That was another Bill C-2. I thank my friend from Barrie—Innisfil for reminding me of that. It was an opportunity for the government to try to seize absolute power, to take the opposition right out of the equation and put all the power into the executive branch. Thankfully, opposition members stood up to that as did Canadians in general.
We saw a portion of the initial $400 billion go to the CERB, the wage subsidy and other programs, actual supports. We saw some of it go into the housing market, but we also saw a pretty big chunk go into basically a slush fund of Liberal spending on things that had nothing to do with COVID, but were couched in that language of COVID, adding to the problem we are at now. The fact is that businesses, especially the small ones, are struggling at this exact moment. They are struggling to deal with rising prices and labour shortages. Unfortunately it is not going to get much better.
Reports have shown that Canadians are going to spend upward of $1,000 or even more on groceries compared to last year as the spending continues. We are not even talking about how we are going to service the debt into the near future. We are not talking about the billions of dollars that could have been used for a number of programs, but instead they are being used to pay interest, to service the debt. While we are paying the interest, we are still adding on, so we are struggling to keep our heads above water.
We need to try to expand the economy and we do that by keeping taxes low and the rules, regulations and red tape at a reasonable level. We let the market take charge and allow businesses to do what they do best, which is create jobs, opportunity and wealth for our communities; create paycheques for those working in the businesses, which then create more businesses and expanding opportunities. If we want to help the disenfranchised, we do that by expanding the economy. When we impose rules, regulations and red tape, we contract the economy. Then we have more intervention by government, and around and around we go.
As we mentioned many times, we would like to see more fiscal responsibility by the government, yes, helping those sectors that are being told they are unable to operate, specifically the travel and tourism sector, but also looking at programs where we can expand the economy, where we can build things here in our country. In Ontario, it has been tough. We have some of the highest electricity rates in North America thanks to the Ontario Liberals. What did that do to the once manufacturing engine of Canada? It decimated the manufacturing industry.
Unfortunately, a lot of those people who left Queen's Park came to Ottawa and are on that same path. In some cases, we paid their moving expenses. We need to start doing the opposite. We need to start encouraging investment, encouraging the brain power to come and grow here, create jobs, opportunity and wealth. We need lower taxes, less government and more freedom.