Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Kenora.
It is an honour to rise to speak on behalf of the constituents of Saskatoon West, but before I speak to this legislation, I would like to let everyone in Atlantic Canada know that my thoughts and prayers are with them as they recover from this weekend's terrible storm. This is a very difficult time, with property destruction, injuries and deaths, and I know that the rest of the country stands with them and is ready to help with whatever they need.
Over the summer, I spoke with many constituents, and all of them had the same message: The cost of living is really starting to hurt. Seniors are struggling to get by on their fixed incomes, and all Canadians know about the high cost of groceries, at least those of us who actually buy our own groceries. I am talking about grocery prices that are up by almost 11%. They are rising at the fastest pace in 40 years.
Here we are in week two of our new parliamentary session. Is the government talking about reducing the sky-high cost of food? Is the government talking about stopping planned payroll tax hikes, such as the tax increases on January 1 that will reduce everybody's paycheques, or the coming carbon tax price increase on April Fool's Day, which is all part of the government's plan to triple the carbon tax? Is this what we are debating? No, we are here debating legislation that was born out of a cynical coalition deal between the NDP and the Liberals to keep this tired, worn-out government in power.
Yes, this legislation, Bill C-30, is nothing more than a scheme cooked up between the NDP and the Liberals through a tweet. In the summer, the NDP leader tweeted that the Liberals needed to do this or that to count on his unwavering support, and the government responded with Bill C-30 and Bill C-31. Close to $5 billion will be used and, to use the words of the Minister of Tourism last week, thrown into the lake to keep the NDP happy.
I do not believe that government should be throwing money into the lake just to cling to power. Governments exist to serve the people who elected them, so today I have good news for Canadians. Our party just elected a new leader who is well versed in economics. He is a man who actually understands how economic works. For years, the member for Carleton warned the government about reckless and out-of-control spending. What was his simple message? It was that excessive government spending would lead to out-of-control inflation. Well, guess what? Inflation is rampant and out of control. Our new leader predicted this, and he has a solid plan to get us out of this. In the meantime, we will continue to hold our Prime Minister to account and work hard to encourage the government to implement sensible policy.
Let us talk about this piece of legislation, Bill C-30, and the financial implications for our treasury, our economy and, most importantly, the everyday taxpayer. The government is telling us that this a limited, one-time doubling of the GST rebate that will provide $467 for the average family. When I look at this, on the one hand, who will argue if the government wants to hand them some cash? It is welcomed relief coming at a difficult time, but it is a short-term band-aid that does not get to the heart of the problem. If we do not fix the core problem, then more band-aids will be proposed, and indeed we are already seeing this. While the government says that this is a one-time payment, it is openly admitting that this is just the start of a larger government spending package. Bill C-31, for example, includes more inflation boost in cash injections, which is just the start of an even bigger spending program that the health minister cannot even quantify right now.
I think this would be a good opportunity to take a moment to provide the government with some information that it may not understand. You see, I, like many of my Conservative colleagues, studied economics. Like me, many of my Conservative colleagues have run businesses and created jobs prior to being elected to this great House. I used sound economic principles to build my successful business and run my own household with the help of my wife. Together, we understood some of the basic economic principles and used them successfully. Now, we are not particularly smarter than other Canadians. In fact, I would suggest that most Canadians understand these basic economic principles and use them every day to manage their own households.
What are some of these basic principles? First, there is only so much money. It is not infinite. There is not a magic money tree in the backyard where we can go when we need a little extra cash. No, we have to make some hard choices. We have a limited amount of money with unlimited ways to spend it, and so we have to sit down together, weigh the pros and cons of the various options available and make a choice. Sometimes that choice is hard, especially right now. Families have to choose between inflated food prices and paying the carbon tax on their heating bills. These are not easy choices, but people are creative. Families find ways to scrimp and save in one area to allow them to spend in another. That is the first principle: Money is finite.
The next principle is that borrowing money is like playing with fire. It needs to be done very carefully and in a controlled manner. Yes, sometimes we need to borrow money, when we are borrowing to purchase a house, for example, but loan payments can become a heavy financial burden, especially when interest rates start to rise.
That is why most families understand that borrowing should be temporary, and that is why, when loans get paid off, there is great celebration in a household and a wonderful feeling of freedom. That is the second principle: borrow with caution. How does this apply to the government? If the government applied these two simple principles, the results would be lower taxes and lower debt. Canadians could keep more money in their pockets and have the freedom to spend their money the way they choose.
There is a third, very important principle I also want to talk about. This one is a larger principle that governments really must understand and apply. The third principle is the law of supply and demand. The easiest way to understand this is through an example. If consumers have $10, and the store has 10 loaves of bread, then consumers will pay $1 for each loaf of bread. If the government suddenly gives consumers an extra $10, but the amount of bread does not increase, now people are going to pay $2 for each loaf of bread. That is inflation. The loaf of bread goes from costing $1 to $2, and that is exactly what is happening in our country right now.
The government has dramatically boosted the amount of money available to people with $500 billion in the last two years. This extra money has bid up the price of everything that we buy. This extra money has also been tacked onto our national debt, resulting in increased interest payments, an obligation that our children's children will have to deal with long after we are gone from this place. When the Prime Minister famously said he does not think about economic policy, this simple principle is what he was not thinking about, and because he was not thinking, we are in this mess today.
I will once again remind everyone that the Conservative leader does understand these principles and is committed to running government according to them. What would it look like if Conservatives were in charge right now? Let us say we had a Conservative prime minister and that we believed the government should provide some GST tax relief to Canadians, just as Bill C-30 proposes. How would we implement something like this?
First, we would understand that money is finite and that we cannot go to a magic money tree to implement this bill. We would task our government to find savings somewhere else to pay for this new program. We would recognize that a new dollar spent would require a dollar to be saved somewhere else, just like all Canadians do every day when they manage their own households. If the government behaved like this, it would not take long for inflation to back down and for taxes to be reduced. That is how Conservatives would govern.
I need to come back to the topic of high prices and the rampant inflation that we see every day. There is a grocery store a few blocks down 22nd Street from my constituency office. The folks who shop there know that I sometimes set up shop there on the weekends to shake hands, hand out reusable grocery bags and chat with my constituents in Saskatoon West.
I also shop there for groceries with my wife Cheryl. Cheryl and I have seen our grocery bill go up every month. It may be salad ingredients, such as lettuce and tomatoes. It might be meat and potatoes, or the side dishes and vegetables. Bread, milk, coffee, pop and chips, everything, has increased in price, and prepackaged portions are decreasing. I am not just talking about small increases. Look at the cost of meat today versus two years ago. It has nearly doubled in price. That is 100% inflation.
Chicken breasts used to go for five in a package for $10. Now we only get three for that same price. They have cut the portion size to hide the cost increase. I was just at Costco this weekend, and I bought a four-pack of bacon. It used to cost $20, but now it costs $30. That is 50% more.
Is this a result of Russia invading Ukraine, as the Liberals would have us believe? How much beef, chicken, lettuce, potato chips, rice, coffee and milk do we get from Ukraine? It is probably zero. The vast majority is farmed and harvested right here in Canada. It is the domestic policy of the federal government, such as printing cash for the past two years, that has put Canada in this inflation period. It is domestic policies, such as the Bank of Canada aiding and abetting the federal government by underwriting its massive debt load instead of sticking to its mandate to control inflation. It is domestic policies, such as the carbon tax and fertilizer reductions, that are hurting our farmers and causing food prices to soar. It is domestic policies, such as ramming massive spending legislation through the House of Commons to keep a marriage of convenience with the NDP alive.
As I wrap up, I want to focus on accountability. Who is accountable for the $5 billion the government is shovelling out the door to satisfy a Twitter outburst from the NDP leader? I know it will not be the Liberals and the NDP, as they ram the legislation through Parliament and pat themselves on the back like they like to do. Instead, it will be the people of Saskatoon West left holding the bag through more inflation, higher taxes and reduced benefits from the government. Rodney Dangerfield famously said he gets no respect. Unfortunately for Canadians, from the Liberal government, they get no respect either.