Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join in tonight's debate on the main estimates. Most Canadians who follow parliamentary procedure understand that the main estimates are all about granting spending authority to the government. Therefore, for the next few minutes I want to talk a bit about spending, not so much in the context of the main estimates, but more in the context of the out-of-control spending that is being exhibited by the current government.
To get a fulsome view of what I mean, I want to go back a few years to 2015. During the 2015 election campaign, the Liberal Party at the time made many campaign promises, most of which of course it has broken. However, I want to focus in on only one of those broken promises, and that is the promise that the Liberals made that, if elected, they would run modest deficits of no more than $10 billion, and that they would be temporary. The Liberals also promised that these temporary $10-billion deficits would be eliminated by the end of their first term; in other words, they were saying that they would be back to balanced by 2019. That is not just a broken promise, that is a shattered promise, because we are nowhere near balancing the federal budget by next year. In fact, we have found from documents provided by the government's own finance department that even if there is no new spending, the earliest the government could see a balanced budget would be the year 2045. To put it another way, if a 16-year old young man or young woman today wanted to see a balanced budget in this country, he or she would be 44 years old by the time that happened. It is shameful what the government is doing to the finances of this country.
We should not be surprised because, after all, excessive spending is in the Liberal DNA. We have seen this time and again over successive Liberal governments. In fact, the current Prime Minister's own father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, when he was in power for 16 years, was considered the most profligate spender probably in parliamentary history. To prove my point, I would offer this observation.
In 1984, when former Prime Minister Trudeau finally left office, Canadians and the Canadian government were spending $1.03 for every dollar that it took in in revenue. We should think about that for just a moment. How can Canadians who try and run an efficient household balance their own budgets if they continuously borrow and go further into debt? It cannot be done. Eventually, the rope runs out, the borrowing has to end, and the debt has to be repaid. Unfortunately, the current government does not seem to recognize that, because it continues to borrow and rack up massive deficits and incur more debt. Referring back to former Prime Minister Trudeau, Canadians are still trying to pay off the debt that he incurred during his 16 years in office.
We have also seen that the apple does not fall far from the tree, because the current Prime Minister has taken the same Keynesian approach to fiscal management, or in his case mismanagement, that we have seen from his father. We have seen the current Prime Minister rack up deficit upon deficit with no idea how to balance his own budget or the budget of his government.
That attitude has actually prevailed upon the current finance minister. I point out that only a few short weeks ago, the finance minister appeared himself before the finance committee. During that testimony, he was asked on multiple occasions by the Conservative finance critic, the hon. member for Carleton, when the federal budget would be balanced. On multiple occasions he was asked that very simple question, and the finance minister could not respond, and did not respond. The reason he could not and did not respond is quite simple. It is because the finance minister does not know when the budget will be balanced.
I think that is absolutely shameful, that the chief financial officer of our country does not even know when his own budget can be balanced or will be balanced. No Canadian taxpayer should have to put up with that ineptness. We see it time and time again by the government, in everything it does, in every public document it puts forward.
It is not just this massive deficit that the government is racking up that is of concern. To exacerbate the problem of the runaway deficits, the government continues to raise taxes on Canadians. One of the other broken promises by the Liberal government during the 2015 campaign is that it would lower taxes for the middle class, but it has done just the opposite. In fact, a recent study published by the Fraser Institute indicates that over 80% of Canadians today are paying more taxes than they did in 2015. They are paying higher income taxes and payroll taxes.
Now, on top of all of that, the Liberal government wants to introduce a job-killing carbon tax. We heard earlier today, from several of my colleagues, the problems with this so-called revenue-neutral carbon tax. Let us be clear, there is nothing revenue-neutral about the proposed carbon tax, nothing even remotely close to it.
The simplest way to try to explain how a carbon tax is supposed to work, according to the Liberal government, is that for every dollar taxed Canadians, to disincentivize them from perhaps using oil or gas or any other non-renewable resource, the government would refund that money back to that individual. It is simply not true. If it was, if every time I was taxed $100, I knew I was getting $100 back, why would the government bother taxing me to begin with? It makes absolutely no sense.
According to the government, its rationale is this, if we disincentivize all Canadians by raising prices on everything, on home heating, on gas, on oil, they will stop using those products, they will change their consumer habits, and they will stop using things that the government thinks are pollutants.
That does not work. All we need to do is take a look at what is happening today in British Columbia, where the gas prices for a litre of gas is on the north side of $1.60 a litre. Has that changed consumer habits? No. Why has it not? Quite simply, Canadians still need to get to work, soccer moms need to take their kids to the soccer pitch on Saturday morning, and $1.60 a litre does not stop them from doing it. All it does is it takes more money out of their pockets, and it makes them and all Canadians far worse off and far less affluent.
This is the record of the Liberal Party: higher deficits, higher taxes, and now a threat to impose a job-killing carbon tax. A year from now, in 2019, Canadians will be given a clear choice. Do they want to re-elect a government that has raised taxes, that has increased deficits and debt, and that has imposed a carbon tax, or do they want to elect a Conservative government that will lower taxes and balance budgets?
I can assure the House that I have the utmost respect for the intelligence of the Canadian taxpayer, and because of that I know, come 2019, we will be seeing a new Conservative majority government here in Ottawa.