Mr. Speaker, I wanted to respond to the economic update that was given yesterday and remind the House that the government is making Canadians even poorer by running this massive deficit. Today, Canada's future is bleaker and more unstable. I am worried about the future of my children and of generations to come.
First, I would like to point out that this was a very Liberal budget. It is all in the red. A balanced budget is a concept that no longer exists. That is worrisome. Middle-class Canadians know that they cannot live beyond their means forever. When a family buys a house that costs more than they can afford and then stops making payments, the bank will eventually foreclose. That is what could happen to us, but unfortunately, this government does not live in the real world. That is what happens when one is surrounded by so many people who have always lived safe, sheltered lives and have never experienced financial insecurity.
This economic update reminds me of a startling scene from a very popular Netflix series, Narcos. In it, drug lord Pablo Escobar keeps his family warm on a very cold night by literally burning millions of dollars. That is what the government is doing: burning hundreds of millions of dollars in a vain attempt to create some heat.
The difference is that, in this case, those are millions of dollars we do not have. It is a very high cost for paltry results. Yesterday's announcement tacks an additional $32 billion onto the deficit. It might be easier to understand the scale of that if I express it as $3,200 million. That seems a lot bigger because the truth is that $32 billion is a massive number.
They are adding $3,200 million to the debt, which will keep us in a deficit situation for an extra year. During their campaign, the Liberals promised to run modest deficits to stimulate the economy. They just forgot to tell Canadians their definition of a “modest deficit”. It is a minor detail, but in light of the logic espoused by the Prime Minister, who thinks the budget will balance itself, it comes as no surprise.
During the election campaign, the Prime Minister said we needed to grow the economy from the heart outwards. We are very familiar with this concept and see it often. This mentality is all well and good when you are improvising, but when you are managing a G7 economy, that does not necessarily work.
Unfortunately for Canadians, the prime sinister's, oops, I mean the Prime Minister's Care Bear mentality does not work. In spite of all the money the Liberals have squandered since they came to power, not one net full-time job has been created in Canada. As the Minister of Finance said himself, Canadians just have to get used to precarious employment, because that will be the norm.
The Liberals are proud to say that their deficit is lower than expected. I would like to remind them that this is a far cry from the $10-billion annual deficit promised during the election campaign. Based on that criteria, the Liberals seriously underestimated the deficit. In fact, it would be much larger if the government had not used the $6-billion cushion to improve the picture.
It was not through the rigorous administration of the machinery of government that the deficit got so big. That cushion disappeared from the forecasts for the next few years, and we do not know when the government will return to a balanced budget. My colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, our finance critic, asked the Minister of Finance that question five times today, but got no answer.
Running a deficit during an economic slowdown or a recession is a practice that is generally accepted by society and economists. However, the Minister of Finance, a talented economist, said, “Our economy is growing, just not as fast as we would like”.
If the economy is growing, then how does the Minister of Finance justify the massive ballooning of the deficit? What would happen if Canada was hit with another recession? If $25.1 billion is not enough to stimulate a growing economy, how low is this government willing to take us?
We do not wish that on anyone, but we fear the worst. If we end up in a recession, then we will have to weather it on no credit, because we are living beyond our means. One of these days, this reckless spending will catch up with us and we will have to pay for it.
Another worrisome thing in this budget is the infrastructure bank. This measure will take $15 billion out of funds that are already committed to help communities across the country. By definition, almost all the projects that will be implemented through this new institution will be in major urban centres. That is where we find major projects that might attract large investment funds hoping to get a return on their investments.
After barely a year in power, the Liberals are already starting to abandon Canadians who live outside large urban centres. For them, there is no salvation. Who would want to take an interest in their problems and help resolve them? Certainly not the banks, whose private investors will be looking for a return on their investment. Certainly not the Minister of Infrastructure, who seems more concerned with having a tastefully-appointed office than dealing with problems in Gaspé or the north shore.
As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.
They are taking resources away from small centres so that the larger ones have more. The Liberal government's sunny ways consist of centralizing everything, leaving everyone else in the lurch. Having someone else manage a large part of the infrastructure budget is an admission of the failure of the infrastructure program implemented by the government and the minister in charge.
If the government's plan is working so well, why does it need a new entity? The Liberals asked for Canadians' approval to go into debt so they could invest in infrastructure and stimulate the economy.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Communities is bragging about having approved a good number of projects. According to Bloomberg and The Huffington Post, only one of these projects is under construction. It is true that, coming from a minister who spent $1 million on his office, it must be a record amount. However, other than setting up a sumptuous office for a minister, what has the government done to get projects up and running in order to help Canada's economy grow? With the exception of a single project, it has done nothing.
Unfortunately, today we must give these very stern speeches, because we now have a deficit of more than $25 billion according to the government, which said that it had to run up a modest deficit in order to invest in infrastructure. There is not even a single project under construction. That makes no sense.
We all suffer from the Liberal government's foot-dragging on infrastructure, because it takes a lot of time for major work sites to get going. What we need to get Canada going is simple: rather than creating new structures to boost Canada's image, we need to keep our taxes low, properly manage our finances, and cut red tape. That is the best way to help Canada develop, and that is what we did when our government was in office. We made Canada the best country in the world in which to do business.
In closing, as a father, I do not understand how the Liberals can present such a document and then claim to be fiscally responsible. Mortgaging our future without delivering any results in the present is not responsible. Burning through billions of dollars is not good management. Greece tried that, without much success. I am worried that Canada is going down the same road.