Mr. Speaker, what a pleasure it is to rise and share some thoughts on a very important piece of legislation.
Over the years we have talked about things the government can do to make a difference in the lives of Canadians, whether we are talking legislative changes or budgetary measures.
What we have before us is a hybrid. We have legislative measures that have significant budgetary impacts on houses and homes across all regions of our country. It is a piece of legislation that I would like to think all members, upon reviewing and taking into consideration all the benefits within it, should be voting in favour of.
I was somewhat disappointed by the Conservative Party's amendment. I believe it does not give any merit to the legislation, and I would suggest it is just not necessary.
I would like to think that when we talk about what takes place here in Ottawa, from a government perspective, from the perspective of members of the Liberal caucus, it is about making an economy that works for all Canadians. That is a priority that we all take very seriously.
That is the reason, when we take a look at the fall economic statement, I want the people I represent and indeed all Canadians to see clearly what it is all about. I want them to see that we have a government, a Liberal caucus, that understands the hardship that Canadians are having to play today.
I have often made reference to the issue of inflation. Even when I made comparisons to other nations, it is not good enough that Canada's inflation is lower than that of countries like the U.S.A., England and many European nations.
Canadians want us to respond in a way that is going to be favourable to addressing what is happening here in Canada, whether it was the budgetary announcement made by the Minister of Finance months ago or, more recently, the fall economic statement that was issued just prior to the week we spent in our constituencies or doing constituency work, wherever we might have been.
Inflation is a serious issue. I am concerned about the price of margarine, and of groceries in general, and the impact it has, especially when the holiday season is around the corner. Many will go out and have to purchase all sorts of items, as Canadians from coast to coast to coast recognize and celebrate the holiday season.
For many it is going to be that much more costly. I understand the impact. That is why I started off by saying members should take a look at what the Government of Canada has been doing since the presentation of the budget, since the presentation of a series of legislative actions that are designed to support Canadians during this difficult time.
Yes, we had a worldwide pandemic, and we have a war that is taking place in Europe. Both of them combined have had a profound impact on the issue of inflation.
When we talk about what we can do, we look for leadership and ideas from within the House. I have made reference to it before, and I will continue to do so, whether it is today or into the future.
We have a Prime Minister who wants members of Parliament to look at what is happening in our constituencies and bring that to the floor of the House of Commons, into the standing committees and into our caucus discussions to have those discussions among ministers. I believe, whether in the budget of 2022 or the fall economic statement, we will find those consultations, those reports and those comments. I know I have been canvassed on numerous occasions from different departments, and I am somewhat of an opinionated person. That is hard to believe, but I can tell members the thoughts and ideas I share originate quite often in the constituency I represent.
I look at the many different leadership roles that are played within this chamber. We had the Minister of Finance answer some questions today. That is something I have also made reference to. If members had been listening to the answers, they might feel a little more comfortable in knowing this legislation would go a long way in meeting the needs of our constituents. Then, there is always some free advice provided on the issue of leadership, which I truly believe we have seen consistently, virtually from day one, with this Prime Minister and the government, whether it was with the tax break for Canada's middle class back in 2015, the tax increase for Canada's wealthiest 1%, or the growth of social programs.
There was the GIS and the Canada child benefit, and the supports for small businesses, seniors, people with disabilities, students and many others all the way through the pandemic. Yes, we did spend a great deal of money, and we listen to the Conservatives today criticizing the government by asking why we borrowed so much, yet they voted in good part for the money we borrowed, which they now criticize.
There has been inconsistency coming from the Conservative bench. They stand up, speaker after speaker, often just to criticize the government, and that is fine. That is their role, I guess, but there is a need to hold the official opposition to account for some of the things it does. When it comes to financial matters, and that is what we are talking about today and have been talking about them for a long time, we have been talking about the issue of inflation.
The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, in one of his very first economic statements, and I remember it well, because he was talking about inflation, talked about how the Government of Canada needs to do something on inflation, and he shared his idea. Do members remember it? I remember it well. It was that one of the ways to fight inflation was to invest in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. The Minister of Finance gave a fairly good articulation of the impact of the advice provided by the leader of Canada's official opposition party. It was somewhat ill-advised, I would suggest.
We think of our seniors, and the Conservatives criticize us and say we are not doing enough for seniors, which is not true. They say that, yet if those seniors they cite had followed the advice of the leader of the Conservative Party, depending on how much they invested, they would have lost anywhere from 30% to 60%, and even higher than that. A senior who had invested $10,000 following the advice of the leader of the Conservative Party would have been lucky if they had $4,000 left from that $10,000 in their savings.
I think it is valid when the Minister of Finance asks the leader where the apology is. Where is the withdrawal? I do not quite understand it. Did the leader of the Conservative Party actually invest in cryptocurrency? Let us get a show of hands. How many of the Conservative members of Parliament followed the advice of the leader of the Conservative Party and bought cryptocurrency? If we canvass the House, we are not seeing any hands. They might be a little embarrassed to raise their hands.
Today, the Conservatives are quoting the Governor of the Bank of Canada, the very same governor the leader of the Conservative Party said he would fire. One day he is going to fire the Governor of the Bank of Canada, but today they are quoting the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Do they support the institution of the Bank of Canada? Other prime ministers have, including Stephen Harper.
These are the types of things we should all be concerned about. It is about contrast. If we listened to some of the Conservative members' speeches, what did they say? They said that when it comes to the government's legislation to forgive the interest, to get rid of the interest on student loans, they took exception to it. We had a member who stood up and said it was a dumb idea. That is the essence of what he was saying.
Are we to understand that the Conservative Party of Canada does not support students and does not understand the impact that interest is having on student loans? This is a great way to support students in every region of our country, especially now, when they have to deal with inflation. The Conservatives do not support that.
The Conservatives say that not all the funding the Liberals spent went toward the pandemic. Of course it did not. Why? We have record amounts of dollars going toward health care. We are talking about additional hundreds of millions of dollars. Is the Conservative Party now saying that the money should not be spent, even though it and the Bloc will say we need to spend more and give more money? On the one hand the Conservatives say to give more money, but then they criticize us because we spent more money that was not related to the pandemic.
Let us talk about the issue of health care. Canadians should be very concerned about the Conservative Party. I believe a vast majority of Canadians understand and want to see national leadership on the health care file.
The member for Avalon brought forward a resolution dealing with long-term care, because he is right in his assertion that the federal government has a role to play. We have the Canada Health Act. There is a role. I am concerned that the Conservative Party is not much better than the Bloc when it comes to health care.
That is unfortunate for people like me and many others who reflect what Canadians want, which is a national government that has an interest in health care. That is why we negotiated agreements with the different provinces and territories. That is why we are recognizing long-term care. That is why we are investing in mental health. That is why we are looking at ways to save on pharmaceutical costs.
We understand that health care is important to Canadians and the federal government has a role to play. We are not just an ATM. In fact, if we go back to the seventies, we would find that there was an agreement that took cash out of the system in favour of tax point shifts, which premiers actually wanted.
Now we have a government that continues to support health care, because it is the right thing to do. It is what Canadians want us to do. However, they should be concerned by the Conservative Party of Canada. We could fast-forward and take a look at child care. Again, there are hundreds of millions going into the billions of dollars. Yes, I agree, that is a lot of money. However, we are investing in Canadians.
We recognize that bringing in a national child care program is costly, and it was not directly pandemic-related. However, Canadians would benefit by it, and it has been proven. All one needs to do is to take a look at the province of Quebec, which initiated the idea. Much like other issues on health care, one province brings it forward and the national government takes the idea and expands it so that it benefits all Canadians. We are seeing the same thing here with child care.
Canadians need to be aware. The Conservative Party of Canada does not want it. It is going to get rid of it. These are the types of differences between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. We could even go to more recent things. Let us look at the dental legislation that we passed. We are saying, as a government, that we want to be able to support those who are 12 years and younger by providing some dental insurance. That is going to be money in the pockets of individuals, and it would assist them in getting dental work for children.
Do members realize that one of the biggest reasons for admissions into our hospitals today from a child's perspective is due to dental work? Indirectly, we are actually helping provinces on the health care file. By investing in dental care, there will be fewer children going into our hospitals. That is not to mention that it is the right thing to do. However, it is another initiative that the Conservative Party voted against. It is hard to believe, but Conservatives do not support children under the age of 12 receiving that.
There are more direct grants that I have not had time to talk about. I have not even talked about some of the other benefits, whether it is the doubling of first-time homebuyers tax credit or the multi-generational home renovation tax credit. I love that program. I could speak for half an hour plus just on that one program and how our communities would benefit. If I had leave from the chamber I would do just that, but I am already being told to wind up. I cannot believe it.
There is the anti-flipping tax. This is incredible. If members want to talk about housing-relating issues, this is in the legislation. We should be passing this. There are increases for taxes on banks. That is something that is critically important. There is a doubling of so many things that are positive.
However, I will sit and hope to get a question or two.