Madam Speaker, as their federal member of Parliament, I thank the good people of my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke for giving me the privilege to represent their interests. Together, we inform all Canadians about the deteriorating state of the nation's finances, as demonstrated by the economic update that was delivered by the government less than a week ago. It is even less relevant today than on the day it was delivered.
The Conservatives believe in clean air, low taxes and a healthy economy. A clean environment and well-paying jobs are only possible when taxpayers are treated with respect. This is in marked contrast to the Liberal governments, which stifle competitiveness and investment with their out-of-control deficit policies.
In Ontario, we have suffered rising small business and personal taxes. A higher minimum wage was introduced with no thought of its negative impacts, like job losses and soaring electricity rates. However, the additional environmental laws and regulations brought on by the federal Liberal government are driven by ideology rather than common sense, including the new carbon tax that will do nothing to help the environment and will make Canada a bad place to invest. Of course, entrepreneurs already figured this out years ago when they moved their capital out of Canada after the last election.
Carbon taxes raise the cost of doing business, a cost that will be shouldered on the backs of ordinary Canadians.
Thoughtful Canadians who follow my speeches in Parliament will recall when I first sounded the alarm, shortly after the 2015 election, on where the finances of our nation where headed.
Since the 2015 election, there has been an unprecedented flight of capital from Canada. After October 19, 2015, over $122 billion fled the country. For the first time, according to Statistics Canada, total Canadian investment in the United States exceeded that of the United States holdings in Canada. Scared investors fled the country. Capital that should have been available for the private sector to create jobs in Canada instead was used to create jobs in Trump's America.
Make no doubt about it, the government has been getting a free ride on the American recovery. As demonstrated by the announcement of more job losses in the automotive manufacturing sector, the free ride is over. Between Canadian investment dollars and cheap oil, the Prime Minister has been Donald Trump's best friend, to the harm of working Canadians.
In the first five months of office, the Liberals spent the Conservative budget surplus and burned through billions more. Then they proceeded to fake news their way through their bad spending and changing accounting methods to try to cover up the Conservative budget surplus. Ontario taxpayers have seen this cover-up before, when the disgraced former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne tried to cover up how much the Toronto Liberal Party had driven Ontario into debt with her bad spending and making election bribes and promises that taxpayers could not afford.
This economic statement is costly and dogmatic, with no plan to balance the budget and the finances of Canada anytime in the future. Only a Liberal government would brag about taxes fattening coffers.
What did the finance minister do with the tax windfall the government collected from average, working, middle-class Canadians? He spent it. Rather than slowing the growth of the federal deficit in a budget that will never be balanced, as long as the member for Toronto Centre is the finance minister, he spent the additional tax revenues and more on bad spending.
The government wasted taxpayer dollars on things like a $500,000 logo and $40,000 on propaganda and Facebook ads aimed at telling children how to use a stove. Let us not forget the $65 million dollars that was spent on big greenhouse gas producing SUVs to impress G7 members as part of the Prime Minister's vanity project to buy a seat on the UN Security Council.
The Liberals broke their election promise in raising taxes on small business. By selectively raiding the employment insurance account, payroll taxes are set to rise along with the changes to CPP the government has legislated to start next year.
These additional costs are layered on top of the rise in minimum wage.
Our party left government with a $3.2 billion surplus and had the best job creation record among the G7 countries. As a result, we were able to keep taxes low for Canadian families and businesses. We reduced taxes to their lowest point in 50 years, with a typical family of four saving almost $7,000 a year.
Energy poverty is now a fact of life in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. This economic statement does nothing to help people in need. Luckily, smart voters elected Doug Ford to put a stop to corrupt electricity practices of the previous provincial party. The good he is trying to do is being undermined by the deficit-obsessed Liberal Party. The economic statement makes energy poverty worse for all Canadians, with more money for industrial wind turbines. Unlike before in only Ontario, now every time one is put up, everyone's taxes increase.
In Ontario, the price of electricity to consumers rose to the highest level in North America. This federal government action just picks a different taxpayer's pocket with the same failed policies that resulted in Ontario being the most indebted subnational government in the world.
What is the policy of the government that is driving the deficit so high and costing more job losses in the automotive manufacturing sector? The policy of the Liberal government is to intentionally wind down Canada's fossil fuel industry and with the most recent announcement from General Motors, the products which use the fuel as well.
The Prime Minister clearly stated in January of 2017, “We need to manage the transition off our dependence on fossil fuels.”
The Calgary Herald wrote:
That’s what the Liberals have been doing since being elected in 2015.
They’re managing down Alberta’s industry by imposing new regulations, killing pipeline options, withdrawing tax incentives and passing energy-hostile bills such as C-48 and C-69...
The crash in prices for Alberta oil and bitumen is a direct result of Liberal hostility to both the Northern Gateway and the Energy East pipelines....The damage to federal finances...will be huge...but it seems slow to sink in.
[Maybe that's because] for many [government] MPs and ministers, the energy crisis may even look look like a kind of victory.
Now, the Liberal Party can claim another victory with the announcement that thousands will lose their jobs at the General Motors factory in Ontario. While the policy to kill the Alberta economy is working, maybe a bit too well, it remains to be seen how the federal government will react as this policy to shut down the fossil fuel industry is felt across the country, with more job losses, particularly in the automotive manufacturing sector which is centred in central Canada.
The policy to shut down the oil and gas industry can only be followed by shutting down the industries that need fossil fuel to operate. I am waiting for proper main stream media reporting on this story.
As the rising deficit and more of the government's disastrous policies work their way into Canada's economy, the only response by the government can only be labelled as a threat to democracy in Canada.
Rather than changing direction, the response by principal secretary Gerald Butts and the rest of the Prime Minister's handlers is to double down with a propaganda campaign and an audacious plan to bribe the Canadian media in how facts are either reported or selectively omitted.
When a Conservative MP utters the words “fake news”, it launches headlines in the Globe and Mail, Global News and the Ottawa Citizen. When the member for Ottawa Centre calls a columnist she does not like “fake news”, or attacks a climate scientist or another member of Parliament, the response by too many members of the captive media is silence or some form of fake news. How many more independent voices in the media will be silenced with this bribe that is being offered? As well, how about the timing, in an election year?
Democracy depends on an independent media. The so-called “arm's-length panel” that will act like a government censor board to determine who gets direct funding is a model ripe for abuse. Censor boards will censor. That is what they are intended to do. The Liberals have stolen the media's power to set the federal election debates. Now they are turning the media into a political wedge issue on what gets reported.
The voters in my riding know a bribe when they see it and they know when a political party is trying to stack the deck in its own favour. All of this bad spending is being done with borrowed money.