Madam Speaker, we are here tonight talking about Bill C-4. I have the document in front of me; it is fairly thick. The government wants to ram it through after only four hours of debate. This is unfortunate because there is a lot there. I guess we are supposed to speak to it, so I will speak to it a bit.
A highlight for me is the repayment part of it, where it says:
If a person has income of more than $38,000 for 2020 or for 2021, the person must repay an amount equal to 50 cents for every dollar of income earned in that year above $38,000 of income....
That is a credit to the Conservatives, who really wanted to make sure that those repayment amounts were not just dollar for dollar, that people were not penalized for working more. To me, that is a credit to us as Conservatives.
A bigger conversation that my constituents are having is whether this is affordable. The Liberals are trying to make it sound like we do not want to help Canadians. Absolutely we want to help Canadians. We know there is help that is necessary in times of crisis, such as what we are in and what we saw in March. There is no question that we support that.
I will use a logging company as an example. My son works for a logging company as a heavy-duty mechanic. If those particular owners, Wayne and Marie Harder, and I just saw her on the plane on the way out here, are going to buy a bunch of trucks for their business, they need to make sure they have a business afterward to pay for those trucks.
Likewise, when we have such massive expenditures from the current government, unprecedented amounts of money with $400 billion this year alone in deficit spending, we have to ask what our ability to recoup that money for Canadian taxpayers is. It is all taxpayer money. Even our Parliamentary Budget Officer, Yves Giroux, speaking about the current Liberal government, said:
It's without a doubt that we cannot afford deficits of over $300 billion for more than just a few years.... So if the government has plans for additional spending, it will clearly have to make difficult choices and either raise taxes or reduce other areas of spending. Because it's clear that we cannot afford to have deficits of that magnitude for even the medium term.
Again, we support expenditures, but it is the Liberal government that wants to just hand people the fish and not help them to get fishing again. That is the great analogy. The Conservatives have compassion. We would do it in a different way, but ours is sustainable; theirs is not.
This is from John Ivison today. It is not just Conservatives who are saying that we need to have fiscal responsibility to taxpayers. He said, “This points out an inconsistency that is even more apparent - the [current] government's concern about the impact of climate change on future generations but indifference about the threat of massive debt.”
Again, this is what my constituents ask questions about. They see in their own lives that unsustainable deficits and debt are exactly that. They are unsustainable. Even the PBO said it can go on a couple of years, but if we keep doing this we are in big trouble.
I had hoped to see a signal in the Speech from the Throne that would speak to the revitalization and the million jobs, which was quoted by the other side, that they were going to re-establish and get those million jobs back.
Typically in the past, Canadians have had resource development to get revenue to pay for health care and all these other programs that we so value in Canada. Resource development has always been the anchor of our Canadian economy, but did we see any resource development in the Speech from the Throne?
This is all we got: “Canadians need good jobs they can rely on.” I agree with that. It is on page 11 of the Speech from the Throne. The speech continues, “To help make that happen, the Government will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to previous levels.” That sounds great.
I will speak to this is a bit. Unemployment in my neck of the woods in northern B.C. is about 13.7%. It may be higher in certain sectors, obviously, but that is the average. Usually we are record-setting in my part of the province. We have been down to four per cent even. It is almost unseeable, the employment rate is so low. Everybody has a job. We are quite the opposite right now.
If the Liberals are talking about bringing employment back, how do we re-establish that? We have to do it through resource development. However, this is the Liberals' answer: “This will be done by using a range of tools, including direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly skill up workers, and incentives for employers to hire and retain workers.”
There is nothing about resource development. It sounds good if we are training apprentices such as my son, who is a third-year apprentice, if that is what the initiative is. It is absolutely supportive, but there is nothing specific to resource development as being the answer to getting us out of this huge debt and deficit spending that we are in.
Then we see quite the opposite. On page 24 of the Speech from the Throne, rather than signalling this is a government that really wants to get that resource economy firing on all cylinders again, we hear, “This pandemic has reminded Canadians of the importance of nature. The Government will work with municipalities as part of a new commitment to expand urban parks, so that everyone has access to green space.”
I love it. I was fishing on the weekend and I do not get much time to do that, but I absolutely love the idea. It is a great idea, but then it continues, “This will be done while protecting a quarter of Canada’s land and a quarter of Canada’s oceans in five years”.
That is 25% of ocean closures and 25% of land closures within five years. Can the members guess where we are at right now? I am sure there are a few dozen Canadians watching us here tonight. Right now we are around 11%. We set the goal at 17% and we are only at 11% now. To get where the government wants to go, those protected lands and oceans would have to double.
What lands are the Liberals trying to protect? It is areas in northern B.C. like my own, and the caribou closures, where there is not really any scientific basis for making these closures, but they are closing out mines, closing out logging and so on. It is all done on the basis of hitting this target.
Now we are going to double that, so where they are going to get all this land from? All those areas where normally those from indigenous communities find jobs in the resource sector. I have many indigenous friends with indigenous companies. They are finding it hard to find work right now with some of the closures that are already being implemented—