Mr. Speaker, it is insane.
The government has already caused the highest inflation in 40 years by doubling the national debt and adding more to our debt than all the other prime ministers in the history of this country combined. He admitted that government spending is increasing the cost of living for ordinary Canadians.
For three years, I have been warning the House of Commons. The so-called experts, including the Governor of the Bank of Canada, former finance minister Bill Morneau and others, have admitted that the government's spending is driving up inflation. The herself finally came to that same conclusion. Two weeks ago, she said that she did not want to add fuel to the fire of inflation, so yesterday, we expected the government to introduce a budget that would curb the inflationary spending that is harming ordinary Canadians. What we got was the exact opposite.
The Liberals made four promises, but they broke them all. They said that the debt-to-GDP ratio would decline, but every year, it goes up. They said that the deficits would come down but they are going up. They said that the pandemic debt incurred would be paid down. It has not been and it continues to rise. Finally, they said that the budget would be balanced in 2027. Now, they admit there will never be a balanced budget.
We realize that the government can only give what it has taken. The government has no money. Every cent spent by the government must come from taxpayers. There are three ways to pay for expenditures: through inflation, by printing money; through debt; and through taxes. This government has chosen those three methods.
I am going to share some shocking figures about government expenditures with my colleagues. I would like to thank the official opposition's innovation, science and industry critic, the member for South Shore—St. Margarets, for this data. The budget sets total expenditures for the next five years at a record $3.1 trillion.
An hon. member: Billion.
Hon. Pierre Poilievre: Mr. Speaker, it is not a billion; we are talking about a trillion. We have a problem here. There is not actually a word for trillion in the French language. It does not actually exist. The government's debt is so big it violates the Official Languages Act.
Today I am announcing that we will be filing a complaint with the Commissioner of Official Languages.
The reality is that it is 3,000 billion dollars. That is how much the Liberals are going to spend over the next five years. That is more than this country's annual economy.
Then, if these numbers are to be believed—but their numbers are never to be believed—and if they do not increase spending until the end of their term, the projected deficits will add another $130 billion to the national debt. The national debt will reach a record $1.3 trillion. Interest on the national debt will increase from $44 billion today to $50 billion in five years, if the interest rate calculations are correct.
That is not all. The laughed when a reporter asked him how we were going to pay for all this debt. He said it was not an issue, that interest rates were low, that we were never going to have to pay for this spending. That was two years ago. Two years ago, he said interest rates were going to stay low for the rest of our lives.
Now the interest costs on the national debt have doubled. We are spending double the national defence budget on the interest costs on the national debt. It is ridiculous. We are spending nearly as much money to pay the interest costs on the debt as we are spending on health transfers. These interest payments hinder the government's ability to provide services to everyday Canadians, people who pay the bills.
Let us look at other facts. The $3 trillion in spending and the massive deficits will throw fuel on the inflation fire and cause the interest rates to increase even more. During the last year that our Conservative government was in power, spending for programs was $280 billion. Now it is $465 billion. That is a 63% increase. According to the numbers, the government is going to increase spending until it reaches $543 billion. That is an increase in spending of nearly 100%, or double.
Have Canadians received twice as much for health, public safety or quality of life in Canada? No, that is not really the case. That is the point. The Liberals measure their success on the fact that they cost a lot of money. Imagine a restaurant where the food is disgusting, where the service is bad, where the atmosphere is terrible, but it costs $500 to eat there. That must be the best restaurant. That is the Liberals' logic.
Every time I ask why the crime rate has increased by 32%, the Prime Minister tells victims of crime that there is no problem because he is spending a lot of money on public safety. When we talk about firearms crossing the border, he says not to worry because he is spending more money to protect our borders.
Failure is not acceptable but it is even worse to pay dearly for failure, and that is what this government is doing right now. These exorbitant expenditures have given us a country that is truly broken.
What is broken is the fact that people can no longer walk in the streets and feel safe when the crime rate has gone up 32%. Street gang murders have increased by 92%.
We can also think about the number of families who need to use food banks each month. There are 1.5 million Canadians who cannot feed themselves. One in five Canadians has to skip a meal because food is too expensive. Nine out of 10 young Canadians cannot even dream of owning a home some day, because mortgage payments, rent and costs associated with purchasing a home have doubled, even though the government spent $89 billion on affordable housing.
The country is worse off after all this spending, and everything is broken. Worst of all, the contract that existed between the citizens and this country is broken. It was a very simple contract: Here in Canada, people who work hard can have a house, good food, a good quality of life and can achieve all of their dreams. That is why immigrants come here. They do not come for the weather; they come here for that contract. When people come here, they basically sign that contract when they make their declaration of citizenship. People declare that they will work hard and obey the law, and that way they can have a home and a good quality of life. That was the contract between our country and ordinary people. It is just common sense.
That is why people chose Canada, but that deal is broken. We, the Conservatives, will restore that contract between the country and the people. Our country will work for those who work. We believe in common sense, and we want to bring common sense back.
We are going to bring the loans back to a lower rate by eliminating government waste, the carbon tax and inflationary deficits.
We are going to reward work by eliminating and reducing penalties and taxes on paycheques thereby boosting their value. Here in Canada, people are punished for working. They can lose 89¢ on every additional dollar earned when all the government taxes and penalties and all the payroll taxes are added up. A government I lead will eliminate those penalties and make working more profitable.
We are going to give Canadians back the ability to buy a home. We are going to eliminate the red tape and barriers to building houses across the country.
We are going to make Canada's streets safe again so that people feel safe. We are going to do that by eliminating the bail and parole policies that the government put in place so that we can put the real criminals in prison.
We will ban drugs like heroin, fentanyl and others to protect our citizens. We will also stop spending taxpayer money to pay for drugs for people who are addicted. Instead, we will ensure that people get real treatment. We will go after the big pharmaceutical companies that caused the crisis in the first place. We will bring our brothers, sisters and friends home by helping them end their addiction and rebuild their lives.
We are also going to bring freedom back to Canada. Freedom will be protected and strengthened when I become prime minister.
We will also bring democratic power back to Canada by eliminating foreign interference in our electoral and democratic system. The capital of Canada is Ottawa. It is not Beijing or Davos. This is our home, and we will make our own decisions for the future.
We are going to give back to Canadians control of their lives and give them the power back. We will make Canada the freest country in the world by giving people back control of their lives.
What I am talking about is just common sense. It is the common sense of ordinary Canadians, working people who are paying the price for this incompetent government's overspending. That is who we are working for. That is our mission and that is what we will do as Canadians and as a Conservative government.
The government cannot give people anything it has not taken away. The Liberals have no money over there. All the money they spend belongs to other people. There are only three ways they can extract it: by taxing, borrowing or inflating. The current government has done all three. It is incredible.
Just weeks ago, the admitted that deficit spending leads to inflation; it pours fuel on the inflationary fire. This admission was a long time coming. I have to admit I was waiting anxiously. It only took her three years after I started warning her about that. Slowly but surely, a group of random Liberals started to agree with me.
First it was the Governor of the Bank of Canada, who had originally predicted that deflation would result from his money printing. He came around to the view that inflation is caused by government deficits and money printing. Then it was a former Liberal deputy prime minister. John Manley said that all this spending is going to drive up the cost of living. Then it was another random Liberal, Bill Morneau, the former finance minister. Bill Morneau, who has become “Bill no more”, said that we would have inflation as a result of all this spending. Then, finally, the we have now came out and said that spending money we do not have drives up the cost of living.
It was a wonderful epiphany, and we thought that weeks later it would translate into a budget that would show responsibility with the people's money. Instead, after the Liberals doubled the national debt, adding more debt than all previous prime ministers combined, they decided to dig even deeper.
Let me share some of the astounding facts that the shadow minister of industry dug up about the government's financial plan. The budget sets cumulative spending for the next five years at a record $3.1 trillion. That is bigger than the entire GDP of Canada.
Remember that we cannot believe almost anything they project, but if these numbers are to be believed and they do not add more spending, they admit that they plan to add another $130 billion to our debt. The debt will rise to $1.3 trillion. Interest on the national debt this year is $44 billion; it would rise to $50 billion under this fiscal plan.
To put that in perspective, the Liberals have literally doubled the amount that Canadians have to spend on bankers and bond holders since the promised that interest rates would stay low and there would be no cost to all this debt.
We now spend more on interest for debt than we spend on our military, child care benefits and transfers for education and social services to the provinces and almost as much as we spend on health care. Instead of giving the money to soldiers and nurses, the gives it to wealthy bond holders and bankers. This is exactly the opposite of what he promised.
The Liberals admit that the spending this year will be a staggering $456 billion. This is an increase of 63% since the took office just eight years ago. That is almost a 10% year over year annual increase in spending.
If we believe their projections, spending is set to rise to over half a trillion dollars over the life of the five-year plan we have before us. That means they will have literally doubled government spending.
What is twice as good in Canada today? Can members think of anything? Are our streets twice as safe? We just have to look around this week to get an answer to that question.
A father was stabbed to death in broad daylight at a Starbucks in front of his kids for asking someone not to blow smoke from a vaping instrument into his children's faces. A 16-year-old was stabbed to death on the Toronto transit system by someone who had multiple prior criminal offences. In the last 36 hours from the time I stand and give this speech today, two young people have been stabbed, and one of them killed, on Calgary's transit system.
Violent crime has increased by 32%. Gang killings have gone up by 92% under the government. We do not have streets that are twice as safe under the twice-as-costly government.
Have we got twice as affordable housing? No, it is exactly the opposite. The average mortgage payment and average rent have doubled. The average required down payment to get into a home has doubled.
We do not have better health care. The time it takes to get treatment has gone up to 26 weeks, which is double what it was when the took office.
What are we getting for all this money? Every time we stand up and highlight problems that are raging out of control in this broken country of ours, the stands and defends himself by bragging about how much money he has spent. It is incredible.
It is like saying he got a car. It breaks down on the road, and the air conditioning does not work. One of the windows was broken when he drove away from the dealership. However, we should not worry because he paid $200,000 for it, so it must be a terrific car. That is how Liberals judge success. It is by how expensive they can be. They have no common sense.
The average single mother would do a far better job of managing this budget than the does because she understands budgets do not balance themselves.
The good news is that we are going to turn the hurt that he caused into the hope that Canadians need. We need to bring home a country that works for the people who do the work. That means bringing home lower prices by eliminating the inflationary spending, deficits and carbon taxes.
We know that more money chasing fewer goods always equals higher prices. We need to reduce the burden of government on the shoulders of people to bring down costs and bring home more dollars with more purchasing power for people to have a better life.
We are going to bring home more powerful paycheques by ending the war on work the has unleashed in this country. At some income levels, when one earns an extra dollar, one loses as much as 89¢ in income tax, payroll tax and clawbacks of benefits that governments give out. We wonder why people do not want to work and why we have a labour shortage. If one taxes labour, one gets less labour.
We have become a country that does not reward good or punish bad. If a hard-working person puts in an extra day's work, they lose it all to clawbacks and taxes. If a criminal goes out in the streets and commits a violent crime, they pay no penalty. We do not differentiate between good and bad behaviour, and that is why we see everything coming crashing down across the country and in the lives of everyday Canadians.
We need to reward the good work of the people who work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules. That is why a Conservative government would reform our tax and clawback system to make work pay so people can once again bring home powerful paycheques in this country.
Bringing home powerful paycheques means we also need to get out the gatekeepers who prevent those paycheques from coming home in the first place. Brilliant immigrants come to our country ready to contribute but then are prevented from working in their very professions. Right now, we have a doctor shortage of 40,000 doctors. We have 19,000 immigrant doctors who are banned from working in our hospitals. Most of them are qualified to do the work.
I had to help one doctor who had been doing heart surgeries in Singapore get his licence to practise here in Ottawa. I hate to break it to members, but Singapore is actually a more advanced country than Canada is; yet we block someone like that from doing surgeries at the Ottawa Heart Institute. We have 19,000 foreign-trained doctors who could be helping in our medical system but for these government gatekeepers. There are 34,000 foreign-trained nurses blocked from working in our health care system.
It is not just doctors and nurses; it is all professions. We had the head of the Aviation Association testify that there was an aviation mechanic working for Air Canada in Munich for 20 years. Then he moved to Canada, assuming he would just keep his job with Air Canada. However, they would not let him do the same job on the same planes that he did in Germany. This is insane.
A Conservative government, led by me, would bring in a common sense blue seal standard, a national merit-based test to determine who is qualified and who is not. Therefore, our internationally trained professionals can take a test, get a “yes” or “no” based on their proven abilities within 60 days and get to work in their fields.
We would back up 30,000 small study loans so our immigrants can take time off work to study up to our standard. We would make it possible for future immigrants to this country to begin preparing to get licensed to practice in their field before they even arrive in Canada. That way, our immigrants could have big, powerful, inflation-proof paycheques, and we could have more doctors, nurses and engineers in this country.
Bringing home powerful paycheques means getting the gatekeepers out of the way of our resource sector. We have the sixth-biggest supply of lithium on Planet Earth. The government now wants to spend $80 billion on subsidies for so-called green businesses.
Would it not be nice to actually harvest the lithium we have in this country and put that lithium in the batteries of the future rather than relying on slave camps in other parts of the world, in dictatorial parts of the world, or relying on China to refine 60% of all the lithium that comes to surface? Do members know how much lithium we had mined in Canada in 2021, after six years under the ? It was zero, nada, nothing. We did not even get a tablespoon of the stuff. Why is this? It is because, by the government's own admission, it takes up to 25 years to get a mine approved in this country. No wonder every other country in the world is leaving us in the past.
We could be shipping our natural gas overseas. There were 15 proposed natural gas liquefaction plants on the table when the took office. Zero have been built, even though the Americans have built seven in the exact same time. The Germans built an import plant, from the application process through the final construction, in 194 days. We could be shipping our gas overseas.
With me as prime minister, we could remove the gatekeepers, deliver fast permits, build natural gas liquefaction plants, cool that gas down to -161°C, and ship it over to Europe to break the European dependence on Putin and over to Asia to break the Asian dependence on dirty coal fire. We would turn dollars for dictators into paycheques for our people in this country.
We are going to bring homes that people can afford again. It is hard to believe that housing was cheap in this country eight years ago before the . A person could buy the average home for $450,000. That was all it cost. The average mortgage payment was a reasonable $1,400. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Canada's 10 biggest cities was $1,100. What is it now? The average mortgage payment is now well over $3,000. It has doubled. The average down payment required for a minimum down payment of 5% is $45,000. It has doubled. The average rent is now $2,200. It has also doubled.
Why has this happened? There are two obvious reasons. Inflationary deficits are driving up interest rates on mortgage borrowers and local government gatekeepers are blocking construction from happening in the first place. That is why we have the fewest houses per capita of any country in the G7. In fact, according to Scotiabank, we actually have fewer houses today, per capita, than when the took office.
In Vancouver, the cost of government gatekeepers and red tape is $650,000 for every single unit of housing. We are not building anything because we are ranked 64th in the world for the time it takes to get a building permit. If they cannot build houses, they cannot house people. They want to bring in half a million people every single year and they have no idea where they are going to put them all. They are setting us up for a massive financial and social catastrophe over the next two years as people have nowhere to live and nowhere to go. We are going to see a massive breakdown in our communities as a result of this policy.
Luckily, we can get the gatekeepers out of the way. Do colleagues know who showed us how? The first nations people in Vancouver. There is a reserve in Vancouver, inside the city of Vancouver. The Squamish people took on 10 acres of land. They are building 6,000 units of housing. That is 600 units per acre. The reason they are able to do it is because they do not have the rules of the City of Vancouver. They are their own boss and they got the gatekeepers out of the way. They did what would have never been possible with big-city mayors.
There has been this tradition that prime ministers do not criticize mayors and use all of the fluffy language we read in press releases about “working together in collaboration and partnership for a better future”, all the garble that we are so used to hearing.
Mr. Mark Gerretsen: It sounds like you're pretty familiar on what to say.
Mr. Pierre Poilievre: You're right. You had better believe a big change is coming.
Mr. Speaker, the accused me of fighting with the mayors. Damn right, I am going to be fighting. I will be fighting to get housing for our people. Our young people deserve to live in a home and I will be putting in place serious financial penalties for big-city mayors who block housing construction and big building bonuses for those who get out of the way and allow housing to be built. Yes, absolutely, we will bring it home. Their solution is to shovel another $4 billion into municipal bureaucracies so that there are even more gatekeepers to block construction.
My view is very simple. I will pay for results. Their infrastructure budget from the federal government will be based on the number of keys in doors. The houses will have to be finished and there will have to be people moving in for every dollar they want to get in federal infrastructure money. I will require every federally funded transit station to have high-density apartments built around and over top. Why is it that Hong Kong has the only profitable transit system on Planet Earth? They sell the air rights right over the stations so that people live right on top of the transit. That is the most effective way to do it. However, in Canada, the gatekeepers and the rich, leafy neighbourhoods filled with champagne socialists do not want anybody else living in the neighbourhood. They want the transit stations all to themselves. That is not going to happen any more. If I am going to fund transit stations, I am going to require that working-class people are allowed to live next to them and they will be able to live there without even having to work there.
We have these big, ugly buildings, 37,000 federal buildings. Most of them are actually empty with people working from home. These big, ugly, empty buildings are shrines to the incompetence of the government. I will sell them off to developers so that they can be converted into low-income housing. It warms my heart to think of the beautiful family rolling up in their U-Haul to move into their wonderful new home in the former headquarters of the CBC.
We are going to honour the trades. We need tradespeople who can actually build stuff. We are going to make sure, unlike Liberals, who turn their noses up at working-class tradespeople, that trades and apprenticeships get the same support from government that universities and professionals do.
We are going to accelerate bringing in more tradespeople from abroad and we are going to make sure that young people are told that working in the trades is every bit as honourable and prestigious as working in a profession. Our tradespeople are the backbone of this country.
We are going to bring home safe streets again. We know that the crime, the chaos and the savage violence that has been unleashed across the land is the direct result of Liberal-NDP policies, which have flooded our streets with violent criminals and dangerous drugs. They brought in catch-and-release, so that the same violent criminals get released again and again. The same 40 people were arrested 6,000 times in Vancouver in one year. That is 150 arrests per person per year, as a direct result of the 's bail reform.
My government will end the catch-and-release and bring jail, not bail, for repeat violent offenders.
Secondly, we are going to tackle the scourge of drug overdose deaths that have been unleashed in this country under the policies of the Liberals and the NDP.
They told us that they had all the evidence to do the things that made no sense to common-sense people. They said that if we only legalize drugs and we use taxpayers' money to give people the drugs, then there will be no more overdoses because we will be able to guarantee that these drugs are safe.
They actually have heroin vending machines that they are funding with tax dollars. They are very proud of it. They say that they are using biometrics so that people can walk up and put their fingerprint out and out pops hydromorphone.
Oxycontin causes the opioid crisis. Hydromorphone is three times more powerful than oxycontin. It is almost heroin.
What happens? The users take those drugs and they find that they are not strong enough after a while, so what do they do? They sell them to kids and they take the money and use it for fentanyl.
This government is spending, in this budget, hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funds to provide even more drugs that will kill our people.
This policy is an unmitigated nightmare. The lower Eastside of Vancouver has turned into hell on earth. The number of overdose deaths is 300% higher in British Columbia than when this took office.
We are now seeing, across Canada, 22 overdose deaths every single day. It does not make sense.
By the way, the same disgusting pharma companies that started the crisis in the first place are going to get some of the money from this budget to sell the hydromorphone that will perpetuate the ongoing addiction. The same corporate scumbags that unleashed this crisis by deliberately turbocharging sales and encouraging overdoses, with bonuses for distributors who caused them, are now getting money from this government to pay for the so-called safe supply of what is nearly a heroin-grade opioid.
This is the most disgusting and outrageous policy perhaps that the government has ever implemented.
We have a solution. We are going to ban hard drugs. We are going to stop using tax dollars to hand out those drugs. We are going to provide treatment. We are going to make it easier to get treatment than it is to get drugs.
We are going to make the pharmaceutical companies that caused this crisis pay the bill when I launch a $45-billion lawsuit to recover the money from them. That is what I am going to do.
We are going to bring home our brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours, drug-free. We are going to restore the hope that anything is possible in this country for them, that there is always a chance at redemption, that anybody can turn their lives around. We have seen what treatment can do, the countless stories that I have heard when I go across the country.
I met a nurse in Timmins who had been a nurse until she got hooked on opioids in the hospital. She lost her job, lost her family and ended up on the street, but went and got treatment and recovered. Now she has a job as a waitress. She has her daughter back, she has her dignity back and she has her life back. There are going to be many more stories like that when we bring home our friends and family drug-free.
We are going to bring home our freedom to this country. The more government we have, the less freedom remains. This big, powerful government forgets its core responsibility. First and foremost is our national defence. We are going to bring the dollars out of the back office and onto the front lines and stop wasting defence dollars on big corporate procurement screw-ups. We will make sure the money goes into the soldiers' hands and into the support of our soldiers, sailors and airmen. We are going to end the woke culture that is driving our young people away from the military and restore pride in our armed forces again.
Bringing home our freedom means bringing back democratic decision-making to this country by fighting against foreign interference, including by introducing a foreign interference registry and stopping foreign governments from interfering in our elections. Our capital is Ottawa; it is not Beijing and it is not Davos. By the way, I would be banning every single minister in my government from any involvement in the World Economic Forum.
We would bring home free speech by repealing Bill , which attempts to give government the control of what people see and say on the Internet. We think that there are already 37 million Canadian content regulators. They are called the citizens of Canada and they have the right to decide what they see and say on the Internet in a free country.
I pointed out earlier that we had a deal in this country that if people work hard they get a good living and a good life. It is a deal that, like everything else in Liberal Canada, is broken. However, it is not the first deal that has ever happened in the history of our democracy. The first deal was over 800 years ago when a spoiled, power-hungry inheritor of the Crown, King John, had taken the Crown from his father. Does that remind people of anyone? He was overtaxing his people. He was taking away their freedoms: arresting without charge, confiscating without compensation and violating all the rules that we now take for granted. However, the commoners forced him to the fields of Runnymede and required that he sign the deal: the Magna Carta, the great charter, which, for the first time, brought liberty under the law and made what is now called “the state” a servant and not a master of the people. That is our purpose here as well.
We understand, on this side of the House, that we are servants. We are not masters. This is the House of Commons, the house of the common people. It is green because the first commoners met in the fields of Runnymede, which were also green. They were the ones who harvested that field. They are the ones for whom we work. We stand for the common sense of the common people, united for our common home: their home, my home, our home. Let us bring it home.
Some hon. members: More.