Mr. Speaker, he said that he was a formidable MP, and I agree that he is definitely formidable in stature. Earlier, he said that it was fantastic that more than half of the provinces were now on board with the Liberals. It is easy for people to get on board when they know that, sooner or later, a law will require them to do so anyway. That is the Liberal approach. Instead of doing what should have been done in Vancouver and working hand in hand with the provinces, the Liberals presented the provinces with their game plan and told them that it would be imposed on them in three years, with or without their consent. When the Liberals say that they are pleased that the provinces are on board, I believe it, because if they do not get on board, the Liberals will force them to do so. It is a bad approach.
The Liberal carbon tax undermines our business owners and punishes workers, producers, and creators of wealth, rather than helping companies reduce their environmental footprint and its impact on Canada's economy. In short, the Liberal government's number one bad decision is the creation of a carbon tax.
On another note, business owners are not happy about the extra payroll expenses related to the Canada pension plan. Last year, this government passed a bill to hike payroll taxes for all Canadian workers and businesses. In the end, it will cost Canadian workers an extra $1,000 a year. As for employers, it will cost them an extra $1,000 a year per employee. That is an extra $2,000 per worker, $1,000 from the worker and $1,000 from the employer. These extra costs make it challenging for our business owners. The government wants to create wealth, jobs, and vitality and then turns around and tells employers that they have to pay an extra $2,000 a year for every employee, including the tax charged to the employees themselves. That is not the right thing to do.
Same goes for the tax cuts. This government was elected on a promise to run a small $10-billion deficit, which has ballooned to a $30-billion deficit. The Liberals have broken their promises. They said we would return to a balanced budget in 2019, but now we know from the Department of Finance that we will have to wait until 2055.
The Liberals broke yet another tax-related promise. When they introduced their campaign platform, they promised to reduce the small business tax rate—which was at 11% then and subsequently dropped to 10.5%—to 9% to give our business people a boost, but they have not delivered on that promise, and the rate has not budged.
Add to that several tax credits that are no more. Earlier, my colleague from Foothills talked about the oil and gas development tax credits that this government axed, not to mention the tax credits designed to help create jobs and wealth, such as the investment and job creation credits.
So much for our business people, but what about the family tax credits that are no more? For example, what about the now-gone tax credit we created to help families purchase school and art supplies and sports equipment?
The most bizarre thing the Liberal government did was abolish the public transit tax credit. My friend, the member for Hull—Aylmer, who uses public transit to get to Parliament, which I think is great, must be disappointed that his own government got rid of a tax credit that he and thousands of other Canadians were entitled to.
Had anyone told me three months ago that the Liberal government was going to axe the public transit tax credit, I would have said there was no way. This government goes on and on about how green it is, how much it cares about the environment, how much it supports workers. Well, that tax helped Canadian workers who polluted less by taking public transit. The truth is that the Liberal government just could not stand the fact that it was a Conservative initiative, so it decided to do away with it. That was not the right thing to do.
When it comes to businesses, the Liberal government has a habit of putting up roadblocks rather than helping them. These include the Liberal carbon tax, changes to the Canada pension plan, the tax cuts that we are still waiting for, and the cancellation of important tax credits to business owners.
In concrete numbers, exports have not increased. We are very concerned about this because exports create wealth in this country, and our domestic market is only 35 million citizens. Exporting is absolutely crucial. Unfortunately, over the past 18 months of this Liberal government, we have seen no increase in exports or investments for our businesses. This is not surprising when you look at all the tax increases on businesses and the cuts to the federal support our government had introduced through tax credits.
What worries all Canadians, and not just people in Quebec and British Columbia, is the softwood lumber issue. Everyone knows that softwood lumber is a natural resource that is very important to the Canadian economy. It contributes to growth in many regions of Canada, not just Quebec and British Columbia. All the other businesses across the country that work with softwood lumber for secondary wood processing also stand to gain when everything is going well.
For the past 18 months, the government has been dragging its feet when it comes to reaching an agreement with the United States that is good for both Americans and Canadians. The price of Canadian lumber is so much lower and its quality is so much higher than that of American lumber that it is affecting housing prices in the United States. This is a test of leadership. When a prime minister, a head of state, cares about an issue, he will tackle it head-on and resolve it.
That is what prime minister Stephen Harper did in 2006 when he met his American counterpart, President Bush, for the first time. The first thing they talked about was not the weather. They talked about subjects that had a direct impact on the Canadian economy. As a result, three months after that meeting, a softwood lumber agreement was signed under the leadership of prime minister Harper and President Bush.
When a prime minister shows leadership, we get results. When a prime minister takes every opportunity to get his picture taken instead of making decisions, we end up with nothing, even 18 months later.
I would like to remind members of the good old days of Brian Mulroney and President Reagan. Canadian history has seldom seen a time when the Canadian and American heads of state were so in tune with each other. The current Prime Minister and President Obama were very buddy-buddy, and that is great, but it did not produce any results. The Prime Minister should have taken advantage of that strong personal friendship with the American president. They had 12 months to do something about this problem, but the Prime Minister did nothing. He preferred to meet President Obama for a sandwich in a Montreal restaurant, which is all well and good, but it did not produce any results.
That is why, after 18 months under the Liberal government, the Canadian economy is unfortunately not as strong as it should be.