Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for constituents in the snowy upper Ottawa Valley riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, it is an honour to be their representative in this place.
In 2019, there is a sense among Canadians that the promise of progress, the idea that with hard work everyone could build a better life, is no longer true. The greatest threat to Canada's prosperity today is government, not climate change. Any country faced with massive government interference can be brought to starvation. Blaming poverty on climate change not only lets the government off the hook for bad policy but also encourages the enactment of harmful, inhumane policies.
Today's poverty has little to do with climate change. The most commonly held characteristics of affluent countries are greater personal liberty, private property rights, the rule of law, and an economic system closer to capitalism than to Communism. That is the recipe for prosperity.
The first thing that hits Canadians when they look at the budget document is that there is no plan for balanced budgets. This is a socialist budget.
Economists and the marketplace are telling Canadians that we will be in a recession within the next 12 to 18 months that will significantly impact the underlying projections that budgets are based on, as well as the fact that the government has been wildly spending at a time when Canada should have continued with the balanced budget policy that was left to them by our previous Conservative government.
Compounding the recession that is coming are the foreign policy failures of the government, particularly the inability of the Prime Minister to manage trade policy, first with our largest trading partner, America, and the tariffs on lumber and steel, and then with the trans-Pacific partnership that was basically handed to the government by our previous Conservative government, ready to go, and now with China and the dispute that is causing our farmers to suffer.
The government may be optimistically predicting GDP growth over the next year; however, the external shock of not ratifying the new NAFTA deal, the loss of confidence in the stock market in how Canada is managed and the broader fallout of a U.S.-China trade war mean all bets are off when it comes to predicting the size and duration of any future recession.
Canadians understand that when government runs a deficit, particularly one of the size and duration we see today in the 2019 budget document and Bill C-97, it means the Liberal Party is basically handing the bill not just to the next generation but to generations after that. It is recognized that there will be a price someone will have to pay, and it will be our children, grandchildren and their children.
This budget is being likened to someone being bought a very expensive gift, only to find out it was their own credit card that was being used to pay for it. If the gift was a shirt, it would be made of cheap cloth and two sizes too small.
People who live in Ontario have seen this all before. Canadians who follow my speeches in the House of Commons will have been warned about disgraced former prime minister top aide Gerry Butts, who was forced to resign over his role in the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal. As a principal political operative for Dalton McGuinty and whatever backroom dealings he had with McGuinty's defeated party replacement, by trashing the Ontario economy, disgraced former PMO operative Gerald Butts can share the credit for the Toronto Liberal policy of “heat or eat” among seniors and others on fixed incomes.
In Ottawa, “heat or eat” refers to the carbon tax.
Canadians would not be as familiar with Butts' close buddy, Ben Chin, until the SNC-Lavalin scandal exposed his backroom role in that sordid affair. During the former attorney general's testimony before the House of Commons justice committee, she mentioned two names. The disgraced Gerry Butts was mentioned five times, and the now-infamous Ben Chin seven times.
In Ottawa, Ben Chin is chief of staff to the finance minister. In his role as political commissar, as was made clear during the SNC-Lavalin testimony, Ben Chin is there to promote the interests of his party over the good of Canadians.
This is a critical point to raise during the budget implementation debate, as Canadians need to be aware of Ben Chin and whether the interference role he had in Toronto is now happening in Ottawa, and at what scale.
Mr. Chin joined the finance minister's office as senior adviser and worked with the minister on the rollout of the government's third budget. The decision to hire Mr. Chin for the top position in the finance minister's office suggests a desire on Gerald Butts' part for an individual to keep close tabs on the finance minister.
That change marked the second significant staffing move in the finance minister's office. Previously, the Prime Minister's policy adviser, Justin To, another of Butts' confidants named in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, was shifted from the Prime Minister's Office to take over as policy and budget director for the finance minister. Ben Chin played the same role with former principal secretary Gerald Butts in Toronto in the disgraced Dalton McGuinty regime: run interference.
Well-informed observer Parker Gallant said this in the blog “Energy Perspectives”:
For the benefit of those who didn’t follow Ontario politics during the McGuinty/Wynne era, it’s worth pointing out both Gerry Butts and Ben Chin played significant roles in Ontario, especially the ill-fated electricity file.
Butts is credited as the mastermind behind Dalton McGuinty’s election as Ontario’s Premier: Butts was, according to the Toronto Star, “the man they call ‘the brains behind the operation’ and policy architect of the Liberal government since 2003.”
Butts left the McGuinty government in mid-2008, after he and the Ontario Liberal team set the stage for the Green Energy Act, by pushing for renewable wind and solar projects and to close coal plants. Butts went off to lead the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) for four years before joining [the Prime Minister] as his political advisor.
The article continues:
Ben Chin, engaged as a “political advisor” to Dalton McGuinty, was the McGuinty candidate chosen to run against the NDP’s Peter Tabuns in a byelection in 2006. Chin lost, but returned as a “senior advisor” to Premier McGuinty’s office where he again worked with Gerry Butts. Chin left for the private sector and a short while later was hired back as Vice President Communications for the OPA (Ontario Power Authority). The OPA was the creation of Dwight Duncan when he was McGuinty’s Minister of Energy and became the Crown corporation to enact the myriad of things mired in the Green Energy & Green Economy Act (GEA).
Chin later became embroiled in the “gas plant” scandal as the Premier’s principal contact with the negotiating team dealing with TransCanada et al on compensation issues related to the cancellation. Ontario’s ratepayers know how that turned out! While Chin occupied his position with the OPA, [former executive director of the environmental group Energy Probe] Tom Adams and I were investigating the gas plant scandal by reviewing thousands of documents.
Mr. Gallant goes on:
The following reveals some of our findings in an article I wrote about the “smart grid” and a Brad Duguid directive.
Co-incidentally (noted by Tom Adams), the Duguid directive is dated the same day as the e-mail exchange between Alicia Johnston (formerly a senior political staffer for Energy Minister Brad Duguid, later promoted to the Premier’s Office) and Ben Chin (a senior Ontario Power Authority executive).