Madam Speaker, today I will address the three inevitable stages of every Liberal tax increase.
First, there is the insult. Second, there is the tax increase itself. Third, there is the high-tax hypocrisy. I will give numerous examples of where this exact same cycle has played out every time the Liberals have targeted modest and middle-income Canadians with higher taxes.
Let us start with the issue of income tax. The Prime Minister started his campaign to raise taxes by calling people “too rich” and therefore claiming they needed to pay more. We did not find out until after the election who he was talking about. We thought he was talking about himself, a multi-millionaire who inherited a trust fund, or maybe the finance minister, whose family business was worth $1 billion.
It turned out he was not talking about those people. It turns out the people he thought were too rich and needed to pay more income tax were moms and dads who have kids in soccer and hockey, students who are spending money on textbooks and tuition, and passengers on public transit. They are the ones who saw their taxes go up. They paid more for kids' sports, because they lost the children's fitness tax credit. They paid more to ride public transit, because the transit tax credit was eliminated. Students paid more for the cost of their education, because they could no longer claim their expensive textbooks as an education expense and the education tax credit itself was eliminated.
Those were the people that the Prime Minister was talking about when he said that the rich needed to pay more. He said that if people could put their kids in hockey, they are rich and get to pay higher taxes. If people go to university or college, they are rich, too rich and should pay higher taxes as well. If people take the bus and do not take a limousine like the Prime Minister, they are rich, too, and therefore they should pay higher taxes as well.
All of this is a little rich coming from the recipient of a multi-million dollar trust fund account from his family. It is also rich coming from somebody who spent most of his life living in publicly funded mansions, and driving around in government-funded limousines. However, according to the Prime Minister that is beside the point. It is also a little rich to say that moms and dads have too much money when the Prime Minister forces those same moms and dads to pay higher taxes so that they can fund his $30,000 of free nanny services every year that he uses in his household, while Canadians have to pay for their own child care with their own money.
That is the final stage. He started with insulting moms and dads, calling them rich. Second, he raised their taxes, forcing them to pay more for transit, textbooks, kids' sports and more. Third, of course, is the hypocrisy where the Prime Minister ensures that he gets taxpayer-funded child care services that no one else in the country would receive as part of their employment package.
Again, we have insults, tax increases, then high-tax hypocrisy.
Now we move on to small businesses. Remember when the Prime Minister said, in the last election, that small businesses, according to him, are merely vehicles for rich people to avoid paying taxes. We know that he was referring to plumbers, pizza shop owners, landscapers, shopkeepers and other middle-class people who mortgage their houses to start businesses and employ people in our community. He said that those people are all just tax cheats, and they needed to pay vastly more in order to keep their businesses up and running.
He brought in new penalties. That was the insult. Then came the tax increase. The Prime Minister decided to penalize family businesses for sharing the earnings and work of their business with family members. He then brought in new penalties for small business owners who save for the future within their company. If people keep some money in their company for a rainy day, sick leave, maternity leave, retirement or for a future investment, they would be penalized for any interest earned on that money in the meantime.
The most recent iteration of that penalty is that a small business can lose its small business tax deduction if it has more than $50,000 in investment income within the company. It is a massive tax increase targeted again at the middle class. There is the second step in the cycle. The Prime Minister starts by insulting the small business owners, then he moves to raising their taxes.
Finally, the last stage is high-tax hypocrisy. Who was not taxed more under the Liberal plan? The Prime Minister was not, to start with. There were no new taxes for his multi-million dollar trust fund inherited from his grandfather's petroleum empire, and no new taxes on the speaking fees he collected from charities while he was a member of Parliament and ought to have been giving those speeches for free like other members of Parliament do. There were no new taxes on those speaking fees, which he earned by the way while having the third worst attendance record of any member of Parliament. He is skipping out on his publicly paid duties to be here in order to give paid speaking engagements that most members of Parliament do on their own time and without charge, and there are no new taxes on any of that.
There we have it again. The Prime Minister started with insulting small business people, then he moved to raising their taxes, then he engaged in high-tax hypocrisy by protecting his own interests from any new costs. He extends that hypocrisy to his finance minister, whose $1-billion family business saw no tax increase whatsoever under the proposed changes to small business tax rates. His company is big enough to be on the stock market, and all stock market trading companies were excluded from the tax increase altogether.
There we have it: insult the taxpayer, raise the taxes and then engage in high-tax hypocrisy to protect himself and all his friends. That is the three-step approach this Prime Minister takes to every single tax hike.
Now we see it one more time with the carbon tax. The Prime Minister starts off with the insult, which is to call people polluters. Be careful, the polluters are not who we think they are. In the eyes of this Prime Minister, the polluters are grandmothers trying to heat their homes in -40° weather, soccer moms trying to take their kids to soccer practice and single moms trying to take care of their kids or drive to work. Generally, suburban commuters, anybody who has to purchase gas to move themselves around or to heat their home is, in this Prime Minister's view, a polluter. There we start again with the insults by calling everyday suburban Canadians “polluters” in order to justify raising their taxes.
The second step in every Liberal tax increase is to raise the tax itself, and so the Prime Minister has increased taxes on gas, home heating and other basic energy people require in our modern way of life to survive. These costs will roll out throughout every aspect of human life. If we want to heat our homes, drive to work or buy products transported by truck, train or ship, we will pay for more for all those products. If someone is a small business person who has to heat or energize their factory, they will pay more for that tax as well.
We have the insult, then we have the tax increase, and the last step is the hypocrisy, the high-tax hypocrisy. Who is not going to pay this tax? Large industrial emitters, the big corporations with the smokestacks on the top of their factories. Those enterprises would be exempt from the Liberal carbon tax. Just this week, we learned that coal-fired plants would be exempt from the Liberal carbon tax. In New Brunswick, the Belledune coal-fired plant would be allowed to emit 800 tonnes of greenhouse gases for every gigawatt of electricity absolutely tax-free.
Now, the government admits those coal-fired plants will be in operation for at least another 12 years, and that is if we would believe its promise that one day after it is long out of office that it will be able to shut down those coal-fired plants over a decade from now. In the meantime and in between time, those factories would operate without any carbon tax.
The same is true for large cement plants and other large industrial emitters. They will be exempt from the tax increase.
It is all well and good to exempt those corporations that have powerful lobbyists that influence government, but we have asked why the Liberals have not provided the same exemption to small businesses, to families and to others. We still do not have an answer to that question. Of course, that is the high-tax hypocrisy. We have again the three steps of every single tax increase: insult, tax hike and then high-tax hypocrisy. Those are the three steps that we can count on the Liberal government engaging in every single time it wants more of Canadians' money.
What motivates this three-step approach to increase taxes? The answer is it is to fund out-of-control Liberal spending.
Spending has grown at 7% a year since the Liberals took office. That is about three times the combined rate of inflation and population growth, depending on the year. In other words, spending is vastly outpacing the need. Those 7% a year spending increases have to come from somewhere. The government has to source that revenue. It started to do so by borrowing. The government's deficit is three times what the Prime Minister promised. Instead of balancing the budget next year, as the Prime Minister promised while putting his hand on heart during the election campaign and saying it would be gone, now Finance Canada says the deficit will continue until the year 2045, under which plan, the debt will grow by nearly half a trillion dollars until then.
This is all happening in a time when the government's own documents admit it has been the beneficiary of enormous short-term good luck. In the government's annual report, which came out about two weeks ago, the government admits that its revenue is higher by about $20 billion because of factors outside of the government's control: record low interest rates, higher than usual oil prices, a booming U.S. economy, a stronger than normal world economy, a housing bubble, which is slowly coming to an end in Toronto and Vancouver, all of which generate more revenue for the government. In other words, good fortune has fallen out of the sky onto the government's lap. The Liberals admit that in their own financial documents.
If they have an out-of-control deficit that is three times the size they promised in times of good fortune, how big will the deficit become when the luck runs out? The Liberals have not answered that question. I have asked the finance minister, at times painfully, 14, 15, 16 times in one committee session, when the budget will be balanced. He utterly refuses to answer. The Liberals have not told us under what conditions would a government ever balance a budget.
It does not matter what one's economic philosophy is, everyone agrees that there should be some point in the business cycle when the budget is balanced. I believe we should ascribe to have a balanced budget all the time, but even if one is a Keynesian economist, one ought to believe that at least when the world economy is roaring and commodity prices are high and interest rates are low, at that point in an economic cycle, for God's sake, the government ought to have a surplus to squirrel away for when times turn bad. However, even under that Keynesian thinking, the government is not living up to the obligation to balance the budget when times are good.
What are the consequences of having these massive deficits? The answer is that, in the short run, we start to pay higher interest costs. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that by the year 2023, our expenditure on debt interest will go from about $24 billion to $40 billion, a two-thirds increase in about half a decade. This means we will be spending more on debt interest than we currently spend on health care transfers. That means more money for bankers and less money for doctors and nurses. Canadians will pay taxes to get nothing in return except to pay off the wealthy and privileged bond holders and bankers that lent us the money and therefore own our future tax receipts.
When I ask residents of my riding what they want their tax dollars spent on, they say roads, hospitals and other essential services that allow them to live their lives. They never tell me that they want to spend it on enriching bankers and bond holders. That is exactly the consequence of government decisions to pile up new and unnecessary debt on the current generation and on generations yet unborn.
That is the immediate consequence of higher spending, but there is the medium-term consequence which of course is higher taxes. Those consequences are already starting to become known. Middle-class Canadians are already paying $800 more in income tax than they were when the Prime Minister took office.
As I said earlier, small businesses are paying higher taxes to support the government's spending habit with new penalties for saving within their companies or for sharing income and work with family members. Those tax increases are in addition to the new ones that take effect on January 1, that is, higher payroll taxes for workers and small businesses and of course the carbon tax itself. Deficits today mean higher taxes tomorrow. That is exactly what the government is delivering, both higher taxes and deficits at the same time.
That is the underlying motivation for the three-step Liberal process for raising taxes. We will see it again and it will not be long. Soon there will be another billing which the Liberals will actually give a name to. They call moms and grandmothers polluters. They call small business people tax cheats. They call people who put their children in sports or who take the bus wealthy. Then they proceed, after having demonized those patriotic Canadians, to raise their taxes.
The last step is always to look at the fine print and how much the Prime Minister will have to pay for this tax increase. Oh, he will pay nothing. How convenient. Of course, we could not possibly allow a multi-millionaire trust fund recipient to have to bear any extra burden at all. Life is already too tough living in a government-funded mansion with government-funded nanny services. He and his friends and those who have influence on him are always protected from the costs that they impose on middle-class Canadians.
I propose a different three-step plan: first, control spending; second, balance the budget; and third, lower taxes for all Canadians. That sounds like a three-step plan we can all get behind.
On that optimistic and exciting note, I move:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-86, a second act to implement certain provisions in the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018, and other measures, since the Bill fails to address the fact that deficits are three times what the Prime Minister promised, that the Department of Finance admits that the budget will not be balanced until 2045, and that the average income tax bill for middle-class families has increased by $800, not including new carbon taxes and payroll tax hikes.