Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise here in the House of Commons to debate legislation. I have reflected upon this bill. We had time to see it in committee, though very little time I might add. We had little time with stakeholders and very little time in front of ministers to debate this bill, which is, sadly, a gateway to spending $11 billion of taxpayer money.
For that fact, here in the House, having a motion to end debate on this bill very quickly and have it rammed through is a difficulty. That is the same experience that we had in committee. I am unsure why there is an urgency with this bill, other than it really panders to the political aspirations of those across the aisle and their costly coalition dance partners, which, as I mentioned, will jack up the costs for all Canadians as we move forward.
Everybody in the House wants to have their sound bites and their clips for social media. All that type of stuff is potentially important. What I am going to say, I know, will be taken out of context and that is why it is important to preface it in that sense.
There is not a dental crisis in the country. There is no reason we had to run this bill through in this warp-speed manner and try to ram it down the throats of those of us who would suspect we need much more prudence in how we approach spending money in this House and exactly where we spend it, which is important. It would have been much nicer if this were a mental health and rental bill as opposed to the dental health and rental bill. Why would that be more important? We know, and everyone in the House can attest to it, that there is a mental health crisis in this country that is not being addressed and that is the darn shame of it all. This is about where we choose to spend our money in the House, and the difficulty is that we do not have unlimited amounts.
I always liken this to my own finances. When there are urgencies, when the roof is off the house, people have to put the roof on before they put the front step on. Sure, they are both absolutely important, but we have to look at priorities. We have to understand that a roof on the house is, sadly, more important than the front step. Do we need them both? Yes, we do.
That being said, there is a mental health crisis in this country. One in three Canadians throughout their lifetime will have significant problems with their mental health. We see it in the news every day. We see it from our loved ones every day. We know that the government is not funding mental health. It is an odd fact that the commitment the Liberal government made in its 2021 platform with respect to mental health has not been spent or committed to in its current budget. That is a huge difficulty. The irony is not lost that the cost of that Canada mental health transfer would be about $875 million. When we look at the costs in this bill, the exact amount is very ironic. This money could have been spent on the Canada mental health transfer, which would have done so much for Canadians who are in that significant crisis.
We need to look further at all of those things that we hold very dear here in Canada, and one of those things is people's access to our great Canadian health care system. From the president of the Canadian Medical Association, we know that this system is on the brink of collapse. It too is in crisis. It is a catastrophe. It is a disaster and, sadly, any other negative superlatives that I could come up with.
We know that in my home province alone, 100,000 people, or 10% of the population of Nova Scotia, do not have access to primary care. The sad fact is that we also know, when people do not have access to primary care in Canada, it becomes very difficult to access care for mental health. Further to that, we know that there are approximately one million people in Ontario who do not have access to primary care. Therefore, is there a crisis out there? Yes, there is.
I know that my words will be taken out of context and misconstrued; however, that being said, there is a crisis. It is not in dental health care. It is in mental health care and in the health care system in general. I would be so bold as to say that, if we wanted to ask Canadians how we should spend their money, I would suspect that they would say to spend it on mental health care and spend it on health care, and once that part of our house, the roof of our house, is in better shape, we can put on a front porch or a front step. That makes perfect sense.
I think the other part around the dental part of this program is understanding that 11 of 13 jurisdictions in Canada do have dental programs for their citizens. I think it is also important that the Canadian Dental Association stated that a better idea than creating this “Ottawa knows best” federalist program would be to actually help tweak those provinces that are struggling and look at provinces that have excellent dental health care programs, and then help other provinces better understand how they could make a better program.
I think the other part that flows very nicely into that is understanding that the administration of this program, although purported to be very simple, is in the hands of a government that cannot manage other simple programs, even programs that have been in existence for decades.
Let us talk about passports, for instance. The passport system, as far as I can discern in my own life, has worked in an excellent fashion for a very long time. We would get a piece of paper in the old days. We would then sign it. We would get a guarantor, and we would put it in the mail to send it away. Lo and behold, almost as if by magic, our passport would show up in the mail. Nowadays, we do not need guarantors. It has become even simpler than that, but the government has bungled that as well.
It is the government of “everything is broken”. The immigration system is broken. We have an arrive scam app of $54 million that the Liberals cannot even account for. Not only is it exorbitant in its cost, but they also cannot even account for $1.2 million. Who got paid? Who got rich? Those questions cannot even be answered.
How can we ask them to administer another supposedly simple program? If we cannot even run the programs that have existed for decades, how can we create a new program and say there will be no problems with it? How can we tell people to look at how easy it is and that anybody would be able to access it, when we know we cannot even get a darned passport in this country?
We know the immigration system is broken. We hear that 40,000 Afghans are going to come to Canada, but less than half of that number of people have been admitted to this country. This is a crisis. The Liberals cannot function in a crisis, and we know perhaps that is the difficulty. They are unsure, unaware or uncertain of exactly what the definition of the word “crisis” is. I think that, perhaps, is the difficulty.
We also know the Liberals have bungled the whole greenhouse gas and carbon emissions situation. We know they have not met any of their targets, and we now know their provincial Liberal cousins in Nova Scotia are railing against them. We know that for the average Nova Scotian, the premier of Nova Scotia rejected the carbon tax for a more robust, complete and overall well-performing system. He rejected their carbon tax system. Even though it is being rammed down the throats of all Nova Scotians, it would appear it is going to cost $400 per year extra on top of the insane prices of home heating fuel, and we know that is going to create significant difficulties for Nova Scotians this year.
The rental program, we know, is in response to the Liberals' failed housing strategy. We know it is a band-aid approach, and when the patient is haemorrhaging, putting a band-aid on it is like the old story with the little boy with the dike. We will run out of fingers eventually.
We know the average rental cost here in this country is $2,000 per month. We know the cost of housing has doubled, and we know people are living in their parents' basements. The unaffordability is just astronomical, so we have a government that is spending money. Not to be disparaging to drunken sailors, but the Liberals are spending like that. I apologize to drunken sailors.
The Liberals cannot run programs, and now they want to create another “Ottawa knows best” federally directed program that is likely to be a significant debacle.