Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again to speak on the budget.
I am not going to talk about the government's betrayal of Canadians with its promise to balance the budget this year. In March alone, we saw a $15-billion deficit. I am not going to talk about how there is next to nothing to support the people in Alberta in this budget, or how this transparent government is actually hiding stuff.
In fact, in the budget, the government is hiding billions of dollars of tax increases in an opaque line called “[net] impact of non-announced measures”. It is $5.7 billion. Perhaps the government is saying that it is not tax increases but program cuts. However, seeing how the government has a definite love affair with spending, I can only assume it is tax increases.
We have actually asked the finance department what is in the $5.7 billion, in the net impact of non-announced measures. The department says it cannot answer; it is a secret. I have to ask the government why it is hiding this information from us.
I also want to respond to the comments of one of the government members earlier, bragging about the great increase in foreign investment in Canada. I just happened to be looking at an OECD report that actually shows that the net outflow of the country, since the Liberal government came to power, is $166 billion. At the same time, the net inflow into Trump's America is actually around the $500-billion mark. We can see the actions of the Liberal government.
Instead of talking about these items, I am going to read into the record some comments from my constituents in Edmonton West. These are real voices of real Canadians. These are not the voices of special interest groups that the Liberals are in such thrall of, such as Unifor, which the government is putting on the media bailout advisory board, or Leadnow or the Tides Foundation.
I am going to talk about real Canadians, not the special interest groups that control the government, such as SNC-Lavalin or Bombardier. Of course, we all remember the millions of taxpayers' dollars given to Bombardier in a handout in order for it to give bonuses to its executives. I am not going to read into the record comments on the budget from other Liberal puppet masters, such as Irving.
I want to talk about the voices of real Canadians. Their voices should be heard. I was out door-knocking recently and ran into a gentleman holding his brand new granddaughter, who was about three weeks old. He was a pipefitter. He had been employed his entire life working on pipelines. He had been laid off a while ago, and his EI had run out. He was left with nothing.
We have a government that cannot seem to make a simple decision on TMX. This is a government that killed the energy east pipeline by putting rules and regulations on Canadian and Alberta oil that we do not put on Venezuela oil or Saudi Arabia oil. The government stopped energy east because it wants to start measuring downstream and upstream emissions, and at the same time it is subsidizing jet-makers and carmakers.
This is the same government that recently gave $14 million to the wealthy owners of Loblaws. To put it in perspective, the government gave a $14-million grant to the second-wealthiest person in Canada. It was not the 1% of 1% of 1% of 1%. It gave a $14-million grant to someone who is wealthier than 37,599,098 other Canadians. The government prioritized this over helping out people in Alberta.
I met recently with someone in my constituency office, a lady named Catherine. She and her husband, and their family, used to have a thriving trucking business. Due to Liberal actions and what has been going on with trying to phase out our oil sands and our energy industry, as the Prime Minister said, their company has been driven out of business. They have lost their house. Their family has broken down. The husband has left.
These are real people and real issues that we need to hear about, not just wealthy people like Weston or the other people who are very cuddly with the Liberal Party.
I want to read into the record some of the comments I have received. Pat says, “As a senior I am worse than I was a year ago. Prices have gone up due to the carbon tax…nothing has been done for our oil situation and jobs in the West.”
Margaret says, “Worse off. Higher food prices, higher cost of utilities, carbon tax, too much tax taken off senior’s income.”
Someone by the name of J. says, “Much worse off than compared to 2017. Carbon tax is killing the Alberta economy and many businesses are closed. No pipeline being approved by the Liberals is devastating.”
It is not just energy east that the Liberals killed off. They also killed off the northern gateway. That was actually killed off by a cabinet order, a cabinet at the time that included two members from the Liberal Party of Alberta at the table, as well as the member for Calgary Centre, who is famous for saying he was going to bang on his desk for pipelines. However, tumbleweeds and crickets could be heard when they killed it off, rather than that member in the House. Edmonton's own member for Edmonton Mill Woods, supposedly the senior Liberal minister representing Alberta, was nowhere to be seen on the energy file while pipelines were killed off and Albertans have continued to suffer.
There are people who, with all of the added taxes, are worse off than a year ago. Elected officials need to lead us in a fiscally better direction and not get into bed with business to benefit themselves or only one section of the country. I have to ask why is the government constantly subsidizing carbon-producing companies while at the same time trying to drive out energy business?
Louise says, “All we have done is paid more and more taxes, losing money bit by bit.... Get the pipeline going to create jobs.” Amy says, “Worse, no question. The cost of everything has gone up and salaries have stayed the same. We are financially struggling to make ends meet. I am now a stay at home mom that works part time evenings and weekends because childcare is not affordable. This means we get no time together as a family. The government thinks we make too much money so we do not qualify for anything beyond $80/month CTB. Something has to give.”
These are the people who the government says are too well off, so that it had to take away the bus credit, too well off so that it had to take away the child tax credit, too wealthy so that it had to take away the arts credit and so well off that the mum has to work part time to keep things going. Under the Liberal government they are too well off.
At the same time, the government is giving $475 million in taxpayers' money to subsidize wealthy people to buy electric cars. For $45,000, if someone were to take a four-year loan at typical 5% to 6% interest rates, with tax, they would pay about $1,000 a month for that brand new Nissan Leaf or other electric vehicles. That is fine. If someone is wealthy enough to afford $1,000 a month for an electric car, the government will give them $5,000 cash.
However, with Elaine, who has to go back to work part time to help out her family, the government says she is making too much money. It wants her to go back to work, and it will take away the benefits she had, such as having her kids in a sports program or perhaps taking piano lessons. That is the priority of the government.
The Liberals spent a million dollars to send out politically motivated postcards to advise people about a carbon tax rebate they would get in Ontario; a million dollars. We asked if it was on recycled paper. No, it was not, although it was a postcard with environmental information. Is it recycled? No, it does not use recycled paper. Were carbon offsets used for the production or for the delivery? No, they were not, yet the Liberal government will spend a million dollars to send these out.
I want to talk about a charity that is dear to my heart in West Edmonton called the Elves Special Needs Society, which looks after the most severely disabled adults, young people and children in Edmonton. They are dear to my heart. I spend a lot of time with them. It is a wonderful organization. They have to pay the carbon tax on their facility. They look after about 200 adults. They have to pay the carbon tax. They do not get a rebate or any help from the government. A year ago, they had to go to the food bank to beg for adult diapers for their clients there, and yet somehow the government has a million dollars to spend on postcards for a rebate.
The government somehow $14 million it could give to Galen Weston, the second-wealthiest of 37 million Canadians. We have money for him, but for the most disadvantaged Canadians, the government is saying they should go to the food bank to get adult diapers to help out. It is disgraceful.
I am going to go on.
Loretta says, “Personally I am worse off and my husband is yet to see the impact of changes that the Liberal government has made for income, small business issues, and generally the stability of Canada.”
“Things are worse off than a year ago”, says Mark, because “Wages are not only staying the same but in some instances, depending on the industry, some people are taking a cut in wages anywhere from 10-40%. Have our leaders pay full taxes on their earnings and then take a pay cut like the rest of us.”
The parliamentary budget office stated last year that fully 40% of the average wage increase in Canada was solely from Ontario and Alberta raising their minimum wages. If we take away those, actual wages have dropped below the rate of inflation, and yet the Liberal government is so busy patting itself on the bank it is throwing its arms out.
Al says, “I feel we are worse off, as the old age pension has not increased for years. Utilities go up, gas goes up, food goes up, pensions don’t go up.” That seems to be the goal of the government, push everything up.
Albertans, and in fact all Canadians, are not getting ahead. They are not even staying even. They are falling behind and the government does not seem to care one whit about it.