Thank you, Madam Speaker.
I have heard it said that this is a Liberal budget. I have heard it said by Andrew Coyne. I have heard it said by le chef du Bloc québécois, Daniel Paillé. I have heard it said by several Conservative members of Parliament. So, I want to devote the bulk of my very brief speech to the point that this is not a Liberal budget. There are several elements of the budget that a Liberal government would never have done.
On the question of old age security, a Liberal government would never have raised the age of eligibility from 65 to 67. When it comes to the transparency of budget cuts, a Liberal government would never have made cuts without transparency, as this Conservative government is doing. When it comes to the environment, a Liberal government would never have weakened the regulations and the environmental assessment process. And a Liberal government would never have cut Elections Canada’s budget just when Elections Canada needed those funds to conduct its investigations.
In more detail, the OAS going from 65 to 67 is utterly unnecessary because the thing is entirely stable and doable, according to the Chief Actuary. It is entirely unfair, it hits the most vulnerable seniors to the tune of some $30,000 over two years. It is generationally inequitable, it hits manual workers who are often unable to work beyond the age of 65. It places the burden on the provinces.
In terms of transparency, the budget contains weasel words, like they will “achieve efficiencies and savings through the consolidation and streamlining of administrative functions, program management”. These are words that mean nothing. When we were government, we did expenditure review and we produced detailed records of cuts in every single departmental program.
In terms of innovation, a Liberal government would never have cut the tax incentive to innovate. According to Andrew Dunn, a tax specialist at Deloitte Touche, “It's becoming more of a planned economy and less of a capitalist economy.” The Conservatives favour a planned economy where government picks winners by making transfers, rather than a capitalist economy based on tax incentives.
My time is short, so I will just close on the environment and Elections Canada. On the environment, we on the Liberal side would not oppose streamlining of environmental evaluation processes.
However, the problem is, one can tell that the Prime Minister clearly wants that pipeline to be built, come hell or high water, whatever the consequences for the environment and for aboriginal people. That is why we oppose it. He is not just streamlining environmental regulation, he is cutting it out so that he can get his favourite pipeline built. That is sufficient reason for us to oppose it.
Finally, on Elections Canada, clearly it is wrong to cut his budget by $7.5 million at a time when he needs the money to do this robocall investigation.
For all these reasons and for many more reasons, the Liberals will be voting against the budget.