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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
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 15:52 [p.23587]
Mr. Speaker, I must be mistaken, or maybe I went outside to the lobby, but I must have missed the part of the hon. member's speech when he was talking about when the government will balance the budget. I have never seen a budget speech that did not include a date, or anything like a date, confirming when the budget would be balanced. Therefore, I would like the member to rectify the situation. I must have been somewhere else or not listening. I am very sorry. When will the government balance the budget?
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
2018-11-19 16:15 [p.23590]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member completely misconstrued what I said. I was not talking about investments. These are deficits.
SMEs at the heart of job creation in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou, do not borrow money to invest in their projects, they use their profits for that. It is important to reinvest budgetary surpluses. In 2015, we left $3 billion to the Liberals when they came to power and they spent it all in just a few months.
If investment is truly what the government is after, then why did the Liberals say that they would run a $10-billion infrastructure deficit? Why are the deficits not being used to invest in infrastructure, as the Liberals claimed they wanted to do in 2015? It is because the Liberals' deficits are not being used to improve infrastructure or Canadians' lives. They are being used to please the lobby groups that have always supported the Liberals.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-19 16:17 [p.23591]
Mr. Speaker, I wish I could say the government could be more transparent, but that would surprise me. There is a lot of back and forth between the Liberals and the Office of the Ethics Commissioner. Transparency is not this government's strong suit.
My colleague talked about investments, but why is the army underfunded? According to another recently released report, the Canadian Forces had a $2-billion shortfall last year alone.
Also, why is the government not doing anything to reduce delays associated with the national shipbuilding strategy? The price tag for the 15 Iroquois-class frigates that are scheduled to be built in Halifax has gone up from $30 billion to $60 billion.
When will the Liberals give us the date the budget will be balanced? That is a simple question, and it boils down to being accountable to Parliament.
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
2018-11-01 11:34 [p.23157]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Louis-Hébert for his speech.
At the beginning of his speech he talked about historic investments in infrastructure. Sadly, it is historic in theory only, since we have seen just $9.3 billion of the $187 billion announced a few years ago.
Between 2010 and 2015, the Conservative government not only released the $80 billion from our economic action plan, but we also spent it in real time. Many observers even talked about how effective the plan was, since the money was getting out. I just wanted to set the record straight.
I would also like to ask my hon. colleague when the government plans to balance the budget. He did not mention that in his speech. One of the Liberal government's key promises in 2015 was to balance the budget by 2020. Promises must be kept if we want to reduce cynicism among Canadians instead of fuelling it. This is important to our democracy, and yet, it is clear that the government has shelved this promise and that it has absolutely no intention of keeping it.
When will the government balance the budget?
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.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-03-20 13:34 [p.17752]
Madam Speaker, the answer is yes.
I have met with people from my riding over the past three weeks. Much to the Liberals' dismay, everywhere I went, even in redder areas like Giffard and Limoilou, people are shocked by what is happening and what the government is doing. I met with countless people who voted Liberal and will never do so again.
The way the government is spending money does not make any sense. The Liberals are spending hand over fist in every area, without any plans to balance the budget and for no good reason other than to try to appear virtuous and please Canada's interest groups. What is more, their trips abroad have been disastrous.
Developing a welfare state served a purpose in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, but now things have gotten completely out of hand. Canadians want the government to one day work for them, not the other way around.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-05-06 13:06 [p.3021]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on her military service.
I think it is important to speak to members in this House about the specific measures in budget 2016 for veterans and how those measures will affect them. Nevertheless, before I address the more specific aspects of the budget, I want to note that my colleagues, the people of my riding of Beauport—Limoilou, and I all share concerns that the Liberal government is planning some exorbitant spending for this year and the years to come.
In light of Canada's current economic climate, the Liberal government's plan to run large deficits over many years is unjustified. Unfortunately, the government is essentially handing out money that has been borrowed instead of earned.
Furthermore, the government is breaking a number of its election promises, and we are just a few months in. This is surprising, since some of these promises were key planks in the Liberal platform. First, there was the promise to restrict deficit spending to a maximum of $10 billion, which has changed. I would remind members that the deficit spending was supposed to be used to invest in infrastructure, not to subsidize new recurring programs.
Then, the government promised to focus upcoming financial efforts on balancing the budget by the end of its term, which is no longer achievable. The other disappointment was the broken promise to lower the tax rate for small and medium-sized businesses, which create wealth for everyone.
I will set these concerns aside and get to the essence of my speech, which is the budget measures put forward to address the needs of our veterans.
I want to note that these measures were first presented separately from the federal 2016 budget, in Bill C-12, an act to amend the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. This bill was introduced barely one month ago. I thought it was a good sign that the Liberals introduced this legislation, since there was no notion of partisanship on veterans' issues.
As a result, as the official opposition veterans' critic, I was planning to support Bill C-12 and vote in favour of it to help this government take positive action for our veterans, even though I felt that some amendments were necessary to fix certain technical issues.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:37 [p.59]
Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, hon. members of Parliament, and all Canadians.
I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville. I want to acknowledge my colleague and congratulate her on her election.
I want to start by congratulating all the members of the House on their wins and on their dedication, which is so important to keeping the democratic institutions that make up our political system alive and well.
I am honoured and extremely proud to rise here for the first time to address all Canadians, and in particular Quebeckers in Beauport—Limoilou. Because of them, I have the unbelievable privilege of being a member of this very important parliamentary institution.
If I am here today, it is also thanks to some important people in my life. First, there are my parents, without whom none of this would have been possible. They are the ones who, throughout my childhood, guided me, taught me, and most importantly, loved me. Then, there is my wife Pascale, who has been by my side for 11 years now and supports me in all of my incredible adventures, including politics. Finally, my daughter, Victoria Clarke, reminds me every day of what is important in this life here on earth. I would like to thank all of those who are dear to my heart, including my brother and my sister.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank all of our ancestors who built a country based on the principles of the rule of law and political freedom.
Canada, as a whole, is part of my identity. In fact, my parents are from opposite ends of the country. My mother is a French Canadian from Beauport, Quebec, and my father is an English Canadian from Victoria, British Columbia. Canada's duality, an undeniable part of our common history and our political past and present, is alive and well in me and is always driving me.
I do not want to boast, but I have believed from a very young age that having this personal characteristic meant that I had an inescapable duty to participate in Canada's political community.
That is why, since my teen years, my sole purpose has been to serve my country and my fellow citizens. This burning desire, coupled with an iron will, compelled me to become actively involved in Canadian politics at 18 and to join the Canadian Armed Forces at 24.
In recent years, I have been an active member of the Conservative Party of Canada, I have served as a member of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment in Lévis, I have worked with charities in my community, and, to better understand the significance of these activities, Canada's history, and our political system, I earned a master's in political science.
I applied for and received my discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces on November 11, Remembrance Day. On my father's side, fathers and sons have served in the Canadian Armed Forces since the 1890s. My great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father, my brother and I are all veterans.
That is why the privilege of being named the official opposition critic for veterans affairs is so deeply symbolic to me: it is linked to a long-standing, deeply rooted family tradition.
On that point, I want to thank our party leader for the trust she has placed in me. Our leader and all veterans in this country can rest assured that I take this role very seriously. I will remain politically invested every day, and I will work as hard as I have to in order to hold this government to account when it comes to veterans.
I would also like to present to the House my priorities as the member for Beauport—Limoilou. My team and I have three main objectives we want to achieve. We call them the three Ps: pursue, promote, and participate.
The first objective is about pursuing the economic revitalization of our riding. More specifically, it is about focusing on the development of these main arteries: d'Estimauville, Canardières and des Capucins, 1st Avenue, 3rd Avenue and Seigneuriale.
The second objective is to promote the flow of ongoing investments in local infrastructure.
The third objective is to participate in nurturing the personal growth of newcomers and those most in need by reaching out to them, by knocking on doors throughout my term, in order to meet their needs and, more importantly, overcome the feeling of social exclusion.
Last summer, the previous Conservative government announced its support for a very important project for my riding and the entire greater Quebec City region. I am talking about the Beauport 2020 plan to almost double the area of the port of Québec's wharves. This makes sense because “the port of Québec is a strategic transshipment point between the industrial and agricultural heart of North America and the world. The port is open to navigation year-round and is one of the largest ports in Canada in terms of tonnage and economic spinoffs.” Consequently, I would hope that the new government will stay the course on this crucially important project and ensure that it is completed in accordance with the strictest environmental criteria around.
On another note, I think nothing illustrates the ideal of serving one's country better than donning a military uniform and confronting the dangers that face any free society. We have courageous veterans who did just that for our country and our freedom during the 20th century in various places around the world, and more recently in Afghanistan. Today, in Canada, we have more than 700,000 veterans. If we include their family members, we are talking about millions of individuals. They all have served and serve Canada in their own way.
What amazed me the most when I met with veterans in recent years was the unwavering passion with which they spoke about serving their country and ensuring a better future for all of us, including the MPs in this House.
I was stunned that there was only one sentence about veterans in the Speech from the Throne that opened the 42nd Parliament on Friday. However, the Liberal government has used other communications tools to announce measures that will generate significant annual deficits in the coming years, even if the Canadian economy does well in the global economic context.
The government is proposing to post deficit after deficit, have Canada go into debt in a period of economic prosperity, increase taxes and thereby discourage consumption and economic growth. This will inevitably lead to a significant slowdown in job creation.
Furthermore, the government is proposing to create new measures and to improve others for veterans, which is a very good thing. However, that is where we part ways, because the Conservatives want to finance these measures with the money generated by a healthy economy and not by running deficits in future years.
Where is the long-term vitality of these measures? How can they be permanent if the government is incurring national debt to pay for them? How can the government be sure that these new measures will be sustainable in the long term when they are incurring a deficit to pay for them? Will it do so by raising taxes for Canadians and businesses?
My friends, this is a Liberal smokescreen designed to make Canadians believe that all of the new measures that have been proposed will be implemented. They will not be, at least not permanently. Veterans will be the first to doubt the Liberals' proposals, which I will refer to as the Liberal smokescreen from now on.
We, on the other hand, were and still are in favour of measures for veterans that are sustainable in the long term, measures that are not funded by incurring continuing deficits. In that respect, the previous Conservative government focused on the long-term sustainability of essential services for veterans. That is why we made major cuts to the department's bureaucratic red tape in order to make the department more productive. This measure also made it possible to make necessary cuts to spending and especially to bring about welcome improvements in services to veterans.
Our first priority has always been to ensure that programs and measures for veterans are sustainable in the long term, while maintaining a strong economy based on balanced budgets and, of course, continued tax cuts.
The holiday season is approaching. Soon, we will all gather with our families to celebrate, but also to remember the many sacrifices that our veterans made and are still making today. It is thanks to them that I am here today.
In closing, I would like to say that there is no doubt in my mind that everyone here only wants what is best for veterans. In that respect, when it comes to working for the well-being of veterans, the government will always find in me an ally.
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