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Results: 1 - 15 of 19
View Dean Allison Profile
View Dean Allison Profile
2022-11-21 18:35 [p.9800]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my constituents once again for giving me the opportunity to be here and represent them.
One of the things I heard a lot about this past summer was not so much about the billions of dollars being spent, although people do talk about that, but the level of competence of the government. That is one of the things we should focus on here. The government loves to talk about all the money it is spending everywhere on all kinds of things, usually not getting value for money. My colleagues have mentioned that already. As we see a number of different initiatives, what a lot of my constituents realized this summer was that the government is broken. Conservatives have talked before about getting some of the most basic services, such as a passport, which used to be received in a few days and is now taking literally weeks and months. Some people were waiting six months. It was unbelievable.
We talk about this lofty immigration goal of 500,000 people, but what we are not talking about are the two and a half million people who are waiting to get into this country. We need workers in a big way. The Liberal government likes to talk about things, but not look at what is being delivered. That is one of the things we should be focusing on. What are the deliverables? What has happened? We have all heard stories from people who have called us about visitor visas, immigration issues, work issues and people trying to get workers in this country. We know we have a major labour shortage, yet the government has been incompetent or does not have the ability to deliver the most basic goods and services for Canadians.
This economic statement promises to deliver more money. It is going to deliver another $40 billion. One thing my colleagues have mentioned over and over again is that this has been driving inflation. If we look at what is happening with a number of things, we see that, as we continue to have too few goods being chased by too much money, it is a major issue.
We also know that the Prime Minister has added more debt than all previous prime ministers combined. I want everyone to think about that for one second. I will repeat that. The Liberal Prime Minister has added more debt than all previous prime ministers combined. If we think about that, the money spent in the last 100-plus years has now been spent very quickly. The government will talk about how all these things were so important. The Auditor General and the Parliamentary Budget Officer have said, as a matter of fact, 40% of all this new spending actually had nothing to do with COVID. Once again, the high-level story is that we had to spend all this money on COVID, but then we find out that only 40% of it had anything to do with COVID. That is absolutely a challenge.
We know that our country's debt interest is going to double this year. We are going to see interest payments go up and more money spent on interest payments than the Canada health transfer. That is somewhat troubling. As interest rates continue to climb, people's mortgage payments are going to double, some up to $7,000 a year. The Bank of Canada has basically said that it is going to continue to hike interest rates as it tries to deal with inflation.
There is a major housing crisis in this country. We have seen what has happened in major markets like Vancouver and Toronto, some of the most overpriced markets, not only here in Canada but in the world. We have seen the money spent on the homelessness initiative, and it is pretty timely. We see that in the Auditor General's report that just came out in the last little while. I will read part of the summary, which states:
As the lead for Reaching Home, a program within the National Housing Strategy, Infrastructure Canada spent about $1.36 billion between 2019 and 2021—about 40% of total funding committed to the program—on preventing and reducing homelessness. However, the department did not know whether chronic homelessness and homelessness had increased or decreased since 2019 as a result of this investment.
That is a direct quote from the Auditor General. I will read one more paragraph, as follows:
For its part, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, as the lead for the National Housing Strategy, spent about $4.5 billion and committed about $9 billion but did not know who was benefiting from its initiatives. This was because the corporation did not measure the changes in housing outcomes for priority vulnerable groups, including people experiencing homelessness. We also found that rental housing units approved under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund that the corporation considered affordable were often unaffordable for low-income households, many of which belong to vulnerable groups prioritized by the strategy.
Let us think about this. The government wants to brag about how much money it has spent on homelessness, yet we have no way of knowing if it has gone to the people who need it the most. That is one of the things we need to look at and have a conversation about.
We have talked about the cost of what has gone up. We have many Canadians within $200 of insolvency, not being able to pay their bills because of the high amount of inflation. Thirty-one per cent of Canadians say they do not make enough money to pay their bills and debts. This is certainly worrisome. We know that paycheques do not go as far as they used to. We also have Canadians cutting their diets, and seniors who have to choose between heat and food. Winter is coming. We live in a northern country and have to deal with that very issue.
We can look at food bank usage. We have seen the Canadian record of 1.5 million visits, with an increase of 35%, and we know that 33% of those using food banks are children. That is somewhat troubling given that children normally make up 18% to 19% of the population.
We keep talking about the tripling of the carbon tax because it is causing everything to go up in price. We can look at what is going on with that. Those who in live in cities have the option of public transit. Although I do represent a rural riding, it is not the most rural in Canada. I would say a lot of places in northern B.C., northern Alberta, northern Ontario or northern Quebec are more rural.
We have limited public transportation in my riding, but I can assure members that the moms, dads and families there need to drive everywhere. They need to drive to take their kids to school. They need to drive to take their kids to sports like hockey. They have to drive their car just about everywhere, so when they are told they have to pay more money in a carbon tax, it is not an option for them because of their way of life. We do not have the option of being able to use public transit all the time in every situation.
My friends talked about the availability of day care. I will not hit that again, but as we look at these things, we also have to consider the fact that we live in a northern climate. We do not have the option of whether we heat our homes or not. It is something we have to do. The Liberal-NDP coalition fails to recognize the fact that individuals have to heat their homes. This is not a luxury good.
We could talk about farming next. One of the things about farming that I find troubling is the tariff on fertilizer coming from Russia. What a tariff means is that farmers will have to pay more. However, the tariff was not to punish Russia in any way, shape or form. I have had farmers reach out to me and say they could not believe it. They pre-ordered their fertilizer, the government decided to put a tariff on the fertilizer and it has done nothing but drive the cost of our food up.
Let us think about that for one second. A tariff means that Canadians are going to pay more for something they had no control over. Farmers were not given six months or a year to try to change where to get it from. It is problematic when we look at those kinds of things.
Here is a government telling Canadians how much it cares about them. Here is a government telling them to look at all the money it is spending. Here is a government telling them that the carbon tax is good for them and that they need to pay it because it will make all things better. However, the reality is that it is costing everyone more money and food prices have gone up.
I could talk about restaurants that have reached out to me. Chicken has gone up almost 100%, and the oil they cook in has gone up over 100%. That is not 8%, 9% or 10%. Those are major numbers.
When governments are talking about how much money they are spending, I would ask this: Are people's lives better off? Do people have access to more services? Do they feel like the government is more competent? Do they feel that as a result of the money and taxes they are paying, their life is better?
I guarantee that if asked these questions, Canadians would realize the government is not delivering on what it is talking about. It is not delivering on what it is promising. I will leave it at that.
View Dean Allison Profile
View Dean Allison Profile
2022-11-14 18:09 [p.9445]
Madam Speaker, with respect to the point of order that was raised earlier by the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader on the private member's bill, Bill C-228, let it be known that, when the amendment regarding severance was introduced, the chair ruled it out of order. The chair's ruling was then challenged and the majority of the committee voted to overturn the decision of the chair and to approve this amendment.
It is the Conservatives' opinion that the decisions of committees are not to be overruled by the government of the day. Therefore, as the Speaker considers the matter, we would ask that you uphold the independence of committees from outside control.
View Dean Allison Profile
View Dean Allison Profile
2022-10-06 14:09 [p.8242]
Mr. Speaker, the last two years have been difficult for Canadians. This is especially true for Canadians who made a personal medical decision that the Prime Minister disapproved of. Because they disagreed with him on this issue, he called them extremists, racists and misogynists. He also questioned whether they should be tolerated. If people did not agree with the Prime Minister on their personal health choices, he said they held “unacceptable views”. That is why he supported the firing of these folks. At the same time, he took away their employment insurance benefits. Then he banned them from travelling on planes and trains. This happened here in Canada.
If that was not enough, he introduced a discriminatory border surveillance scheme that ended up being a logistical nightmare. This was the ArriveCAN app, the app that also ended up destroying many businesses in the travel and tourism industry, including in my region of Niagara.
I believe the Prime Minister’s comments and actions will echo in history and will be judged very poorly by future generations. He should be held accountable for those actions.
Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the Prime Minister that enough is enough and he should let folks live their lives.
View Dean Allison Profile
View Dean Allison Profile
2022-09-21 15:48 [p.7488]
Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition in support of Bill S-223, a bill that seeks to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking. This bill has passed in the Senate twice and in the House once in its current form. It is currently stalled before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the petitioners hope that it will be passed soon.
The families and victims of forced organ harvesting and trafficking have now waited almost 15 years for Canada to pass this legislation. Let us end the delay and get this work done.
View Dean Allison Profile
View Dean Allison Profile
2022-06-22 14:13 [p.7132]
Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to share the story of James Topp.
James is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. He has served for 29 years. James is marching on foot from Vancouver to Ottawa to support Canadians hurt by vaccine mandates. The march started at the Terry Fox statue in Vancouver and is ending at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa. That is 4,293 kilometres in approximately 130 days.
James himself has suffered the consequences of the punishing vaccine mandate policy. He was placed on leave without pay from his civilian position in the RCMP. He is also currently in the process of being released from the Canadian Armed Forces, all because of a medical decision.
I invite all MPs in the House to meet James and to hear his story, and the stories of those he met along the way to Ottawa. Starting a conversation and listening to each other during these difficult times, when our country seems so divided, is the only path forward. James has started the conversation, and I intend to participate for the good of our country.
View Dean Allison Profile
View Dean Allison Profile
2022-06-21 14:47 [p.7091]
Mr. Speaker, wherever we look these days, we see the NDP-Liberal government in chaos. If it is not chaos at our airports, it is chaos at our passport offices. Every week, dozens of constituents call my office looking for help. People have been waiting since January, with little to no response. People are lining up overnight just to get to the office. Some are even being turned away and asked to come back another day after waiting for hours.
What other G7 countries have their citizens sleeping on the ground overnight in order to receive basic government services?
View Dean Allison Profile
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Peterborough—Kawartha.
Over the last two years of the NDP-Liberal government, we have seen a very uniquely ballooning government interfering in virtually all aspects of Canadians' lives. It has truly been a pattern of an expanding, intrusive and increasingly controlling and restrictive federal government, with its ill-advised discriminatory and vindictive vaccine mandates, damaging and traumatizing restrictions, demeaning and exclusionary QR codes, and of course the now infamous vaccine passports, which is probably one of the worst and most divisive public policy measures to ever be introduced in this country. It is why provinces only kept them in place for a few months before realizing the colossal mistake it was to divide, segregate and pit Canadians against one another based on health status. I am not sure how anyone ever thought segregating and discriminating against a group of Canadians would be good public policy.
However, in reality, this is simple. The Liberal government, with its NDP collaborators, has exploited the pandemic to drive its big, intrusive and overreaching government agenda. This also includes other areas of the lives of Canadians, with perhaps the upcoming digital ID, which has already been emphatically rejected by civil liberty groups, the Province of Saskatchewan and the former Ontario privacy commissioner.
The NDP-Liberal government is not just happy with the COVID intrusion. It is now expanding its surveillance of Canadians to the digital realm with respect to Canadians' Internet activities, including YouTube and social media accounts. No matter how the Liberals attempt to spin it, that is exactly what they are doing and they know it. It is similar to their political games and mistruths on the carbon tax, a tax that was supposed to be revenue-neutral but clearly is not, as confirmed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. They are now trying to convince Canadians that Bill C-11 is not a censorship and surveillance bill, but nobody is buying it.
Just like Canadians and stakeholders rejected the precursor to Bill C-11, which was Bill C-10 in the previous Parliament, the same thing is happening again. Let us remind Canadians that true to form, the Liberals passed Bill C-10 in the last Parliament without allowing a full debate at the heritage committee. Many outstanding concerns from experts and parliamentarians over how this legislation would affect the rights and freedoms of Canadians when they are on the Internet went unaddressed because of the government's unwillingness to allow a full debate. In the new Parliament it is much the same. It does not seem like anyone supports Bill C-11, except the NDP-Liberal government, a government that seems relentlessly bent on restricting and controlling many aspects of Canadians' lives.
To be frank, I do not understand the government's obsession with wanting so much control over Canadians. Leave Canadians alone. They know what they are doing and they just want their lives back. They want their lives free of constant government discipline, surveillance and control.
Let me remind Canadians of what the Liberals did during COVID. They tracked Canadian movements, including trips to the liquor store and the pharmacy. Canadians were closely tracked by this NDP-Liberal government via cellphones without people's knowledge during the COVID‑19 pandemic. This information was made public by a report sent to the parliamentary ethics committee. The report revealed that the Public Health Agency of Canada was able to view detailed snapshots of people's behaviour, including visits to the grocery store, gatherings with family and friends, time spent at home and trips to other towns and provinces.
It is encouraging that my colleagues on the ethics committee expressed surprise at how much detail the report contained, even as all identifying information was stripped out. The phone locations allowed the Public Health Agency to get a picture of gatherings occurring in people's houses, such as over Labour Day weekend. The report included a graph recording hours spent away from home in each province between Christmas Day 2020 and the week of September 19, 2021. Government officials had access to detailed information about people's movements after scooping up data from 33 million mobile devices across Canada.
This is government surveillance of Canadians, plain and simple. There is no other way to put it, regardless of the what the NDP-Liberals attempt to spin it as. It is definitely unacceptable, but it is unsurprising that the NDP-Liberal government would engage in something like this. I am certain that Canadians do not want Ottawa tracking their movements. Experts like Ontario's former privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian have questioned the government's claim. She said, per True North, “there has yet to be enough assurances that the data could not be reidentified to track individual Canadians.”
In addition to not wanting to be surveilled and tracked, Canadians do not want Ottawa telling them what they should or should not be thinking or posting to their social media accounts or their YouTube channels. At this point, it is important to note that on this side of the House, we support a level playing field between foreign streaming services and Canadian broadcasters while protecting the individual rights and freedoms of Canadians.
Let us not forget that Canada is home to many world-class writers, actors, composers, musicians, artists and creators. Creators need rules that do not hold back their ability to be Canadian and a global success.
While the government claims that there is now an exemption for user-generated content, Bill C-11 allows the CRTC to regulate any content that generates revenue, directly or indirectly. That means that virtually all content would be regulated, including independent content creators earning a living on social media platforms like YouTube and Spotify. As such, critics are publicly accusing the government of state-sponsored censorship. It is simple. This bill is an affront to freedom of expression. It allows the government to regulate what Canadian users can post online or how the said content will be promoted.
Michael Geist, the University of Ottawa's Internet and e-commerce law research chair, has been especially vocal on Bill C-11. He has said that the government has misled Canadians on the scope of the bill. The professor's concerns with Bill C-11 include its “virtually limitless jurisdictional, overbroad scope, and harmful discoverability provisions.” He added, “Bill C-11 treats all audio-visual content as programs subject to potential regulation. With exceptions that could easily capture TikTok or YouTube videos, the bill is about far more than just large companies.”
What is most concerning is that the CRTC's chairman, Ian Scott, who was appointed by the Prime Minister to the position in 2021, said that Bill C-11 needs to be open-ended so that the CRTC could have room to manoeuvre. That is a very worrying statement by the chairman of the CRTC. Let us remind the government that two former CRTC officials spoke out against the precursor of Bill C-11. They signed a petition labelling the bill an “authoritarian” move.
In addition, Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs and chief legal officer, warned that the incoming Bill C-11, meant to censor the Internet, could drastically change how Canadians interact online. Walker said that while Google is open to new regulations, current proposals border on the extreme. He added, “The closer you get to that extreme, the more concern. Whether that's on bespoke content regulation, or local content requirements, or government mandates for link taxes and other sorts of things—any flavour of one of those could actually really be bad.”
YouTube officials have also warned that if the Prime Minister's Internet censorship bill goes through, it could give the government unprecedented power over everyday content posted online. According to YouTube Canada's head of government affairs, Jeanette Patell, Bill C-11's wording is so broad that it places home videos within the purview of the CRTC. Patell also said that Bill C-11 “provides the CRTC the discretion to regulate user-generated content like a fan doing a cover song or someone making cooking videos in their kitchen or doing how-to-fix-a-bike videos.” That simply means that any video could be subject to CRTC's surveillance, control and regulation.
Twitter has also joined the opposition to the NDP-Liberal government's online censorship efforts. A submission from Twitter compared the Liberals' online hate legislation to censorship regimes in authoritarian countries such as North Korea. This bears repeating. Twitter's opinion of the government's effort to censor the Internet is that it can be compared to the censorship regime in North Korea. That is an incredible statement and the government should take heed. I doubt that Twitter officials were being facetious when they made this statement.
Twitter's manager for public policy had this to say:
The proposal by the government of Canada to allow the Digital Safety Commissioner to block websites is drastic. People around the world have been blocked from accessing Twitter and other services in a similar manner as the one proposed by Canada by multiple authoritarian governments (China, North Korea, and Iran for example) under the false guise of “online safety,” impeding peoples’ rights to access information online.
That is a powerful statement. Once again, the government needs to really understand the damage it would be doing with this bill, perhaps unprecedented and permanent damage.
To add to the long list of critics of Bill C-11, we also have Timothy Denton. Mr. Denton is a former CRTC commissioner. Mr. Denton also likened the proposed Internet regulations by this government to authoritarian regimes. He said:
It is creepily totalitarian, something you might expect out of China or Russia.... They are going to be unworkable and they are going to be, I think, unconstitutional in the old-fashioned sense of outside the powers of the federal government. I think they are almost certain to be taken down on Charter issues of freedom of speech. But they are really very unpleasant pieces of legislation.
To conclude my speech today, I would like to reiterate that Bill C-11 is another unacceptable attempt by the NDP-Liberal government to censor the Internet and, once again, restrict free speech. The restrictive, divisive and controlling NDP-Liberal government needs to finally realize that Canadians just want to be left alone.
It is time that the NDP-Liberals began paying attention to what Canadians want rather than pushing their partisan agenda of dividing, wedging and stigmatizing Canadians based on anything and everything they can conjure up.
View Dean Allison Profile
Mr. Speaker, the great example is everything the Liberals have done in the past couple of years. They said they based things on science, but really it was based on political science. There was massive government overreach at every step. They would say one thing and do something different.
They would have experts, chambers of commerce and international organizations saying that what they were doing makes no sense, but they still kept misleading Canadians by saying they were just following the science. They have proven time and time again that they are not to be trusted when it comes to our freedoms in this country.
View Dean Allison Profile
Mr. Speaker, it has been great working with the hon. member over the years. We spent some time on the trade committee together.
I would point to the fact that I have not heard one speech on this side of the House that has not said we should level the playing field. We believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that big corporations should not just get away with whatever they feel like. We have not said that they should not have to pay their fair share. We firmly support that. That is an issue. We need to make sure we level the playing field. We have said that. We have said that before, and we will continue to say that as we move along.
View Dean Allison Profile
Mr. Speaker, that is one of the challenges we have with a lot of the legislation we see in the House: the vagueness. It is so open-ended that definitions are not nailed down. This has happened with many pieces of legislation before, when we did not get definitions to define what something is. It created a lot of ambiguity.
At a point later in time, the Liberals could do exactly that. They could say it was not their fault and that it was not what they meant. This creates a lot of vagueness. We would like to see those things nailed down.
View Dean Allison Profile
View Dean Allison Profile
2022-06-15 17:20 [p.6744]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-285, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to introduce my bill, a bill that I believe is crucial at this point in time. I would like to thank my esteemed colleague, the member for Peace River—Westlock, for seconding the bill.
As a Canadian, I am a firm believer in freedom. I believe in the freedom of Canadians to make their own medical choices. That is why, today, I am introducing the medical freedom bill. The bill would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to add conscientious belief and medical history to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. The bill seeks to protect travellers from being banned because of their medical status. It would protect employees from reprisals by their employers because of a medical choice. The bill would also safeguard employees' EI benefits in the event that they are let go because of a medical decision they made for themselves.
Finally, I truly believe this bill to be the start of more legislation and action that would seek to fortify our freedoms and enshrine them to never again be cast aside as they have been in the past year.
View Dean Allison Profile
Mr. Speaker, the last two years have been a traumatizing time for many Canadians, and the NDP-Liberal coalition continues to make the situation much worse. It supported draconian rolling lockdowns, which contributed to a mental health disaster. It supported and is still keeping unscientific and now notorious vaccine mandates, which angered and divided Canadians more than any other policy we have ever seen.
By keeping these vindictive mandates, the government continues to punish more than six million Canadians who choose to remain unvaccinated. The Liberals are also supporting the pointless ArriveCAN app, which does nothing to protect Canadians. This app is just another overreach by a government obsessed with surveilling Canadians. ArriveCAN must be scrapped immediately: not tomorrow, not next month, but today.
Rather than try to save face, the NDP-Liberal coalition must finally face reality. Its ArriveCAN app and notorious vaccine mandates must be done away with immediately.
View Dean Allison Profile
Madam Speaker, in the more than six years since the Liberal government was elected, it has proven itself to be good at two things. First, it is excellent at spending massive amounts of money on debt, with limited results. Second, it is phenomenal at wedging, dividing and stigmatizing people, and ridiculing Canadians who disagree with it. That is the sum total of the Prime Minister and his government's record over the last six years.
They are not good stewards of the economy and they certainly—
View Dean Allison Profile
Madam Speaker, the Liberals are not good stewards of the economy and they certainly were not able to unify the country. However, they have managed to divide Canadians just enough so they can squeak in a minority, although they continue to lose the popular vote election after election. I would not say that it is a strong mandate at all, yet they pretend like it is.
They have also managed to plunge us into inflation so bad that they have had to scramble to explain why. They would have us believe that it is not their fault. We have heard virtually all members deflect and blame everything and everyone else for it, but ultimately it is their fiscal management and astronomical spending and debt that got us into this problem at this point.
What is this point? Well, for the first time in 31 years, prices are up over 6.7% compared with the previous year. This means higher grocery prices for Canadian families every time they go into the store. As a matter of fact, food prices are up 8.7% since last year.
Families are certainly aware of gas prices every time they fill up their tanks on their way to work or to drop kids off at school. Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, is warning that gas prices could reach $2.20 a litre this summer, with diesel going even higher. That is over a 32% increase in gas prices since last year.
In addition to gas, home heating prices are up. We live in a cold country. Canadian families have no choice but to turn up the thermostat in winter, and they have certainly seen the difference in their gas bills this past winter. Electrical bills have also gone up. Ultimately, everything Canadians purchase and pay for, or what economists call the cost of living, is going up and is going up fast.
As the Canadian Press notes:
A report by RBC Economics says inflation and rising borrowing costs will affect all Canadian households, but low income Canadians will feel the sharpest sting.... RBC estimates the lowest income Canadians will also be more affected as they spend a much larger share of their earnings on consumer purchases.
It follows that “low income households have a smaller cash cushion to deal with the rise in prices and borrowing costs.”
I am sure members of the NDP-Liberal government will stand up after my speech and try to deflect and blame others for their failures, as they usually do. Perhaps they will even invoke Stephen Harper's name again, which is a common theme. Let us remind them that it is 2022. They have been in power for more than six years, and these dismal results are entirely of their own doing.
However, they have started to understand that their tired, old tactic of blaming previous governments is no longer effective. Canadians see that and they no longer believe them. I am sure the Liberals see it in the polls. They have realized it quickly and are trying to pivot to what would be another failed tactic. Political games are what the NDP-Liberal government is good at, not managing the economy and not managing our country's finances. It is only about playing politics. What is the plan? I ask because it certainly does not seem like there is one.
Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said:
[The finance minister] is giving taxpayers another credit card budget with no plan to pay the bills on time and chip away at the $1-trillion debt.... [The finance minister] is taking the wait-and-see approach to the government’s credit card bills and hoping the economy can grow faster than its borrowing, but that’s not a good bet with its track record of runaway spending.
The latest statistics bear repeating because we are in a fairly dire situation. Statistics Canada recently reported that inflation has reached its highest point since January 1991. We have all seen the news. Millions of Canadians are barely hanging on. Canadian families are spending thousands of dollars more in groceries this year compared with last, food prices are up across Canada by more than 7% and housing is a huge problem the government has done almost nothing about. In fact, since the Prime Minister and his Liberals were elected in 2015, prices for homes have doubled. The average price was over $800,000 in February, a record, and this is more than nine times the average household income.
In fact, according to Fortune magazine, the standard home in Canada costs almost twice as much as the U.S. equivalent. Robert Hogue, RBC assistant chief economist, said that increases are “nothing short of stunning”. That is incredibly discouraging for Canadian families to hear when they are looking to purchase a home.
The Conservatives have raised the alarm bells for many years on this specific issue, but the calls have fallen on deaf ears. Some of the most vulnerable Canadians, such as seniors, are also falling even further behind. Let us put it this way, just so everyone, hopefully including members of the NDP-Liberal government, will understand: More than half of Canadians are $200 or less away from not being able to pay their bills or rent, and 31% are unable to cover their bills because they do not earn enough income. Three in 10 Canadians are already falling behind at the end of the month.
What is worse is that this budget does nothing to address any of this. It does not do anything to address our deep economic challenges and make the lives of Canadians easier. It only makes them harder.
Even on one of the Liberals' supposed strong suits, the environment, we recently learned from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the carbon tax is not revenue-neutral. I hope everyone in the chamber remembers the number of times the Prime Minister and the Liberals repeated that the carbon tax was going to be revenue-neutral. I would venture to say it was hundreds of times, if not thousands, in the House, in the media and in their announcements throughout the country. In the end, was it true? Of course it was not. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that middle-class Canadians should expect to pay hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, because of the carbon tax. That is not revenue-neutral.
The difficult thing for me is that the Prime Minister and the Liberals already knew this. They knew that this would not be revenue-neutral, yet they still went around repeating what they knew not to be true. They repeated it so often that it convinced many Canadians.
Where are the Liberal MPs and the Prime Minister now? We now have evidence that the carbon tax is not what they told us it would be. In fact, it is pretty much the opposite. Will they take ownership? Will they admit they were not telling the truth? On this side of the House, we will not hold our breath.
Once again, the Liberals will skate around the question, skirt the issue and move on to their next failed attempt to implement another ill-advised policy, perhaps like a digital ID, which Canadians are rejecting because they do not trust the government. Who could blame them? There was the WE Charity scandal, the Prime Minister's trip to Paradise Island, the numerous ethics violations and the constant apologies for misdoings, yet the Liberals do the same thing over and over again.
The digital idea is just another example by a ballooning government to introduce further and unnecessary government restrictions on Canadians. The Liberals will attempt to hurl insults for even bringing this up. On page 74 of budget 2021, they proposed to “provide $105.3 million over five years...to Transport Canada to collaborate with international partners to further advance the Known Traveller Digital Identity pilot project”, a project pushed by the now notorious and controversial World Economic Forum. The government claims that this project will be used to “test advanced technologies to facilitate touchless and secure air travel”. However, the concerns around it are already pouring in. Civil liberties groups and governments are sounding off and opposing any form of digital ID. In fact, the Government of Saskatchewan realized the ill-advised nature of the digital ID program and announced a few weeks ago that it was nixing the planned rollout.
Many Canadians are not even aware of the digital ID programs that are now at various phases of rollout in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Now the federal government is planning one of its own. I am not sure why governments, including the current one, are so bent and steadfast on having such a tight, restrictive and intrusive grip on Canadians. Why do the Liberals not trust Canadians? Why are they attempting to track them as if they are livestock? In a recent interview, Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's former privacy commissioner, said, “I would never want to get a digital ID.” That is what Ontario's former privacy commissioner said about digital IDs.
There is something very wrong when a government is obsessed with controlling its own citizens and subjecting them to such divisive and invasive technological tools. It is wrong, it must stop and it must stop now. The now infamous vaccine passports were one of the most intrusive tools to ever be put in place, in addition to being incredibly exclusionary. This trajectory cannot continue with yet another divisive tool like a digital ID.
I understand this is being pushed on the government from external and foreign sources of influence, but submitting to this kind of insidious meddling and perpetual surveillance of Canadians' lives is troublesome, to say the least. Having this sort of government control over citizens is plain wrong in a free and democratic society like ours.
Having said that, the government is not just reluctant to accept or support some of our most basic civil liberties. It is also hurting many industries, including a very important one in my own riding, the wine industry. The Liberals failed to freeze the automatic escalator tax increase on alcohol excise duties on April 1, once again putting our winemakers at a competitive disadvantage. This tax increase hurts not only winemakers, but breweries, cideries and distilleries. Let us not forget that over 95% of these producers are small businesses, many of which have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the inflation crisis, payroll tax increases, labour shortages and ongoing supply chain issues. An increase in the tax on alcohol hurts the industry, from growers and producers to restaurants and consumers. It is time to end this and give this incredible world-renowned sector a break from the never-ending increase on government.
In sum, Canadians cannot afford more—
View Dean Allison Profile
Madam Speaker, I would encourage my friend to come down to Niagara some time to see the crippling effect the passport problem is having on tourism in the Niagara area. If he looks at the ArriveCAN app, that is another issue. If the member were to see what is going on with hotels and the whole tourism industry, he would see how people and travel are down in a significant way.
I look around my riding, and I look at the businesses that are struggling right now, and a lot of that comes from the policies of the government. I would encourage the member to not just spend all kinds of money on programs, but to come to see what some of the other things are doing to affect travel and tourism.
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