Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House on this occasion to present to the House my response to the throne speech on behalf of my riding and the good people of Cambridge and North Dumfries.
I would like to say how honoured I am to represent the community where I was born and, for the most part, have lived my entire life. I intend to dedicate my energy and all my skills to represent my community, my neighbours and my good friends all across what has clearly been a forgotten centre of wealth, both industrially and intellectually.
My riding sits just 45 minutes southwest of Toronto and holds in its northern corner the city of Cambridge with some 113,000 people. We enjoy a pluralism of many communities from all around the world. Our industry is considered some of the best. Companies, such as ATS and Rockwell Automation, Toyoto, Challenger Motor Freight, ComDev, Strite Industries, Babcock, John Forsyth Shirts, Arriscraft and Polymer Technologies, are now famous contributors, not only to the Canadian landscape but to the global landscape.
Cambridge is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. Indeed, only a few years ago the Hespeler part of Cambridge was considered to have the fastest growth rate in Canada.
North Dumfries is the beautiful rolling hills of quiet pasture lands and quaint communities such as Branchton and Ayr just south of the city itself.
This area is mostly agriculture and attracts visitors who dine in wonderful little eateries and visit antique shops. Some are so drawn to the spirit of this area that they relocate their families here and it too now grows, straining infrastructure and health care services.
These communities are bulging and at the same time are strangled by the government's lack of forethought. Traffic comes to a virtual halt as cars and trucks attempt to navigate too few lanes and too few bridges. Childhood asthma is now increasing at alarming rates as our skies become polluted, not just from the idling vehicles stuck in traffic but as a result of emissions from our border states.
What has the government done for our riding? With respect to these concerns, we still wait and fear that we will be left out of a new deal for cities and communities. We believe that unless distribution is based on population, or at least on fuel consumption, that only the larger Liberal centres will benefit.
Cambridge and North Dumfries need stable and predictable funding too. After the Liberal finance minister bled the health care system to near death, literally causing the crisis we now face, the Liberal Premier of Ontario implemented a health tax and cut services, such as chiropractic and physiotherapy, care that has a proven track record of decreasing the cost of health.
Now we suffer double dipping deep into the pockets of Ontarians for their health care.
Despite the throne speech and the recent 10 year plan to strengthen health care, we do not have any fix for a generation. The government has already had 10 years to put in place a concrete plan to restore the number of doctors and front line workers.
Our community lacks doctors in a most serious way. I can tell the House that people's lives are in danger.
The government has been and continues to waste the skills and minds of thousands of new Canadians while other Canadians suffer. More MRIs, without a concurrent plan for more front line workers, does not help the problem. All it has done is moved the line from diagnostics to treatment.
The people of my riding not only deserve better, they demanded it. It is my privilege to finally represent them in achieving a more level playing field from their government.
No longer will it be acceptable for a community our size and with our needs to be hushed and ignored. Our region sends almost $1 billion more to the government than it receives. Still all levels of taxation are strangling and destroying our right to live well now and into our twilight years.
Cambridge is held together by an amazing group of volunteers. The good news is that there are thousands of people in my riding who dedicate themselves every day to projects like Cara's Hope, Bridges, Argus House, the food bank of Cambridge and so many others. The sad news is that the government, with its billions of dollars in hidden surpluses, has allowed it to happen in the first place.
These groups and social programs should not be punished because of past corrupt and incompetent behaviour by this very government. Tightening the application process, redefining accessibility rules, and designing complex forms that require lawyers to fill out to make up for its billion dollar boondoggles is just plain unfair.
Canadians are indirectly being punished because the government has and continues to waste good money on silly programs like the gun registry. The gun registry is the ultimate boondoggle and again, almost as predictable as the stars, this too was not even mentioned in the throne speech. The fact that it takes the government $2,000 to simply write down that a duck hunter owns a $300 rifle lends credence to the old adage that if the Liberals owned McDonald's, a Big Mac would cost $25 and take six weeks to get.
The Prime Minister has put forth a speech that is not only vague and inadequate, but has failed to give us any confidence that the government's past mistakes will not be repeated.
What of the BSE crisis? My hon. colleague mentioned it and this is the largest crisis to face Canada in my memory. The records show that it is the Conservative Party that has fought the hardest, not only for the farmers but for the millions of people affected by the collateral damage from this crisis.
From hardware stores to trucking companies, from universities to furniture stores, this crisis has bled an estimated $6 billion out of our economy and destroyed generations of work for thousands of Canadians.
What are we to think when the programs that the Liberals do put into place have no application forms and require farmers to put tens of thousands of dollars that they do not have into the banks to be eligible? What little money Liberals do throw at these programs is only enough to tide things over for a few months, mainly to reassure the banks. People are without hope. Liberals smirk and blame everyone else for their failed initiatives.
It is just like hep C. The ones who are being helped the most on these programs are the administrators. In some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars a month are being spent on administration fees. We cannot find money to increase our old age securities in any real way, but the Liberals have found $133,000 for the funding of films in Toronto to find the best penis.
The throne speech says it will continue to review the EI program. What does that mean? That to me is just more fluff and more rhetoric. The Liberals have been at this for 10 years. Canadians and their employers have been bilked out of $45 billion and they do not want more review. They want their money back or at least some assurance that the money will be used only for the benefit of the workers.
We can only be left with one conclusion. This throne speech, like the almost identical last few, is written with words meaning to impress Canadians about the Liberals rather than putting in place concrete solutions for Canadians. The sheer impotence of the throne speech confirms that the Prime Minister and his party choose to play it safe at the expense of hardworking Canadians who deserve far better.
In closing, we in Cambridge still worry about our health. We are very concerned about infrastructure and we need help. We need bridges, light rail transit, go trains, roads and highways. Our future growth is being compromised. We are overworked as volunteers and desperately need the government to do the right thing and spend our taxes on programs that work for us, not just its friends.
We do not need more talk; we need action. We do not need pretty speeches; we need firm, creative solutions. We do not need politicians; we need leaders.