Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to once again rise in this House and say a few words. I was not here for the last four years.
I want to first thank the voters of Qu'Appelle for electing me as their member of Parliament. Despite the fact that I was an MP for 25 years for Yorkton—Melville, this is the first chance I have had to represent my hometown of Wynyard in the House of Commons. I am really pleased to do that.
I also want to take a half a moment to pay tribute to my two predecessors in what is now the Qu'Appelle riding. Simon de Jong was a member of Parliament from 1979 to 1997 in the old riding of Regina—Qu'Appelle, and Vic Althouse was the member of Parliament from 1980 to 1997 in the old riding of Mackenzie. They both served their constituents and their country well and I think deserve the applause and the commendation of all members of Parliament.
In rising to say a few words in this debate today, I would first like to agree with the Reform Party that we obviously do need a public debate on the direction this country should go in terms of its public finances and spending. However, I disagree profoundly with the emphasis it places on where we should go. It condemns the 27 years of spending by the federal government in the past. It condemns the size of government.
The Reform Party, and this is why I will not support the motion, is really a throwback to the past. Its members are the Fred Flintstones of Canadian politics. It is a party that is basically anti-government. It is a party that does not really believe that the government's role in this country is to help create the equality of conditions for our citizens. It wants to go back to the past. It is a very right wing conservative party. For that reason we cannot support this motion before us today.
The Reform Party is spreading all kinds of myths, for example that government programs are the cause of large deficits in this country. It is spreading some mistruths in this country, that social programs are a big problem in terms of deficit and debt and unemployment. These things just are not true. It is about time the Reform Party was taken on.
Back in 1992 Statistics Canada issued a report which stated that the debt in this country, some 50 percent, was created by high interest rates; 44 percent of the debt from tax breaks and only 6 percent by government programs. Of that 6 percent only half of that is from social programs.
Yet we have the Reform Party saying that the government has spent too much, there are too many social programs, we need to be cut back and that is the cause of high taxes and high unemployment. That is not true. Statistics Canada said that the biggest cause of debt in this country was high interest rates. Who brought in high interest rates? Right wing conservatives like the Reform Party. Its friends like Brian Mulroney brought in high interest rates in Canada.
We saw the exact same thing in Saskatchewan with Grant Devine and the Conservatives there. Again, this is the right wing politics of the Reform Party. That is the biggest cause in this country of the debt and deficit.
The other cause is tax breaks primarily to wealthy people and large corporations. Again, those are the kinds of breaks that are defended by the Reform Party in Canada. For those reasons we cannot support today's motion of non-confidence in the government.
What we need in this country are decent social programs and a tax system that is fair for each and every ordinary Canadian. We do not need to go back to the past like the Reform Party that would have us privatize a lot of our social programs, have us set up two tier medical care in this country where we would have one system for the rich and one for the poor, where we only have tax breaks for the wealthy, where we get rid of the public pension plans like the Canada pension plan and turn everything into private pensions or RRSPs that favour wealthy people because they believe they can look after their own future better than anybody else. That is back to the past, the Archie Bunkers of Canada. That is the direction we should not be going in.
That being said, let us take a look once again at the Reform Party. Where does it want to do some cutbacks? It wants to cut back, for example, corporate income tax. It wants cutbacks in payroll taxes. When we look at the different options we have, one thing we have to weigh when we do have government expenditure is how many jobs are created because we have a major unemployment problem all across Canada.
I have here some figures about the different options if we had a government expenditure of $1 billion. First of all, the multiplier the formula applied here affects the expenditures in a different way.
If we spend $1 billion in direct hiring, it creates 56,000 jobs. Spending $1 billion on goods and services creates about 28,000 jobs. Spending $1 billion on infrastructure creates some 26,000 jobs. That is one factor taken into consideration when we talk about how we spend government money in Canada.
The most effective way to create jobs, if we want to cut taxes, is to start cutting back on the GST. In the campaign of the New Democratic Party we advocated the elimination of the GST on books and magazines. We advocated the elimination of the GST on children's clothing, which is exempt in most of the provinces now from provincial sales tax, certainly in my province of Saskatchewan.
We also advocated the increase in the GST tax credit for adults and children by 30 percent. It would cost $1.2 billion for those three items and create 20,400 jobs in this country.
On the other hand, if we were to have a $1 billion cutback in the GST, we would create some 17,000 jobs. But if there were a $1 billion cutback in corporate taxes, there would only be 14,000 jobs created. If there were a $1 billion cutback on personal income tax across the board, there would be 12,000 jobs created. If there was a $1 billion cutback in the payroll tax, there would be about 9,000 jobs created.
We have choices. The question is where do we spend taxpayer money. What are the programs that have the most impact and the most effect in terms of job creation in this country?
I think what we have to do in terms of expending money on behalf of the Canadian taxpayers is to invest more in health and in education, those areas that need more spending, bringing people up to a greater standard of equality of condition. Those are also areas that would create jobs at the same time as investing money in education and health.
If we are going to cut taxes, the place to start is with the GST. I think that would help stimulate the economy more than cutting taxes in other areas, and the statistics tend to bear that out.
We have a debate in this country over where we are going to go in terms of the direction of Canada. On one hand there is the Reform Party, basically anti-government and anti-public institution, a party that wants to privatize and deregulate and scale back and get rid of government in almost every respect and aspect.
That is what it stands for. It is a stroll back to the past. It misleads the people of this country. It propagates myths around Canada. A big problem we have is government spending. Another problem we have is spending on social programs.
Statistics Canada showed us in 1992 that 6 percent of the debt is caused by government spending in Canada and only half of that is spending on social programs. Fifty per cent of the debt is caused by the high interest rates that we saw during the Brian Mulroney years, another version of a very conservative party in Canada. Another 44 percent of the debt is caused by tax expenditures, tax loopholes and tax giveaways to the large corporations that are the friends of the Reform Party.
For those reasons we cannot support this motion before the House today.