Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Barrie—Innisfil.
As this is my first opportunity to stand in the House, I would like to begin by thanking the people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte for electing me as their member of Parliament this term.
The riding is large and diverse. We have internationally recognized wetlands in the Minesing Wetlands, incredible agricultural production in Springwater and Oro-Medonte, and an urban core in Barrie that resides on the shores of the beautiful Lake Simcoe. It is a downtown that is in transition, growing up and working to help those in our community who are less fortunate.
Moreover, it was an incredibly close election and I would like to formally stand in the House today and congratulate all of the candidates, but particularly Brian Tamblyn, on a hard-fought, respectful race.
Most importantly, I would like to stand to thank my wife Erica, our entire family who supported us, and our amazing children. We had our second child just four weeks before the election was called, which was an incredibly exciting time for us.
For my constituents, I ask the following in holding their team in Ottawa to account. If our office does not respond from a position of service, please demand it. If I talk of our successes without defining new goals and service, please request it. When I speak of being an MP as though it is who I am rather than the position I serve in, please correct it.
As a new generation of MPs was elected to govern and define this country, I take particular notice of the need to reach out to new generations of Canadians. It is, after all, our responsibility to engage Canadians as much as it is their responsibility to vote and elect governments. I am a younger parliamentarian, and my office is looking for new ways to reach out to all generations and create interest in the business that is conducted in the House.
Therefore, I offer the following. It is an honour to stand in the House and address its hon. members, in a place that is full of diverse opinions—some minions, visionaries, and tax spenders—a place that is built on the bedrock of the Canadian shield, that represents from east to west those who keep us safe in our urban core to those who perseveringly work their fields. All that we yield is because of these people, no matter their creed or faith from mosque, to synagogue, to steeple. We strive to take care of our feeble, sick, and weak, and offer a home to those who seek refuge in times and places way too far and often far too bleak.
It is impossible for us to understand that, having grown up in this land, we have won the most important lottery by merely being where we stand. So as I look upon the Speech from the Throne from beginning to end, I relish the tone, but it is the details that I wish to hone. This speech is not merely to reprimand or oppose, but rather the opposite. It is to highlight opportunities; it is to propose.
Where we now engage and debilitate our enemies from the sky, this throne speech seeks to cut and run without explaining a single reason why.
There is no compromise or plan to justify. The government is leaving Canada's allies, refugees who seek home, and our military high and dry.
Even after the events just weeks ago, when our CF-18s assisted in the defence of Mosul, the government refuses to see what we all know, that this mission requires a multi-faceted approach: settlement of refugees here at home, betterment of camps where new refugees go, humanitarian aid, training of soldiers to defend against terrorist raids, and the engagement of CF-18s to stem supply flow.
After all the speeches, glamour, and promises faded, we found out that the government had set expectations without basis, failing to hit its own targets on resettlement, betraying both those who voted for it and those refugees who seek betterment.
Back at home, little is different; the government promised tax cuts that would be cost neutral and middle class spirited. As it turns out neither is true. There is a $2 billion hole in the budget; and if people earn $190,000 a year—guess what—this tax cut really benefits them. For seniors who need to reinvest after being taxed on a RRIF, the government is taking away room in their TFSA only to offer them a legalized spliff.
Like an automobile driving off a cliff, the government proceeded with tax cuts in haste, only to realize that it is the top 10% of income earners who benefit most from the reduced tax rate. Those who are without have been left confused and irate; an entire section of population has been neglected, forgotten, and wondering if real change has lost its fate, or whether it is just going to come far too late.
I stand today asking, not just because I am an MP but because growing up in government housing, on our welfare system, and with help from my community is what makes me who I am. What all of us who have grown up with little crave to see is great employment, more jobs, and incredible opportunity, an economy that is not growing based on how much a government can spend but one that is stable and strong, supported by a government that lends, that sees trends and delivers help to business and employers that are glowing, not arbitrarily blowing money and subsidizing those that leave liabilities on balance sheets growing.
When the Liberal leader believes that transitioning away from manufacturing is his government mandate, he has caused a manufacturing earthquake, like the movement of a tectonic plate in southern Ontario.
While our dollar weakens and there is pain in the energy sector, we ask the Liberal government to listen to its southern Ontario electors. We understand that, for some, this is positive news; for most exporters the low dollar is in fact like sweet nectar. However, if there was ever a time for the government to act and support manufacturing jobs, the time to do so is now, before the opportunity is robbed.
With so much competition for made goods, products, and employment, why has only a single private sector vendor received a repayable loan through a FedDev anointment? Even this was approved by the Conservative government back in July, which raises the question: what is the government not doing for the Canadian workforce and why? I know from experience that, when FedDev invests, the economy digests. It is driven, creates jobs, helps families, and puts back out three times more than it was originally given.
When I look back to those who stood and announced over $4 million in repayable loans from a podium resulting in a Canadian success story, an expansion of product lines, and an increase to over 800 jobs in Oro-Medonte at Napoleon, or the stable funding to help start-ups like gShift in Barrie, I find the fact that the government has not unilaterally invested a single dollar in the private sector in four months with FedDev is scary.
It is correctly written in the throne speech that the economy and the environment are in fact compatible. However, where are there measurable targets that the government has made actionable? I think of the conservation that was introduced across this vibrant land, and in the House was read, or at home the funding that has turned Lake Simcoe back to life. As has been said, if we had done nothing this lake would be dead. Instead, the previous government expanded its focus, doubled the funding, helped Lake Simcoe, Nottawasaga, and southeastern Georgian Bay, even as the provincial Liberal policies threatened to choke us.
If the Liberal government is supporting agriculture, it sure did not show us it does, as there was not a single mention of those who work endlessly to provide our rural and urban areas with food, not a single word of the challenges facing the agricultural industry, specifically those farms that are family owned, or the difficulty transitioning between generations and maintaining the family farm as the family home.
As I look across this incredible building I think of the people, the parliamentarians, and the soldiers whose will and dedication was unyielding, of the mines of history that have been navigated with absolute precision, of the governments that knew standing up for those without a voice was not a choice but an automatic decision. That is where I believe we stand today as the government seeks to form itself in a new way, without a referendum asking those whom it represents if it may. Our democracy is as brittle as we make it if we fail to properly engage it, but it is as strong as our country is vast if we humbly approach the people with humility and ask. I would therefore request of colleagues that they change their course, respect those who have elected them, and not try to take this Parliament with political force.
It is an honour to stand and deliver this speech in prose. As members can see, I have many issues. This is a Speech from the Throne that I must oppose.