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View Kelly McCauley Profile
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-04-12 12:58 [p.27064]
Mr. Speaker, I am going to be sharing my time today with my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent. For those who are watching at home and who may be quickly bored by my speech, if they hang in there for 10 minutes, they will hear a much better speech after by my colleague.
I am very pleased to join the debate today on the Liberal budget. The Liberals have presented what I call a Dr. Strangelove budget or, in this case, “How I stopped worrying and learned to love the debt”. That is what the government wants Canadians to believe: “Do not worry, we can continue to spend forever. Do not worry, the economy will grow forever. No recession will ever happen again. Do not worry, we can rack up debt to the very end of time and it will not be a problem. Do not worry about about interest payments. Do not worry about the fact that our interest payments are growing from this fiscal year of $26 billion and to $33.2 billion per year in just a four-year period.”
That is $149 billion that we are going to be paying, transferred out of the pockets of taxpayers to rich bondholders on Bay Street, just over a five-year period. It will be $149 billion. In the fourth year, 2023, it is going to be $33.2 billion. Now, that is more than we spend per year in EI payments. That is more than we pay out in the child benefit program. That is more than we pay out for national defence.
Here we are with the Liberal priority of paying off rich Bay Street bankers and bondholders instead of defence, instead of families and instead of those on EI. To put it in perspective, with that money, the Liberals could pay for 2,750 refrigeration units for the Weston family. Let us think about that. The Liberals could also provide their own billionaire island for every single cabinet minister, so they could go to their island and not worry about violating the ethics laws. Liberal ministers could go to their own billionaire island and not worry about being invited by a paid lobbyist.
“Do not worry” is what the Liberals are saying. Do not worry about the declining productivity rate that Canadians are suffering through. Do not worry about disappearing foreign investment.
That is one thing I do worry about, though. We see foreign investment fleeing Canada. We see the oil industry devastated, $100 billion fleeing to the States. We see the Liberals giving Kinder Morgan $4.5 billion to take out of the country and invest in pipelines in the States. Who do we see interested in investing in Canada, which the Liberals are only too happy to see? It is Huawei. We see Anbang investing in Canada, thanks to the Liberal government. We see the Chinese Communist government-controlled CCCC construction firm trying to buy out local Canadian infrastructure companies. The Liberals are all willing to invest in Canada but not regular people.
“Do not worry,” say the Liberals. Do not worry about the fact that the debt is going to rise to over three-quarters of a billion dollars over the next five years. That is not including Crown corporations. When we throw in the Crown corporations, it is well over a trillion dollars of debt that Canadians are going to be carrying. This money has to be worrying, but “Do not worry. Stop worrying. Learn to love it,” is what the Liberals are saying.
Canadians are worried. We sent out a request to my constituents, asking for their response, asking what they think of the debt and if they feel they are further ahead than when the Liberals took over. This is what they are saying. This is not the made-up information that is in the budget, such as “Billy went to buy an electric vehicle and got a handout from the government.” These are real Canadians, real people living in Edmonton West, and this what they are saying.
Elmer wrote in and said, “It's worse off and it's not improving. They are so concerned about the ramifications of Oshawa's GM plant closing. What about Alberta? We've had no oil revenue and, therefore, severe unemployment problems for over three years, but I have not seen any concern about Alberta's unemployment situation.”
We used to have four Liberal members of Parliament. We have not had any of them stand up, supporting Alberta. We had four MPs in Liberal Party from Alberta, which are now down to three because of a scandal. We used to have two in the cabinet and now we are down to one, again, because of a scandal.
The member for Calgary Centre stood up and publicly stated that he would pound his fist on the desk at the cabinet table to make sure pipelines were built. What has happened? Absolute crickets from the member, he has done nothing.
The natural resources minister is based in Edmonton in the riding of Edmonton Mill Woods. What has he done for Alberta? Absolutely nothing.
In the budget, $27 million are provided for the diversification of the western economy and there are $100 million for oil and gas support. What did the Liberals put aside for subsidies so wealthy people could buy electric vehicles? Almost half a billion dollars. Even though the Minister of Natural Resources is from Edmonton Mill Woods in Alberta, only $27 million have been provided for diversification.
What about the member for Edmonton Centre? I asked him for his thoughts on the no new pipeline bill, Bill C-69. I asked him about the offshore tanker ban that did not ban tankers, just Alberta oil. I also asked him about all of the Liberals' other punitive policies against Alberta. He stood and said that he was proud of them. He was proud to push through Bill C-69, which ensures we will not see a single new energy project ever again in Alberta. He was proud that our oil was banned on the west coast, while we happily bring in oil from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. This is shameful.
I received a letter from a lady named Holly, who was asked if she was better off. She said, “Seriously? Can anyone be better off? We lost our small business of 20 years. We paid our taxes and paid our staff. The bank took our house, which guaranteed our small business loan, which we hadn't missed a payment on. All of our employees, including four family members, are all out of work. We are jobless and homeless, and the government just keeps on destroying the economy.”
Let us remember back to a couple of years ago when the Prime Minister was in Calgary and confronting these things. His comment was, “Just hang in there.” People like Holly cannot just hang in there. The government's policies are destroying the livelihoods and hope of people living in Alberta.
Brian writes, “Worse off—I live in subsidized housing in Edmonton—the cost of living has gone up a great deal but not our income. We all got a raise from the Alberta Government, not even $2. 30% of that goes to my apartment cost, so what did I get? We got a carbon tax—30% of that went to our apartment cost. Anything we get, 30% goes to the cost of our apartment.”
The Government members stand again and again, as they did just recently, to note the Liberals' $40-billion national housing program. Apparently, it is $50 billion now. The Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, or IFSD, which is headed by former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, has looked for this money. It writes that the Liberals', “NHS looks like” nothing except a “glossy document that accompanied its announcement....unfortunately, for now, the NHS is virtually nowhere to be seen in the federal fiscal framework.”
With respect to the Liberals' $40 billion, the Prime Minister and the parliamentary secretary responsible for this both stood to say that the Liberals housed one million people. They actually told people this. That was until the Toronto Star, the prophet of North America, said this was not true and that the number was actually 13,000. The Liberals' own department results showed it was 13,000 and the Liberals claimed it was one million. However, they say, as they just did now, this is worth $50 billion.
The IFSD said that it could only find $1.3 billion budgeted in the first five years and $5.1 billion budgeted over 10 years.
As a last comment, I would like to note comments by a man named Helmut. He said, “Worse than a year ago. As a senior on income security, the provision is not keeping pace with high rise in expenses....”
This is what we are hearing from Canadians when we talk to them. They are barely treading water. They are not getting ahead, as generations have before them. Every time they take a step forward, the government drags them back two steps, whether it is done with the carbon tax, taking away other tax credits or pushing up debt, which pushes up interest rates. Canadians are not getting ahead.
On Tuesday, when Jason Kenney becomes premier of Alberta, we will take our first steps toward fixing the problems in Alberta. On October 21, we will take the next step, when we turf the government and bring back a Conservative government.
View Kevin Sorenson Profile
Mr. Speaker, again, congratulations on working through 409 amendments. You did a great job. I listened intently, and you did not miss one, and we do appreciate that.
It is drawing close to 10:30 in the evening, and I am honoured to stand in this place once again to speak to the budget implementation act, 2018. On April 4, I stood in the House to speak to the budget. During that time, I focused my remarks primarily on our competitiveness, or I should say our lack of competitiveness, and the troubling effect of budget 2018 on our competitiveness and business investment in this country.
We are struggling today, as we were then, to attract capital from abroad, with foreign direct investment plunging last year to the lowest level since 2010. As I pointed out in the House over a month ago, the province of Alberta has experienced the worst decline in business investment in the country, much because of the NDP government we have there, much because of the lower price of oil, and much because of the Liberal government here.
Energy investment is at its lowest level on record, below even the worst of the 2009 global recession, with a loss of $80 billion of investment and more than 110,000 jobs. Drilling rigs are leaving Canada, heading to the United States, where there is a more hospitable investment climate. There has been a significant decline in capital spending.
I stood in the House to debate the budget just one week after Kinder Morgan announced that it had suspended its work on the Trans Mountain expansion project and had given the Liberal government until May 31 to provide the necessary assurances that this project would go ahead. We know that the Liberals were funding protesters to protest against that pipeline straight from government programs here. That was the first time I had an opportunity to speak to this budget.
Kinder Morgan's skepticism was based on the fact that Canada had approved the project in November 2016, following an expanded environmental review process that included additional consultations with indigenous communities, yet more than three months into 2018, there was no movement and much added red tape, frustrating Kinder Morgan and others that would invest here in this country. Kinder Morgan saw nothing in immediate sight that would give it any confidence that it could go ahead, so it put the ultimatum of May 31.
I lay the blame for that unfortunate thing with Trans Mountain development at the feet of the Prime Minister, and rightfully so. The Liberal Prime Minister failed to take any concrete steps to ensure that the project was completed. This failure added to the significant economic difficulties facing my province of Alberta and a number of my constituents, as this project is a pivotal part of both Alberta's and the country's economic future.
While yesterday's announcement regarding the purchase of Trans Mountain by the federal government may help get our oil finally, some day, to new markets, it came at an extremely high price. It is a price taxpayers should not have to pay. Given what the government has done, chasing $4.5 billion out of Canada to a Texas oil company so that it can invest in America and around the world, because it is very unlikely that it will come back here to invest soon, there is no guarantee that the government is going to ever be able to build that pipeline.
Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for $4.5 billion, and that shows the Prime Minister's failure. I have zero confidence that the government can see this pipeline through to completion. The private sector has more experience in building pipelines, more experience in building infrastructure, and more experience in building the infrastructure needed to move its product than any government ever has had.
Kinder Morgan never asked for a single dollar of taxpayer money. All the company wanted was certainty. Now, Kinder Morgan's assets have been sold. It is abandoning its expansion plans in Canada and taking its significant investment in this country elsewhere. It is doing so at a time when business investment in Canada has fallen by 5%, or $12.7 billion, since 2015. During that same period, business investment in the United States has grown by 9%. Foreign direct investment plummeted by 42% in 2016, and then a further 27% in 2017.
Why is business investment so weak? There are many different reasons. One reason is all of the added red tape, the red tape piled on top of red tape in environmental assessments and reassessments. It has weakened investment in Canada, because Canadian businesses understand that they are facing rising costs, such as increased CPP and EI premiums, personal income taxes for entrepreneurs of over 53%, and, again, new carbon taxes.
Budget 2018 did not reveal exactly how much the carbon tax will cost the average Canadian. We have tried day after day in the House to get the Minister of Finance to tell us what that carbon tax is going to cost Canadian families, but he will not tell us.
Although the budget did not reveal how much, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation predicts that the carbon tax will cost $2,500 per family at a time when taxpayers recognize they have less and less money in their pockets. Trevor Tombe of the University of Calgary estimates that it may cost $1,100 per family. The Parliamentary Budget Officer recently released a report that found that the carbon tax will take $10 billion out of the Canadian economy by 2022, while other estimates argue that the cost could be as much as $35 billion per year. None of these numbers can be verified because, unfortunately, the Liberal government continues to refuse to tell Canadians exactly how much that carbon tax will cost them, just like they refused to tell us the total cost of the nationalization of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
What is the final cost of that pipeline? Is it $4.5 billion for the assets of Trans Mountain today? What will those costs be by the time the pipeline is built, if it ever is built? We can ill afford the $4.5 billion price tag, let alone the billions of dollars in untold costs, especially given our massive debt.
I would add that the finance minister has finally started to pick up on the Conservatives' talking points, because that $12 million a day, or $42 million a week, is the differential in the price for oil that we do not receive because we are not getting our oil to the Asian markets. This money could build a school or a hospital a day or a week.
In their first three years in power, the Liberals will have added $60 billion to the national debt. Last year, Canada's net debt reached an all-time high of $670 billion, or $47,612 per Canadian family. The growing debt is a direct result of the Liberals' broken promises on their projected deficits. This fiscal year's deficit is $18 billion, which is triple of what was promised.
In comparison, in our 10 years in government, we paid down the national debt. We took surpluses and paid down just under $40 billion. However, during what was considered the worst recession since the Great Depression, we ran deficits. Although fundamentally opposed to debt and deficit spending, we realized, like every G7 country, that we needed to kick-start the economy. That was not enough for the Liberals or the NDP, but that is what we did. We invested in large infrastructure programs in Canada, the largest in Canadian history. With Canada's economic action plan, we got a significant return on this investment. We were the first G7 country to come out of the recession and back to growth.
I see that my time is up. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on this budget implementation bill.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is with overwhelming confidence, which was given to me during my recent renomination by the people of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, that I participate in today's debate regarding the deteriorating state of finances in this country.
The 2018 deficit budget gets low marks for fiscal credibility. Deficit budget 2018 is a greed budget, much like deficit budget 2017. Nowhere is there any sign of evidence-based decision-making being used in the deficit budget. There is too much unaccounted-for new spending. Spending on government waste is growing too fast, and there is no real commitment to deficit elimination or the environment.
The budget has no fiscal credibility. The fiscal credibility of a budget can be judged against four basic principles. Fiscal policy must be realistic, responsible, prudent, and transparent.
First, fiscal policy must be realistic. Fiscal policy should be based on sound analysis and a careful, balanced view of economic and fiscal prospects, challenges, and risks.
The sound fiscal policy that was practised by the Conservative government has been replaced with subsidized environmentalism. Subsidized environmentalism in Canada is when one group of taxpayers is forced to pay carbon taxes to clean up actions and pollution by others.
An Ottawa Valley example of this is the creation of an Ottawa River watershed council bureaucracy. Technocrats then look for new ways to tax and regulate private property, while ignoring the fact that every year Ottawa—Gatineau dumps billions of litres of raw sewage into the Ottawa River.
Ontario taxpayers subsidize polluters in wealthy California, thanks to the signature Liberal policy of carbon taxes and the Toronto Liberal carbon credit swap auction. Forget the myth of so-called green jobs. The only green jobs are temporary and have come at a huge taxpayers' expense. Special tax benefits, including the federal government's accelerated capital cost allowance and the Canadian renewable and conservation expenses allowance, prop up the myth of green jobs.
Other subsidies, including the federal government's ecoENERGY for renewable power program, $1.4 billion over five years in deficit budget 2017, and continuing large research and development assistance for industrial wind turbines, explain why the finance minister refuses to provide a realistic date to Canadians when the deficit budget will be balanced.
Take away the taxpayer handouts, and those temporary jobs quickly flee to the next foolish politician willing to pay “greenmail” with other people's money. Environmentalist David Suzuki has stated that only by reducing the standard of living of Canadians will Canada meet the reduction of emissions in the Paris accord. I congratulate someone for actually stating what that international agreement is really all about.
What does reducing economic growth mean? It is the year-to-year decrease in production, distribution, and consumption as expressed by gross domestic product, GDP. In the short term, borrowed money, the huge deficits buried in this deficit budget, hides the impending collapse of the Canadian economy. We can just think of Greece or Cyprus. Without economic growth, there will be no money to pay for the debt that is piling up on the backs of our children and their children. There will be no money to pay for health care, pensions, affordable housing, or cleaning up the environment.
The deficit budget is resulting in Conservatives attracting a new generation of Canadians, who are upset with the bad spending and big deficit budgets of the Liberal Party. I am now seeing more and more individuals who are cluing in to the radical, left-wing agenda of the Liberal Party, a party they might even have supported with a selfie, but not anymore. There is no doubt in the minds of these individuals that the radical, left-wing policies that have turned Ontario into a have-not province are being shoved down the throats of all Canadians by the puppet master, Gerald Butts. The Doctor Evil of Ontario politics, Gerald Butts was behind the Liberal “greed energy act”, which lined the pockets of Liberal Party insiders with their industrial “Wynne” turbines. That is “wind” spelled W-y-n-n-e.
The resulting skyrocketing electricity prices led to seniors and others in Ontario on fixed incomes to suffer from energy poverty.
The carbon tax that Wynne put on electricity has now been carried forward by Butts to Ottawa. The Liberal Party has ordered all the provinces to charge carbon taxes. Thankfully, more and more Canadians have come to the conclusion that carbon taxes are nothing more than a green hustle. Carbon taxes are just that: taxes.
Adopting carbon taxes in Canada raises global carbon emissions by offshoring economic activity from relatively environmentally friendly places, like Canada, to places with lax environmental laws, like China. Data from the World Bank reveals that China, and other developing countries, produce far more carbon per dollar of economic output, at purchasing power parity, than do western nations. China shows no signs of decreasing its emissions any time soon. China is currently building hundreds of new coal-fired power plants, which will ensure its CO2 emissions continue to rise for decades to come.
Taken together, these facts mean that every factory pushed out of Canada due to carbon taxes actually increases global emissions dramatically, and this will continue to be the case for decades to come.
Mismanagement of the Canadian economy has resulted in the largest flight of capital since records started being collected. Domestic capital is being replaced by foreign capital. The problem the finance minister has created with his excessive borrowing is relying too much on foreign money to finance the deficit.
It is no secret that Gerald Butts, from his position in the Prime Minister's Office, has been working behind the scenes to shut down Canada's pipelines. His scheming is starting to fall apart with pipeline company Kinder Morgan calling out the federal government for its behind the scenes manipulations.
What the Liberal Party did not count on is one of Kinder Morgan's largest institutional investors, BlackRock, moving to protect the over 114 million shares it has at stake.
BlackRock is the largest institutional investor in the world, controlling trillions of dollars. BlackRock has been given preferential access to the federal infrastructure bank. A BlackRock executive sits on the finance minister's secretive advisory council on the economy.
BlackRock has basically told the federal government, “If you want us to put our private equity into your infrastructure bank, we expect lots of money. Protect our shares in Kinder Morgan.” BlackRock is also saying that if the government plans to use the infrastructure bank to bail out the pipeline and it is using BlackRock's equity in its bank to do it, either the government guarantees BlackRock's investment or it walks.
How much is this going to cost Canadian taxpayers? Who will be on the hook to pay the interest charges? How much will it cost the municipalities to fight for the scarce dollars to borrow at high interest rates for roads and sewers from the federal infrastructure bank?
Is not the real reason the federal government is even being forced to act is to bail out Kinder Morgan's shareholders and institutional investors like BlackRock? Institutional investors hold over 63% of Kinder Morgan's stock. Keeping foreign institutional investors like BlackRock and Vanguard Group happy will cost Canadians dearly.
Canadians were made very aware through an unfortunate exchange the Minister of Environment had with Evan Solomon that she is not capable of defending her radical views without insulting Canadians. The dismissive attitude of the Prime Minister and his minister to independent viewpoints is encouraging more and more Canadians to see through the hidden agenda of radical environmentalism, carbon taxes, and pipeline regulations that are killing Canadian jobs. There are real environmental problems that are not getting attention because of carbon taxes.
Deficit budget 2018 fails to mention any of these current challenges. It makes no mention of defence. The defence department's deputy chief financial officer told parliamentarians when she appeared before committee that there is no list of projects that are being funded. It is all smoke and mirrors.
No one believes anything the finance minister is saying. Taxes are always just taxes, dollars taken away from people by government.
I conclude my participation in this debate to share the concern about the deteriorating state of the finances of the Canadian government, and what that means to average middle-class Canadian families who bear the brunt of bad spending. Everybody knows that today's budget deficits are tomorrow's tax increases. An election cannot come soon enough for the overburdened taxpayers of our country.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2018-04-16 17:00 [p.18338]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak after my colleague from the Outaouais region, the hon. member for Gatineau, for whom I have a great deal of respect and esteem, despite his oversights, to put it politely.
Before getting down to the nitty-gritty of this budget, let us establish the facts. What was the state of Canada's economy when the Liberal government was elected nearly two and a half years ago? There is no denying that the Liberals are an extraordinarily lucky bunch. When they came to power, the house was in order. Canada had a budgetary surplus, not a $2.9-billion deficit. We like to compare ourselves to the best. Let us compare ourselves to the G7. Canada had the best debt-to-GDP ratio of all G7 countries. Let us not forget that, when we came to power, we had just come through the worst economic crisis on the planet since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the most challenging economic times, our government was able to keep Canada afloat, allowing it to emerge from the crisis with one of the strongest economies possible.
Then, unfortunately the Liberals came to power. That is the problem. Let us not forget that they were elected on a promise to run small deficits for three years and to return to a balanced budget in 2019. That was the Liberal Party's solemn promise. That promise then vanished into this air as small deficits grew into deficits three times larger than planned and, worse yet, as achieving zero deficit by 2019 went from hypothetical to unrealistic. These people have absolutely no idea when they will return to a balanced budget. We will be in deficit for the foreseeable future.
The finance department says that, if nothing changes, Canada could, technically, in theory, return to a balanced budget in 2045. Our economy would certainly struggle in the meantime. The Liberals were elected on promises that they have now broken. They promised a small deficit, but ran up a big one. They promised a zero deficit and a balanced budget. They said the deficits would support an infrastructure program to stimulate the economy, but that is not what they delivered. They promised hundreds of billions in infrastructure spending, but the finance department's reports show that very little of the infrastructure funding has actually been handed out. The government is using these chronic deficits for routine spending, not investment.
This is economics 101. It makes perfect sense for the head of a household to borrow money to buy a home and then pay that money back, but anyone borrowing money from the bank to buy groceries has a problem. That is not an appropriate way to manage money. Anyone who tries to do what the Liberal government is doing is headed for a brick wall.
My Liberal colleague from Gatineau talked about how amazing the Canada child benefit is, about how the government is lifting people out of poverty and giving them all kinds of money. They have no trouble handing out money that is not theirs, money they are borrowing from our children. A deficit is just deferred taxation, and that is one thing this government is very good at. It is constantly maxing out its credit card.
That is why we completely disagree with the government's policy. The minister, the member, and our Liberal colleagues seem to have forgotten that in their first iteration of the Canada child benefit, which was to be absolutely extraordinary, they forgot a small detail: they forgot to take inflation into consideration. Any accountant at any firm who forgot to factor in inflation would be dismissed with a swift kick in the backside. The government, however, still crows over its lofty principles, claiming to be doing the right thing and giving more money to children. I can see why this is the party for families, the party for children. By working for children, the government is making them foot the bill down the line.
The government boasts about its lofty principles, but reality is catching up to it. For example, the Liberals are always repeating how they are going after the so-called 1%, the richest Canadians. The top 1% of Canadians with the highest salaries are going to pay. The Liberals forgot to mention that these people already pay 70% of the taxes in Canada. They said that these people would definitely pay more taxes. Is that right? Not exactly. In a report released last fall by the Department of Finance, and not by the Conservative Party, we learned that not only do the so-called 1%, the wealthiest Canadians, not pay more taxes, they pay less. The wealthy paid $1.2 billion less under the current Liberal government even though the Liberals kept repeating that they would make the rich pay more in order to give to the poor. Not only are the rich paying less taxes, but the poor were given money we do not have because the Liberals are running up a deficit. They went into deficit financing.
Clearly, this government says one thing and does the opposite. It was elected on promises it cannot keep. Faced with their greatest economic challenge yet, the Liberals are doing nothing.
Now I want to raise the question of competitiveness with the United States of America, our great ally and partner but also our greatest competitor.
We all recognize that the president is not exactly the same kind of man that we had when we were in office. We can like him or we can dislike him, but we have to deal with him. That is the reality of politics. What we see now in the new administration, the Trump administration, is someone very aggressive, someone very productive, and someone who is first and foremost helping small business in America, and big business too. He is helping the business community of America.
What we see in the government is everything but that. Worse than that, it has no plan. The Liberal government has no plan to address the serious issue raised by the new administration in America. There is nothing in the government's budget to help our small business community to face and address the issue of the new competitiveness of America. There is nothing to address the fact that maybe NAFTA will collapse. That would not be good, so we have to be ready for that.
We do not want it to collapse. We were the party that created NAFTA, the first free trade agreement, in 1988, thanks to the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney. We can be proud of this heritage. We also recognize that the other governments pushed that forward, even if at that time they said they were not going to be part of that deal. That was good. Now we have to address the new reality that maybe NAFTA will not be run again.
What can we do? What will the government do? There is nothing in the budget. What is the government doing to help our businesses address the issue of the new help being given by the American administration to their business community? It is doing nothing.
That is also worrisome. The budget needs to address today's realities. However, today's global economic reality is not about the collapse of oil prices as it was in the past. On the contrary, oil prices have risen. It is not about dealing with the worst economic crisis. It is exactly the opposite. We are experiencing an economic boom.
It is not about the collapse of the American economy, like it was in 2008-09. On the contrary, the American economy is booming. However, we are dealing with an aggressive protectionist American President. That is his right. We respect his choice and he makes his own decisions of course. We are dealing with a very aggressive protectionist American President and the government is doing absolutely nothing. The American President strongly supports the private sector and helps entrepreneurs a great deal, unlike Canada, whose government led an unspeakable attack against our entrepreneurs last summer with the reprehensible plan it tabled on July 11, in the middle of the summer, if memory serves. Fortunately, thanks to the extraordinary work of the member for Carleton, Canadian business people across the country united and put a stop to the Liberal government's plan, which sought to punish them for creating jobs and wealth. It is a good thing that we were there.
There is nothing in this budget to help business owners or meet their needs. The government is going on a spending spree, as we have mentioned, and is creating deficits. We are talking about a 20% increase in spending. Twenty percent in three years is a lot. It represents $60 billion. A 2% or 3% increase would be in keeping with inflation. A little is okay, but in this case, we are talking about hyper-inflation, not inflation. A normal increase would have been 6% in three years. However, this government has increased spending by 20% in three years. Such is the hallmark of the Liberal government. We think this is very bad. The spending was supposedly for investments in infrastructure, but there have not been any infrastructure investments. The government is investing just 0.1% of our GDP on creating wealth and jobs in our country. This is not what the government promised during the election campaign. It promised to run small deficits. This is no surprise, given that the Prime Minister may not have studied at the great schools of economics. This is no guarantee, but three years ago, the Prime Minister introduced an unprecedented economic policy, or economic philosophy. I remind members that when the hon. Joe Oliver tabled the final budget of the previous government, the leader of the Liberal Party said that the budget would balance itself.
I was in university when I was young. I studied a lot, and I have never seen the fiscal or economic theory elsewhere, other than from the present Prime Minister, that a budget balances by itself. If there is someone else who has some information about that, I will welcome it. I really want to understand how someone can seriously speak such stupidity, but that is the signature of the present Prime Minister.
The Liberals have attacked businesses in several ways, by raising their taxes and reducing the government assistance they might be eligible for. The best way to help our businesses is to tax them less. However, in the past three years, the government has done something entirely different. First, it imposed a carbon tax, which will come into force across Canada in a few short months. Next, it reduced all the tax credits we had introduced for research, recruitment, and business development. The tax credits we brought in have been abolished by this government. That is the kind of thing that makes businesses owners lose confidence. This is troubling. All the economic indicators of business confidence are negative. Private investment in Canada is down 5% since 2015. Compared with the United States, it is not just a drop of 5%, it is actually another 5% to 9% on top of that. That is a difference of 14%. Canadian business owners feel uncomfortable and are investing less, while American business owners are investing three times more, relatively speaking. That is not a good thing.
Foreign investment in Canada has fallen by 42% over the past year. This means that less wealth is being created, since nothing is better for a nation's economy than foreign investment. It is a real source of wealth creation. When entrepreneurs create jobs and wealth, it is basically because their products are sold abroad, whether in Europe, Asia, or the United States. This is about the Canadian dollars, yen, euros, or even pounds that might be invested in our economy. That is the real source of wealth creation. That is why we are very worried about the fact that foreign investment has fallen by 42%.
As a final point, I want to talk about the debt. I have a bit of an obsession with the debt, because those folks over there were elected on a promise that they would run up small deficits and balance the books again by 2019, but they are not keeping their promises. On top of that, the debt generated by deficits is money that we cannot spend for our children. Quite the opposite, it is our children who will be forced to pay because of today's mismanagement. This government will go down in history for bringing Canada's national debt to $1 trillion. This is not “billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles” for those familiar with Tintin, but rather $1 trillion. This has “Liberal government” written all over it.
All these bad signs have shaken people's trust in their political leaders. A party can be elected on a certain campaign platform and then change direction based on external factors; however, in this case, there are no external factors. It is nothing but bad faith that has led the Liberal government to run up such huge deficits, rather than the small deficits promised and the balanced budget promised by 2019. Instead, it has absolutely no idea when we will return to a balanced budget. This government has just catapulted Canada towards the sad reality of a trillion-dollar debt. That is right, I said $1 trillion.
For all these reasons, we will vote against this budget. We feel it is an irresponsible, wrong-headed budget that will force our children to pay the price. It does nothing to help our economy and our entrepreneurs prepare for the new reality of a powerful neighbour that is both our number-one partner and our number-one competitor, the United States of America.
We hope this government will get public finances under control and take the bull by the horns so that one day, maybe a year and a half from now, we will be fortunate enough to have a realistic and responsible government led by the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.
View Ben Lobb Profile
View Ben Lobb Profile
2017-06-05 20:51 [p.12050]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here tonight to debate Bill C-44, the budget implementation act. I thought I would start my speech by laying out a little context, at least from my perspective, about how the finance minister and the industry minister have it wrong, and how some other members I have heard speak here tonight have it wrong. They talked about economic growth. They talked about their last two budgets, their plan for the economy and how it is working so well, and that they have this terrific economic growth.
One thing we would agree on is that the economy is growing. What we would disagree on is why that economy is growing. In a $2 trillion economy, the budget they have put forward and so heavily back loaded has not moved the dial at all. What has moved the dial for the Canadian economy is a strong U.S. economy, a low Canadian dollar, and strong consumer spending, basically around the housing industry, which is by and large completely financed by debt.
If we read any economic publication about economic growth, we would see no mention of the Prime Minister nor the finance minister's plan, and definitely nothing about the Liberal Party of Canada. Those are the facts. We are lucky. We all root for a good economy, but we have to be realistic about why we have strong economic growth.
The other points where I would like to lay out some context is that in spite of that strong economic growth, the numbers have been revised from where they were before. They were pegged around an annualized rate at 4.1%, which is way up from a couple of years ago, and certainly since last year, but they have been revised down to 3.7% annualized.
Other possibly troubling pieces in these economic numbers are inventories being back loaded, which they are currently, and that exports to the United States have slipped mildly. The annualized rate now, which everyone is projecting realistically to be 2.2%, not surprisingly, is behind the United States in economic growth.
Everyone in this room should know that when the U.S. economy goes well, we do well. When the U.S. economy goes bad, we do not do so well. There are 75% of our exports going to the United States, so it is no surprise. Exports to the United States were up 5.4% in April, and we will see where it goes for the rest of the year.
Another troubling fact that all parliamentarians should have, and Canadians in a broader sense should have, is that if we compare the deficits that we experienced in 2009, 2010, and 2011, for example, it was in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the great depression. With the deficits that we have and the debt we are going to be accumulating over the next four years, for sure to 2019, but if the Liberals somehow manage to get re-elected in 2019, which is looking more doubtful every day, we are trending towards 2055 for deficit and debt repayment.
My point is that the deficits we are adding today are at a time of economic growth, at a time where the economy is actually moving well in the U.S. and here. It is a little less well with the other G7 countries, but it is not too bad. If we compare that to the times of 2009, 2010, and 2011, those were terrible times. It is never a good idea to accumulate debt while times are good. It is never a good idea to accumulate debt at any time.
I am from Ontario, and we have another big problem. Her first name is Kathleen. We have some problems. We have a lot of instability with some of the policies she has put forward. Her cousin Dalton caused us a lot of trouble too. We have had 13 years of provincial Liberal government in the province of Ontario. They have accumulated more debt than all the other provincial governments combined. They might get out of deficit at some point, but they have sold the furniture to pay off the short-term financial issues. We have electricity rates that are absolutely ridiculous, that businesses cannot afford, seniors on fixed income cannot afford, and low-income Ontarians cannot afford.
The province that I live in has the same leadership, with Gerald Butts and Katie Telford guiding the Prime Minister's ship in the same direction that the Province of Ontario has been going for the last 13 years. The only thing that is saving us at this point in time is the U.S. economy. We are thankful for its strength and we are thankful that it continues to buy our products. We are also thankful that our dollar is low relative to the U.S. dollar.
The minister of industry talks at great length about his superclusters and all the other stuff he is doing, but it has not moved the needle. The three western provinces are going to show the best growth and the best strength for our Canadian economy, and that is basically led by the oil and gas sector. As much as the Liberal government considers the words “oil” and “gas” as two dirty words that they do not like to use, the reality is that our economy is still successful with the sector, and as we heard from many of our colleagues, it is the most ethically produced oil and gas in the world.
Other members have talked about companies like Procter & Gamble that have announced it is going to be leaving Ontario. That is 500 good-paying jobs in a small city of 30,000. That is a devastating blow at a time when the U.S. is going to reduce taxes, is cutting regulations, and has a number of infrastructure announcements coming out this week that will lay the foundation for its growth.
Contrast that to what we are doing here in Canada where we are adding taxes. We heard about the excise tax. The government is adding other levies and fees. We are revisiting the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. We heard the Minister of Transport talking today about the navigable waters act. These are all things that will slow our progress, slow our growth. If the Liberals are in government long enough, we will once again be doing environmental assessments on cedar benches in national parks, which is what we were doing before we made those changes.
This has been brought up already, but if I heard it once in the last election, I must have heard it 500 times. I am talking about how the Liberals said they would never do omnibus bills. They said, “Not us, if we ever get in.” Bill C-44 that we are looking at tonight is as prolific as any omnibus bill before it. I am sure that if a student in political science anywhere across this country wanted to have a good look at what an omnibus bill is, that student need look no further than this piece of legislation.
The government House leader has said that everything in this legislation is about money. I guess at the end of the day, everything is about money, but that is not what the Liberals were talking about in the last election.
Another topic we have heard a lot about in the House of Commons, and which is a continuation of the anti-rural policies that the Liberals have, is the investment bank. The overall arching sweep of infrastructure money is $181 billion over the next 11 years. The slap in the face to rural Canadians, which I am one of, is that only $2 billion over 11 years is specifically allocated to rural Canada. It is pretty much a given that not $1 in the $35-billion infrastructure bank will go to rural Canadian towns and municipalities.
Canadians should also be concerned about the wording with respect to the infrastructure bank. I apologize if someone else has brought this up today, but it is that the investments may be made in Canada or “partly in Canada”. This basically means that our Canadian tax dollars, which should be going into building infrastructure in this country, can go toward building infrastructure in China, India, and many other places. That is not what Canadians view as an infrastructure bank when they are talking about it.
In addition, other parts in the briefing that was presented are with regard to a significant portion of the risk. The bank could take on debt that allows other debtors to be paid first in order to provide a loss buffer. Those are not words that Canadian taxpayers want to hear, and they are not words we want to hear, especially when Liberal cabinet members are the ones who will be picking the projects.
I have many more pages to go over here, so hopefully the Liberals will ask questions that pertain to what I have in the rest of my speech.
View Michelle Rempel Profile
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2016-11-28 17:16 [p.7335]
Mr. Speaker, at a time when so many people have lost their jobs or are at risk of losing their jobs in the near future, the government is about to implement a new payroll tax and take more money off the paycheques of my constituents.
For those who are listening, who may not realize what is about to happen, the Liberal government is about to increase the amount of money taken off an individual's paycheque that goes to the Canada pension plan. Also, the amount of money that their employer pays into this plan will also increase.
For many Canadians, this amount of money coming off their paycheques will make it harder to pay their monthly bills. For employers, especially small businesses, this increase to their operating costs will force many to make choices on whether to hire more people or simply to let people go.
Today I want to do two things in debate. First, I want to refute the government's primary argument for doing this, and, second, I will refute the government's assertion that this is the best policy to help Canadians save for retirement. I will point out how many of its policies are actually detrimental to them doing so.
On the first point, this is a payroll tax increase. The Liberals believe that my constituents cannot be trusted to make the right decisions to save for their retirement. They want my constituents to believe that the lowly taxpayers do not have the capacity to plan for their own savings and manage their retirement. They want them to believe that dependence on their government in their old age is the path to their security. They want them to believe that the government's seizure and control of their funds is in their best interest.
While there is a role for government in many situations, the fundamental belief in the freedom of Canadians is what sets Liberals apart from common-sense people. Liberals believe that it is only through government control that Canadians can prosper; whereas common-sense Canadians understand that the government should exist to enable our freedom, not to diminish it.
When I listen to the rhetoric around this particular bill and this particular financial instrument, I hear the government saying that Canadians are not saving enough and the government will come in and save them. I hear nothing about how the government will enable their freedom and enable their choice to be economically prosperous.
There is a huge fallacy in trying to convince the Canadian population that the best way for them to plan for their old age, for their retirement security, is to depend upon a large bloated Liberal government. I cannot believe that the government would actually put out that duplicitous comment and not believe that there would be some sort of push-back from the Canadian population.
This is why it is not the correct policy at this point in time. First, the government is creating a crisis where there is none. Certainly we need to ensure that Canadian seniors are well taken care of, that they are well looked after and honoured in their retirement. This measure will not impact Canadian seniors who are already into their retirement. In fact, it will do absolutely nothing for them. This will not increase their pension or help their prospects. Moreover, this will certainly not help their children, which many retirees are concerned about. In fact, this will disable them and disadvantage them.
I think the Liberals have been trying to sell this plan as some form of curative for pensioners who are already in retirement, and we know that is not the case. The fact that there is duplicity in the communications is so dishonest.
Let us talk about people who are planning for their retirement right now. First, there has been no formal consultation to date, absolutely none. The government has not talked to anyone. The Liberals announced this with great fanfare, hoping the Canadian public would turn a blind eye to this absolutely abysmal piece of legislation, which is based on zero financial credibility, and, frankly, zero actuarial credibility. However, I digress.
Beyond the lack of consultation, I would like to see the government commit to creating jobs for Canadians and creating the economic conditions in which people can increase their opportunity for economic growth and prosperity.
In terms of looking at policy instruments which would enable the prosperity of Canadians and my constituents, the government has absolutely failed. The bill will not do this. All this does is take away Canadians' freedom and require more dependence on the government. That is shameful.
Let us talk about these things. First, aside from the great arrogance of the government assuming that Canadians cannot save for themselves and must rely on the great saviourship of the Prime Minister and all of his wonderful gazes into the cameras, Liberals want to put in place a national tax on everything. There is the carbon tax, which will actually not reduce greenhouse gas emissions but only function as a GST, because, number one, they have not done any proper modelling in terms of price elasticity around the demand for carbon. It would only increase the price of everything for people who are struggling to make ends meet.
Liberals want to increase EI premiums, which would put a further chill on small businesses and job creation. They have put in place regulatory uncertainty for major resource projects. Anyone who is looking to invest in Canada right now is going to decide not to because of the political uncertainty, which also puts a chill on job creation. They are not doing anything to retain labour in my province of Alberta. They are allowing the best and brightest in Canada to bleed into the wind.
Liberals talk about increasing humanitarian levels of immigration without looking at the economic implications of that. They are running up a huge debt. I looked at some of the numbers that came out of the parliamentary budget office this year, and, in a non-recessionary period, the government is spending at unprecedented levels. If we are talking about the future of people's retirement, the level of debt that the Liberal government is going into is shameful. I cannot even think about this most of the time. Spending for spending's sake, rather than with any sort of outcome or goal, is not going to help Canadians with their retirement.
Moreover, the thing I find so fundamentally arrogant, in saying that only the government can help them save for their retirement with a program that might not be solvent at some future point, is the fact that the government eliminated the tax-free savings account increase that the Conservative government put in place. They said average Canadians cannot deal with that, average Canadians cannot be trusted with putting their own money into it. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, it is the people in my riding, who are now out of work in the energy sector because of the Liberal government's ideological opposition to that sector, who used the TFSA the most.
Rather than giving Canadians a vehicle in which to save their money, the government is saying it is not going to do that. It is going to take it away. Canadians are going to depend on the government and the Prime Minister and his sunny ways, because he is going to see everyone through with all of his financial acumen, his economic expertise, all of his great connections and understanding how to scrimp and save given his trust fund background. It is saying that everyone should trust in him, and he will show everyone and their children the way. Canadians do not believe that. That is hogwash.
Canadians need economic opportunity and a commitment to freedom, a commitment to understanding that it is Canadian families and workers who first and foremost understand how best to use their money. It is Canadian families who best understand what they need to do to make their families prosperous and give their children opportunities. Increasing CPP premiums, for many small business employers, boils down to a choice between one employee or two. This is at a time when the government has sent a chill through investments and is sending that sort of message. Then it is deciding to put a further chill on investment right now. It is irresponsible and garbage.
I do not even understand how Canadians cannot be infuriated with the arrogance that the government is putting forward in this bill, in saying that Canadians do not know how to spend their own money or how to save for retirement. From the bottom of my soul and with every fibre of my being, I oppose this bill. Because of the arrogance of the leftist, socialist school of thought, that the government first and foremost knows best how people should spend their money and save for their futures, I oppose this bill, and I know many of my constituents do as well.
Instead of putting this absolute pile of garbage forward, I wish the government would commit to creating economic conditions in which investment could occur in Canada and small businesses could thrive. I wish the government would push back against harmful economic practices in fragile economies like Alberta, like a price floor on labour or a carbon tax. This is the sort of economic policy that bankrupts and fails countries. I hope that my colleagues will take that into account.
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