Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share my time with the hard-working member for Langley—Aldergrove today.
When I was asked yesterday to speak to the latest Liberal cover-up, I said, “Sure, but which one?” Was it the cover-up on the outlook and program expenses in the budget? In the budget, in spite all the added funding that the Liberals are throwing out there for DND and indigenous infrastructure and the added money for the student summer jobs so that they could finance anti-oil protesters, real spending over the five years, as outlined in the budget, has actually dropped.
We asked the finance department, but it had no answer; it was covering up. PBO asked the government how it was going to accomplish that; Liberals refused to answer. I thought maybe the cover-up they wanted me to speak on was the Liberal Phoenix fiasco cover-up, when the Liberals refused to release the fact that IBM, which they blamed consistently over the last couple of years for their mess-up, had told them explicitly not to start the Phoenix program because it was not ready.
I wondered if the cover-up could be about the UBS rogue trader cover-up. The government has told an investigator it will take 800 years to get all the information released under the Access to Information Act. Perhaps this is Panama papers 2.0 they are trying to cover up.
Could it be the infrastructure cover-up, the billions and billions of infrastructure money that the PBO cannot seem to find? The Liberals had announced $14 billion in 2016, but the PBO could only find about seven billion dollars in the last budget. We asked, but the government refuses to answer. Perhaps it cannot answer.
Could it be the combat ship cost cover-up they wanted me to talk about? The Parliamentary Budget Officer, when trying to cost out the ships—which he figures to be about $60 billion, although some experts are now saying $100 billion—had to go to the United States to get costing on the Arleigh Burke class of destroyer in the U.S. and bring that information back to Canada to extrapolate costs for ours because the government refused to release the information on the costing. In fact, the government has refused to release the details of the request for proposal to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. We do not know how much even the main contractor is going to be paid on a cost plus basis. Will it be cost plus 10%, cost plus 18%? We do not know, because the government is covering up.
One thing we do know is that the main contractor will be allowed to sole-source to itself on the shipbuilding. It could take a $100-million contract, sole-source it one of its subsidiaries, add the unknown markup to it, and ding the taxpayers.
We asked the government how it is going to police this issue. It says it does not have an answer. I am not sure if the government does not have an answer or if it just will not give an answer.
What about the defence spending cover-up? The Liberals have talked about a 315% increase in defence spending over the years. We have not seen that kind of increase in spending since the Korean War. Defence experts say it is impossible, given the government's current procurement processing capacity, so we know they will not be able to get to that. Perhaps they can protect us from North Korean missiles with more announcements and speeches.
It turns out that my staff wanted me to talk about the carbon tax cover-up. I wish they had mentioned it from the beginning, because it could have saved a few minutes. I have asked my team to be more specific in the future.
We have asked the government time and again for information on its carbon tax initiative, and every time we do, we are hit with lukewarm talking points that give us nothing substantial beyond the holding lines. We know the government has done the costing, because we had the report. What we do not have is all the hidden information behind the report.
If the Liberals are so proud of their record on this issue, why do they not release the redacted information? A failure to disclose information tells me that they are hiding something. If they are not hiding anything, they should just simply disclose the information they have. They say they want a higher standard of debate in this place, but they give us nothing to work with, nothing to debate, because they are too afraid of the consequences of their actions.
The carbon taxes are of massive public interest. They affect everyone. We have a responsibility as elected officials to debate and discuss the effects of the federal legislation, and this plan will have large ramifications across the board. It raises the price of home heating, electricity, groceries, and gas, but the Liberals refuse to tell Canadians how much this tax hike will cost and what it will achieve. We know it is going to add about 11¢ per litre to the price of gas, something I am sure that people in B.C. would love to hear right now, but that is not all.
About 51% of Canadians heat their homes with natural gas, and experts claim that the carbon tax will add about $260 per year. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation figures it is going to cost every family about $2,500 per year. Trevor Tombe, at the University of Calgary, estimates a bit lower, but it is still about $1,100.
I know people on that side of the House probably think it is not that much money, but $1,100 to $2,500 per family is a lot of money. Average family income before tax is $80,000 a year, so it is a 3% tax grab on pre-tax dollars just for the carbon tax. It could be rent payments, sports for the kids, university tuition. These are all things that Canadian families can kiss goodbye thanks to this costly plan, but the government refuses to come clean on it.
The environment minister told us that a price on carbon could have to go as high as $100 per tonne in 2020 and $300 per tonne in 2050 to meet the government's 2030 targets, but that is not just individual costs; the carbon tax will have a huge impact on Alberta's oil and gas sector as well. Last week, I had a round table with various groups from the energy sector, including academia, labour groups, business groups, and provincial partners, and it was clear that the biggest barrier to growth and economic prosperity in Alberta is investment fleeing from our energy sector and from the carbon tax. The carbon tax makes everything we produce more uncompetitive. It punishes places of worship and the not-for-profits. The Edmonton Food Bank, for example, is getting hit with thousands of dollars of added costs, and a not-for-profit cannot just pass these costs on to customers.
We met with the local cement industry. It is losing out on government contracts because it cannot compete with Chinese bidders because of the added price of a carbon tax. Let us just think about it. Taxpayers' money is going to a foreign competitor that has a horrible environmental record because we have handicapped our cleaner and local industries.
This is what Dr. Andrew Leach talks about when he refers to the carbon leakage. In the end, we are not reducing overall carbon emissions worldwide; we're just moving it to other jurisdictions, mostly with worse environmental standards. The energy sector needs job-creating policy and proposals, not more regulation and higher taxes to operate. Nothing drives away business investment quite like a commitment against business investment, such as we have seen with the government giving taxpayers' money to fund anti-oil protesters.
We have repeatedly asked how much the Liberal carbon tax will cost families, but the Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment have flat out refused to answer. If the government will not tell us the cost of its carbon tax, how can it expect Canadians to trust it at all? It is time to table the fully unredacted report. It is time to tell the House, and Canadians as well, what the carbon tax is going to cost Canadians.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer expects a full $10-billion hit to the economy because of the carbon tax. We have seen the GST on the carbon tax. It is a tax on the tax. It is costing Albertans, people in Ontario, and British Columbians a third of a billion dollars. My colleague from Langley—Aldergrove put through a private member's bill to stop this tax on a tax, but the Liberal government simply says it is not a tax but a levy, and it will continue to charge what it calls a revenue-neutral tax, which we know is a sham.
Again, I ask the government to table the full unredacted report. It is time to come clean. It is time to end the Liberal carbon tax cover-up.