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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2018-11-19 16:03 [p.23551]
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.23552]
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
2017-04-04 17:15 [p.10165]
Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak here today. I will be sharing my time with my colleague from South Surrey—White Rock. I am starting to learn the names of all the ridings.
It is a great honour and a great privilege to rise in the House today, because it is my birthday. I am 31 years old, and this is probably the best gift I have ever received in my life, namely, to be able to deliver a speech in this democratic chamber on my birthday.
My colleagues likely knew what I was getting at when I asked my friends from Richmond Hill and Bourassa how much of the $80 billion allocated for infrastructure would be invested this year. The reason I asked the question is that, in fact, of the $80 billion that was supposed to be invested in infrastructure as announced by this Liberal government in 2016, almost nothing has been invested. In my mind, then, budget 2017 is a vote-seeking sham, and that will be more or less the subject of my speech today.
In fact, this budget is a false budget, a chimera. According to the dictionary, a chimera is defined as a thing that is hoped for or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve. This budget is nothing more than an ideological agenda. It is filled with endless meaningless rhetoric. For instance, on page 11, it talks about keeping Canada’s promise of progress. That is rather interesting. I do not really understand exactly what that means. It talks about innovation on nearly every page, and it also talks about a feminist budget and a green budget.
Today, in rather exceptional fashion, my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent said that even though they called it a feminist budget and a green budget, the Liberals nonetheless eliminated the public transit tax credit in their budget. He also rightly pointed out that 60% of the people who claim this credit are women, in particular elderly women. Thus, the Liberals are not walking the talk.
In terms of procurement, no significant investments have been made. Nothing has been said about balancing the budget. In fact, there are reports that we will be in a deficit position until 2051, which is shocking considering that Canadian families cannot be in the red at year's end.
Expenditures for National Defence alone are deplorable. Just in budget 2016, the Liberals deferred $3.7 billion in spending until 2020-21. This $3.7 billion was included in our Canada first program, which was inspired by the Conservative Party of Canada's plan, under the leadership of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, to bring Canada out of the decades of darkness of the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin governments in the 1990s, and to revitalize the army, ensure that military infrastructure returns to good working condition, and to make significant acquisitions to meet all military needs. Instead of getting back on track, the Liberals announced in the 2017 budget the deferral of $8.4 billion in spending to 2035-36.
As I mentioned at the beginning, almost nothing has been spent on infrastructure to date. I suspect that the Liberals will invest the entire $80 billion in 2019 so that there will be construction cranes right across the country. We are going to be tripping over cranes and Canadians will think that this government is incredible.
The Liberals also broke their promise. They said that they would run a small deficit of $10 billion when they are actually running a deficit of about $30 billion a year. What is more, they have no plan to balance the budget, and they did not lower taxes for small and medium-sized businesses as promised during the 2015 election campaign.
Budget 2017 also significantly raises taxes.
When we, the Conservatives, had the opportunity and honour to govern the country, we were the advocates and defenders of taxpayers. We lowered taxes in many ways, first by decreasing the GST from 7% to 5%. We then created the universal child care benefit, the children's fitness tax credit, the children's arts tax credit, and the post-secondary education and textbook tax credit. We instituted income splitting for families, which the Liberals unfortunately did away with. We did all of that with the exceptional result of making taxes lower for Canadian families than they had been since the 1960s. That means that, under our government, after 10 years under a Conservative government, Canadian families were paying about $7,000 less in taxes a year than they were prior to 2004. That is not to mention the fact that we created 1.2 million jobs in 10 years, with the best employment rate of all OECD countries.
Unlike us, the Liberals are raising taxes for families, small businesses, and children. In budget 2016, they already increased taxes on gas and heating, increased taxes on Canadians' savings accounts, increased payroll taxes for businesses, and cancelled many of the tax cuts that I mentioned earlier.
Canadians, thinking it was going to stop there, were very saddened last month to see that the tax increases would actually start all over again. The government is going to tax public transit users by eliminating the public transit tax credit, Uber and ride-sharing, beer and wine, which basically comes down to introducing a weekend tax, as my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent so aptly put it. Donated medicine will be taxed, as will childcare, and small business owners will be saddled with an increase in payroll taxes. Oil and gas companies will be taxed, and so will tourism. In short, this is a disgrace.
I am an elected official from Quebec City, from Beauport—Limoilou. We can see that there is nothing in this budget for Quebec City, which is as surprising as it is appalling; there is nothing there for the Port of Québec, which needs $60 million to attract private investment and launch the Beauport 2020 project. There is nothing for the Institut nordique du Québec for political, social and anthropological research on northern Canada, research that remains very important. There is nothing for the National Optics Institute, a technology innovator in the heart of the Parc technologique du Québec. There is nothing for the Quebec Bridge, which was supposed to be dealt with before June 30, 2016. Finally, there is nothing about the SRB, the bus rapid transit system and there is nothing about the third link.
Conversely, in the last 10 years, the Conservative government, under the fantastic leadership of the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, invested almost $1 billion for the Quebec City region alone: in Gilmour Hill, in community infrastructure, in the Port of Québec, in l'Anse au Foulon and in the Ross Gaudreault terminal. A number of investments were made then, to be sure.
In closing, I would like to say that the government should focus on what will really give Canadians a vision and help them 100 years from now by balancing the budget, eliminating the deficit by the end of the year, and paying off the debt. How can we be one of the richest countries in the world and still have so much debt? We need to cut Canadians' taxes, not raise them.
If the economy were going well, MPs could take care of the important things, the things that help us all get along. We could talk about the Constitution, community, and Canadians' rights, but because of this government, we keep talking about the economy when we should be talking about other issues.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-28 13:40 [p.7302]
Madam Speaker, I was going to rise to ask a question, but it seems that I will be starting my speech now. I would like to say hello to all those Canadians who are watching us right now, especially my constituents in Beauport—Limoilou.
I am very pleased to speak in the House to Bill C-26, regarding the Canada pension plan.
My Conservative colleague from Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan spoke just before me. I admire his exemplary oratory skills and aspire to achieve the same some day. He talked about how this bill is typical of this and every Liberal government since the dawn of Canada. In fact, this is about taxing Canadians even more in order to fill the government's coffers to help carry out the Liberal government's agenda.
My colleague also talked about the Liberals' paternalistic approach to everything. All the while, he was able to illustrate with clear and concise definitions that increasing CPP contributions was in fact a tax from an economic and social policy perspective. He described in detail the Liberals' typically paternalistic approach to raising taxes.
That was encouraging to me as I wanted to explain that this bill is typical of this government, one that, despite its claims, has been increasing Canadians' taxes every month since coming to power one year ago.
It cancelled various tax credits that we introduced, such as those for children's sports activities or books and educational items. It refused to move forward with its promise to lower the small business tax, which represents a tax hike. It cancelled the universal child care benefit and replaced it with a benefit that was poorly implemented and that, by 2020, will incur extraordinary costs that were not anticipated. The government did not think of indexation, for example. That is not revenue neutral.
The Liberals have also proposed the Liberal tax on carbon of 11.5¢ a litre, which will soon be implemented. They are also increasing the CPP contribution by $1,000 a year for every employee and every employer. Furthermore, they did not reduce the small business tax. They are also making it more difficult to obtain a mortgage in order to buy a home.
On this side of the House, we understand full well that the exponential growth in real estate prices in places like Vancouver and Toronto is a problem that needs to be addressed. However, the Liberals decided to draft a bill that makes no distinction with respect to the different regions of Canada in order to resolve a problem that is affecting only certain cities.
Bill C-26 is part of a general plan to raise taxes for Canadians. This bill is proof that the Liberals are saying one thing and doing another. For the past year, we have been hearing the Liberals talk about strengthening the middle class, but what we are seeing is that they are imposing more taxes on the middle class and introducing measures that will prevent the middle class from developing as it should.
We could even go so far as to say that the government is using the middle class to achieve its own ends and improve its electoral fortunes three years down the road. The government promised us a modest deficit of $10 billion a year. However, that deficit has now grown to $30 billion because of the government's poor decisions and bad management. To fill its coffers, the government has to raise taxes in all sorts of areas, and that includes the Canada pension plan.
In a nutshell, because of Bill C-26, workers will take home $1,000 less every year and employers and entrepreneurs, the people who lead the way in job creation in Canada, will have to give up another $1,000 per year.
I heard what my Liberal colleague said about seniors working hard all their lives and being entitled to a good Canada pension plan. He was talking about workers who are seniors right now. I stood up to ask him a question. Nowadays, more and more of our seniors keep working after retirement. My father-in-law retired from the Quebec public service a few years ago and is now working part-time. The higher Canada pension plan premium will be deducted from every one of his biweekly paycheques. Moreover, the changes to the Canada pension plan will not come into effect for another 40 years. Many seniors, including anyone who is currently a senior, will not benefit from the higher premiums, which are supposedly intended to reduce poverty among seniors.
I would also like to reiterate what my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent was saying a little earlier when he began the debate on Bill C-26. As he explained, what we are seeing right now are two different and opposing political and philosophical outlooks. My colleague from Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan provided a good description of the Liberal Party's vision. The Liberals think they know better than Canadians what they should do with their money and how they should use it at the end of the day. That is so paternalistic. It is in this government's DNA. It always thinks it knows better than Canadians what to do about all kinds of things, including how to invest and prepare for a comfortable retirement, if that is possible.
Conversely, we the Conservatives believe that individuals, Canadians themselves, know best what suits them to meet their own needs. That is why, during the 10 years we were in power, we took action and introduced policies that would help return as much money as possible to taxpayers, to maximize the amount of money that would stay in their pockets at the end of the year, as well as maximize the tools available to enable them, in turn, to maximize everything themselves. For instance, I think that the tax-free savings account is an excellent tool. Many people in my immediate family use that measure, as do my neighbours and constituents.
I also want to say that we should look to our ancestors. For example, my great-grandfather built his own retirement nest egg. I am not saying that we should go back to a time when there was no government plan to support those among us who forget to do our due diligence and prepare for old age. However, we must not implement measures that encourage people to neglect their needs and their responsibility to take care of their own retirement. We must always keep in mind the sage advice that our ancestors lived by. In other words, we must create our own nest eggs and ensure that when we reach old age we are able to take care of ourselves as much as possible for as long as possible.
I also think that Bill C-26 reflects two rather different political approaches. I would go so far as to say that my NDP colleagues share this same vision. Currently, every policy from this government is about short-term political gains with a view to re-election in three years, or so they think and want. How many decisions did we make in the past 10 years that were not at all popular? We still went ahead and made them anyway. We were courageous and proud to make those decisions. I am talking about increasing the age of retirement from 65 to 67. That was an extremely courageous and necessary decision. I am sure that I will likely never retire. I will work until I die, as people did for thousands of years. It is too bad.
I wanted to close by saying that one of my hobbies is to watch political debates. I have watched the debates in France, England, and in Germany, and the majority of the western European countries are saying that the age of retirement needs to increase. We said that, but this government is going in the opposite direction. It is very unfortunate.
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