Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to continue debate.
Yesterday when I started my debate, I quoted the words of King Solomon out of the Proverbs: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” That admonition is actually etched on Canada's Peace Tower, and there is a reason it is etched there. It is a reminder to governments and a reminder to leaders, including the , that those of us in this august chamber are called upon not only to lead by example, but to lead with vision and have a long-term view of the best interests of our country.
I mentioned yesterday that I believe this budget reflected an unserious , an an unserious and, quite frankly, an unserious government. I know that a few of my Liberal colleagues did not like my reference to “unserious”, but the reality is that it is a fair characterization of what has happened in this budget. Quite frankly, a serious Prime Minister would not say that budgets balance themselves. A serious Prime Minister would not say that he does not think about monetary policy, which is so critical today as we discuss inflation. A serious Prime Minister would not take a budget, cut the number of pages down by half, from 700 last year down to 300 this year, and then not cut anything else.
Why is it that the government somehow has made the assumption that bigger and bigger government is better? It is not. We as Conservatives believe that as much as possible, government should remain small. It should be as least intrusive in the lives of Canadians as possible. By the way, so should the tax burden, and I will get to that in a second.
I want to touch on four main things. I want to first talk about whether this is a growth budget. I want to talk about inflation and the cost of living, which of course is the biggest thing facing Canadians right now. I want to talk about spending, and this is a big-spending budget. It has not only big spending, but big permanent spending, which is going to saddle future generations of Canadians with a massive debt challenge. Then I want to talk about taxes and tax increases. The Liberal government always talks about having Canadians' backs and having taxpayers' backs. The problem is that it is all rhetoric. It is actually empty, vacuous rhetoric, because with every budget that it tables, the tax burden on Canadians increases and increases. I will get to that in a moment.
Let me start by talking about growth. One of the biggest challenges facing Canada today is that we have an economy that is not positioned for long-term success. Economist after economist and thought leader after thought leader has said that Canada's competitiveness is leaving us way behind in the global marketplace, and I will talk in a moment about what that means. The problem is that the government loves to put out documents like this budget, and smack dab in the title of that budget is the word “growth”. The Liberals want Canadians to believe that they have now heavily invested in driving growth in Canada, but the reality is that they have not.
Why is fundamental growth so important? Why are the structural deficiencies in our economy so pernicious when it comes to our long-term prosperity as a country? It is because we are undermining our ability to compete on the global stage. That is the problem.
If we can learn to produce more per person and more units per person, we drive prosperity. What we do is mitigate the inflationary pressures we face today in our economy. A lot of my Liberal friends do not understand that, but if we become more productive as an economy, as a nation, we reduce the likelihood of runaway inflation. We reduce the likelihood that the Bank of Canada, our central bank, has to step in and start increasing interest rates the way it is doing now.
This is a budget that will only fuel inflation because it is all about spend, spend, spend. There is virtually nothing about growth. When we talk about the few elements in this budget that touch on growth, they are actually about giving subsidies to the private sector. I do not know why the NDP is not screaming bloody murder. They hate subsidies to the private sector, yet there is a $15-billion fund in this budget that effectively amounts to using taxpayers' dollars to incent private companies to invest in themselves and invest in clean technology.
There is nothing in this budget that addresses the issue of interprovincial trade barriers, which is one of the most significant underminers of economic performance in our country. In many ways, we have freer trade with our free trade partners around the world than we have with our 10 provinces and three territories. It is really a sad comment on our country that our federal relationship cannot overcome barriers that prevent us from freely trading among ourselves.
There is nothing in this budget to address comprehensive tax reform. We as Conservatives have been calling for comprehensive tax reform. Even the finance committee, in one of its earlier reports and studies, called specifically for comprehensive tax reform. Why? We want to make sure that our tax system is fair, that those who really cannot afford to pay taxes do not, that those who should not be paying a high tax rate do not and that those who should be paying their fair share of taxes do.
There are four areas of tax performance, which I will get to in a moment, but if we can get tax reform right, we can be assured that Canada will again become a place where the world wants to invest. Members will not believe this, but right now Canada's investment performance as a country is the very worst out of the 30 OECD countries. Many of them are in the EU. They of course include Japan, the United States and Canada. We are at the bottom of the list of those 30 countries when it comes to being able to attract investment from around the world, foreign direct investment, as it is called, or FDI. That is a terrible performance. The government has had seven years to fix that problem and it has done nothing about it other than throw a bit of money at it.
There is also nothing in this budget about rural broadband. One of the best things we can do as a country is invest in the infrastructure that will bring rural broadband to every single Canadian, especially rural Canadians, many of whom still do not have broadband. When we give Canadians access to broadband, we link them to the rest of the world. We link them to the rest of their country. We link them to the rest of their community. When we do that, we improve productivity and our ability to compete and produce in this country. Whether it is products or services, we can do things more efficiently if we have comprehensive broadband infrastructure across our country. There is virtually nothing in this budget on that, except to signal that the Liberals did a bit in the last couple of years, so that should be good enough. When we are talking about competitiveness within the global stage, that is not enough.
There is nothing in this budget about trade-related or climate-related resiliency. In fact, I noted yesterday that there is one glaring hole in this budget. There are a number of us on this side of the House, some of whom are in the House right now listening to me speak, whose communities were devastated by the atmospheric river event that took place in B.C. last year in November, with the massive amount of rain that fell and the flooding that ensued.
In my community of Abbotsford, the whole Sumas Prairie was flooded, a prairie that is full of chicken farmers, egg farmers, dairy farmers, blueberry growers, vegetable growers and greenhouses. It goes on and on. In fact, Abbotsford is the agriculture capital of British Columbia. It is the breadbasket of the province, and for much of the country, by the way. It is the number one farm gate producer in the country per hectare, so everyone can understand, when one of our big prairies is under water by four, five or six feet, the devastation that was wreaked.
We sent a letter to the , co-signed by a number of my MP colleagues on the Conservative side, and begged her to please take this seriously. This was a once-in-100-year event that is probably going to become a much more regular event because of climate change-related weather patterns. This is going to happen again. It could happen this coming year or it could happen three years from now, but it is going to happen again.
Did the listen to us? Did she reach out to us and ask what it was all about, what specifically we would like her to do and what projects we think she should fund? She did not even reach out. Surely, we as a country can do better when one of the most significant climate-related events does not even get a mention in this budget, is not worthy of a mention, to protect human life, to protect livestock and to protect livelihoods. Clearly the minister does not care.
I have mentioned all of the different areas of this budget that could have addressed growth but did not. We want a deeply rooted economic recovery, not the shallow recovery we are experiencing right now, nor an inflation-driven recovery where Canadians actually get further and further behind. If we are going to have a true, thoroughly rooted recovery within an economically competitive economy, that needs to be driven by the private sector, by small and medium-sized businesses and, yes, by the many large businesses across Canada. This should not be bigger and bigger government trying to steer the economy in the right direction and always getting it wrong.
Next I would like to talk about inflation and the cost of living. Members may recall that in the last budget, from one year ago, the stood up in the House and said that in addition to all of the other massive spending she was undertaking in the budget, which, by the way, was the biggest spending budget in Canadian history, much of which has gone to waste, she was also setting aside over 100 billion dollars' worth of investment that she was going to call stimulus. She wanted to plug that stimulus into the economy, inject it into the economy, because the economy was not doing that well. She was priming the pump, so to speak, and we could see where this was going.
Then the cautioned us. She said she was going to take care not to pump too much stimulus into the economy. We all know, in the House, that if we pump too much stimulus, too much cash, into the economy, it is more cash chasing the same number of goods and services. That creates inflation. She said that she was going to take care of that and make sure that consumers and Canadians were protected. She said she was going to put in place labour-based guardrails, and a number of other guardrails, that would give her an idea of whether this stimulus was actually required so she would not make the mistake of pumping too much in and driving inflation. At that time, a year ago, inflation was not at the level it is today.
Now, we fast-forward to today. Yesterday, I was in the budget lock-up, where we got to ask questions of the government officials. We wanted to know what happened to the stimulus. We wanted to know how much of the stimulus was actually spent, whether the guardrails were applied and how much of that stimulus was left unspent.
There was no answer. Officials stumbled, fumbled and said they could not really identify how much of that stimulus was spent, because it had been allocated to different departments and they were responsible for reporting on their own spending. They said they could not really tell us that.
What did they say about the guardrails? What did they say about these protective measures that would ensure not too much cash was pumped into our economy to stimulate inflation? They said they did not know. There was no answer.
Today, I think we know what the answer is. Every single penny of that hundred-plus billion dollars was pumped straight into the economy, and guess what we have today? We have the worst inflation in over 30 years, which was driven by the actions of the Liberal government.
I will be the first to acknowledge that not all inflation is driven just by what we do in Canada. Yes, there are supply chain constraints around the world. Yes, there are spikes in commodity prices around the world that drive up the cost of living. That is consumer price inflation. However, there is something else called “asset price inflation” that covers things like houses, and that is a Canada-made inflation problem.
That inflation, of course, has left millions of Canadians behind. It has left behind Canadians who want to get into the housing market and Canadians who can no longer afford to buy groceries for their kids. They are cutting back. It has left behind Canadians who cannot buy household goods.
We are now in an affordability crisis in this country, and the government has to bear some of that blame. This budget simply makes it worse. It exacerbates the inflationary pressures we have in our country. This is a big-spending budget. What it does is spend, spend, spend. There is more cash being pumped into the economy, which is driving inflation.
Canadians should not, in any way, expect inflation to go down in the medium term, or even in the short term. In fact, the Bank of Canada governor was before the Standing Committee on Finance not too long ago. He said we should expect that things are going to get worse before they get better. Is that on the Liberal government? Of course it is. The Liberals are the ones responsible for government spending, and this budget represents a massive government expenditure.
I got into the spending part of it. There is $56 billion in new spending in this budget. That is massive. What is worse is that most of this $56 billion of new spending is new, permanent spending.
I want to remind members of something. Back in January 2021, just over a year ago, the received a mandate letter from the . For those who do not know what a mandate letter is, it is simply a long set of instructions the Prime Minister gives either to new ministers or other ministers whose directions he wants to refresh.
He gave her this mandate letter and right there, in the middle of that letter, it said, “Minister, you will not embark on any new permanent spending.”
Period, full stop: There would be “no new permanent spending.”
That was her instruction just over a year ago, in the middle of the COVID pandemic, when the Liberals were spending wildly, and perhaps there were some justifiable reasons for spending a little bit more than we normally would in the budget.
Here we are, in March. Just four months ago, at the end of 2021, for some reason the decided to give the a new mandate letter. This was some 11 months after the first. We looked at it. We looked at it carefully. I am looking for it, and there is no reference to new permanent spending. The Liberals had purged the document of that directive.
Anyone who thinks that the Liberal government is committed to living within its means can forget it, as my colleague just said. This is not a serious government, as I said earlier, and we cannot take seriously any of the commitments that it makes, because tomorrow the Liberals will change their minds and say, “Too bad. Tough luck. Be happy.”
There is a ton of spending in this budget. Of course, there is the NPD spending on dental care. We see that there is more spending on the failed Canada Infrastructure Bank. In fact, the Liberals have expanded the mandate of the failed Canada Infrastructure Bank, which is finding itself incapable of getting money out of the door and actually making the investments in infrastructure that are required in our country. There is more spending and more wasteful spending, and who pays for it? Taxpayers and consumers do, because the spending drives inflation, which leaves Canadians behind. The taxpayers also have to pay the bill for this spending.
Of course, I have not even mentioned the fact that this is actually an NDP-Liberal government. This is an unholy alliance, and guess who the tail is that is wagging the dog? It is the NDP. The NDP is telling the Liberal government how many taxpayers' dollars it should be spending, and it goes on and on. Many of the asks that the NDP had, when it shacked up with the Liberals in their common-law relationship, have not been reflected in the budget. They are coming in the next and the following budget. They are coming. I can tell members that.
There are also promises that this government made in the last election that did not show up in the budget.
There is more spending to come. With regard to the suggestion from the that, somehow, she was going to rein in spending and discipline spending, and this was all in safe hands, the Liberals' record says otherwise.
In fact, did we know that, since the Liberals came into power, they have increased government spending by 53% in just over six years? Much of that is permanent spending, so future generations of Canadians are stuck with this, and this is spending that is generating inflation in our economy.
Did members know that, even since the pandemic crisis in 2019, government spending has gone up 25%? The stands in the House and claims that she is disciplining government spending and that she is reining it in. “Trust me,” is what she said.
I also talked about taxes. This budget is full of tax increases, and the Liberals have made them very discreetly. We have to explore the different corners of this budget to find these tax increases.
Of course, there are increases on alcohol taxes because there is an escalator built into the excise taxes on alcohol. What this government did, back in 2017, was something really clever. The Liberals said they did not want to keep going back to the representatives of the people to ask them for permission to spend taxpayers' money. What they were going to do was build into their structure an escalator that automatically kicked in and increased taxes on Canadians every single year. They did that with the excise tax.
Let me talk about GST. We have inflation in Canada, so the GST revenues to the government have skyrocketed because of the oil and gas revenues that have come in. The price of gasoline at the pump has gone way up, which has left Canadians behind. They are unable to fill up their gas tanks, unable to get their kids to school, unable to get to work and unable to drive their kids to hockey practice or music lessons.
On top of the high price of gasoline, the government layers the GST. The more that inflation sets in, the more GST revenue the government collects, which is why it had these windfall revenues this past year. The windfall revenues were not from good management on its part. It was not an underlying, strong economic performance.
This was about the government benefiting from inflation, and the benefiting from inflation through higher GST revenues and through higher excise tax revenues, but leaving Canadians behind because they have to pay the price for that. That is completely unacceptable. We, as Canadians, are better than that.
There is something in this budget about housing. The made a big thing about housing. I asked her a question yesterday after she gave her budget speech. I mentioned that housing was the number one concern facing Canadian families, especially those who are not in homes. They cannot get into homes anymore because inflation and housing affordability have left them behind.
In fact, in Canada, the price of housing has more than doubled since the Liberal government came into power. We did not see that kind of housing inflation under Stephen Harper, did we? There were steady increases, but they were controlled. Prices were stable. Today, prices are no longer stable and families have been left behind.
When I asked the a question yesterday, she could not respond. All she said was that I was right, and that housing was the number one problem in this country right now, especially for Canadian families. She made a statement and made the suggestion that she was going to double the number of houses she was going to build in Canada over the next 10 years. Do members remember that? She stood up and said, “I promise the House, and I promise Canadians, that over the next 10 years, I am going to double the number of homes”. She used the word “we”. I am assuming it was the royal “we”, and she was referring to the government.
I said to the , if she was going to double the number of houses, she must know how many houses she and her government had built over the past seven years since the Liberals were elected. She must know that figure because without knowing that figure, it would irresponsible to make the statement that the Liberals were going to double the number of homes they would build. I said I just needed a number on how many homes they had built in the seven years they had been in government.
The hummed and hawed, and spent about two and a half minutes pontificating and arguing around the question. She never answered the question, even though some of my colleagues were calling out, “What is the number? How many homes did you build in the last seven years?” She could not give an answer, yet she made the statement that she was going to double the number of houses over the next 10 years. It is a number that she does not even know. That is the kind of economic, financial and fiscal leadership we have with the NDP-Liberal government.
There is one way we can address the skyrocketing cost of housing in this country. In fact, there is a way we can address the issue of skyrocketing inflation, broadly speaking, whether it is on gas, household goods or anything else we buy, and on the services we buy in our communities. They have all gone up because of inflation. There is a way of controlling inflation, especially in the housing market. Do members know what that is? It is to control government spending. Thanks for asking. We need to control government spending.
Instead, the current government has done the very opposite. It is fanning the flames of inflation. In fact, it has poured gasoline on the flames of inflation and things are only going to get worse in the Canadian short term.
Before I finish, and I do have a motion to bring, I want to mention that, like any budget that is full of bad policies and massive Liberal spending, there are always a few things that we can support. For example, the announcement of enhanced defence spending is something we would support, but the reality is that the current government has allowed defence spending to lag behind. Now it is catching up, but we see this as simply a $6-billion down payment to strengthen our ability to defend ourselves as a country and to engage in the global community of nations when it is required.
We can support a $3.8-billion critical minerals strategy as well, because critical minerals are critically important to the electric vehicle industry, which we are trying to get a foothold in. I would love to see Canada become a leader in that.
There is a ban on foreign homebuyers for two years. I think we can support that.
Of course, for small businesses there is a small improvement when it comes to the small business tax rate. Small businesses across the country will be pleased that at least the government has finally, after years of pleading, agreed to adjust the phase-out schedule for the small business tax rate.
This is a budget that is profoundly lacking in vision. I mentioned that at the beginning of my speech. Canadians can do better. We have so much wealth in our country with the natural resources, the human capital and the education we have. We can do so much better than having to always borrow tens of billions and hundreds of billions of dollars every time a government tables a budget. We should not have to be doing this. As we do this, in the process we kick more money into the economy and drive up inflation, leaving millions of Canadians behind. We can do better.
I move, seconded by the member for :
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
“the House not approve the budgetary policy of the government since it fails to:
a. rein in spending in order to control inflation;
b. provide Canadians with tax relief; and
c. take immediate action to increase housing supply.”
Mr. Speaker, we are facing multiple crises, both current and looming, so we expected this budget to put forward concrete solutions to address the risks associated with these crises.
First is the public health crisis. After living with the pandemic for over two years, we are now entering yet another wave.
Next is the inflation crisis. For months now, inflation has been higher than expected. That seems unlikely to change for quite some time and will probably even go up. People are very worried.
Of course, there is the war in Ukraine, which is directly victimizing the Ukrainian people, who are being subjected to bombings and unspeakable atrocities. This conflict is impacting the whole planet, and we are feeling the repercussions here too.
Finally, there is the environmental crisis, which is causing all the climate catastrophes we have been witnessing.
As the crises multiply, so do the risks. These are uncertain times, and the budget was the best opportunity to protect us from all those risks. This budget, however, despite listing virtually all the problems in detail, addresses virtually none of them. What irony.
What we see in this budget, as we did in the previous budgets and in everything the government does, is a federal government that is more centralizing than ever. The government is once again using the budget as an opportunity to further centralize the federation's power. This is a real pattern. The bulldozer is moving forward slowly but very surely.
Here is one example. The government wants to tackle the housing issue, but it is making threats. It is telling the municipalities that it will cut infrastructure funding if they do not build enough housing. The federal government is once again infringing on other jurisdictions. It is once again centralizing. Once again, paternalistic Ottawa wants to be the be-all and end-all. They want to make all the decisions and tell everyone what to do. That is unacceptable. It is unacceptable for Quebec.
The irony is that, although the House recognizes my nation with its words, the government is trying to force the Quebec nation into the Canadian mould it has created. We can no longer live in our own way. This budget is a reminder of that. It is becoming increasingly difficult to do things our own way.
The best example of that is clearly health care funding. Ottawa has failed to include in the budget any commitments to review its funding for the next five years. We are in the midst of a health crisis. Our system is under maximum pressure. Health care workers are at the end of their rope, and we have had it. Rather than funding the health care system within its means, know-it-all Ottawa is telling us that we are not doing enough, even though it is not providing adequate funding.
While Quebec and the provinces are asking for increased funding with no strings attached, the feds are telling us that they only want to talk about the strings, not the funding. For instance, on page 155, the English version of the budget document reads, “Any conversation between the federal government and the provinces and territories will focus on delivering better health care outcomes for Canadians”.
This means more standards, without funding, even though the Parliamentary Budget Officer points out each and every year that transfers need to be set at 35% to restore the fiscal balance between Ottawa and the provinces. The Conference Board and the Council of the Federation both agree. This is what Quebec wants, what the provinces want and what the Bloc wants, but know-it-all Ottawa says no. Ottawa says we will get nothing except strings.
Transfers are currently set at 22%, and the justified her inaction by citing a tax point transfer from the 1960s. She has dismissed decades of cuts and ignored all the serious studies on the subject. This is called being arrogant, in a big way.
Now let us talk about seniors. The cost of everything is going up. The cost of food is going to skyrocket because of the war in Ukraine. Seniors are always the first to suffer as a result of inflation. Seniors often live on fixed incomes that are not indexed to inflation. The budget should have done more to help them out, but the feds decided not to do that.
The then adds insult to injury. In her budget she presents a graph showing that seniors are much wealthier than the rest of the population and that the feds have already done enough.
Groups representing seniors feel betrayed: We now have two classes of seniors and the government is not responding to the needs. The minister presented her little graph saying that seniors have nothing to complain about, they already have plenty of money. That is what we see.
As for inflation, with all the crises that are unfolding, high inflation is especially worrisome. The government should be lending a helping hand to seniors and the least fortunate, but it is doing little to nothing to help.
It should be lending a hand to SMEs, which are the hardest hit by high inflation, including family farms, taxi drivers and bus drivers. There is nothing for them. The feds describe the problem of inflation in the budget, but do not offer any help.
I want to give you a real example showing that Ottawa identifies the problems but does nothing about them. In the budget, there is one paragraph on the problem of the semiconductor shortage. There are specialized businesses in Quebec that we can be proud of and that have existed for several generations. These businesses repurpose trucks into ambulances and armoured trucks, for example, or add custom cargo boxes. That is a Quebec specialty.
As a result of the semiconductor shortage, major truck manufacturers are not getting product out and our specialized businesses are having trouble procuring trucks. We have been telling the minister about this for months.
In December, we even supported Bill because she told us that the shortage would be resolved imminently, and she would even send us the figures to prove it. We believed her and we acted in good faith. Nothing was done and we never saw the figures. It was completely false. The problem has only worsened since then.
Businesses now run the risk of going bankrupt. We might lose for good specialized industries that have been operating for generations. The government's role is to support businesses and get them through the crisis.
Businesses joined forces and reached out to the government. They asked to meet with the minister. The Bloc has been waiting for a meeting about this for months, but we have not heard a peep.
The minister mentioned the problem with the semiconductors, but did not offer any solutions. She is not doing anything to save this sector, which is so important to Quebec's economy. All she said was that the government will look into photonics to see whether Canada could manufacture its own semiconductors. There was no indication of when, however.
That is actually not the problem. The government needs to help the companies that are going to shut down, because Ford and GM are manufacturing very few trucks as a result of the semiconductor shortage. These companies just need a little help until the American giants resume production. Has Ottawa abandoned these specialized industries because they are in Quebec? If they were in Ontario would the feds have stepped in? That worries me.
There has been one crisis after another, but the most important one right now is the environmental crisis. The climate is undergoing disruptive changes and we must now take drastic measures if we want to avoid disaster.
Even as the IPCC is saying that we need to drop any new oil projects if we are to stand a chance of avoiding disaster, know-it-all Ottawa goes and does the opposite. It sends its to announce a one-billion barrel project. This minister is the same person who founded Équiterre with Laure Waridel and climbed the CN Tower for the environment when he was at Greenpeace.
With one gesture, one decision, he has dealt a terrible blow to the planet. Very few humans will have done this much damage to the climate. With this gesture, he undid all of his past work and turned his back on his values and commitments. He threw all that away to serve the federal government, which is a petro-state and an environmental embarrassment.
Elsewhere in the world, environment ministers have resigned for far less than that. From now on, this is how this minister is going to be remembered. I would like to remind the House that Marshall Pétain is not exactly remembered for winning the battle of Verdun.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, or the pollution minister, chose to make his announcement the day before the budget, just before the House rises for two weeks. That was intentional.
I thought that the government would include some extraordinary environmental measures in the budget to try to compensate for this terrible compromise, but it did not. Instead, the budget mainly contains measures that are vague and weak, such as a future public-private fund like the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which is a flop.
All the concrete measures in the budget support the fossil fuel industry. The budget allocates billions of dollars for carbon capture projects for the oil sands, a technology that is underdeveloped and that will cost a fortune, if it is ever actually implemented. According to the International Energy Agency, if the private sector were to cover the cost of such projects, it would quadruple the price at the pump.
Furthermore, the feds have announced that they will support the development of small mobile nuclear reactors to allow the industry to extract more oil and sell the gas they save. This is the government's plan for the environment, despite all the risks and health concerns.
To wit, on Wednesday, the announced a project that will extract a billion barrels and, the next day, the announced more support for the oil and gas sector. That is Ottawa's plan for the environment.
Illustrating just how far Ottawa is going in the opposite direction of the IPCC report, journalist Philippe Mercure, from La Presse wrote the following:
This report contains lengthy passages about the risks of “lock-ins”, meaning building new infrastructure that will pollute for decades and undermine our efforts.
One would have thought that UN Secretary-General António Guterres was speaking directly to the Minister of the Environment when he presented the document on Monday.
“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness,” he said.
Now more than ever, being part of Canada means choosing to be an environmental imbecile in the world's eyes.
The Bloc Québécois had five demands, five unconditional expectations, and called for a suite of more targeted measures. The first four of our five unconditional expectations are not in the budget: health, seniors, green finance and an acceptable transition, and concrete measures to address inflation.
At least the budget addresses first nations housing. That was one of our five demands. It is in the budget, so now all we have to do is hope that, for once, that earmarked money will actually flow and improve the lives of indigenous people. What we have seen to date is that the Liberals vote to put up cash but do not spend it. That causes all kinds of problems, such as lack of access to drinking water, that never go away.
The budget contains housing measures, but the Bloc Québécois obviously does not think there is enough money in the budget for social housing. Housing is a major problem, and the solution is increasing supply. The budget talks about 6,000 affordable housing units, which apparently means a two-bedroom apartment for $1,200 a month. That does not fit with the Bloc Québécois's definition of social housing. The money is there, but much more needs to be done.
As I said at the start of my speech, we are grappling with numerous crises. The government is aware of them and names them in the budget, but does not actually do anything about most of them. Any solutions it does put forward are poorly conceived. That is a problem.
In addition, what we are seeing is an increasingly centralist state that interferes and wants to impose its own model and make everything fit a certain mould. The feds are taking a father-knows-best approach and telling the provinces and Quebec, “All right kids, here is what you need to do and how you need to be.” That is unacceptable.