Madam Speaker, it is always a privilege to rise in the House to represent the incredible people of Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner.
Today, as we debate the fall economic statement, Bill C-32, I find it challenging to speak to the government's financial priorities. The priorities of the Liberal government differ dramatically from the priorities of Canadians and the official opposition. We have fundamentally different beliefs, and we generally disagree on the role government should play in the lives of Canadians.
This is a politically charged financial statement with two objectives: first, for the Liberals to spend enough money to buy the support of the NDP so their Liberal-NDP political love story can continue; and, second, to divide Canadians based on an ideological framework regardless of the financial or political consequences.
Canadians are tired. We have been stretched emotionally and spiritually, and now we have been physically pushed beyond our limits, especially over the last two and a half years. Like an overworked body, we need time to rest and recover. We need a sense of normality and hope, but that is not what is happening here. Canada is facing a cost of living crisis brought on by years of overspending, excessive borrowing and money printing, though the government will say it is quantitative easing, which has created the highest rates of inflation in decades.
Of late, the Bank of Canada has been raising interest rates at an unprecedented pace, and it is not done yet, all in an effort to curb the inflationary trend. The government has doubled Canada's debt in the last seven years, and the Prime Minister, as has been said many times before, has added more debt than all prime ministers in the history of Canada combined. For those trying to keep track of that at home, that is over half a trillion dollars.
The Liberals would have us believe that they had no choice, given the pandemic. However, 40% of all new spending and measures has nothing to do with COVID. That is over $200 billion. The resulting national debt interest payment costs have doubled, and next year those interest payments will be nearly as much as the Canada health transfers to the provinces. Let us just think of the impact of that.
I am sure that members of the House recall the Prime Minister, the current finance minister and the previous finance minister touting how inexpensive it was for the government to borrow money. This is no longer the case. Now Canadians are stuck repaying their bills at these new and much higher interest rates.
The only person with any fundamental financial understanding back then and now is the Conservative leader. He warned the finance minister back in December of last year. She was asked what impact a 1% average increase on interest rates would have on Canada's national debt. She was unable to provide any number. The crushing part is that rates did not go up 1%. They are up 3.5%. A finance minister who could not fathom a 1% increase when questioned was clearly unprepared for that eventuality.
Now we are in a situation where the reality is substantially worse than that, yet the finance minister remains equally as oblivious to the situation and as arrogant to her colleagues as she was a year ago. In her fall update, she should have been singing the praises of the Leader of the Opposition. After all, he was clearly the only one with both the foresight and understanding that interest rates would not remain at historic lows forever and the conviction to ensure that the government had a plan.
During this time of self-induced financial uncertainty, the government needs to partner with Canadians and not continue to punish them. Let us take small business owners, for example. They are the unsung heroes of Canada's economy. They employ nearly two-thirds of workers across the country and take on incredible risk to provide the necessary goods and services to our communities, yet under the Liberal government, small businesses are being punished with rising payroll taxes, an increasing carbon tax, labour shortages and staggering inflation, which is driving up the cost of everything.
This fall economic statement was the Liberals' chance to let Canadians know that the Government of Canada is a strong and stable partner, and they failed. It was the Liberals' chance to rein in spending and focus on getting the country's financial house in order, but they failed there, too. It was their chance to acknowledge that a carbon tax only hurts Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet, but Liberals let Canadians down there, too.
Sadly, the Liberal plan does nothing to address the cost of living crisis and government overspending. Rather, it shows that government revenues have increased by $40 billion this year alone. This not only means that inflation is increasing the cost of everyday essentials, but it also means there is an increase in taxes while the Liberal government is profiting from increased inflation on the backs of already struggling Canadians.
Canada's Conservatives had two clear expectations and demands of the government, as did Canadians: stop the taxes and stop the spending. Stopping the taxes means no new taxes and includes cancelling all planned tax hikes and the increasing of the carbon tax. Stopping the spending means no new spending and that any new spending by ministers must be matched by an equivalent saving. None of those demands were met in the fall economic inflationary update.
As I stated recently in the House, all that Canadians really need to thrive and survive is individual freedom and good government. I believe a good government is for the people, not of the people, and is transparent. It acknowledges that every time a dollar is given away, it must first be taken from a Canadian who went to work to earn it. It is a government that makes life more affordable for Canadian, not by creating more cash but by creating more of what cash can buy, and understands that ethically produced and environmentally responsible Canadian energy helps fuel our economy and should fuel the world. It is a government that knows carbon taxes will not tackle climate change and that focuses on promoting Canadian technology to the world, making alternative energy cheaper, not making Canadian energy more expensive. It is a government committed to reforming the tax and benefit system so that those who work can keep more of what they earn, and one that offers Canadians hope and creates an environment to succeed and prosper.
Freedom and good government are exactly what the Conservative leader, my Conservative colleagues and I are intent on providing Canadians. Buckle up folks. The fight to get Canada back on track has started.
It starts with removing the carbon tax, which is further burdening already struggling Canadians. It starts by helping the finance minister understand that her plan to print, borrow and spend on political pet projects needs to end. It starts by voting down this misguided and hyperpartisan fall economic statement. I ask my colleagues to please join me in ensuring that this bill does not pass.