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Results: 1 - 15 of 510
View Kerry Diotte Profile
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2021-06-11 10:03 [p.8261]
Mr. Speaker, as a bit of personal history, I was the son of parents who lived through the Great Depression. My dad Tony put food on the table by being a locomotive engineer. He worked at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and he served as secretary-treasurer of his union. My mom Helen was a busy stay-at-home mother to five kids.
We were happy, but I do not remember our having a whole lot of money when we were growing up. As a kid in grade school, I can count on one hand the number of times that we actually went out to a real restaurant. My mom's attitude was “Why waste good money on a restaurant when we have food at home?” I remember that if there was a big sale at the grocery store, we would sometimes get steak at home, but it was a rare treat. The reason I remember that is when we would have it my mom always had the same thing to say. She would say, “That steak cost 99¢ a pound, so make sure you eat all of it, even the fat.”
It was a good lesson in life, though. At an early age, kids in my family learned the value of money and we learned that one never wastes anything. My parents gave me a great life lesson and I was happy. Those lessons stuck with me and I think a lot of Canadians these days can relate to those lessons. They understand the value of hard work and money and they want value from governments for their tax dollars.
I know these have been challenging times with the COVID pandemic. Due to this terrible pandemic, governments were forced to shut down the normal economy. As such, people needed an income. Governments had a duty to come to the rescue, but they spent a lot of money, especially the current Liberal government. I admit that a good chunk of it was needed. In fact, Conservatives pushed the Liberals to increase financial benefits to Canadians during this pandemic. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, we fought to get a big increase in the small-business wage subsidy.
However, as we enter the road to recovery we need a plan back to fiscal balance. It is a lesson my parents and many of our parents and grandparents learned the hard way. I know many of my constituents feel the same way. I regularly survey my constituents for their views on important issues of the day. One question I asked them recently was whether they are worried about the federal debt. The vast majority, more than 80%, said they are very worried; yet, the Liberals failed to take prudent measures in this budget. Despite record spending, there is no meaningful action to reduce our massive debt load, and “massive” is the key word here. The debt is more than a trillion dollars and climbing.
The Liberals do not even have a long-term plan to return to balance. This is a shocking failure by the government. It was only a year ago that the Prime Minister was boasting of Canada's fiscal capacity to offer supports during the pandemic. He said his government could spend lots of money because of the prudent decisions it made previously. Why, then, is he not making those prudent decisions for the future?
As COVID made clear, we cannot foresee these events. Just consider the government's failure, early on, to recognize how serious COVID itself was. Early on, we Conservatives gave this advice: Shut down flights from COVID hot spots. The government members said we were being alarmist, even racist. What is going to happen during the next crisis that we face, with our now limited fiscal capacity? We do not have the capacity to keep on spending.
The Prime Minister boasts of prudent decisions, but he fails to make them. Prior to COVID, the current government showed a complete lack of fiscal discipline. Instead of prudently managing taxpayer money, the Liberals ran deficit after deficit. During the good times, the Liberals added more than $72 billion to the national debt. To put that into perspective, that is nearly $2,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child in Canada. Continuous deficits and endless debt leave us vulnerable. It is not sustainable.
In a crisis, one needs a healthy balance sheet. Who said that? An expert did. That is the view of Philip Cross. He is the former economic analyst at Statistics Canada.
When Conservatives were in power, we were fiscally responsible. We came out of the 2008 financial crisis better than any country in the G7. Here is what Cross said about that: “strong balance sheets in Canada stood it in good stead to endure the recession and emerge into recovery. The recession was shorter and milder in Canada than in other G7 nations, partly because the flow of credit was not disrupted as it was in other nations and a large pool of savings was available to finance spending when income fell temporarily.”
What is going to happen in the next crisis, if the Liberal government gambles our safety net? Most Canadians know about the value of money. These Liberals have to learn that, too. Let us just go over some of the Liberals' useless spending. Earlier this year I asked an Order Paper question on the expenses related to having government employees work from home. Working from home was, of course, an important safety feature, and I think we can all accept reasonable expenses. However, can anyone really justify spending $2,815 of taxpayers' money for a desk or $1,160 for a work chair? Having gone through that document, those are hardly isolated incidents. That is only scratching the surface.
The government's contempt for transparency has been evident for years. However, it has doubled down during the COVID crisis. It is actually hiding crucial information on how taxpayers' money is being spent. Even a former parliamentary budget officer criticized the government for lack of transparency. For example, members from across the aisle on the transport committee recently talked out the clock to avoid accountability. Instead of being transparent about their mismanagement of the infrastructure bank, they tried to bury the details, but the details, of course, eventually come out. For example, how the infrastructure bank recently paid out nearly $4 million for executive terminations, how the bank has completed zero projects in four years and how it is projected to lose billions of taxpayers' dollars.
Building needed projects in Canada seems to be too complicated for the Liberals' budget, but they do not seem to have any issue funding the China-controlled Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to build projects outside of Canada. The Liberals have funnelled tens of millions of dollars to this Chinese state-run bank; this is despite the Chinese Communist regime holding two of our citizens against their will on trumped-up charges. How, exactly, is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank good value for money?
As we are racking up more and more debt, I wonder just how much of it is being wasted. This is an important issue, especially for younger generations. We are passing this debt on to the next generation to pay off, and we owe it to them not to bury them in debt. Even worse, this spending is not even geared to growing the economy, but members should not take my word on it; that is the analysis of the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer. He said that “Budget 2021 estimates overstate the impact of stimulus spending over the next 3 years,” so despite massive unsustainable spending, we are not even going to see additional growth. One thing that is also readily available is that the government's strategy is not prepared for an increase of interest rates. Even a minor increase could have a devastating effect on our long-term national finances.
My constituents are demanding answers. Like my parents, they know the value of money. They work hard for their money. They expect and demand that their money is not wasted. Canadians know that Liberal spending is out of control.
View Christine Normandin Profile
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-06-11 10:13 [p.8262]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I understand that it is important for the Conservatives to cut spending. However, some of that spending is still vital. I am thinking, for example, of the support offered to farmers. The $1,500 they receive when foreign workers arrive will be reduced to $750 in the coming days.
I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about this. Should we maintain this support a while longer, since the crisis is not yet over, quarantines are still in effect and farmers must still pay the costs for their workers to come in?
View Kerry Diotte Profile
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2021-06-11 10:14 [p.8262]
Mr. Speaker, I am from Alberta in western Canada. Farmers built this country, and agriculture is absolutely vital, but let us look at the bigger picture instead of cherry-picking little items out of this budget. The bigger picture is that we need a sustainable future, and we cannot continue to spend as if there is no tomorrow, because if we continue to do that, there will be no tomorrow.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2021-06-11 10:14 [p.8262]
Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting how the Conservative narrative on the fiscal capacity of Canada has been used as an excuse to oppose measures that are actually going to help vulnerable Canadians who have been impacted.
I would like to pass on to the hon. member that, whether he takes his pick between Moody's, S&P or DBRS, they have all reaffirmed Canada's AAA credit rating. We had the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, and the IMF said that had we not launched record spending to support Canadian workers and businesses, we would have had a similar debt-to-GDP ratio with a much bigger negative impact on our economy.
Does the hon. member agree with his party leader who opposed the CERB, did he agree with his party who voted against the extension of the emergency measures, and why does he use the fiscal situation in Canada to oppose measures that are actually helping people in their time of need?
View Kerry Diotte Profile
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2021-06-11 10:15 [p.8263]
Mr. Speaker, that is rather rich coming from the member across the way. We worked to improve many of these programs. I fully admit that there is a lot of spending that is absolutely vital. When governments shut down economies, of course, we cannot leave people in the lurch and we have to help them out. We were the party that improved these programs, and it is ridiculous to say that somehow we are opposed to them. We are opposed to runaway spending, and we know that the wolf is going to be at the door one day.
When we look back at what was done under the Harper government, we came out as a shining star of the G7 countries out of 2008. The member does not have to take my word for that. He can take the word of the financial experts. We were a star, and that is how, when we are in government, we will be in far better shape than what this government is going to leave Canadians next time we have a major crisis.
View Leah Gazan Profile
View Leah Gazan Profile
2021-06-11 10:16 [p.8263]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke a lot about deficit, but here is the thing. While millions of people are worried about losing their jobs, Canada's 20 richest people have increased their wealth. Instead of making those richest people pay the cost of the economic recovery, the Conservatives, very much like the Liberals, want to protect their profits.
Can the member please explain why he refuses to make the richest in Canada pay their fair share?
View Kerry Diotte Profile
View Kerry Diotte Profile
2021-06-11 10:17 [p.8263]
Mr. Speaker, everybody has to pay their fair share, obviously, but it is also people who create wealth in this country who are risking to create wealth. If we look at the young start-ups and entrepreneurs, they are starting from nothing. We can look at the history of growth in any developed nation and it starts with great ideas, and we have to cultivate these great ideas.
I know that certain members of the NDP adhere to the NDP philosophy to just take as much money as possible and redistribute that wealth, which is not a good philosophy. It has not worked in any country in the world, and there are many recent failures and long-time failures.
No, we Conservatives do not believe in punishing people for good ideas, growing economies and creating wealth.
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to give a speech in response to the government's budget. Many of my colleagues, whether on my side of the aisle or the other side, have already given speeches about this budget, but today I am not here to simply support the budget blindly or criticize it for ideological or political gain. I am here today to speak from the heart. I am here to speak on behalf of my constituents. I am here to make clear to the members of this House how most Canadians from Calgary Forest Lawn feel about this budget.
Let me start with the short hand dealt to my fellow Albertans. This budget fell short in helping Canada's oil and gas, energy, agriculture and forestry sectors to be global leaders in performance and innovation. While there is money going to some sectors in our economy, there is no plan, as usual. As Adam Legge wrote for the Calgary Herald about this very issue, “It is not rooted in the sound recommendations of the government’s own Industry Strategy Council.”
While the government may say that this money will create a fancy new future and make jobs, the truth is that it is more lip service to Albertans. To the single mother who is a field project manager, to the Muslim sister who just got her citizenship and a job in our energy industry as a chemical engineer, and to the eighth-generation roughneck worker in the oil fields, it is very clear that the government has forgotten about them. It has forgotten about the average working class that has made this country great.
While the government's new budget makes life harder for my constituents to earn money, it also makes daily living more expensive and creates great harm for our children and future generations. April's inflation rate was 3.4%. That means the cost of goods is now 3.4% higher, on average. Many of my constituents have been laid off or have taken a massive pay decrease due to this pandemic. Many Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque, and this was even before the pandemic. Many Canadians cannot afford to pay more for basic necessities due to the Prime Minister's reckless spending and budget.
In April, our economy saw 207,000 jobs lost, with an unemployment rate above 8%. What is the solution? It is spending more, says the finance minister. According to her, it is an ideal time to borrow because interest rates are low. That is interesting, because as the global economy recovers, the interest rates are actually rising, and that has been the trend for the last few months. The cost of debt repayment has now reached a skyrocketing $22 billion per year. That means $22 billion less for our seniors, veterans, the health care system and many other important systems and groups that need this money.
Of course, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Who will pay for this lunch, one may ask. It will be our children, their children and their children's children, and so on. I am already talking to many students who cannot find internships, who are in crippling debt, who struggle with many mental health issues due to this pandemic and even before. Now more over-stressed and with lack of employment due to our weak economy, what will they say when they find out a few years down the road that they will have to pay for all of this mess, a mess that the Liberal government has put us in?
The key word is “inflation”. For every dollar we print, the value of every dollar falls. It is basic economics. I wish we could print all the money in the world and help everyone, but there is such a thing as scarcity. The government does not understand that, and now our constituents have to suffer.
I also have the privilege of being the official opposition's shadow minister for immigration, refugees and citizenship. How does this budget affect immigration, one may ask. The immigration minister promised that Canada will welcome 401,000 immigrants this year, and still there are massive backlogs. We need immigration. Our working population is aging and, unfortunately, our immigration system is aging with it. This budget does nothing significant to address these backlogs. Families remain separated from their loved ones; parents are missing their children's first steps, birthdays and, in some cases, their births.
Just the other month, I received a call from a constituent saying they wanted to kill themselves because they cannot wait any longer to see their loved ones and cannot bear the isolation of this pandemic. My heart breaks for them.
The detail included in this budget is just a timeline or a promise to deliver a new program by 2023. Ignoring the government's track record with broken promises, pushing this problem down the road is not helping anyone. Families are separated for years. People are waiting for half a decade to have their applications processed, and yet the best the Liberals can do is promise an untested program being launched in the future.
There are also no details on whether the government will work with experts, national and cybersecurity professionals or even immigration experts to develop a platform that truly works for Canadians. There cannot be a strong recovery without a strong plan for immigration. What Canada needs now is a smarter immigration system that focuses on our resources and on making Canada a more welcoming place full of opportunity and potential.
A Conservative government will work to replace Liberal platitudes with a system that actually works again, one that does not leave families separated and desperate for hope but hopeful for a prosperous life in Canada.
Again, the government will point and blame when it hears these facts about its budget. Of course it will blame the pandemic and say it stalled efforts for economic recovery and the advancement of the immigration system, but the new question is, what is the government doing to reopen Canada safely? The government had a failed plan to procure vaccines, a failed plan to secure our borders to stop variants and a failed plan to support small business and our energy industry in withstanding the negative effects of this pandemic.
Just recently, a Calgary-based company that was making a vaccine for COVID-19 said it is leaving Canada, after the government ignored its calls for support. The goal is to retain Canadian talent, not drive it away. Before this pandemic, the government's policies against our world-class energy industry led to investment fleeing. I personally saw the tradespeople I dealt with having to lay off their workers and having to go back onto the field themselves. They blame the Liberal government's policies and inaction to help support them.
I ask people, even in the toughest of times and with a bad budget, to stay strong. To the small business owners, the families living paycheque to paycheque and those trying to start a new life in our great country, I say not to give up, not to lose hope, for what makes our country great is the people, not its government or fancy budget plans that do very little to help the little guy.
We are stronger together, and I stand here on behalf of my constituents to speak up against this budget and expose whom it is hurting: the everyday Canadian. Inflation due to this out-of-control spending does not really hurt the rich and privileged that bad. Whom it does hurt is the single mother from Calgary who is struggling to pay for her kids' schooling and groceries, the bus driver from Toronto trying to afford his mortgage, and the family-run restaurant owner from P.E.I. who has to close up shop for good because the government could not secure the vaccines fast enough, unlike our counterparts.
I came to this country as an immigrant and I grew up as an at-risk youth. I still remember the raindrops hitting my face as my family and I waited in line for low-income bus passes. I still remember seeing my parents and myself working multiple jobs to make ends meet and to survive. I do not want to see that struggle for my children or anyone's children, or in fact any Canadian. We came to this country to enjoy prosperity, not government debt and a crippling economy.
A Conservative government will have a real plan, made by the experts and guided by the everyday Canadian. We will have a fresh new vision of hope, so that no matter where people came from, who they are or when they arrived here, they will have a chance to live the Canadian dream, just as I and many members of this House did.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” Together we will fix this mistake, together we will recover this economy and together we will all grow.
May God keep our land glorious and free.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2021-06-11 10:28 [p.8264]
Mr. Speaker, when I hear a Conservative stand up and speak about spending and the deficit, I recall how the finance critic, the member for Carleton, would stand up day after day and say we are spending too much and helping too much. I wonder if the member could answer in a truthful way which program that we brought in during this pandemic the Conservatives would cut or give less money to.
It is fine to talk about what happened in 2008, but the world has never seen the likes of the pandemic that hit the globe the way it did a year and a half ago. Which program would he not support? Which program would he eliminate, and what class of people would be hurt the most by doing this?
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
Mr. Speaker, I find it quite funny that the Liberals would accuse us of bringing up 2008, when it seems like former prime minister Stephen Harper lives rent-free in all of their minds all the time.
What the Conservatives were asking for in the beginning of this pandemic was actually more supports. When the Liberals came forward with their wage subsidy plan, it was not enough for business owners. The Liberals had already crippled most of our economy anyway by then, and then gave just little tidbits for small business owners, like restaurant owners. When it came to the wage subsidy, it was far too little. We all had to stand up and remind the government that it was the small business owners who were going to hurt the most, before that change was made.
When the business loan came out, again, it was not enough for business owners. We had to fight for that to be increased and the $50,000 payroll to be taken away. As we know, most small business owners take out dividends and not payroll. It was we, Conservatives, who were always sticking up for the small business owners.
View Yves Perron Profile
View Yves Perron Profile
2021-06-11 10:30 [p.8265]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. The question has been asked before, but we did not get a clear answer.
Of course, some spending is hardly useful, but there is other spending that is fundamental and very important and that must be maintained, like the support for farmers who have to pay the quarantine costs of their temporary foreign workers.
Currently, Ontario's vegetable producers and the people of Quebec are asking the minister to maintain this support past June 16, without reducing the amount. Now is not to time to abandon producers, while the war on COVID‑19 is not over and quarantines are still essential. Where do the Conservatives stand on this matter?
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
Mr. Speaker, of course we want to support our hard-working farmers. I was in a meeting with a group from Quebec just yesterday, and we talked about how the backlogs are completely stopping business from happening in Quebec. They are in desperate need of temporary foreign workers. I fully agree with that.
My hon. colleague is on the immigration committee with me, and we are always talking about this at the committee. I talked about this in my speech. It is the backlogs that are causing a lot of harm, especially to our farmers. It is happening in Alberta. It is happening in Quebec and Ontario. Every single province is suffering due to the Liberal government's failure to address backlogs.
This budget did nothing to help that or at least develop a clear plan going forward that will help farmers. We all want better for our farmers, and that includes clearing up these backlogs.
View Scott Duvall Profile
View Scott Duvall Profile
2021-06-11 10:32 [p.8265]
Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned a lot of people who are hurting, and I appreciate that, but he did not mention seniors. In this budget, the government has made a two-tier system of “junior seniors” and “senior seniors”, knowing that the need is out there, because it gave one-time cheques last year. Now the government is only giving one-time cheques and increases to a certain group of seniors, but not the people from 65 to 74.
Does he agree with this? Does he support this? What would his government do?
View Jasraj Singh Hallan Profile
Mr. Speaker, I will admit that I am not fully aware of all the details, but what I will say is that Conservatives will always support our seniors. I think that our seniors are the most precious people we have. In my personal life, the seniors are where I got all my blessings from. We have a plan that will come out and address a lot of the insecurities that our seniors have, to make sure that we are supporting them, because they deserve it the most. The Liberal government, over and over, has failed our seniors in many different ways, and this budget did not address their problems either.
View Doug Shipley Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government finally tabled a budget for Parliament to debate and Canadians to review. This was a new record. It was kind of a dubious record, but it was a record nonetheless. This budget would send the national debt to a staggering $1.4 trillion in five years. Almost as concerning is that the budget contains no measures to return to a balanced budget. This pattern of reckless spending has been a hallmark of the current Liberals since coming to office. They spend without a plan. They spend with lofty hopes and dreams that the budget will balance itself.
The people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte who call my office and email us are anxious and looking for a plan. Adding $1.4 trillion to the national debt saddles our grandkids, their grandkids and their children with the burden of paying this back. That is unfair to them.
I understand these are unprecedented times, and we need to help Canadians survive as we navigate the global COVID pandemic. However, these measures should be temporary, and a plan should be in place to ensure we return to a balanced budget. The Liberals have no plan to balance the books, and there appears to be no end in sight for their reckless spending.
I want to shift gears for a bit. While we all understand the pressures that Canadians have been under for the last year and a half as we have dealt with the pandemic, the Prime Minister had the opportunity to invest historically in mental health, and to help build the infrastructure our mental health care system will need to support people as we come out of this pandemic. As with most things the current government attempts, it missed the mark.
Suicides among men are rising at staggering rates. A Leger poll commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of Canada noted a sharp increase in respondents reporting depression. The poll noted the number jumped from 2% to 14%. McMaster Children's Hospital found that youth suicide attempts have tripled because of COVID restrictions. The same study found there was a 90% increase in youth being referred to the hospital's eating disorder program. There is no doubt that people are struggling, and there is no doubt the Prime Minister failed to deliver investments in mental health.
This budget does absolutely nothing for growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians or the economy. David Dodge, the former Bank of Canada governor, was quoted in a National Post news article as saying:
My policy criticism of the budget is that it really does not focus on growth.... To me it wouldn’t accord with something that was a reasonably prudent fiscal plan, let me put it that way.
Robert Asselin, a budget and policy adviser to former finance minister Bill Morneau, said this budget was “a political solution in search of an economic problem.” When the Liberals' friends are let down by their budget, how can they reasonably expect Canadians to get excited about it?
Seniors have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. They have been isolated from their children and grandchildren, and in some tragic cases have passed away with no one around them in their final moments. I do not bring this up lightly. Once again, the Liberals had an opportunity to make foundational investments and failed to deliver. The programs and supports that were announced in this budget offer up very little detail and will leave many seniors behind. The government needs to respect Canada's seniors, ensure it acts on its promises and move forward with funding to help provinces and territories address the acute challenges in long-term care.
Part of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte is rural, and constituents constantly write to me and my staff about their poor broadband connectivity. The Prime Minister promised to invest in rural broadband and ensured the money rollout would come faster. This has not happened. We have seen announcements and reannouncements of the same funding, but the projects are not being built. These delays and inaction have had a real impact on rural areas in my riding, with so many people working from home. It is time for empty promises to end and for real action to kick in.
The Prime Minister promised an additional $1 billion over six years, starting this year, for the universal broadband fund. With proposed budget 2021, $2.75 billion would be available for projects across Canada, yet communities in my riding are suffering because the current Prime Minister and his cabinet prefer to make announcements rather than take concrete action to support rural Canadians.
The Prime Minister has created such uncertainty in the economy over the last year and a half that people are not sure when we will get back to something that resembles normal. The uncertainty of the pandemic and the lack of action from the Prime Minister to build a robust economy have created a shortage in many supply chains. This is having a dramatic impact on businesses in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.
One developing supply chain shortage is a shortage of semiconductors. I recently spoke with car dealership owners in my riding who told me they were having a difficult time getting inventory because of this shortage. Another stalwart business in my riding is Napoleon Home Comfort. It manufactures barbecues and fireplaces. It employs hundreds of people, and opened in 1980. It is days away from potentially having to close its doors and lay off hard-working Canadians because the shortage of semiconductors would prevent them from manufacturing their products. This semiconductor shortage has the potential to affect tens of thousands of supply chain manufacturing and distribution jobs across Canada.
Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte residents rely on transportation providers such as local motor coach operators Hammond Transportation and Greyhound. We all know that Greyhound has decided to pull all its Canadian operations, leaving people stranded across the country. In my riding, people used Greyhound to commute to work: People who work in Toronto found it more cost effective to commute daily via the bus to earn a living.
Hammond Transportation is a family-owned school bus, charter bus and motor coach company. I met with the owners recently to hear their issues first-hand. Like many motor coach companies across Ontario and Canada, Hammond has taken on new debt to continue to operate as revenues slide. The lack of a coordinated border reopening plan has impacted its quarterly planning and has reduced its recovery trajectory. One of the biggest concerns Kent Hammond, the owner of Hammond Transportation, brought to me was the impact of winding down Canada's emergency wage subsidy and the Canada emergency rent subsidy. With border openings uncertain and tours impossible, there is no way the company can plan for a firm start-back date.
With most of this budget, critical industries and sectors were overlooked. The impacts of changes were drastically underestimated for some sectors. Frankly, it is poor planning and management. To say that I was disappointed with the over 700 pages of the budget would be an understatement. The Prime Minister had an opportunity to deliver a budget that would carry, impact and help industries and businesses, particularly small and medium-sized ones, to come out of this pandemic on solid ground. Unfortunately, he failed.
The Prime Minister failed to deliver investments in mental health supports for Canadians and our health care system as those who are struggling through the pandemic seek additional supports. The government failed to deliver impactful investments for seniors. Instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting to work, the Prime Minister and his finance minister repurposed funding announcements and issued more empty promises.
The Prime Minister failed to deliver proper investments for rural broadband as more people worked and studied from home. Having a strong and reliable Internet signal is critical. This disproportionately impacts rural Canadians, but the Prime Minister seems to be more worried about urban concerns.
It is truly unfortunate that the Prime Minister squandered this opportunity to deliver real and meaningful investments that would support Canadians. Furthermore, if he cannot even make his friends Mark Carney and Robert Asselin happy with this budget, how are Canadians expected to be excited about it?
Opening a business at any time is scary and stressful, but doing it in a pandemic is even more courageous. Stephanie Stoute, in Barrie, opened Curio Exploration Hub. It is a new, innovative child activity centre. She found herself struggling when she opened because she did not qualify for the existing COVID programs. Ms. Stoute is a hard-working entrepreneurial mother of two who is pushing forward. However, the government and the Prime Minister were not there for her when she needed them.
I asked a question in the House on December 8, 2020, about Ms. Stoute's concerns. While Ms. Stoute's business is still open, the Prime Minister has not made it easy for small businesses to access supports so they can survive and thrive on the other side of the pandemic.
The world is a dark place right now. We are a nation that is suffering, and we need, more than ever, to work across party lines to ensure we have the best interests of Canadians top of mind. Canadians are looking for real and authentic leadership. We have an opportunity to do this, but we need to work together to ensure we make investments in seniors, in rural broadband, in small and medium-sized businesses and in domestic vaccine protection so we can get Canadians back to work and get our economy growing.
We also need to make sure we have sufficient investments in mental health to support those who are struggling from the effects of the pandemic and lockdowns. We may be in a dark place right now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. For us to get there, we need to all work together.
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