Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise on Bill C-14, but before I do so, I would like to echo a lot of the comments that have been made in the House celebrating Black History Month. I would especially like to give a shout-out to my provincial colleague in Alberta, Minister Kaycee Madu, whose provincial riding is shared between my riding and that of Edmonton Riverbend. Minister Madu is the very first Black justice minister in any provincial or federal government in Canadian history, so I would like to give him a special shout-out and special congratulations for Black History Month.
In Alberta we have been blessed with incredible contributions from the Black community, from the legendary John Ware, our first Black cattle farmer, who was rumoured to be able to wrestle a steer to the ground and jump on cattle while riding a herd forward, to Violet King Henry, the very first Black woman ever called to the bar in Canada. It is a great month and a great contribution to Alberta.
Black History Month is the good part. Now we move on to Bill C-14, which is the bad part. I will start with all the debt the government has added during the pandemic. We have added more per capita than any country in the G7 and G20. Our debt this year is probably going to hit $1.1 trillion. That is just the federal debt. The provincial debt is going to be about another trillion. However, these numbers do not cover the federal liabilities for crown corporations or pensions.
What do we get for all that debt? We have the most spending per capita in the G7, the most support, while also having among the highest levels of unemployment in the G7. Our unemployment rate is only better than that of the economic basket cases Italy and, just now, France as well. We are barely ahead of them. We have only 0.3% lower unemployment than France and 0.4% lower unemployment than Italy. What about the rest of the G7? Our unemployment rate in Canada, despite all of the spending, is 41% higher than the unemployment average of the G7.
In May, at the height of the pandemic, our unemployment was pretty much the same as the U.S. at 14%. The most recent data from the OECD is from December, when Trump was still in power, and Trump's America had dropped to 6.7% unemployment. We were at 8.6%. The U.K., probably ravaged far worse by COVID than any other G7 country, has an unemployment rate of 5%. Italy, which is just barely above us right now, was devastated by the first wave and the second wave, and its unemployment is actually lower now than it was pre-pandemic, yet Canada struggles along.
What about going forward? What is the sign for the economy? The IMF recently slashed our growth projection for this year for the economy by 31%. It did not know why and did not state why. I do not think the Liberal government knows why. There is no plan for going forward, so it was probably just a shrug as to why. However, what if we compare this with the rest of the world? The IMF increased its forecast for growth by 5.7% for the economy around the world, while Canada's dropped 31% from the previous projection.
Getting back to the debt, if we ignore the fact that crown corporations are technically supposed to look after their own finances, they have about $400 billion or $500 billion in liabilities. The unfunded public service pension liabilities is upward to about $100 billion. When we talk about the overall debt hitting $1 trillion, it is actually about $1.5 trillion. I ask members to let that sink in. That is before the lower interest rates negatively affect the pension liabilities.
The finance minister would tell us that everything is fine, everything is good, and not to worry. My colleague from Calgary stole my line about Bobby McFerrin and Don't Worry, Be Happy, but that seems to be the comment. We are told not to worry because interest rates will stay low forever. However, and here is the thing, they will not stay low forever. We are at the mercy of a world economy. If the U.S. raises its interest rates, we are going to have to pay more for our debt.
The finance minister says that we do not need to worry, and that we have locked in this debt for a long term. When we look at how borrowing is done, the longer that we are borrowing and the longer we are locked in, the higher the rates actually are. When we look at the Bank of Canada website, it is anywhere from triple to eight times the short-term rate the longer that we lock in.
It is not a simple matter of locking in zero interest rates forever or that we never have to pay it back. Rates will eventually rise and we will end up as we were in the Chrétien-Martin era, slashing the public service and health care transfers to provinces.
What is the plan to get out of all of this? What is the government's plan to build the economy? The whole plan is built around a slogan stolen from Joe Biden. We are going to ”build back better”. That is the plan.
We have massive unemployment in tourism hospitality, but we should not worry; we will build back better. With airlines on the verge of collapse, that is okay; we will build back better. The Alberta energy industry is devastated by the government's incompetence and its inability or refusal to act on Keystone or other issues. We should not worry; we will build back better. Slogans, unfortunately, are not going pay the bills and slogans are not going to help us build back better.
We do not have a fiscal anchor. We used to have one years ago, which was “the budget will balance itself“. That was the Liberals' original fiscal anchor. Then it changed to the budget would be balanced in the third year. Then the fiscal anchor became 27.5% debt to GDP, then 30.5% and then the anchor switched to being a decreasing debt to GDP. Now we have fiscal guardrails.
The finance minister says that we should not worry, that we will have fiscal guardrails to guide us forward. What did the Parliamentary Budget Officer say about these guardrails? Besides nonsensical, he said that they were contradictory and incompatible. This is what is scary. The finance ministers says that we will have our guardrails based on hours worked and unemployment.
What does the PBO mean by saying that they are incompatible and contradictory? Unemployment levels can go down, but the number of hours worked is predicted by the PBO to go down as well because we have an aging workforce and therefore fewer people working, fewer people participating in the workforce with fewer hours worked. We have our new fiscal anchor being called nonsensical by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Again, there is no plan.
There is no plan about the Liberals' $100 billion stimulus spending. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says that most if not all jobs lost will be regained by 2021-22, which is when the fiscal stimulus is set to kick in.
Therefore, the government basically does not know what its guardrails are. It says that it will spend about $100 billion in the coming years, but it will kick in when the Parliamentary Budget Officer expects our unemployment to be back to where it was pre-pandemic. Again, what is the point of the $100 billion? The government does not seem to know. Where is our debt going? The government does not seem to know.
I want to get back to what my colleague from Calgary was talking about in regard to the vaccines. We need the vaccines to get out of this. Thank God for Pfizer, Moderna and all the scientists and big pharma for performing a miracle and getting this vaccines out. However, they need to be in the arms of Canadians.
I have a gentleman in my riding who is 102, a World War II veteran, Fred Russell. He is a magnificent man. He still has his full faculties and still gets up and dances. He landed at Dieppe and got off the beach, probably the last 10 survivors from the Dieppe raid. He landed at Normandy, actually liberated Dieppe with the Canadian troops, fought through France, fought through Holland and fought through Germany. From about mid-September, a couple of weeks after Canada declared war, until after VE day, he was away serving this country. He is locked in his room in a seniors care facility, without seeing family, friends, without seeing anyone, because he does not have a vaccine.
This is a gentleman who stepped up for Canada. He was there for Canada when Canada needed him. Where is Canada now when he needs Canada to step up for him with the vaccine? It has disappeared between Liberal talking points of vaccines for everyone one day down the road. It is not good enough for Fred Russell, who gave everything for Canada, and it is not good enough for Canadians either.