Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise and talk, even about issues that are brought to the floor by my New Democrat friends.
The NDP speakers have talked about the five big things they will do to try to lower prices. There is one in particular I want to reference, which is “abolishing data caps for broadband Internet and mandating that companies create unlimited data plans at affordable rates for wireless services”.
I was in the Manitoba legislature when we had the great debate about the privatization of the Manitoba telephone system. It was a very heated discussion. I remember one day wearing an army helmet into the chamber, and it was photographed. They called it the war of words. We had MLAs who were walking over and making threatening gestures to the government of the day. The Manitoba legislature was in a bit of an uproar back then.
The New Democrats opposed it going into the next election, saying that they would buy back the Manitoba telephone system. They even had emergency debates on buying back the Manitoba telephone system. New Democrats argued that rural Manitoba would be shafted and that the prices for telephone services would skyrocket. I must say that I enjoyed that debate. I argued with many of the different points. In fact, the record will show that I did not support the privatization of the Manitoba telephone system.
However, once the NDP were in government in the province, 15 years later, it did not do anything about the Manitoba telephone system, not a thing, even though New Democrats told Manitobans that they would do quite the opposite.
That is why, when I look at the NDP's five points for action, I am inclined to agree, and it is not often that I agree with the Conservatives across the way, that this is an election gimmick by the NDP. What New Democrats are trying to tell Canadians is that they would tell our private providers that they would have to expand and that they would have to give unlimited Internet. It would not be an option. They would mandate that they do it. New Democrats would also mandate what the price would be.
The only other thing I am a little surprised the New Democrats have not said is that their intention would be to nationalize. If they were to nationalize the sector, then they would be able to act on all five points they are presenting. I noticed a couple of the New Democrats smile at that gesture. Maybe that is what their real intent would be. At the end of the day, they need to be a little more transparent in terms of what New Democrats could actually accomplish. In the motion, it says that they want to reduce bills by $10.
For the 2017 budget, through the connecting families initiative, the Government of Canada, through negotiations and discussions with more than a dozen carriers, agreed that we need to get families connected to the Internet with access to cellular plans. That meant a guarantee of $10 to get that plan. We have seen thousands of families, in all different regions of our country, take advantage of that. It is tied to the Canada child benefit program.
We are recognizing how important it is for individuals to have access to cellular and Internet services. As opposed to talking about it, there was a budget initiative to put Internet into the homes of some of the poorest people in Canada. What did New Democrats do? They voted against that budget. On the one hand, they talk about reducing the rate for Internet usage and cellphone rates, but when it came time to support it, where were the comments of the NDP in that regard?
When I stood and posed a question, one NDP member's response was that their job was not to compliment the government. I can assure that member and other members from the New Democratic Party, almost without exception, that they are very good at not recognizing good things that take place. There are a lot of wonderful policy ideas this government has put in budget initiatives that New Democrats continuously vote against. They talk about—