Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise on behalf of the people of Barrie—Innisfil at report stage of Bill C-74.
As I rise in the House, it is not lost on me that I am in the people's House, the people who elected all 338 of us to come here.
Imagine if the Liberals ran their household the way they are running the government, with debt and deficits piling up. I will go through some statistics later on to show just how dire the situation is for the future of the economy and the future of our children, who will have to pay for Liberal debt and deficits. Today's debt and deficits are certainly tomorrow's tax increases and service cuts.
As somebody who has lived through that in Ontario, fortunately we have an election coming up and I believe strongly that we are going to see a change in government. I am actually fearful for whoever forms the Government of Ontario, whether the Conservatives or the NDP, because often when governments are elected, they go in and say that the cupboards are bare. However, I believe there are no cupboards left in Ontario, to be quite frank.
Certainly, the federal government is utilizing the same strategy and playbook, which I have spoken about many times in the House, as the current Liberal government in Ontario. I believe that our cupboards will soon be bare at the federal level. I have said many times before that the current government has access to a bigger piggy bank of Canadians, but it is on the same path as that Ontario Liberal government.
Of course, we found out yesterday that we will be $4.5 billion further in the hole because, all of a sudden, the Prime Minister who painted himself into a corner with the Trans Mountain pipeline and is spending $4.5 billion of Canadian tax dollars to buy his way out of a political problem he created.
As we debate the budget and look into it, there are signs that Canada's economy is slowing down, and the government has and is doing little to improve it. There was a growth in the economy in 2017, but it was not really due to Liberal policy. It was in spite of Liberal policy.
I learned long ago that government does not create jobs. Government creates the environment for jobs and job growth. When we look at what is happening, particularly down in the United States with its regulatory process and a tax regime that are completely contrary to where we are here in Canada, there are some significant fears for our future prospects from an economic standpoint.
The growth that we have seen has largely been due to the oil and gas sector, as well as a very strong housing market right across the country. That housing market had record-high price increases in 2016, followed by another 9% in 2017. Oil and gas for that matter soared 40% in 2017 because of higher prices in the oil sands. Therefore, our exports grew. However, the Liberals did not create this economic growth. It was caused in large part by our natural resource sector, the same natural resource sector that the Prime Minister and operatives within his office have so much disdain for, and certainly the housing market contributed to it as well. Unfortunately, the government has neglected what lies beneath our feet and has opted to rely only upon what is between the Prime Minister's ears.
The Prime Minister promised that GDP in 2016-17 would increase by 0.5% and in 2017-18 by 1%. The government believes its reckless, out-of-control spending has actually helped the GDP figures. In fact, we just heard the on the other side from Edmonton stand up and espouse the greatness of the GDP. However, in reality, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that for all of the spending in the last few years, GDP has only increased by 0.1% in those two years, which is next to nothing. All that money has been spent for what?
The Liberals, with their reckless spending, claim to help, but the government has spent $60 billion in the past three years. Spending has increased by 20%. Taxes have increased for over 80% of Canadians, and the GDP has actually only gone up by 0.1%. Let that sink in for a second.
Why is this such an issue? With an underperforming Canadian economy, budget 2018 needed to be better. It has negatively impacted Canadians. I believe there is a serious impact on young Canadians, especially young Canadians who are living with disabilities. Since the Liberals have come to power, 81% of middle-income families are seeing higher taxes. So much for helping the middle class and those working hard to join it.
The fact and the reality is that life is much harder under the government. I will stand here and look into that lens and ask people to think about this. In the past two and a half years, has their life become better? I think the overwhelming answer to that would be “no”. I am certainly hearing it in my riding of Barrie—Innisfil. The average family is paying $840 more in taxes than they used to. The carbon tax is another way for the Liberals to make life harder for Canadians.
According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the carbon tax is going to cost the average Canadian family approximately $2,500 or more a year. We would love to find out what the government is charging on this carbon tax and what Canadian families are going to make, but that number that we have asked for has been redacted. The government knows how much it is going to cost the average Canadian family, but it refuses to give us the answer. Yet, here it is asking Canadians to buy into a carbon tax, but buy into what? That is legitimate question. More money will be needed for higher gas prices because everything cascades down in the economy to food and just about everything else, and that is unacceptable. Certainly life will become harder as the carbon tax kicks in.
What is that money used for? What can the average Canadian family use it for? It can be used for putting kids into hockey. It can make things more accessible for day programs, camps, etc., but unfortunately the Liberals just do not get it. Budget 2018 is hard evidence that the Liberal government does not understand that everyday people, the average Canadian family, is not rich enough to afford $2,500 dollars a year in additional carbon taxes. That may be easy for the Prime Minister and the environment minister and the finance minister to afford, but the reality is that the average Canadian family cannot afford that.
Look at the debt. As I mentioned, the Prime Minister has added $60 billion in debt in just three years. In total, each family in this country owes the government $47,612. Budget 2018 has no plan to return to a balanced budget, yet the Prime Minister stood in the last election with his hand over his heart and said that the budget would be balanced by 2019. We know that is not the case because this year it is $19 billion.
The Department of Finance has said and predicted that we will not return to a balanced budget until the year 2045. Think about that for our kids. My 14-year-old will be 41 years old by the time we return to a balanced budget in this country. He is the one who will be paying for the irresponsible spending of the government. During that time frame it is expected that $450 billion will be added to the debt for a total of $1.1 trillion. It is our youth who will pay this debt. Every time I have a school tour, and I have had many of them this week, they asked me about issues. I talk about that debt and deficit because, again, the deficits and debt of today are the tax increases and spending cuts of tomorrow.
Look at the tax credits that have been cut. Budget 2018 takes them right away from families and, I would argue, disproportionately from the people who can least afford it, namely, lower-income and vulnerable Canadians. The budget is a failure of epic proportions for the future of our kids, the future of this country, and there is no way I can support it.