Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge my colleague from Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, who is always very lively when he speaks in the House. However, I find it unfortunate that he has once again demonstrated that the Liberals are spending with abandon. They do not have a plan and they are certainly not getting results.
I am rising today to speak to Bill C-87, an act respecting the reduction of poverty.
On November 6, 2018, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development introduced the poverty reduction bill. According to the summary, the bill “enacts the Poverty Reduction Act, which provides for an official metric and other metrics to measure the level of poverty in Canada, sets out two poverty reduction targets in Canada and establishes the National Advisory Council on Poverty”.
I want to begin by telling the government that poverty exists in Canada. They can implement measures, set up an advisory council and create organizations that will assess and consult, but I can say right now, on November 30, 2018, that poverty still exists here in Canada. Unfortunately, one in six Canadians are living in poverty. I think it is important to consider that and to implement the measures necessary to meet these people's real needs.
The act provides for the creation of a national advisory council on poverty. This council would be considered a full-time committee and its members would be employees of the Government of Canada. The government is adding a layer of bureaucracy and expenses that will serve its machinery before serving the poor. That is the unfortunate part of the bill being introduced today. We are not against helping the poor, on the contrary, but we should be looking after them and not the Liberal machinery of government.
There is no need to bring in legislation to change how the government measures poverty. We all know that there are poor people in Canada. What concrete action will be taken tomorrow to improve the comfort and quality of life of these Canadians who have the right to be respected? This could have been done quickly and concretely with the structures already in place. However, the government prefers to put in place measures, mechanisms and structures.
Creating an official poverty line could help the government because it creates an illusion. We know that this government likes to wave a magic wand and use smoke and mirrors. However, we know that there are no results and that we are light years away from seeing any, just like a balanced budget.
I remind members that during the 2015 election campaign, the government told Canadians that it would run a small deficit and then balance the budget in 2019. We have no idea when the budget will be balanced, so I am compelled to say that the government misled Canadians.
More than 1,000 people representing organizations from across the country attended workshops and breakout groups on more than 40 topics, with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Once again, the people who work with organizations and with the less fortunate have solutions, and they are saying that this bill does not meet its objective.
Our leader, the Leader of the Opposition and member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, introduced a bill supporting new parents. This bill would have eliminated taxes on maternity and parental benefits. This is one of many meaningful measures. The Conservatives are working to help real people: workers and the less fortunate.
We can work with them to find meaningful solutions, instead of creating organizations and structure, which creates more red tape, since public servants must be hired. Money is being thrown around everywhere, but it is not going to the right places. I can suggest measures. All my colleague from Québec has to do is ask and I would be happy to make some suggestions.
The Liberals are also hurting Canadian families by cancelling measures. They say they want to help the poor, but the got rid of income splitting and tax credits that helped Canadians families, such as the children's fitness tax credit and the post-secondary education credit.
Conservatives are ready to get behind measures that work. The government is proposing measures to “evaluate” and “consult” and “look at options”, but nothing is really happening and poor people are entitled to help from the Canadian government. These are respectable people.
We need to raise overall standards by creating jobs, enabling these people to achieve their goals, respecting them, and giving them incentives to go to work so we can elevate our society as a whole. These people can participate in society, and I am ready to work with them, but the government is not creating a system that can make that happen. On the contrary, it is creating structures. It says it wants to help the least fortunate, but unfortunately, it is spending recklessly. Its approach makes no sense.
I will give an example of the Liberal government's wastefulness. The Liberals spent $500,000 on developing a logo, trademark and name for an agency to help the less fortunate around the world. Wow. The advisory council is simply an aid agency, but the Liberals decided to spent $500,000 on its image and not on helping the poor, the less fortunate, or our constituents. This government is all about image.
In addition, it spent $4.5 billion to buy an old pipeline. Imagine how many people could have been helped with that money. Then, the Minister of Finance invested $210,000 on producing a budget cover. Plus, on September 19, the government led by our member for Papineau treated itself. It bought 86 bottles of wine, 196 beers, six small bottles of vodka and no less than $143,000 in food. All of that was consumed during a short trip abroad. What about the poor? What do they get?
As for the vacation with the Aga Khan, that cost $127,000. That is the amount we know about, but it is possible that more money was spent. We do not really have an accurate picture of the situation. On top of that, the Prime Minister's tweet that said “Welcome to Canada” is going to cost Canadian taxpayers $1.1 billion because of the illegal immigrants crossing the border. I can give plenty of numbers. In his speech, my colleague talked a lot about numbers and sums of money. I can give those, too, but I can prove that it is wasteful spending.
We agree that solutions need to be found. This coming weekend, many organizations in my riding are hosting holiday food and toy drives. I am proud to say I will be attending drives in Saint-Augustin and Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier on Sunday morning to raise money for the poor. That is what meaningful action looks like. This government is incapable of taking action and keeping its promises. It always gives only in theory, which is unfortunate.
We will be voting in favour of the bill at the next stage, but I hope the government is listening to what I am asking it to do, which is improve the bill so that it directly benefits those most in need.