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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-01-29 16:27 [p.25027]
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise here in the new House of Commons. Looking down, it feels like we are in the old chamber, but looking up, that is clearly not the case. It is certainly a lot brighter here than in the old chamber, so bright that it is difficult to look up at the sky.
I am honoured to rise on behalf of the 100,000 people of my riding, Beauport—Limoilou. Now that it is 2019, we are slowly but surely gearing up for an election campaign. Personally, I intend to be re-elected, if my constituents would once again do me the honour, but since we can neither know what fate has in store nor determine the outcome, I will, of course, work very hard. For that reason, I am savouring this honour and this opportunity to speak here for yet another parliamentary session.
Today, I would like to clarify something very important for the people of my riding. This morning, the member for Carleton moved a motion in the House of Commons, a fairly simple motion that reads as follows:
That, given the Prime Minister broke his promise to eliminate the deficit this year and that perpetual and growing deficits lead to massive tax increases, the House call on the Prime Minister to table a plan in Budget 2019 to eliminate the deficit quickly with a written commitment that he will never raise taxes of any kind.
My constituents may find it rather strange to ask a Prime Minister to promise not to raise taxes after the next election, if he is re-elected. He might even raise taxes before the election. After all, the Liberals tried to raise taxes many times over the past three years. I will say more about that in my speech. However, we are asking the Prime Minister to make this promise because we see that public finances are in total disarray.
In addition, the Prime Minister has broken several of the key promises he made to Canadians and Quebeckers. Some of them were national in scope. For example, he promised to return to a balanced budget by 2019, which did not happen. Instead, our deficit is nearly $30 billion. The budget the Liberals presented a few months ago forecast an $18-billion deficit, but according to the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer—an institution that forces the government to be more transparent to Canadians and that was created by Mr. Harper, a great Prime Minister—the deficit would actually be around $29 billion instead of $18 billion.
The Prime Minister quite shamelessly broke his promise to rebalance the budget, since this is the first time in the history of Canada that a government has racked up a deficit outside of a war or serious economic crisis. There was a big economic recession when the Conservatives were in power between 2008 and 2012.
I like to remind Canadians who may be listening to us that accountability is a key part of the Westminster system. That is why we talk about the notion of government accountability and why we have question period every day. It is not all about the theatrics, I might add. We ask the same ministers, although sometimes other ministers, questions every day because one day they are going to slip up and tell us the truth. Then we can talk about responsibility and accountability.
In short, the Prime Minister broke his promise to balance the budget by 2019. He also broke his promise to change our electoral system, which was very important to a huge segment of the Canadian left and Canadian youth.
He also broke his promise about the Canada Post community mailboxes. Although we believe that Canada Post's five-point action plan was important for ensuring the corporation's survival in the long term, the Prime Minister nevertheless promised the return of community mailboxes. I travelled across the country with my colleague from Edmonton and other members of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. All Canadians told Liberal members of the committee that they hoped the government would restore community mailboxes. However, the Liberals only put in place a moratorium.
The member from Quebec City and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development said that the state of the Quebec Bridge was deplorable, that the bridge was covered in rust and that some citizens were concerned about security and public safety.
I would like to reassure them. Our engineers' reports states that the bridge is not dangerous. That said, it is a disgrace that this historic bridge is completely rusty. The Liberals promised that this would be taken care of by June 30, 2016. That was over two years ago.
They also promised to help the middle class. In fact, to some extent, they followed in the footsteps of Mr. Harper's Conservative government, which also focused on helping Canadian families as much as possible. I held three public consultations in 2018. It is already 2019. Time flies. I called those public consultations, “Alupa à l'écoute”.
I will table my report in a month and a half. It will express my willingness to suggest to my leader to either table a bill or include in his election platform measures to address the labour shortage and to help seniors return to the labour market without being further penalized. I go door to door every month. What is more, during my public consultations, what I heard most often from my constituents, who I thank for coming, is that they are surviving. Their lives have not improved at all in three and a half years. On the contrary, they are facing challenges as a result of the Prime Minister's repeated failures.
I said we needed the Prime Minister to promise not to raise taxes either before the election or, if he wins, after. We all know what he has done over the past three years. He tried to tax dental benefits. He tried to tax employee benefits and bonuses. For example, some restaurant owners give their servers free meals. That is what happened when I was a server. The Liberals wanted to tax that benefit. They tried to tax small and medium-sized businesses by taxing their revenue as capital gains, and that was a total disaster. They wanted to tax every source of income businesses could use to prepare for bad times or retirement so they would eventually be less of a burden on the state.
The Liberals also significantly increased taxes. Studies show that 81% of Canadians have to pay more than $800 a year in taxes because the Liberals got rid of almost all of the tax credits the Conservatives had implemented, such as those for textbooks or public transit. They got rid of the tax credits for sports and for families. The Prime Minister and his Liberal team got rid of all kinds of family credits, which significantly increased taxes. Furthermore, they tried many times to significantly increase other taxes. They also tried payroll deductions, like the increase to the Canada pension plan. If we really take a look at the various benefits or income streams Canadians receive, we can see that their taxes have increased.
We do not trust the Prime Minister when he says he will not raise taxes after the next election if he is re-elected. We know he will have to raise taxes because of his repeated failures. In economic terms, there is an additional $60 billion in deficits on top of the debt. His deficits now total $80 billion after three and a half years. I am also thinking of his failures on immigration and on managing border crossings. Quebec is asking for $300 million to make up for the shortfall it has suffered because of illegal refugees. I am also thinking of all the problems related to international relations. I am also thinking of infrastructure.
How is it possible that the Prime Minister, still to this day, refuses tell the people of Beauport—Limoilou and Quebec City that he will agree to go ahead and help the CAQ government build the third link? All around the world, huge infrastructure projects are under way, yet over the past three years, the Liberal government has been incapable of allocating more than a few billion dollars of the $187 billion infrastructure fund.
Canadians are going to pay for the Prime Minister's mistakes. We want him to commit in writing that he will not raise taxes if he is re-elected.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-01-29 16:39 [p.25029]
Madam Speaker, it is quite simple. We will do as we did before: We will have responsible management of our finances here in Canada.
We will never cut services to Canadians; we will cut and stop the increase of money flowing to the bureaucrats. We have never seen in the history of Canada so much money being spent on deficits by a government, with so little result for Canadians individually. We gave the Liberals a surplus of $3 billion while having child benefit measures and one of the best OECD numbers of economic development and while being the first country to get out of the financial crisis of 2008.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-01-29 16:41 [p.25029]
Madam Speaker, I go door-knocking every month and I can tell you that Quebeckers have no appetite to see their tax bill constantly go up and their quality of life go down.
I would like us to focus on more important things. When we look at the state of international relations, whether with China, Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, Asia or Europe, we see countries that have plans to address the great challenges of the 21st century. Here, the government is barely capable of drafting a plan to balance the budget.
How will this government prepare for the great challenges of the 21st century when it cannot even come up with a plan to balance the budget?
If my NDP colleague conducted a survey in his riding, I am sure that everyone would tell him that the government has to stop raising taxes. That is what is important.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-01-29 16:43 [p.25029]
Madam Speaker, I do not know what world the member lives in, but maybe she should cross the floor, because she seems to be attracted to the way they manage the economy on the Liberal benches.
I want to speak about the veterans file. To the contrary, my colleague was the minister before the last election and did an amazing job making sure that we had new benefits. There were dozens of new benefits given to veterans under the Conservative government, and that is the truth. It is just outrageous to see the Liberals lying like that on the backs of veterans.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-12-13 14:35 [p.24873]
Mr. Speaker, I also really like history. During the financial crisis between 2008 and 2015, we released $80 billion from our economic action plan, we safeguarded 250,000 jobs and we posted the best performance of the OECD.
In 2015, the Prime Minister could not have been clearer when he said that the budget would be balanced in 2019. Not only did that not happen—which makes it a broken promise—but also the Liberals have no idea when the budget will be balanced. No government since 1867 has ever been so irresponsible with the public purse.
When will we see a balanced budget?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-27 16:41 [p.24089]
Madam Speaker, it is a bit unfortunate to notice that the parliamentary secretary cannot spontaneously speak without any notes about their supposedly great budget engagement.
I went out for a few seconds and I am sure I missed the point where the member said when his government would balance the budget. I am sure I missed that. The Liberals seem to want to be a responsible government, so I am sure I missed that point.
Could the member just repeat to me in which year the government will balance the budget?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-27 16:46 [p.24090]
Madam Speaker, I would like to respond to something the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands said. She said the government always has iconic and historical engagement announcements. I have come to think that it is all the government is about. It is always historical, amazing, so great, but we have never in Canadian history seen a government spend so much money to do so little.
I am very happy to speak today in the House of Commons on behalf of the citizens of Beauport—Limoilou.
Centre Block will soon be closing for complete renovations for 10 or 15 years. I wanted to mention that. There is no cause for concern, however, because we will be moving to West Block. I will therefore be able to continue to speak on behalf of my constituents.
Today I am discussing Bill C-86, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.
I will focus on the fact that the members of the Conservative Party are extremely disappointed with the bill. We have witnessed a string of broken promises over the past three years. It is a little ironic that the hon. member for Papineau, the current head of the Liberal government, said during the election campaign that he wanted to do something to make people less cynical of politics, to help them have more confidence in politicians, in the ability of the executive branch, the legislative branch and members of Parliament to do things that are good for Canadians and especially to respect the major promises formally made during the campaign.
A group of researchers at Laval University have created what they call the Vote Compass. It shows the number of promises kept and broken by the provincial and federal governments.
I remember that, to their chagrin, a few months before the 2015 election, the research institute had to acknowledge that 97% of all promises made by Mr. Harper during the 2011 election campaign had been kept.
The Liberal government elected in 2015 broke three major promises and is continuing to break them in the 2018 budget. These were not trifling promises. They were major promises that were to set the guidelines for how the government was to behave and for the results Canadians would see.
The Canadians we talk to are familiar with the three major promises, since I often repeat them. I have to, because this is serious.
The Liberals promised to limit themselves to minor $10-billion deficits in the first two years and a $6-billion deficit in the third year.
What did they do? The first year, they posted a deficit of $30 billion. The second year, they posted a deficit of $20 billion. This year, the deficit is $18 billion, or three times what was announced.
That is the first broken promise, and it was not just some promise that was jotted down on the back of a napkin. In any case, I hope not. In fact, I remember quite well that the promise was made from a crane in the midst of the election campaign. The member for Papineau was in Toronto, standing on a crane when he said that he would run deficits to pay for infrastructure. That is the second broken promise. He said that the $10 billion a year in deficits would be used to inject more money into infrastructure. However, of the $60 billion in deficits this government has racked up to date, only $9 billion has gone to infrastructure. That is another problem, another broken promise.
That is why I was saying earlier that we have rarely seen, in the history of Canada, a government spend so much money for so few results. This is probably the first time we have seen this sort of thing.
I will give an example. He said that he would invest $10 billion in infrastructure in 2017, but he invested only $3 billion and yet racked up a deficit of $20 billion. Where did the other $17 billion go? It was used for all sorts of different things in order to satisfy very specific interest groups who take great pleasure in and boast ad nauseam about the Liberal ideology.
The third broken promise is an extremely important and strategic one. In fact, it was so obvious that we did not even really think of it as a promise before.
All Canadian governments, in a totally responsible manner and without questioning it, traditionally endorsed this practice. If there was a deficit, the document would indicate the date by which the budget would be balanced. There was a repayment date, just as there is for anyone in Canada. When the families of Beauport—Limoilou, many of whom are watching today, want to buy a car or appliance, such as a washer or dryer, not only does the seller ask them to get a bank loan, but he also asks them to sign a paper that indicates when the debt will be repaid in full.
Thus, it is quite normal to indicate when the budget will be balanced. We have been asking that question for three years, but what is even more interesting is that the Liberals had promised that the budget would be balanced in 2019, and now there are 45 days remaining in 2018. Telling us when the budget will be balanced is the least the Liberals could do.
There are consequences to running up large deficits, however. The Liberal government has been accumulating gigantic deficits at a time when the global economy is doing rather well, although forecasts indicate that we will enter a recession in the next 12 months. Although times are tough in Alberta and Ontario, where General Motors just closed a plant, the situation is positive. There are regions in Canada that are suffering tremendously, but the global economic context is nevertheless healthy. Knock on wood, which is everywhere in the House of Commons.
The first serious mistake is to run up deficits when times are good. When the global economy is doing well and our financial institutions are making money, we have to put money aside for an emergency fund and an assistance fund, especially for the employees of General Motors who lost their jobs and for all families in the riding of my Alberta colleague who have lost their jobs in the oil sector.
We have to have an emergency fund for the next economic crisis because that is how our capitalist system works. There are ups and downs. That is human nature. It is random. Agreements are signed, things are done, progress is made, and there are ups and downs. The current positive situation has been going on for five or six years now, so we need to be prepared. That is why growing the deficit during good economic times can have very serious consequences.
I would like to talk about another serious consequence, and I am sure this will strike a chord with the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are listening to us now. Does anyone know how many billions of dollars the government spends on federal health transfers? It is $33 billion per year. To service the debt, to pay back people around the world who lend us money, we spent $37 billion last year. We spent $4 billion more on servicing our debt than on health transfers.
An hon. member: That is shameful.
Mr. Alupa Clarke: Yes, Madam Speaker, it is shameful. It sure looks like bad management of public affairs. It makes no sense, and I am sure Canadians agree. I am sure they are sick and tired of hearing us talk about $10-billion, $20-billion, $30-billion deficits and so on.
Canada's total debt is now $670 billion. My fellow Canadians, that means that, at this point in time, your family owes $47,000. That is a debt you will have to pay.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage was very proud to announce that the government was giving nearly $6,000 a year per child, through the Canada child benefit, to people earning less than $45,000 a year. They are not giving money away, however; they are buying votes, which is unfortunate, since the very children this money is helping will end up having to pay it back. This is completely unacceptable on the part of the government.
I am proud to be part of a former Conservative government that was responsible, that granted benefits without running deficits and that also managed to balance the budget.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-27 17:16 [p.24094]
Madam Speaker, I am sure that the member must have skipped one of the paragraphs in his speech where he was intending to announce when the government would balance the budget. That has always been the case in Canada's history. Maybe he could check his speech once more. All of my constituents are calling non-stop every single day about when the budget will be balanced.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-19 16:03 [p.23589]
Mr. Speaker, as usual, I am very pleased to rise today.
Without further delay, I would like to inform the House that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.
As always, I extend my warmest greetings to the many people in Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us today.
Today's debate is very interesting. An opposition motion was moved in the House by the Conservative Party, of which I am of course a member. It reads as follows, and I quote:
That the House call on the government to tell Canadians in what year the budget will be balanced, and to do so in this week’s Fall Economic Statement.
Canadians may be wondering what is happening and how it is possible that we still do not know when the government will balance the budget. That has always been a basic concept for me, even before I got into politics.
It seems to me that any reasonable, responsible government, whether it be Liberal or Conservative—and I was going to add NDP, but that has not happened yet at the federal level—with nothing to hide should indicate in its policy statement, budget, and everyday political messaging a date on which it will balance the budget, or at least a concrete timeframe for doing so.
There are two rather surprising things about the Liberals' refusal to give us a timeframe for returning to a balanced budget. There are two historic elements with regard to the practice that they are currently using.
As the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent keeps saying, we have never seen a government run a deficit outside wartime or outside an economic crisis.
According to Keynesian economics, it is normal to run deficits. Keynes made some mistakes in several of his analyses, but there is one analysis he did that several governments have been adhering to for 60 years now. According to his analysis, when an international economic crisis is having an impact on every industrialized country in the world, it is not a bad idea for the government to invest heavily in its community, in its largest industries, in every industrial region of the country, to ensure that jobs are maintained and that there is some economic vitality despite the crisis.
For example, we Conservatives ran a few deficits in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 because the country was going through the worst economic crisis ever, the greatest recession since the 1930s.
Our reaction was responsible. Why? First, because there was a major global recession. Second, because even though we were a Conservative government, we embraced Keynesianism because we felt it made good economic sense. Through our strategic reinvestment plan, we managed to maintain 200,000 jobs. Not only did we maintain jobs across Canada, but we also repaired infrastructure, bridges and overpasses.
Two years ago, when I was a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, I read a report that noted this was the first time an economic recovery and stimulus plan had been implemented so quickly. In three or four years, we invested $80 billion in infrastructure to help Canada weather some rough economic times.
The first surprise from the Liberals was that they ran up massive deficits of $20 billion this year, $20 billion last year, and $30 billion in 2015-16, even though there is no major crisis or war going on.
There is a second surprising thing. Let us go back to the time when lords were waging wars against the king of England, which is in the 13th century. In 1215, the Magna Carta resulted from several confrontations between the lords, the capitalist bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, all pleading for their interests with the king. The idea was to create an assembly where they could present their admonitions and complaints to the king and could limit the outrageous sums the king wanted to spend on the holy crusades. That is when our parliamentary system was born.
When I was first elected to the House of Commons, I learned Parliament's primary function. My university professors knew I liked philosophy, but they said I would soon come to realize that, in the House of Commons, discussions are about money, the economy, the country's economic situation and public finances. I learned that, in the House of Commons, debates are almost entirely about public finances.
That is as it should be, since the philosophical and political foundations of the British parliamentary system are accountability and the principle of responsible government allowing citizens to know what their money is used for. In those days, it was the capitalist bourgeoisie who wanted to know, whereas nowadays all citizens expect it. Nevertheless, the process and the principle remain the same. We want to know what happens with our money. Why are there deficits, if any, and most importantly when is the government going to balance the budget? Deficits involve our money, and it is commendable and reasonable to know when the budget will be balanced.
My colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert was just saying how absurd this is. What would a government MP do if an ordinary Canadian asked him to simply tell him when his party would balance the budget? For three years, members of Parliament have not really been allowed to answer such a question, yet it is quite a normal question. They have to come up with foolish answers, think about something else or say that everything is fine because they have been cutting taxes, when in fact each citizen in Beauport—Limoilou pays $800 more every year in income tax.
That amounts to almost $2,000 per family, not to mention the tax credits they axed, the oil that is not being shipped out of the country, all the cuts in exports to the U.S., all the U.S. investment in Canada that has been lost while Canadian investment in the U.S. has increased, not to mention the fact that household debt is at an all-time high. The OECD remarked on this recently. In short, I could go on for a long time without even talking about the USMCA.
Nonetheless, there are some surprising things. What is incredible, and I repeat this every time I give a speech about Canada's economy, is that, in 2015, the Liberals were smart enough and had enough honour to explain why they were running a deficit even though we were not at war or in an economic crisis. At the time, the member for Papineau, under a gigantic crane in Toronto—I remember watching on television from my campaign office in Beauport—Limoilou and that it was partly cloudy and it rained a little—announced to Canadians that the Liberals would run a deficit of $10 billion in the first two years and then a deficit of $6 billion in the third year. He promised a deficit. Everyone was surprised that he was promising a deficit. It was a first.
He added that the Liberals would run a deficit in order to invest in infrastructure, which, he said, had been abandoned, and to invest more in infrastructure in general across the country. At least he was consistent in his comments once he was elected. He announced that they were creating a historic infrastructure plan—everything is always historic with them—worth $187 billion, which is not bad either. That was a continuation of what we had done. We had invested $80 billion over the course of the six previous years. It is only natural to continue to invest in infrastructure in Canada. Some even claim that Canada exists thanks to the railroad. Infrastructure has always been foundational here in Canada.
However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer—which, I repeat every time, as we must not forget, is an institution created by Mr. Harper, a great democrat who wanted there to be an independent body in Parliament to constantly hold the government to account—informed us in a report that, of the $187 billion invested in infrastructure, only $9 billion has actually been spent over the past three years. If I am not mistaken, $9 billion divided by three is $3 billion. The Liberals have invested $3 billion a year in infrastructure, and yet, they ran a $30-billion deficit in the first year.
Let us not forget that the $10-billion deficit was supposed to be for infrastructure. However, in their first year in office, the Liberals ran a $30-billion deficit and only $3 billion of that went to infrastructure. The second year, they ran a $20-billion deficit with only $3 billion for infrastructure, and they did the same again this year. Obviously, we have never seen a government put so much energy into spending so much money in such a reckless and dishonourable way while achieving so little for the economic well-being of the country and Canadians at home.
In closing, setting a deadline for paying off debt is something that Canadian families do at home all the time, for example when paying off their mortgages or their car loans. When people borrow money for a car, the dealer does not just say, “Have a good day, sir. See you around.” He tells them that they need to take out a bank loan and that they have four years to pay it back. There is a deadline for all sorts of things like that.
When will a balanced budget be achieved?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-06 16:04 [p.23385]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise. As usual, I would like to say hello to the many people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us live on CPAC or on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter later.
I would like to comment on the speech by the Minister of Status of Women. I found it somewhat hypocritical when she said that she hopes her opposition colleagues will support the bill and the budget's feminist measures, which she presented, when the Liberals actually and strategically included all these measures in an omnibus bill, the 2018 budget implementation bill. Clearly, we, the Conservatives, will not vote in favour of Bill C-86 because it once again presents a deficit budget that is devastating for Canada's economy and for Canadian taxpayers. It is somewhat hypocritical for the minister to tell us that she hopes we will support the measures to give women more power when she herself was involved in hiding these measures in an omnibus bill.
I would like say, as I often say, that it is a privilege for me to speak today, but not for the same reason this time. I might have been denied the opportunity to speak to Bill C-86 because this morning, the Liberal government imposed closure on the House. It imposed time allocation on the speeches on the budget. This is the first time in three years that I am seeing this in the House. Since 2015, we have had three budget presentations. This is the sixth time we are debating a budget since 2015 during this 42nd Parliament. This is the first time I have seen the majority of my Conservative colleagues and the majority of my NDP colleagues being denied speaking time to discuss something as important as Bill C-86 to implement budgetary measures. The budget implementation legislation is what formalizes the budget the government brought down in February. Implementation is done in two phases. This is the second phase and it implements the Liberal government's budget.
By chance, I have the opportunity to speak about the budget today and I want to do so because I would like to remind those listening about some key elements of this budget which, in our view, are going in the wrong direction. First, the Liberals are continuing with their habit, which has become ingrained in their psyches. They are continuing with their deficit approach. It appears that they are in a financial bind. That is why they are creating new taxes like the carbon tax. They also lack the personal ability to govern. You might say that it is not in their genes to balance a budget. The Liberals' budget measures are bad and their economic plan is bad. They are so incapable of balancing the budget that they cannot even give us a timeline. They cannot even tell us when they think they will balance the budget.
This is the first time that we have seen this in the history of our great Canadian parliamentary democracy, established in 1867, and probably before that, in the parliaments of the United Canadas. This is the first time since 1867 that a government has not been able to say when they will balance the budget. I am not one for political rhetoric, but this is not rhetoric, this is a fact.
The Liberals made big promises to us in that regard during the 2015 election. Unfortunately, the Liberals put off keeping those promises. They promised to balance the budget by 2019. Now, they have put that off indefinitely, or until 2045, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, a position that, let us not forget, was created by Mr. Harper. That great democrat wanted to ensure that there was budgetary accountability in Parliament. The Liberals also promised that they would run small deficits of $10 billion for the first three years and then balance the budget. The first year, they ran a deficit of $30 billion. The second year, they ran a deficit of $20 billion. The third year, they ran a deficit of $19 billion. Just a week or two ago, we found out from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the Liberals miscalculated and another $4 billion in debt has been added to that amount. The Liberals have racked up a deficit of $22 billion. That is 6.5 times more than what they set out in their plan to balance the budget.
The other key budget promise the Liberals made was that the small deficits of $10 billion would be used to build new infrastructure as part of a $187-billion program.
To date, only $9 billion has flowed from the coffers to pay for infrastructure projects. Where is the other $170 billion? The Prime Minister is so acutely aware of the problem that he shuffled his cabinet this summer. He appointed the former international trade minister to the infrastructure portfolio, and the new infrastructure minister's mandate letter says he absolutely has to get on this troublesome issue of money not being used to fund infrastructure projects.
There is a reason the Liberals do not want to give us more than two or three days to discuss the budget. They do not want the Conservatives and the NDP to say quite as much about the budget as they would like to say because we have a lot of bad things to tell them and Canadians.
Fortunately, we live in a democracy, and we can express ourselves in the media, so all Canadians can hear what I have to say. However, it is important for us to express our ideas in the House too because listening to what we say here is how Canadians learn what happened in history.
Things are not as rosy as the Liberals claim when it comes to the economy and their plan. For instance, in terms of exports, they have not been able to export Canadian oil as they should. We have one of the largest reserves in the world, but the Liberals tightened rules surrounding the National Energy Board in recent years. As a result, several projects have died, such as the northern gateway project and energy east, and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project, which the Liberals managed to save in the end using $4.5 billion of taxpayers money. In short, our exports are not doing very well.
As for investments, from 2015 to 2017, Canadian investments in the U.S. increased by 65%, while American investments in Canada dropped by 52%.
On top of that, one thing that affects the daily lives of Canadians even more is the massive debt, which could jeopardize all our future projects for our glorious federation. In 2018, the total accumulated debt is $670 billion. That comes out to $47,000 per family. Not counting any student debt, car payments or mortgage, every family already has a debt of $47,000, and a good percentage of that has increased over the past three years because of the Liberals' fiscal mismanagement.
That is not to mention the interest on the debt. I am sure that Canadians watching at home are outraged by this. In 2020, the interest on the debt will be $39 billion a year. That is $3 billion more than we invest every year in health.
The government boasts about how it came up with a wonderful plan for federal health transfers with the provinces, but that plan does not respect provincial jurisdictions. What is more, it imposes conditions on the provinces that they must meet in order to be able to access those transfers. We did not do that in the Harper era. We are investing $36 billion per year in health care and spending $39 billion servicing debt. Imagine what we could have done with that money.
I will close by talking about the labour shortage. I would have liked to have 20 minutes so I could say more, but we cannot take the time we want because of the gag order. It is sad that I cannot keep going.
Quebec needs approximately 150,000 more workers. I am appalled that the minister would make a mockery of my questions on three occasions. Meanwhile, the member for Louis-Hébert had the nerve to say that the Conservatives oppose immigration. That has nothing to do with it. We support immigration, but that represents only 25% of the solution to the labour shortage. This is a serious crisis in Quebec.
There are many things under federal jurisdiction that the government could do and that, in combination with immigration, would help fill labour shortages. However, all the Liberals can do is make fun of me, simply because I am a member of the opposition. I hosted economic round tables in Quebec City with my colleagues, and all business owners were telling us that this is a serious crisis. The Liberals should act like a good government and stop making fun of us every time we speak. Actually, it is even worse; they want to prevent us from speaking.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-06 16:17 [p.23387]
Mr. Speaker, the government needs to be serious and show some leadership. That means being capable of making decisions for the future well being of Canadian society.
Why are the Liberals coming up with a carbon tax and bogus plans to fight climate change when they know a recession is coming? Everyone is talking about it. There will be a recession by 2020. What are they going to do in a recession with a $30-billion deficit? They have run up deficits or more than $100 billion in three and a half years. When the next recession hits, what are they going to do to get the economy moving again without any money?
We know what to do. From 2006 to 2015, the Conservative government managed to get through the worst economic crisis in history since the recession of the 1930s. We had the best result in the G7 and the OECD.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-06 16:19 [p.23387]
Mr. Speaker, there is the expression that Conservatives times are tough times. Why is that? We always have to clean up the Liberals' mess every single time. They were in power more often than us because they do not have principles. All they want is power. We stand up for the people and principles.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-10-26 10:49 [p.22914]
Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise to speak in the House.
I would like to say hello to the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are watching us now on CPAC or watching a rebroadcast on Facebook or Twitter.
Without further delay, I would like to address the previous speaker's comments. I find it interesting that he said their objective was to prevent foreign influence from third parties.
The bill will pass, since the Liberals have a majority. However, one problem I have with the bill is that it will allow more than 1.5 million Canadians who have been living outside of Canada for more than five years to vote in general elections, even if they have been outside Canada for 10 or 15 years.
These people have a privilege that even Canadians who have never left the country do not even have. The Liberals will let them randomly choose which riding they want to vote in. This is a massive privilege.
If I were living in the United States for 10 years and saw that the vote was really close in a certain riding, thanks to the new amendments made to the bill, I could decide to vote for the Liberal Party in order to ensure that a Liberal member gets elected. That seems like a very dangerous measure to me. It will give a lot of power to people who have been living abroad for a very long time. That still does not make them foreigners, since they are Canadian citizens.
For those watching us, I want to note that we are talking about Bill C-76 to modernize the Canada Elections Act.
This is an extremely important issue because it is the Canada Elections Act that sets the guidelines for our elections in our democracy. These elections determine the party that will form the next government of Canada.
I am sure that the people of Beauport—Limoilou watching us right now can hardly believe the Liberal government when it says that it wants to improve democracy or Canada's electoral system or allow a lot of people to exercise their right to vote. The Liberals' record on different elements of democracy has been deplorable the past three years.
Two years ago when the House was debating the issue, I was a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. The Liberals introduced a parliamentary reform that included some rather surprising elements. They wanted to weaken the opposition, thereby weakening roughly 10 million Canadians who voted for the opposition parties, including the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Green Party.
They wanted to cut speaking times in the House, which is completely ridiculous. I have said it many times before and I will say it again. An MP currently has the right to speak for 20 minutes. Most of the time, each MP speaks for 10 minutes. Through the reform, the Liberals wanted to cut speaking times from 20 minutes to 10 minutes at all times. The 20-minute speaking slot would no longer exist.
I have a book at home that I love called The Confederation Debates. It features speeches by Papineau, Doyon, George-Étienne Cartier, John A. MacDonald, Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, among many others that I could name. These great MPs would speak for four, five, six, seven or eight hours without stopping, long into the night.
With their parliamentary reforms, the Liberals wanted to reduce MPs' speaking time to 10 minutes. They wanted to take away our right to speak for 20 minutes. All this was intended to minimize the opposition's speaking time, to stifle debate on various issues.
What they did yesterday was even worse. It was a clear-cut example of their attitude towards parliamentary democracy. They imposed time allocation. In layman's terms, they placed a gag order on a debate on the modernization of the Canada Elections Act. No example could more blatantly demonstrate their ultimate intent, which is to ram the bill through as fast as possible. It is really a shame. They want to ram this down our throats.
There is also what they did in 2015 and 2016 with their practice of cash for access.
When big-time lobbyists want to meet with a minister or the Prime Minister to discuss an issue, they just have to register and pay $1,500, or $1,575 now, for the opportunity to influence them.
These are not get-togethers with ordinary constituents. These are get-togethers arranged for the express purpose of giving prominent lobbyists access to top government officials and enabling them to influence decisions.
Here is a great example. The Minister of Finance attended a get-together with Port of Halifax officials and people closely connected to the Port of Halifax. No other Liberal Party MP was there. That is a blatant conflict of interest and cash for access.
If Canadians have a hard time trusting the Liberals when they say they introduced this bill because they want to enfranchise people or improve democracy and civic engagement, it is also because of all of the promises the Liberals have broken since their election in 2015.
Elections and electoral platforms form the foundations of Canadian democracy. Each party's political platform contains election promises. Personally, I prefer to call them commitments. The Liberals made some big promises. They said they would run small $10-billion deficits for the first two years and then reduce the deficits. Year after year, however, as they are in their third year of a four-year mandate, they have been running deficits that are much worse: $30 billion, $20 billion and, this year, $19 billion, although their plan projected a $6-billion deficit.
They broke that promise, but worse still, they broke their promise to return to a balanced budget. As my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent has put it so well often enough, this is the first time we are seeing structural deficits outside wartime or a major recession. What is worse, this is the first time a government has had no plan to return to a balanced budget. It defies reason. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, an institution created by the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, said again recently that it is unbelievable to see a government not taking affairs of the state more seriously.
Meanwhile, with respect to infrastructure, the Liberals said they were introducing the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history—everything is always historic with them—worth $187 billion. What is the total amount spent to date? They have spent, at most, $7 billion on a few projects here and there, although this was supposed to be a pan-Canadian, structured and large-scale program.
The Liberals also broke their promise to reform the electoral system. They wanted a preferential balloting system because, according to analyses, surveys and their strategists, it would have benefited them. I did not support that promise, but it is probably why so many Canadians voted for the Liberals.
There is then a string of broken promises, but electoral reform was a fundamental promise and the Liberals reneged on it. It would have made changes to the Election Act and to how Canadians choose their government. That clearly shows once again that Canadians cannot trust the Liberals when they say they will reform the Election Act in order to strengthen democracy in Canada.
Let us now get back to the matter at hand, Bill C-76, which makes major fundamental changes that I find deplorable.
First, Bill C-76 would allow the Chief Electoral Officer to authorize the use of the voter information card as a piece of identification for voting. As one of my Conservative colleagues said recently, whether we like it or not, voter cards show up all over, even in recycling boxes. Sometimes voter cards are found sticking out of community mailboxes.
There are all kinds of ways that an individual can get hold of a voter card and go to the polling station with it. It is not that difficult. This Liberal bill enables that individual to vote, although there is no way of knowing if they are that person, unless they are asked to provide identification—and that is not even the biggest problem.
It does not happen often, thank goodness, but when I go to the CHUL in Quebec City—which is the hospital where I am registered—not only do I have to provide the doctor's requisition for blood work, but I also have to show a piece of ID and my hospital card.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-05-31 16:21 [p.20030]
Mr. Speaker, thank you for recognizing me. First of all, I would like to say hello to all the people of Beauport—Limoilou, many of whom are listening today, and to thank them for all their work. They are definitely listening. When I go door to door, many of them tell me that they watch CPAC.
I would like to say something about what the hon. Liberal member for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas said in response to the speech of my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. She engaged in the usual Liberal demagoguery. She asked if we believed in climate change. I really would like my constituents to listen closely, because I want to make this clear to them and to all Canadians: we, the Conservatives, believe so strongly in climate change that, in 2007, Mr. Harper held a joint press conference with Mr. Charest to announce the implementation of the new Canada ecotrust program, supported by a total investment of $1.5 billion. The aim of the program was to give each province hundreds of millions of dollars to help with their respective climate change plans. It is easy to look this up on Google by entering “ecoTrust,” “2007,” “Harper,” “Charest.” Not only did Mr. Charest commend the Conservative government’s initiative, but even Steven Guilbeault from Greenpeace at the time—and I am certain that my colleague from Mégantic—L’Érable will find this hard to believe—saluted the initiative as something unheard of.
There is a reason why greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 2% under the decade-long Conservative reign. We had a plan, a plan with bold targets that the Liberals made their own.
Now let us talk a bit about the 2018-19 budget, which continues in the same vein as the other two budgets presented so far by the hon. member for Papineau's Liberal government. I would like to begin by saying that the government has been in reaction mode for the past three years and almost never in action mode.
It is in reaction mode when it comes to the softwood lumber crisis, although we do not hear much about it because the softwood lumber rates are still pretty attractive. However, the fact remains that this is a crisis and that, right now, industrial producers in the U.S. are collecting billions of dollars that they will eventually recover, as they do in every softwood lumber crisis.
The Liberal government is in reaction mode when it comes to NAFTA. They will say that they are not the ones who put Mr. Trump in office, but this is yet another major issue that has been taking up their time in the past year, and they are still in reaction mode. They are also in reaction mode when it comes to the imminent tariffs on aluminum and steel.
The Liberals are in reaction mode when it comes to almost every major issue in Canada. They are in reaction mode when it comes to natural resources development, for example with regard to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Once again they were in reaction mode, because Kinder Morgan said that it would walk if the government could not assume responsibility and tell British Columbia in no uncertain terms that this was a matter of federal jurisdiction.
All of this shows that the Prime Minister is not the great diplomat he pretends to be across the globe, and in celebrity news and other media. He is such a poor diplomat that he was unable to avoid the softwood lumber crisis with Obama. He is such a poor diplomat that he has supposedly had a wonderful relationship with Mr. Trump for the past year and a half. He speaks to him on the telephone I do not know how many times a month, but that did not prevent Mr. Trump from taking deliberate action against Canada, as we saw today with the tariffs on steel and aluminum.
I would like to make a comparison. We, the Conservatives, were a government of action. We negotiated 46 free-trade agreements. We sent Canadian troops to Kandahar to demonstrate our willingness to co-operate with NATO and the G7 and to make a show of military force. We invested hugely in national defence, increasing our investments from 0.8% to almost 1.2% of the GDP following the dark days of Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government. We settled the softwood lumber issue in 2007, during the last crisis. We implemented the national shipbuilding strategy, investing more than $30 billion to renew our military fleet, to renew the Canadian Coast Guard’s exploration fleet in the Canadian Arctic, and to renew the fleet of icebreakers. The first of these icebreakers, the majestic Diefenbaker, will soon be under construction.
Let us not forget that we also told Mr. Putin to get out of Ukraine. There is no doubt that we were a government of action.
When the budget was tabled, several journalists said that it was more of a political platform than a budget. I find that interesting. In their opinion, the political platform contained no concrete fiscal measures to prepare Canada for tomorrow, for the next 10 years, or for the next century, as our founding fathers intended in 1867. Rather, it contained proposals, in particular concerning social housing. The NDP must be very happy. The Liberals promised billions of dollars if the provinces gave their assent. That was a promise.
The Liberals also made proposals concerning pharmacare. Once again, they were conditional on studies demonstrating the usefulness of such a plan. That, too, was a promise. The promises go on page after page in the budget, and it is obvious that it is a political platform. That is why the Liberals used the word “woman” more than 400 times, 30 times on each page. That is just demagoguery and totally abusive.
I would like to quote a very interesting CBC journalist, Chris Hall. Since he works at the CBC, the Liberals will surely believe him. He said that the government recently spent $233,000 to organize round table discussions to find out whether Canadians understood the message, and not the content, of their budget. I will quote Mr. Hall:
In particular, the report said the findings suggest middle-class Canadians—the very demographic the Liberals have been courting since their election with both policy initiatives and political messaging—don't feel their lives are getting better.
They are correct in thinking that their lives are not getting better. Even Chris Hall concluded, in light of these studies, that the 2018-19 budget is not a document that provides guidelines, includes concrete measures, or outlines actual achievements in progress. It is a political document that proposes ideologies.
The budget also contains a number of disappointments and shortcomings, precisely because it does not contain any actions. It does not respond to the fiscal reforms enacted by U.S. President Trump that give American companies an undue competitive advantage.
The 2018-19 federal budget does not address the tariffs on aluminum and steel either, although we all saw them coming. It does not specify what measures will be taken to implement carbon pricing. Most of all, it does not say how much it will cost every single Canadian. You would think it would at least do that. Some analysts say that it will cost approximately $2,500 per Canadian per year.
This budget is full of proposals but has no concrete measures, and it perpetuates broken promises. Instead of $10-billion deficits for two consecutive years, we have $19-billion deficits accumulating year over year until 2045. This year, we were supposed to have a deficit of $6 billion, but it has reached almost $20 billion. The Liberals also broke their promise to balance the budget. This is the first time that the federal government has not had a concrete plan to balance the budget.
We were supposed to run up deficits in order to invest in the largest infrastructure program in history, because with the Liberals everything is historic. Only $7 billion of the $180 billion of this program has been injected into the Canadian economy.
This is a very disappointing budget and, unfortunately, dear people of Beauport—Limoilou, taxes keep going up and the Liberal carbon tax is just the start.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-03-20 13:21 [p.17750]
Madam Speaker, first of all, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the very honourable and very competent member for Mégantic—L'Érable, a beautiful riding that has a beautiful lake I swam in a few years ago. As I always do, I would also like to say hello to the many residents of Beauport—Limoilou who are listening to us today and those I meet in my travels, whether I am going door to door or attending events at community centres and so on.
Today I want to talk about the stark realities of budget 2018. I would like to draw a parallel to the disastrous trip to India that my constituents have been upset about and have been talking about so much in recent weeks. This trip was not out of character for this government. The trip was ill-defined and achieved virtually nothing, other than having the Prime Minister dress up in ridiculous costumes—ridiculous only because it was the Prime Minister wearing them. The clothes themselves are not ridiculous; what is ridiculous is the fact that the Prime Minister of Canada wore them instead of wearing the type of clothing he should be wearing to such international meetings. He toured around India making a mockery of the office of Prime Minister, and he was the laughingstock of the international press. He then returned home after announcing hardly anything to Canadians.
This trip pretty much reflects how this government acts every day in the House. It is also exactly like budget 2018: a political agenda with no substance, with page after page of lofty words, and void of any concrete measures.
The Liberals and the Prime Minister, the hon. member for Papineau, brag about forming a government that is not cynical, that will put democracy back on track, that is more transparent, and that wants to restore Canadians' trust in the political system. In my opinion, one of the best ways to restore Canadians' trust is keep the most basic of promises. Not only have the Liberals broken key promises, such as changing the voting system, but they have also broken basic, structural promises that they made with their hands on their hearts in 2015.
The Prime Minister promised to run annual deficits of no more than $10 billion. He also said that in 2018, the deficit would not exceed $6 billion. Less than two weeks ago, the government announced that the deficit for 2018-19 is $18 billion, three times the amount that was promised during the 2015 campaign.
The second broken promise is just as important. The Liberals promised a return to a balanced budget by 2020. As my dear colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent always says in a delightful turn of phrase, never has a Canadian government ever run a deficit outside wartime, such as during the Second World War, or outside a major economic crisis, like the one we went through when Mr. Harper was leading the government. He was a great prime minister, by the way.
The Prime Minister is running major deficits and has no plan to return to a balanced budget, even though our economy is in a favourable position compared to most countries around the world. I will get into this economic situation a bit later. It is unbelievable.
Here is what the parliamentary budget officer thinks about it, as reported by the QMI Agency:
...Canada's fiscal watchdog notes that the federal government's vagueness about [balancing the budget] conflicts with the objectives set out in the mandate letter of finance minister Bill Morneau.
The PBO also notes that the mandate letter from the Prime Minister explicitly asks the minister to ensure “that our fiscal plan is sustainable by meeting our fiscal anchors of balancing the budget in 2019/20 and continuing to reduce the federal debt-to-GDP ratio throughout our mandate”.
Lastly, the article states:
However, in its 2016 budget, Ottawa abandoned its intention of reaching a zero deficit in 2019-20.
Ottawa confirmed two weeks ago that not only will a balanced budget not be reached this year, but it will certainly not be reached by 2023, or by 2045, based on forecasts.
As for infrastructure, it is the biggest joke of all. It is unbelievable. After the election, the government bragged about implementing the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history, a $180-billion program.
I am not the one saying this. Barely a week ago, the parliamentary budget officer said that only $10 billion had been released so far. The media has been covering this story for last few days, thank heaven. All the billions of dollars that should be spent on infrastructure by 2019 will be delayed until 2022, 2023, and 2024.
I will come back to balancing the budget and to deficits. When the Prime Minister promised deficits of no more than $10 billion a year, he brazenly insisted that these deficits were for infrastructure, not for international relations, or for climate change in third-world countries, or for endless funding for all of Canada's diversity groups. No, he said that they were for infrastructure.
The parliamentary budget officer said that the Liberals do not yet have a plan for how the federal government will spend $186.7 billion in infrastructure money over the next 12 years. Is this not the same Liberal government that keeps repeating that meeting environmental targets, for example, requires a plan? The Liberals have no plan for the environment, just as they have no plan for infrastructure. One of their flagship promises, which was so important that it formed the basis for the other promises, was to balance the budget in 2019 and to run annual deficits of $10 billion.
Meanwhile, taxes are going up for the fine constituents of Beauport—Limoilou. The average increase for middle-income families is exactly $840 per year, whereas by the end of 10 wonderful years of Conservative government, from 2006 to 2015, the average Canadian family paid about $2,000 less in taxes. There is an increase in Canada Pension Plan contributions, up to $2,200 per household, there is a carbon tax, up to $2,500 per household, and the cancellation of the family tax cut. This has a direct impact on the people of Beauport—Limoilou. All my neighbours in Beauport—Limoilou have children who play sports or take part in fitness or arts activities. For example, on Sunday mornings, my daughter takes music lessons at the Cascades school of music. It is a great place and I am proud to mention it today. They also cancelled the tax credits for education and textbooks, which could be as much as $560 per student, and they raised EI premiums. This does not even include the disastrous tax reforms imposed by the Minister of Finance, even though he himself wanted to hide some of his income from the federal taxman, frankly.
The sad part is that the debt keeps piling up. After three years in office, the current government has grown the national debt by $60 billion. According to projections by the Department of Finance, in other words, our dear, dedicated public servants, the budget will not be balanced until 2045, which will add $450 billion to the debt. A colleague opposite spoke about 3- to 17-year-old girls not being able to access this or that thing. I will tell her that, in 30 years, fully all of these girls will be paying the debt piled up by the current government. Only one thing is certain: men and women alike will be paying a lot more on the debt in 30 or 40 years, because of the bad fiscal management by this bad government, which, I hope, will be calling it quits in 2019.
What is even more unbelievable is that the government brags about having wonderful financials thanks to its prowess at managing public funds. That is not the case. We know full well that the current growth is primarily due to a recovery in the oil sector. That is good for the entire oil industry, but again, it is not because of the Liberals' sound management. In addition, house prices increased by 16% in 2016, bringing in additional revenue. Oil and gas exports went up. The Canadian dollar fell, and so did interest rates. All those factors combined to produce strong economic growth in Canada. What should we do under such circumstances, when the economy is doing well? We should address the issues and ensure that there is money for potential emergencies, such as the crisis in the aluminum and steel industries, the potential end of NAFTA in a few months, or a global economic crisis that could erupt at any moment.
When the economy is doing well, we must prepare for future crises. The current government is simply being reckless with the Canadian economy. The constituents of Beauport—Limoilou have a right to know.
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