Mr. Speaker, it is important that we have a substantive and factual debate when it comes to important legislation such as the federal budget, so let me change the tone from never-never land to the facts.
We are facing incredibly serious challenges in our country. We have consulted with Canadians right across the country. We have held public hearings and we have heard first-hand the serious concerns that Canadians have, concerns about the all-time record high personal debt that Canadians face.
We have heard about the unemployment levels, where more than 300,000 Canadians are still unemployed than were before the downturn in 2008, where youth unemployment is double that of the rest of the country and so many of our young people cannot get a start in life. They are facing very high student debt. They are starting out with incredible economic burdens, yet they cannot find decent jobs.
We have also heard about the growing inequality in Canada, the fourth highest growth in inequality of the OECD over the last 20 years, a global scourge is what the Economist magazine has called growing inequality around the world and, sadly, in Canada as well.
We have heard about the impact on people's health that growing inequality creates. We have heard about the reduction in life expectancy. We have heard about the impact of other social factors. We have heard about the lack of housing, the lack of investment in child care, in mental health strategies, the lack of a program for child nutrition and the lack of investment in pharmacare, the fastest growing cost in our health care system.
We heard from boards of trade and chambers of commerce about the lack of investment in infrastructure and the economic drag on our GDP to the tune of billions of dollars each and every year because of the lack of an infrastructure strategy and concrete dollars invested in infrastructure.
We have heard about the skills deficit, where young people in certain communities, like aboriginal communities, cannot get the skills they need to take advantage of job opportunities because the government is failing, failing first nations, failing young people, failing those facing inequality and unemployment.
Yet we see a budget that not only does not invest in health care, for example, but reduces health care expenditures to the tune of tens of billions of dollars in coming years.
We have, with Bill C-45, another massive omnibus budget implementation act. This spring we had a huge Trojan horse budget bill. We complained about it, protested about it and opposed it. We called for more time. What did the government do? It brought in an even bigger omnibus budget bill this fall and gave us less time and less opportunity to debate it. We want to have a substantive debate about the serious concerns that Canadians face.
The budget overall reduces the opportunity for Canadians to get old age security, increases the age from 65 to 67, which means more people will live in poverty. It reduces the investment in research and development tax credits, the SR&ED tax credit.
We heard from manufacturers, exporters and other experts. Concretely, this will take millions of dollars out of the manufacturing sector, out of economic development. It will cost jobs for Canadians at a time when we already face high unemployment. It will change and cut public sector pensions, and we heard from the public sector on this, and it guts environmental protection.
We saw the Environmental Assessment Act attacked, gutted, this spring. Now we see this fall, changes to the Navigable Waters Act that will basically remove the majority of lakes and rivers in Canada from environmental protection. Instead of Navigable Waters Protection Act, it becomes the navigation act. In other words, it is to facilitate navigation, changes, construction, pipelines perhaps, rather than protect our valuable water resources.
With the budget implementation bill this fall, we see changes to over 60 pieces of legislation. There are some changes here that we, as the New Democratic Party, support. For example, there is a completely new bill included in the act, the bridge to strengthen trade act, which would create a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit. We support that and think it would be a positive change. There is also a very small tax credit for small business hiring, which we support. There are also some minor changes around environmental tax credits that we support.
However, these changes are all bound up with many other changes that we do not support. For example, the bill would continue the give-away each and every year to the oil and gas sector to the tune of $1.3 billion, which we do not support. It would also make changes to the Fisheries Act, which we do not support.
The bottom line is that we have not had the time to adequately examine this massive omnibus bill. Rather than it going to other committees where, in some cases, there were just one-day meetings on it, the bill should have been divided up and appropriately studied by the relevant committees, which could have drawn upon the expertise of witnesses and members of Parliament for a thorough examination and debate to make the best decisions possible on behalf of Canadians.
The bill and this budget pretend to be about job creation, a point that I want to address.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer is saying that this budget would directly cost Canadians some 43,000 jobs. Combined with other cuts, it would probably mean more than 100,000 jobs lost. He has said that because of the budget's austerity measures, it will be a drag on our gross domestic product.
Now we have the Minister of Finance saying that the government's projections were wrong. This year, next year, the following year and year after that, their projections will be wrong to the tune of $33 billion. They are supposed to be good economic managers, but, quite frankly, they are mismanaging what is a very serious situation for Canadians. This is costing people their jobs, and it will cost even more jobs with things like the changes to the SR and ED tax credit at the same time the government is gutting environmental protections in this country.
The budget bill once again raises serious concerns about transparency and accountability. Not only would it remove accountable commissions and boards and concentrate more power in the hands of ministers, the very act of cramming everything into this one omnibus budget bill means that we parliamentarians cannot properly hold the government to account.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer had to take the unprecedented step of taking the Conservative government to court. The Office of the PBO was created by the government, but the PBO is now having to take the government to court to get basic information that parliamentarians need to do their jobs.
I want to reassert in the strongest possible terms that we are against this omnibus budget bill and the process of cramming far too many things into one bill. We are against the fact that the Conservatives are not standing up for Canadians by investing in the programs and protections that Canadians need. They are not doing the job in terms of creating employment and job opportunities for Canadians.
We will oppose this bill in the strongest possible terms. Here in the New Democratic Party, we will stand up for Canadians. We will do the job on behalf of Canadians.