Mr. Speaker, since February, this session of Parliament has delivered exactly what the throne speech promised in the fields of economics and finance, nothing. Policy is on auto pilot with the Prime Minister regularly issuing reassuring messages that he is in control and that no corrections are needed.
The country's biggest problem, the deficit, has been dealt with by benign neglect. Sure, the numbers have improved but mainly through downloading $6 billion on to the provinces a year earlier. There has also been an economic recovery in the United States which spilled over into Canada through increased demand for exports. As a result, spending on unemployment insurance benefits
has dropped by $5 billion. There is not much credit to the government here.
With tax rates set at very high levels, the export stimulated growth has resulted in higher revenues of $25 billion which exactly matches the reduction in the bottom line of the deficit. The much advertised spending cuts on the outer rim of bureaucracy have been very minor. More are slated to come but not for another year. In other words, the much vaunted deficit reduction has been achieved by taking more money away from Canadians through higher tax revenue.
Canadians who want a smaller government in Ottawa and less bureaucracy wrapping them in red tape even when it is not Christmas, will not be pleased by the reduction of less than $1 billion a year when that total government spending is $150 billion, $50 billion on interest alone.
Now the Prime Minister has announced that there will be no more cuts to government spending. The Ottawa leviathan will stay the same size for at least the next two years, by the end of which we can expect higher tax revenue of about $7 billion a year to have eliminated the deficit.
Hurray, then the Liberals will be free to get back to what they are best at: feeding the Ottawa monster. The Prime Minister already has promised to use the higher tax revenue for more spending at the rate of $7 billion a year. The Deputy Prime Minister is licking her chops as she anticipates and already promises money to some of the unlimited number of good causes that she attracts in whatever portfolio she is in.
Of course, Canadians know the flip side of this kind of policy. They feel it in their pocketbooks. Their family income has dropped by $3,000 a year after taxes, primarily because of increased tax revenue since this government came into power.
Then of course there is the biggest red book promise of jobs, jobs, jobs. How many jobs have been created? Just enough to employ the growth in workers, those coming out of high school and those who have immigrated to Canada. The fact is that nearly 1.5 million Canadians are still looking for work. Many more have indicated they are so discouraged that they have stopped looking and many more millions are working only part time.
Let us look at the government's commitments for the future. Over two years, $7 billion more in revenue for each year will go to the elimination of the deficit. Thereafter, increases in revenue are promised to be used for increased spending. That means if the government gets elected again, the pattern they have been on will produce another $3,000 reduction in family income because that is exactly what happened in the preceding four years. All the revenue increases from these rates of taxation has gone into feeding the monster government here in Ottawa.
It is not very encouraging for the people of Canada. I recommend that they look at an alternative which is laid out clearly in the document called Fresh Start for Reform. Under this program the leviathan will be tamed. We will cut another approximately $10 billion out of government spending, not from transfers to provinces. In fact, we will restore some of these transfers that were cut earlier. It will not come out of transfers to people nor out of transfers to the provinces for social programs.
It will come out of programs that should be cut, ones we hear about in the finance committee and from people to whom we talk. Let me list a few. There is overlap in the delivery of services between the federal and provincial governments. There are huge bureaucracies such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Department of the Environment, the Department of Industry, the Department of Labour. There is a whole list of departments where the provinces have been saying: "You are making life too tough for us". Business is asking: "Why do we have to fill in the same information that we have just delivered to the provincial governments? Why do we also have to give it to the federal government?"
On my shelf I have the Nielsen task force report. Mr. Speaker, you were here when this was produced. It has gathered dust. It indicates that billions can be saved through the elimination of overlap and duplication. That was 15 years ago. This government has not taken the hint. Not only would it reduce the leviathan, but it would also save money and make it better and easier for business to succeed.
Other expenditure cuts involve special interest group funding. A report was released recently which indicated that Canadians through an objective survey have indicated that multiculturalism is not working. Why do we insist on feeding that monstrous bureaucracy and all those activities? Reform is not against multicultural activities. We are against having them financed by the federal government.
Reform has proposed a large number of other cuts. For example, the elimination of the industrial subsidies that are now being given to business. Last week in the finance committee business representatives said: "Please government, get rid of all of the subsidies to business and lower the taxes". That is exactly what Reform is proposing to do.
What would Reform do with the surplus that would be growing and continue to grow? We would target tax cuts primarily at the reduction of barriers to the efficient operation of labour markets.
Whole books are written about this and why our unemployment rate is so high. New thinking is required in that field.
Reform would deliberately bias the fiscal structure in support of the maintenance, growth and strength of families rather than the current system which deliberately favours the splitting up of families so people can go to work and send their children to child care. People who stay at home, fathers and mothers, deserve that same support. Reform would have broad based cuts that would remove several hundred thousand poor people completely from all tax rolls.
Canadians now have a clear alternative. On the one side, a promise of a government that will keep the size of Ottawa and the bureaucracy where it is right now; use increased tax revenue to eliminate the deficit and then go on its merry old way, spending the increases in tax revenue that comes thereafter. Reform offers an alternative. It offers the elimination of the deficit through growth, some more reduction in the size of government and revenue increases thereafter used to give money back where it came from, the people of Canada.