Statement made on 28 January 2009 by Senator Jerahmiel Grafstein (retired)
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein:
Honourable senators, before asking a question of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, I wish to welcome, more concretely, some of my great friends on the other side. I am sure they will be effective and efficient senators, and I look forward to working with them. I see a number of old friends here and I welcome them to the chamber.
I do have a question for the leader, and it is a serious question. This question comes from the perspective of the individual taxpayer. Prior to the budget, the individual taxpayer heard three different, confusing messages coming from the government. The government told us to save. The government told us to spend and invest. Then we heard the government say, "We are not in crisis."
Many confused taxpayers, businesspersons and others came to me for advice during that confusing time prior to the budget.
We now have the budget and for the first time we hear that we are in crisis. Indeed, the government has added an adjective and it is now a "new" crisis. Some of us in this chamber have warned for some years that this crisis was brewing.
Honourable senators, what is the message in the budget? Which message is the government prepared to direct to individual taxpayers? Should they save? Should they spend? Should they invest or should they just worry and cringe?
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