Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect much better than what they are receiving right now. They expect the government to implement policies that will create jobs, steward tax dollars and advocate for the most vulnerable, such as seniors, veterans and those living with a disability. They expect the government to stand up and provide good health care. They expect the government to deliver services with excellence. They expect the government to do this while cutting back on wasteful spending and bringing investment into our country.
Canadians are incredibly hard-working people with a ton of potential and that potential deserves to be realized. It is up to government to put policies in place and decrease regulation to make sure that is the case. Unfortunately, the government has failed. At a time when the government should be focused on making life more affordable by getting out of the way, it is focusing on implementing even more regulations and slamming Canadians with further taxation. It is driving investment and jobs out of our country and making life less affordable.
According to a recent Ipsos Reid poll that was released just after Christmas, almost 50% of Canadian families are within $200 a month of not being able to pay their household bills, not being able to put food on the table, not being able to pay their mortgages or rent and not being able to pay for the fuel for their vehicles that take them to work to earn their next dollar. To make matters worse, the prospect of recovering from this dreadful place in which we exist looks rather bleak under the current government and its policies. We face a looming job crisis in Canada caused by the government's failed economic policies and yet the Prime Minister insists on villainizing those who actually create the jobs that keep our economy afloat. I am talking about the women and men who dare to take a calculated risk, to invest capital and create jobs by creating local businesses.
We might remember the small business tax the government tried to sneak through in the summer of 2017. According to the Prime Minister, 1.4 million Canadians who have led by vision, have taken substantial risk and have worked hard to start and operate their businesses are nothing more than what he called tax cheats. Their businesses, according to him, are not job creators. According to him, they are simply tax havens. They are tax havens for the so-called wealthy. That is rather rich coming from the Prime Minister, who has never worked a day in his life and was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
The Prime Minister was not talking about multinational corporations when he said that. In fact, they are protected. They get the easy route. Instead, he launched an attack on locally owned businesses that sustain our communities. I am talking about the hairdresser we have relied on for years, the family doctor we go to when a child is sick, the cashier who works at the local hardware store, the farmer in Picture Butte in my riding and the college student who just got her first job as a welder. According to the Prime Minister, it is unfair for those who create these jobs to invest some of that money in their company for the further advancement of their well-being and, of course, job creation for others.
However, thanks to the resistance of Canadians and the fact that they pushed back and joined the Conservative Party of Canada in the House as the official opposition, we were successful in pushing back on those changes and making some headway. Collectively, hard-working Canadians took a stand on behalf of small business owners. It is proof that Canadians will not sit idly by as the current government damns our country to a poor future.
Once again, Conservatives are appealing. It is not just increased small business taxes and payroll taxes that are hurting local businesses; it is also the carbon tax. This summer, the federal government granted special exemption to Canada's biggest emitters, but despite providing breaks to these companies, the federal government still intends to impose a carbon tax on local businesses and families.
My question is simple: In what world does that make sense? If, in fact, the carbon tax is being put in place to reduce emissions, then would it not make sense to tax those putting the most pollution in the environment? We have no choice but to conclude that the carbon tax is not actually about reducing the carbon footprint or taking pollution out of the environment. The carbon tax is just another excuse to apply a tax to the hard-working people of this country.
Each and every day I wake up and read the news, I see that investment is fleeing. I am watching companies close their doors. When I walk through the downtown core of my local riding in the city of Lethbridge, I see signs in windows that businesses are shutting down. They are being driven away because of the Liberal government's policies.
The truth of the matter is that the government will continue to impose a huge carbon tax on families and these local businesses. However, it will not reduce the carbon footprint. We still need clothes, we still need food and we still need to drive ourselves to work. All of these things will continue to happen, because Canada needs to stay open. Canadians need to continue to live. Our country and well-being are at stake. The government is being nothing other than cruel, unkind and unfair to the Canadian people by imposing this senseless carbon tax.
Speaking of keeping Canada's economy afloat, let us talk about trade for a moment. This weekend, Canada ratified the USMCA. The fact is we have a deal, but all Canadians should be asking if we have a good deal. Ultimately, the USMCA must be judged on how Canada benefits. The deal should be evaluated based on what Canada gave up versus what it received in return. Sadly, in this case, we gave up much more than we received. There is really nothing in the USMCA that puts Canada in a better position.
The government backed down on automotive, it backed down on dairy and it backed down on pharmaceuticals. As well, for all these concessions, Canada was unable to win anything significant in return. In fact, tariffs still remain on steel, aluminum and softwood, and the U.S. has told us it has absolutely no timeline in place by which it will remove those tariffs. We signed an agreement without insisting these tariffs come off.
We have a Prime Minister who does not care enough about his country and these industries to advocate on their behalf, to ensure their well-being and to stand up for Canadian workers. That is sad.
In my riding, there is a business called Lethbridge Iron, which continues to take hit after hit with payroll taxes, small business taxes and tariffs on steel. I have met with representatives multiple times and toured the facility. They are working incredibly hard, but they are taking hit after hit and are unsure how much longer they can keep their doors open and their employees employed.
Let us talk about the pipeline for a moment. This is an example of a $400-million investment that was driven out of our country overnight. The government had an opportunity to keep that investment here. It had an opportunity to sign on the dotted line and provide Kinder Morgan with the certainty it needed to stay here and build a project. Instead, the government refused to provide that certainty and drove this investor out. Where did Kinder Morgan go? It did not stop investing. It just went south, to the U.S. We are without this pipeline.
Of course, we know this pipeline is of huge significance to Canada. Yes, it provides great-paying jobs, but more than that, it helps us get a product to market. When we can get that product to market, our country will receive an income. When we receive that income, we can build hospitals, we can build schools, and we can build roads and bridges. All Canadians benefit when we develop the oil and gas industry here in Canada.
The fact of the matter is the Prime Minister has taken tax dollars and invested them in this pipeline, and we are getting absolutely no return for this investment. It is interesting how that works. The Prime Minister takes our money and invests it, and nothing happens. However, if we were to encourage a private investor to come into our country and invest it, a ton would happen.
My point is simple. Right now, because we are refusing to develop the oil and gas industry, we are actually purchasing blood oil. We are purchasing our oil and gas from places like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, places that have atrocious human rights records and almost no environmental standards. That is the type of industry we are choosing to support, instead of developing it right here in our country and bringing investment home.
In conclusion, we are calling on the government to act in the best interests of Canadians by eliminating the carbon tax, by repealing Bill C-69, by resolving the dispute on steel and aluminum tariffs, by resolving the softwood lumber dispute, by lowering taxes, by streamlining regulations and by opening up our markets. Let us bring Canada back. Let us put Canadians first.