Madam Speaker, this is a time when Canadians are looking for stability, safety and comfort. Ultimately, they are looking for a plan. They deserve more than simply a show, which, unfortunately, is what they got. They are looking for answers, for a solid plan, for a way forward, for more than simply the empty pages that they received.
Instead of working collaboratively with opposition parties to come up with a solution, the Liberals made the decision to shut out those on the opposition side. In years past when there have been wars, it has been common that there would be a war cabinet. Individuals from different parties got together and were given the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and ideas to the policy that would bring us forward.
What resulted from the team Liberal approach were significant delays in the delivery of support for Canadians. Tens of thousands of Canadians got left behind.
Earlier in the year, provincial governments across the country pushed for temporary shutdowns so that plans could be created to get up and running in a very safe capacity. Parliament was also shut down, businesses were closed and people stayed home for long periods of time. Everyone assumed that it was simply a provisional pause that would allow us to put a plan in place to move forward within a framework of safety. Months have passed and still there is no economic recovery plan present. It begs the question: Why not?
On August 18, the Prime Minister had the Governor General prorogue Parliament. He justified this extreme action by saying that he would deliver a Speech from the Throne, and within it he said that he would deliver, “a “bold” agenda for [Canada's] economic recovery”.
After the shutdown, many speculated that this was not in fact going to be the case, that really he prorogued Parliament in order to bring a stop to the scandal with respect to $912 million being rolled out the door and given to the WE Charity Foundation, a foundation that has benefited his friends and family. Those were the speculations; however, the content of the speech would prove that perhaps the speculations are in fact true.
There were three parliamentary committees that were starting to get to the bottom of the WE scandal. Documents that would bring light to the government's involvement were on their way to the committees, just when the Prime Minister pushed the big red stop button. Is it a coincidence? I think not.
A throne speech is an opportunity for the government to outline a vision and a plan, a way forward for the people of Canada. My colleagues and I were hoping the Prime Minister would use this as an opportunity for a reset. He would have prioritized the approval for rapid test kits, the acquisition of vaccines and support for local communities across this country. We were expecting a detailed economic recovery plan that would emphasize the importance of two economic engines that are necessary for our recovery as a nation: namely, energy and agriculture. We anticipated a message of unity that would cast a grand vision to bring the people of this great country together from coast to coast toward a common goal called “recovery”.
There was no leadership taken. There was no vision put forward. There certainly was no plan presented. It was an absolute disappointment. The throne speech instead was filled with fluff, visions of rainbows and the promise of unicorns. Rather than presenting a concrete plan, the speech contained platitudes and regurgitated, recycled promises from Liberal platforms of old. There was nothing new, only a repackaging of what had previously been stated. There was no leadership, no vision, no plan.
What we can expect now is millions and millions of dollars to go out the door. Do not get me wrong: Millions and millions and billions have already left. There was no plan to balance the budget, but the money continues to roll out. Where is all the money coming from? No one seems to know. Following the speech, in his address to the nation, the Prime Minister said, “I don’t want you or your parent or your friend to take on debt that your government can better shoulder.” The fact of the matter is there is no money tree and governments can only get their money from one source: taxation, Canadians.
The Prime Minister is spending the next generation's paycheques. He wants our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren to pay for his spending long after he is gone. Programs will be cut. Essential services will be cut. Taxes will skyrocket.
Individual Canadians will be left on the hook. They will have to pay the bill for the Prime Minister's spending, which comes at a significant cost to Canadians, simply for his political gain.
Again, there is no plan, just a lot of money rolling out the door.
No other conclusion can be drawn, except that the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament to distract Canadians from his massive ethical breach within the WE scandal. He shut everything down to protect himself. Once again, the Prime Minister proved that he is more about protecting his image than serving the well-being of Canadians by presenting a concrete way forward.
He keeps saying that we need to build back better. What he really means is that he is taking his time to choose which sectors he believes are worthy of resurrection and which deserve to die. He is picking winners and losers based on his ideological agenda. Those in the west are entirely shut out. It is shameful.
The Prime Minister has turned a blind eye to energy and agriculture, never mind that the need for energy grows day by day, or the fact that food is essential to life. These two industries do not make the cut when it comes to the current Prime Minister and his political agenda, so they just get left out in the cold.
The worst thing about having an activist prime minister is that he rarely focuses on the things that are good for everyone, that are good for the whole and that would unify this country. Instead, subgroups, pet projects and ideological agendas are what take the cake. They reign supreme, while entire parts of the country and key responsibilities of the government are shelved. They are completely ignored.
The Prime Minister often speaks about clean growth and a green future, but what he fails to mention is that Canada's oil and gas industry has some of the highest environmental regulatory schemes of anywhere in the world. It has leveraged technology and Canadian ingenuity to continuously reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are leading in carbon capture and storage technology worldwide. By punishing Canada's energy sector, the Prime Minister is indirectly boosting production in other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, where human rights atrocities are common and where environmental protections do not exist.
The Prime Minister is standing for that type of energy development, instead of basing it right here at home, and that is wrong. A responsible government would insist on developing energy ethically. A responsible government would insist on taking care of the environment, and we can do that right here in Canada.
Here are the facts. Millions of Canadians are still unemployed and eager to return to work, but instead of showing leadership and presenting Canadians a clear path forward through the pandemic, the current government continues to let Canadians flounder. There was a time, not so long ago, when countries around the world were looking to Canada to help them navigate the 2008 recession. They were looking to us for leadership, but now we are at the bottom of the G7, and certainly not being looked to as an example.
What we have witnessed over the last several months is akin to a play where actors are delivering rehearsed lines to an audience that has been forced to watch and forced to pay. Trained actors give grand performances on a large stage, trying their best to tickle the ears of their audience members as they offer dramatic monologues in hopes of eliciting applause. As the evening show comes to an end and the curtain is drawn, the audience members leave with a massive bill in hand. Some feel wowed. Some are disappointed, and others feel utterly exploited. This show was not as advertised. Meanwhile, the actors gather backstage, patting one another on the back and going out for beers. They are excited to come back tomorrow and take centre stage once again. Meanwhile, the audience members return home, fighting for their very existence.
Canadians are full of ingenuity, hope and a vision for the future. They have the ability to help bring this country back. They simply need a prime minister who will empower them to do so. When will the Prime Minister recognize that leadership of a country is more than just a show?