Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to finally have a chance to speak in the House to the budget tabled by the government.
I would like to do something a little different. For the past three days, I have been fortunate to have at my office two interns from the École de politique appliquée of Sherbrooke University, Stéphanie Bourque and Pascale Salvail, who are studying law and international relations respectively. I have to say that they are excellent representatives of Quebec's future politicians. I congratulate them for their passion, their interest, and the work they have done in just three short days. They have been fantastic.
They have experienced a memorable week in the House, where all sorts of things happened. They have had the opportunity to see members rise to defend the right of MPs and Canadians to speak and to participate in debates. They have also had the good fortune, or misfortune, to witness the tabling of a budget. They would have been fortunate had it been a Conservative budget. However, unfortunately, it was a Liberal budget with everything that goes with it. They shared with me their concerns regarding the Liberals' second budget. Therefore, I asked them to write part of my speech about yesterday's budget.
They are particularly concerned about the future of small and medium-size businesses. Growing deficits will affect their generation for many years to come, even though they are already facing the loss of many full-time jobs, specifically 42,000 jobs over the past year.
The Minister of Finance began this year's budget presentation by saying that he wanted to promote a more innovative and competitive economy. In the present circumstances, we think it is unthinkable to even consider achieving such objectives if the government does not plan to make tax cuts and get back to zero deficits.
According to the Huffington Post, the government broke its promise to lower taxes for small and medium-size businesses by 0.5% per year, as originally planned by the previous government and promised by the Liberals in 2015, during the election campaign.
The government's failure to come up with a clear and concrete plan to help small businesses makes it difficult to envision ever having an environment ripe for economic development, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Support for such measures promotes economic diversification and job creation, which could benefit young Canadians. What the Liberals do not seem to understand is that today's deficits are tomorrow's taxes. Again, let me remind you that this speech was written by two interns who worked with me.
We are therefore asking the government how small businesses are supposed to grow in the absence of tax relief. We believe that creating the right conditions for businesses to hone their competitive edge is the only way to help Canadian businesses hold their own against U.S. competitors. Here is what the vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business had to say:
Economic stimulus is vital to Canada's continued collective prosperity. Let us hope the government will send signals that give small business leaders the confidence to grow their businesses.
My interns did a great job because they found quotes to support their assertions.
The government likes to talk about its massive investments in public transit, but it is also planning to cut the 15% non-refundable tax credit for transit passes, which means a bigger expense for young Canadians. My interns spotted the government's contradictory message themselves, a message that makes it clear the government does not really care about transit riders. Two hundred dollars can have a noticeable impact on a student's budget.
In conclusion, Pascale and Stéphanie think it is time the Liberal government got public finances under control and stopped ratcheting up the tax burden. Stimulating the economy and supporting job creation are the only ways to tackle the unemployment crisis plaguing 15- to 24-year-olds. We expect nothing less than concrete measures from the government, assuming it cares about young Canadians, many of whom are our future entrepreneurs.
Our two interns deserve a round of applause. This was their first experience here in Parliament and they were able to put their finger on some real flaws in the budget in no time at all.
On another note, but on the same theme, I have to say that now that the government has presented its second budget, not much is going to change in our lives. Life will go on for the federal government, which continues to spend our money. It has not managed to get any deeper into our pockets so now it is going to take money out of our children's pockets. That is where the Minister of Finance found his source of revenue to satisfy his insatiable appetite.
We will remember a promise that was made in 2015 and it is important to keep bringing it up. The Liberals promised a series of small deficits totalling $10 billion to stimulate the economy and a return to balanced budgets in 2019. Budget 2017 confirms that the Prime Minister's Liberals are the worst managers of public finances that Canada has ever known.
I have much more to say, but in closing, seconded by the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton, I move the following motion:
That the debate be now adjourned.