Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-29, which seeks to implement the series of budgetary measures and tax changes announced in budget 2016, tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016.
First, I would like to thank the Canadians who are watching at home right now, particularly those from my beautiful riding of Beauport—Limoilou.
It is rather ironic that I am rising in the House today to speak to Bill C-29. Two weeks before the House adjourned for the week of Remembrance Day and we returned to our respective ridings, I tried to see if I could participate in this debate, but I was not able to get a time slot. I was quite disappointed, but this week, I am able to debate this bill during a very special week for Canadian businesses and the entire world, Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Under the leadership of my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, our finance critic, and through the arguments that the Conservative Party has been presenting over the past two weeks concerning Bill C-29, we have been able to see that many aspects of this bill are harmful to our small and medium-sized businesses.
Last week in my riding, I visited over 100 companies. I usually try going door to door to see my constituents at least two evenings per week. This time I visited businesses. Why? Because I am organizing a business reception for Thursday evening, not only to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, but also to speak with small business owners in my riding, to find out exactly what they think of the Liberal government's budget, and to hear what they are most concerned about right now.
I would like to remind the House that these are our businesses. Canada has over 1.16 million small and medium-sized businesses that employ nearly 10.5 million people. It is therefore safe to say that small businesses are definitely important job creators and wealth creators for our Canadian nation.
Here is something interesting. I googled “Global Entrepreneurship Week” today, and one of the first hits was a statement from Canada's Prime Minister. His statement said:
The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadian entrepreneurs grow their businesses and thrive—here at home and abroad.
I find it ironic that the Prime Minister made that statement today to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week. It is entirely appropriate and de rigueur, but I am not so sure his actions are consistent with today's statement.
For example, the government introduced measures that hurt small and medium-sized businesses, including those in my riding of Beauport—Limoilou. Those measures will be implemented by Bill C-29. He brought in the Liberal carbon tax and hiked Canada pension plan costs, though that does not affect Quebec as much as it does the other nine provinces. He broke his promise to cut the small and medium-sized business tax rate. The way I see it, that is probably the worst thing the Prime Minister has done to small businesses. He made that promise during the election campaign, as did the Conservatives and New Democrats. His decision to break that promise boggles the mind. He got rid of several tax credits, which I will talk about later. To top it off, two weeks ago, the minister announced plans to abolish several more yet-to-be-determined tax credits. We do not know yet which ones, but I hope we will find out soon.
Let us talk about Bill C-29 and why it is disappointing. It is disappointing because it is the next phase of the Liberal government's plan, which is clearly not working.
Let us not forget what the original idea was behind this plan that was developed a year ago following the federal election. The idea was to create jobs by investing heavily in infrastructure. When we look at the facts, including those presented by the parliamentary budget officer, we see that only $3.8 billion of the $25-billion deficit will be invested in infrastructure and not a single job has been created so far. The plan is not working. That is the only real conclusion we can come to.
Bill C-29 is disappointing because of the uncertainty. The minister is unable to say when there will be a return to balanced budgets. The economic update talks about a $25-billion deficit and the only reason it is not $30 billion is because the government used the $6-billion contingency fund it had created barely six months before to bring the total down.
Rudy Le Cours from La Presse calls the disappearance of this $6-billion contingency fund a shell game. Even Gérald Fillion from Radio-Canada, whom I follow religiously, says the government fiddled with the numbers to make the deficit appear smaller. Radio-Canada seems to support what the Conservative Party is saying in this debate, which is rather extraordinary. What is more, not a single job has been created in Canada in a year. On the contrary, we are losing jobs and the unemployment rate keeps going up.
The Canada child benefit is the brainchild of a bunch of amateurs, while our program was viable and gave Canadian families money they could use. The Liberals not only abolished existing programs, but their new program is not revenue neutral. It will cost more than $4.3 billion over the course of its second year and $3.4 billion this year. Since they forgot to index it, they are going to have to find an extra $42.5 billion by 2020.
Bill C-29 is a reflection of our national accounts. It is a reflection of a government's exactness and strength. Through Bill C-29, this Liberal government is showing us several things. First, it is showing us that it is unable to calculate a balance sheet properly, as evidenced by the fact that the government forgot to index the Canada child benefit. Second, as the bill tells us, the government is not being careful with taxpayers' money because it promised a deficit of $10 billion per year but is now planning to run a deficit of $30 billion per year, and it does not have a specific date for returning to a balanced budget. Third, the government did not invest taxpayers' money properly and did not create jobs to help grow the economy. Finally, and this is my favourite point, this bill shows that this government is simply arrogant because it did not want to correct its mistakes and change its plan, even though it is not working at all.
Bill C-29 represents one broken promise after another. Breaking promises is becoming standard practice for this government. That is shameful because it is causing organizations and individuals in Canada to become ever more cynical.
This government broke its promise to run a modest deficit by borrowing three times more than necessary. It did not even need to borrow the $10 billion because we are not in a recession. It broke its promise to lower the tax rate for small and medium-sized businesses and its promise to offer a revenue-neutral fiscal plan. Take, for example, the infamous tax cut for low-income Canadians that my Liberal colleagues have been bragging about since early this afternoon. This tax cut will not help low-income Canadians because it does not apply to those who earn less than $45,000 a year. Instead, it will help Canadians with an annual income between $140,000 and $170,000. The NDP and the Conservative Party both raised that point.
Once again, what I dislike about this government is its arrogance. It is selling Canadians a dream, making wild claims about the wealthiest 1% having a monopoly, and inventing tax cuts in flamboyant speeches. I am therefore very disappointed with Bill C-29.