Over five years, but in the first year there is a big chunk of tax cuts. If we add up the federal contribution and the provincial contribution, it comes to 1.5% of GDP, which is an extremely large number, among the largest in the G-7. No other country's timing is as good.
It is open to debate whether this impeccable timing is a matter of good luck or good advice last year by private sector economists or the brilliance of the finance minister. I will leave it to the opposition to allocate the credit. Whatever the reason, these tax cuts have come in at just the right time, just when the doctor ordered them, just when this slowdown began.
This is my first question: why is the hon. member not more grateful for this impeccable timing?
Second, I will leave out the CPP, Madam Speaker, to be brief.
The hon. member claims that the Alliance program was superior to the Liberal program that has given us the biggest tax cut in Canadian history. I would be the first to acknowledge that the Alliance tax cuts were bigger than ours. However, there is a double problem. With regard to the Alliance tax cuts, according to Department of Finance officials and bank economists—not me, because I know I am tainted now, being a politician—had we gone with the flat tax or single rate tax cuts, we would have had an $18 billion fiscal hole. I would ask the hon. member to explain what he would have done about that fiscal hole.
The only way out of it would have been Draconian expenditure cuts, including cuts to core programs, because that $18 billion exceeded the so-called frivolous spending, according to the Alliance. The cuts would have had to be to core spending programs, which would have made the slowdown slower than it has been. Not only that, but the Alliance program with its flat tax would have, in a single leap, taken us to the most unequal, unfair tax system in the whole of the western world.
My question is this: why does the hon. member not accept the fact that we had this impeccable timing, for whatever reason, and how can he explain the fact that his admittedly larger tax cuts would have either given us an $18 billion fiscal hole or would have required Draconian tax cuts to core social programs, including health care?