Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business has complained that I complain too much about how the government spends like there is no tomorrow. I am here again to do just that. After all, having seen the recent budget, how could I not. Let me point out a few points beforehand.
Budget 2021 proposes overspending by $143 billion, enough to sign up every Canadian for nearly $4,000 in extra debt, an equal albeit an unwanted opportunity for each man, woman, child and senior. A deficit of $143 billion for one year is already an unfathomably large number. To put that into perspective, 143 billion years ago, not even time existed. Cosmologists say that our universe and the time that goes with it only came into being about 14 billion years ago.
Let us pull ourselves back from fantasy and to reality, a reality where the Liberal government says to the average Canadian that the government knows best how to spend Canadians' money. A whole-of-government approach from cradle to grave might be a valid and perhaps worthy discussion in this chamber when our nation is drowning in budgetary surpluses.
However, when we are looking at the immediate future, figuring out how to get the millions of struggling Canadians back on their feet, it is clearly not the time for introducing utopian, socialistic, imagineered and unproven projects. We owe that to our future generations when we are deciding to subject them to the evermore massive debt burdens to not surrender to our reckless binge spending desires on their credit card.
Instead of this reasonable and responsible approach, we see an effort to blindly push forward policy to grow the state and the state's control over our lives. To paraphrase Khrushchev, we will be fed small doses of socialism until we finally wake up and find we already have communism. I, for one, will fight to keep that from happening, and as a parent, I would say parents know better than politicians what is best for their families. Canadian families do not need an Ottawa-knows-best, one-size-fits-all child care system. For those who support this idea and do not share my concerns, be prepared to be let down.
For decades, Liberal governments have been promising a government regulated child care system but have not delivered. This promise will be no different than the promises to introduce electoral reform or holding off Canada's carbon emission, having the budget balance itself or planting two billion trees. I bet that if money did grow on trees, we might finally see the government start planting those trees. It is no wonder the Liberals have not updated the “promises kept” page on their website since 2016.
What do they have to show besides making people feel let down? With budget 2021, unemployed Canadians hoping to see an atmosphere for new job creation and economic opportunities for their families are going to feel let down. Workers who have had their wages cut and hours slashed, workers in industries like forestry, tourism and hospitality or work within the B.C. fisheries industry who have lost jobs and were hoping to see a plan to reopen the economy are going to feel let down. Families that cannot afford more taxes, that are struggling to save more money for their children’s education or to buy a home are going to feel let down.
Additionally, they will suffer from the inflationary effect of pumping hundreds of billions into the economy. Costs will go up, interest rates will go up and we will see the social spending dry up. When that happens, feeling let down may be overshadowed by more imminent threats such as staying afloat.
Budget 2021 is not stimulus spending focused on creating jobs but spending on Liberal partisan priorities. What has been proposed is a reimagined Canadian economy that dabbles in risky economic ideas, like abandoning Canada’s world-renowned and sustainable natural resource industries, leaving our economy in a precarious position.
We must approach COVID emergency spending with a lens of compassion, recognizing that what we do now will have lasting effects on the lives of countless Canadians. Acting responsibly now will save them from suffering later in the medium and longer term. Unfortunately, this budget does nothing to secure long-term prosperity for Canadians, and when I say “unfortunately”, I mean it.
Conservatives do not want to see Canadians let down. Yes, we critique the government for spending too much and we critique it for spending not enough, but this is obviously not a contradiction. Surely even the Liberal members can see how the government is spending too much on its pet projects and not enough on what matters to ordinary Canadians.
Conservatives represent the real people this government has lost touch with. We give voice to their concerns and align with their priorities, which I emphasize include putting food on the table and keeping resources like gas and electricity affordable so that people can continue to drop off and pick up their kids from soccer or hockey games once the pandemic is over. We need to focus on keeping families safe and keeping Canadians gainfully employed.
My home province of British Columbia is in the middle of an opioid epidemic, which occupies merely half a page among the 725 pages of the Liberal budget. It does not do much to enhance opioid addiction treatments. The Liberals have failed to deliver a comprehensive, recovery-oriented plan to tackle Canada's addiction crisis. This is an area of life and death where help is needed. This is a priority.
Conservatives had been advocating for mental health supports long before this budget was introduced. Many Canadians are facing mental health challenges as a direct result of the pandemic. Many wonder why budget 2021 has not provided much-needed support for provinces to tackle mental health issues or other direct COVID-19 consequences. These are two areas that could be greatly expanded. Canada would benefit from seeing comprehensive approaches taken to these issues and seeing them treated as priorities now and going forward.
Like the George Massey tunnel replacement project in Richmond, Canada's infrastructure is in desperate need of reinvigoration, but new spending on ideological Liberal vanity projects does nothing for it or for projects like the SkyTrain extension or further diking in low-lying, populated urban areas such as Richmond. These are real, on-the-ground priorities. B.C. is a priority.
I believe that Canadians can be confident that the Conservatives know what their priorities are. With a Conservative recovery plan, we will secure their future by recovering millions of jobs and introducing policies that result in better wages and help struggling small businesses get back on their feet. We must show progress in safely reopening the Pacific cruise routes, classical tourism and associated industries, which employ, by the way, tens of thousands of B.C. residents directly or indirectly.
Canada's Conservatives kept Canada from being dragged into the pits of despair and brought us out of the last recession. Canadians who are worried about their future know that we will do it again.
Let us stay down on earth with our budgets, away from grandiose and intangible, undeliverable promises. If the government keeps spending as it is, there will be no bright tomorrow for our future generations. Canadians deserve a government that brings hope and confidence in the future. I intend to work with my Conservative colleagues to deliver them such a government.