The Budget

On Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 in Debate

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, it may be my last occasion to put a question to the hon. member for Toronto Centre while he is interim leader of the Liberal Party, and I commend him for once again a very entertaining, engaging and insightful address on the budget, which I believe is now referred to as economic action panda 2013.

I have read a lot of budgets, but I cannot figure out if we are up or down. We read that there would be more money for infrastructure, for Environment Canada, for the meteorological service and a bit more money for VIA Rail, but since VIA Rail was cut in half in the main estimates and there are no totals in the budget, what would VIA Rail get in 2013-14? What would Environment Canada get in 2013-14? I cannot figure out if we are up or down because the budget is missing the bottom-line numbers.

I ask my friend from Toronto Centre for his comments.

Hon. Bob Rae: I think the member is really on to something, Mr. Speaker. If I can compare it to other economic statements I have seen, I am used to seeing economic statements where the spending by departments is clearly listed, where there is a comparative number from year to year and where one would have a sense of what is happening.

The only thing we do know from this budget is that the government has to be finding its cuts somewhere. The relatively low level of program spending would lead to cuts. I do not think we have seen them. They have not been announced, and I do not think they will be announced. This is not a government that will announce cuts. This is a government that will simply sell the sizzle, sell the smell, not sell the reality. That is what we are into.

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