Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about growing the economy and being innovative, and I appreciate those comments.
In their budget last year, the Liberals removed a 25% tariff to build ferries in Canada that even the Harper government would not remove. They removed it because they knew how important it was, as a marine nation, to build ferries here in Canada. The government decided to remove that barrier because the Canadian Ferry Association promised that it would lower rates for ferry users here in Canada.
That was $118 million in tariffs that went into government coffers that could have been invested in communities like Port Alberni and communities in coastal British Columbia where there is high unemployment. It could have been invested to build capacity to build boats in Canada.
The government claimed that shipyards were at capacity, supporting the Canadian Ferry Association concern, but the truth of the matter is that Canadian shipyards are not at capacity. In fact, there are tons of capacity in coastal communities looking for work.
The Liberals removed the 25% tariff in last year's budget and $118 million was taken from Canadian taxpayers, but ferry rates did not go down. In fact, in British Columbia, that did not get passed on to consumers. It went into the pockets of the contractors who had the contracts to build our boats in Poland and in Turkey. That is where those jobs are too. When we have the highest unemployment in southwestern British Columbia, the government failed British Columbians, failed coastal people, and failed the shipbuilding industry here in Canada.