Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Outremont.
This week the Prime Minister had a choice to make. He knew very clearly where the New Democrats stood.
Canadians know that it is not particularly natural for us to work with the Conservatives. It is hard to work with a government that consistently puts the interests of Bay Street, the banks and the multinational oil companies ahead of middle-class Canadians but, putting that aside, we were willing to try to make it work because a budget is an opportunity to get results right now for Canadians.
The Prime Minister could have introduced practical and affordable measures to help families make ends meet each month. He could have responded to the serious shortage of family doctors and nurses.
He could have strengthened retirement security for hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Instead, under a cloud of scandal, the Prime Minister showed that he is, unfortunately, incapable of working with others on behalf of Canadians. He has proven himself incapable of putting the needs of our families today ahead of well-connected Conservative insiders.
During the recession, Canadians were looking for leadership from Parliament. They wanted practical solutions to help overcome the challenges they were facing. They were looking for the kind of solutions that were put forward by the NDP. However, what they got was proof that Ottawa no longer works.
Instead, Canadians got was more proof that Ottawa is broken and more evidence that the Prime Minister, sadly, cannot be trusted.
I proposed a road map for strengthening the Canada pension plan and the Quebec pension plan so that Canadians could retire securely and with dignity. These are the people who built our country and they have every right to live in security and with dignity.
I presented a practical proposal to use this budget as an opportunity to lift every senior in Canada out of poverty. One-quarter of a million senior Canadians now struggle just to get by. It is unacceptable and seniors are looking to Ottawa for help.
There are seniors like Cliff Stafford from Oshawa, who, after 50 years of hard work as a mechanic, has to rely on food banks to feed himself. That is wrong. He lost his wife nine years ago. He still has a mortgage to pay and he is grappling with an illness. He watches every penny he spends but the CPP cheque just does not stretch far enough. This budget will not help him at all.
I asked the government to train more doctors and nurses in order to help the millions of Canadians who do not have a family doctor. These millions of Canadians have no one to turn to when they get sick. Parents and seniors need to make a difficult decision—drive for hours to find a doctor or sit in an overcrowded waiting room. This budget does not help them.
We put forward a practical measure to deal with the affordability crisis that people face today, to ease the burden of already stretched family budgets. It was an opportunity to help families by removing the federal tax off home heating. Canada is a cold place. We have to heat our homes.
It would have been an opportunity to take that tax off that necessity of family life, a practical way that Parliament could have helped make life a little more affordable in these difficult times. For families struggling to pay for skyrocketing heating costs, the budget is not going to help them either.
The Prime Minister has had five years to fix what is wrong in Ottawa. He has had five years to deliver on a promise to make life more affordable. He has had five years to clean up the scandals in Ottawa, once and for all. He has five years to do something about health care, about which he has done nothing. Instead he has made things worse.
New Democrats know we can do better.
We can do better. Canadians deserve better. They deserve a trustworthy prime minister who will stand up for families.
I believe Canadians deserve a prime minister they can trust, a prime minister who will focus on the priorities of today's families, each and every day while we work in this place, a prime minister ready to roll up both sleeves and put partisanship aside and work with others to get the job done. That is Canadian leadership and that is what we need.