Mr. Speaker, today, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the Liberal budget implementation bill.
As members know, this budget has been criticized by many analysts. It raised many expectations about the management of the pandemic and vaccine procurement. I will not get into that because I think everything has been said about the government's dismal failure, which has caused this third wave since the Liberal government mismanaged the contracts it signed with the companies that are providing us with vaccines.
There were two other major issues: reopening the economy and proper management of public finances, debt and deficits. I will focus my speech on those two aspects. I have 10 minutes, but we could talk for hours about all the very troubling things in this budget.
Others before me covered this so I will not talk about the fact that the government managed to do what no one ever thought possible: create a new class of seniors. Deciding to inject money to help seniors was wishful thinking, in other words the government had good intentions, but it decided to give money only to seniors 75 and up instead of giving it to those 65 and up. Everyone fell off their chair when they heard that. It was a clumsy measure and I hope the government will rectify the situation as soon as possible. Every day, we are getting calls at our constituency offices about that announcement.
The second important element, and I will only talk about this very briefly, is the Liberal obsession with interfering in provincial jurisdictions and desire to grab powers they do not have. We need only think of their interference in health and day care, in particular the fact that they are leading people to believe they are going to establish a day care program to reopen the economy. I can tell you that in Quebec it took more than five years to create and build day cares and to train staff. They are telling us that they want to do this. First, they are interfering in a provincial matter; second, they are leading people to believe that this will help reopen the economy. It will take at least five years for this measure to begin to come to fruition. I can tell you that, in Quebec, not every family has access to a day care space.
I will come back to the main points of my message: deficits, debt and the reopening of our economy.
In 2003, those were the issues that motivated me to get into provincial politics. I am older now, I have a lot of grey hair, but, back then as a young father I was concerned about debt and the consequences it can have. The Liberals never talk about tax increases that make life increasingly expensive. Without even asking them, the government takes more money out of taxpayers' pockets to pay for all the goodies they are handing out. It is crazy.
One of the figures that is striking is when you add up the deficits and debt created by the Liberal government under this Prime Minister since it came to power, since 2015. In the last six years alone, the Liberals have put us $162 billion in debt, and this is not just because of the pandemic. Keep in mind that in 2015, when Stephen Harper's Conservatives left, the deficit had been eliminated. The budget had also been balanced following the global stock market crisis. The Liberal government managed to run deficits during good economic years. These deficits have taken away our ability to deal with this pandemic without creating another gap for future generations and for today's workers who will pay more taxes. That is what will happen when interest rates go up. That will be the reality, whether the Prime Minister likes it or not. Any newly minted economist would be able to explain these basic facts to him.
What is striking is that, in six years, the Prime Minister has borrowed and added to the debt more than any prime minister in Canada since 1867. Since 1867, every Conservative and Liberal government combined borrowed a total of $630 billion to stimulate the economy and support Canadians. In six years, the government has managed to put us further into debt.
This all has consequences not only for our economy, but also for our ability to deal with a potential new crisis. The further we go into debt, the less freedom we have to tackle any new challenges and support Canadians. This government's investments and expenditures are not justified. People will say that I am being partisan because I am a Conservative, but that is not it.
Allow me to talk about the Parliamentary Budget Officer, an impartial officer of Parliament. Just yesterday he presented a report explaining that the government had announced $101.4 billion in new expenditures over the next three years as part of its economic recovery plan. He said that $69 billion of that $101.4 billion is the figure actually considered stimulus spending.
He then raised a red flag about the government's data. Much like the Prime Minister, the government acts as though money grows on trees, that money can be printed or that it is no big deal and the budget will balance itself. Those are the words of the Prime Minister himself. The government is telling people that we could see a 2% increase in economic growth and that this would create 334,000 new jobs in Canada. The Parliamentary Budget Officer refuted that and said that a more realistic economic growth would be 1% next year. That would create 74,000 new jobs, not 334,000.
This government talks a lot and leads people on. The Prime Minister tries to be positive, figuring that people will believe him because he is handsome, nice and well-spoken. He thinks that that should be enough. However, the numbers speak for themselves and cannot be ignored, because taxpayers will be directly affected by the inevitable tax hikes. That is the reality.
How do the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance explain this?
They say we can afford to borrow for Canadians because interest rates are low. However, if that is the case, why not just tell Canadians to go buy a house that is twice as expensive because interest rates are low? No problem, since interest rates are low. Why not get a new car? Why should Canadians settle for a small family sedan when they could buy a Ferrari? No problem, because interest rates are low; these things will pay for themselves.
If this is good for the government, why would it not be good for the taxpayers?
It is for the simple reason that fathers and mothers, workers and youth who believe in a better future know that this is hard-earned money. They know this because when they take the time to look at their pay slips, they see the line showing just how much money they are sending to the government. They also remember the government expense scandal. I do not want to harp on the WE Charity scandal, with the billion dollars sent to friends who had helped the Prime Minister's family, but those are the facts.
The government has to lead by example, and it starts at the top. This government, with its free-spending Prime Minister, is sending the wrong message. It is saying that work is not important, that people should not bother saving, that money grows on trees and that, unfortunately, when calls for help come in, we might not be able to answer them because the country is up to its eyeballs in debt. The government will just say it is time to print more money, and that will drive up inflation.
In conclusion, I think this is a bad budget. It does not set the stage for good economic recovery, and it will mortgage our children's and grandchildren's future. I cannot accept that.