Madam Speaker, I knew there were questions and comments. I just did not think anyone would want to ask a question or make a comment on the speech of the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.
It is my pleasure to stand in the House and resume debate. It has been a long week, I can appreciate that. It has been a very exciting week for myself and my party with the byelection results on Monday evening. I know the weeks to come will be equally as exciting, particularly with the government trying to defend its budget when it comes to not just simply a byelection, but a general election. It is not only their budget the Liberals have to try to defend, but the mismanagement that has taken place by this government over the last 10 years.
The member for Regina—Qu'Appelle had indicated that it seemed the economy changed in 1993 when the Liberal government was elected. I know the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle would have to give credit where credit is certainly due, in that the policies that were put into place prior to 1993 were the policies that this government is now living on.
The policy of the GST, where we took the manufacturing tax off and put it on to a goods and services tax, I appreciate is not a tax that Canadians appreciate all that much. However when it was brought forward in 1993, it was with the understanding that it would be a tax that would reduce the deficit, which Liberals always talks about, the $42 billion deficit prior to 1993. It was that particular improvement which helped us find ourselves in the economy we have today.
It is the same government that will throw up its arms and say that the Tories left it with a $42 billion deficit, but it does not seem to always take the other highroad and mention the free trade agreement which was negotiated with our American friends at that time because we did have a relationship with our American friends. This is something the government does not have at this time. We were able to sit down at the table and negotiate a free trade agreement that allows us to flourish in the economy we have today.
I know the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle did not mean it when he said there were terrible economic times prior to 1993 and immediately when the government took office those economic times changed, because it did not happen that way. It certainly did not happen in this government. As a matter of fact, in spite of themselves, the Liberals have taken our initiatives and allowed themselves to balance those budgets that we would have had balanced certainly long before they did.
The budget which has been tabled today is only a reflection of what has gone on in years past with Liberal governments. It gives us the understanding of the old 1970s Liberal philosophy of spend, spend, spend. It is a legacy, and we keep hearing that word all the time, of a tired government and a tired Prime Minister telling us that they will shotgun this budget, that they will please just about everybody they have in their political pockets and that wherever the economy goes from here, it really does not matter.
We have returned to an era where the Prime Minister of the day was the previous finance minister. We have returned to an era of the Pierre Trudeau spend, spend, spend philosophy of the Liberal government. Canadians are not terribly pleased about returning to that. It is a shotgun approach.
Bill C-28 is the budget implementation bill that puts into place the budget the Liberals have tabled in the House. This is really an unfortunate happening for Canadians because the Liberals have now increased program spending in this budget alone, which means spending that was there for programs prior to the 2003-04 budget, by 7.3%. That is substantial. I do not think Canadian households have the ability to spend an additional 7.3% this year than they did last year. That 7.3% program spending increase is taking out of this budget the health care and the military expenditures, which by the way were absolutely required.
When we take out those extraordinary costs of health care and defence and the military, there is still a 7.3% increase in program spending. It is shotgun program spending, I might add. The Prime Minister probably had a dartboard somewhere in his office or maybe a putting green and he kept putting into different areas to decide which programs he was going to spend on. That is what it seems like. There was no logic to this; it was simply an ad hoc, shotgun approach to the budget.
There is a 7.3% increase in program spending. However, the finance minister of the day, who is up against that other guy from LaSalle—Émard for the leadership, says that the Liberals are going to find $1 billion somewhere in this morass of government bureaucracy that they are going to put back in that area of program spending and they are going to save $1 billion.
I will tell members how the government has saved $1 billion. It got involved in a gun registry that has cost Canadians about $1 billion over the life of that registry. It is not gun control, it is gun registry. The Liberals are going to save money in other areas to put it back into program spending, so maybe they will save money in different areas to go back into this black hole of the gun registry. From where are they going to spend some of this money? They are going to find some efficiencies in the military, the same area that Canadians and our own Auditor General have said is sadly and sorely lacking for resources.
We were supposed to put about $1 billion or $1.3 billion back into the military for this year just so it could continue in its operations. We did not. I think the military received $800 million in this budget. Not only did it get less than what was necessary as the Auditor General indicated, now it has to find $200 million in its operations to give to the finance minister to spend on the gun registry.