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View John Barlow Profile
View John Barlow Profile
2020-03-09 16:25 [p.1818]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable, a great cleanup hitter for my time today.
I find it interesting when the Liberals comment during this debate and say we are adding too much work for the government by asking for transparency and clarity on some of these issues. We have certainly heard over the last several years that one of the things that seems to be lacking within this government when it is putting in new policies, policies that time and time again weaken industry and our economy, is it is not doing any economic impact assessment before these decisions are made.
We want to raise the awareness that they have been warned about the impacts or the possible consequences of some of their policy decisions and the ramifications they are having. Were the Liberals given those documents? If not, why were they not asking for some of that due diligence before implementing some of these decisions?
Certainly, the motion we have put forward today is highlighting “waste not, want not”. One of the things Canadians ask of their government is to ensure that it is being a strong steward of their tax dollars. There is no question that middle-class Canadians are paying more taxes, but one of the things we want to raise awareness about today is that these policies have also made Canadian business uncompetitive.
I want to talk about a constituent in southern Alberta, John Van Hierden, who has a grain business. Last week he emailed me his carbon tax bill for his grain operation. The carbon tax bill for the month of January was $25,000. He has calculated that by 2022 the Liberal carbon tax will cost him close to $1 million, making his grain operation unsustainable.
When we talk about competitiveness, the other issue the carbon tax has caused is that he has lost one of his most important contracts. He has been selling grain that comes from farmers throughout southern Alberta to Qatar. It is a $2.8-million contract to send southern Alberta grain to Qatar. However, because of the Liberals' carbon tax, he can no longer match the prices of his global competitors. As a result of the carbon tax being in for one month, he has now lost that contract. That is just one of many contracts now in jeopardy because of the Liberal carbon tax.
We are asking the government if they can back this up. Did it do the due diligence before putting in these types of policies? We have specifically asked the Minister of Agriculture if she understands the ramifications the carbon tax is having on Canadian farmers, processors and producers across this country. In her responses she has been saying that she is collecting data and evidence, and that she does not believe it is as harmful as farmers are saying.
Why was this not done before the carbon tax was implemented? Is the government trying to tell Canadian farmers and the opposition that it did not do any due diligence? Could the government not find the information and data to find out what the implications of this were going to be to Canada's agriculture sector before implementing a carbon tax? Now that we are months into it, we still do not have that data or that evidence. I find that to be unfathomable. Frankly, Canadian farmers and producers do not take that as an answer. They want data to back this up.
For the Minister of Agriculture and the Liberal government to say they do not have that data is ridiculous. How is a decision of that magnitude made without doing an analysis of what the impact will be? That is just one producer of thousands across Canada.
I have heard it from grain farmers, dairy producers, honey farmers, and producers of beans and pulses in Ontario. This is from every sector of agriculture and certainly every corner of this country. This is not just something that is impacting western Canadian producers. This is something that is impacting every agriculture producer in this country, and that is even more frustrating.
My colleague across the way was talking about facts today. This is what makes it even more frustrating for Canadian producers, and small business owners as well, when they are being hammered with a carbon tax that the government says it needs in order to reduce GHG emissions and look at revenue.
The one thing that I want to mention as well is this. If the carbon tax is supposed to reduce your fuel usage, how is that possible in agriculture? Are my farmers to just combine on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because of the carbon tax? That is impossible if we want to grow food, grow the economy and feed the world, and if we want the industry to be successful. Farmers have no way to reduce those things. It just does not exist. Those are some of the facts that the government needs to be aware of.
We have had the Prime Minister spending $95,000 in food and drink on one international trip, 57 bottles of wine, 35 cans of beer, $50 million to Mastercard, and $12 million to one of Canada's largest grocery stores for refrigerator retrofits, even though they had profits exceeding more than $800 million in one fiscal year. Other examples include 1.6 million of taxpayer dollars for the Prime Minister's photo ops, $14,000 on a TV, $8 million on an outdoor rink on Parliament Hill that lasted just a few months, $200,000 on the cover design of the budget in 2017 and $100,000 to operate one minister's Twitter account.
As the agriculture critic, I have to point out that agriculture Canada bought 100,000 cocktail napkins for close to $4,000. That is literally throwing taxpayers' dollars in the waste bin when producers right now are struggling to find a way to remain successful or even profitable. When one sees those types of numbers, it adds to one's frustration.
We had officials from agriculture Canada at committee the other day. I wanted to mention too that we have producers dealing with the harvest from hell, illegal blockades, a carbon tax, lost trade markets and now many of them can no longer even subscribe to programs that should be there to help them, like AgriStability. It is un-bankable, it is unaffordable, it is unreliable. We asked the officials from agriculture Canada what the administration costs would be for AgriStability.
The Liberal government is paying bureaucrats 25% of the entire budget of AgriStability just on administering that program, close to $70 million. That is ridiculous for administration of a program that farmers are not even using anymore because carbon tax, trade disruption and illegal blockades make it impossible for them to subscribe to that program. When we ask for changes to that program or other business risk management suites, the Liberals say they are not going to do that.
We have asked for extensions on the advance payments program loans, to waive interest fees and give agriculture some sort of assistance to get them through this very difficult time and the Liberals refuse to do that.
The Canadian budget deficit is billions of dollars more than the Liberals promised and they are using Canadian taxpayers like a credit card with absolutely no way of paying them back. With deficits of $60 billion more than promised, which will certainly get higher, at some point it has to be paid back. How do the Liberals expect to pay that back when two of the most important pillars of our economy have been decimated, agriculture and energy, because of trade disruption alone? Just in trade disruption in lost markets in China, India, Peru, the United States, Italy and Japan, Canadian producers have lost more than $5 billion in revenue since 2017, thanks to the geopolitical mistakes of the government.
Let us take a look at energy. We had Teck mine walk away from a $20-billion oil sands project in Alberta. Warren Buffet announced that he has walked away from a $9-billion LNG pipeline in Quebec. Energy is $15 billion in royalty revenues for the government. When these revenue streams are taken away, how does the government possibly expect to pay back these massive deficits?
What we are asking from the government is to table the documents to show any due diligence and any economic impact analysis on the impacts that its decisions will have on the Canadian economy. We want the government to support this motion.
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