Mr. Speaker, we have come together this afternoon to discuss Bill C-86, budget implementation act, 2018, no. 2. Simply put, for anyone listening, this debate is about the bill that implements the principal measures of the budget.
This debate is vital to Canadian democracy and crucial to ensuring that Canadian taxpayers know how their money is being spent. Unfortunately, closure has been invoked on this debate. Three years ago, the government told Canadians that it was committed to doing things differently, that it would never use closure, and that it would not introduce huge bills like this one. It is doing the exact opposite. Closure has been imposed over 50 times. This bill is not just 10 paragraphs long; it has 858 pages. It is what is known as an omnibus bill. Bill C-86 contains provisions dealing with labour code standards, for instance, and other things that have nothing to do with the budget. The Liberal way is to say one thing during the election campaign and do the opposite once they are in power.
Furthermore, when you look at Canada's budgetary situation, you see that it is exactly the opposite of what the Liberal Party had promised, with hand over heart, to win Canadians' trust. The Liberals did have their trust, but unfortunately they have squandered it.
Keep in mind that the Liberal Party promised to run small deficits for three years before returning to a balanced budget in 2019, which miraculously happens to be an election year. The Prime Minister came up with an interesting economic theory. During an interview with CBC, he said that budgets balance themselves, implying that deficits do not exist. I checked with every economic school of thought in the world and aside from the current Prime Minister of Canada, there is not a single serious economist who thinks that budgets balance themselves. The Prime Minister may see rainbows and unicorns when he looks at the budget, but people who know how to count certainly do not.
If budgets balanced themselves then we could expect the budget to be balanced in 2019, but the opposite is true. For three years the Liberals have been running deficits that are two to three times higher than expected. Today, 2019 is just around the corner and the government has absolutely no idea when it plans to return to balanced budgets.
It is certainly not for lack of trying on our part. Just today the official opposition finance critic, the hon. member for Carleton, questioned the Minister of Finance five times. He was in the House, where he could have clearly stated when the government plans to return to a balanced budget.
Our question was crystal clear: When will Canada get back to a zero deficit? We asked him that, not once, not twice, not three times, but five times in a row and, unfortunately, the Minister of Finance dodged the issue. Maybe the Minister of Finance will dodge the issue, but he cannot dodge reality, and certainly not his responsibility to Canadian taxpayers.
Why are deficits bad? They are bad because, ultimately, our children and grandchildren will have to pick up the tab. Running deficits is irresponsible because that is not our money.
I know that the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development is a credible person. He is an honourable man whom I respect and hold in high esteem. The problem is the government saying that it is thinking of children in this budget. Sure it is thinking of children—it is forcing them to foot the bill once they hit the job market. That is the Liberal Party way, but that is not how a responsible government that got itself elected by promising small deficits should behave.
We all remember how the Liberals went on and on about making the rich pay more taxes.
The famous 1% of Canadian taxpayers will get hurt by the Liberal government. Oh yes, looking at the results and the figures, since those guys were elected three years ago, the famous 1% have not paid more taxes, but more than $4 billion less. That is the Liberals' economy. That is the Prime Minister's economy. That is the way those guys were elected, by saying, “No deficit in 2019 and the 1% will pay more”. They said that, but that is not the reality today.
Members will also recall that the Liberals promised to run very small deficits to stimulate the economy while investing billions of dollars in infrastructure. Once again, the results are not there. In one of his most recent reports a few months ago, the Parliamentary Budget Officer indicated that there was no infrastructure plan. It is not the official opposition, members of the NDP or the Conservative Party of Canada who said that. Everything that has been done has boosted the economy by only 0.1%, so that is just one more promise this government has broken.
The Liberal government has completely lost control of the public purse. People need to understand something. It is only natural that government spending will go up every year for two reasons: population growth and inflation. If the population increases, the government has to provide more services, which costs more money. If inflation rises, the government has to spend more to prevent a freeze down the road. That is fine. However, the government did not take into account the combination of these two basic factors in its calculations. It has spent three times more than it should have based on the combination of inflation and population growth. Simply put, the Liberals do not know how to count and they are spending recklessly.
That brings us to the troubling signs we are seeing today. First of all, investments in Canada are in free fall, dropping by 5%. If we break down this sad and alarming reality further, we discover that unfortunately, thanks to the current government's ineptitude, combined with the new U.S. administration's solicitous approach to managing and stimulating investment, Canadian investment in the United States is up 65% and U.S. investment in Canada is down 52%.
The two indices that we use to determine whether the Canadian economy is getting sufficient stimulation from an investment standpoint suggest that Americans are investing less in Canada and Canadians are investing more in the United States. That is bad news on two counts.
Another concern is related to the announcement made by the Governor of the Bank of Canada. I am not referring to the Governor General, although former governors general have been in the news lately, some for debatable reasons and others for very bad reasons. The current Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, made it clear that playtime was over last week when he announced that after modest interest rate hikes, we should get used to the idea of a minimum interest rate of 3%, or potentially higher.
This warning sign should to be taken into account when major budget checks or manoeuvres are being done, but unfortunately, this government is not doing anything about it. It does not care. Given that we will be paying $24 billion in interest on our debt this year alone, and that figure could soon rise to $35 billion and beyond, it seems obvious that we need to curb our spending. We need to stop spending three times more money than the inflation rate combined with population growth allows. We need to ensure sound management of public funds.
Canadians will have to contend with the Liberal carbon tax next year. The Liberals boast about their lofty principles. They are always ready to work with the provinces as long as the provinces work with them and say exactly what they are saying. When the provinces want nothing to do with the Liberal carbon tax, it is imposed on them by the government.
That is not how federal-provincial relations should be conducted. We must work together. If by chance the provincial governments want to have a carbon tax or participate in the carbon exchange, it would be their choice. However, if they are not interested and decide to opt out, the federal government will twist their arm. That is not the right approach.
The government is obviously talking out of both sides of its mouth. It says that there must be a price on pollution, which is their new slogan, but it is not for everyone. Under the Liberals, the big emitters will get a discount, not of 5%, or 10% or even 50%, but of 90%.
These are the same people who said that the rich would pay more, when in fact they are paying less. These are the same people who said that they want to tax carbon and polluters, except for the biggest polluters.
In light of this, we will be voting against the bill and exposing the Liberal government's contradictions.