That, given that the cost of government is driving up inflation, making the price of goods Canadians buy and the interest they pay unaffordable, this House call on the government to commit to no new taxes on gas, groceries, home heating and pay cheques.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to this very important and timely motion.
The government's economic policy can be summed up in four simple words: smaller paycheques, higher prices. The cost of government is driving up the cost of living. What do the Conservatives mean when we say that? If we look at why prices are rising, it is directly linked to the massive deficits the Prime Minister has been racking up pretty much since his first day in office. In its first year in power, the government made a conscious decision to spend more money than it received and plunge this country into those deficits. That weakened our economy before the pandemic.
It is fair to say that nobody could have seen the COVID pandemic coming, but it is also prudent for a government to predict that the unknown could occur. We might not have known that it was going to be this crisis, but governments must be prepared for any number of world or global events that it might be forced to respond to. Plunging the country into those deficits when times were good was therefore a foolish thing to do. Obviously, in retrospect, it was massively unhelpful, as our country had to deal with the COVID pandemic from a weakened position because of the government's policies.
I know so many of my colleagues want to speak to this very important motion, because it is affecting people's lives in such a real and practical way, so I will be splitting my time this morning to allow for more members to participate in this debate.
How did the government's deficits lead to that higher spending? Well, the government had to go out and borrow a bunch of money that it did not have, so it turned to the Bank of Canada, and the Bank of Canada made a decision to underwrite the government's deficit spending by purchasing government bonds, or IOUs. When a government has to borrow money, it writes a promise to pay the money back. That is called a bond. Normally, individuals or institutions can buy those bonds and expect to get paid the interest, and the government pays the bond back at the end of the term. However, the Bank of Canada did something a little different: It created new money right out of thin air to buy those government bonds.
It started creating five billion dollars in new currency every single week, starting in March 2020, to buy those government bonds. That new money, not backed up by new production, not backed up by economic growth and not backed up by any extra production of goods or services, washed through the system.
There could be big winners when the government creates money out of thin air. The big winners are the large financial institutions that get the money first, because they go out and gobble up assets. They buy property and commodities. They do that with the new money before everybody realizes there is a whole new influx of currency in the system. When everybody else gets that money when it eventually makes its way through the economy, prices start to go up. Those large financial institutions and wealthy investors can then sell those commodities and make money on the difference. That is why prices have gone up, and it is also why we have seen record profits at large financial institutions like the big banks.
That is why we say that the cost of government has driven up the cost of living. Literally, the government's extra spending, wasteful spending, forced the Bank of Canada to underwrite those deficits, creating that new money and causing prices to rise. That is the higher prices.
What about the smaller paycheques? Well, what the government is planning to do on January 1 is take a bigger bite out of Canadians' paycheques with an increase in paycheque taxes. Canadians are going to be forced to pay more right off the top on their paycheques, and the government is going to take part of the extra tax it collects, scoop it out of the EI fund and spend it.
We know this. We know the government's plan for the EI increase is simply going to be gobbled up by regular government spending. In fact, the extra premiums the government will collect will put the EI fund into a $10-billion surplus over the short term, and all of that will be taken by the Prime Minister to finance his pet spending projects.
Where is a big chunk of that extra money going? It is going to the interest on our national debt. The Prime Minister has racked up more debt than every single other prime minister combined, and the PBO report indicates that just the interest on our national debt, which Canadian taxpayers will be forced to pay, will double. Soon, the portion of our tax dollars that go to pay just the interest on that national debt will be higher than the amount that is spent on the Canadian Armed Forces. That is the scale we are talking about.
What is the result? Well, we have all heard the heart-wrenching stories in our ridings. We have all heard from the seniors who have had to delay their retirement and watch their life savings evaporate with inflation. Thirty year-olds are trapped in tiny, 400-square-foot apartments in our large cities or, even worse, are still living in their parents' basement because the price of homes has doubled under the Liberals. Single mothers are putting water in their children's milk so they can afford the 10% year-over-year increase in the price of groceries.
It is no wonder that people are worried. Most are lucky just to get by, but so many are falling far behind. There are people in this country who are just barely hanging on. These are our friends and neighbours, and we in the House are their servants. It is up to us to take real action to address this Liberal-caused inflation crisis.
The Conservatives are bringing forward very simple and practical solutions to help Canadians across the country. Today, the Conservatives are calling on the government to not make the situation worse. The Liberals have already done damage with higher prices. They do not need to shrink Canadians' paycheques, which is what this government is planning to do. Not only are they adding inflationary fuel on the fire with their continued plans to increase spending, but they are reducing Canadians' ability to cope with the government-caused inflation by shrinking those paycheques.
A new poll out today is just jaw-dropping: 90% of Canadians are tightening their household budgets due to inflation. Almost half, or 46%, say they are worse off now than they were at the same time last year when it comes to their own finances, which represents a 12-year high. Over half say that it is difficult to feed their household, and this number rises to seven in 10, or 68%, among those with household incomes below $50,000. Canadians cannot keep up.
As for grocery prices, I have five children and our grocery bill is big enough as it is with a few teenagers in the house. Those prices have skyrocketed, up over 10% and rising at the fastest pace in 40 years. With inflationary pressures at this rate, the government's supports do not even help the problem but contribute to it, as that extra spending is added to the amount of money the government needs to borrow, which is causing that vicious circle of higher inflation.
The average Canadian family now spends more of its income on taxes than it does on basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing combined. By comparison, 33.5% of the average family's income went to pay taxes in 1961. Thirty-three per cent of income in 1961 went to taxes and now that number is 43%, so more is spent on taxes than food, shelter and clothing combined. It is simply jaw-dropping.
On Tuesday, the Conservatives proposed that the government should cancel its plan to triple the carbon tax. The cost of everything is set to skyrocket as the government triples the amount that it charges Canadians on home heating and fuel, with all the effects that has on literally everything else that Canadians have to buy. Groceries, lumber and household items all go up when the government raises the carbon tax by 300%.
Today, we have another practical solution: The government should get its hands off Canadians' paycheques and let Canadians keep more of their hard-earned dollars. It has already robbed Canadians of the purchasing power that they are already earning, and their existing paycheques are already devalued because of the government's inflationary policies. It is never a good time to raise taxes, but the absolute worst time to raise taxes on Canadians' paycheques is when they are already struggling so hard to get by with day-to-day goods.
I hope every member of the House supports this common-sense, practical motion to stop the government's tax hikes on Canadians' paycheques.