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View Tim Uppal Profile
View Tim Uppal Profile
2020-03-09 11:20 [p.1771]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me, speaking on behalf of my constituents, to rise and speak to this very important motion. It is a motion that my colleague from Carleton has brought forward, and one that I had the opportunity to second.
Throughout my ongoing consultations and interactions with constituents, I hear about the concerns of the people right across Edmonton Mill Woods. One of the most repeated concerns I hear, especially from those in the energy sector, is that they cannot find work.
Just this weekend I heard the story of James, a constituent in my riding who is just starting a young family. He had a great job, a well-paying job with benefits. He worked for a company that had been in operation in Alberta for over 25 years. Unfortunately he was laid off, as the company was forced to shut down and move its operations to the United States.
James has not been able to find work in over a year because of the economic situation in Alberta. He has seen first-hand the impacts the stalling economy has had on his living situation. It is situations like James' that are leading to the frustration, desperation and hopelessness at the root of the unity crisis we are seeing in western Canada.
To make matters worse, there is an unprecedented number of small businesses claiming bankruptcy. Canadians have seen the government raise taxes, spend wastefully and rack up massive deficits. Canadians are worried and for good reason.
We are here today for this important debate. We are calling on the government to provide documents discussing warnings or concerns of economic downturns, the potential impact on the fiscal framework, or advice or recommendations on how to deal with them, and that those documents be provided to the House within 45 days following the adoption of this motion.
We are requesting documents going back to November 2015 because today's economic situation is not something that just happened overnight. Many experts have been warning about this situation for many years.
Constituents in my riding of Edmonton Mill Woods and right across Alberta have felt the effects the Liberal government has had on the economy the hardest. Alberta saw four straight months of job losses at the end of last year, resulting in nearly 10,000 jobs lost in a four-month span. That is 10,000 families receiving the devastating news from their family members when they came home from work that they had just lost their job.
Investment is fleeing Alberta as regulations are strangling the energy sector and making it almost impossible to build pipelines in Canada. Instead of reducing regulation and bringing in smart rules to make Canada an attractive place to invest, the government brought in the most burdensome regulations on work. These have resulted in nearly $200 billion in oil and gas projects being cancelled, and 200,000 Canadian oil and gas workers losing their jobs over the last five years.
Bills like Bill C-69, the “no more pipelines” bill, and Bill C-48, the tanker ban, have unfairly targeted Alberta and have crippled its economy. We have seen the effects these bills and the lack of confidence in the government have had. This was highlighted most recently by Teck's decision to pull its application for the Frontier mine, a project that would have brought 7,000 construction jobs, 2,500 long-term jobs and billions of dollars in investment.
Investment continues to flee Canada while the demand for oil continues to climb right across the world. Foreign investment in Canada is down over 50% since the Prime Minister took power. This was most recently highlighted by Warren Buffet's decision to pull out of a $9-billion liquefied natural gas project in Quebec over concerns about how the government is handling the illegal railway blockades and infrastructure disaster.
This impact is worsened by the increased taxes as a result of the Liberal government. Since the Liberal government came to power in 2015, 81% of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes, with the average income tax increase for middle-income families coming in at $840.
From the cancelled family tax cut to the cancelled art and fitness tax credit, to the cancelled education and textbook credit, the government has found a way to target every Canadian with higher taxes. As a result of these policies, 48% of Canadians are within $200 of not being able to pay their bills and their debt obligations. One-third of Canadians have no money left at the end of the month and are unable to cover their payments, falling further into debt. Adding to their growing concerns is the worry that the government has mismanaged the economy completely.
Businesses are experiencing the same harsh reality. Businesses are facing new carbon taxes and increased CPP and EI premiums. Thousands of local businesses across our great nation are no longer qualifying for the small business tax rate, or will see it reduced. While other G7 countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom and France, have all embarked on major tax reforms over the past few years to simplify the tax code and lower overall taxes, Canada continues to move in the opposite direction by increasing taxes and regulations, stifling our economy and having taxpayer dollars go up in smoke.
That is what the government is doing, while also spending these increased tax dollars at unprecedented levels. During the first four years of the Liberal government, the Prime Minister added over $72 billion to the national debt. This was after the Prime Minister, during the 2015 debates, promised, “I am looking straight at Canadians and being honest the way I always have been. We've said we are committed to balanced budgets and we are. We will balance that budget in 2019.”
However, here we are at the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year and we are staring at the reality of another deficit and nearly $100 billion added to our debt. There is no evidence that there was any increase in economic growth as a result of the spending.
There is also little to show for the frivolous spending. We can look at the $187-billion infrastructure program that the Parliamentary Budget Officer said resulted in zero increase in infrastructure built in Canada because the infrastructure plan did not exist; the $40 million to BlackBerry, where the CEO of the company candidly admitted he did not need the money; the $12 million to buy new refrigerators for Loblaws, a company that turned hundreds of millions of dollars in profits last year; or the $50-million handout to Mastercard. These examples are priceless.
Canadians are getting the short end of the stick again while seeing their hard-earned tax dollars going to waste and turned into subsidies for these Liberal-favoured companies. Let us contrast this with the Conservative plan that my honourable colleague from Carleton laid out.
Being the party of the taxpayer, we outlined our five-step plan focused on tax cuts for workers and entrepreneurs, a plan to phase out the deficit, eliminate red tape and free businesses, end corporate welfare for Liberal-favoured companies, and end wasteful Liberal spending that we have seen over the past four years. These are the types of actions needed to ensure our economy continues to function and that is why we bring forward this motion.
I am proud to support this motion in the House today. Canadians have seen the government raise taxes, spend wastefully and rack up massive deficits. Canadians are worried about the state of the economy, and for good reason, especially given the bleak reality our stock markets reflect today. The Liberals have squandered the good times, leaving us weak and vulnerable for economic turmoil.
As opposed to paying down the debt, the government racked it up while the world was stable and prosperous and spent at unprecedented levels. Canada's economic growth has slowed to 0.3% in the fourth quarter, the worst performance in almost four years, and this was all before the impact of the illegal blockades and coronavirus. The blockades have stifled our economy for weeks and affected small businesses across the country. The Prime Minister's sky-high taxes, wasteful spending and massive deficits have put Canada in an incredibly weak and vulnerable position, with the possibility of a made-in-Canada recession rapidly approaching.
As we continue to see the effects these illegal blockades have had on our economy and the increased concern of the effects of COVID-19, now is the time for the government to finally be transparent with Canadians, to provide us with its plans discussing warnings or concerns of the economic downturns and their potential impacts on the fiscal framework, and advice and recommendations on how to deal with them. Canadians are worried about what is next. The people in my riding of Edmonton Mill Woods, right across Alberta and across this country as a whole cannot handle more weakness and vulnerability from the government.
Canada's Conservatives have a plan to unleash our economy, reward hard work, eliminate waste and allow Canadians to fulfill their potential. We will continue to be the voice of hard-working entrepreneurs and Canadians today and demand that the Liberals get our economy back on track, so that Canadians can get back to work.
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