Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that Canada's inflation rate is at its highest point in 30 years and that the 4.7% inflation rate is growing about 2% faster than Canadians' wages. For the average Canadian, that is equivalent to a pay cut.
We talked about “Justinflation” and said the government was behind this inflation rate. What the Liberals said in their own defence was worse than the allegation. Let me explain. They said that the inflation rate was the result of global supply chains being disrupted by COVID-19, leading to higher prices. That is a bizarre explanation, since it is the prices for Canadian products that are rising the most. For example, the cost of home heating has gone up 26%.
In Canada, we have 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That domestic energy supply provides heating for Canadian families. It has nothing to do with global supply chains.
In addition, gas prices have gone up 43%. What do we have right here in Canada? We have the second-largest oil and gas reserves in the world. In that case, why are we relying on global supply chains?
Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that we are relying on foreign oil in order to save the planet. He even mocked the Conservative Party by saying that those who want to produce oil here simply want to “drill, baby, drill”. However, he is the one who wants to “drill, baby, drill”, just anywhere else in the world besides Canada.
The other day, I was in Saint John, New Brunswick. As I gazed out over the ocean, I saw a big ship that was carrying oil from the Middle East to Canada, oil coming from Egypt. Oil from the Red Sea was loaded onto that ship on Egypt's north coast, on the Mediterranean. How did the Egyptians get that oil from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean? They did so with the help of a pipeline.
The government is in favour of the pipelines that Egypt built to carry oil from the Middle East to a ship that has to cross the entire Atlantic Ocean. Ironically, that ship burns diesel fuel and increases the risk of oil spills in the ocean in order to bring that oil to eastern Canada at a higher price. Eastern Canadians are paying more for gas and other oil products. Why? It is because the Government of Canada blocked the extension of a pipeline from western Canada to Saint John, New Brunswick.
The Prime Minister says that the cost of gas is too high because of problems in the global supply chain. This policy is even more reprehensible when we know that if he had allowed a pipeline to be built and increased production of western oil, which is green, instead of importing more from the Middle East, our oil could have been delivered to Canadians in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and elsewhere in eastern Canada.
Thirdly, according to the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, the cost of food for a middle-class family will increase by $1,000 next year. A single mother will have to pay $1,000 more to feed her children.
Canada ranks third in the world for the amount of farmland per capita. Why is the government saying that global supply chains are responsible for the rising cost of food in Canada when we have the capacity to produce our own food? We have enough farmers and land to produce our own food, so let us take advantage of that.
In fact, if every Canadian had an equal share of that land, we would each have the equivalent of 33 football fields. Canada clearly has enough land to produce its own food and should be able to manage that, but it cannot because carbon taxes, red tape and other regulations prevent our farmers from producing more food more affordably.
Yesterday, the Canadian Real Estate Association announced that housing prices have gone up 20% to 25% since last year, despite Canada being second only to Russia in sheer size. Canada also has enough lumber to build more houses, so the Liberals cannot blame global supply chains for the rising cost of land in Canada, because the Earth was created thousands of years ago, long before we got here. That land is already here and is not dependent on global supply chains, so the problem is here.
Canada is not producing enough energy to heat our homes and put gas in our cars. We are not producing enough food to feed our people, and we are not building enough houses to shelter them. About 85% of young Canadians say they want to buy a house, but they cannot afford to. As the very wealthy owners of big cottages and palatial homes watch their property values rise, people who have to rent are getting poorer and poorer because the value of the dollar is shrinking by the day.
What are we producing here in Canada? We are producing money. We are printing more money. Perhaps the only way the government has found to support the forestry sector is to produce more paper money. The reality is that when there are 400 billion more dollars chasing the same number of goods, prices go up.
There is another way to go. For example, Switzerland has a 1.5% inflation rate. That is one-third of our inflation rate. Why is inflation lower in Switzerland? It is because they are not printing any money. In Switzerland, the money supply went up 6%, compared to 23% in Canada. Canada is printing four times more money, which is why our inflation rate is four times higher than Switzerland's.
People will say we cannot consume everything Canada produces. It is true that we could not possibly consume all the oil and gas, natural gas, food and all the other products we make. However, one way to fight inflation is to sell more products around the world in order to bring up the value of our dollar. If we export more of our high-value products, that has to increase the value of our dollar, and it means we can buy more on the world markets.
We are seeing this in Switzerland. Since the Swiss franc is worth 8% more than the U.S. dollar, Switzerland has a competitive advantage when purchasing products on the international market. The Swiss franc has far more power, because it is worth more. The Canadian dollar is worth 20% less than the U.S. dollar, so we have less purchasing power in international markets.
Using and producing more of our own resources is not only about providing products to our own population. It also serves to increase the value and purchasing power of our dollar internationally.
Before anyone rushes to say that a stronger dollar is bad for our exports, I would point out that that is not what happened in Switzerland. In fact, the Swiss enjoy a trade surplus in terms of international trade, meaning they sell more to the rest of the world than they purchase. Why? Because they give their businesses the freedom to produce more. The Swiss create products, while Canada prints money. That is what needs to change.
The Conservative Party's policy is about supporting the construction of new pipelines in order to provide clean, affordable energy to our own population and to export it to the rest of the world. It is about allowing our energy companies to produce natural gas to provide Canadians with more affordable heating options. It is about allowing our farmers to sell more of the food they produce at a more reasonable cost. It is about selling 15% of the 37,000 federally owned buildings that are underutilized, especially since the onset of COVID-19 and the increase in teleworking, and converting them into affordable housing.
Rather than printing money, we will create more products, which can be purchased with money. That is our approach: purchase more and spend less. Let us do this with paycheques, not debt.
Statistics Canada reported a 30-year high in inflation. Inflation rising 2% faster than wages means a real pay cut for Canadians, and the government's defence against the allegation that it was to blame was worse than the charge. It claimed that the cause is COVID disruptions to international supply chains. The question is this: Why would we need international supply chains for the products that are rising most quickly in price, when those same products are made here in Canada?
Energy, food and real estate have increased more than almost any other product in the basket of goods Canadians buy. What do we have? We have energy, we have farmland and we have land and lumber for housing, so why is our country so dependent on the rest of the world for the goods that we have beneath our feet right here at home?
Let us go through them.
Home heating has gone up 26% in one year. Canada has 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Why are we depending on the rest of the world to heat our homes, when we have the energy to do it right under our feet here in Canada?
Gas is up 43%. What we do have here? We have the second-biggest supply of oil on planet earth, and yet the Prime Minister says we should not produce it here. He even tried to mock others by accusing them of them “Drill, baby, drill!”, but “Drill, baby, drill!” is his policy. He wants to drill oil wells all around the world; he just does not want any of the wages from those drilling projects to go to Canadian workers.
I stood at the Bay of Fundy, looking out at the Atlantic Ocean two weeks ago, watching a tanker that had travelled from the northern coast of Egypt through the Mediterranean and all the way to Saint John, where it will have been processed at the Irving refinery. Do members know how they got the oil onto that tanker? It was by a pipeline that went from the Red Sea across northern Egypt to the Mediterranean. Do not tell me this Prime Minister is against pipelines. He is in favour of every pipeline that one could build anywhere outside of Canada, as long as it does not use Canadian steel, pay Canadian wages, hire Canadian energy workers or provide jobs to refinery workers in eastern Canada. As long as the paycheques go to other countries, he is 100% in favour of pipelines.
Now, to go back to inflation, the question is this: Why are we paying a premium for Saudi, middle eastern, African and American oil when we have the second-biggest supply here in Canada? That should not be a question of international supply chains; it should be a question of domestic self-sufficiency.
The next issue is food, which is up $1,000 next year, according to Dalhousie University's food institute. It expects that the average family will spend an extra grand feeding itself next year. Why? We have the third-largest area of farmland per capita in the world, and we have the best farmers, so why can we not supply our own nutritious food? The answer is that our foreign competitors do not apply carbon taxes at our rate to the farmers who are producing their food, nor do they face the same kind of regulatory and red-tape obstacles that drive up food production. Therefore, our farmers have to pass those costs on to consumers in the form of inflation, and our consumers then have to rely, embarrassingly and humiliatingly, on foreign supply chains to feed ourselves, even while we have been blessed with the best and the third-largest area of farmland on planet earth.
Then we come to housing. Just yesterday, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported that Canada has seen a 20% to 25% increase in real prices, which is the single biggest increase on record ever. Not adjusted for seasonal variation, the average house now costs $720,000 and it is over a million bucks to buy the average house, not a mansion, in Canada's biggest city, Toronto.
We are developing in this country a landed aristocracy of extremely wealthy people who make more money through the appreciation of their real estate than they do from the wages of their labour, while we have a growing class of working millennials who now have no hope of ever owning a home.
According to an Ipsos survey, 85% of millennials say they want to own a home but cannot afford to. Who would be surprised about that when one has to pay a million dollars. One would have to save up $100,000 in order to make a down payment on the average home in Toronto today at 10% down. If a person is saving $500 a month, that is 200 months to save up for a down payment to have the privilege of then bearing a mortgage of $900,000.
We have the second-biggest housing bubble in the world, according to Bloomberg. Again, how does one blame that on foreign supply chains? By definition, land does not have supply chains. It is already here under our feet, and we have the second-biggest land mass on earth. If we spread Canadians out evenly, each and every one of them would have 33 CFL-sized football fields to themselves. We would not actually be able to see another person in Canada if we were spread out evenly. We have more places in Canada where there is no one than we have places where there is anyone, yet we cannot find room to house our own people. This is ridiculous.
Vancouver and Toronto are the second and fifth most unaffordable housing markets in the world when we compare median income to median house prices, more unaffordable than Manhattan; San Francisco; London, England; Singapore and countless other places with less land, more money and more people. Why? One cannot blame international supply chains or COVID for that. In fact, all the land and almost all the housing on the market today was built before the first case of COVID even hit our shores. As a result, one cannot blame any of those things. This is, by definition, a homemade problem, pun intended.
The government's defence for its 30-year high in inflation is ironically worse than the allegation itself. It has created an economy where we cannot supply ourselves with the very things God blessed this land with before we even arrived here. We have more land, yet we cannot grow our own food. We have more lumber, yet we cannot build our own homes. We have more energy, yet we cannot heat or power our lives. We are hopelessly dependent on the rest of the world, and that is why, when prices go up, we are so weak in trying to pay the price for it.
Some will say it is not that simple and we cannot simply supply every Canadian with domestically generated goods. What we can do, where we have to buy on an international level, is have more purchasing power with a stronger dollar. When we compete for scarce global goods, we do so against countries that have real purchasing power.
I give the example of Switzerland. It has increased its money supply by 6% since COVID struck. We increased ours by 23%. What is the result? Its inflation is 1.5% and our inflation is more than three times higher, at 4.7%.
Part of that is because the Swiss franc has real purchasing power. The Swiss can go out into the world market and buy things with their money that we cannot. Their franc is worth 8% more than the U.S. dollar and ours is worth 20% less. Therefore, when there is a widget that a Canadian needs and a Swiss citizen needs and we both walk up and we have the loonie and they have the franc, let us be frank about who is getting that widget. They are getting it, because they have good, sound money. They produce things while we produce cash, and as a result, they have more valuable money.
Before we hear Liberals whine on about how we could not export goods if we had a powerful dollar on the international markets, the Swiss are running a trade surplus, because they do not rely on cheap cash to sell their goods. They rely on a productive economy that generates value to sell their goods.
That is how to increase the well-being of a population. It is how to lift people out of poverty and give them an opportunity. It is not by producing cash, but by producing more of what cash buys.
Let us unleash the free enterprise system to grow more affordable and nutritious food, to supply more affordable homes to our people and to bring the prodigious energy with which our land has been blessed to our consumers. In other words, let us make more and cost less, with paycheques, not debt.