Blast from the past (II)
From the proceedings of the Bow-Wow Parliament on April 30, 2013, the wisdom of the former PC MHA for Lake Melville, Mr. Keith Russell:
MR. RUSSELL: It comes down to, I guess – we have heard it many times in this House about living within our means and when expenditures surpass our revenues we have to adjust. Of course, a lot of us in this House have felt the sting of cuts, of layoffs and things like that. Nobody is happy to make those decisions, but we walk a path on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker, where we are prepared to make the tough call, the hard decisions in the best interest of the people of the Province.
We could have taken the easy way out. We could have simply gone and spent spent, borrowed a little more and then went for the political favour that comes with that. I am sure that would have been reflected in the polls but, personally, I do not take too much stock in them anyway.
When it comes to living within our means and addressing our debt situation, Mr. Speaker, we have heard the Minister of Finance and many of our other hon. colleagues in this House get up and talk about the servicing cost of that debt, between $800 million and $880 million, almost a billion dollars to service the debt. There is a significant opportunity cost associated with that. It is as simple as this it is money that is not available for programs and services. This is something that has been addressed. I am proud to say we have addressed the debt to the tune of over $4 billion since we have taken office, Mr. Speaker, and that is no small feat indeed.
If you look at it very briefly, and I will just say if you had a credit card in your own personal household – to the people out home who are watching – if you rack that up, you max that out, you get to a point where you are paying on the interest. You do not hit the principle any more. You are simply not going to be able to do all the things in life that you want to do. You are going to have to make some sacrifices.
Those sacrifices either come in recreation, it either comes in entertainment. It comes in support of your children, their extracurricular activities. God forbid, it gets to a point where it comes down to the running of your household and you have to make decisions, which come down to things like the basic necessities, such as food and utilities.
We have to be responsible. This Province has to be run like a corporation that is responsible to its shareholders. In essence, we have to be responsible to the people, the taxpayers and the voters, those who we are servicing. This is their money. We have to make sure we do our very best in order to service the people who are all part of this.
When I talk about the debt, we have heard the NDP say many times they are not interested in taking surpluses and putting it on the debt. Mr. Speaker, we have done that time and time again. Yes, when it comes to all of the money we spent on the debt and the money we have spent in the past on infrastructure, those were necessary. You have to strike while the iron is hot. We had the money at that time.
We have all heard mention of the crumbling infrastructure we inherited as a government when we came in, in 2003. We have made gigantic strides in upping the quality of life for the people of this Province by our dedication to doing right by them and addressing the infrastructure needs, Mr. Speaker. I am certainly proud to be a part of that.
We have also heard of, I guess, the people from across the way and their methodology of how we would do all of those wonderful social things that they seem to want to have, such as the universal health care, the dental, housing for everybody. We have heard of chicken in every pot and thirteen in every dozen. Tax, tax, tax and spend, tax and spend. That would put us into a vicious cycle, Mr. Speaker, which basically, I do not think we would be able to recover from.
In getting up and saying that time and time again, they send a very dangerous message to the people out there in terms of having a sense of entitlement. In terms of everybody deserves all of this stuff. I say to the people of the Province, we are here as a government to foster development, industry, to get jobs for people, Mr. Speaker, to have megaprojects and smaller projects that are necessary in order to provide for the people of the Province. They have to meet us halfway.