Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to resume debate on Bill C-74.
In the first part of my speech, I presented some interesting arguments to show how the government had no qualms about using time allocation motions last week to prevent members on this side of the House from debating the budget bill longer. However, it is a most important bill for all our constituents.
The mandate letters of the various ministers were made public, and now there is a document entitled, “Mandate Letter Tracker: Delivering results for Canadians”, which is a government report card. With regard to the government's promise to balance the budget in 2019-20, the anticipated result was to balance the budget over the long-term and continue to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio. The government says that results are “underway - with challenges” and it gives itself a good mark, even though the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Department of Finance are saying that, the way things are going, the government will not balance the budget until 2045. It is absolutely unbelievable. I hope that someone will change that report card to read, “underway with no hope of success” or even “in jeopardy” if we are talking about the current government's economy. I think that “in jeopardy” would be the most appropriate term, not with regard to the Liberals' promise but with regard to the way they are managing our country and government.
They made another big promise. I remember being very impressed, because it was the first Speech from the Throne I had ever attended as a new MP. We filed into the Senate to hear the Governor General deliver the throne speech. One sentence from that speech stayed with me, “...that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” I remember quite well that this was going to be the last election to use that voting method.
This bill is so long and covers so many different subjects that we already did not have enough time to talk about them all. The government decided to include so many things in its budget that, unfortunately, many of us will not have the chance to share our constituents' points of view. However, that is typical of what we have been seeing from this government since it took office in 2015. It makes a lot of promises, but it hardly ever keeps any of them. Case in point, they should not be resorting to omnibus bills that include everything but the kitchen sink. That was one of the promises the Liberals made. Unfortunately, since 2015, the Liberals have imposed 38 time allocation motions to silence opposition members, but it is not just opposition members they are silencing.
The important thing to understand is that cutting off the opposition MPs does not mean the government MPs get more speaking time on these bills. The Liberals outnumber us, so when they pass such a motion, they are depriving more Canadians of their right to have their representative speak in the House. This is completely consistent with the way the government has been running this country since taking office in 2015.
There are many other promises that the government has not kept, such as the promise to post modest deficits. The Liberals practically got elected on that promise. They promised to kick-start the economy by posting very modest deficits, not for very long, just a year or two. They promised to reduce the deficits after that and to balance the budget in 2019-20. These are not my words, they are the government's own words.
What happened next? The Liberals realized that reforming the system would lose them votes. Some Canadians would not vote for them. The reform they had in mind would not have benefited them, so they scrapped the idea.
That's another promise they waved away as though it were something off-putting. The worst part is that they made a committee do a lot of work on it. They made a lot of people work on it. They even set up a website to find out what Canadians were thinking. All of that money was spent for nothing. Once they settled into the government benches, the Liberals' plan for change vanished. They were well aware that the changes Canadians wanted would not work in their favour.
We can forget about greater transparency, as well. In a few minutes, I will talk about the secret they are keeping about the carbon tax and what it will really cost every Canadian family and every Canadian farm. They do not want Canadians to know.
How much will the carbon tax cost Canadian farms? We have asked that question in the House more times than I can count, but we never get an answer. We know the numbers exist. We saw a very nice document that explains how the carbon tax will affect average families. Unfortunately, those are the only legible words in the report. The rest was all redacted and hidden. They are keeping that secret. It seems the promise of greater transparency has gone out the window.
The Liberals also promised not to resort to muzzling the opposition. I am going to skip over that, since I talked about it earlier. I think it is pretty clear.
They promised they would not negotiate away one litre of milk, one egg, or one chicken to the Americans. They promised to protect supply management in all negotiations. What happened? Unfortunately, the Prime Minister does not pay attention to what is said here. He is not interested in what is said here. He is not interested in what the Minister of Finance thinks. He is not interested in what the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie told us here today. When the Prime Minister is speaking to Americans rather than Canadians, he tells the truth, he says what he really thinks. What he said is that he is willing to be more flexible in terms of allowing Americans access to the Canadian dairy market. That is the reality.
On this side of the House, we continue to insist that we need to maintain and protect supply management. Yes, the Liberals are protecting the current system, but there will be nothing left to protect once they are through with it. How much will they trade away to the Americans? Will it be 2%, 4%, or 10%, to save face for the Prime Minister, because he could not reach a deal on NAFTA with them? That is the real question.
We know that this government has a spending problem. When something is not working, it tends to take taxpayers' money to try to fix its own mistakes. We saw this with Kinder Morgan. The government is spending $4.5 billion. It could have done something 18 months ago, when the pipeline was approved, but it did nothing. It could have done something 11 months ago, when the B.C. government clearly expressed its opposition to the pipeline, but it did nothing.
Suddenly he wakes up, realizes there is a problem and that the project will not move forward, and he wonders what to do next.
Instead of taking action, the Liberals decided to pick taxpayers' pockets. It is money that we do not have because the money does not exist. We are already in debt and running a deficit. We are sending this money to the U.S. to let this company build pipelines that will compete with the future pipeline owned by all Canadians, here in Canada. Furthermore, we are buying an aging 60-year-old pipeline. There is no talk of expansion yet, even though the bill that was approved was for the expansion of Kinder Morgan. The $4.5 billion will not expand anything, it will only buy old tubes. In order for this to function, we are going to have to invest another $7 billion, according to the company's estimates.
Thanks to my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, we learned today that the book value of this 60-year-old pipeline is not $4.5 billion but $2.5 billion. That is the company's evaluation. However, the government decided to pay $4.5 billion. This is completely consistent with the government's way of thinking: it spends without counting taxpayers' money and says that it is all right to spend more because it already has a deficit. That is not right. It will make all the difference to the services that our children will be able to access in 10, 20, or 30 years. They will not be able to access services because all we will have are deficits and debts to pay. That is how this government operates.
The Liberals can oppose the excellent bill introduced by the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, which would give more money to young families. They can oppose it and say that they are doing this and that for our young people, and that it is a very targeted tax credit.
Of course, the Liberals cannot support the opposition on a good bill like that. However, they can fork out $4.5 billion for a pipeline that already exists. That does not even include the expansion. The budget was a reflection of this government's management style.
I am the agriculture and agri-food shadow minister, so I would be remiss if I did not take a little time to talk about what budget 2018 has in terms of agriculture. Nothing. There is absolutely nothing in budget 2018 in terms of agriculture. This clearly shows that agriculture is not a priority for the Liberal government.
I figured that I had surely missed something in a budget with so many pages. I rose and asked the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food about what agricultural measures were in budget 2018. The minister rose and started talking about measures adopted in budget 2017, saying that budget 2018 was a good budget for farmers. This shows that the Liberals are completely disconnected from the reality facing farmers.
There are a few local issues we would have liked to see addressed in Bill C-74. In Thetford Mines, for example, we have the Fonds Christian Paradis, which seeks to diversify our regional economy.
The government decided to ban the use of asbestos in Canada. However, there is still a pile of mine tailings in Thetford Mines. The city is surrounded by it. Asbestos is prohibited, but the mine tailings are left there as though nothing happened.
Millions of dollars are available to clean up mining land in uninhabited areas, but when it comes to cleaning up mining land in urban areas where people live, there is nothing. The government needs to assume responsibility for these decisions and make sure that when it decides to shut down an industry that it helps the town return to normal and repair years of mining development. Many governments benefited greatly over all those years from the royalties from asbestos mining.
I wanted to talk about broadband Internet. Despite the programs in place, we still have a lot of problems in our regions. I would have liked a firm decision stating that the Internet is an essential service in every region of Canada. We cannot get far without the Internet these days. Imagine someone who is thinking about buying a house in Piopolis or in Woburn. He is so pleased to have found his dream home. He grabs his cellphone to talk to his wife, to tell her to come see it, but there is no cell signal. The house will stay where it is and he will not buy it.
In closing, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Provencher:
That the amendment be amended by adding the following: “and that the Committee report back to the House no later than June 15, 2018.”