Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Joël Godin Profile
CPC (QC)
I invite all Canadians to come and visit this place to meet us and discover the new House, because we will be here for at least 10 years.
I rise today because the current government is not keeping its promises. Back in 2015, it got elected by saying it would start by running a modest $10-billion deficit in 2016 and balance the budget by 2019. It is therefore perfectly fair for every Canadian to have questions today about our country's future. I think that the motion tabled by our party is very timely. I will read it out:
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 [which will come out in a few weeks, in April at the latest, or maybe in March, depending on the Liberals' agenda] to eliminate the deficit quickly with a written commitment that he will never raise taxes of any kind.
That is what the motion says, and I think it is responsible. I simply want to remind the House that, during the 2015 election campaign, the Liberals made a lot of promises that they did not keep. I would like to mention a few of them. There is an extremely long list and I only have 10 minutes, so I will not be able to talk about all of them.
I represent the beautiful riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier in the Quebec City region. The Liberals promised to have the Quebec Bridge painted or to find a solution before June 2016. No one forced them to make that promise. It is now January 29, 2019, so people can reach their own conclusions. Of course, on a national scale, that is a very small promise.
The Liberals also promised Canada Post letter carriers that they would send them back out to do home mail delivery. Did the Liberals do that? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Furthermore, in 2015, the Liberals said that the 2015 election would be the last under the existing voting system. This is an election year. Has anyone heard anything about a new voting system? I do not think so. Elections Canada is giving training sessions, but no one has told the organizers or those involved in the election anything about a new voting system. That is another promise the Liberals did not keep.
The Liberals also said they would change the House of Commons Standing Orders to put an end to omnibus bills, which interfere with proper debate in the House. We all know what happened in December. They bundled a bunch of bills and muzzled us.
Now I want to remind everyone about the most important promise the Liberal government made in 2015, the one about running small deficits early in its mandate and balancing the budget. Today the Liberals are accusing us of moving a ridiculous motion. How absurd. The deficit is $80 billion. It is unbelievable.
We just want the government to behave responsibly and take real action. How can Liberals travel across this country, look Canadians in the eye and tell them they should put their trust in them and vote for them? How can they tell Canadians that they are meeting expectations and keeping their promises? Seriously. We are giving them an opportunity to table a plan to balance the budget, an opportunity to promise they will not make our children and grandchildren pay the price, because that would be irresponsible.
Speaking of children, I would like to talk about a fable by Jean de la Fontaine, The Cicada and the Ant. It is not very long, so I would like to read it now:
Cicada, having sung her songAll summer long,Found herself without a crumbWhen winter winds did come.Not a scrap was there to findOf fly or earthworm, any kind.Hungry, she ran off to cryTo neighbor Ant, and specify:Asking for a loan of grist,A seed or two so she'd subsistJust until the coming spring.She said, “I'll pay you everythingBefore fall, my word as animal,Interest and principal.”Well, no hasty lender is the Ant;It's her finest virtue by a lot.“And what did you do when it was hot?”She then asked this mendicant.“To all comers, night and day,I sang. I hope you don't mind.”“You sang? Why, my joy is unconfined.Now dance the winter away.”
Obviously, the cicada is our current Prime Minister, and the ant represents workers, people who are responsible and hard working, our leader, and the entire team at the Conservative Party, which is currently in the official opposition. We are a government in waiting.
The moral of this story is that hard work always pays off and that we must work instead of dreaming. The ant worked hard to collect provisions for the winter, while the cicada was singing and lounging around, and then found herself in a difficult situation.
It is unfortunate, but that seems to be the situation in Canada. We have been in a period of economic prosperity for the last three years. Any good manager would take this time to fill the coffers. It is only logical. If we look back through history, there are always recessions and periods of lower prosperity. I do not want to be alarmist, but we have to be responsible. We do not know what the future holds, but we know that we have been prosperous for the last three years.
What did the current government do? It spent money like crazy without keeping its promises, without meeting expectations, and without improving life for hard-working Canadians. Canadians are paying higher taxes, and more tax increases are coming. Their children and grandchildren will also be left paying the price for this Liberal government's irresponsibility.
I am not a prophet or an economist, but we have resources, and I am smart enough to do my research. Many economists are saying that an economic slowdown is on the horizon. When heading into a period of uncertainty, it is important to have a plan and to be prepared.
The members opposite are accusing us of having run up deficits, but we have to consider the circumstances. The worst economic crisis took place when the Conservatives were in power. We invested in infrastructure, we took steps to keep the economy going, and we were applauded by the international community. We were told that we did a good job in Canada, under the circumstances. We took charge, and we were responsible.
Since April 26, 2018, my riding has had a pilot project to provide labour to private businesses and to work on economic development in the regions. We have not asked for any money. These are initiatives driven by entrepreneurs. Today is January 29, 2019. I am not asking for money. I am only asking that we do what we have to so we can look after the regions.
Can the members opposite govern, think about what is in Canadians' best interests, and commit to balancing the budget and not passing the bill on to future generations?
View Michelle Rempel Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michelle Rempel Profile
2019-01-29 16:13 [p.24987]
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Beauport—Limoilou.
The motion before us today 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.
This is a very reasonable motion put forward by the Conservative Party's shadow minister of finance. It speaks to the responsibility that we have as parliamentarians to be wise stewards of taxpayer dollars.
I want to briefly outline why the Prime Minister's broken promise on deficits is so important to Canadians, why they should be concerned about it, why these deficits will undoubtedly lead to higher taxes and why it is so important for my colleagues across the way to look away from the Prime Minister and say what is in the best interests of their constituents, which is to bring the deficit down significantly, work back to balance and to not raise taxes on Canadians.
First, I will talk about the Prime Minister's broken promise. In 2015, the Prime Minister made the following promise to Canadians, a balanced budget in 2019, and from the Liberal platform, “modest short-term deficits of less than $10 billion in each of the next two fiscal years” and a balance sheet with a debt to GDP ratio of 27%. Where are we today on those promises after the Prime Minister famously said that the budget would will balance itself?
The Liberals made these three promises in the 2015 campaign. Their management approach was that the budget would balance itself. My colleague has asked many times when the budget will balance itself and we have not heard an answer.
This is where we are at today. The finance department itself, the government's own public servant, has said that there will be no balanced budget until at least 2040, 21 years from now. That is really irresponsible to not even have a target on when we can get back to balance.
The amount of debt just on the current course that we are on, never mind having to deal with future issues or whatever, is that the Prime Minister will have added an additional $271 billion of debt on our country. This comes on the fact that the Prime Minister, when he came into government in 2015, inherited a balanced budget from the former Conservative government.
In October of this year, in time for the 2019 election, or it might be earlier we never know with the Liberals, the Liberals have added over $75 billion of debt in that short period of time. They have clearly broken their promise and the debt to GDP ratio will be around 30.5% in October, so they have increased that as well.
Why is this so important? First, we notice that when a lot of Liberal cabinet ministers or parliamentary secretaries stand in question period, they use something of a success metric that no small business owner or anybody in a household would use as a success metric. They say that the Liberals have spent x amount of money. When we ask how they are going to solve this problem, they say that they have spent x amount of money. They do not talk about actually fixing the problem. They just talk about spending money. That is because the Liberals do not understand that spending money is not a metric of success in government, that we need to be very wise about when we spend money.
The problem with this deficit is that Canadians do not really have anything to show for all that debt the Liberals have incurred on their behalf. I do not see the green line in Calgary that our former government committed to under the context of a balanced budget bill. The only infrastructure that really has been filled under the present government was the then minister of infrastructure and communities office renovations, which was about $1 million.
What the Liberal government has done is expanded the size of government just for the sake of expanding it, not to help Canadians. That is a problem.
Canadians are spending money and not getting anything out of it. However, someone has to pay for this at some point, which is why the government will absolutely raise taxes on Canadians. They are seeing this massive debt increase. The Liberals are expanding government. They have ever-increasing costs of so many different things without results, but the economy will not be resilient. It is not going to be competitive. Therefore, when the economy retracts, we start seeing a decrease in government revenue.
We have the Liberals increasing expenses for no reason and racking up massive deficits, putting in place very negative scenarios for economic growth over time, which means there is a high probability that government revenue will decrease. Therefore, how do we get more money? If we are not going to decrease expenses and not increase revenue through economy growth, what is left? It is taxes. People should be concerned about the deficit because every Canadian will have to pay through increased taxes for the Prime Minister's mistakes. The mistake is the deficit, a promise he broke to Canadians.
Let us talk about competitiveness. While our major trading partners in other parts of the world have been trying to put in place competitiveness aspects by reducing red tape and reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens or lowering taxes, we have been increasing those things. What do we see in Canada? We see talent and capital leaving Canada to invest in more competitive jurisdictions. That is a problem for the revenue side, which is going to precipitate a need for more taxes. Again, it is paying for the Prime Minister's failures.
Over time, that lack of competitiveness makes increased deficits. They make the government less able to withstand shock if we have a major economic incident as we saw in 2008, which we were able to weather with targeted short-term infrastructure investments and then a return back to balance in 2015.
The Prime Minister inherited a balanced budget, a very strong performing economy, and the campaign narrative was now was a good time to borrow money. The Liberals did not talk about why or the need to go into deficit. We are going to be less resilient and the government is going to be less able to spend in the future if we have these massive debts. Why? Because the more debt we have, and people who have a credit card bill understand this, the more interest payments we have. The Government of Canada has to pay interest on its debt. The more taxes that the Prime Minister has to collect to pay down the interest on his deficits means that we cannot spend money on things like infrastructure, like the green line in my riding of Calgary.
The government has created a massive problem by its deficits for no-reason policy, by adding all of this debt to the Canadian government and the Canadian people and it is going to result in higher taxes. That is why we put forward the motion today. It is for government members to have an opportunity to say, “You're right, we need to stop this.” Canadians should not be in a position where they have to pay for the Prime Minister's mistakes.
Also, we have ample evidence now that the budget will not balance itself.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2019-01-29 16:27 [p.24989]
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 Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2016-04-12 10:52 [p.2047]
Mr. Speaker, I am here on behalf of hard-working families and friends of Cariboo—Prince George. We have some concerns with the budget released by the government three weeks ago.
Historically speaking, budgets are presented once a year. They identify planned government spending and expected government revenue, and provide a plan for job growth and a road back for when borrowed money will eventually be paid back. More important, they provide hope.
In releasing the national budget, governments send a message to Canadians that they have a sound fiscal plan. The budget serves to build confidence with investors, business, and political allies throughout the world that Canada remains stable, that our country is sound, and that it will continue to be a leading country for investment, growth, and partnership.
Budget 2016 did one thing extremely well. It confirmed that we were in for another era of broken Liberal promises. A few of these broken promises include tripling the modest $10 billion deficit projection, backing away from the Liberals' pledge to balance the budget by 2019, and a broken promise to bring the debt-to-GDP ratio down every year of their mandate. That is not even touching their spending promises. I most certainly need more than 10 minutes to get into that.
The price tag is $29.4 billion for 2016 alone. That is a broken promise in the magnitude of almost 300%. I am not sure about anyone else, but I cannot run my finances off of credit, and the government is doing just that: maxing out Canada's corporate credit card.
Over the years, I was fortunate to have been part of a few incredibly talented teams tasked with building business plans, long-term budgets, and strategic forecasting, where our vulnerability as an industry and as an organization lay. I can say with complete sincerity that no way would a budget with no plan to make a company flush, let alone turn a profit, ever have been accepted. Why should we ask Canadians to approve such a plan, especially when they are the ones who will be left footing the bill for years to come?
Not only is the government saddling Canadians with enormous debt, it backed away from the promise of an open and transparent model of government. Even a report from the independent parliamentary budget officer found that Liberals were hiding information from Canadians, creating their own economic growth projections, and exaggerating job growth expectations. Debt just does not go away no matter how hard the Liberals try to wish it away. Borrowed money is not free money.
Over the last 20 years, my wife and I have been small business owners, and we know first-hand how challenging it can be to make ends meet. Instead of falling through on their election promise to lower the small business tax from 10.5% to the scheduled 9%, the Liberals have left it at the current level. However, should this surprise us?
The Prime Minister had this to say on this matter during the campaign, “We have to know that a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes”, to hide money, “and we want to reward the people who are actually creating jobs, and contributing in concrete ways.” We all know the Prime Minister has never had to worry about choosing between putting food on the table for his family or making payroll for his employees at the end of the month, but the constituents in my riding of Cariboo—Prince George have.
I would like to relay a recent conversation I had with local farming families. There are over 4,000 beef producers in B.C., employing roughly 8,800 people directly and indirectly. Beef producers contribute approximately $25 billion to Canada's economy, $35 million of that alone from one of the communities in Cariboo—Prince George. There are over 68,000 beef producers Canada-wide, yet there is not one mention of hard-working farm families in this budget.
The message I was asked to deliver is this. The hard-working farm families, many of which have worked their operations for generations, are small business owners. Their businesses are run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The money they make is not spent on fancy cars, condos, or vacations. That money is spent directly in the communities in which they live.
The current government failed the hard-working farm families in its Speech from the Throne and, once again, in its first budget speech. The government failed rural Canada. This is simply unacceptable. Our farm families have faced increasingly challenging times in the last six months due to market volatility stemming from the current government's lack of recognition of the importance of this vital industry.
Now that the Prime Minister has approved his first budget, I think he is just figuring out that budgets do not balance themselves. That is why the Liberal government has chosen to raise taxes on our job creators by ending the hiring credit for small businesses. I can only assume, based on his words, that the Prime Minister believes that these are the wealthy Canadians who can afford to take the hit. Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said this:
...the new government promised to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to nine per cent by 2019. That promise was broken...[when they] announced the rate will remain at 10.5 per cent.... This decision will cost small firms over $900 million more per year as of 2019.
One does not need to be an economist to realize that job creators in this country, be they the hard-working entrepreneurs, the local farmers, or the neighbourhood grocery stores, will find it harder to operate in light of these Liberal tax hikes.
The current Liberal government was elected on a promise to address a perceived infrastructure deficit. To do so, it is borrowing $12 billion over the next five years. However, the majority of this money would not go toward roads, bridges, and public transportation, the infrastructure promises on which the current government was elected. The Liberals had the perfect opportunity to invest in projects that would provide concrete, long-term benefits in the form of jobs and increased economic activity.
The review of the Canada Transportation Act, released in December, pointed out a need for a national transportation strategy, saying it will be fundamental for Canada's economic development, moving forward. Canada is a trading nation. We need trade agreements that give our producers the ability to compete in global markets. We need secure and seamless movement of these commodities and access for business to and from our country and our communities. This is critical for Canada to remain competitive. I may have missed it, but I did not see any money set aside in the budget for our ports and our airports, Canada's vital transportation gateways. While investment in green infrastructure is commendable and remains important, the current Liberal government is so blindsided by its own buzz words and pet projects that it is failing to invest in the crucial projects that are the foundation of our regional and national economies.
I too was elected on a promise to fight for my hard-working constituents of Cariboo—Prince George, to keep taxes low, be a strong voice in Ottawa for the people who do not feel they are being heard, and to bring the priorities of Cariboo—Prince George to Ottawa. I look at budget 2016 and I see nothing for rural Canada, nothing for the mills, mines, farmers, or small businesses. Investment in high-speed transit in major centres would not create jobs or opportunities in the industries that fuel the economies of Cariboo—Prince George, where people have been hit hard by the downturn in the resource sector. Giving them an additional five weeks on EI is nice, but they need jobs.
We are still waiting for a softwood lumber agreement. We are still waiting for the trans-Pacific partnership agreement to be ratified. We are still left with higher taxes, a large national deficit, no additional resources for our police forces, and measures that actually do more harm than good for small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.
For my colleagues across the floor, I would say that Canadians did not give the Liberals a mandate to borrow beyond our means, they did not give them a mandate for a pile of broken promises, and they most certainly did not give them a mandate for higher taxes that would be passed on for future generations.
I will leave with a quote from the late Jim Flaherty, regarded as the world's best finance minister, who shepherded us through the world's worst economic recession since the Great Depression while having the strongest job growth in the G7, keeping taxes low, and balancing the budget. He said,
...nearly 150 years ago, Canada was founded with fiscal responsibility as its cornerstone. The men and women who carved this great country out of the wilderness simply called it “good government”.
That is what minister of finance John Rose was talking about when he stood before this assembly to deliver Canada's first budget speech in 1868. He said, “...I say that we ought to be most careful in our outlay, and consider well every shilling we expend”.
Canadians deserve a responsible government that is thinking about the long-term interests of this country. Simply put, Canadians deserve better.
View Diane Finley Profile
CPC (ON)
View Diane Finley Profile
2016-04-12 11:49 [p.2055]
Mr. Speaker, on March 22, the Liberal government released its 2016 federal budget, and I stand here today deeply disappointed with the many broken promises in that document.
The Prime Minister made promises to support the middle class while keeping the annual deficit at no more than $10 billion a year for three years. This is what Canadians were led to expect, but the Liberal's own deficit forecast has come in much higher than that, and over many more years. Indeed, over the term of the current government, there is no end in sight to deficit financing.
It is so bad that the Liberals are actually repealing the Federal Balanced Budget Act, because, as the budget itself says, the current legislation is “inconsistent with the Government’s plan”. In other words, the law is an inconvenience. This is a plan that is reckless. It is ineffective, and it is one that gives little consideration to the future financial health of our families, or indeed our country.
The budget confirmed that the Liberals are raising taxes on honest hard-working families, eager young students, and on enterprising small businesses, which will only hurt the people in my home of Haldimand—Norfolk.
Members know, and I know, and every responsible Canadian knows, that borrowed money has to be paid back. That is why I guess the Liberals are already raising taxes. In fact, personal income taxes are set to go up by $1.3 billion this year and $2.4 billion next year. Yet, despite promising support for middle-class families, the Liberal government is going to repeal many tax programs that were brought in by our last Conservative government, especially to help families. These are programs such as the family income splitting, the child tax benefit, and the universal child care benefit, of which I am particularly fond. Over 9.4 million families in Canada will be directly affected by these changes, including 32,000 families in my home riding.
The new Canada child benefit claims to boost payments to some families, but it comes at the expense of existing child benefits. At least 10% of families will be losing support altogether, and mark my words, that 10% number could go a whole lot higher.
The Liberal government is also taking away the children's fitness and arts tax credits. In Haldimand—Norfolk alone, the parents of some 21,000 children under the age of 16 have been eligible for these tax credits up until now. These are tax credits totalling $1,500 each year. Unfortunately, these families will no longer be eligible.
Conservatives have always understood that Canadians work hard, and we support policies that put more money where it belongs, back in the pockets of Canadians.
One of the things I was pleased to see in the budget is that there will be an increase to the guaranteed income supplement for seniors. However, I was disappointed in the Liberal's changes to the Canada student loan program. Despite what they said, their own numbers show that only one in five students will benefit. That is certainly not the way that they are promoting it. This becomes even more disturbing when we realize that they are also taking away the tax credits introduced by Conservatives for text books and tuition, which were available not just to a few but to all post-secondary students.
Another huge hit is going to be to Canadian small businesses through higher payroll taxes. The government will not be lowering the business tax rate to 9% as it promised. Instead, the government will hold it at 10.5% and introduce new conditions around eligibility.
Many small businesses describe this broken promise as a shock. Here is what the Canadian Federation of Independent Business had to say:
In its platform, in a written letter to CFIB members, and in campaign stops across the country, the new government promised to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to nine per cent by 2019. That promise was broken today....
This was said by Dan Kelly, the president of CFIB.
This decision alone will cost firms almost $1 billion per year, starting in 2019.
This broken promise comes as no surprise, considering that the Prime Minister himself called small businesses tax havens for the rich. Canadians know that this is simply not true. Small business owners devote countless hours to their businesses, with a 51% survival rate over five years. There are some 1.2 million SMEs in Canada with the average worker taking home just $750 a week before taxes, which is $100 lower than the average of $850.
The government has to do better for small businesses because small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Small businesses are indeed a key to a thriving Canadian economy because they make up 98% of all Canadian companies and employ 70% of the private sector labour force.
The Liberal budget did not renew the tax credit for EI premiums paid by small businesses, and over $1 billion in new EI expenditures points only to higher premiums for all employers in the near future.
Another disappointment was that there was nothing new in the budget that offered support for our agricultural producers such as I have in Haldimand—Norfolk, or indeed anywhere else in Canada, despite the agrifood sector accounting for over $100 billion in economic activity and employing more than two million Canadians. There was no direct commitment to this key part of our economy.
Conservative MPs have always supported infrastructure, investing more than any federal government in history, to the point that we ranked second among the G7 in 2014. Infrastructure spending needs to be prioritized in a way that creates both short-term and long-term jobs and makes Canada an attractive place for a business to invest.
Most people envision infrastructure as building roads and bridges. They think of investments that reduce gridlock, thereby making it easier for people to get to work, to get home, and to get their goods to market.
To the Liberals, infrastructure is divided into three main project pots: transit, green initiatives, and what they refer to as social infrastructure.
For transit, the budget allocates $3.4 billion over three years, which does nothing to help rural ridings like Haldimand—Norfolk. Their green infrastructure fund accounts for $5 billion over five years, but only $650 million is to be spent this year.
The Liberals also claim that they will spend $3.4 billion on social infrastructure over the next five years. Now we have to wonder if that will be put off until after the next election too. Also, will it too focus only on the cities?
If we add it all up, infrastructure spending is far less than what the Liberals promised Canadians in order to get elected. In fact, by 2019, only one-fifth of the promised funding will be available to create jobs.
It is a fact that roads, highways, ports, and rail infrastructure will get their funding from existing funds that our previous Conservative government already committed under our new building Canada plan.
The bottom line is that, over the next five years, the Liberal government will borrow billions of dollars with little to show for it. Budget 2016 contains undisciplined spending, has no plan to balance the books, will fail to boost economic growth, and will raise taxes on families, on individuals, and on small businesses, taxes they cannot afford to pay if they are to not only grow but thrive.
Therefore, that is why the Conservative Party of Canada and I as a member of it cannot support the budget.
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