Mr. Speaker, I stand here in the House of Commons today in a very sheltered environment. Outside these walls there are many challenges. With the inflation rate now increasing to over 7%, we have seen in the last couple of months some of the highest inflation in the last 40 years.
The Conservatives, over the last seven years, have warned the Prime Minister about where the end of the road is and what the consequences are of his tax-and-spend agenda. However, our warnings have gone unheeded. This is perhaps not surprising from a Prime Minister who does not think about monetary policy.
Think about what that means, actually. The Prime Minister said this right before we headed into one of the biggest monetary disasters we have had in the last 50 years. He literally said that he does not think about monetary policy, which would later make single moms unable to feed their families and workers unable to put gas in their cars. It is unbelievable that he does not think about monetary policy. Perhaps he should think again.
As we talk about Bill C-30, it is important to put some context around the bill, and we need to start with the relationship between the economy and the government. Oftentimes, I find they unfortunately get confused in this House. We must first, as our bedrock, ensure that the goods and services produced in this economy, the wealth and prosperity of this nation, are primarily the responsibility of our businesses and workers.
It is through the delivery of those services and the production of goods that our country generates its value. When a company is able to produce more goods and deliver more services, or in other words increase our productivity, the prosperity of the nation increases. The secret of this, which is not often mentioned in this House, is that it is the most vulnerable who often benefit the most when the prosperity of the nation increases, and they suffer the most, as has happened in the last couple of years, when prosperity is under assault, this time by inflation.
A country can produce a modest, temporary and artificial increase in economic performance through monetary policy and the printing of money. When the government spends and spends on a spending spree funded by the printing of money, there is an initial exuberance that results as Canadians see money coming into their bank accounts. However, this exuberance is quickly replaced by disillusion as they realize the cost of everything has increased and benefits are now replaced by the stubborn and corrosive impact of inflation, which continues. Once it is out of the box, inflation runs and runs, eroding savings, eroding wages and eroding the pensions of seniors.
The true path to a more prosperous nation is not through the printing of money. It is through the creation of value. Specifically, we need to increase our productivity. When a nation can produce more goods and deliver more services more efficiently and effectively, it drives real value that increases the wages of workers and, dare I say it, increases the profits of businesses. It also creates jobs.
Unfortunately, the government appears bent on doing everything it can to reduce the productivity of businesses and workers, and we see the result of seven years of Liberal governments. Food inflation is at over 10%. It is 10.8%, to be precise. That is causing real-life struggles. Outside the comfort and shelter of these walls, there are people who will go to bed tonight hungry, and probably many more people than in the last decade or two decades. That is because of the impact of a Prime Minister who does not think about monetary policy.
Food inflation at 10.8% has caused a 20% increase in the last two years in the use of food banks. Think about that. Some 20% more Canadians are going to food banks now than did two years ago. In addition to that, 20% of Canadians have had to make changes in their diets. About 8% of Canadians out there are skipping meals. This challenge is not just for adults but for children. In fact, people who have children are now three times more likely to go to a food bank than those who do not. This is making life more difficult for all Canadians and the most vulnerable, and children are among them.
It is not that Bill C-30 is a wrong step. It is just unfortunately too little too late, as it were. I will be supporting this legislation because it is going in the right direction, but let us look at, first, the fact that it is months behind when any type of relief was needed. Second, let us look at the quantum or the amounts of that.
Keeping in mind the statistic that food inflation is up over 10%, it is increasing the amount that families spend on food by over $1,300 a year. This GST/HST temporary relief, according to the finance minister, who went before the committee, will create somewhere between $450 and $500 in benefits for the families that are eligible. However, as we have heard throughout this House, many are not. This is nowhere near the amount of relief needed. Ultimately, that relief will come from our workers and businesses, but they need to be empowered, not penalized.
Thomas Sowell once famously wrote that he never understood why it is greed to want to keep the money we have earned but not greed to want to take money that other people have earned. That is a lesson the government needs to hear loud and clear.
Some will say, and it was even in the news in the U.K., that tax relief is inflationary. I am here to say that when done correctly, it is not. In fact, it is the exact opposite of what happens when the government spends and is funded by debt or the printing of money. I will give four examples.
When John F. Kennedy cut taxes in 1963, the inflation rate the year before a massive tax cut in post-world war United States was 1.2%. In the year after his tax cuts, it was 1.28%. When Ronald Reagan introduced in the United States a massive tax cut in 1981, it came into effect in 1982. In 1981, the inflation rate was 6.13%, and the inflation rate in 1984 was 4.3%. That is a decrease of 2% after massive tax cuts. Once again the Reagan administration cut taxes in 1986. In the year before, the inflation rate was 3.9%, and in the year after, it was 3.65%. When Prime Minister Harper reduced the GST, the inflation rate in 2007 was 2.1% and the inflation rate in 2009 was 0.3%.
Inflation is not fuelled by tax relief. What is fuelled is our economy. We need to give more relief, and a great way to do it is to cancel the planned tax hikes that are coming into place. The government will triple the carbon tax by 2030, and starting this April, it will increase the taxation on nearly everything, which includes heating, gas and groceries. It is increasing the cost of everything. That, by definition, will increase inflation.
When we see Canadians working hard and trying to save what money they can, and when we have food inflation at 10%, is the government's response to reduce taxation? No, it is not. It is increasing the tax on paycheques starting April 1, and a sizable number of taxes will be increased. This is not the time for this. In my estimation, it is never the time to increase taxes given our current rates, but this is certainly not the time, as it will drive inflation and make our economy less productive.
When we look at what we need at the end of the day in order to solve this affordability crisis, we need to not drive artificial monetary policy through the printing of money, as we have seen what this can create. We do not need more government spending funded by the printing of money. We need our economy to increase its productivity. How we do that is by supporting our workers, empowering our businesses, supporting all Canadians, getting the government's hands out of their pockets and, instead, giving them a helping hand by reducing their burden in the future.