Madam Speaker, I am rising today to speak about the federal budget and what a complete and utter disaster it is for Canadians. If a Canadian family ran its household budget the way the Liberal government runs our country's finances, that family would be in absolute, serious trouble. Of course, this is not something that is new or surprising to most Canadians. The only person who does not seem to get that is the Prime Minister.
It kind of reminds me of this cartoon I keep on my desk. Someone sent it to me during the days before the last election. There is a picture of the former prime minister, Stephen Harper, and behind him is a nicely built home. It talks about the home renovation tax credit that he put in place. Then there is a picture of the member for Outremont. He was leader of his party at the time. It says something relating to maybe he would not have to put a fourth mortgage on his house because of the home renovation tax credit. Then it shows the Prime Minister standing in front of a house that is kind of in ruins and shambles. Smoke is coming out of it, and it is falling down, and he is saying, “The house will build itself”, just like he famously said that the budget would balance itself. We saw how well that worked. That cartoon was a good illustration of that.
This is the same Liberal government that promised balanced budgets by 2019. The Liberals had a balanced budget when they started, and they went into a huge deficit. They said they would have a small deficit, but it turned out to be a lot more than small. They said they would get back to the balanced budgets they were left with by 2019. However, there is no plan, obviously, that we have seen to do that.
In this most recent plan, the Liberals' so-called budget offers absolutely no tax relief for Canadians. It piles on debt for future generations, and attacks the backbone of the Canadian economy: small businesses. The best way I have heard the budget summarized, certainly by the Leader of the Opposition, was that never has a prime minister spent so much and accomplished so little. That really says it quite well. More and more Canadians are seeing through these empty promises of the Prime Minister and his government.
Here are the facts: 92% of Canadian families are facing higher taxes than when this government came to power. Middle-income families have seen their average income tax go up by $840. Now, $840 might not sound like a lot to the millionaire Prime Minister, but it is a huge difference for the household budgets of a lot of Canadian families. It might be a month's worth of groceries for a family of four or a couple of payments on the car. Maybe it is an opportunity lost for ballet or sports lessons for the kids or maybe a plane ticket to visit grandma and grandpa. That is what it means for an average Canadian family. It is significant.
The government claims to be all about helping the middle class, but actions speak louder than words. Here are some of the actions the LIberal government has taken since coming into office: higher Canada pension plan premiums, up to $2,200 per household; cancelled family tax cut, up to about $2,000 a household; cancelled art and fitness tax credits, about $225 a child; cancelled education and text book tax credits, up to $560 a student; and a national carbon tax, up to $2,500 per household. We can start to add that up.
The Liberals have taken more money from the wallets of Canadians while implementing measures like a carbon tax that has made the price of everything go up. Groceries are more expensive. Heating one's home is more expensive. Filling up one's car with gas is more expensive. In what convoluted way would a Liberal see that as somehow relief for Canadian taxpayers? I cannot imagine.
The Prime Minister and the finance minister inherited a surplus. They inherited a surge in the global economy and the beginning of the recovery of oil prices. Things should be running quite smoothly and Canadians should be benefiting from the situation, but of course, they have blown it. They have absolutely blown it. The government can try to take credit for growth in our economy, but the reality is that the growth was driven by an economic recovery. That happened not because of the government but in spite of it.
The sensible thing to do when our economy is growing at a rapid pace is to pay down debt, the approach that was taken by the former government, to ensure there is more room to manoeuvre in case of a global downturn. As we saw in 2008, Canada is certainly not immune to these global patterns.
This brings me to my second point. The Liberals have continued to add to our debt and to pile on to our future generations debt they cannot possible hope to repay. The current government will be long out of power by that time, so it will be up to another generation to fix the problems left behind by this irresponsible administration.
In the less than three years since coming to power, the government has added $60 billion to our national debt, over $1,600 for every Canadian. Even projections from its own finance department are bleak, and that is that the budget will not return to balance until 2045, if we were to remain on this course. That means adding an extra $450 billion of debt. That is almost half a trillion dollars, a number that most Canadians cannot even comprehend. This is what the government will add to the debt and will saddle that legacy onto future generations.
The government continues to live beyond its means.
What happens when there is a serious economic downturn? By adding more debt to our finances, the Liberal government is selling our chances at a speedy recovery should anything happen to our economy. Make no mistake, there are signs of trouble just over the horizon. The Liberal government certainly has no contingency should the United States terminate NAFTA, for example.
The budget also contains no policies that make Canada open for business or that allows our businesses to be able to compete. Our neighbours to the south recently announced sweeping new tax reforms that would help businesses and Americans. In response, what has the government done? Absolutely nothing. Why has the Liberal government added $60 billion to our debt? That is the question many are asking, as everyday Canadians are seeing none of this money going toward helping them.
The government's economic policies include spending $35 billion on a new infrastructure bank that helps wealthy investors, but not everyday Canadians; and $1 billion on superclusters that help big corporations, but not Canadians who are struggling to find employment.
The amount of debt that the government is accumulating is absolutely staggering, and it will be a major impediment for future generations. It is irresponsible and unacceptable.
Meanwhile, the government also continues to attack our job creators, the people who are the backbone of the Canadian economy, our small businesses. Remember last fall, when the Liberals decided they would tax small businesses at a rate of about 73%? I certainly remember, because I received thousands of emails, phone calls, and letters from concerned small businesses and employees in our communities. No doubt the members over there have received those same kinds of emails, phone calls, and letters.
I think the Liberals heard the message to some degree because they slowly, at least partially, backed away from those controversial plans. However, it took a huge outrage from Canadians to do it. There is never going to be an end with respect to the attacks on small businesses.
With the proposals the finance minister has made, thousands of local businesses will no longer qualify for the small business tax rate or will see it reduced. In many of our communities, we rely very heavily on small businesses to provide jobs and opportunities, sponsor charities and sports teams, and to make our economy thrive. All those businesses are concerned about the future as a result of the actions of the government.
The government has even gone so far as to try to tell some businesses that they are too small to be a small business, when it went after campground owners. Too small to be a small business, how does that make any sense? Those are the kinds of actions of the government.
The Liberals are continuing to ask Canadian families and Canadian small businesses to pay more for its out-of-control spending. That is simply unacceptable.