Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to pick up where I left off last night with respect to the budget implementation bill.
When I ran out of time last night, I was in the middle of explaining that due to the government's economic mismanagement, my oldest granddaughter, who just turned 13 last month, will be 40 years old by the time Canada is able to return to balanced budgets, if the government is allowed to continue on. It is simply unacceptable.
Canadians are tired of seeing the government run deficits to accommodate their out-of-control spending disease, and it is a disease.
I note that the Prime Minister has also given himself the title of Minister of Youth. I wonder whether the Minister of Youth has informed young Canadians across the country that they will be paying for the Prime Minister's out-of-control spending. The Prime Minister is spending and spending, and it is on the backs of future generations, like my 13-year-old granddaughter.
I have always believed that when necessary, the government should step in and stimulate the economy in tough economic times. It is important for any government to spend when it is necessary, but it is equally as important to pay down debt when it is possible. That was the plan under the previous government. The previous government ran deficits, but it was at a time when the economy was recessing. The GDP growth rate in 2009 was negative 2.9%. By comparison, in 2017, the GDP actually grew by 3%.
As we can see, despite significant economic growth, the government continues to pile on the debt and spend without any true plan of action. Perhaps the most frustrating part of these continued deficits is that Canadians are not seeing the bang for their buck. Where is this money going? What is the plan? I am asked these questions on a daily basis.
A recent report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer revealed that half of the infrastructure funding that had been promised by the government had not been spent yet. This accounts for a total of $7.2 billion in unspent funding that local municipalities desperately need.
All the budget has to offer with respect to correcting his is that the government is finalizing negotiations with the provinces and territories. Really? The government also said that three months after the 2015 election. Again, there is no real plan.
Earlier, I mentioned that in 2009, the previous government began running deficits in order to stimulate the economy in response to the economic recession. Unlike the deficits that the Liberal government is running, that spending was necessary. There was a clear and direct plan for all of that spending. Initiatives were targeted and had a purpose. It was not simply spending for the sake of spending.
For example, the 2009 budget made $2 billion over two years available in direct, low-cost loans to municipalities to finance improvements to local projects. Furthermore, the budget also expanded infrastructure funding so immediate action could be taken to stimulate the economy. Most important, there was a plan to return to balance, and we did that.
Prior to the 2009 budget, the previous government paid down almost $40 billion on the national debt. so when times were good, we paid down on the debt. Just like a mortgage on a house, a business, and student loans, we paid it down. Just think of what it would be like to pay interest on another $40 billion in debt.
We can see that the difference here is pretty clear. In 2009, the budget was clear that funding for infrastructure was to be significant and immediate. There were no political lines about finalizing negotiations, which we all know means further delays. The budget set out what the government was expected to do, and that was take action.
After my twelve and a half years experience in municipal government, one of the things that was always tough was getting infrastructure money through the federal government and the provinces. I can honestly say that in my years in federal government and municipal government, I never saw infrastructure money flow as quickly as when Minister Baird, minister of the day, was here. It was done the right way. I give the minister of the day credit for that.
Furthermore, the budget empowered local municipalities to address issues of real local concern.
Recently, the main bridge in the community of Chesley in my riding was severely damaged. The bridge connects the north and south end of the town, so right now the community is quite literally split in two.
Bruce county has earmarked funds to fix this immediately and has applied to the provincial government for disaster relief funding. However, it would have been nice for me, as the local member of Parliament, to have been able to work with the community to see what kind of federal support would be available. Unfortunately, though, with the government's plan, or lack of, when it comes to infrastructure, it is such a mess that it is impossible to figure out what money might be available.
Again, on infrastructure, the government's plan is a total mess and the budget does absolutely nothing to fix it.
The reason I am presenting the House with this information is because I want to show what a real economic plan looks like. I entirely disagree with the government's decision to run deficits during a time of growth, but if this is the direction the Liberals have decided on, it is vital there be some form of a plan and not, as I said, simply spending for the sake of spending.
With that said, I will not be supporting the budget implementation bill, and I am happy to take any questions from my colleagues.