Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to rise to speak to the perspectives and concerns of my constituents, as well as in my role as the shadow minister for transportation, regarding Bill C-97, which is another omnibus bill proposed by the current Liberal government.
I want to begin by commending my hon. colleague, the member for Carleton, for his thoughtful and comprehensive response to the budget. As he so aptly noted, this budget is a string of broken promises and perhaps the most expensive cover-up in history. The Prime Minister and his government are attempting to change the channel on the SNC-Lavalin affair and are using billions of taxpayer dollars to make this happen.
As we all know, the Liberal Party ran on the promise of balancing the budget in 2019. It is a promise made, and it is a promise broken to the tune of $19.8 billion.
For years now, the member for Carleton has repeatedly asked a simple question of the finance minister: When will the budget be balanced? Every time, the finance minister has refused to answer. Despite the minister's refusal, we do know that there is no plan to balance the budget before 2040, if even then. By 2040, the Liberals' current plan would see $271 billion added to our debt. The government has left us with nothing in our back pocket. The Liberals have spent their paycheque, our paycheque and our children's paycheque. If we face another economic downturn, they will spend our great-grandchildren's money as well, long before they have even been born.
In just three years, this Prime Minister has added $60 billion to our national debt, and any comparison to the previous Conservative government's spending is made in bad faith. While the Conservative government faced down the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, this Prime Minister has had nothing but clear sailing. Under the Conservatives, Canada weathered the economic storm better and returned to balanced budgets faster than any other country in the G7. That is because we spent when we needed to and saved when we could.
This Prime Minister has managed to turn a balanced budget and booming world economy into giant deficits and a slowing Canadian economy. While our neighbours to the south enjoyed a 3% growth in 2018, Canada eked out a mere 1.8%. Only a few days ago, the Bank of Canada suggested that we will slow even further this year, to 1.2%.
I know it can be hard to track the numbers. In fact, that is what the Liberals count on. Therefore, let us simplify it: The tens of billions of dollars of wasted, inefficient spending from the current government have done nothing for our economy but bleed it dry. What is the government's response? It is to spend more. The Liberals spend in the good times and the bad. They always spend.
There are only two reasons for a country to have a deficit problem: Either there is a revenue problem or there is a spending problem. With tax revenues actually higher than expected, the answer is clear. The government has a spending problem. In fact, with this budget containing over $41 billion in new spending over the next five years, a seemingly ridiculous question has to be asked: Are the Liberals intentionally spending so recklessly just to stay in deficit? How else can we explain a 20% increase in spending in the first three years of the government's mandate? All of this increased spending is taking place against the backdrop of higher taxes and an increased cost of living brought on by the government.
Over 80% of middle-income Canadians are paying more in taxes now than they were three years ago. This has resulted in many Canadians finding it hard to make ends meet. Almost half of Canadians are within $200 of not being able to pay their bills at the end of the month. Any unforeseen expense would result in these families facing serious financial hardship.
If the government had handled finances better, paid down debt and built a rainy-day fund, we could be cutting taxes for these families and helping them make their payments. Instead, the Liberal government has spent beyond its means and brought in a carbon tax, forcing families to pay more to heat their homes and drive to work. What is even worse is that the Prime Minister is forcing those families to pay the GST on his carbon tax. Imagine that, Madam Speaker, a tax on a tax.
There are two very specific sections on which I would like to comment briefly in my role as the shadow minister for transport in the Conservative caucus. First, I would like to discuss division 12, the government's proposed changes to airport security screening. The Minister of Transport has once again been strong-armed by his colleagues to include drastic changes to the system in a budget implementation act. It appears the minister and the government do not care about the economic well-being of our transportation system, or in this case the air passenger system.
At committee today, we heard that over the past two years, the Liberal government has time and again assaulted the Canadian airline industry with new taxes and costs without thought to how these changes will impact air passengers. Not only that, the government is rushing legislative and regulatory changes through to meet an artificial deadline.
The proposed changes in division 12 contain another example of this. Rather than consult and facilitate negotiations between the parties on a new security screening entity and its assets, the Liberals are ramming drastic changes through Parliament and down the throats of the industry. This will hurt not only airlines but also passengers. For years, governments have paid out less than they collected in the airport security fee that air passengers were charged. This means that passengers have already paid for CATSA assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
In a ridiculous move, the government's changes will force Canadian travellers to pay for these assets all over again, without due consideration for their depreciation or their actual value. This will doubtless result in higher ticket prices before even accounting for the carbon tax. The out-of-touch Prime Minister does not get that most Canadians do not have a taxpayer-funded private jet at their disposal for weekend cross-country surfing trips. Most Canadians have to save in order to afford a vacation. Those average Canadians are the ones who will pay for the reckless, heavy-handed changes in this bill. From making Canadians pay a tax on a tax to forcing Canadian travellers to pay for screening equipment twice, the government is better than the sheriff of Nottingham at squeezing taxes out of Canadians.
Finally, I would like to briefly discuss division 11, which contains changes to the Pilotage Act. Based on conversations I have had with stakeholders, I do not have deep concerns with the proposed changes, but it is very disappointing that these proposed changes were once again buried in a budget implementation act. Improvements to the Pilotage Act will reinforce Canada's commitment to a safe and efficient marine transportation system supported by a legal and legislative framework.
Given that, an oil tanker moratorium in any region of the country is an insult to both marine pilots and shippers alike. An arbitrary shipping ban based on an ideological election promise is basically an admission that the government believes there is no way marine pilots or shippers can do the job they have been trained to do. This is an insult to the entire industry.
As I said earlier, this entire budget is a litany of broken promises: a broken promise to balance the budget, a broken promise to help the middle class and a broken promise by introducing an omnibus bill. Come October, Canadians will remind the government of the cost of broken promises.