Mr. Speaker, on behalf of Canadians and particularly those in my riding of Durham, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to the budget implementation act, Bill C-43. I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Centre-North.
It is imperative that all Canadians have a clear picture of the budget and how the government plans to implement its promises or not. A government's budget requires legislation to enable it to implement the promises made in the budget, promises made to the people of Canada on how their tax dollars will be collected, how they will be spent and, most important, when those promises will be acted upon.
To address the when, most of the budget promises will not be realized until later in this decade, if that. Only 7% of the total budget announced will be expended in the budget year 2005-06. Of the $42 billion announced, only $3 billion will go into programs and initiatives to serve Canadians this year. This is in spite of the fact that over $10 billion was collected in surpluses last year and some $6.1 billion is being forecasted as this year's surplus. These forecasts are almost double those forecasted by the government only six weeks ago in the budget.
What is the need to back end load so many budget promises with these kinds of surpluses? This type of deception or lack of clarity is the government's way of governing and it has Canadians losing their faith in government. The residents in my riding of Durham are tired of struggling to make ends meet when they see continuous waste and mismanagement of their hard earned dollars.
In part 1 of Bill C-43, income tax cut benefits are actually delayed for four years. The real benefit for this year is only $16 per average taxpayer. With the rising costs of hydro, gas, provincial and municipal taxes, government fees, for example passports, taxpayers ask, “Where is the benefit?” My constituents want a deeper cut this year, not in the year 2009.
Over the past 15 years the government's income has soared by 40%, while the real take home pay of Canadians has increased by only 3.6%. On top of that, we have seen a 77% increase in the cost of government bureaucracy since 1996-97.
In the last election, the Liberal Party criticized our party of committing to $58 billion in new spending and tax reductions over five years. This budget has made $55 billion of commitments in new programs with very little tax cuts.
Canadians are no longer satisfied with the government's idea of sound fiscal management. Sound fiscal management is more than sound bytes or quotes for the media. Canadians deserve better.
The government announced its budget in February. Today we are debating the budget implementation act, but Bill C-43 reveals that not everything announced is exactly as it was portrayed in February.
Two examples of this kind of shenanigans are, first, the budget stated that the amount of the share of the gas tax would rise to $2 billion annually until 2009-10. Bill C-43 authorizes payments for one year only. That really shows this government's commitment to long-term funding for municipalities that the hon. member was just speaking about.
Second, for seniors in subsidized nursing homes, the total amount of the increase in one's guaranteed income supplement, GIS, will not be paid to the seniors, but to the nursing home operator or to the province. In Ontario any increase in the GIS will be clawed back to a half. The largest increase in GIS that a senior in my riding will be eligible for is less than $18 per month. For many of these seniors, their fixed income is a decreasing income.
These seniors, as do all taxpayers in my riding, expect their government to be working on their behalf to assure them of a quality of life and a standard of living for which they are willing to work hard. They are not satisfied with so much arrogance and such deception that they can no longer trust anything being put forward to them by the government.
When they see how the government has manipulated the budget process by introducing other controversial elements into Bill C-43, they are appalled, controversial elements the government does not have the confidence to introduce under separate legislation to be debated and voted upon in the House on their own. This reflects the continuous manipulation by the government of the Canadian people, the lack of integrity in its dealings with the people in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia and its real inability to bring forth bills that it is confident will serve Canadians well.
By including parts 13, 14 and 15 in Bill C-43 to deal with environmental issues and parts 12 and 24 to deal with the commitments to the two Atlantic provinces, demonstrates the games the Liberals are playing and have played on the people of Canada for over a decade. By linking Atlantic accord provisions into the implementation act, is the government again telling the people of Atlantic Canada that the Prime Minister's word cannot be trusted?
The budget does not reflect serious concern for the overall economy of Canada. Compared with the Americans, Canadian productivity accounts for an income gap of $6,078 per person. Compared with the Americans, that means a family of four living in my riding of Durham has some $24,000 a year less income to spend than the same family in the U.S.A. Canada must increase its productivity with measures that will be effective and redress this productivity gap.
I am compelled to point out that to promise only $130 million in the February budget for the entire agricultural community and the crisis that it faces is inexcusable, only to see the government once again play its games and make a $1 billion announcement shortly after the budget speech. Is this bad planning, disregard for the needs of the agricultural community or an “Oops, we forgot to put it into the budget?” The people of Canada will not and cannot continually be manipulated in this way.
The budget should go forward on its own for debate and follow the necessary procedural process to ensure that the programs announced can move forward. As part of the official opposition in the House, along with my colleagues I will continue to work in committee to strengthen the bill so that those in Durham and across Canada can once again regain their faith in government. In committee we will be ensuring that the dollars to be spent are spent responsibly with transparency and accountability.
The people of Durham are all proud to be Canadians. They recognize that we live in a great country and a province which has some of the best that Canada has to offer. They are willing to do their share. However, they are increasingly challenged to meet their own daily responsibilities financially. They will contribute to Canada's well-being, but are not willing to stand by and watch their tax dollars being wasted and mismanaged. Most of all, they want a government that does not play games and that can be held to the highest level of accountability and integrity. They want to be able to once again trust those elected to represent them and their interests and believe they are doing so, not only in the interests of one segment or one party.
On their behalf, I want to conclude by saying that the official opposition will continue to work in the best interests of all Canadians.