Madam Speaker, I am honoured to follow the eloquent speech given by my colleague, the member for Calgary Shepard.
The bill before us implements the measures announced in the last budget. This gives us a chance to talk about Canada's economic situation, and more specifically the economic update the government tabled last week. I will come back to that.
My speech today will show how badly the government is mismanaging public funds, in the Conservatives' opinion. This government makes choices that beg for close scrutiny, but above all, it makes dubious claims about those choices, which are not yielding the results it was hoping for. This is why we strongly condemn them.
During the last election campaign, one political party had the bad, yet admittedly novel, idea of promising Canadians that it would put the budget back into deficit. That party was the Liberal Party.
The Liberal platform claimed the government would run modest deficits for three years and balance the budget in 2019. The Liberal campaign promise was a tiny deficit, barely $10 billion, and a balanced budget in 2019, which is an election year.
Canadians fell for it. Unfortunately, they now realize that those promises have not been kept. Here we have a budget that projects a $20.2 billion deficit according to the latest numbers from the parliamentary budget officer, who analyzed the data very objectively and concluded that Canada's deficit is double what the Liberals promised Canadians.
The government also promised to balance the budget in 2019. There is nothing in this budget about a timeline for balancing the budget. If memory serves, I do not believe a Canadian government has ever, in times of economic prosperity, perpetuated a deficit without a plan to balance the budget. We have seen that kind of thing during world wars, unfortunately. We have seen it in times of major financial crises, such as when inflation was approaching 10% in the 1970s, but I do not remember another government ever running deficit after deficit with no plan to balance the budget.
In our opinion, not only is this a broken promise, but, even worse, it is very bad news for Canada's youth, our children and grandchildren, because they will be paying for it in the future.
Why are we so worried about deficits? It is because the deficit is growing and, if the government's attitude does not change, it will grow to $1.5 trillion, or $1,000 billion, by 2050. Our children and grandchildren will have to foot the bill. The current government has taken the wrong approach to governing.
The Liberal government's record is as follows: broken promises with respect to small deficits and the return to a balanced budget; a large deficit that is double what was projected; no timeline for balancing the budget.
The government says that it has reduced the tax burden for Canadians, but that is not true. Just one month ago, the Fraser Institute released a study indicating that 80% of families pay $840 more in taxes today due to this government's bad decisions.
Not only will the soon to be implemented carbon tax result in higher taxes for Canadians, but the tax credits introduced by our government were abolished. The first on the government's chopping block were the family tax credits, including credits for children's sports and arts activities. It also eliminated the tax credit for the purchase of textbooks.
It even eliminated a green credit introduced by the Conservatives. The late Hon. Jim Flaherty, a former Conservative finance minister, introduced a tax credit for users of public transit. It was an effective way of encouraging and helping people to use public transit in their community. The Liberals, who continually boast about being environmentally friendly, eliminated the public transit credit.
Over the past few months, we learned that the government wanted to attack the most vulnerable and most disadvantaged among us: the sick. It decided to impose stricter eligibility criteria for the tax credit for people with diabetes or mental illness. It is despicable for a government to go after sick people.
Our government created a tax credit to help people suffering from type 1 diabetes. Earlier, an NDP member was talking about his wife who has diabetes. We know it costs a lot of money, around $15,000 a year. Our government created a tax credit to help those people, give them some breathing room, and ease their suffering. This government is making the eligibility criteria stricter.
When we were in power, 80% of the people who applied for the tax credit got it. Today, under the Liberals, 80% of people who apply for it do not get it. Attacking the sick is unbecoming of a government and that is what the Liberal Party is doing.
These people crow over their lofty principles as they claim to have created the Canada child benefit to help children. The Prime Minister takes the floor every day. Yesterday, it was funny, he was so proud to be providing numbers. He talked about the number of children in the ridings of Richmond—Arthabaska and Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, as if he himself had invented family allowances.
Remember that this government implemented a new system, the Canada child benefit, but they forgot a small detail in the budget: inflation. They forgot to calculate inflation. That meant that in the end, Canadians were going to have less money in their pockets than they had under our program, the universal child care benefit. Each had their own point of view and their own game plan. We supported children.
The Prime Minister rises in the House to say that 23,283 children today receive such and such amount. However, children also benefited from our measures when we were in power. The big difference is that we had a balanced budget, which is not currently the case with the Liberals.
When we run a deficit, we are forcing our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab. Sure, this is a family-friendly measure designed to help children. I hope it helps them, anyway, because they are going to have to pay for it later thanks to a Liberal government that cannot balance the budget. This government may be focused on families and children, but it is also making them foot the bill.
I also remember the Liberals promising to change the tax system and make the rich pay more. They were going to be like Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and redistributing that wealth to the least fortunate among us. That is what the Liberal government said it would do. Two years on, what do we see? The exact opposite has happened.
As we said earlier, 80% of families are paying $840 more to the Liberal government. The richest Canadians were supposed to pay more tax. Our teary-eyed Prime Minister said that wealthy people like himself were going to pay more tax. Two weeks ago, the Minister of Finance said that wealthy people like himself were going to pay more tax. The truth is quite the opposite.
The richest Canadians are paying $1 billion less in tax today than they paid under the Conservative government. Those are not my words or the Conservative Party's. That is from the Minister of Finance, who knows exactly what is coming in and what is going out. He calculated that, because of the Liberal government's measures, the wealthiest Canadians are paying $1 billion less in tax each year than they were under the Conservatives. That is the reality.
What is more, those who stand to benefit the most from the tax reform are those who earn between $144,000 and $200,000 annually. They are the ones who win the kitty. However, nothing has changed for those earning $45,000 or less a year. I am sorry to say it, but those who earn $150,000 a year are not part of the middle class. Those who earn $45,000 a year need every penny so that their family can have a decent life, but the government is giving them absolutely nothing. Those earning between $144,000 and $200,000 a year win the kitty. People in the top 1% are getting a $1-billion tax cut. That is the reality of the Liberals' record.
That is why we have to be very careful. This government says one thing, and does another. That is why we think that the bill is no good. We invite all hon. members to vote against it.