-to explain to us about these affairs, but I think that was in a large measure due to the fact that the minister has learned that he gets into a fair amount of trouble when he is too dogmatic and, perhaps, because we can certainly think of some of the more prominent things he has said in recent times of that nature of which, no doubt, he would not like to be reminded at this moment. For example, there was his reference to inflation, when he said just about a month before last Christmas down in Florida to United States investors: "I confidently tell you that inflation has been checked." Again, in his last budget speech from the opposition side in a very terse and dogmatic statement, he stated very positively "we wish to see a balanced budget because we believe in balanced budgets." Well, that is funny in relation to this budget tonight.
I have tried to find things which would make it possible for me to extend some words of congratulations to the hon. gentleman, but the nature of his budget does not make that very easy. Perhaps I can say, however, that he has at least introduced some harmony tonight with the blue box in front of him, and the blue carnation and the blue haberdashery. And we certainly have a blue budget. I think we have more than a blue budget; we have a sick budget, and I am afraid that most people among the public after hearing about it will agree that the minister himself offered very little anti-recession medicine with his sick budget.
The minister could, I suppose, be congratulated for having established some records. The size of the deficit is, of course, an all-time record in peace time, and the amount of his spending is an all-time record. But there is one thing with regard to which he has not established a record as a Conservative finance minister, because since 1913 a Conservative government has never introduced a budget with a surplus.
Now it will take a little while to examine the very complicated figures which the minister gave to us tonight in order to make sure whether even his deficit of $640 million will
prove to be the deficit we would normally have under our accounting system. I do know that probably the most responsible outside organization which looks at these things very carefully, the Canada tax foundation, estimated that the budget figures would probably establish a deficit of $1 billion. But the writer of this editorial did say that the Minister of Finance-and I quote the words used-"may be able to hide some of this amount by certain accounting adjustments." I expect that when we do examine the minister's speech in Hansard more carefully tomorrow we will be able to find, looking at some of these so-called suspect items, some figuring in past style different from the figuring he has produced I am sure the deficit will be larger.
I myself, in the estimates committee the other day, asked whether or not there was going to be a raid on the defence equipment fund, and it will be very interesting tomorrow to find out whether the figures with regard to loans and investments will prove my suspicion to be well founded.
In addition to this, the house did not get the story with regard to spending. We did not hear a word tonight about dominion-provincial relations; there was not a suggestion that if certain wishes of Premier Frost are going to be fulfilled in the near future another $78 million will be required, and if additional payments are to be made in this direction we would anticipate that probably another $150 million beyond what we have heard, would be involved in equalization payments.
We have heard nothing about the estimate of the cost of the federal share of national hospitalization, arrangements for which would be implemented within a couple of weeks-