(i) Canada is a democratic state,
(ii) this House believes in the principle of equality for all,
the House express its desire to sever ties between the Canadian State and the British monarchy, and call on the government to take the actions necessary to do so.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I must admit, reluctantly, that I am disappointed. I hope no one informs Charles III that his subjects are so slow to rally because he would be disappointed. One would have thought that there would be a massive assembly of MPs primed to protect the British monarchy. I get the feeling that the Bloc members are more passionate about it.
Parliament is a democratic institution. In principle, this means that it is the citizens of Quebec and Canada who, through their elected representatives, one riding at a time, make the decisions. The voters choose who is elected. Then again, it is hard to believe that the voters chose His Majesty King Charles III. Still, even though the monarchy is the very pinnacle of power in the structure of Canada's Constitution, we are being told that it is no big deal, it is not the most important issue, it is not a priority and we could be doing other things.
Just a few minutes ago, I was telling the media that I can breathe, talk and hold my phone at the same time. I can even stand on one leg if I have to. I can do everything at the same time. We are capable of discussing several subjects. There are parliamentary committees that will be sitting this week to discuss a whole bunch of subjects at the same time. We can debate the most and the least important. I would like to show that today’s topic is important.
Parliament is required to decide everything, namely budgets, laws and positions, which are often just principles. The motions we vote on after question period, on unanimous consent, are merely statements of principle. The best evidence of this is that, when the House gives the government a directive, the government usually disregards it. Perhaps the principles we state as principles already have an intrinsic value.
There is also the whole question of international relations and perception. There must be people all around the world who are looking at us and wondering what is happening because Canada is supposed to be a modern state. However, its leader is a foreign king, and a conqueror at that. This already presages something deeply serious.
They say that the monarchy is symbolic. A $70-million a year symbol, that is not bad. That is quite a symbol. We need to take into account the allocation of these $70 million a year, which, in general, go to lemons and airplane tickets; the monarchy is not on its last lemon. That is a lot of money. There is the distribution of all that in the provinces and Quebec, but we are told that that does not matter.
The constitutionalists have at least finished third grade. They are extremely intelligent people who have been debating since the Parti Québécois opened the debate in Quebec on the oath of allegiance. They debate what is necessary and what is not, what is important and what is not, and how to do it or not to do it. I think that these people do not have time to waste. It is because they think that what they are doing is important.
What could we do with $70 million? Seniors between the ages of 65 and 75, whom the government stubbornly refuses to help, could use $70 million. People with social housing challenges could use it, too. We realize that the government’s housing measures will help pretty much everybody, but far less in Quebec, because it had already taken action. I have colleagues who would like to hear that we were getting $70 million. For the transition to green energy, $70 million would go a long way. Forestry, fishing, the restoration of ports in eastern Quebec transferred from the federal government to Quebec, all need far more than $70 million. Can we spend the money there? No, but we are pleased to make arrangements for the royal family to visit western Canada on the taxpayer’s dime.
We are being told we would have to reopen the Constitution. My God, having to reopen the Constitution to change this. That means it must be really important. In general, when we say the word “Constitution”, especially with a French accent, English Canada goes into a panic. It must be a very important issue, I cannot think otherwise.
We need the unanimous consent of the provinces, the Senate and Parliament. That is how important it is. When someone puts 14 locks on their shed, it is because they really like their lawnmower. They are terrified of reopening the Constitution because, in my opinion, no one is comfortable with what is in there. It must be because it is important to keep it just the way it is. They are afraid that reopening the Constitution will lead to Alberta claiming independence or indigenous peoples claiming real rights. For now, we are protecting the British Crown at the expense of our first nations. That must be important.
According to the polls, neither Quebeckers nor Canadians want a monarchy. It is not a question of votes. In general, people do not wake up at night—although I know two or three who do—to say that we need to get rid of the monarchy. However, if they are asked, they will say that it is over, that it is a thing of the past, that we need to get rid of it, that it is expensive and that we do not need it. As the magnificent Yvon Deschamps would say, “The monarchy, what is the point?” The people want us to get rid of it. That has to be important.
It is the people’s preference. That means that this idea that, on some level, defines who we are, who Canadians and Quebeckers are—and please do not confuse the two—must be something fundamental. It is especially fundamental for Quebeckers because, for Quebeckers and for all those of French descent or who adopted the identity, to varying degrees, of French ancestry, the King of England is the king of the conquering empire.
They tell us that that was in 1760, and that we should stop talking about the conquest. They tell us that the Patriotes rebellion was in 1837-38, and that we should stop talking about the Patriotes. However, if we are swearing an oath today to the King of England, it is because we are still a conquered people, who had to swear an oath to the then king of the conquering British Empire, an empire that was incredibly racist and engaged in slavery. That is not trivial. Can we start adding the word “important” to the sentence?
I feel like asking what they are afraid of when it comes to reopening the Constitution, but I think I have already answered that question: No one can identify with Pierre Trudeau’s Constitution.
There are 338 ridings in Canada and, when we add more, it will be to the detriment of Quebec. There are approximately 100,000 people in each riding and around 60,000 to 70,000 electors, so if not everyone votes, only 50,000 or so voters per riding vote in elections. They never choose a king. They always choose a member of Parliament and, as a result, the leader of the country. They never voted for a king. I do not know anyone who said they voted for Charles, for example. I have not seen that happen, and yet, at the top of Canada’s food chain, there is the Crown. That must be important.
Are not the tens of thousands of people in every riding more important than an expensive, frivolous monarchy? Are they not more important than a foreign king who knows nothing about us—I am not sure that he would pass the test immigrants have to take in Canada, not to mention Quebec—and who is a descendant of the king who crushed us with his cannon balls and muskets? That must be important.
The says that the state is democratic and secular, and he is protecting a king who is the head of a Church. That must be important for the Prime Minister.
It is important, but it is unjustified. It is obsolete, not to say archaic, reactionary, paleontological, backward and humiliating. It will anger some people that I call the monarchy backward. The people who are angry prove that I am right. It makes no sense. We need to get out from under it because it is important.
There are more important things. To name them one at a time, it is true that it is more important to go to the Supreme Court to fight Quebec's secular values. It is true that it is much more important to go to the Supreme Court to fight Quebec's efforts to strengthen the promotion of French. It is true that it is much more important to open new maritime territories to oil drilling when we know that the North Atlantic right whale is endangered. It is true that it is much more important to hand out contracts to Liberal friends for Roxham Road. It is true that it is much more important to meddle in Quebec's and the provinces' jurisdictions, especially when it comes to health transfers.
If I am wrong and it is not important, why do we not get out from under it quickly, easily and light-heartedly and move on enthusiastically to something else?
The worked himself up to such a fever pitch that he now has a sore throat. Neither he nor the have answered any of the basic questions. Canadians and Quebeckers nevertheless have the right to know whether, when the Prime Minister and his Quebec lieutenant swore the oath, they swore it to a foreign king, a conqueror, a spoiled, ridiculous man. I have had a good life, but no one has ever ironed my shoelaces. With great discipline, not only did I learn how to tie them, but I also learned to put toothpaste on my toothbrush. It took a while, but I succeeded.
Canadians, Quebeckers and Quebec voters in the case of the lieutenant and the admiral, have the right to know whether they swore the oath to the British Crown or the Canadian people.
The monarchy is not important. However, is an oath important? Swearing loyalty and allegiance is a serious matter. What is there more important than a solemn oath of allegiance? Let us say it is not important. Does that mean that the commitments these people make to their voters are not important? Does it mean that they can frivolously ignore their commitment to their voters, like they frivolously ignore their commitment to the sovereign? Is it not important? It seems important to me.
On the other hand, the Bloc Québécois says that an oath given under duress is meaningless. If it does not come from the heart, it has no value. The Bloc's members swear an oath under duress in order to be able to enter Canada's Parliament to expose to Canada what, in many ways, is a lack of respect for Quebec, for the French language, and for the values of secularism and equality, the hypocrisy of a system created to drown us slowly in institutions where our space and our weight is almost inexorably dwindling.
That is no small matter. We come here to speak out against the fact that the government is not doing anything about environmental issues, despite the threat looming over the entire planet. We are here to speak out against the fact that the government's ultimate allegiance is perhaps to the lobbies.
Spoiler alert: The Bloc Québécois is not sincere in swearing allegiance to the Queen. However, the Bloc Québécois is irrevocably sincere, heart and soul, in its pledge and commitment to Quebeckers, and to the Quebec nation alone. If the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP are not sincere, then their constituents have the right to know. For our part, we are stating that we no longer want to be subjects of the empire that conquered us, because we live in a democracy. A foreign king and religious leader: That is as important as it is unacceptable.
We invite members to free themselves and us from the monarchy; otherwise, we will show Quebeckers who we are and who they are. I invite all members to think carefully about this before praying for the English King tomorrow, just a few hours before voting on the Bloc Québécois's motion.
This motion is a test of the sincerity of this solemn oath. It is a test of loyalty to our citizens and constituents. It shows that an oath to a foreign monarch and religious leader takes precedence over a pledge to members' constituents. There is no question that the Bloc Québécois is at the service of Quebeckers and only Quebeckers.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on the motion tabled by our hon. colleague from the Bloc Québécois to speak to an important issue. That issue is Canadian democracy and the Crown. We will be opposing this motion.
I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say that representing a riding in the House of Commons is an honour and a privilege. One of the very foundations of our democracy is political representation and the fact that the people we represent elect us through transparent, fair and independently administered elections.
With democracy being challenged in so many countries around the world, it is easy to think of examples of what happens where this no longer holds. As all of us gathered here today know, the strong and resilient form of democracy we have in Canada today did not simply appear one day fully formed. It is the product of over a century of evolution. It has been fought for, and it has been gained at the cost of many men and women's blood. Today, we will continue to defend that democracy.
While Canada continues to do well on most international measures of democracy, there is, of course, always room for improvement and change. Democracy is a work in progress. It requires our constant attention. We must continue to work to ensure that Canadians in all their diversity, including marginalized people, can make their voices heard. This includes our important ongoing journey toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
In July 2022, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, published its report on trust. The report reveals that OECD countries, including Canada, have a strong democratic system. OECD countries are constantly looking for ways to improve the delivery of services to the public and the transparency of their public administrations. However, we also know that there is still work to be done. OECD countries must listen to their citizens and ensure that public policies meet their expectations. That is especially true in the context of the pandemic and global inflation. One of the main lessons learned from these challenges is that to obtain the trust of citizens, government must be aware of citizens' realities.
We know that trust is earned through performance, but to be able to get to that, we need to understand citizens' needs and their expectations, and this is something governments must continue to dedicate themselves to. Public engagement, conversation and dialogue are critical to understanding what is important to our citizens and important parts of an effective, open and transparent government. They are critical to our efforts to build and renew public trust.
Hearing from our citizens helps us better understand the diversity of opinions to ensure we focus on what is most important to them. There are many things that are on the minds of Canadians, and I would say the Bloc Québécois motion today is not the foremost one. The recent OECD open government scan of Canada notes that Canada has a strong public consultation culture and that Canada scores comparatively well when it comes to stakeholder engagement. This is both an affirmation of what we have done so far and a reminder that we can always do better. We can do more to earn and maintain citizens' trust.
Our institutions and practices reflect our societal values. We need to protect them. While the founders of our Parliament took inspiration from the halls of Westminster for sure, in our geography, our design and in our buildings, we have always adapted our own institutions and our own practices. They are made-in-Canada solutions to fit our own realities and our needs.
No one doubts the fact that decisions affecting Canada today are made here, in this place, and in the legislative assemblies of the provinces and territories of our country. Of course, the House is just one part of Parliament and Parliament itself is just one part of Canada's governing system.
As we all know, Canada is a constitutional monarchy. I imagine that it will be in place for quite some time. Historically, the Crown has played an important role in the evolution of our country. In 1982, the Queen of Canada, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, signed our Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These two pillars of democracy help ensure the stability of our country and guarantee the rights and freedoms of its citizens. Although our attachment to the Crown has historical and cultural significance, its role is for the most part based on formalities. These are the principles that underpin our democracy.
The role of the sovereign in our constitutional monarchy is tightly prescribed. Although the last stage in the passage of our laws remains royal assent, most of the work of representing and defending citizens' interests is done in this place by its members.
Parliament is where the issues of the day should be debated and decided. The sovereign, the Governor General do not interfere in politics or these decisions. Yes, they can advise a prime minister, but they cannot reject the government's requests or undermine its position. This is the government, we are the Parliament, and they are separate. In our constitutional monarchy, the Crown's function in our government is to be a bedrock for our Constitution. It is more than a symbol, a sign; it is something we can put our hats on and our hands around to ensure that our Constitution is guaranteed, and it should transcend the political debates of the day.
The stability of our democratic institutions gives Canadians assurance and peace of mind from coast to coast to coast, so that we, as elected representatives, can focus on the issues that matter the most to Canadians. Those issues are clear, issues like the cost of living, dental care, housing affordability, the health of our economy, the health of our seniors and that of our planet.
Canada is free now and with all of our efforts will remain so. Wherever we sit in the House, I am confident that we all share that goal for a free and vibrant democracy. Let the sovereign, His Majesty King Charles III, King of Canada, be a symbol of that freedom and of our shared purpose as a country to remain free, to remain with dignity and liberty whatever the issues of the day upon which we have, and will continue to have, differences of opinion. Differences will exist in the House, they exist in Canada, but we share in common our goal of a united, passionate, just and free country.
The sovereign also acts as a symbol of what does unite our country. As you know, Madam Speaker, the actual presence of the Crown is often felt more immediately for Canadians through the sovereign's representatives in Canada, which are the Governor General and the lieutenant governors who perform most of the constitutional functions of the sovereign in his name.
The vice-regal representatives work tirelessly, whether awarding honours to Canadians and celebrating that which is best in our communities to performing their constitutional duties. They are a remarkable group of dedicated Canadians who, in their work, highlight the many people who contribute to our country day after day. We get honours sitting in the House, but the people who do that work are sometimes honoured by the Governor General or lieutenant governors of our provinces to ensure that they are honoured for what they do to keep Canada whole. They contribute to our great country. Our vice-regals, whether through formal awards in the arts, sciences, humanities, academic achievement in our high schools and universities or by recognizing the many volunteers who give their time to their communities, are fundamental to the way we live in Canada.
Canada's democracy and how Canadians govern themselves are important topics. It is absolutely clear that we should have discussions about our constitutional democracy, which is valid. One of the ways democracy has been resilient as a form of government is that it is best placed to deliver for its citizens, and that is what democracy does best, and doing so in a way that respects and helps fulfill their rights as human beings and as citizens. That is a bedrock part of democracy. This is the work we need to do together as elected representatives in this place to deliver on the needs of Canadians in uncertain times.
While many of the financial challenges we face are indeed global in nature, we experience them locally in our homes, on our streets and in our communities. That is why the government has taken on these issues of affordability, especially housing affordability but also the cost of living, extremely seriously. Housing affordability is a real and growing concern and should be a paramount issue for everyone in the House. It is the highest issue for young Canadians and people living in my riding. They are worried that they will not have the same opportunities as their parents and grandparents to own a home, to build a future.
Over the past two years, housing prices have become unaffordable for far too many people. Many people are being forced to live further and further away from their place of work and the place they grew up, when, often, that is where they want to build their future. Housing affordability is a complex issue. There is no miracle solution. In the 2022 budget, the government presented a long-term plan to address housing affordability for Canadians. This plan has three pillars, which are to help Canadians save to buy a house, to curb speculation and to increase the supply of housing, something that we should all be working on together.
There is more to be done to address affordability in housing and the cost of living beyond home ownership. This past September, the government introduced Bill , an act respecting cost of living relief measures related to dental care and rental housing.
Many Canadians have no access to a dental services plan. They do not use those services because of the cost, yet we know that a lack of access to dental care services not only causes harm to children but also has an impact on the whole health care system. It has to be addressed. It is one of those urgent matters that we need to share in the House. The government recognizes the need to provide interim dental benefits for children under 12 years old, while working toward the development of a long-term national dental care program.
Bill proposes a rental housing benefit act to provide a one-time payment to help low-income renters.
Together, these targeted measures will provide real benefits to Canadians who need them the most as we face global cost of living increases. This is a crisis that we need to address. We have been doing it for the last seven years as a government with the Canada child benefit and other measures that have attempted to reduce poverty and start to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor in our country. That work needs to continue and to be done day after day.
There are other issues on our government's agenda that also take priority over the motion that has been suggested today. The government is focused on delivering the needs of Canadians by taking action on climate change. The OECD trust—
Madam Speaker, there is a thread between what I have been saying throughout this speech and the motion being presented today, as well as in line with the questions from the last intervention.
Each of those questions talked about the legitimacy of a motion like this while the country has strong and very persistent problems. It takes up the time of the House, so it is absolutely critical that we look at the question of the day and wonder why the Bloc would bring the motion today. It is absolutely fair to do that.
It is also fair to talk about our more important issues. As I said, those more important issues relate to what is on the minds of Canadians. Yes, democracy is on their minds. Yes, constitutional monarchy may be a topic brought up once a year.
Fundamentally, people are worried about the cost of living. They are worried about peace in our world. They are worried about affordable housing. They are worried about issues such as ensuring we have good dental care. They want us to address the issue of climate change. Those are the kinds of things they want us to do.
The thread that draws it back to the question is that we have the privilege of doing that because we have a bedrock, fundamental constitutional monarchy that gives us the freedom to be in this place. It gives us the freedom to have this discussion. It gives us the freedom to have a government that is elected. A minority government needs to listen and it needs to be aware of the demands of all parties in the House in an attempt to devise an agenda that will meet the needs of Canadians. We do that because we have a dependable, fundamental, rock-solid constitutional monarchy.
We have confidence in the Crown, which is able to represent something well beyond us. It gets us out of the everyday discussions we have and puts us above politics to the things that matter the most in our society. We are able to do that because we have democratic institutions that we have fought to have for decades. For a century and a half, people have fought to keep this democracy alive and well.
Fundamentally, we gather today as people of privilege. We gather today honouring a past and building toward a future. That future is absolutely dependent upon people having the things they need to live their lives, like affordable housing and a climate that is not racking disaster on their neighbourhoods and communities. We need to ensure that we address the issue of climate change.
We absolutely need to do this and this government will continue to do that because we are bent on delivering for Canadians and Quebeckers. We know what is also on the minds of Quebeckers. We know that they are concerned about the cost of living. We know that Quebeckers are concerned about housing prices. We know that Quebeckers are concerned about climate change. Canadians and Quebeckers share those absolute fundamental goals and desires in society. That is why we address them everyday, and we do that in this place because we have a system of government that Canadians trust. Canadians trust our ability to gather here and do our work with the freedom, grace and dignity they give us.
We know that the economy and fighting climate change go hand in hand, and that is why the government continues to support green innovation in Canada and projects that create—
Madam Speaker, I will begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from .
The subject today on opposition day is the motion moved by the Bloc Québécois. Is the issue raised in the motion relevant?
I could say yes, the same way Canada's intervention in support of Ukraine is relevant, or the treatment of the Uighurs by the Chinese Communist regime is relevant. There is no shortage of important topics in the House of Commons. Everyone has their own opinion on various topics, and the relationship with the monarchy is no different.
The real question is, is it essential that this issue be debated at a time when Quebeckers are more concerned about the impact of inflation on their lives?
Inflation and interest rates keep going up and up, even though the and the Governor of the Bank of Canada said not so long ago that there was no need to worry. I wonder how many people and young families decided to buy a house or a new car because interest rates were really low and they had been reassured by their Prime Minister, who was spending taxpayer money recklessly while saying that it was the right time to do it, that interest rates were low and would remain low for a long time. This was an extremely dangerous attitude that is now being confirmed as a disaster.
Let me get back to the Bloc Québécois.
What are the Bloc members doing today? They want to talk about the monarchy and changing the Constitution that has governed the country for over 150 years. The Bloc used to be the farm team for the Parti Québécois, but it has found a new vocation as the Parti Québécois's big brother. After throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the last Quebec election, the Bloc troops returned to Ottawa disappointed, having only succeeded in getting three Parti Québécois candidates elected. The leader of the Bloc threw his full political weight behind his separatist friends, but the result was very disappointing. That too was a disaster. In a sign of the times, Quebec chose a government that is prioritizing the economy and growth, rather than division.
Quite simply, the Bloc claims to speak for Quebec's National Assembly. In the recent election campaign, the Bloc went up against the Coalition Avenir Québec, the party now forming government. Now, the Bloc members are claiming to be the political arm of the National Assembly, whereas in truth, they represent three members of the third or fourth opposition party, which does not even have official status. They do not represent the CAQ government. Is there anyone left who believes in the Bloc Québécois's strategy?
When a party is searching for a purpose, a reason to exist, what could be better than talking about the Canadian Constitution?
If we pay attention, we see that the Bloc Québécois is proposing that we sever ties with the monarchy. However, what are they proposing instead? Are they suggesting that we swear allegiance to a president of the republic of Canada? In that case, the Bloc's next motion would be about severing ties with the republic.
As we can see, the Bloc Québécois is searching for a purpose. The Bloc members are looking for an excuse to justify their presence in the House, which they call a foreign parliament.
An hon. member: That is true.
Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus: Madam Speaker, one of my Bloc colleagues just said that it is true. He considers himself to be in a foreign parliament. That is the background for our speeches. I am not making it up. This form of belligerent rhetoric is the Bloc Québécois's standard discourse.
The fact remains that today's motion is part of a long tradition of political spinning by the Bloc. The Bloc members get up in the morning and wonder what could get people talking today, what would make a good headline. They find an issue they can spin in a way that will make the news and be fun for them. They try to figure out how they can make the federal parties look bad, meaning the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP.
As I always say, the easiest job in Ottawa is being the leader of the Bloc Québécois. They just have to spin issues and will never have to shape the country's destiny. Today, the Bloc Québécois chose to spin an issue so as to help their Parti Québécois friends in the National Assembly.
My priority is to influence the Liberal government so it looks after Quebeckers' future properly. The current economic situation and the imminent recession require that federal elected representatives who believe in economic success from coast to coast work together for that common goal.
The rhetoric from the leader of the Bloc Québécois is not going to impress anyone whose mortgage is getting so big that the only option is to give the keys to the bank.
No one is interested in that rhetoric when groceries cost 11.4% more, when families have to cut back on their meals and when food banks are struggling to meet demand. To use a very Québécois expression, we wonder, “What planet are they living on?”
Did the people who voted for the Bloc expect their members of Parliament to be this disconnected? In the last provincial election in Quebec, I expected to see several Bloc members take up the baton of sovereignty and jump into the fray. If they want a country, they need to work from Quebec City. Instead, they chose to stay on the bench and pray hard for the junior team to win. It was a wasted effort, however, as only three members of the Parti Québécois managed to get elected. The dream of a country called Quebec is just that: a dream.
As a result, they needed to find a purpose. What better way than wasting an important day in the House of Commons proposing that we create a republic of Canada so they can come back later with another motion to abolish the republic? The Bloc strategy is very easy to understand, and I have just lost 10 minutes of my time explaining it. I would have preferred to find ways to help Quebeckers pay their mortgage and put food on the table for their children.
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute‑Saint‑Charles for his speech.
We are here because our colleagues from the Bloc Québécois decided to present an opposition motion in the House of Commons from which I will read the preamble, which I find interesting. It states that “Canada is a democratic state” and that the “House believes in the principle of equality for all”.
I will focus on those two points from the Bloc motion day because I do believe that “Canada is a democratic state” and that the “House believes in the principle of equality for all”. That is why I prefer today to talk about the fact that 100% of Canadians are suffering every day from the cost of inflation caused by the costly New Democrat-Liberal coalition.
When we look at the numbers, we realize that 80% of Canadians, including Quebeckers, are worried about their finances and wonder if they will be able to make ends meet at the end of the month and pay their bills and groceries each week, while 72% of Canadians feel they pay too much in taxes.
On January 1, 2023, the Liberals are preparing to further increase what they will be taking from the paycheques of Canadians and Quebeckers. They are about to further raise the carbon tax, which will create even more inflation and make absolutely everything cost more. The cost of food alone has risen by more than 11%, something that has not been seen in the last 40 years.
In addition, inflation remains at about 7%. There were reports that inflation had come down slightly, but it only came down by 0.1%, primarily because of a drop in the price of gas, but that did not happen everywhere. Unfortunately, people will not benefit from it for long because, very soon, the Liberals will turn that drop into an increase for all Canadians.
Let me also quote a few figures from Statistics Canada. Last month, the price of meat was up 7.6% compared to last year, dairy was up nearly 10%, baked goods were up 14.8% and vegetables, 11.8%. These figures do not paint a complete picture, however.
It is clear something is going on when you go to the grocery store and see how people have been acting over the past few months. People are looking for products, they cannot find what they are looking for, or they are leaving products on the shelves because they simply cannot afford it. Another change is that people are going to grocery stores as soon as the flyers come out so they can take advantage of the discounts as quickly as possible. That way, they can save money on products that inflation would otherwise prevent them from buying. That is the reality.
What is in store for us tomorrow? The Bank of Canada is going to raise its key interest rate again, making housing even more expensive and making home ownership even less likely for young families and young people entering the workforce. That is the reality. We do not know by how much the rate will go up, but it will definitely go up.
The Liberals keep saying that they are not responsible for inflation because it is caused by the global economy and all sorts of other reasons and people. However, that is not what the head of the Bank of Canada thinks. According to Mr. Macklem, inflation is the result of many factors that are becoming purely domestic. In other words, inflation in Canada is created by Canada.
Madam Speaker, I refer to the motion.
What is driving inflation to this point? Our national debt. The national debt has increased by $100 billion, despite Liberal promises. We remember the promise they made in 2015 to run small deficits for three year and then return to a balanced budget. That was forgotten and there is now a deficit of $100 billion.
Before the crisis in Ukraine, the Liberals increased our national debt by $500 billion, $200 billion of which was in no way related to COVID‑19 expenditures. The Prime Minister's mindset was plain to see when he said in his inaugural speech that it was time to borrow because interest rates would remain low for decades to come. I again refer to the motion, which states at point (ii) that the “House believes in the principle of equality for all”.
Unfortunately for the poor, the price of inflation means that they cannot buy and acquire goods. That is the reality and I thank the Bloc Québécois for giving me that opening and this opportunity to talk about equality for all, here in Canada, because it is important. Unfortunately, due to the costly NDP-Liberal coalition, that is no longer a reality; the poorest are finding it increasingly difficult to buy most things.
Let us talk a bit about the Bloc Québécois. If there is one good thing about their motion today, it is that it shows Quebeckers what the Bloc Québécois's main priority is. Contrary to what I have just said and the concerns of Quebeckers each day, the Bloc Québécois has shown today what its priority is. The Bloc Québécois supports a general federal carbon tax for all Canadians because they refuse to vote in favour of our motion to not increase the carbon tax for all Canadians. How ironic that the Bloc Québécois should support a federal tax on all the provinces.
The Bloc Québécois and its leader have always claimed they want to be the voice of Quebec's National Assembly in Ottawa. Unfortunately, what we have just seen proves that the Bloc Québécois talks a good game, but when the time comes to act, it cannot deliver.
Quebec just held an election to which the Bloc Québécois devoted all its energy. All the Bloc Québécois members worked really hard. They invested resources, and the leader gave speeches in support of one political party in Quebec's National Assembly, the Parti Québécois. Did the Bloc Québécois, the Bloc members and the party staffers who claim to represent Quebec's National Assembly remain neutral in the recent provincial campaign? The answer is obviously no. They dedicated their hearts, their energy, their resources and their speeches to supporting the candidates from a single political party, Quebec's separatist political party. It is the only party whose ultimate goal is Quebec independence, which is far from the goal shared by all the members of Quebec's National Assembly. I think if we did a quick survey of the National Assembly, we would see that most do not want Quebec independence.
In the election, only three Parti Québécois candidates won seats, despite all the resources that the Bloc Québécois had put into campaigning in Quebec. After campaigning against all the other parties represented in the National Assembly, and after Quebeckers only elected three Parti Québécois members, the Bloc Québécois still claims to be the voice of Quebec's National Assembly in Ottawa. That is not true, and the motion is clear proof of that. Rather than talk about Quebeckers who cannot make ends meet, rather than condemn the Liberal government's encroachment on areas of provincial jurisdiction, the Bloc Québécois chose to ask the House of Commons to debate an issue that only got three members elected to the National Assembly.
In closing, I just want to state that I speak for many Quebeckers when I say that people do not really care whose face is on the $20 bill. What they care about is having enough $20 bills in their pockets to pay for their groceries at the end of the month.