That, given the Prime Minister broke his promise to eliminate the deficit this year and that perpetual and growing deficits lead to massive tax increases, the House call on the Prime Minister to table a plan in Budget 2019 to eliminate the deficit quickly with a written commitment that he will never raise taxes of any kind.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this new chamber for my first speech here, and may it always remain faithful to the principles and practices of its predecessor. That is our inheritance as parliamentarians and as Canadians.
Speaking of inheritances, the inherited a massive family fortune. He has bragged about it. He has called it a family fortune. Because he has never had to worry about money, he does not worry much about Canadians' money. He believes budgets balance themselves. For people who inherit a family fortune, I suppose they do. He believes one can borrow one's way out of debt. I guess if one has always made other people pay for one's mistakes, that might make sense.
However, for ordinary, everyday Canadians who get up in the morning and earn a living and pay their bills with their own money, none of those things makes sense at all. The problem with this mindset is not just that it dances riddles in the 's brain, but that it plays out in real consequences for Canadians, consequences they feel in their everyday lives. Canadians are paying for his mistakes.
Political life has only grown the 's fortune. He forces taxpayers to fund his nannies while working Canadians pay for their own child care expenses. He was found guilty of breaking ethics laws by accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in free vacations from someone seeking a grant from his government. He accepted thousands of dollars in speaking fees from charities and school boards while he was being paid to work here in the House of Commons. At that time, he had the third worst attendance record of any of the then 308 members of Parliament. He even forced Canadian taxpayers to pay the expense for him to clown around India with a terrorist and a celebrity chef in tow, until that great country laughed him out of town.
Canadians work hard and they pinch their pennies, so they laugh when the says that the budget will balance itself. Many of them, though, believed him when he put his hand on his heart and promised that the budget would be balanced this year. He looked them straight in the eye and said there would be three modest deficits followed by a balanced budget this year.
However, now we know that not only did this inherit a fortune, but he is costing Canadians a fortune. The debt is growing to four times as much as he said. Far from being balanced this year, the budget will not be balanced, according to Finance Canada, until the year 2040. We know what this means, and that is the purpose of this debate.
We know that this 's out-of-control and growing deficit today will lead, if he is re-elected, to higher taxes tomorrow. Before we get into the case to prove that reality, let us just point out that not everybody is doing worse.
The wealthiest Canadians are doing much better. The and people like him who have family fortunes, such as the trust fund , are in the class of the one per cent. According to the CRA, the wealthiest one per cent is actually paying $4.6 billion less in income taxes than it was in the final year of the previous Conservative government. This, of course, runs contrary to the 's promise, but it is the factual reality, which his own department of tax collection has publicly reported, and which has been printed in the Globe and Mail.
Unfortunately, for everyone else, those people without a family fortune, life is getting more expensive. Let us just recap why it is getting more expensive. When it becomes costly, the government makes life more costly. Deficits drive up interest rates and inflation in the present, and they drive up taxes in the future. That is why Canadians are consistently telling us they cannot make ends meet.
Half of Canadians now say they are $200 away from insolvency, not able to pay their monthly bills. I have an unfortunate message, a warning, for all Canadians. Yes, taxes have gone up under the present , but they ain't seen nothing yet, and let me give the evidence for that claim.
First, the broke his promise and raised taxes once before. The average middle-class family is paying $800 more in taxes than when he took office. This is because he took away the children's fitness tax credit, the transit tax credit, the textbook tax credit from students and the education tax credit from those same students. That is in addition to the increases in payroll taxes that take effect this year and the carbon tax that takes effect on April 1.
The took in all of the extra revenue from these taxes, and one would think that would have helped the budgetary balance, but instead the $20-billion windfall that resulted from higher taxes and a booming world economy has vanished, because the Prime Minister blew every penny.
That brings us to the second point. The not only raised taxes, but he got caught trying to raise others. He attempted to impose a 73% tax on small business investment. He attempted to impose new tax penalties on family businesses that transfer the company or the farm from father to son or mother to daughter. He tried to tax health and dental benefits.
He even tried to put in a new tax on what are called employee discounts, like when a waitress has a chicken salad sandwich on her 10-minute break at one o'clock in the morning. Her employer was going to have to put that on her T4 slip and force her to pay income tax on it at the end of the year. Thank God we caught the and forced him to put that plan on ice.
He also attempted to take away the disability tax credit from diabetics. These tax hikes will all be back if he is re-elected, when he will no longer need voters but will still need their money.
Then we have the carbon tax cover-up. It started with the blacking out of documents that I requested in an ATIP, asking for the real cost to average families of the Liberal carbon tax. The Liberals claim that this tax makes people better off. If that were true, surely they would be determined to release every single government document they have to prove it. Instead, there are dozens of pages covered, ironically, with black ink, which is of course a carbon-based product itself. They have not revealed how much carbon went into that ink either, so that is another part of this cover-up. That is only the first part of the costs they refused to reveal.
The second part is that the documents they released that were not blacked out indicated that they will not be able to meet their climate change goals with a $50-a-tonne carbon tax. They now admit that it will require a $300 carbon tax. That is six times higher than they admit and 15 times higher than the tax is expected to be this year. Rather than, as the government claims, costing Ontario families about $600, when the carbon tax is implemented it will cost them over $3,000. Rather than costing the average Saskatchewan family about $900, it will cost that same family well over $5,000.
Again, that is based on documents the government released, and the numbers are calculated based on the government's own figures. These are not the opposition's calculations; they come directly out of the government's documents. In reality, if Canadians re-elect the present , they will pay carbon taxes in excess of $3,000 per year in Ontario and $5,000 a year in Saskatchewan.
The will tell Canadians not to worry because he will send them a rebate for $150 a year. Big deal. Trading $3,000 for $150 might make sense if one has inherited a family fortune, but for the folks who pinch their pennies in order to get by, that is a financial disaster. For families who are $200 away from failing to pay their monthly bills, that is a mathematical impossibility. They recognize that they are already paying for the Prime Minister's mistakes, and they cannot afford to pay a fortune more.
The next proof point that the government will impose massive tax increases if the is re-elected is the deficit. The Prime Minister promised we would have a balanced budget. He broke that promise. He broke his promise on deficits; he will break his promise on taxes. It is a mathematical fact that runaway and growing, permanent deficits must eventually lead to tax increases. The only way to avoid that is to set in place a plan, starting this year, to phase out that deficit over a reasonable time frame so that we can avoid the higher taxes that the Prime Minister is setting Canadians up to pay.
This is an unavoidable fact. We have seen it before. Back in the eighties and nineties, the deficit grew and grew until the interest was consuming one out of every three dollars that Canadians spent on their federal taxes. Now we see the same trend. The deficit is growing, and so is the debt interest. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, by the year 2023, only four years from now, we will be spending $40 billion a year on debt interest. That is an increase of two-thirds from last year. We will be spending more on debt interest than the government currently spends on health transfers. In other words, that means money for bankers and bondholders rather than for doctors and nurses.
Of course, when that happens, the will come back here and say that circumstances have changed and he can no longer keep his promises, and that yes, he denied and denied during the 2019 election that he was going to raise taxes, just as he had denied and denied that he would run long-term deficits in the election before, but that unfortunately he is going to have to make Canadians pay more. We can almost imagine him giving the speech now, a tear rolling down his cheek, blaming everyone but himself: “It is the world's fault. It is Stephen Harper's fault. It is John A. Macdonald's fault. It is Wilfrid Laurier's fault.” He could go further back into history, I am sure. There is no one who is more skilled at externalizing blame for his own failures than the . We can count on him to do it again in the future. If—God forbid—he is re-elected, he will impose massive taxes.
It is a common characteristic of those who have never had to pay for their own mistakes. If people inherit a family fortune, they just pass on their mistakes to others and let them pay for it. That is how he has lived his life and that is how he has governed the country. However, Canadians can no longer afford to pay for his mistakes.
That brings us to the fifth and final proof point: because he inherited a fortune, he costs one. He costs Canadians a fortune.
Most people understand the basic principle of scarcity. When they are raising their kids, they will tell them they can do skiing in the winter or hockey, but they cannot do both, or they can have a great vacation at the cottage or at Disneyland, but they cannot do both. Most people who go out and buy groceries are going to make sure they get the best price for those groceries so that their dollar goes as far as possible. Someone who inherits a family fortune does not have any appreciation for that sense of scarcity, because there is always someone else's money to spend. It is always “yes” and “get me the most expensive one you can find”. That is exactly how he has run the government.
Do members know that the Government of Canada is 25% more expensive today than when the took office? Does anybody out there in the real world believe they are getting 25% better services or products from the Government of Canada? I cannot find a constituent who can identify a 25% increase in the benefit.
If a grocery store charges 25% more than the competition but says to just trust it because it is worth the money, yet the product is exactly the same as before or worse than before, then really the grocery store is asking the consumer to pay for the brand name. Does that not remind us of someone? Even though it is way more expensive, worse in quality, costs more and does less, we would pay 25% more for the brand name.
Mrs. Stephanie Kusie: It is Prime Minister's choice.
Hon. Pierre Poilievre: Someone said that it is the choice, not President's Choice. I thank the member for that very helpful intervention.
However, there it is, the case that Canadians need to hear: if the Liberal government is elected with the current at its head, they will raise taxes, and those tax hikes will cost Canadians a fortune. We know this because he raised taxes before. He got caught trying to raise them again, and he covered up the true cost of the carbon tax. We will have to pay for his never-ending and growing deficits. Of course, he inherited a fortune, he spends a fortune, and therefore he will cost a fortune.
I do not want it all to be about bad news, because in a democracy there is always an alternative, and we have a good one. We have as our leader the son of a working-class family who grew up with the same struggles as ordinary Canadians. He worked at a local restaurant in order to pay his bills and get through university.
He had a driver too, but his driver was a bus driver. He talks fondly about how hard it was trying to convince a girl to go on a date when they had to meet at a bus station. He worked in insurance briefly before he was elected to Parliament. He raised his five children with the same values he inherited from his working-class family. Those values were that he had to work for everything he had, had to live within his means, and could not make others pay for his mistakes.
We need to empower individuals and their families to get ahead through their own ambitions and hard work. It is not about us and it is not about him. It is not even about our leader; it is about everyday Canadians achieving their dreams through their own hard work. It is about putting people before government.
Under our leader, we will make government live within its means so that life is more affordable and Canadians can achieve their dreams.
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to participate in a discussion with hon. members about our government's record on good fiscal management. Our government has strengthened the middle class. We have provided real help to those who need it and we have grown the economy with more good, well-paying jobs for Canadians.
By investing in people and in their communities, we have created hope and opportunities for success. Hard-working Canadians are seizing these opportunities, building better lives for themselves and their families. Over the course of the past three years, Canadians have created over 800,000 jobs. The unemployment rate is at a historic 40-year low, and the share of working age Canadians with jobs is also at a historic high.
Our economy grew at the fastest pace among our G-7 peers in 2017, and we are expected to remain among the leaders in growth this year and next year. Most importantly, the benefits of this economic growth are being widely shared among Canadians. Groups that have been under-represented in the labour force, namely young Canadians, new Canadians, women and indigenous people, are seizing the new opportunities we are creating, joining the workforce or improving their positions within it and contributing to a stronger, growing middle class.
Our government came in determined to help hard-working Canadians have more opportunities to share in the benefits that come from a strong and growing economy, and that is exactly what we have done. We have taken decisive and effective action, based on the shared values that define us as a country, to make Canadians' priorities a reality.
We asked the wealthiest one per cent of Canadians to pay a little more so that we could cut taxes for the middle class. The middle-class tax cut is benefiting over nine million Canadians.
We created the Canada child benefit. Compared to the previous system of child benefits, the CCB is simpler, more generous and better targeted to those families that need it most. It is also entirely tax-free. With the CCB, nine out of 10 Canadian families are getting more in benefits than they did under the previous system. Canadian children are better off as a result. The CCB has already helped lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. The extra support it gives makes a big difference for those working hard to make ends meet. This additional support from the CCB helps pay for things that can make a real difference in a child's future, such as nutritious food, sports activities and music lessons.
Thanks to the middle-class tax cut and the Canada child benefit, a typical middle-class family of four receives on average of about $2,000 more each year to help with the cost of raising children, saving for the future and helping grow the economy for the benefit of everyone.
With our middle-class tax cut and the Canada child benefit, a couple, one earning the average wage and the other earning two-thirds of that wage, with two children, now keeps nearly 85% of the couple's gross income. For a single parent of two children earning the average wage or for families with two children where only parent is working at the average wage, the benefits are even more significant. According to the OECD, when the CCB and other benefits are added to family income, those families effectively pay personal tax rates of just 1.8% and 1.2% respectively. This means that they keep more than 98% of what they earn. I am proud to be able to say that Canada is truly a global leader.
We have gone even further to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are widely shared. In our 2018 budget, we introduced the Canada workers benefit. The CWB will put more money in the pockets of low-income workers, encouraging more people to join and stay in the workforce and offering real help to more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class.
Beginning this year, the CWB replaces the working income tax benefit. The CWB will provide for a benefit that is more generous and more accessible. To give a sense of what this will mean for Canadians, low-income workers earning $15,000 could receive up to almost $500 more from the Canada workers benefit in 2019 than they would have under the previous system. That money can be used to support their priorities to get ahead, making a real difference for Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class.
With these investments in Canadians and a growing economy, we are proving what Canadians already know: a country cannot cut its way to prosperity. A different approach, one that includes smart investments and fair choices, is what keeps us strong, united and growing together.
That is especially the case when it comes to Canada's most vulnerable. Rather than cutting services for the most vulnerable, we are supporting them while responsibly managing our fiscal track. For Canada's most vulnerable seniors, we increased the guaranteed income supplement top-up, which is providing greater income security for close to 900,000 seniors, 70% of whom are women, while helping to lift 57,000 vulnerable seniors out of poverty.
We also introduced Canada's first-ever national housing strategy. This 10-year, $40-billion plan will give more Canadians a safe and affordable place to call home, lifting 530,000 households out of housing need and reducing chronic homelessness by 50%.
Investments in infrastructure, including public transit, roads, bridges and ports that support trade, water and waste-water facilities, cultural and recreational infrastructure, and affordable housing, are helping to improve the quality of life for people across the country while setting the stage for sustained economic growth and the creation of well-paying jobs over the long term.
In addition to support for Canadian scientists, researchers and innovators, new trade agreements, including the new NAFTA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union and the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership, will mean even greater economic opportunities for Canadians in the years ahead.
Our government also recognizes the importance of a competitive tax environment for small businesses. Lower tax rates for small businesses allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money so it can be reinvested to support growth and to create jobs. That is why we have reduced the small business tax rate, first to 10%, effective January 1, 2018, and then to 9%, effective January 1, 2019. The combined federal-provincial-territorial average income tax rate for small business is 12.2% in 2019, the lowest in the G7 and the fourth-lowest among members of the OECD. For small businesses, our actions mean up to $7,500 in federal tax savings per year compared to 2017. For the average small business, it means an average of $1,600 per year to reinvest in new equipment, growth and job creation.
Small business is a key driver of Canada's economy, accounting for 70% of all private sector jobs. The small business tax reductions introduced by our government will support jobs and growth in small businesses and will create new opportunities in communities right across the country.
We are taking action to ensure that all Canadians benefit from the opportunities we are creating and will continue to benefit in their retirement years. We have worked in collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners to enhance the Canada pension plan so that Canadians can enjoy a dignified retirement. The CPP enhancement will be phased in starting this month. It will mean more money for Canadians when they retire so they can worry less about their savings and focus more on enjoying time with their families. Over time, this enhancement will raise the maximum CPP retirement benefit by up to 50%. This translates to an increase in the maximum retirement benefit of nearly $7,300, from $13,855 to more than $21,100 in today's dollars.
To conclude, we have accomplished all of this—creating jobs and economic growth, investing in new opportunities in the future and supporting our most vulnerable—while carefully managing our fiscal track. We are being fully responsible in safeguarding the advantages Canada enjoys as a result of this approach to financial management. Canada's strong fiscal position has allowed our government to invest in Canadians while keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward track and protecting the long-term fiscal sustainability of Canada's economy.
Madam Speaker, I will start by referencing the opposition day motion from the Conservatives, which starts to talk about deficits and ends up with the commitment that the government should never raise taxes of any kind.
I will start with the issue of deficits. For those who have been following the political debates around the issues of deficits and debt, they could always ask, because every party seems to be raising this issue in the House of Commons, who they can trust when it comes to the issues of deficits and debt. The best way to find out who is credible on this issue is to consult the fiscal period returns of the Department of Finance.
Over the years, every year, the Department of Finance in Canada tracks how governments of all types manage the fiscal pot that is available for investments in Canadians. NDP governments have the reputation of investing in people. New Democrats do not tend to give massive subsidies to business or a lot of giveaways to Bay Street. In fact, it's quite the opposite. We decry this because we think it is bad practice. We make sure that education and health care are taken care of first. We make sure that those investments go to the Canadians who need them most.
With an NDP government, people can trust that seniors are going to have their pensions taken care of, that they are going to go beyond the cost of living. New Democrats do not believe that seniors should be living in poverty in our wealthy land. We take the principle that all Canadians should have a roof over their heads and NDP governments have historically been the best at creating housing and making sure it is affordable.
With those kinds of investments, people would have to ask themselves who has been best at managing deficits. What the Department of Finance's fiscal period returns tell us year after year—we are not talking about a three-year snapshot or a 10-year snapshot, we are talking about the last 40 years—is that Liberal governments historically are not very good at handling deficits. In fact, they have the worst record. The second worst record belongs to Conservative Party administrations. The reality is that even though New Democrats do not put that forward as our number one issue, NDP governments historically, according to Finance Canada, have been the best at balancing budgets and paying down debt.
That is not something New Democrats carry forward because we believe that, primarily, the business of government is to make sure that those investments are made for those who need them and that the education system is accessible to everyone. Our health care system, of course, comes from Tommy Douglas, the father of Canadian medicare, who had the courage to build the modern health care system, the public, single-payer health care system that we enjoy in Canada. The NDP will be relentless in continuing to push for that next stage in Tommy Douglas's dream, which is to have universal single-payer pharmacare in this country so that every Canadian can take the medication that he or she needs. That continues to be a priority.
If we talk about deficits generally, the NDP has the best track record, but we do it by eliminating these massive subsidies and handouts to big business. We do it by eliminating the pet project financing that we see by both Liberal and Conservative governments. We do this by making sure the investments are made in people.
I was very interested to see the member for stand on behalf of the Conservative Party and point his finger at the Liberal Party, saying the Liberal Party has increased the cost of government 25% over the term of its mandate. We know a lot of that cost of government has gone to Bay Street. There have been massive subsidies to fossil fuel companies, massive subsidies to corporate CEOs and most recently, the $14 billion that was handed out to Bay Street in the fall mini-budget. The priority was not housing or universal single-payer pharmacare. The priority for the government last fall was to give $14 billion to Bay Street. Therefore, it is not surprising to me that we have seen the cost of government increase to 25%.
However, we just ran the figures, because the member for surely would have also tested what the Conservative Party increase in the cost of government had been. He would not be pointing the finger at the Liberals unless he had done his homework before coming forward with another figure. Surprising to me, and this undermines everything Conservatives members will say for the rest of the day, the cost of government under Stephen Harper went up 34%, worse than the Liberals.
It is incredible to me that the Conservatives did not do their financial homework. They have come forward with a motion in which their key point is that the Liberals increased the cost of government by 25% with handouts to Bay Street and all those giveaways. He is absolutely right, but he did not do the homework to find out what the increase was under the Conservatives. The cost of government went up 34%, again because of these massive subsidies to Bay Street and to the very wealthy and largely foreign-owned fossil fuel sector.
Handing money left, right and centre to banks and corporate CEOs is something the Conservatives and the Liberals love to do, a pox on both their houses. Neither of them knows how to manage money effectively. Neither of them seems to understand how to invest in people. Neither of them seems to understand how to run government in the interest of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
As the member for pointed out, it is true that Canadians are living tough times. They are experiencing some of the toughest times we have seen in a number of generations. I completely disagree with my Liberal colleague's point of view that everything is just fine. The said in the House yesterday that he was getting compliments. Therefore, it does not matter that so many Canadians are struggling with the cost of housing. However, the figure that came out last week is indicative of how poor the approach of the Liberal government has been. Forty-six per cent of Canadians, nearly half of our population, is $200 away from financial insolvency in the course of every month. Half our population is struggling with this.
If this figure does not give a cause for the Liberal government to change what has been the incredibly irresponsible and mean-spirited direction it has taken, I do not know what could. After three years of Liberal government, half the Canadian population is a scant $200 away from financial insolvency every month.
I am going to mention three people I know personally who experience first-hand that desperation that comes from just trying to make it through every month. In question period yesterday, I mentioned the case of Sarah, and I did not get a response from the .
Sarah is indicative of so many other Canadians across the country. She is struggling to find affordable housing for herself and her three children. She works full-time as a nurse. She contributes to our health care system. She is dedicated. She works night and day. In fact, she works night shifts. I have knocked on thousands of doors over the course of the last few months and heard these stories so many times about getting affordable housing in Burnaby, British Columbia. In the case of Sarah and her three children, the only affordable housing she can get will take her entire monthly salary. She will have no money for food. She will have no money for clothes, school, transportation or heat.
The Liberals say that everything is fine when half the country is just a scant few dollars away from financial insolvency. They need to consider the case of Sarah, who is struggling. The $14 billion for Bay Street that came out in the mini budget in November was simply disrespectful to her situation.
Let me tell members about Heather. I have raised her name in the House before as well. Heather lives with her mother and her disabled daughter. She is trying to get by every month in a one bedroom apartment. It is a family of three. She is struggling every month to get through the month and keep that apartment.
This is not a rare story in any way. Right across the Lower Mainland, in parts of Toronto, in many of the big cities in the country, families are living in one bedroom apartments, sometimes in bachelor suites, just to get through the month. In the north it is even worse and more chronic. We hear about families of a dozen or 15 people living in a one bedroom home because there is simply no affordable accommodation available. Heather's case should give the Liberal government pause and have it change direction as well.
Let me tell the House about Jim, who I have referenced in the House of Commons before. Jim is very indicative of the crisis that so many Canadians are living through while Liberals hand out billions of dollars to Bay Street. Every Liberal MP would pass Jim every day. He is in a wheelchair on the bridge between the Chateau Laurier and the East Block. We can see him as we walk by. If we talk to Jim, he will say that he is there because he needs to get money for my medication. He lives on social assistance. His medication costs him $540 a month. He has to pay $540 a month out of pocket and the only way for him to do that, whether it is -30° or whether it is pouring rain, is to be on that bridge begging so he can take the medication that keeps him alive.
The Liberals say that everything is fine, that everything is great and they hand out more money to Bay Street. Jim is not fine. Heather is not fine. Sarah is not fine. People are suffering, while the out-of-touch Liberals make the worst policy decisions one can imagine, handing out $14 billion to Bay Street, handing out $15 billion for the Trans Mountain pipeline, which not only have they paid twice its asset value, not only is it a money-losing pipeline but the construction costs are escalating. The impact of that project on the possible loss of jobs in the fisheries and tourism industries in British Columbia is unaccounted. That is where Liberal priorities seem to be. They hand out billions of dollars and do not think of the consequences at all.
The question now is how do we fix this. We believe that we need a fair tax system. Our tax system is the most unequal among all industrialized countries. Our effective corporate tax rate is around only 9%, which is not at par with the corporate rate in other industrialized countries.
We think the solution is the opposite of the Conservatives' proposal. They are suggesting that we maintain the existing tax system, which is antiquated and unfair. Unfortunately, this tax system does not allow for investments to help people like Sarah, Jim and Heather.
Other countries are currently working on this. Some European countries are taxing web giants. France was upset that web giants were just paying the effective tax rate of 9%, although this is better than what major corporations pay in Canada. France decided to implement a fair tax system. Web giants will be required to pay their fair share of taxes, which will allow for investments to help people like Jim, Sarah and Heather.
Major corporations are often associated with tax havens, which help them pay an effective tax rate of only 9%.
People like Sarah pay an effective rate much higher than the 9% that the Liberals impose on major corporations. Fortunately, our Parliamentary Budget Officer heroically stepped in. His office said that we needed to find out the exact difference between what companies should be paying in Canada and what they are actually paying. Five and a half years ago, the Parliamentary Budget Officer started this process and asked the Harper government to disclose how much the big companies were paying. Ordinary Canadians pay their fair share of taxes, but we needed to know what the corporate tax rate was for big business. The Harper government and the Conservative MPs all said they could not reveal that information because it was confidential. For three years, the Parliamentary Budget Officer relentlessly pursued his mission. The Conservatives refused to allow for any transparency in the tax system, which is disgusting. They wanted to keep Canadians from finding out the real tax rate and the difference between the rich and the regular folks who pay their fair share of taxes.
We got a new government in 2015, but nothing changed. The Liberals blocked the release of that information for two and half years. The Parliamentary Budget Officer finally said that enough was enough and that he was going to take the government to court, so the Liberals gave in and released the information. In a few months, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who is working hard to figure out all those numbers, is going to announce to Canadians the exact discrepancy between the amount that big business should be paying and the amount that they are actually paying as a result of tax havens. That will change things. That was the last argument that I wanted to raise.
Earlier, the member for said that eliminating a tax credit is effectively a tax hike. That is not what we want. Big oil companies are getting billions and billions of dollars' worth of subsidies. That makes no sense. That sector turns huge profits. Canadians' tax dollars are being used to help those big oil companies, which are primarily foreign-owned corporations. The Conservatives believe that oil companies should continue to receive those billion dollar subsidies, and the Liberals do too. The Liberals say that they do not like it and that they will deal with it later, but how can we possibly count on them do to that?
Climate change is already costing the Canadian economy and Canadians billions of dollars a year, billions of dollars in insurance payouts, billions of dollars as these catastrophic climatic events occur. For the Liberals and the Conservatives to say that they will continue to subsidize wealthy, very profitable fossil fuel companies does not make any sense at all. Effectively, that is what the Conservative motion would do. The tax credit, according to the member for , is a tax hike. Therefore, Canadians have to continue to subsidize, according to Conservative logic, a sector that makes enormous profits.
My conclusion is this. The Liberals and the Conservatives have been running the country for decades. They have been running the tax system for decades and they have been running it into the ground. They have created a monster, the most unequal, inequitable tax system in the industrialized world.
We in the NDP believe that we need a fair tax system, a tax system that ensures that everybody pays, as we say in French, leur juste part. By creating that system, we can have the resources to make the investments that make a meaningful difference in the lives of regular Canadians..
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to support the motion before the House. I will be sharing my time with the member for .
Members may recall that in the last election campaign in 2015, the then leader of the third party promised modest deficits, if elected, leading to a balanced budget by the end of that Liberal term. He said that the promised balanced budget in 2019 was “very” cast in stone. It is not very grammatical, but that is what he said.
The Conservatives warned the brash new leader that in times of modest growth, responsible governments did not run the country into deficits. I am sure members will recall that in 2015 Canada was in modest growth mode. After guiding the country through the 2008-09 recession, Canada was hailed by economists around the world for being the last country to go into recession and the first to emerge, and emerge strongly.
After guiding the country through the 2008-09 recession, our Conservative government raised infrastructure spending by three times and we did it while balancing budgets and lowering taxes on Canadians. In short, our previous government's building Canada plan was the largest long-term infrastructure plan in Canadian history that was itself structured to keep the country out of a structural deficit.
We know that Canadians, for a variety of reasons, made a fateful choice at the ballot box. Almost immediately, buyer's remorse began setting in as the new Liberal government began breaking promises. It broke promises across the policy spectrum. There is not time to list all of those broken promises again today, but the biggest, the most damaging broken promise was the “very cast in stone” promise to run three modest deficits of $10 billion a year, returning to balance in the final year of the mandate, this year, 2019.
Instead, and despite a $20 billion windfall of a booming world economy, the Liberal government blew it all, and has run huge budget deficits, leading to today when the Parliamentary Budget Office tells us that the deficit is more than $21 billion this year alone. According to Finance Canada, the budget will not be balanced until at least 2040. By then, Canada will be looking at an additional $271 billion in debt.
It is abundantly clear that as the Liberal government and the misguided Liberal runs now chronic deficits, he is borrowing money not only from our children but from our grandchildren, in fact, from our great grandchildren. Today's deficits are tomorrow's taxes. As much as taxes have been raised by the Liberal government and continue to be raised based on its past, current and future spending plans, the worst is yet to come.
As the leader of the official opposition, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, warned Canadians on the weekend, if the is re-elected, our taxes will go up. Taxes will go up in many areas and for a variety of reasons. My colleagues have spoken, and will speak, about the results of misguided policy mistakes and ineffective spending. However, I would like to discuss another example of irresponsible deficit spending with regard to the almost $650 million committed to the ill-considered commitment to bail out the Canadian news industry, widely seen as a cynical election year attempt to co-opt, to buy-off, media owners and publishers.
Members will recall that $50 million was allotted in the 2018 budget and another $595 million promised in the 2018 fall economic statement. There is a stark disagreement between the owners and shareholders and those who actually generate news content on the worthiness and acceptability of the bailout, and I will address that in a moment.
I grew up and was blessed to develop a career in the golden age of 20th century conventional media after arriving in Canada from England near the end of the Second World War. I was born in a Canadian army hospital in Sussex to Albertans serving in the army and army medical core. My father went to work for the Southam newspaper chain in Canada: the Ottawa Citizen, the Medicine Hat News, the Calgary Herald and so forth.
I enjoyed many happy days with my dad at the various papers, captivated by the smell of hot lead, clanking Linotype machines and the wonderful roar of the presses. That led me to a wonderful career in journalism, more than four decades in radio, television and newspapers, working for CTV, Global, CBC, NBC and Monitor Television. I was honoured to host CBC's The National for a couple of years in the mid-70s, before being assigned, or actually exiled, abroad for successfully challenging Trudeau government interference in CBC editorial decision-making during the time of the Parti Québécois government in Quebec.
I participated in the ultimately ill-fated attempt to converge the Global Television Network with the former Southam newspapers to adapt to the rapidly changing media changes at the turn of the century.
I saw far too many colleagues deal with the harsh downsizing of newsrooms, as fragmented advertising budgets and audiences took a destructive toll on the gathering and generation of Canadian news content: local, national and international.
Back now to the stark disagreement over the almost three-quarter-billion dollar news industry bailout I mentioned earlier between boardroom and newsroom. News organization CEOs and publishers, who draw multi-million dollar salaries and equally outsized bonuses as their newsrooms are depleted, are delighted. Then Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey enthusiastically welcomed the 's fall economic statement announcement. Mr. Godfrey recommended that “Everyone in journalism should be doing a victory lap around their building right now.”
However, I agree passionately with a host of Canada's most respected journalists who immediately rejected the Liberals' bailout as an unacceptable intervention that will compromise the independence of their craft. I share their opposition to the Liberal proposal of a panel of news experts who would distribute the election-year beneficence by deciding which newsrooms are credible and worthy and which newsrooms are not.
The Canadian news industry is not disappearing. It is being transformed from conventional print and broadcast forms to digital platforms. To my mind, struggling conventional organizations will survive only with public policy adjustments that will reset and level the playing field for private sector newsrooms.
The cannot justify the Liberals' $600-million-plus election year bailout, because he has absolutely no idea what will happen after his subsidized transition period. That is unacceptable. Intervention should have a goal beyond short-term survival and dependence.
I will save discussion of the public policy remedies the government should be considering for another day. I offer the misguided attempt to bail out the Canadian news industry as just another example of the out-of-control deficit spending by the Liberals.
I will conclude by returning to the ask of today's worthy motion:
That....the House call on the Prime Minister to table a plan in Budget 2019 to eliminate the deficit quickly with a written commitment that he will never raise taxes of any kind.
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise for the first time in this new chamber. It is a privilege to rise to speak to this Conservative opposition day motion. By bringing forward this motion, we are fulfilling our duty as the official opposition to hold the government to account.
What we have before the House today is a relatively straightforward motion, a motion that, quite frankly, I would hope the government would support, because, after all, all we are asking the government to do is fulfill the promise it made to Canadians to balance the budget.
When the was elected in 2015, he inherited a Conservative balanced budget. Indeed, it was a surplus budget, and very quickly, the Prime Minister turned the Conservative surplus into a Liberal deficit. One could say that was not entirely surprising, given that the Prime Minister, during the 2015 election campaign, campaigned on what he called short-term small deficits. To be fair to the Prime Minister, by turning a Conservative surplus into a Liberal deficit, one could say that it was consistent with the promise he made to Canadians.
Aside from turning a Conservative surplus into a deficit, when it comes to keeping promises made to Canadians with respect to the fiscal management of this country, it has been all downhill from there.
It is important to remind members of the government what the said in 2015 when he was talking about what he again characterized as short-term small deficits. What he meant by that was that in the first year of the Liberal government, the deficit would be no more than $10 billion. What happened to that promise? It turns out that it was a Liberal promise made and a Liberal promise broken. Instead of running a $10-billion deficit in the first year, the government managed to run a deficit of $19 billion, 92% higher than what the Prime Minister promised Canadians.
When the talked about short-term small deficits, he said that in the second year of the Liberal government, the deficit would again be no more than $10 billion. What happened to that commitment? What happened to that promise? Once again, it was another Liberal promise made and another Liberal promise broken. Then the said that in the third year, the deficit would be no more than $5.7 billion. What happened to that promise? It was another Liberal promise made and another Liberal promise broken. We are beginning to see a pattern of Liberal promises made and Liberal promises broken.
The , quite famously, in the 2015 campaign, made the commitment that in fiscal year 2019-20, Canada would be back in the black. The budget would be balanced. What happened to that promise? Again, it was another Liberal promise made and another Liberal promise broken. Instead of balancing the budget, the government is projected to run yet another massive deficit in 2019-20, another massive deficit in fiscal year 2020-21 and another massive deficit in fiscal year 2021-22, and on and on.
It is quite interesting, given how specific the current government was about balancing the budget in 2019, that when the member for rose in the House and asked the a very straightforward question, namely, in what year the budget would be balanced, he refused to say. He would not answer the very simple, straightforward question of what year the budget would be balanced.
It is no wonder the refuses to answer that question, because the true answer is that the budget will never be balanced with these Liberals. Indeed, according to the Department of Finance, at the current rate of spending, the budget will be balanced in 31 years. I am 34. In 31 years, the Liberals will maybe get around to balancing the budget. Therefore, instead of three years of what the characterized as small, short-term deficits, what the government instead is delivering is more than three decades of red ink.
What is quite remarkable about all of this is that the government has managed to run rather large deficits, which are two and three times larger than what it promised Canadians, in times of modest economic growth. It begs the question of what the fiscal situation would look like in the not so unlikely event of an economic downturn.
According to the Fraser Institute, if the economic conditions were the same as 2008 and 2009, the last time this country saw a major economic downturn, instead of running a $20-billion deficit, the deficit would balloon to $120 billion. If the member for does not like the Fraser Institute, I think he and any reasonable person would agree that the deficit will increase substantially in an economic downturn because two things happen immediately, without any change in policy, when we have an economic downturn: revenues decrease and government program spending increases.
The fact is that the current government has set Canada on a very slippery course, which is unsustainable and comes with a price. It comes with a price in the form of higher taxes. We have seen that from the government. This is a government that rolled back tax credits for public transit users and cancelled tax credits for students and families. This is a government that has shaken down diabetics and the most vulnerable in our society by trying to take away disability tax credits. This is a government that tried to get away with taxing employee discounts and health and dental benefits. This is a government that has increased taxes on the average Canadian family by nearly $1,000. This is a government that is now prepared to impose the mother of all taxes, the tax on everything, a massive and unfair carbon tax.
Quite frankly, it is time the current government did what it said and said what it did, kept its commitment to Canadians and tabled a plan in this House to do what the said he would do all along, which is to balance the budget.
Mr. Speaker, it is wonderful to rise in this new year in this new chamber. It is not wonderful to rise to speak to an opposition motion brought forth by the member for that is, in my opinion, useless, if I can be so direct. It is an opposition motion that does not speak to the needs of everyday hard-working Canadians, middle-class Canadians at home, and their concerns of ensuring they have a bright future for themselves and their kids, or ensuring we make life more affordable for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Reading the text of this motion, it does nothing to that effect.
Let us speak to the record. We, as a government, cut taxes for nine million middle-class Canadians in the last three and a half years. The opposition, the Conservatives, voted against that. As a government, we raised the guaranteed income supplement by 10% for our most vulnerable seniors. They, as the opposition, voted against that measure. As a government, we brought in the Canada child benefit, which makes nine out of 10 families in Canada better off by $2,300 on average. They, as the opposition, voted against that.
We expanded or enhanced the Canada pension plan, which will benefit generations of hard-working, middle-class Canadians. They, as the opposition, voted against that. We asked the wealthy to pay a little more. They have done well and we all know that. They, as the opposition, voted against that. We cut the small business tax rate to 9%, a savings of $7,500 for SMEs from coast to coast to coast, and Conservatives voted against that.
We have created 800,000 new jobs, a majority of which are full time and in the private sector. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 44 years. What did the Conservatives say? Nothing. Do they have a plan? No. What services will they cut? We know what Doug Ford is doing. He is cutting services for university students, making education less affordable for hard-working families in Ontario. That is the Conservative philosophy. That is what we have. Shame on the Conservatives. Shame on them for not bringing out any ideas.
We are growing our economy. In 2017, we led the G7 with 3% growth. This year, we will come in at 2% and change. Where is the Conservatives' plan? There is no plan. On our fiscal finances, the met with the rating agencies. They affirmed our AAA credit rating here in Canada. I think the word they used about our fiscal finances was “solid”. Canada's finances are in great shape.
We are doing things to benefit Canadians. For hard-working, low-income Canadians, the ones we really want to help get into the middle class, we introduced the Canada workers benefit. The Conservatives voted against it.
We need to speak about records. As someone who has worked in the financial markets for 23 years, both in New York and Toronto, someone who grew up working at a McDonald's, the Donut Factory, Zellers and a pulp mill and grain elevator, and who comes from the low middle class because my parents were immigrants, I can say we are doing things that are lifting people, children and families out of poverty. What did the Conservatives do? They voted against everything, everything helping families in my riding.
Over 15,000 kids and their families receive the Canada child benefit in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, which amounts to almost $5 million a month. What did the Conservatives do? They voted against it.
I will move to the speech I would like to give today, but when it comes to leadership on the economy and the environment, we are acting. That is what Canadians want. They do not want platitudes. They do not want hot air. They want us folks here, who have been elected and have the privilege of serving, to demonstrate leadership. They want us to leave a better environment for our kids, as well as a stronger economy and future for all Canadians.
I welcome all opportunities to remind the House and all Canadians of the work this government is doing because we are very proud of it. We are building a stronger Canada, a better Canada, while continuing to reduce the federal debt-to-GDP ratio. In fact, the work our government is doing is attracting praise from all around the world. The IMF has hailed Canada as an economic model for the world, with the IMF's managing director, Christine Lagarde, saying that the world needs more Canada.
I know the opposition party members like to comment and state facts from the Fraser Institute. How about if we just listen to the residents of our ridings and what they are saying? Why do those members not just go back and speak to them instead of to some think tank? Why do they not ask them what they want to do on the environment? They would like us to put a price on pollution and they would like us to make life more affordable for our residents, and that is exactly what we are doing.
Let us talk to our residents. Let us talk to them about our tax cut for nine million Canadians. Let us talk to them about the Canada pension plan enhancement. Let us talk to them about rolling back the age of eligibility to 65 from 67, which the Conservatives brought in. Let us talk to them about that.
Last year, the OECD gave us positive recognition for the government's historic investments in infrastructure and our first-ever national housing strategy, as well as the expected positive impacts of the new employment insurance parental sharing benefit.
Last week, the best-country rankings the U.S. News and World Report for 2019 put Canada at number one for quality of life, something we should all be proud of, because a strong economy is about people and ensuring that all Canadians have the tools to succeed. From the beginning, this government has put people at the heart of its plan for economic growth. It is one thing to grow the economy, but we must grow it in an inclusive manner, and that is what we are doing.
That is why we have lifted 300,000 kids out of poverty. That is why our national housing strategy, which again the Conservatives voted against, is lifting hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and giving them a secure place to stay and to live. We are doing that. In my riding alone, in 2019 we will open a new building with 162 units of affordable housing for our residents. There is much work to be done, and we will do it.
We came in determined to help hard-working Canadians have more opportunities to share in the benefits that come from a strong and growing economy, and that is exactly what we have done. That is why our government's first action was to ask the wealthiest Canadians to pay more so that we could cut taxes for the middle class.
Yes, there is a tax cut for nine million hard-working Canadians at home. Maybe some in Ontario are home today because it snowed so much, but most of them are out working.
Thanks to the middle-class tax cut, over nine million Canadians can save more, invest, or buy what they need. To help parents raise their children, the government created the Canada child benefit, the CCB, a more generous, tax-free benefit targeting families that need it the most. Thanks to the CCB, nine out of 10 families are receiving more money now than under the previous system. This benefit has raised hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.
Thanks to the tax cut and measures such as the CCB, a typical middle-class family of four now gets about $2,000 more each year to raise their children, save for the future, and contribute to economic growth, which benefits everyone. That money is changing these families' lives. For example, it is helping them provide healthy food for their children and buy new winter boots.
The Canada child benefit is transformational. We brought it in, and it is helping families every month in ridings across Canada, including the ridings of the opposition parties, and we have to acknowledge that. It is lifting hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty and it is helping families, and that is something we all need to be proud of.
Would the Conservatives cut the Canada child benefit when they talk about it? Would they do what Doug Ford is doing, cutting services to hard-working Ontario families? I hope not, and they will not.
This money is changing these families' lives. Moreover, in fall 2017, the government introduced measures to help low-income workers, which led to the creation of the Canada workers benefit, or CWB, in budget 2018. The CWB is an enhanced, more generous and more accessible version of the working income tax benefit. Since January 1, the CWB has made it possible for low-income workers to keep more money in their pockets. It will also encourage a larger number of workers to secure and keep jobs while providing real assistance to more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class.
These Canadians are working hard. We are going to help these low-income Canadians with the Canada workers benefit. People earning about $15,000 right now will get roughly about $500 more when they file their income taxes. We will help them join the middle class.
We will ensure that we take care of all Canadians, including our most vulnerable Canadians. That is why we brought in the 10% increase to the GIS. In my riding alone, over 2,000 seniors received the 10% increase to the GIS, almost $847 on average. It is real and it is helping them.
Our measures have helped Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and we are going to continue to build a strong and inclusive economy for today and tomorrow.
Retirement is a reward to look forward to after many years of work. For many seniors in Canada, and especially women, retirement can be fraught with financial difficulties. We think that is unacceptable.
That is why we increased the guaranteed income supplement for single seniors with modest incomes, thereby giving the most vulnerable seniors greater financial security and greater peace of mind.
We also improved the Canada pension plan, a historic measure if ever there was one. The improvements to the Canada pension plan, to be phased in beginning early this year, will give Canadians more money when they retire, allowing them to worry less about their future and spend more time with their families.
Ensuring Canadians have a secure and dignified retirement is something we ran on in 2015, and we did several things.
In Switzerland, the former Conservative prime minister announced that his government would raise the eligibility age for OAS and GIS from 65 to 67. We reversed that bad plan. For bricklayers or carpenters who had worked all their life and whose bodies were showing a bit of wear and tear and who were looking forward to retirement, going from age 65 to 67 was asking a lot from them. What the Conservatives did was unfair, and we reversed that. That measure would have put people into poverty, and because of the way the system worked, that would have been dumping it onto the provinces. We reversed it.
We enhanced the CPP for future generations, and that was something great. We increased the GIS again. We said we would do that and we acted.
By working with the provinces and territories to improve the Canada pension plan, and thanks to the government's decision to restore the eligibility age for old age security to 65 from 67, more Canadians will be able to spend their retirement under better conditions.
Thanks to the 30,000 infrastructure projects approved since 2016, we are also building strong and resilient communities. The majority of these infrastructure projects are already being built, which is creating more well-paying jobs for the middle class.
As a result of many of these useful economic measures, consumer confidence is practically at an all-time high. With more money at their disposal, Canadian consumers have every reason to have greater confidence in their financial situation and their future.
That is also true for Canadian businesses. Since 2015, their after-tax profits have nearly doubled, which means that businesses and Canadians have more money to invest, stimulate growth and create good jobs.
We know that small businesses drive our economy. Small businesses provide 70% of all private sector jobs. That is why we lowered taxes for small businesses last year. In January 2018, the government lowered the small business tax rate to 10% and this year we lowered it again to 9%.
In my riding of Vaughan--Woodbridge and in the city of Vaughan, there are over 12,000 small businesses that employ over 200,000 hard-working Canadians.
Yes, we have reduced the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%. Yes, we brought in a fall economic statement, which the NDP does not like—to be honest, I am not sure what the NDP likes these days—and it is going to help firms make capital investments and invest in machinery to make their firms more productive and more competitive.
I visited Alps Welding in my riding. It is building components for pipelines in Kazakhstan and components for pipelines in Canada, in Ontario, in Alberta. It is building components worldwide. I invite opposition members to come to Woodbridge so that I can take them to see the great work being done.
The company's biggest issue is that it cannot find enough welders. Its order book is full and it is hiring and expanding, but it cannot find enough skilled labour.
The company is exporting to Alberta, south central Asia, the United States, Ontario and Quebec. It is a Canadian success story owned by a Canadian immigrant family, and that is something we need to be proud of.
My hon. colleagues can taunt and tease, but the family has built something they are proud of and they worked hard doing it. I do not think that is a laughing matter, nor should my colleagues taunt and tease, especially from the opposition side. I tell my kids who are six and eight to grow up sometimes, and sometimes I think the opposition members need to grow up.
The combined federal-provincial small-business tax rate is 12.2%, which is by far the lowest rate among G7 countries. The results speak for themselves. The Canadian economy is strong and is growing rapidly. Its performance ranks highest among G7 countries. There are more good, high-paying jobs for Canadians. Over the past three years, Canadians have created more than 800,000 new jobs, which brought the unemployment rate down to its lowest in more than 40 years.
Canadian companies are doing well and Canadian workers are doing well, but we want to make sure that anyone who is looking for work in Canada can find that job. We are investing in skills training and better data collection. I understand that the Conservative Party cut Stats Canada, cut the long-form census, but we brought it back. Why? It is because we want to ensure we have the information Canadians need when they are looking for work. We want to make sure that the programs the government enters into with the provinces are working well. It is too bad that the Conservatives do not believe in science, data collection and information.
Consumer confidence remains strong and corporate profit margins are good, which opens the door to other investments that could lead to the creation of more good, better-paying jobs for Canadians.
We know that we cannot take Canada's economic strength for granted, and 2018 was a challenging year for Canadian businesses with regard to the recent tax changes in the United States and the ongoing global trade disputes.
Last summer, the government heard from a number of business owners and business leaders that there is strong interest in making investments, the kind that can position businesses for long-term growth and create good, well-paying jobs for Canadian workers. We heard many businesses express relief when we announced our new trade deal with the United States and Mexico, because securing that deal does help when it comes to confidence to invest in the future.
Co-operation between Canada and the United States is nothing new. We have a longstanding productive relationship that is the envy of the world. The connections between our peoples, governments and economies have been yielding positive results for both countries for more than 150 years. We know that if we work together, we can continue to deliver real results for Canadians in the coming years.
The agreement we recently signed with the United States and Mexico reaffirms that our trade relations with our North American neighbours are very important.
We welcome this new modernized trade agreement because we know it will help support good, well-paying middle-class jobs right across the country. At the same time, we know that we need to do more to protect and maintain Canada's competitive advantage. We did that in the fall economic statement with accelerated investment incentives, a measure that will now allow firms to make investments in Canada at a lower marginal tax rate than firms investing in the United States. Yes, call it the Canadian advantage, but it is there.
It is four points lower. It is going to encourage more investment and more creation of good, middle-class jobs in this country. We have created 800,000 jobs since we came into power in October 2015. The majority are full time and in the private sector. We are going to continue doing the job that Canadians sent us here to do.
Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure to rise today in this new interim House of Commons, representing the good people of Barrie—Innisfil. History will certainly be made in this place over the course of the next 10 years or more. It is nice to know that we will get back to Centre Block before a balanced budget is even expected in this country.
Last year, on December 21, four days before Christmas, the finance department released a report, from which we learned that the budget will not be balanced until at least the year 2040. Let us think about that. My son, who is now 14 years old, will be 35 years old before the budget is balanced. I do not even want to begin to think how much he and those his age will have to pay in taxes.
Like many Canadians, I am worried about my children and their children. With the current government's record on spending, I want to know what tomorrow's Canadians are going to have to pay. I want to know whether they will be able to buy houses and have a good quality of life in spite of the government's spending.
I am also worried, quite frankly, for the residents in Barrie—Innisfil who are heading into retirement, seniors who will be profoundly affected by this fiscally irresponsible government. That is why I am happy to speak today to this motion by the member for . I will again remind the House what the motion says. It states:
That, given the Prime Minister broke his promise to eliminate the deficit this year and that perpetual and growing deficits lead to massive tax increases, the House call on the Prime Minister to table a plan in Budget 2019—
That is in a few short months.
—to eliminate the deficit quickly with a written commitment that he will never raise taxes of any kind.
It stands to reason that when a country is faced with debt and deficits, the inevitability of raising taxes is going to happen. There is no question about that. Canadians should not be questioning that. The government ran on the fact that the budget would be balanced this year. We are finding out that the deficit this year will be $20 billion, and in fact the budget will not be balanced until the year 2040.
Think about the impact that is going to have on everyday working Canadians who quite simply cannot afford it. A report came out last week that said that 46% of Canadians are $200 away from insolvency: $200. It is a very fine line that Canadians are walking right now with respect to the level of debt and deficit they are facing, not to mention the fact that the government is putting it on.
I am also very pleased and honoured to be sharing my time today with the member for .
The does not have to worry about household debt or incurring deficits. In fact, he has inherited a family fortune, so he has no worries at all, unlike the families in Barrie and Innisfil who have to worry on a day in, day out basis about their financial situations.
The other thing is that the got caught trying to impose tax hikes. He tried to put a 73% tax hike on small businesses. It was not until the opposition brought that forward and spoke to businesses across the country that the backlash occurred and the Prime Minister and the Liberal government backed down on those tax hikes.
Do not think for a second that those tax hikes will not come if the Prime Minister is re-elected. He also tried to impose a tax on health and dental benefits and employee discounts. Waitresses and waiters who get free meals as part of their working conditions were going to be taxed on those things. Again, the opposition brought that forward. He also tried to impose taxes on a disability tax credit for diabetics. These tax hikes, make no mistake, will be on the table again if the Prime Minister is re-elected.
As I mentioned earlier, he has also broken his promise on higher deficits. Higher deficits today mean higher taxes tomorrow. Somebody has to pay for this.
Those living in Ontario saw 15 years of Liberal mismanagement. The Liberal structural debt was the largest sub-sovereign nation debt in the world. It was billions of dollars of debt. Billions of dollars were being paid toward interest payments that could have gone to government services to help those who were vulnerable and in need. Instead, the provincial Liberal government ended up incurring debt and deficits.
We are on the same path. In fact, during the last election, I spoke often in all candidates debates and I toured around, talking to my constituents. I spoke about the fact that we were on the same path federally as we were provincially in Ontario. That path was one of structural debt and deficits from which it would be very difficult to recover.
That is why the election in 2019 has become one of the most critical elections in the country's history. We cannot allow the federal Liberal government to do what the Ontario Liberal government did in Ontario. We have to stop it now. As we have seen from finance department reports, the budget will not be balanced for another 31 years.
We know this is the 's plan. There is no reason to believe him on a lot of things he promises. He promised that the deficit would be low. He promised that he budget would be balanced this year. The only thing that is sure, as a result of what the government's fiscal policy has shown, is that taxes will rise after the 2019 election once he is given that further mandate. Canadians cannot afford that.
They cannot afford a carbon tax either. We have heard that the carbon tax will cost $20 a tonne. Some finance department projections say that it could cost upwards of $300 a tonne. What would that mean for families in Ontario? It would mean $3,000 extra a year in carbon taxes when they are already struggling. When they are already on a razor-thin line of insolvency, how will this help them meet their economic needs? It will not.
We also heard that families in Saskatchewan will be spending up to $5,000 with the carbon tax. It is really interesting. When the Liberals are talking about taking from one pocket and giving to another, they are talking about giving a rebate. If the purpose of a carbon tax is to change people's habits, what incentive and motivation is there when the government taxes them and then gives them a rebate?
How is that going to help families in Barrie—Innisfil that are required to drive up and down Highway 400 every day to get to Mississauga or Vaughan to go to work? What about those soccer moms who have to drive their kids to soccer? What about those hockey families that drive all over Ontario? My family was one of them. We would drive from Barrie to Peterborough to Kingston so our kids could play hockey. Why are those families going to be penalized with a carbon tax that the even admitted on a Quebec television show would have no difference in the country at all in reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
The government's own documents say that it has to raise that carbon tax by $300 a tonne. That is 15 times more than what it is going to cost now. The only way the Liberals are going to do that is if they raise it after the election, if they are elected again.
Just as in Ontario, we cannot let this take root. We as Canadians have to stop this now. If we allow the Liberal government four more years or more, we will be in a structural deficit and debt situation that will profoundly impact the lives of Canadians in a negative way.
We as an opposition are here to stand up for Canadians. We are here to stand up for them and their dreams, not what the government wants to impose on them. We and our leader will continue to fight. We will continue to stand up for what is right for Canadians. We will ensure that we balance the budget and that Canadians pay lower taxes so they can achieve their dreams for their families.
Mr. Speaker, first off, I want to thank my colleague from Barrie—Innisfil for giving a speech that reflects our philosophy as Conservatives.
Since this is my first time speaking in the new House, I also want to take this opportunity to thank the people who built it, the craftspeople who succeeded in melding the modern with the historical. I think they did an incredible job.
I invite all Canadians to come and visit this place to meet us and discover the new House, because we will be here for at least 10 years.
I rise today because the current government is not keeping its promises. Back in 2015, it got elected by saying it would start by running a modest $10-billion deficit in 2016 and balance the budget by 2019. It is therefore perfectly fair for every Canadian to have questions today about our country's future. I think that the motion tabled by our party is very timely. I will read it out:
That, given the Prime Minister broke his promise to eliminate the deficit this year and that perpetual and growing deficits lead to massive tax increases, the House call on the Prime Minister to table a plan in Budget 2019 [which will come out in a few weeks, in April at the latest, or maybe in March, depending on the Liberals' agenda] to eliminate the deficit quickly with a written commitment that he will never raise taxes of any kind.
That is what the motion says, and I think it is responsible. I simply want to remind the House that, during the 2015 election campaign, the Liberals made a lot of promises that they did not keep. I would like to mention a few of them. There is an extremely long list and I only have 10 minutes, so I will not be able to talk about all of them.
I represent the beautiful riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier in the Quebec City region. The Liberals promised to have the Quebec Bridge painted or to find a solution before June 2016. No one forced them to make that promise. It is now January 29, 2019, so people can reach their own conclusions. Of course, on a national scale, that is a very small promise.
The Liberals also promised Canada Post letter carriers that they would send them back out to do home mail delivery. Did the Liberals do that? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Furthermore, in 2015, the Liberals said that the 2015 election would be the last under the existing voting system. This is an election year. Has anyone heard anything about a new voting system? I do not think so. Elections Canada is giving training sessions, but no one has told the organizers or those involved in the election anything about a new voting system. That is another promise the Liberals did not keep.
The Liberals also said they would change the House of Commons Standing Orders to put an end to omnibus bills, which interfere with proper debate in the House. We all know what happened in December. They bundled a bunch of bills and muzzled us.
Now I want to remind everyone about the most important promise the Liberal government made in 2015, the one about running small deficits early in its mandate and balancing the budget. Today the Liberals are accusing us of moving a ridiculous motion. How absurd. The deficit is $80 billion. It is unbelievable.
We just want the government to behave responsibly and take real action. How can Liberals travel across this country, look Canadians in the eye and tell them they should put their trust in them and vote for them? How can they tell Canadians that they are meeting expectations and keeping their promises? Seriously. We are giving them an opportunity to table a plan to balance the budget, an opportunity to promise they will not make our children and grandchildren pay the price, because that would be irresponsible.
Speaking of children, I would like to talk about a fable by Jean de la Fontaine, The Cicada and the Ant. It is not very long, so I would like to read it now:
Cicada, having sung her song
All summer long,
Found herself without a crumb
When winter winds did come.
Not a scrap was there to find
Of fly or earthworm, any kind.
Hungry, she ran off to cry
To neighbor Ant, and specify:
Asking for a loan of grist,
A seed or two so she'd subsist
Just until the coming spring.
She said, “I'll pay you everything
Before fall, my word as animal,
Interest and principal.”
Well, no hasty lender is the Ant;
It's her finest virtue by a lot.
“And what did you do when it was hot?”
She then asked this mendicant.
“To all comers, night and day,
I sang. I hope you don't mind.”
“You sang? Why, my joy is unconfined.
Now dance the winter away.”
Obviously, the cicada is our current , and the ant represents workers, people who are responsible and hard working, our leader, and the entire team at the Conservative Party, which is currently in the official opposition. We are a government in waiting.
The moral of this story is that hard work always pays off and that we must work instead of dreaming. The ant worked hard to collect provisions for the winter, while the cicada was singing and lounging around, and then found herself in a difficult situation.
It is unfortunate, but that seems to be the situation in Canada. We have been in a period of economic prosperity for the last three years. Any good manager would take this time to fill the coffers. It is only logical. If we look back through history, there are always recessions and periods of lower prosperity. I do not want to be alarmist, but we have to be responsible. We do not know what the future holds, but we know that we have been prosperous for the last three years.
What did the current government do? It spent money like crazy without keeping its promises, without meeting expectations, and without improving life for hard-working Canadians. Canadians are paying higher taxes, and more tax increases are coming. Their children and grandchildren will also be left paying the price for this Liberal government's irresponsibility.
I am not a prophet or an economist, but we have resources, and I am smart enough to do my research. Many economists are saying that an economic slowdown is on the horizon. When heading into a period of uncertainty, it is important to have a plan and to be prepared.
The members opposite are accusing us of having run up deficits, but we have to consider the circumstances. The worst economic crisis took place when the Conservatives were in power. We invested in infrastructure, we took steps to keep the economy going, and we were applauded by the international community. We were told that we did a good job in Canada, under the circumstances. We took charge, and we were responsible.
Since April 26, 2018, my riding has had a pilot project to provide labour to private businesses and to work on economic development in the regions. We have not asked for any money. These are initiatives driven by entrepreneurs. Today is January 29, 2019. I am not asking for money. I am only asking that we do what we have to so we can look after the regions.
Can the members opposite govern, think about what is in Canadians' best interests, and commit to balancing the budget and not passing the bill on to future generations?
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from .
I often wonder what newspaper my colleague from , who moved today's motion, reads. He clearly does not read all the news and wants to breed uncertainty among the Canadians watching us today.
Canadians made a choice in 2015. They chose a plan to invest in the economy, strengthen and grow the middle class, and provide real support for those who are working hard to join the middle class.
Since 2015, the government has continued to focus on the middle class and on helping make life more affordable for hard-working Canadian families.
The government lowered taxes for the middle class and increased taxes on the wealthiest Canadians in order to allow Canadians to save more money, invest and help grow the economy.
To help families with the cost of raising children, the government created the tax-free Canada child benefit, or CCB, in 2016, and we indexed it to increases in the cost of living as of 2018, which was two years earlier than planned. In the riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, 10,270 CCB payments have been made, totalling nearly $6 million a year, for an average of $6,840 per family. This makes a big difference for all families.
I would like to tell you about the Boisbriand family. The mom, Sabrina, has three wonderful little girls aged three, six and nine. She works for the Government of Quebec, and her husband is a retail sales director. Every month, they get $1,350, which makes a big difference when it comes to paying for their children's activities and school supplies and making the investments they want to make for their family.
I would also like to emphasize that our government recognizes the importance of fiscal responsibility and a strong fiscal position.
I would like to remind the member that, before we took office, the Canadian economy was struggling. When I was knocking on doors in 2015, the economy was sluggish. That is what people were saying. Half of the jobs in my riding were precarious. In late 2015 and early 2016, national and international economic conditions pointed to Canada slipping into yet another general recession. Canadians were apprehensive about their future.
That is why the government took immediate and decisive action to address the growth problems and respond to Canadians' concerns by doing what needed to be done, which meant investing in Canadians, in communities, in the economy and in Canada's future.
In 2016, in our first budget, the government took a head-on approach to tackling the challenges faced by Canadians and the Canadian economy. We focused on a certain number of key principles with a view to strengthening the middle class and Canada's economy.
First, we took advantage of record low interest rates to make responsible, targeted investments that will stimulate the economy over the long term. These investments were intended to stimulate robust growth, increase employment and create more opportunities for Canadians across the country.
Our efforts yielded real results. For instance, over the past three years, thanks to their hard work, Canadians have created more than 800,000 new jobs, bringing the unemployment rate to its lowest level in over 40 years. This year, we expect Canada to have one of the fastest-growing economies in the G7 once again. The government is also committed to advancing gender quality, which will support growth in Canadian businesses.
We lowered the small business tax rate to 10% as of January 1, 2018, and we reduced it again to 9% as of January 1, 2019.
We signed new, modern trade agreements, namely the CPTPP, CETA and the USMCA, which will create more economic opportunities for Canadians.
Canada is making historic investments in infrastructure, innovation, science, research, and training and skills development.
However, to maintain that momentum and remain competitive in a complex global economy, Canada needs to become even more innovative.
We need to be more open to the world of science, technology, engineering and math. Today, we need to work together to achieve even better results than we thought possible.
In budget 2017, the government launched the innovation and skills plan to build an economy that benefits everyone, an economy where Canadians have access to good quality jobs and Canadian businesses are well placed to compete in a rapidly evolving global market.
Over the past 18 months, the innovation and skills plan has made it possible to launch the pan-Canadian artificial intelligence strategy to ensure that Canada remains a global leader in that field.
Montreal is home to the artificial intelligence supercluster. Many businesses in my riding benefit from that supercluster. Take, for example, Kinova, which manufactures robotic arms. Those are really good jobs that attract a lot of people to my region.
The global skills strategy was also launched under that plan, ensuring that companies can have more predictable access to top talent.
Our innovation and skills plan also helped create six new economic strategy tables that serve as a new model for industry-government collaboration, and five new innovation superclusters around the country that have created tens of thousands of middle-class jobs.
To make the most of this plan, we need to focus more on the foundation of innovation, namely, science. That sector was completely ignored by the previous government.
A strong science sector is the pillar for the discoveries and innovations that improve our world, such as new medical therapies, quantum computing technologies and new agricultural practices, to name just a few.
We expect these investments to lead to greater benefits for all Canadians.
In closing, all of these policies correspond to promises we made to Canadians during our mandate. We made these investments because it was the right thing to do for Canadians, to create jobs for the middle class and build a stronger economy.
As we have seen, when we invest in Canadians, when we give them the tools they need to succeed, they contribute by working hard and generate economic outcomes that are among the best we have seen in a generation.
Together, we are strengthening the middle class, ensuring its growth and helping those working hard to join it. We are giving Canadians the help they need to succeed by making targeted investments to grow our economy for the long term, while keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward track.
That is what Canadians expect from us, that is what we promised and that is exactly what we are doing.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to this opposition motion presented by the hon. member for and to provide some insight and my perspective on it.
I will start by saying that, as usual, I am perplexed by the fact that the Conservatives somehow have this moral high ground to stand on to judge this side of the House when it comes to fiscal responsibility. For some reason there is a notion out there, and I would say it goes far beyond just our borders, that Conservative and alt-right governments are fiscally responsible.
In reality, when we actually stop and look at it, what we see, in looking back at the last 19 budgets introduced by Conservative governments in the House of Commons of Canada, 16 ran deficits. This is really easy to prove. Anyone can go on Google and see this. As a matter of fact, and this one takes a little more work, but with help from the Library of Parliament I was able to do it, if we actually dig and look at the debt that has been created by governments over the past 151 years, we actually find that the Conservatives have been in power for 36% of the time yet have racked up well over 50% of the debt.
For some reason, there is a perception out there that Conservatives are somehow fiscally responsible. However, the proof, in the last 151 years of this experiment that we call Canada, has not produced any results that actually substantiate that claim.
We come to today's motion, presented by the hon. member for . He is specifically trying to drill down in various rhetorical ways, as he has done many times in the past in this House, on commitments made by the government.
What we have been able to see, the results from the government over the last three years plus, is the lowest rate of unemployment since we started recording it over 40 years ago. We are now sitting at the lowest rate. That is what the government has produced.
The debt-to-GDP ratio, which is extremely relevant, but of course, the Conservatives never want to talk about it, because it is pretty amazing as well, is at the lowest rate it has been in Canada, and more importantly, is among the lowest rates among the G7 countries. We currently have among the best, especially when we compare ourselves to our neighbour to the south, debt-to-GDP ratios.
We are also one of the national leaders among the G7 countries when it comes to growth. This is as a result of investing. This is as a result of investing in Canadians. This is as a result of investing in their potential. This is as a result of investing in businesses in Canada. That is what this government is doing, and that is why we are seeing the results we are.
Let us talk about the first thing the government did when it came into power. The first thing it did was reduce taxes for the middle class and raise them on the 1%. We recognized, unlike the Conservatives, that to have a successful economy, we need to have people out there in the marketplace engaging in the marketplace. We are not going to have a successful economy if all the wealth and all the income is among the top 1%.
One would think, from a business perspective, that the Conservatives would get this. We need people to spend money. How are people going to make money in their businesses if we do not have people spending money? That is exactly what the tax cut for the middle class is all about.
It is also about creating equality and equal opportunities. It is about seeing the potential in marginalized segments of our population and how they can contribute to our economy. That includes an issue that I am extremely passionate about as it relates to gender equality and putting more women in the workforce in less traditional jobs in this country. This is about creating opportunities and putting the necessary pieces of the puzzle in place so that we can see the success that continues to see our country grow. That is exactly what we have done.
We also recognize that we have to take care of some of the most vulnerable in our community. That is why the government put in place a $40-billion, 10-year plan with respect to a national affordable housing strategy to assist people. If people do not have the most basic requirement of housing, if they do not have their most basic need, how can they possibly be expected to perform and work in our society and generate wealth and opportunities? That is what we saw, and that is why we are delivering on that.
At the same time that we made sure to put the social elements in place, we also looked at strengthening the private sector and the business sector. That is why this government decided to reduce the small business corporate tax rate from 11% to 9%.
I will note that this was introduced in the budget last year, and the Conservatives voted against it. I challenged them on this many times, asking why they would vote against a reduction from 11% to 9%, and the answer, to be fair, was that they had to vote against the entire budget, so they could not vote for that.
Fair enough, but not once did I hear a Conservative member stand to say, “Despite the fact that I am going to be voting against the budget, I would like to say that I am really happy with seeing the corporate tax rate for small businesses reduced from 11% to 9%.” I may stand corrected and I would love to see the excerpt from Hansard to confirm that I am wrong, but I spend a lot of time in the House through the various debates, and whether from this side of the House or from the opposition putting forward motions, I have yet to hear that.
As we put these different mechanisms in place to strengthen the social aspects of our communities and to strengthen businesses, we are seeing the results coming out on the other end of it. We have 14 new free trade agreements covering 26 countries. We are the only G7 nation with free trade access to the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. This government understands the benefits of putting policy in place that gives us the opportunity to start trading and working collaboratively with other economies so that we can see the win-win scenarios that come out of those. We are going to continue doing that.
We will continue to work to make sure that we strengthen our economy and, more importantly than just the economy, the people who contribute to that economy and who make the economy a reality. We are going to do this by making sure that we put those elements in place.
When I listen to the debate from the other side of the House, as I have this morning and into the afternoon, I wonder about exactly what the Conservatives would cut.
The Conservatives talk about austerity and the need to cut, cut, cut, and one of the things that has come up a number of times in this debate is the Canada child benefit. The member who introduced this motion might be interested to know that 16,400 children in Carleton receive the Canada child benefit, which equates an average of $5,400 per month per family. The member for might want to start having a conversation with those members of his community as to what he plans to do with the CCB should he ever be put in a position to have the ability to do something with it.
Because the Conservatives refuse to tell us what austerity measures they will take, the only reference point we have is to see what Doug Ford has done in Ontario. We know that the and Doug Ford are pretty tight, since we have seen pictures of them hanging out and they have had several meetings. I can only assume that the Leader of the Opposition is taking his direction from Doug Ford. If that is the case, Ontarians and Canadians should be extremely worried.
Let us look at what Doug Ford has done. He is stripping education, removing free education for the poorest of families in Ontario. He has eliminated repairs to school buildings. He has removed the youth pharmacare plan. Doug Ford eliminated the indigenous culture fund. He scrapped social assistance increases. He scrapped the minimum wage and he put an end to the round table on violence against women.
Who would do that? How much could that possibly have cost? However, Doug Ford did that.
Since the opposition refuses to say what it plans to do in terms of austerity, Canada should look to Doug Ford, who is the 's best friend these days, to see what direction it will head in, because that is the direction this country would head in if the people of Canada gave the Leader of the Opposition the opportunity to do so.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be sharing my time with the hon. member for .
Our Conservative Party of Canada official opposition motion of the day states:
That, given the Prime Minister broke his promise to eliminate the deficit this year and that perpetual and growing deficits lead to massive tax increases, the House call on the Prime Minister to table a plan in Budget 2019 to eliminate the deficit quickly with a written commitment that he will never raise taxes of any kind.
Today's official opposition motion contains two facts, followed by two requirements. I know the facts resonate with Canadians across the country and reflect the frustration and anger of Saskatchewan constituents, who can hardly sleep because they are so motivated to see this be a “won and it's done“ disastrous blip in our country's history.
As for the two requirements, we are simply asking the today to table a plan to eliminate the deficit, as he promised, without any tax increases. The government has one more opportunity before the door hits them on the way out to stop spending foolishly—while insisting that veterans are asking for more than they can give—and live within their means instead of crippling the life out of our economy.
When the election is over and Canadians breathe a common sigh of relief, there will be no rewriting of this history of the Liberal damage done. The ghost of Pierre Elliott Trudeau still haunts this country, and now the son who thought he could follow in his father's footsteps will be making his own footprints in the snow, contemplating with incredulity that budgets actually do not balance themselves after all.
The first fact is that the broke his promise to eliminate the deficit this year. Canadians laughed when he said the budget will balance itself. They are no longer amused. He promised he would balance the budget in 2019. Instead, he continues to spend. The PBO confirmed that the deficit is more than $21 billion this year alone. The clearly thinks he can borrow his way out of debt. According to Finance Canada, the budget will not be balanced until at least 2040, by then racking up an additional $271 billion of debt.
When trying desperately to change the channel, the sings the praises of his only two claims to fame. He claims to have lowered taxes for the middle class while raising them on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians. He claimed that the loss of revenue to the government from the temporary gift of tax relief to middle-class Canadians would be offset by the increase on the wealthy.
On December 8, 2015, just weeks after the Liberals won the election, the Financial Post recorded that although the claimed during the campaign that the increased taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians would raise $2.8 billion in fiscal 2016, the Liberals had already had to change their prediction—i.e., break their promise. It would only raise $2 billion.
The artificial stimulus to rejuvenate the middle class was forecast in their platform to cost $2.9 billion in fiscal 2016. That prediction also fell short. The new forecasted cost, weeks into governing, was $3.4 billion. The Financial Post article on December 8, 2015, stated that “In other words, the middle class tax cut and corresponding increase on high earners was pitched as roughly revenue-neutral and will now cost $1.4 billion.” We know it is not costing the wealthy, because in fact they are actually paying over $4 billion less in taxes.
Here is the thing: Somehow the costing was not accurate. Whether it was due to poor fiscal advisement or simply a devious spin to win votes at any cost, lo and behold, the scheme was not revenue neutral but instead left a gaping hole of $1.4 billion. I think we can safely say that the trend of a $1.4-billion gap continues on at the very least annually to the current day.
Clearly, right from the get-go, the had no understanding or capability to cost or administer anything with the term “revenue neutral” attached. Do members need more proof? I will get to the carbon tax in a minute.
The 's second claim to fame is the Canada child benefit, which he says is putting more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadians. I was speaking with a young father of four children last week who was really concerned and represents what I hear throughout my riding. He and his wife are both full-time students. He is working full time and his wife is home schooling their children. Yes, of course, they can always use the extra money. It helps out. However, he said that every month he cannot help but think about how his kids are going to suffer in the future, because by 2040 they will start to pay this debt off while starting to raise their families and will continue to be burdened with this huge debt they did not agree to.
It is not right to do this on the backs of the next generation. Every year that the runs deficits, he is borrowing money from future generations, maybe not from his kids and grandkids, but definitely from the children and grandchildren of today's middle-class parents. Today's deficits are tomorrow's tax hikes. The failure of the to balance the budget means higher taxes down the road and less protection against the next economic downturn.
Let us examine tomorrow's taxes, with the fake revenue-neutral spin attached to the current government's carbon tax. For New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the Liberal carbon tax will increase the cost of gas, home heating and everyday essentials. This will impact the everyday lives of families in those provinces. It will do nothing for the planet, other than continue to destroy Canada's economy and force us to use resources from lesser environmentally concerned countries. It is compounding the uncertainty that is sending investment, bright leaders and capable, competent workers out of Canada, thus devastating businesses all over this country.
Worst still, it is going to get even more expensive. In 2019, the federal carbon tax starts at $20 a tonne, going up to $50 a tonne in three years. However, internal government documents confirm the Liberals are already planning for a carbon tax of $300 a tonne. That is 15 times larger than it will be on April 1, when it kicks in. This is no April fool's joke. A special carbon tax side deal with Canada's largest emitters means they will not be impacted, while families and small business owners get hit with the full force of this tax. For wealthy Liberals, like our , an extra $100 a month for groceries or an electrical bill may not be a big deal, but it matters a lot to a family trying to make their household budget last to the end of the month.
Then there is the silent killer, the additional GST being charged on the carbon tax. There's nothing to see here, right? It was intended all along as another way to make up for the poor fiscal management of the current Liberal government, a government that thinks it knows better and could provide better from a postnational ideology that destroys the rights of individuals to create their own wealth, grow their own families and enjoy a life where government does not dictate values, make demands or punish the very people it is there to serve.
In 2019, Canadians will have a clear choice between a leader who knows their challenges because he has lived the same challenges and his family is his plumb line, and a leader who has never known what it feels like to go without so that his kids could have more, or work every day to earn what he has. Canadians deserve a government made up of talented, passionate, motivated men and women, who fight every day to help Canadians realize their dreams. That is what our Conservative team is offering. We will lower taxes, put people first and enable Canadians to be proud on the world stage once again.
The Conservatives will continue to expose the 's many failures and expose how Canadians will be paying for more of those failures if he is re-elected, while presenting our own vision for creating opportunity to help Canadians get ahead.
I can imagine the Prime Minister would love to get his hands on our Conservative platform for the 2019 election. He has asked for it almost every day: “What's your plan? What's your plan? What's your plan?” He is going to have to be patient. We want to show it to Canadians first.