This is my second occasion in Committee of the Whole on different bills. The other occasion concerned a bill to create a minister of social welfare. I would like to ask the minister a similar type of question. Given the minister's assertions about caring about the disadvantaged of the country, the need to help women and native people, is he satisfied representing a government that allows the importation of oil, and the subsequent subsidy, to rise? The original projected expenditure of $2.6 billion has now been revised to in excess of $4 billion. Given the nature of world price rises which are coming into the neighbourhood of $5 billion in subsidies, this brings us very close to 10 per cent of the total federal expenditures and well over 12 per cent or 13 per cent of the money which is raised. Certainly it is a sum which is considerably more than the $100 million which goes into the employment tax credit or the $137 million of the other program which is spread over two years.
Does the minister consider the subsidization of oil to be a greater social priority on which to use taxpayers' dollars than programs, for example, which help create jobs, and help create higher pensions for senior citizens? Is the minister satisfied with the direction in which the government is going? The minister is a member of that government and a member of cabinet.
Subtopic: EMPLOYMENT TAX CREDIT ACT