Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about Bill C-15.
First, I would like to begin by congratulating my colleague the hon. member for Milton for leading Canada's official opposition on this finance portfolio. I would also like to thank my other colleagues who have spoken about this very important topic for their informative speeches.
As we all know, this is a bill that would affect all Canadians. Before I get going, I would like to say I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Chilliwack—Hope.
As the department of finance and parliamentary budget officer have shown, and despite what my friends across the aisle continue to say, when the Liberal government was elected in October, the previous government had left it with a surplus. This has been confirmed time and time again.
It was also left with a balanced budget. However, in the first few months, the Liberals not only burned through the surplus that was left to them, but they also drafted a budget that would run a deficit of at least $20 billion in the first fiscal year alone. Over the next five years, about $100 billion would be added to Canada's national debt. That would also mean billions more just to service the interest on that national debt.
This is all despite an election promise to deficit-spend on infrastructure. However, the significant portion of that funding would be on program spending. That means it is permanent and locked in. That also means future tax increases or deep spending cuts later on down the line.
This plan would ruin any chance of Canada returning to a balanced budget, despite the Liberals promising that in the last federal election.
As everyday Canadians know, we cannot live outside our means. That is exactly what the government is doing. At some point, the bill needs to be paid back. How is the government planning on paying that back? Which programs and services would be cut? Let us take a look at the specifics of this bill.
My riding is full of small businesses, and as we all know, small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Small business owners know that they cannot spend money they do not have. In order to survive as a business, they must make money.
It is for that reason that, in my riding, they just do not understand why the government continues to squeeze every last cent from the hands of these valuable job creators. It is perplexing that the Liberals would decide not to help them out. Our government laid the groundwork for a decrease in taxes on small businesses, a decrease the Liberals themselves committed to in the last federal election campaign.
Once again, the Liberals have reneged on a promise, another commitment during that election campaign. According to Finance Canada, this broken promise would cost small business owners an estimated $2.2 billion over the next four years. That is $2.2 billion that these businesses could be using to expand their operations, invest in research and development, hire more staff, contribute to the economy, and growth wealth. Unfortunately, the Liberals do not seem to be too concerned about burdening small businesses.
As well, agriculture is a crucial industry across Canada, including in Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock. It provides the livelihoods of many Canadians, coast to coast to coast. Yet, with all the money the government is dishing out, it neglected to offer any new support to the agricultural industry. The livelihoods of many constituents in my riding are based on agriculture, and this budget completely ignores them.
The budget has no plans to improve the movement of grain, and the Liberals have delayed ratifying the trans-Pacific partnership. When a budget ignores agriculture, it ignores a huge portion of Canadians.
While there are many problems with the budget bill, I would be remiss not to mention that there are sections that would be good for Canada. One of those is the government's promise to continue to expand access to broadband Internet for rural and remote Canadians. In ridings like mine, many Canadians do not have access to high-speed Internet. As we all know, in today's global economy, not having reliable high-speed Internet costs Canadians jobs and business.
The investment of $500 million would go a long way to connecting even more Canadians with reliable high-speed Internet, and build on the progress made by the previous Conservative government, which expanded access to high-speed Internet right across rural Canada, including my riding. Again, there are still gaps, and every party committed to fixing those, and we do appreciate that.
Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day for our values and freedoms. We, as legislators, need to ensure that members of the Canadian Armed Forces have all the tools, training, and equipment they need to carry out their assignments. It is therefore very troubling to see the Liberal government reallocating $3.7 billion over the next five years for future purchases. Large-scale purchases are not a simple process, as we all know, but we need to ensure that the funding is available instead of taking that away.
This budget did provide some funds to the infrastructure needs of the Canadian Armed Forces. I believe this is not enough to ensure the long-term viability of our forces.
Our previous government was responsible for signing trade agreements right across the globe. I was very pleased to see that the Liberal government is continuing our work and expanding access to markets all across the world. This will be good for Canadian businesses, absolutely. I hope that the government ratifies the TPP and continues to help Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Trade agreements like the TPP will give Canadians access to about 800 million potential new customers. These types of agreements are crucial in ridings like mine.
I have already spoken on the effect that the bill will have on small businesses, specifically because their taxes will not be going down as was promised.
The bill will directly hurt families. Families in Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock are very active. I think we all agree that it is important to keep families active, busy, and having fun. It is a theme that I am sure is similar in every riding, no matter where we are from in this great country. It is not only a trend in sports like hockey, swimming, soccer, baseball, and basketball, but also activities like music, art, and dance classes.
Many of these are very important to people in my riding, but with the Liberals cancelling the tax cuts for fitness and arts, families will not be able to cope. It makes it harder for them. Costs related to many of these activities can rise very quickly, as we know. Anyone who has children enrolled in minor hockey knows that all too well.
We all know that families work hard for their money. They deserve a helping hand.
I will note that while the Canada child tax benefit will help some Canadian families, unfortunately, it will support fewer middle-class families than the previous universal child care benefit.
The bill is eliminating income splitting for families with children, cancelling plans to expand tax-free savings accounts, while at the same time claiming to be helping Canadians.
Even the Liberals' so-called middle-class tax cut will hurt the families that they say they want to help. Given that a large number of families in my riding earn less than $45,000 a year, they will receive absolutely zero from that so-called middle-class tax cut.
Since 2008, the Government of Canada has invested over $200 million in my riding for infrastructure. These were important investments, in programs from new horizons for seniors to municipal infrastructure. Arenas were built. Airports were expanded. Libraries and sports fields were built. Road and bridges were refurbished, and the list goes on.
These investments benefited people from all walks of life. I sincerely hope that the government will continue this strong record in investments, not only in my riding, but right across Canada.
The Liberal budget is very concerning for all Canadians. As I have said before, they know that governments cannot spend their way into prosperity. If that were the case, Ontario would be the economic engine of Canada. We all know it is far from that: over a decade of deficit spending, and where did it get us? That is where we are now.
The bill offers high taxes, billions of dollars in new debt, no plan for creating jobs, and all of this despite being left with a balanced budget and a surplus. When we left office, Canadians had the lowest taxes in 50 years and the best job-creation record in the G7. In just a few months, the Liberals had squandered all of that.
Mr. Speaker, I know my time is running out, and I look forward to questions from my colleagues.