Mr. Speaker, a year ago, the Liberal Party was elected on a platform of a small deficit, a modest deficit of $10 billion in the first year. That was its promise, and what did it do? It did exactly the reverse.
For a year now, the Canadian economy has been going from bad to worse. No permanent jobs have been created here in Canada since this government came to power, and here is the Prime Minister abandoning his responsibilities, not to mention other things, when he ought to be here responding directly to Canadians’ needs, especially since what they need is a strong economy.
Today we see the government spending without any common sense. It does not have control of its spending. It has devised new taxes that collide head-on with our businesses, that is, our entrepreneurs, our job and wealth creators. What is more, for a year now this government has been cancelling tax reductions that taxpayers had been promised, which were designed to help them make their personal choices with more money in their pockets. On the contrary, however, the government has raised taxes and income taxes. So it has failed in its task.
That is why it is today presenting us with an economic update. This was a perfect opportunity to straighten out the situation and admit that it had tried something that did not work. But the government is doing just the opposite.
This is what is so sad. It is quite normal to see a minister of finance doing an update six or eight months after a budget just to be sure to steer the economy on a good track and with good sense. Unfortunately, the government has failed to take this opportunity to get the Canadian economy back on track for the Canadian people.
The Liberal plan, which consists in borrowing senselessly and creating colossal deficits, is not working. A hundred thousand new jobs had been predicted for 2016, but none have been created. I want to remind the Liberals that there are still two months left before year-end, so they should pick up the pace a little. The opportunity has been missed.
Instead of giving the kick-start needed to get the Canadian economy and management of public finances back on track, the government keeps doing exactly the same thing—hitting the gas and crashing straight into the wall. That is what today’s economic update is from the Liberal government. It is very bad for the Canadian economy and for all Canadians.
As I mentioned earlier in my question, the key figure in this update from the government is $31.8 billion. Let’s round that off to $32 billion. That’s $32 billion in additional expenditures over the next five years that had not been budgeted six months ago. What improvisation, what lack of vision, what lazy management!
It would have been nice if those people realized that managing the public purse and the Canadian government calls for a long-term vision that gives taxpayers' wallets the respect they deserve. Unfortunately, those people keep spending as if it were no big deal. That is what worries me.
The documents they tabled are very interesting, but some essential information is missing. What is the Liberal government's game plan to pay back the $32 billion in additional expenses over the next five years? Will it raise sales and income taxes? Will it place an additional burden on workers who get up every morning and work so hard? Will it place an additional burden on the businesses that create jobs and wealth, as it has been doing for the past year? Not a word about that.
The easy way out, the lazy way out, is to borrow the money and get our grandchildren to pay up. I have a lot of respect for the Minister of Finance. Earlier, he ventured onto thin ice when he talked about how proud his children will be down the road. Unfortunately, I have to remind him that his children and grandchildren, along with mine and those of all Canadians, will have to pay for bad Liberal management later. That is the Liberal Party's legacy.
I want to remind everyone that this government was elected on its promise of a modest $10-billion deficit and that it gave us a $30-billion budget. Today's plan offers no strategy for setting things right. That is what really worries us as Conservatives, but it is also what worries us as Canadians, because we are the ones who are going to have to pay for this later.
This economic update does include a few worthy elements, or at least, elements that show us where we are heading. One of those is the government's plan to create an infrastructure bank.
My only question about this new structure is why? Why did the government table and propose a new structure for the Canadian economy? We can earn money from offshore without any difficulty. We can invest public money and private money in infrastructure without any difficulty. We have the tools for the that. We have PPP Canada for that.
Why create a new structure? Why create new red tape? Why create something new? The minister should consider things like that. Is it for friends of the Liberal Party, or whatever? Is that the case? Why create this new infrastructure? We have all the tools we need to attract new money from offshore. Now the Liberals are talking about the Canadian hub. That is not bad, but we still have the tools for that.
Is it true that the government has just discovered that offshore money can be brought into Canada? I have some news for the Liberals. It is not new. They have seen some offshore money come here, and maybe that is a big surprise for them. In the last 150 years this country has had an open market. That is why we welcome foreign money. This country needs to welcome foreign money with open arms to create wealth and jobs here in Canada. We do not need another Liberal government to do that. We still have that.
Here is another funny thing. I had the privilege of reading the books and all of the minister's updates. Maybe I was not aware, but the minister did not talk about the parliamentary budget officer in his budget speech. That is quite interesting because he talked about him in his economic update.
The minister wants to give even more powers to the parliamentary budget officer. I found the following statement on page 34 to be quite ridiculous, to put it mildly: “...the parliamentary budget officer will report back to Parliament and parliamentarians with research and analysis...”
Wow. Big deal.
I would just like to remind our friends that the parliamentary budget officer already prepares reports. The problem is that the Liberals refuse to acknowledge them. Just last week, the member for Carleton wanted to table two reports by the parliamentary budget officer that gave Canadians the facts on management of public finances. However, the Liberals refused to allow it to be tabled. They have the right to disagree and to challenge the report, but they refused to table it.
Now they are crowing over their fine principles and say they want to give more powers to the parliamentary budget officer. They should start by showing him respect. That would be a good start.
I can perhaps understand why he would be a little embarrassed to talk about the parliamentary budget officer. This man has very good resources. I should have said “this person”. It just so happens that he is a man, but it has nothing to do with gender. These days we have to be careful. Mr. Speaker, you can count on me to be very careful.
So we have to be very careful when we are talking about the person.
The parliamentary budget officer talked about so many things that the Liberal government has failed to recognize. We are not talking about doing something. We are just talking about recognizing something. The government has failed to recognize the reality of the facts. I will give the House some examples.
Since the minister mentioned the Canada child benefit in his speech, let us talk about that. The Liberals' speeches bring a tear to my eye. They are saying that they are going to help individuals, families, and everyone. However, in their election platform, the Liberals promised to implement this program at no cost. That is not true, because the parliamentary budget officer's report, which the Liberals refused to table, indicates that the Canada child benefit will create a $3.4-billion deficit. They were only off by $3.4 billion. That is what helping families looks like.
However, what is really incredible is that they forgot to index. They simply forgot that, in four or five years, the cost of living might go up. I had the opportunity to talk about this on Friday, but seriously, this does not make any sense. Any lowly administrative technician in any company who forgot to index would immediately be shown the door.
In every business when someone forgets about indexation and inflation, that person would be told to get out, but the minister is still in his chair, even if he forgot about inflation and he missed the target by $3.4 billion.
The Liberals are also talking about revenue-neutral tax changes.
We are not talking about zero cost. We are talking about the deficit of $1.8 billion. This is totally unacceptable. The Liberals were elected in the hope of no deficit. They were elected, in this case, with no surplus. Now, they are talking about $1.8 billion.
The same project, the same plan, does not directly touch 65% of Canadians. Why?
There will not be any changes to the taxes of Canadians who earn $45,282 a year or less. Sixty-five percent of Canadians will not be affected by these tax adjustments. What is worse is that the main beneficiaries of the Liberal's approach are those who earn between $140,388 and $199,999 a year. Are people who earn $190,000 a year part of the middle class? I am not sure, but they are the ones who will benefit the most from this measure.
We did not get these numbers in a Cracker Jack box. The parliamentary budget officer gave them to us. These new measures to create jobs and wealth have done nothing. According to the parliamentary budget officer, no new permanent jobs have been created under this government. I laugh when I hear the Liberals saying that they want to give the parliamentary budget officer more authority and control. Maybe they should start by respecting and accepting the figures he gives them in an neutral and objective manner.
There is absolutely nothing in this update for the hard-working entrepreneurs of Canada. On this side of the House, are concerned about entrepreneurs because they are the backbone of our economy. We pay them a lot of respect, and the government should respect them. These are the people who create wealth. These are the people who create jobs. It is not the government that creates jobs.
The government should give the tools to create jobs to the creators of wealth, the entrepreneurs. It is not the government that is doing that. It is the entrepreneurs.
What do we find in this update today for small business? Absolutely nothing. There is absolutely nothing for those who work so hard, who wake up every morning and risk a lot to create jobs. They risk a lot, and there is nothing for them in this update.
Let us talk about mortgages. A month ago, the finance minister, without any notice, introduced new rules for mortgages and a new way to calculate them. It is very difficult. We all recognize there is a problem in Vancouver and Toronto. However, to fix this problem in Vancouver and Toronto, the government is applying new rules from coast to coast to coast.
That is not exactly the way to do things. The reality is that for young families just starting a life, whose dream is to have a house, it will be more difficult thanks to the Liberal government that introduced a new way of doing things without consulting people and without prior notice.
In this unfortunate situation for the Canadian economy, the example comes from on high. When a government gets itself elected on a promise of a small $10-billion deficit and then proudly, shamelessly, signs off on a $30-billion deficit, they may think that it’s party time, they can spend as they wish and there are no more restrictions. This is not a realistic or a responsible way to manage the budget. A deficit is a bill that we pass on to our grandchildren, who are going to have to pay for today’s mismanagement.
Furthermore, Canadians never voted for uncontrolled budgets; Canadians never voted for a government that was going to spend heedlessly; Canadians never voted for a government that was going to run a deficit three times what it predicted and then six months later was going to review that amount so as to heighten the deficit and spending even more. Canadians have been swindled by the Liberal party, and we are now suffering all of the consequences. That is why a radical call to order is needed for this government, which has failed in its job.
Canadians know and believe that the government has lost control over public spending. Canadians can see day after day that this government is not keeping its commitments, that it is spending wildly and leading Canada to a medium- and long-term budget impasse. I want to point out that our children and our grandchildren, as well as those of the finance minister, who broached the same subject himself, are going to have to pay for the mistakes that are made here. The road ahead is absolutely worrying.
I believe that, in the end, what we have to retain from this budget update is that the government is headed down the wrong road, onto which it first turned nine months ago when it tabled its budget. After getting itself elected on the promise of a minimal deficit, today it has lost control over spending.
It was a tremendous opportunity today to get back on track, to pay respect to hard-working Canadians, because what we are talking about today is taxes. We are talking about the money Canadians and entrepreneurs send us. Every morning millions of Canadians wake up, go to work, work hard, and see half of their salaries go to taxes. At the very least we should respect them and respect what we have been elected for.
The government was elected to run a small deficit. That is not the case. What it is doing is all wrong. Unfortunately, this is a cost that all of us here and all Canadians will have to pay.
To conclude, as Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Unfortunately, this government is doing the same thing, and we are going to hit a wall because of it.