Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate today and it is important that we raise some issues with the statistics the government is using and the rhetoric coming out of it.
When I go back to my constituency outside of Edmonton, Alberta, I knock on doors and talk to people at their homes or their businesses. They tell me how they feel about the economy and how it has impacted their personal lives. It does not match up with rhetoric coming out of the government.
Recent reports say that many families in Canada are $200 away from insolvency, from paying their bills at the end of the month. That is the reality in my constituency. People in my constituency are making the choice this month between paying their car payment or heating their homes. Many people have already lost their homes. Because of the downturn in the energy sector and because the government has failed to get pipelines built to new markets so we can get an equitable and fair price for our excellent energy resources, families are suffering.
When I knock on doors, I see the many for sale signs. In one cul-de-sac, four out of eight houses are up for sale and they have been up for sale for months. People keep cutting the prices and they are losing money. They do not have jobs and no one is buying their houses. The reality the government talks about is not the reality we see in our communities, especially in Alberta.
The government talks about one million new jobs. I look at the immigration statistics. It is wonderful that our country is bringing in so many great permanent residents and new Canadians who can contribute to our economy. However, we are bringing in on average more than 250,000 people every year, people who we need for our economy. We have brought in 250,000 people every year for the last four years and that is one million people. Those people need jobs. This is not even counting the Canadians who are turning age 18 every year who also need jobs. When we talk about one million new jobs, over one million new Canadians need jobs. We need the government to be more robust in job creation. One million jobs is just the baseline level that we need to sustain our economy.
When we are talking about GDP per capita, we actually are seeing it go down because the Liberals are not creating enough jobs, and they are not high-paying jobs. More and more people work their whole lives, people like my grandmother who still works as a nurse at the age of 71 and she is proud and happy to work. However, the baby boomer generation is beginning to retire. We see a demographic shift in the country, which immigration is doing a lot to help, which shows that the number of working-age people to retired people is shrinking.
When we have that combined with a government that is running bigger and bigger deficits, with no plan to deal with the shrinking workforce, we are headed to an economic disaster. The government promised it would run sustainable deficits, that there would be deficits of no more than $10 billion a year and in four years, it would bring a balanced budget. We are in year four. The report today from Finance Canada states that the government spent $15 billion in the month of March alone, March madness. How is this sustainable government spending?
We are facing at least a $15 billion deficit this year, and that is far beyond what the government promised to do and certainly not anywhere close to getting a balanced budget. When we have numbers like these, how will we be prepared for the economy of the future? Our workers are increasingly getting older and we do not see the kind of productivity gains that we need in order to sustain ourselves going into the future.
We can look at places like Calgary. Now this is not the federal government's responsibility, but property taxes have gone up for business owners by 99% in the last four years. That is because the entire energy sector in Alberta has been decimated. Therefore, the government, at the city level, needs to increase taxes, and it is doing that. It is not cutting spending. More businesses are shutting down. We are seeing small retail businesses in Edmonton and in Calgary having to shut down because they cannot sustain their operations.
The federal government is not looking at the holistic picture of our economy. It is not looking at where our provincial or municipal governments are. It does not see that taxes are going up at provincial and municipal levels. Instead, it has decided to pile on its own layer of taxes.
We have new carbon taxes. We have new taxes on small business owners, on their passive income, on their savings. We have a significant increase in payroll taxes. We are seeing an increase in the amount of money that workers and employers need to pay into CPP. This is having a stunting effect on wage growth in the country.
We can look at our neighbour to the south. Usually when the economy of the United States is doing well, which it is now, it is over 3% annualized growth, we can expect the Canadian economy to pick up in a similar way. However, our economy is at an annualized growth of 0.4%. It is pathetic. It is barely above inflation.
Canadians are unable keep up. Their wage growth is not keeping up with the increased costs of living, and not just from inflation but from the Liberal government's increased taxes.
I was door knocking last Saturday in my constituency and I met a family. The first thing the parents asked me was why the Liberal government got rid of income splitting for families. They wanted to know why it got rid of the children's arts and fitness tax credits? That paid for their daughter to go to dance.
The government talks about the Canada child benefit. The Canada child benefit is an important program. It builds upon the universal child care benefit that our previous Conservative government created. However, when the Liberals talked about how they increased money to families, they did not talk about where the money came from. It came from gutting the children's fitness and arts tax credits. It came from getting rid of family income splitting. It came from lowering the amount of money families could save through the TFSA, from $10,000 to $5,000.
The Liberals are increasing taxes on families on the one hand by getting rid of tax credits that middle-class families and lower-income families were using and then giving them money through an increased government program. It is not increased benefits; it is increasing benefits and increasing taxes. It is just a shell game.
Now I want to talk about the so-called tax increase on the wealthiest 1%. The misconception and the falsehood behind that argument is that it is not a tax on the wealthiest 1%,; it is a tax on the 1% of highest earners. There is a huge difference when we are talking about the 1% of highest earners and the 1% of the wealthy. Today, as we have seen, KPMG just made a deal with CRA so the true wealthiest 1% of the country got a huge tax deal from the CRA.
When we see what the government's actions are on the wealthiest 1%, it is when the CRA makes deals with KPMG for the actual 1%. People who have intergenerational wealth built up through generations, really pay very little income tax, because they do not need to work.
What families are we talking about when it comes to the highest 1% of income earners? We are talking about recent medical graduates, dental graduates, lawyers, people who go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to get the skills our society needs, skills that are highly valued in our society and that pay well. These people are often getting out of school with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, especially if they went to the United States for school. They come back to Canada, work for a few years, get to that high income level and the government tells them they are wealthiest 1%, that they need to pay more income taxes.
Instead of targeting those people, we should be trying to bring them back to Canada and encouraging them to stay and practise here. We should be going after the actual wealthiest 1%, the people who hide their money offshore, the people get deals from the CRA. That is the wealthiest 1%; that is the wealthiest 1% the government will never touch because it is focused on playing class warfare politics with Canadians.
Then we are talking about—