The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill , be read the third time and passed.
Madam Speaker, before I begin my speech, I would like to congratulate everyone who participated in Quebec's general election. As everyone knows, yesterday was election day in Quebec. I would like to congratulate the two new MNAs I will be working with in my riding.
I also want to congratulate all the people who took part in yesterday's great democratic process. Their participation is important to our democracy. As we all know, being in politics is not always easy. It takes a lot of courage, so I have a lot of respect for them. Naturally, I am grateful to everyone who contributed to the general election.
Today, we are taking part in the debate on Bill , which would increase the GST-HST credit. That will put money back into the pockets of people who need it. There is nothing random about this; it is a direct response to the worst inflationary crisis of the past 30 years.
Obviously, the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this bill. However, we have a lot of questions.
Also, I would like to begin with a quick introduction to highlight what happens when there is inflation and to talk about the various misconceptions we have heard.
Yesterday, I called the representatives of the organizations in Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques and asked them what they thought of the GST credit top-up. Of course, this is a welcome measure. Everyone is hurt by inflation. That said, when there is inflation, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
When I spoke yesterday with representatives from advocacy groups for people experiencing poverty and unemployment, they told me that poverty was already a growing problem even before the inflationary crisis, before the war in Ukraine. What is interesting, however, is that fewer people are applying for welfare, even though poverty rates are rising. What this actually means is that the people who are living in poverty now are the working poor and seniors. In other words, poverty is changing.
In order to paint a picture of the reality facing people back home, I would say that the image of poverty is also changing. I represent a riding that is largely rural, and in these areas, we are not used to seeing homeless people on a daily basis, as one does in big urban centres. These days, however, with the rising cost of groceries, prescription drugs and housing, some people do have to live on the street. This was unthinkable a few years ago. Of course I stand in solidarity with them, and I am trying to describe the reality facing people in my region.
I wanted to emphasize that because, despite what some people are saying, poverty is on the rise. A one-time GST-HST cheque is not going to make a huge difference.
When we talk about inflation, we have to be responsible. There are many things that we could say or consider doing so we could wave a magic wand and make inflation disappear. We have to be serious. We have to implement solutions that address the problems caused by inflation, and that goes beyond issuing a simple little cheque, contrary to what the government thinks and contrary to the claims of certain members who seem to think that inflation would disappear if only taxes were cut. I do not agree with their magical way of thinking.
We are in uncharted territory and we have to understand that. I am putting it in perspective.
We are currently seeing a rise in demand. In order to control inflation, we must try to change supply. Right now, there is a problem on both sides. Demand is growing but the supply is not necessarily keeping up. Inflation can be explained by a myriad of factors. Government is not responsible for all of our woes, although it is responsible for some of them. About 70% of the causes of inflation are related to external factors.
Consider the labour shortage, for example. The government does have a role to play in addressing the current labour shortage. However, there are other, external factors, such as the global disruptions in the supply chain and the war in Ukraine. These are complex issues that cannot be resolved by changing our monetary policy or passing a special act.
I will put forward constructive solutions to help the most vulnerable Canadians and to counter inflation.
These solutions are nothing new. I did not wake up this morning and decide that I had solutions for fighting inflation. That was already in our budgetary expectations for the 2022 budget tabled in April. There is something I still do not understand, and I hope that the government will clear up the mystery: Why did they not take action sooner?
In April, inflation was at 6.9%. When the government tabled its budget, the inflationary situation was practically identical. According to the latest data, inflation was at approximately 7% in August. What is the difference?
I do not understand. It is as if the government always reacts instead of being proactive. Governing involves being proactive. Although there was already an inflationary crisis last April, there was nothing in the last budget. Today’s bill represents $2.5 billion in government investment.
I will give an example. I like comparing things. This same government invested $2.6 billion to help oil companies develop carbon sequestration technology. For the people in need they wanted to help they decided to invest $2.5 billion, but for the ultrawealthy oil companies, no problem, they gave them $2.6 billion in the last budget. That is the Liberal government’s real priority.
Let us get back to concrete solutions. First, it is important to understand that the Bloc Québécois is not against financial assistance. We stood with the government when it wanted to provide targeted assistance at the beginning of the pandemic, whether through the emergency benefit or the wage subsidy for businesses. When the economy began to rebound after the pandemic, we even said that we should target certain sectors and help Canadians in need, low-income Canadians, vulnerable Canadians. Unfortunately, there was nothing like that in the last budget.
The thing to understand is that the Bloc Québécois does not like to waste money. Sending cheques left and right is not the answer. I think that today's measure is a good one, but it is late in coming. We are not a week or a month late, but five months late. The spoke at the Empire Club last June, when inflation was raging. The theme of her conference was inflation. She only repeated what she had announced some months before, in the previous budget. There was not a single new measure to fight inflation.
Then, May, June, July, August and September came and went. The government finally woke up. It realized it needed to act. There was inflation. It decided to put meaningful measures in place to help Canadians. The government is now taking measures to support the people who need it, but, unfortunately, once again, it is working backward. We still do not understand why.
The Bloc Québécois believes in supporting the most vulnerable low-income earners. It is particularly concerned about seniors. They are the ones who are hardest hit. We know that. Their fixed income will not increase. We need to help them. They have told me, with great sadness, that they have to choose between going without medication, postponing their rent payments or taking food out of their grocery cart. It is imperative that we help them.
To boost supply, we need to address and resolve the labour shortage. To do that, we need to ensure that there are incentives, tax incentives for example, for experienced workers, particularly those aged 60 or 65 and over who want to stay in the workforce.
One last thing I would like to mention is Bill , which I introduced in the last Parliament. It was intended to provide a tax credit to attract new graduates to the regions. The population in the regions is aging, and that obviously plays into the labour shortage.
It is never too late to do the right thing, and today we want to give credit where credit is due. For the next time, however, let us remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Madam Speaker, before I begin discussing Bill , I must stop to recognize that indigenous women and girls continue to be violated and marginalized at rates much higher than those in the general population.
Today is the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. New Democrats add their voices to the collective call to bring an end to the injustices suffered by Canada's indigenous women and girls. I raise my hands to the members for and , who continue to advocate and bring understanding to this House of the causes of the systemic abuses that indigenous women and girls continue to experience and to hold the Liberal government accountable for its lack of action.
Bill is here at a very critical time for Canadians. There are too many struggling with the rising cost of living and the challenge of keeping rents paid and food in the fridge. The fact that there is a need for immediate financial support for millions of Canadians is not an accident. It is a result of bad Liberal and Conservative policies. Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have prioritized tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthiest in this country while intentionally eroding the social safety nets that support the well-being of the majority of Canadians. Poverty and homelessness are growing in this country, and they are a reality in every city and town.
While fossil fuel companies and big corporate grocery chains are bringing in billions of dollars in profits, people are falling further and further behind. It is far past time the Liberal government needs to close the long-standing tax loopholes for the superwealthy and finally make large corporations and the largest polluters pay their fair share. It is no secret that corporate greed is hurting Canadians, and it has only increased and magnified like so many other things during this pandemic. While the Liberals and Conservatives protect the profits of the wealthiest corporations, persons with disabilities, single moms, seniors and families on fixed and low incomes are not able to afford to purchase fresh fruit, cheese or meats. Some of the moms I have spoken to in Port Moody—Coquitlam are limiting their meals to one a day so that they can afford to feed their kids.
After too many years of consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments making decisions to put corporations above everyday people, our social safety net is eroded. The social safety net that supports the well-being of Canadians has been eroded to the point that we are here today trying to put patches of immediate support in place.
New Democrats are here to act on this immediate need. We are using our power to get the government to send financial support out to people with Bill and Bill . I include Bill C-31 because the two bills are connected. They are both offering immediate investments in the well-being of people, investments that never would have come from the government without the pressure from New Democrats.
New Democrats will not stop fighting for people even after these immediate benefits kick in. We will continue to force the government to do the right thing and put people first. We will continue to stop fossil fuel subsidies from going to the largest polluters, close tax loopholes for the wealthiest, stop the exploitation of workers and get our health care system back on track. The health care system is broken. We see it in our communities every day. A broken health care system is hurting people. Nurses have worked tirelessly, as well as doctors and hospital staff, to the extent that they are burnt-out and people who are sick are not getting access to the care they need.
We have all heard the heartbreaking stories in our communities of those who have gone to the hospital for help and have not been able to make it in time or have decided not to go at all with fatal consequences. The government must invest in care workers immediately and increase the health care transfers the provinces have been calling for.
One in five people in this country work in the care economy, and those professionals, personal care workers, nurses and doctors have been exploited. That exploitation comes from discrimination. Gender discrimination has kept wages low in nursing. Nurses, teachers and child care workers are all disproportionately women. The government has not invested in their wages or their pensions, yet it expects them to carry the burden of an overloaded and underfunded economy and underfunded system.
The care economy is underpinned by the exploitation of immigrants as well. More often they are women without secured status. This is unacceptable. Immigrants deserve better. They deserve investment and support. New Democrats will continue to force the government to respect the workers in the care economy by paying them properly, giving immigrant care workers immediate permanent status and giving long-term care workers the protection they deserve with legislation.
We need workers in this country. Labour shortages are happening in every industry. This is a real problem that the government has not brought any solutions to yet. When we think about the labour force, we know that unaffordable housing is exasperating this problem. Workers cannot afford to live where they work. The Conservatives under the Mulroney government and then the Liberals under Chrétien axed housing programs in this country. In fact, the Liberals outright cancelled the national affordable housing program in 1993. That was almost 30 years ago. That is why we have a housing crisis before us.
Bill has a $500 housing subsidy that is coming for renters. This is a small, good gesture. This housing benefit is a one-time $500 payment to Canadians who qualify. Specifically, it will help families who earn a net income of less than $35,000 a year. There are many people in Canada who earn less than $35,000 a year in this environment. That is 1.8 million Canadians. This renters' benefit will make a real difference at this critical time.
Financialization of housing needs to be addressed immediately. It is contributing to unaffordability. The Conservatives will say that they are there for people on housing, but they do not talk about the need for affordable housing and the right kind of housing. This is not just a supply issue. One in five Canadians are paying more than 30% of their total income for their housing and that is not sustainable. At the same time, for every new unit of affordable rental housing, 15 units are being lost. There are 15 units lost for every new one, and we wonder why we are seeing homelessness on our streets. This is affecting the most marginalized people in the country, pushing them every day to the brink, to a tent pitched in a street.
As the NDP disability critic, I hear from the disability community of the realities of not being able to make ends meet with skyrocketing housing costs and the threat of displacement every day. Food costs are also becoming unmanageable. As they wait for movement on the Canada disability benefit, they are falling further and further behind. Bill needs to come back to the House immediately so that the long-term support that persons living with disabilities deserve, and should be legislated, can be passed in the House.
Almost one million persons with disabilities are living in poverty. It is a disgrace. It will only take the will of the Liberals and Conservatives, who could have supported the unanimous consent motion from the member for last week, to fast-track this benefit. The New Democrats are ready to do so.
Coming back to the cost of food, in my riding of Port Moody—Coquitlam, a disproportionate number of food bank and food rescue recipients are persons with disabilities, and more children are becoming food insecure. Too many schools are having to feed the children of our communities. We are in a country full of natural resources and with a new bursting aspiration to make batteries for electric vehicles, yet we are not investing in food. If it were not for the not-for-profit sector, even more Canadians would be hungry right now.
Failed policies to give to the rich while taking away social safety nets, such as affordable housing, are hurting people in this country. A beacon of the Canadian social safety net is our health care plan. Thanks to the New Democrats, that finally includes a historical dental care plan, which is a profound and long-lasting benefit for millions of Canadians and will be transformational for generations to come. We have heard many times while discussing Bill that the number one surgery for kids in hospitals is for tooth decay. How is it possible in Canada that kids need to go to the hospital to be put to sleep to deal with their dental care?
With the heavy lifting of the New Democrats, the Liberals have finally taken the first steps to true universal health care by adding long-awaited dental care. It should not have taken this long, and the New Democrats will hold the current government to account for a full rollout to every Canadian who needs it.
I will take a moment here to speak about persons with disabilities and their dental care. There was a woman in my riding who was on disability benefits and had coverage for dental care. However, the clinic she was going to was charging $20 per visit, and she could not go for her second visit because she did not have the $20. It is not acceptable that this is the situation we are putting too many Canadians in.
We know that 35% of Canadians lack proper dental insurance, and that number jumps to 50% when we talk about low-income Canadians. There are seven million Canadians who avoid going to the dentist because of costs. It is shameful and something that has to change. Canada's most vulnerable face the highest rates of dental decay and disease and have the worst dental care. The New Democrats are going to change that. We will not give up until all Canadians have access to the dental care they need. This is health care, and we need to start with kids.
Lastly, when it comes to getting immediate support to Canadians, the New Democrats led the way on Bill , which would double the GST credit. This rebate should have come a lot sooner. In fact, for over six months, the NDP has been calling on the government to double the GST credit. We have relentlessly pushed for this, and now we know that 11 million Canadians who need it the most would get some financial relief, likely before the end of this year. People in my riding of Port Moody—Coquitlam are asking when they can get it. They are desperately in need of any kind of financial support in these times.
Because of successive Conservative and Liberal governments, we do not have social safety nets to keep people in homes, keep food in the fridge or keep people healthy in this country. With much pressure on the Liberal government from the NDP, and with no help from the Conservatives, the House is in a position to make lives just a tiny bit better for people by providing these very small income supports immediately. New Democrats will always put people first, but the Liberal government needs to start making real investments in people and their well-being in Canada.
Mr. Speaker, it is great to see my colleagues engaged on a really important topic, which is Bill .
I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague from .
We are talking about Bill , legislation that would double the GST credit for the next six months. Fortunately, we have been able to move the legislation forward quickly, because Canadians need support, particularly those who are vulnerable. There have been a lot of conversations around affordability and the inflationary pressures being felt around the world and, indeed, right here in Canada.
I will give credit to His Majesty's loyal opposition for helping to work with the parties in advancing the legislation the government has put forward, because we are on third reading now. The hope is that we can approve it, I believe this week, and get it to the Senate and ultimately out to Canadians.
This is part of an affordability package that also includes Bill , which would increase the Canadian housing benefit by up to $500 for those who are vulnerable. It would also introduce a dental care program for those children who are under 12 in a household with an income of less than $90,000 and do not already have private coverage.
I will call it as I see it. I commend the Conservatives for supporting this legislation, but I am a little disappointed that they are not supporting the legislation that is really important for those children who are vulnerable. I have not heard a whole lot of compelling rationale as to why they would not support this.
There is another issue about which I want to go on record. I have had conversations with my colleagues on this side of the House and have been querying the NDP over the last couple of days as it relates to the dental care piece. The NDP has been calling for this to be a fully federally administered program, and I want to be very clear about my position on that.
I support the idea of the Government of Canada investing in money to support those who do not have the ability to take care of their dental needs themselves, that there is a program in place for vulnerable Canadians, but I would like to see this administered similar to our child care program. We talked about child care for a long time. It was this government that stepped up and ensured there was a national child care program, by putting federal funds on the table and working with the provinces and territories.
I have a bit of concern on the NDP position that this should be completely fully administered federally. It is not that there is no federal funding, which is not the part I disagree with; it is about the delivery mechanism. I truly believe that the provinces and territories are in a better place. I want to ensure that my position as a parliamentarian is on the record. It is not that we disagree about the need for it, but I might disagree with the NDP about the delivery mechanism. The provinces are actually better suited to handle that.
This is all happening in the context of a government that is trying to walk the line between helping vulnerable Canadians who need support, but also not pouring fuel on the fire in an area where we do have inflationary pressures. The Bank of Canada is increasing its interest rates to try to bring down inflation, and it is responsible government to ensure that any type of spending measures coming forward are very targeted. I want to give credit to this government for doing that.
Our government has been there. This is a targeted measure that will apply to Canadian households under $50,000, so this is not a GST benefit that is going to those who are quite wealthy and well off. It tries to help those who are truly trying to get by. It is a targeted measure. My understanding of the cost estimate is that it will be about $2.5 billion, which is from the . When we look at the global scale of the inflationary pressures, of the work of the Bank of Canada, it is a reasonable amount that I do not think will upset the apple cart vis-à-vis those conversations between monetary and fiscal policy.
I want to contrast that to what we are seeing in the United Kingdom. I have a great affinity with this being the mother Parliament, and we take a lot of British tradition in Canada from a Westminster perspective. However, we saw what happened in the United Kingdom, where its government introduced a level of government spending by virtue of tax credits, particularly those on some of the most wealthy, and that has had real consequences. It has driven interest rates even higher for the Bank of Canada. It has shaken financial markets in that country. The United Kingdom just announced yesterday that it actually walked back the tax cut that was proposed for those of the highest income earners.
It is not perhaps my job to opine on fiscal policy in the United Kingdom, but it is clear that the consequences of that government's choice has led to a real disruption of the work of monetary policy and has had a big impact on financial markets.
Compare that to how this government has responded in a reasonable and targeted way, working in lockstep with the Bank of Canada. It should be commended, and it shows reasonable fiscal management.
As a result, our has been able to update the House that we are in a current surplus situation. We have had to rein in our spending. There was record spending during the pandemic to ensure we took care of Canadian households and businesses. However, it is also our job to ensure that we do not continue to drive inflationary pressures that have been felt around the world, that we take measures to help support those who are most vulnerable.
I would like to focus on some other measures that will be important for supporting affordability and economic growth and competitiveness in the days ahead. I think the next 18 to 24 months are going to be difficult for the Canadian economy and for Canadian households. That is in the form of regulatory modernization and approach. I take great pride in trying to be a member of Parliament that raises these issues. They are of great benefit and consequence to our country and for our government.
I want to go through a few of them for the benefit of my colleagues in the House and talk about elements this government can take on to drive and help benefit all Canadians.
One is the huge opportunity that we have in Atlantic Canada on offshore wind, particularly with regard to the conversation of hydrogen. Premier Tim Houston, the Premier of Nova Scotia, announced a desire to roll out offshore wind opportunities. I am looking at my colleague, the member for , Newfoundland and Labrador has the same desire, but we have to amend legislation on the offshore petroleum board act, which would actually allow these types of regulatory models to exist. This would give the investor confidence for those projects to move forward.
There is one example on which the government can move forward, and I know it will. In short order, we need to give that certainty, so we can drive investment on our renewable future.
I want to talk about Health Canada. As the chair of the agriculture committee, I often talk to farmers. I talk to other stakeholders who talk about Health Canada approvals.
I will give one example, which is 3-NOP, a feed additive to help support the reduction of methane from livestock. We call them cow burps. This is a product that can help us fight climate change. It has regulatory approval in Europe. It has regulatory approval in the United States. The company is now in the process of applying to Health Canada. It could be another 18 to 24 months by the time it actually works its way through Health Canada's system.
What if we took trusted jurisdictions around the world, let us say, the United States, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, which have similar values to what we have with respect to public safety and public protection, and changed the model. What if we allowed a company, which had a product, a service or some type of element that would have to go through Health Canada but it already had approvals in those jurisdictions in which we have trust, to start operating in Canada, go through the regulatory process and until such time that Health Canada found a rationale for why it should not operate in our country, it would have a presumptive approval to go ahead?
Those are some examples where we can move forward. I want to discuss this one further. These are the type of elements that we need to start thinking about. We have to be creative on how we can create wealth, how we can drive innovation and foreign direct investment on elements that do not cost money. It is going to be important.
Another example would be gene editing, and we have talked about this in the House, with regard to plant proteins. This is something for which the guidance documents were provided by Health Canada. That is driving important investment in the country, because it is giving the regulatory certainty.
Airports, whether it border modernization, or the Canada Grain Act, or seed modernization or even SMR technologies, the government and we, as parliamentarians can do a lot of work that is non-cost-measures that will help drive innovation.
I wish I had more time. Perhaps I will find another time in the days ahead to continue to elaborate on those points, but on regulatory reform modernization, we can continue to drive that bus and it will help drive Canada in the days ahead.
Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon to all my colleagues here.
I would be remiss if I did not say that for these last few weeks and for a very long time, my heart, my thoughts and my prayers are with the Iranian Canadian community and with Iranians in Iran. Obviously, we want all countries to abide by the principles of human rights, democracy and freedom. What we are seeing now in Iran is that young people, this young woman and many women there are fighting for their rights. We are in full support of them. I have a very vibrant, growing and generous Persian community in the city of Vaughan and in York Region. I have spoken with many of them, and I want them to know that I fully support them, that I fully stand beside them, and that we are there with them.
I am pleased to contribute to the debate on this bill. Making life more affordable for Canadians is a key priority for this government, and I would like to highlight some of the measures we are taking to address the cost of living.
The bills tabled in Parliament on Tuesday represent the latest suite of measures to support Canadians with the rising cost of living without adding fuel to the fire of inflation.
The government's affordability plan is delivering targeted and fiscally responsible financial support to the Canadians who need it most, with particular emphasis on addressing the needs of low-income Canadians who are most exposed to inflation.
It has been a tough couple of years for all of us, with COVID-19, inflation and the war in Ukraine. It seems like we have to overcome one thing after another, but there are always better days ahead. The pandemic has been, we hope, a once-in-a-generation crisis, but like any major crisis, this one has aftershocks, and inflation is chief among them.
Inflation is not a made-in-Canada challenge. It is actually less severe here than it is among our peers. Nonetheless, we must assist Canadians. Inflation has made the cost of living into a real struggle for many Canadians, including residents in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, and especially for the most vulnerable: our seniors, folks on fixed incomes and working Canadians. We understand that there are people going through hard times, so Bill , the cost of living relief act, would double the goods and services tax credit for six months. Bill , the cost of living relief act, no. 2, would enact two important measures: the Canada dental benefit and a one-time top-up to the Canada housing benefit.
Doubling the GST credit for six months would provide $2.5 billion in additional targeted support to the roughly 11 million individuals and families who already receive the tax credit, including about half of Canadian families with children and more than half of Canadian seniors.
Single Canadians without children would receive up to an extra $234, and couples with two children would receive up to an extra $467 this year. Seniors would receive an extra $225 on average.
The proposed extra GST credit amounts would be paid to all current recipients through the existing GST credit system as a one-time lump-sum payment before the end of this year, pending the adoption of the legislation. Importantly, recipients would not need to apply for the additional payment, but they need to file their 2021 tax return, if they have not done so already, to be able to receive both the current credit and the additional payment. I am happy to say that it is estimated that 11 million individuals and families would benefit from this additional support, including about nine million single people and almost two million couples. In total, this represents about half of Canadian families with children and more than half of Canadian seniors.
Let us look at the next measure. The Canada dental benefit would be provided to children under 12 who do not have access to private dental insurance, starting this year. Direct payments totalling up to $1,300 per child over the next two years, or up to $650 per year, would be provided for dental care services.
This is the first stage of the government's plan to deliver dental coverage for families with an adjusted net income under $90,000 and will allow children under 12 to receive the dental care they need while the government works to develop a comprehensive national dental care program.
Also, the one-time top-up to the Canada housing benefit program would deliver a $500 payment to 1.8 million renters who are struggling with the cost of housing. This more than doubles the government's budget 2022 commitment, reaching twice as many Canadians as initially promised. The federal benefit will be available to applicants with an adjusted net income below $35,000 for families, or below $20,000 for individuals, who spend at least 30% of their adjusted net income on rent.
In addition to these important pieces of legislation, I would also like to speak about another important measure to help Canadian families, and that is early learning and child care. On child care, the economic argument is clear. The government believes it is an economic malpractice to force women to choose between their families and a career. Early learning and child care is a feminist economic policy in action.
That is why, despite reasonable doubts about our ability to make it happen, we have already signed early learning and child care agreements with every province and territory.
We are building a universal early learning and child care system at precisely the time when our economy needs all mothers who want to work, as long as they can be certain their children are receiving good care and a good education. Our plan makes it easier for people to work, and it makes life more affordable for middle-class Canadian families.
Three years from now, the average cost of child care across the country will be $10 a day.
Affordable early learning and child care, with savings that start immediately, promises to be an important part of the solution to affordability challenges for many Canadian families. Labour force shortages are a problem right now for our economy. In actual fact, there are 952,000 vacancies across Canada where employers are looking for employees. I will repeat, there are 952,000, and affordable early learning and child care is going to be such an important part of Canada's solution. It is going to help us build an economy and a country that is stronger and, yes, more prosperous.
The measures that the government tabled on Tuesday would deliver targeted support to Canadians who need it most, without exacerbating inflation, building on our government's affordability plan and, yes, being fiscally prudent. We are putting more money back in the pockets of the middle class and those working hard to join the middle class.
For those Canadians who need it most, Bill , Bill and early learning and child care services are measures that will help make life more affordable.
We will continue to provide support where it is needed most and in a timely fashion, while maintaining fiscal discipline.
Our economy is strong in respect of our labour market. We know Canadian employers need workers, which I am asked about all the time in the area I represent, but we also must deal with the affordability challenges that Canadians face. As a father of three daughters, my wife and I know what the prices are at the grocery stores. I empathize with Canadians who are facing those challenges. Our government, working with all parties, needs to rise up to those challenges and help Canadians expeditiously. It is great to see the opposition parties supporting the doubling of the GST tax credit by the end of the year.
I encourage all Canadians, as the former parliamentary secretary to the national revenue minister, to please file their taxes. That is how they receive all their credits and benefits, and that is how our government can help them expeditiously, efficiently and before the end of the year with the challenges they and their families may be facing at this critical juncture.
We know we are building a stronger economy, and we know we are maintaining a strong fiscal footprint and framework for my children and all Canadian children, but we have work to do.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this bill today but also to follow my friend from . I appreciate the opportunity.
First, I would ask for members' indulgence to address what many members already have this morning, and that is what we are seeing happening in geopolitical affairs, in particular in Iran. As I walked home last night, we saw the colours of Iran's flag flashed on Parliament Hill, but I could not help but feel just a little embarrassed because that seems to be what the government wants to do, which is to put out more signals or do things that do not cost much money as a way to show our solidarity.
It would be okay if we were doing many other things, but let us remember that the government said it would put these colours on the Peace Tower on Sunday. That was the first thing it said it would do when 50,000 people gathered at a rally to show their solidarity with what is happening with people in Iran and those who are fighting for their fundamental freedoms. It is almost like it was the same ministers holding up the sign that said, “I stand with Ukraine,” but never following it up with concrete actions.
I have to commend at least one member from that side of the House while I have the floor, the member for , who had the courage to go on TV and say that the government has not done enough. I hope that more members in the House feel empowered to speak on behalf of themselves and the issues they feel strongly about.
Now let us talk about Bill while we are here. This is the temporary enhancement to the goods and services tax, the HST tax credit. I want to commend our chair for getting this bill through Parliament very well. It was a very lively committee with the . It is always a pleasure to have her there. I cannot say many questions were answered, but it was nice to see some co-operation on all sides of the aisle to get this bill back to the House in short order.
Inflation is at a 40-year high. The Bank of Canada says inflation crushes the most vulnerable people the hardest. That is why it is important we get inflation under control. I do believe this measure is supported on all sides of the House. It is important that we stand together with our most vulnerable. This tax credit would help those individuals.
The government needs to be doing more to help Canadians with inflation. This is why I was surprised the could not answer the question at committee yesterday of whether this initiative would lead to more inflation. I was not asking the question of whether it would lead to more inflation so we would not do this policy. It was so that maybe the government could take other steps elsewhere to reduce its impact on inflation.
We are paying for this with more debt. We are still in a deficit. Let us remember it was not long ago that people were questioning spending in this House and other people were saying it was irresponsible not to spend because interest rates were so low. Now, interest rates are much higher, so the cost of the debt we are putting on future generations is incredible.
The PBO says interest costs could potentially double if the trajectory of interest rates continues. That is a lot of money that is not going to be able to be spent on social programs in this country, programs that everyone relies on: health care, helping seniors, making sure that our social security safety nets are there for generations.
At committee yesterday, we were told that the government has a new-found religion called fiscal restraint. I think the young kids these days would say that fiscal restraint has entered the chat. However, I am not really sure if that is going to happen. Let us let history be our guide. This is a government that is addicted to debt and spending. It is placing an incredible burden on our future generations.
The solution to every problem that the Liberal government sees is more spending. The government has grown spending by well over 8% every year since coming into office. In fact, its spending is up 25% this year when compared to pre-COVID levels. Now we are to believe that, from this time going forward, the government is going to keep spending growth to 2%. I find that very hard to believe. In fact, some would say it is very unlikely.
If we were at a party and saw a teenager going back to the punch bowl and could not tear them away, and all of a sudden that teenager had one last big swig and said, “That's it. I'm done,” would we believe that youngster? I do not think so.
The dirty secret of the government right now is that it is awash in revenues. It has never made as much money as it is right now. The NDP want to discuss windfall tax profits from those corporations that are having record profits this year, but let us talk about a windfall tax on the government. Why does it not give some of that tax money back to Canadians or maybe cut some taxes to begin with? Every week that goes by it is breaking a record for the amount of money it is bringing in due to inflation.
I would submit the government does not need more money with additional tax increases. It has to provide relief to Canadians by either cutting taxes or providing additional relief. Germany, the U.K., France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and I could go on, but I think I only have four minutes left and I would exhaust that. These are all countries that have reduced taxes on fuel or paused tax increases. They have provided relief for people with energy bills in their countries. We are approaching a cold season. It is going to be hard for many Canadians across this country to heat their homes, yet they hear the government talk about how important it is that we pay a carbon tax.
Let us just take a break. We do not have to be all or nothing. If gasoline is at two dollars a litre, maybe the carbon tax could be reduced to zero. If gasoline is $1.25 a litre, perhaps the government could come up with a much lower number to be applied. It should at least give us a break. At two dollars a litre, people cannot afford it. It is not as though people have a choice. Many people have to put a certain amount of gas in their car every week to get to work, to take the kids to soccer practice and activities or to get to the grocery store. Not everybody lives near a subway line. Not everybody lives with public transit right around the corner. They cannot walk anywhere. We do not have horse and buggies everywhere, at least not in many parts of this province. Although some very wonderful people rely on that mode of transportation, it is not realistic for all Canadians.
Therefore, let us acknowledge that people are hurting right now. Instead of lowering our taxes like our peers, our answer to higher energy prices is to make them higher. The carbon tax is inflationary. The Bank of Canada admits this, but the government does not seem to want to answer that question. What is it that our government knows that all of these other countries somehow do not know? We are the only country in the world that is choosing to make energy more expensive.
As I conclude, I want to say that, on our side of the House, we were pleased to see this bill move forward quickly because it is going to provide relief, albeit a small relief, to Canadians in need. I appreciate that opportunity.
I would also like to say that I will be splitting my time with the wonderful member for , whom I very much look forward to hearing on this matter as well.
I welcome any questions from my hon. colleagues.
Mr. Speaker, I stand here in the House of Commons today in a very sheltered environment. Outside these walls there are many challenges. With the inflation rate now increasing to over 7%, we have seen in the last couple of months some of the highest inflation in the last 40 years.
The Conservatives, over the last seven years, have warned the about where the end of the road is and what the consequences are of his tax-and-spend agenda. However, our warnings have gone unheeded. This is perhaps not surprising from a Prime Minister who does not think about monetary policy.
Think about what that means, actually. The said this right before we headed into one of the biggest monetary disasters we have had in the last 50 years. He literally said that he does not think about monetary policy, which would later make single moms unable to feed their families and workers unable to put gas in their cars. It is unbelievable that he does not think about monetary policy. Perhaps he should think again.
As we talk about Bill , it is important to put some context around the bill, and we need to start with the relationship between the economy and the government. Oftentimes, I find they unfortunately get confused in this House. We must first, as our bedrock, ensure that the goods and services produced in this economy, the wealth and prosperity of this nation, are primarily the responsibility of our businesses and workers.
It is through the delivery of those services and the production of goods that our country generates its value. When a company is able to produce more goods and deliver more services, or in other words increase our productivity, the prosperity of the nation increases. The secret of this, which is not often mentioned in this House, is that it is the most vulnerable who often benefit the most when the prosperity of the nation increases, and they suffer the most, as has happened in the last couple of years, when prosperity is under assault, this time by inflation.
A country can produce a modest, temporary and artificial increase in economic performance through monetary policy and the printing of money. When the government spends and spends on a spending spree funded by the printing of money, there is an initial exuberance that results as Canadians see money coming into their bank accounts. However, this exuberance is quickly replaced by disillusion as they realize the cost of everything has increased and benefits are now replaced by the stubborn and corrosive impact of inflation, which continues. Once it is out of the box, inflation runs and runs, eroding savings, eroding wages and eroding the pensions of seniors.
The true path to a more prosperous nation is not through the printing of money. It is through the creation of value. Specifically, we need to increase our productivity. When a nation can produce more goods and deliver more services more efficiently and effectively, it drives real value that increases the wages of workers and, dare I say it, increases the profits of businesses. It also creates jobs.
Unfortunately, the government appears bent on doing everything it can to reduce the productivity of businesses and workers, and we see the result of seven years of Liberal governments. Food inflation is at over 10%. It is 10.8%, to be precise. That is causing real-life struggles. Outside the comfort and shelter of these walls, there are people who will go to bed tonight hungry, and probably many more people than in the last decade or two decades. That is because of the impact of a who does not think about monetary policy.
Food inflation at 10.8% has caused a 20% increase in the last two years in the use of food banks. Think about that. Some 20% more Canadians are going to food banks now than did two years ago. In addition to that, 20% of Canadians have had to make changes in their diets. About 8% of Canadians out there are skipping meals. This challenge is not just for adults but for children. In fact, people who have children are now three times more likely to go to a food bank than those who do not. This is making life more difficult for all Canadians and the most vulnerable, and children are among them.
It is not that Bill is a wrong step. It is just unfortunately too little too late, as it were. I will be supporting this legislation because it is going in the right direction, but let us look at, first, the fact that it is months behind when any type of relief was needed. Second, let us look at the quantum or the amounts of that.
Keeping in mind the statistic that food inflation is up over 10%, it is increasing the amount that families spend on food by over $1,300 a year. This GST/HST temporary relief, according to the , who went before the committee, will create somewhere between $450 and $500 in benefits for the families that are eligible. However, as we have heard throughout this House, many are not. This is nowhere near the amount of relief needed. Ultimately, that relief will come from our workers and businesses, but they need to be empowered, not penalized.
Thomas Sowell once famously wrote that he never understood why it is greed to want to keep the money we have earned but not greed to want to take money that other people have earned. That is a lesson the government needs to hear loud and clear.
Some will say, and it was even in the news in the U.K., that tax relief is inflationary. I am here to say that when done correctly, it is not. In fact, it is the exact opposite of what happens when the government spends and is funded by debt or the printing of money. I will give four examples.
When John F. Kennedy cut taxes in 1963, the inflation rate the year before a massive tax cut in post-world war United States was 1.2%. In the year after his tax cuts, it was 1.28%. When Ronald Reagan introduced in the United States a massive tax cut in 1981, it came into effect in 1982. In 1981, the inflation rate was 6.13%, and the inflation rate in 1984 was 4.3%. That is a decrease of 2% after massive tax cuts. Once again the Reagan administration cut taxes in 1986. In the year before, the inflation rate was 3.9%, and in the year after, it was 3.65%. When Prime Minister Harper reduced the GST, the inflation rate in 2007 was 2.1% and the inflation rate in 2009 was 0.3%.
Inflation is not fuelled by tax relief. What is fuelled is our economy. We need to give more relief, and a great way to do it is to cancel the planned tax hikes that are coming into place. The government will triple the carbon tax by 2030, and starting this April, it will increase the taxation on nearly everything, which includes heating, gas and groceries. It is increasing the cost of everything. That, by definition, will increase inflation.
When we see Canadians working hard and trying to save what money they can, and when we have food inflation at 10%, is the government's response to reduce taxation? No, it is not. It is increasing the tax on paycheques starting April 1, and a sizable number of taxes will be increased. This is not the time for this. In my estimation, it is never the time to increase taxes given our current rates, but this is certainly not the time, as it will drive inflation and make our economy less productive.
When we look at what we need at the end of the day in order to solve this affordability crisis, we need to not drive artificial monetary policy through the printing of money, as we have seen what this can create. We do not need more government spending funded by the printing of money. We need our economy to increase its productivity. How we do that is by supporting our workers, empowering our businesses, supporting all Canadians, getting the government's hands out of their pockets and, instead, giving them a helping hand by reducing their burden in the future.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to take part in the debate today. I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for , and I look forward to his comments.
The is what we are talking about and how we help with affordability for Canadians who are facing the inflation we are now seeing as a result of global inflation as well as what has happened as a result of COVID-19.
When we went into COVID-19, one of the things that, early on, our government was focused on was setting Canada up for success on the other side of COVID, to make sure that Canadians would be able to return to their jobs through things like the wage subsidy program and keeping a relationship between the employer and the employee so that when jobs came back the employee would still be on their files. The CERB was to make sure that people who were really facing a tough time, those whose incomes had dropped and independent business owners, in particular, could get through what we were facing collectively as a society around the world with the global pandemic.
This bill is looking at what we do, going forward, now that we have protected our economy and have economic growth but have many people who are not participating in the success that other Canadians are taking part in. The once-in-a-generation COVID-19 pandemic has impacted other countries such as China, with its zero COVID policies. On top of that, there is the illegal invasion by Russia in Ukraine.
Here at home we have had housing prices skyrocketing so that we have had to work with the Bank of Canada, which focuses on monetary policy while we are focused on fiscal policy. The monetary policy that the Bank of Canada, which is an independent organization, has put in place is to increase interest rates, which almost immediately brought down the house price acceleration that we saw last year and even into early this year.
The inflation that we are seeing overall has come from the supply side. People are having trouble hiring and they are having trouble getting components out of their supply chains. Around the world, it is something that everybody is facing. In Canada, we have been able to temper that through good policy, with the government looking at inflation that peaked in June at 8.1% and has come down to 7%. Other countries are still on the increase. The United States at 8.3%, the United Kingdom at 9.9%, and Germany at 7.9% are all at higher inflation rates than Canada faces.
However, it does nothing for Canadians to say, “Yes, but the other guys are worse than we are.” This is why we are introducing the affordability plan. It is a targeted suite of programs of $12.1 billion that are being introduced this year, including doubling the GST credit for the next six months.
As monetary policy hopefully brings inflation back down toward the 2% target that the Bank of Canada has, we have to have something that bridges us through the hump that we are going through right now. This measure is Bill , which would make life more affordable for Canadians. As an illustration, some of the measures that the plan is working on to fight inflation are to help with access to dental care and with the rental costs people are facing. There are parts of the bill that will be coming back to the House, hopefully in the next few days, and passing quickly so that Canadians will have access to other supports. As has been mentioned in the debate today, all of these things are there to help people who are vulnerable and who are being impacted by the inflation we are all going through.
For more than three decades, the Bank of Canada has had the mandate to tackle inflation here in Canada, and our government reaffirmed this central mandate last December. As the Bank of Canada is working on inflation and bringing it down, we have to work on the impacts on Canadians who are facing higher interest rates, the higher food costs that have been mentioned in the debate this morning and the other higher living costs that we have.
As we get down toward the 2%, and it is really the bank's job to help us get there, we have to look at the supply route constraints that are also impacting businesses and the labour shortages. How do we help businesses find the workers they need with the right skills? How do we help the people who are looking for jobs get those skills, so that they align with the needs of the businesses? The better we do this and the faster we do this, the better Canada will be positioned to continue the growth curve we are on.
The last recession I remember was the 2008 major recession. We just coasted on the other side of it, and we did not have economic growth. The result of that was that we fell behind. We are now in a position to continue our leadership position in growth in the world and provide clean technology jobs and the jobs of tomorrow around climate change solutions, nanotechnologies and emerging technologies, but in order to do that we need labour.
To rebuild communities that have been ravaged by the impacts of climate change, like the communities in Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec, we need skilled trade workers, so we have to work as a government to help position people for success to get into those projects. In Guelph we have had six projects recently announced, with $45 million to create 263 housing units. Those housing units are being built, but it is a strain on the local labour. In fact, we have one crew that is in Guelph from Prince Edward Island doing steel work, and they are doing it quickly because they want to go home. There is a local benefit to our getting some labour force in Guelph to help us build the housing as well as help the communities in Atlantic Canada that need the help they need on the economic front.
The plan we have is rooted in fiscal restraint. We are looking at how we can provide supports without fuelling inflation. The suite of measures we are putting forward through the affordability plan, like the GST credit for the next six months, are going to support Canadians with the cost of living without adding fuel to the fire of inflation.
We look at what other programs we are supporting in addition to the doubling of the GST credit. It is going to provide $2.5 billion in additional targeted support for this year, and that is going to help 11 million individuals and families who already receive their tax credits through their tax filings. The relationship we have with Canadians through the Canada Revenue Agency helps us to deliver these programs.
We will also be delivering the Canada workers benefit to put up to another $2,400 into families' bank accounts this year. A 10% increase in old age security to help seniors over 75, which began in July, is providing up to $766 more for three million seniors this year. We will deliver a $500 payment this year to 1.8 million Canadian renters who are struggling with the cost of housing through a one-time top-up on the housing benefit. We are cutting child care fees by an average of 50% this year. Dental care for Canadians, hopefully getting passed through the House of Commons, for people earning less than $90,000 would provide hundreds of dollars to Canadian families this year. The indexation of inflation of benefits, including the Canada child benefit, the GST credit, Canada pension plan, old age security, the guaranteed income supplement and the federal minimum wage will carry us through normal economic times, when inflation is back down to the 2% level we are shooting for.
We are trying to manage the fiscal situation in an inflationary time by providing benefits to the people who really need them when they need them, and they need them now.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill , a very important piece of legislation that attempts to relieve some of the pressure being put on individuals right now in our country, in particular those who are struggling the most. The individuals who will receive this GST credit will, no doubt, be people who immediately use this money for very important needs that they have. It is money that will go directly back into our economy. Despite some of the things we have heard about contributing to inflation, the economists have pretty much resoundingly asserted that such a measure is not going to lead to inflation or, at least, is so marginal that it will be unnoticeable.
I want to focus my comments today on addressing some of what I have heard said in the House. In particular, I want to talk a bit about what I heard the member for talk about a few minutes ago and then go to some comments that I heard from the member for even earlier.
First of all, I think it is very interesting that all of the conversations or all of the discussion that has been happening today regarding Bill , from the Conservatives anyhow, spent very little time actually talking about the bill. Instead, they want to use the slogans they have recently come up with, such as “triple, triple, triple”. I am still trying to wrap my head around why that is supposed to be so funny. I do not understand how that works, but perhaps that line was given to everybody by the leader's office and it is their responsibility to deliver it repeatedly in this place.
The member for was not talking about the bill. He went on a long tangent from the discussion about why it is so important that the government not spend money right now, because it is leading to inflation. He was basically saying that when the government spends more, it leads to more inflation, and so on and so forth.
Just putting aside for a second his argument on that, I would remind him that my understanding, at least, is that Conservatives are voting in favour of this bill. They are voting in favour of this spending. For the member for to stand there for 10 minutes and talk about government spending leading to inflation and how the government should not be spending while on the topic of a bill about spending that he supports is extremely rich and, I think, underscores the hypocrisy that we hear over and over from Conservatives in this House. It is just on constant repeat, the way that they come out and say one thing but do another. I do not know if this is due to the new leadership of the crypto king from or what it is exactly, but it is certainly—
Mr. Speaker, let us talk about crypto, since we are on the topic.
With regard to the member for , I found it just astounding when, moments ago in the House, the Bloc Québécois member asked him a very good question about his party's position on crypto. I want to thank the member for for doing what I have been asking the to do for a long time, which was to explain the Conservatives' policy on cryptocurrency.
Instead of completely avoiding the question from the member from the Bloc, the member for tried to address it, which I think was very admirable of him.
What did he say? He basically said this: First of all, he compared Canada to Venezuela, saying that, well, if we look at countries like Venezuela, people have decided to hedge their bets against their currency by investing in cryptocurrency.
Can we extrapolate, then, the objective of the ? When he made those comments months ago about cryptocurrency, he was basically telling the Canadian people to not trust the Canadian dollar and to put their money into cryptocurrency and bet against the Canadian dollar. That is exactly what the Leader of the Opposition was doing.
I hand it to the member for for actually standing up and saying what he thinks, because the rest of them would not do it.
This is what we are seeing, so now we get to start to understand a bit of the picture of what is going on. We have the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the leader of the official opposition, the individual whom I crown as the king of cryptocurrency, in the House, in public, telling Canadians—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
It is really hard to talk to people in my community right now because they are really struggling. They are struggling so hard to make ends meet. I was at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, and I watched a woman from my community in the bakery aisle take a loaf of bread, look at it, put it back on the shelf, take it again, look at it and put it back on the shelf again. I knew what she was doing. She was asking herself if she could afford it.
That is the crisis our country is facing right now, and that is the level of gravity each of us should be treating the country's finances and our economic policy with right now. People in our country are asking themselves if they can afford to put another loaf of bread in their cart. I have to ask myself why, and I really want to direct this to the Liberal backbench. Why are the liberals raising taxes right now? Why would they do this? Why would they do this to that woman who is trying to figure out if she can afford an extra loaf of bread this week?
There is no reason for the government to raise taxes, yet yesterday that is what the government, the Liberals, voted to do. They voted to raise taxes. Every single member of the Liberal backbench has the ability in their caucus meetings or on their own social media platforms to push back and hold the government to account just as much as I do. We all have that right.
In January, small business owners and employers should not need to be worried about their payroll taxes increasing. Canadians, including that woman who is thinking about whether she can afford that extra loaf of bread, should not be thinking about whether their take-home pay is going to go down because the government is taking more money off paycheques. It is ludicrous. We are in a generational inflation crisis.
This is something many Canadians have never had to deal with. Before this crisis even started, the Canadian economy was on the brink. We are seeing a mental health crisis and a housing crisis, and what are the Liberals doing? They want to raise taxes. It is not just the payroll tax the Liberals voted to raise. It is also voting to raise taxes on something that will increase the cost of everything.
Let us talk about a loaf of bread. The way the Liberals and the have approached dealing with inflation is by saying, “Okay, Canadians, you have a loaf of bread. We are going to take it from you and give you back the crumbs.” This is what we are debating here today, and that is not right, but let us talk about that loaf of bread.
For a Canadian farmer who is growing the wheat for that bread, the Liberals want to raise taxes on the power that goes into drying that grain. What does that do to the cost of a loaf of bread? It increases it at a time when we cannot afford it and when people are asking if they can put another loaf of bread in their cart.
What about when that grain is dry? How does that grain magically get to a processing plant? It is transported. If it is transported in a truck, the fuel that goes to getting that grain to a processing plant is going to increase with this tax increase. Who pays for that? It is the person who is eventually going to buy that loaf of bread.
Once the manufacturing plant that mills the flour, which might be looking to relocate because of payroll taxes and tax increases on their input costs, such as electricity, has somehow managed to mill that flour, then the flour needs to be transported somewhere else. What is going to happen? The tax on that gas will be increased too next year, in the middle of an inflationary crisis, when people are struggling to choose whether to put another loaf of bread in their cart.
Then how is that loaf of bread going to get to the grocery store? How does that happen? It does not magically happen. It needs to be transported, again using something the Liberals are increasing the cost of. They are again raising taxes on this. Of course that increase in taxes goes through the entire system. It raises the cost of everything.
The other thing is that the Liberals try to tell people that somehow that bit of grain, that loaf of bread, can magically get from one place to another because they failed to put any sort of substitute good for carbon on the market, in spite of raising these taxes.
What have they done instead? They have raised the costs of these goods. They have made it harder for that woman to choose whether or not she is going to put that loaf of bread in her cart. They have done this while making us more dependent on countries such as Iran and Russia for their oil. Greenhouse gas emissions have risen under the government. It has to stop.
The Liberal backbench members should hold their leader to account. One of them actually said something that made sense. They were quoted in a news article after their caucus meeting, and they said something to the effect that they wished the leadership of their party would stop being so woke and focus on inflation. Now is the time.
Every single one of their community members is struggling with that question of whether or not to put another loaf of bread in their cart, and they do not want silence. Courage is lacking in that backbench right now. We should not be raising taxes. The Liberals had an opportunity yesterday to prevent the raising of taxes, yet what did they do? They voted to raise taxes. It has to stop. This is not the time to do that.
Some will say that they are spending money on x, y, and z. Let us talk about what the Liberals have been spending money on. There was a federal election in 2021 that got us a polarized electorate. It did not do anything else for the Liberals. We just found out that the Liberals spent a half a billion dollars making it easier for people in upstate New York to jump the immigration queue in Canada. The other thing the Liberals have done is spend how much money, and on what? It takes two, three, four, five, six months to get a passport, so we are seeing not only the government raise taxes in the middle of an inflationary crisis, but also service delivery being worse. This is it, and that is not good government.
What we have here is a scandal-plagued government that does not give a rip about the price of bread. The government members do not give a rip. They do not understand what people in my community or any of their communities are going through to try to make ends meet after filling up their tank of gas.
It is beyond me that the Liberals would raise taxes right now, and we will fight back. This is crazy. They should not be raising taxes in the middle of an inflationary crisis. I would ask them to give their heads a shake. This is not a game. That is what each of the members of the Liberal backbench should be saying. The Liberals have to do something to actually address the inflationary crisis, and taking Canadians' loaves of bread, trying to give them a few crumbs back and saying it is good enough is not good enough. It has to stop.
Canadians are sharing this message. Even people who voted for the Liberals in the past have said they have had enough, as one of their backbench said, of this woke stuff. They want solutions. They want a solution to the problem.
We should have energy sovereignty. We should not be waiting for OPEC+ to raise or lower production and raise the cost of energy on us because we do not have energy sovereignty here. The Liberals should be addressing the labour shortage instead of making it easier for people in upstate New York to skip the line into this country. They should be addressing that we have the poorest levels of service in government programs in generations, all while it is impossible for people to make ends meet.
We should all have had enough with the cabinet and the government's failed approach to economic growth while our country stares down the barrel of a looming recession, and it is the government's problem. It has failed to repatriate manufacturing. It has failed to inspire investment in our country. It is making it harder for women in my community to put loaves of bread in their cart.
I have had enough. People in this place have had enough, and people across the country have had enough. Tomorrow morning is their caucus meeting, so I challenge every Liberal backbencher here today to stand up and say what that one person said off the record to a reporter: Enough with the woke shit.
Mr. Speaker, I take that back. I apologize immediately for my unparliamentary language. I am very sorry.
Enough with the woke stuff and let us get on with the plan. It is right to be passionate with this. We have to do better things to protect Canadians from inflation.