He says they have done it seven years in a row and I say hear, hear for part one. However, the way they have done it, part two says “Whoa, let us increase spending and just bring in the cash”. It is awfully easy to balance a budget when they just rake in more cash. If I had any discrepancy with my Liberal pals or any criticism to make of my Liberal pals, it would be that it is pretty easy to drag in the cash and then say, “Well look at us. Are we not heroes?”
They talk about social programs. Oh my have I been attacked about social programs over the years. The worst attack on social programs is spending an enormous chunk out of every tax dollar just to pay interest on the debt. That is what attacks social programs. The biggest single ticket item is interest on the debt. Hundreds of billions of dollars simply go toward paying interest on our debt.
Anyone out there who charges too much on their Mastercard knows exactly what I am talking about. If people cannot pay the full bill when it comes due, the interest on that sucker compounds the next month and it gets bigger and bigger.
I served my first term under the Mulroney Conservatives and then the Liberals came in in 1993. The present Prime Minister wrote the red book. As members know, I lost my copy of the red book some years later. It landed out front here somewhere. However I was amazed and rather amused that the Prime Minister, as a backbencher at the time sitting with me in the back row a decade and a half ago, wrote the red book. When the Governor General was handing out literary prizes the other day I was thinking that the Prime Minister should have received an award for the red book for best fiction, or something like that. I think the Governor General would have been very impressed by that.
Yes, I will give the Liberals a tick mark for having balanced budgets and for cutting a little spending, but it was at the expense of health care. If Canadians want government to spend money on anything it is on health care. The government is responsible for cutting $20 billion out of health care over the years. It is unbelievable.
How about government being involved in business? Maybe that is something it should have thought about. How about when the government blasted defence and virtually stripped our defence department of so much; the front lines, soldiers, equipment, manpower. These were the items that were cut but there are many areas that could have been looked after as well.
Instead of the Liberals saying that they would look after this by changing their attitude toward spending and instituting measures that would prioritize and control federal spending, the kind of stuff that we know we could change, they missed the opportunity to walk through the door of responsibility by saying that they were holding the money in trust. They just raked in more cash and missed the opportunity to get things under long term control.
I appreciate that they have had a balanced budget for seven years running, as they say, and that there is a surplus, but I cannot help but think of the human cost because health care has been absolutely ripped to shreds under the Liberals.
I heard the member from Toronto say that public dollars into health care were not sustainable and that the Prime Minister and the premiers needed to work out a sustainable path. Sure. However any time any province even hopes to address its health care crisis, those people jump all over them and say that, no, they cannot do it that way. Somehow we need to come up with an answer for this.
Again, it is just the premiers going after the Prime Minister and the federal government, and the federal government going after the premiers. It is like the spitball thing again. I do not care whose responsible. If my mother is sick, I do not care who is responsible, I just want to make sure that she receives good health care. It is about as simple as that. I think every citizen feels that way. Canadians do not care what level of government is providing that service. They just want care. If they need an MRI, a hip replacement or whatever, they need to know that that health care will be there for them no matter what and not 25 months later, or something like that.
This budget, and here we go again, is an announcement of the reannouncement of the announcement of $2 billion back into health care and into homelessness that my colleague just spoke about. They are long term promises.
Over the next 10 years the federal government will give Canadians, what? How could the government say that? When I married my husband, Lewis, I made a commitment to him that I would be with him on the long term. It was not up to the voters to decide whether I would stay with my husband or not. That is a long term commitment I made.
For the government to promise to give Canadians something in 10 years but to also say that it is conditional upon Canadians re-electing it, is transparent. Sure we need long term commitments, but we not need a government saying that the 10 years is conditional on whether it is re-elected. That is clandestine and unbelievably self-serving. It is foolish, to boot, as the Liberals are getting ready to go to another election after a little over three years, I might add.
We all know that doors are always open but sometimes we have to pull kind of hard on the latch to open them. I have made a decision, voluntarily, I might add, to leave this place, which is a nice way to go out. I am ready to move on to a new chapter but I have absolutely no idea what that will be. However, as I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, like opening any other door there is apprehension, adventure, opportunity and stark terror, to be sure, but if we are to keep growing and keep moving we must be grateful for the doorways.
I am very grateful for the 15 years that I have spent here in Parliament but I feel I am ready to move on. One of the greatest philosophers of all time, Kenny Rogers, put it this way, “You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away, know when to run”. And know when not to run. I have made the personal decision not to run again.
I came to this place as the first Reformer 15 years ago. I am pleased to see now, 15 years later, that the cycle is complete in the Conservative movement in this country. I am glad to see that the new Conservative Party is a united force, not just as an effective opposition but that it is offering Canadians a true, clear alternative. Canadians will make their decision. We cannot make it for them.
I have let go of one trapeze and I am ready to reach out to the next one. I do not know what that will be yet. I actually feel like I am in free fall right now. However I know God has looked after me to this point in my life and he will not throw me to the wolves now.
I would like to thank my family who have been tremendously supportive over my career and my entire life. My mother, Joyce, who has been an incredible role model and mentor to me, summed it up best when somebody was doing a publication on my life last fall. Michelle Lavoie from CPAC phoned my mother in Victoria and said “I'll bet you are really proud of your daughter”. My mother said “Yes, but which one?” She has four daughters. I am one of four girls. If that does not sum up character, then I do not know what does. I therefore would like to pay public tribute to my mother and all my family.
I want to tell my husband, Lewis, to whom I have been married for ten and a half years, that I will be moving home full time now. In fact, we are so fond of each other that we will move in together now. I am looking forward to that.
I also want to pay tribute to the people of Beaver River in Edmonton North and my colleagues across the way. I have appreciated them over the years.
I think all of us, whether we are leaving, coming, going, or whatever, need to have a personal mission statement, and this is mine: a truth teller, an advocate, an encourager who loves to see people grow into their potential as human beings. If, in any way, I have been an encouragement or an advocate for anybody, a constituent or any other Canadian, I am grateful for that opportunity.
I am grateful for having served four terms here in the House of Commons. My prayer is that in some small way I have been able to do that in this chapter through this door. As I leave here voluntarily and open a new door into a new chapter of my life, whatever that will be, I pray that I will be able to use the resources and the learning experiences that I have had here.
I thank everyone. I have had a great run. God bless you all. Amen.