Madam Speaker, I believe in helping Canadians, and I also believe this should not be a controversial statement. After all, all of us gathered here today have come together as elected members of Parliament to represent the larger body of Canadians and act in their best interests.
How did the government best help Canadians in this unprecedented time? Let us review.
At first the government believed that this goal would be best accomplished through a massive power grab. The Liberals shamefully tried to use a public health crisis to give themselves the power to raise taxes, debt and spending, without parliamentary approval, until January 1, 2022. When this failed, they reverted to the more tried and true strategy of reckless spending and handouts, telling bureaucrats to bypass necessary checks and balances. Many of the programs developed for aid were ill-conceived and poorly implemented. Parliament needed to be recalled multiple times to correct programs, as outlined by my esteemed colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River. All the while, they were racking up a deficit of $343 billion, which will push our national debt over $1 trillion. We are the only G7 country that will receive a credit rating drop.
Of course, this has also culminated in scandals. As we are all aware, the Ethics Commissioner is investigating the $912-million contract to WE Charity, an organization with close ties to the Prime Minister's family. The Prime Minister is the only Canadian prime minister formally found to have broken ethics laws, and the only one who has achieved it multiple times. It has resulted in the steady erosion of the trust Canadians place in their governing body and in their politicians. It makes Canadians question the integrity of government leadership. They do not believe the programs in bills like Bill C-20 will help them in times of need, as they are just another way to line the pockets of certain friends.
The Prime Minister promised sunny ways. He said sunlight was the best disinfectant. Now we are in the middle of summer and there is plenty of sunlight to disinfect any dirty laundry. All he has to do now is agree to subject himself to such exposure by appearing before committees and co-operating honestly with the Ethics Commissioner to the fullest, or else he has failed to live up to his word, once again becoming another example of why Canadians doubt measures in Bill C-20.
I remind my esteemed Liberal colleagues of their duty to hold higher standards. If they stand behind such incompetence and corruption, are they not complicit in the degradation of Canadian governments and the betrayal of public trust? Surely they too must feel some tinge of betrayal from the actions of their leader. The trust they have placed in him to make Canada a better place for their constituencies is eroded, and they are no longer able to hold their heads high and take pride in what they represent, because many find what they represent to be mere sponsorship-scandal-type underhanded politics, a lust for power and a greed to line the pockets of friends.
What I would like to see is a change of mindset in our government and the restoration of the honour of the governing party. We must work together toward economic recovery. As the Prime Minister has stated, “Conservatives are not our enemies; they're our neighbours.” The government ought to do the neighbourly thing and listen when the Conservatives give voice in Parliament to the outcry of citizens impacted by the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we encourage non-partisan efforts to help Canadians and wait for the government to accept them, the Conservatives will continue to press the government to implement the back-to-work bonus and plan to make the Canada emergency response benefit more flexible and generous so that workers can earn higher wages as businesses gradually open. This will truly improve the situations of Canadians in need and help place our economy on the path of recovery.