IN THE HOUSE ~ Speaking on the NDP's better balanced budget

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to respond briefly to a question like that.

Very clearly, the hon. member is referring back to last spring. There were two votes on the budget. The first vote was on $4.6 billion in corporate tax breaks and the Conservative Party chose to maintain the government at that time. We were opposed.

Then, after talking and knocking on doors in my communities of Burnaby and New Westminster, I got very broad feedback that people in my communities wanted Justice Gomery to get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal. They did not want an election at that time. Very responsibly, in this corner of the House, we moved forward to push this government to, instead of dumping $4.6 billion on the wealthy corporate sector, actually invest in housing, post-secondary education accessibility for people across this country, the environment and foreign aid.

We forced the government to do that and we voted to maintain the government at that time. Ever since then, as the hon. member well knows, there has not been a confidence vote in the House. We are as appalled by this report as any other Canadian is. It is a catalogue of the type of mismanagement and corruption that is not permissible in this country.


Mr. Speaker, the minister has raised many questions. I will start with the last one first.

He is well aware, the New Democratic Party administrations have the best financial fiscal period return record of any party in the country and that comes from the Department of Finance. It is not New Democrats saying that, it is Liberals saying that. They have analyzed from 1981 to 2001 the actual fiscal period returns, not the budget, not the smoke and mirrors. The Liberal administrations had the worst record over that period. Eighty-five per cent of the time they were in deficit. Conservatives were only a bit better. Two-thirds of the time they are in deficit.

Every time the NDP projects a surplus, most of the time we get it right and that is why we are the party of realism. We believe there have to be appropriate financial mechanisms of control and that the money is there to invest. We would never approve $4.6 billion for the corporate sector, which has experienced record profits, when our post-secondary institutions are closed, when our health care system is in crisis, when homelessness has tripled in the greater Vancouver area alone and increased across the country. We have 1.1 million poor kids across the country and we have infrastructure needs that have not been addressed in--