Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I admit to being somewhat confused over Bill C-48, and I thank Honourable Senator Tkachuk for raising the issue of the NDP involvement in that bill. Looking at the newspapers on the weekend, the headline I saw was, "NDP cries foul over budget deal with Liberals." It reads that the Liberal critic, John McKay, Parliamentary Secretary to Finance Minister Goodale, told the Senate Finance Committee that the $4.5 billion budget money would not be doled out until the summer of 2006. However, as we all know, and as Senator Tkachuk also pointed out, finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis indicated that the NDP in the other place was expecting that the money would materialize sometime this fall.
Senator Eggleton's introduction to third reading also mentioned timing. There seems to be conflicting pieces of information as to when the money will actually start to flow. Certainly, the NDP in the other place was under the impression that an agreement had been struck that the money would start to flow this fall. It makes sense if you look at the bill. Clause (1), subsection (1) talks about the fiscal year 2005-06, which would indicate that that could happen at any moment. If we are not to start spending the money this year, why then do we have a clause dealing with this year? It is a little confusing, and I would like clarification on the timing.
The last time I spoke, I said that Bill C-48 contained items that were "motherhood" issues that we all think of as being important, namely, things such as affordable housing, increased money for training and post-secondary education, and increased foreign aid. In the appendix to the committee report on Bill C-48, they were called "fine sounding objectives."
Now the Liberal government is trying to claim credit solely for Bill C-48. In fact, as my honourable colleague Senator Tkachuk has said, perhaps there has been a little bit of a double-cross in that suddenly the money that we thought was going to flow will not flow.
We all know, and certainly I as an academic at a university and a professor know, that ideas are important. They are the engine that drives our society. In an academic circle it is well known that if you have an idea you do not attempt to claim credit for it because if you do and it is not your idea, that is considered intellectual theft. I would not want to claim credit for something that is not mine, and I do not expect the Liberal government to claim credit for something that is not theirs because then they could be accused of, and perhaps found guilty of, intellectual theft.
No idea, no matter how good it is, can stand on its own. We all know, and certainly those in the scientific community know, you could have a brilliant idea, but it will go nowhere unless you have the right people to carry it out, and unless you have the right process for implementation. Honourable senators on this side have talked about the process of implementation. There must be the correct process. You can have a great idea but it will not necessarily work out.
Bill C-48 contains money that will go to very good issues. If that bill is not properly managed, then it will fail.
Let me give you another scenario. Let us say it is so badly carried out by the Liberals that it fails. Then they will have egg all over their face. In that case, will they still claim credit for Bill C-48, or will they say the NDP made them do it?
My question then revolves around the timing. When will this happen? To continue with what Senator Tkachuk was saying as well, perhaps the NDP in the other place would have been wiser had they actually insisted upon a continuing relationship in a minority government, not only to institute Bill C-48, but also to ensure that there was a continuing involvement: to ensure that the bill is properly implemented so that it will lead to success. By a partnership they will have success. If they fight against each other, perhaps the bill will not succeed. They could blame each other and say who was naive and who was not, who was duped and who was double-crossed and so on, but the relationship perhaps would have been better had it continued to make sure the money went to the places in a process the NDP envisioned.
If this issue was part of the Liberal government intentions, then it should have been in the original bills. It was not. They do not seem to have the conviction to carry it out. The NDP in the other place in good faith thought it could be carried out, and perhaps now are left with blind faith, hoping that the Liberal government will manage to carry it out on their own and make it successful.