Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member from the beautiful area of Edmonton Riverbend.
I am honoured to represent the hard-working people of Elgin—Middlesex—London, and today I stand to discuss Bill C-29 with many of their concerns in mind.
Just one year ago, the Liberals promised modest deficits, and made many more promises. We have seen media reports that show the cost of food will go up 5% in the new year. Not one new full-time job has been created. With the new measurements put in place by the government, it is harder for Canadians to purchase homes under the new mortgage laws. Instead, we see huge deficits, high taxes, and low economic growth.
We have heard about the carbon tax that will be introduced by all provincial and territorial governments, and enforced by the federal government. We have an infrastructure bank that will not be supporting rural Canada at all. We have infrastructure projects that the government suggests have been approved, but where is the actual work being done? The tax cuts that were scheduled for small businesses have been reversed. The tax credits that helped families offset the costs of children's arts and fitness programs have been cancelled. We have seen extravagant spending on programs, but nothing to show for the expenditure of these dollars.
Canadians are growing concerned. Just yesterday in the House, the government did not deny its plans for new taxes on health and dental benefits.
With every middle-class tax cut, there is a new tax introduced for all Canadians, young and old, rich and poor.
Let us stop kidding ourselves. The economy is stagnant, and the Liberals' promise to spend their way to prosperity is failing. Although there is a lot of talk, I am honestly worried not only for the next generation and the large debt load that the government is burdening it with, but also for our current generation, where people find it difficult to pay for their hydro and cannot find a job.
Students are graduating from universities with no chance of permanent full-time positions, and they are not getting the chance to use their higher education because the government is not creating the necessary environment for job creation.
Is the sky falling? No, but it is pretty gloomy out there.
Back in July, I did a lot of media interviews regarding the new Canada child benefit. As the critic for families, children and social development, I was asked my thoughts on this new program. I will not deny that it does help families. However, we are talking about a very unsustainable program. According to the parliamentary budget officer, it will cost $42.6 billion over the next five years. The parliamentary secretary said that these plans would be going forward regardless of the strain on public finances. I wonder where this money will come from? If we have a government that does not create a single job and spends out of control, where do we get the revenue to pay for these programs? I hope the government is listening to this speech and keeping that in mind.
The answer to this question, as we see it, is more taxes. More and more taxes will continue to be introduced by the Liberal government with no concern for the average taxpayer.
In an open letter received at my office on December 1, which was sent to the members of the Canadian Parliament, the author discusses the impacts of Bill C-29, and, “the complicated, administratively burdensome, and compliance challenged income tax provision” that will be placed on businesses. Who would want, and why would we want, this to be the case? We see a lot of things coming down from the Liberal government that do not seem to be looked at and do not seem to be the appropriate measures for an average Canadian and for Canadian businesses.
We have heard many quotes in the House from executives and analysts, but I would like to share with the House five quotes from people who I think are experts, taxpayers who pay their bills, and the bills of the government. These are from householders, and I will quote the fantastic people and constituents from Elgin—Middlesex—London.
Wayne Johnston from St. Thomas wrote, “I believe that policies such as the carbon tax and so-called cap and trade initiatives are environmentally useless and serve only to increase the tax burden on Canadians who are already over taxed.”
Karl Crocker from my hometown of Sparta wrote, “I don't think our present government gives a...about the average rural tax payer. With the carbon tax, hydro rates and now natural gas going up. We are mad.”
Gary and Vickie Gould from St. Thomas wrote, “The carbon tax is going to chase us out of our home....We have already two medium size businesses going to the United States if the carbon tax goes through. They do not want to move, but we have to because of the cost of their utilities.”
James Manning from Dorchester, “1. Good paying jobs need to be secured and new investment in Canada in job sectors is needed. 2. Follow up on government work projects to be completed as stated.”
These parties have concerns also for the 2017 budget. People are getting on track and voicing their opinions now because they are concerned with what they are seeing in their Canada today.
Edwin Zavitz from Dorchester said, “The Liberal Goo will do the same as always and tax and spend and steal from the people. The Prime Minister is the same as his father. Looks down his nose at Canadians.”
The government needs to start listening to taxpayers who are the people burdened by the government's debt. Without proper employment and precarious employment, revenue to the government is going to be precarious.
Despite the big spending being done by the government, the Bank of Canada, the International Monetary Fund and the OECD have all downgraded their forecasts for Canada for both 2016 and 2017.
Jobs are in short supply, and I have not seen the job creation that the government has promised. The cost of living continues to rise and the government is making it harder for Canadians. The government needs to refocus its plans for growing the economy. Instead of meeting at Liberal fundraisers with billionaires, the government needs to start meeting with small business owners and ordinary everyday Canadians.
The philosophy that actions speak louder than words needs to be front of mind for the government. We hear so much about the government's plans to raise more families into the middle class, but we do not see programs that actually do it.
We hear time and time again about reducing taxes for the middle-class on the one hand, but on the other hand, all we see are tax increases for every Canadian.
The carbon tax is something extremely concerning to me. During the month of November, I held an agricultural round table with local producers. The carbon tax was discussed and it was a great concern to many of these farmers. I would like to note that during this discussion, it was not I who brought up the carbon tax. It was just in a regular round table where people could speak their mind.
We know it will increase the costs of doing business. In Elgin—Middlesex—London, over 20% of people are connected to the agricultural sector. What type of negative impact will we see? We hear that the price of gas will be going up 11¢ per litre. What happens to rural Canadians who have to drive to work every day?
Public transportation is not an option, therefore the growth with their strategy does not have any impact on farmers or rural people from Rodney to Thorndale in my riding. Because of this new tax, they will see increased expenses.
We know that the cost of shipping goods will be increased. At the end of the day, this cost will be passed on to the consumer. The same people will be paying more for gas, taxed on their dental and health benefits, and taxed to pay for this huge debt. They will continue to pay more money out of their pockets.
The government needs to find a solution to help put people back to work. It needs to find a way of getting those who are looking for jobs back into the labour force. People cannot continue to be unemployed.
That takes me to the changes to the employment insurance, changes that were made to the program in 2013 and were focused on helping get people back to work. We recognize that employment insurance is a temporary solution, and a huge majority of Canadians believe so as well. The best option is to improve employment insurance to assist people to find jobs and create jobs.
Instead, the government is taking anything done in the past 10 years, good or bad, and reversing it. We see that with so many of its bills that have been introduced in the past year. The government has indicated that Canadians voted for change. I am not sure that Canadians who voted for change expected to see what they do today.
I hear all the time that we can do better, and I definitely agree. When is the government going to start?