Budget Bill

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, listening to the Conservative members, they have wound themselves up so tightly in procedural red tape it is hard to figure out any more what it is exactly they are in favour of. We hear they are not in favour of child care. They are not in favour of money for housing. They are not in favour of money for education. Exactly what do they stand for?

For us in the NDP we are very happy that the bill is being debated because it is based on what Canadians want. People see the procedural wrangling that is taking place and the dysfunction that has been created in this place by the Conservatives as opposed to getting down to business and delivering on basic issues that people want, on housing, education, the environment, child care, safety and protection of our children. These are things that people want to see delivered. I am very proud to say that as a result of the agreement in this bill we have additional investments of $4.6 billion that will go to those key items.

The parliamentary secretary is indicating that all these things were already there, but the fact is there was no relief for students. There was nothing in the original budget bill that was directed to students. There was nothing in the bill that was directed to housing as a new investment.

Is the parliamentary secretary committed to ensuring that this money is delivered to help students with their tuition? They are facing very real debt loads. This bill is about getting help to people, whether it is for housing or tuition, or through the gas tax for public transit.

Hon. John McKay (Liberal): Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member’s initial comments that the party opposite seems to be not the official opposition party but the party of against. The opposition members are against all of the initiatives that the hon. member listed among a whole variety of other things. I am not quite sure where the official opposition stands, other than they may be in bed with the separatists.

To directly respond to the hon. member’s question, she will take note of budget 2004 which implemented quite a number of initiatives with respect to post-secondary education. She will recollect that in the course of my speech I indicated quite a number of initiatives that we had taken in previous budgets with respect to that issue.

It is the same with housing. A lot of the housing programs have been rolling out over the past number of years starting as I said with the SCPI initiative in 1999, budget 2001, budget 2003. As I said earlier, the current support is something in the order of $1.9 billion. All of these initiatives build on those issues.