was in the process of drafting a private member's bill on this issue which called for representations by members of the House of Commons without increasing the total number of members. I was reflecting what my constituents were telling me which was restricting the number to at least the present size.

We also wanted to talk about making sure that the community of interest represented by ridings was maintained. When I read through the debates, I noted that the member for Beaver River said that her riding would disappear and it only had the opportunity to go through two elections.

I read some other contributions from members of the Reform Party who said that there is not one Canadian, not one constituent that is upset with the proposals. I have to tell them that they are wrong.

Back on December 17 the local paper, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record stated in a story ``if you live in Kitchener, Waterloo or Cambridge and think you have trouble now figuring out who your MP is, just wait until the new election if proposed riding boundary changes come into effect.

If the changes proposed by the Federal Election Boundaries Commission for Ontario are accepted parts of Kitchener will be tacked on to Waterloo riding, parts of Waterloo will be attached to a largely rural riding, North Dumfries will be cut away from Cambridge and part of Cambridge riding that used to be part of the Kitchener riding will go back to Kitchener". I am going to spare you by not reading the whole story but it goes on and on.

Let me talk about what some of the civic leaders have to say. Waterloo Mayor Brian Turnbull said he is really disappointed in a redistribution that would see a large part of the city included in largely a rural riding that has no historical ties to this part of the province.

Woolwich township Mayor Bob Waters said he intends to fight redistribution. I was talking to Mayor Lynn Myers of Wilmot township which by the way was taken out from the Waterloo region in the last redistribution process. I would like to see a joint submission.

Now what did Mayor Myers say, whose riding was taken out of the Waterloo region? Lynn Myers bluntly said "Wilmot is not happy in the riding of Perth-Wellington-Waterloo". Now he is worried about being lumped into a new urban riding that has no natural ties, has an unholy alliance and it would be an unhistoric alliance. He said that ever since redistribution he hated every minute of it. That certainly is reflective of many of the constituents involved.

There was a story in the K-W Record yesterday that headlined that Reform is filibustering, which is exactly what they are doing. The editorial reads:

Common sense does take hold in Ottawa from time to time. Thank goodness it has finally asserted itself over the issue of federal electoral redistribution. The public is in no mood to pay millions of dollars to implement new boundaries that, as far as the Waterloo region is concerned, make no sense. Nor are people eager to shell out more money to expand the number of members of Parliament.

The ruling Liberals have wisely asked the Bloc Quebecois and Reform Party to consider a joint suspension of redistribution until a parliamentary panel can study the desired size of the House and the number of seats for each province.

It certainly does not sound like a community where nobody is upset.

I know my friends in the Reform Party like petitions. We have thousands of signatures on a petition which supports the proposals in my private member's bill. As this thing goes through over the course of the next two years there will be, I dare say, thousands and thousands more. Who knows, maybe the members of the Reform are just waiting for that one phone call from a Canadian to be inspired. Maybe one Canadian will phone and inspire them to start thinking about the issue, start thinking about the actions we are taking today.

I would like to reiterate this because I think it is important. If we did not act this week we would have those costly and useless hearings held, if it were ever suspended, which would inconvenience civic politicians, citizens and certainly every member of the Chamber would be spending time at those hearings.

Therefore, it is not a question of whether we agree with the electoral commission in the sense that we think it did a good job. Given its mandate it has no choice in holding the line on the seats in the House of Commons. That is not an option. That option belongs to politicians.

I despair to a large extent when I listen to the member for Beaver River. She talked about the dirty fingerprints of politicians. Every member of the House is a politician. Some would like to be preachers and have their Sunday sermons and others would like to spend their time on codes of conduct, but Canadians elected them to bring their best judgment here. They were elected as politicians. I can only say to them that by forever questioning the ethics of this Chamber they do a great disservice to this Chamber which is the greatest Chamber of debate in the country.

I do not know what happens in the strategy room of the Reform Party but I do know what happens in caucus at the Liberal Party. First, let me state that in the Liberal Party we do not spend our time looking at codes of conduct for our members. There is the assumption that we are equal and that we know how to run our lives. We do not pretend to be holier than the average citizen. We are here to try to reflect and represent this country. I hear my friends say that we should.

Let the Reform Party be unanimous in their code of ethics. Let them have a free and open debate on it. We would be very much entertained. I am sure it would remind us of the great Jimmy Swaggart hour on Sunday mornings.

I mentioned before that funny things happen during election campaigns. In my riding of Waterloo a person who ran for city council and did not succeed-actually he came after me in the election-was a Reform candidate. This individual now fills my seat on Waterloo city council.

I have a great deal of respect for him. I could not quite understand what happened to him that he was a Reform candidate. Certainly some of the things he said did not make a great deal of sense.

However he has supported the infrastructure program for the city of Waterloo. He found good reasons to support it because he saw that the work being done was good for the community and good for the country.

Let me share this with you. It was moved by Councillor Connolly, seconded by Councillor Hoddle at the February 21 meeting of council in Waterloo, that the present recommendations of the Federal Elections Boundary Commission for Ontario, of boundary changes to ridings in the Waterloo region be redrawn and new boundaries be discussed with all Waterloo regional municipalities and its members of Parliament to arrive at a solution that keeps our region in tact. It was passed unanimously.

Therefore there is a great deal of support for what this government is doing. If we did not have to forever listen to and argue with members on the preaching of sanctimony versus reason we could have a committee composed of members of the House of Commons. In the period of two years we could certainly come up with something better. In that way this House would work much, much better.

I am supporting this bill because not to do so would mean supporting the status quo. That is why I call them big R Reformers; they do not act like reformers even though they call themselves Reformers.

Supply March 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, may I say that on Friday with a number of my colleagues I had the opportunity to look at the social programs in my riding. Everyone who participated came up with very good suggestions about our social programs and how we have to reform them as we head into the next decade.

Everyone who came from the baby-boom generation would have some concern about old age pensions. We are going to have the biggest revolution when the baby boomers become senior citizens. Demographically it is going to be like everything else. When the boomers got to university, the university education system exploded. Therefore, we have to plan for that.

I really regret that the Bloc Quebecois would not want to look at this to make sure that in the future we will have a pension system that is supportable, viable and will be there for people in need. There has been absolutely no talk about cutting pensions.

In terms of sewers and infrastructure, even this Chamber has to have sewage service, probably more than most other places. Any building, whether it is a university building or an industrial building has to have a sewage system and a water system. Those systems are very important in protecting our environment as well.

Supply March 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise once again on an opposition day.

The last time I stood on an opposition day was February 21. We were speaking on petitions. The Reform Party was advancing the notion it wanted this House to listen better. It wanted to show that we listen better to Canadians and to each other.

Interestingly enough when my time expired one of my colleagues on that side of the House moved a motion that the time be extended so I could answer some questions. Members of the Reform Party were the ones who voted against it. That is important for us to note.

In terms of dealing with this budget, one has to wonder whether the opposition perhaps is being a little sanctimonious. I say that because there was an election. We can talk all we want about petitions or referendums, but there was an election on October 25.

We went to the public with a plan. It was outlined in the red book. We said that we were going to follow that plan if we formed a government. Now that we are in government that is exactly what we are doing. We are following that plan. For members of a party that says it believes in petitions and referendums to turn around and tell us we should ignore our campaign promises to Canadians certainly is the height of cynicism and sanctimony.

Let us look at what was contained in the budget. We talked about what we would do in the fiscal framework of present day realities.

It is in the budget that there are $5 of spending cuts for every $1 of revenue increase. Over 80 per cent of the net fiscal improvements achieved by the government through 1996-97 comes through spending cuts. The net savings of $17 billion achieved in spending cuts come after paying for our new initiatives.

Some $6.7 billion in current federal program spending is being reallocated to encourage growth, create jobs and find new priorities. Those same programs are criticized in this motion.

We are talking about the infrastructure program that was the subject of such debate in the last election. In my riding of Waterloo the Reform candidate ran in the previous municipal election. When I won the seat to represent the Waterloo federal riding in this House, my seat on council became vacant. During the course of the campaign the Reform candidate was saying that the infrastructure program was pork barrelling. It was a make work project and had no redeeming value.

The Reform candidate now occupies my seat on Waterloo municipal council. And guess what? Last week they laid out the infrastructure program for the city of Waterloo. Waterloo is spending all its allocation. What happened with the Reform candidate who spoke so strongly against it? The Reform candidate voted in favour of the infrastructure program. It was unanimous.

I raise that because just like every other new Liberal member and I am sure most other members of this House I honestly and truly wanted to believe this Parliament was going to be different. We wanted to believe we would not be playing sanctimonious games, that we would be working together to improve the operation of this House.

That is not the reality. And it saddens me because every new member on my side of the House is a reformer and they are acting a lot different from the Reformers. We have to keep that in mind.

Staying with the infrastructure program, they say it is a make work project. One of the infrastructure programs deals with the inventory and repair of failing sewer lines throughout the city. Sewer lines are pretty important to any municipality. As a matter of fact, sewer lines make us a civilized country, along with water and other infrastructure. It is the elimination of inflow infiltration to the sewer lines.

Another program is to extend the Northland 4 industrial subdivision pumping station. There are sewers, water mains and road construction projects. They are doing that so they can have new industry locate. New industry will generate jobs and pay taxes.

Tell me the last time private enterprise built a sewage treatment plant. Clearly that is something government has to do. It is a responsibility belonging to government.

Infrastructure: Look around the world at countries that do not have infrastructure and you are looking at countries in the Third World. Look at the G-7 countries and the money they spend on infrastructure. They are spending it because they are investing in the future of their countries. We are investing in the future of our country. We as Liberals believe in that.

Prior to the tabling of the budget many Reform members and I had occasion to attend a workshop by the Fraser Institute. Do you know what was said? It was said that our proposal to get our goal of 3 per cent of the GDP in terms of reducing the debt within three years was a responsible approach. It was a rational approach.

We all knew that the deficit was going to be $32 billion this year. The previous regime told us that. The reality is we are looking at a much higher deficit this year.

The Reform Party in the last campaign said it was going to eliminate the deficit in three years. What Reform members say and how they act impacts on all of us and on the legitimacy of this Chamber. For the sake of their own credibility and that of this House I would love to see them stand in this House and present to us how they would eliminate the deficit. I put to this House that they could not do it. I challenge them to stand up-which they will not-and say they were wrong and they cannot do it.

One of this country's tragedies is what is happening to our youth. In 1992, 100,000 young people who graduated from high school were qualified to attend college or university but there was no place for them in our educational institutions. Reform Party members would chop out the youth services corps which is meant to address the drastically and shamefully high unemployment rate among our youth. To see their opposition to this corps has to sadden every member who cares about those neglected youth who are part of our constituencies.

My friend made a very able presentation on the court challenges program. Since I have been in this House I have listened to Reform members tell us they are in touch with the needs of minority groups. I can only say after listening to them for four months that I find them compassionately challenged when it comes to those issues.

What does the residential rehabilitation assistance program mean? It means those seniors who are unable to make repairs to their houses and move on to costlier institutions would be assisted so they could stay in their homes and thus maintain their dignity. How anyone could oppose that is incredible.

There is the engineering program. The University of Waterloo in my riding is the biggest supplier of workers to Microsoft in the United States. This has to be a brain drain. We want to keep our brightest graduates in whom we have invested so much in Canada. This will afford us an opportunity to do that.

In wrapping this up, I was looking forward to this motion today but I find it is very much challenged in terms of reality. I can only say I am very proud of the budget and the responsible plan we came down with in presenting that budget.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the member's comments, particularly the positive light he puts on youth initiatives for employment.

The member posed a question: Why $96 million in the first year? Why not $50 million or $150 million? I could say that we could probably do a lot better than $96 million because the need is much greater. The reality is that we are trying to balance need and financial conditions. However I welcome his comments because I found them to be positive. I welcome his balanced approach, which is very refreshing to hear from that side of the House.

The Budget February 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, let me express my harmony through you to the member for Calgary Centre.

Actually I have found the member for Calgary Centre to be rather reasonable on some issues. What I am concerned about is the amount of response we have coming back and forth between the government and the Reform Party. It is the same kind of debate that took place during the election campaign when we all were on the hustings. We were all debating the issue.

There is a fundamental question. We laid out a plan and our plan is the red book. The Reform Party laid out a plan which was the slash and burn book. My question to the member for Calgary Centre is will he not concede that we stayed true to what we said we were going to do in the red book?