Madam Speaker, I rise to join the debate today on Bill C-32 as the government tries to push through some of its fall economic update. Not only are we talking about yet another bad bill, but again, it is trying to rush through the process of us reviewing it.
We saw this morning the government wants to cut short our debate by limiting it until the end of the day. To be clear, when I say “government” in this case, it applies to something more than what the Minister of Finance and the government House leader, as cabinet members, are supposed to represent when they introduce their bills or motions. It is something more than the wider Liberal caucus in this place that has stood by and supported the government's decision no matter the cost it brings to Canadians.
What is happening right now actually goes back to the agreement made earlier this year with the NDP. Yes, we are starting to see the NDP-Liberal coalition back in action.
It reminds me of when, not too long ago, Canadians first learned about a deal between the Liberals and the NDP. Everybody knew it was a convenient arrangement for these two parties to help each other stay in business, but they have been downplaying it from the time they announced it. They tried to pass it off as a working agreement on a small number of points where they had some mutual understanding. However, over here in the opposition, we have already seen what is going on, and Canadians outside this place can see it too.
The NDP and the Liberals will not dare to call themselves a coalition, but the whole time they have behaved like they are a majority government in Parliament. Back in the spring, it did not take long for them to bring forward a motion to push through government bills. The most shocking part of it might have been that it allowed a minister to move, without notice, a motion to adjourn the House until we would resume months later in September. Such a motion would be decided immediately without debate or amendment.
From early in May, the opposition was left waiting to see if the government would suddenly shut down Parliament for months. It was a strange thing to give the government such power if there was never actually a chance or need for it to be used.
At the same time, the motion also allowed the government to change the parliamentary schedule and give next to no notice. A minister could rise a minute before adjournment and declare we are sitting until midnight on a government bill. This introduced a lot of uncertainty into the whole process, not just for members but for parliamentary staff like our interpreters, who have had to work throughout these proceedings.
The Liberals and the NDP would have to explain to me the practicality of a lot of this happening without them working so closely together to coordinate the agenda and prepare for any last-minute changes. It would be exactly like if they were all part of a government trying to keep the opposition on its toes and undermine our important work. As we have heard from the government so often, it made it seem like this was only temporary and that it expired before the summer break. Then we all came back and it seems to be happening all over again.
First, the Liberals and the NDP used a special motion to rush Bill C-31 through the House with late-night debates and committee meetings. The result is more inflationary spending, which might fulfill part of their political agreement but is not the right solution for what Canadians are going through and asking for at this moment in time. However, that was not enough for the coalition. Last week, it passed another motion similar to the one it used before the summer, so now it can play games with the opposition again until the end of June.
It is a clear pattern. It is even more troubling to see it come from a party that is supposed to be in opposition and still officially pretends it is. Instead, it is enabling the Liberals to avoid accountability as a minority Parliament. That is what they are doing again with Bill C-32 today. However, none of this will stop us Conservatives from doing our jobs and doing our best to stand up against the desperate decisions of a government in decline.
Right now there is a cost of living crisis caused by inflation and interest rates, and they are failing to address it. The cost of groceries went up at the fastest pace in 40 years, and people have had to pay the highest gas prices ever. While Canadians are forced to cut back on spending, we are not seeing the government show fiscal restraint or provide tax relief. Instead, it continues to waste taxpayer dollars and weaken the foundation of our economy, especially by attacking our energy sector.
With that in mind, it is ironic to read this part of the economic update:
There is no country better placed than Canada to weather the coming global economic slowdown and thrive in the years ahead. We have the most talented and resilient workforce in the world, and we are a country that skilled workers want to move to. We have the key resources the global economy needs, and as we enter an era of friendshoring and our closest partners shift their strategic reliance from dictatorships to democracies, they are looking to Canada to provide them with those resources.
It is the last part of that statement that I find the most interesting. The government, from day one, has spent the last seven years attacking the development and growth of our natural resources sector here in Canada. During that entire time, the Conservatives have defended Canada's great potential to supply the world's needs, while our industry follows higher standards for respecting human rights and the environment. We keep saying it and the government ignores it time and time again. Even now, I doubt it really even cares to get it.
The sad reality is that the government is hurting the same sector that would strengthen our economy and support our allies all over the world. We have already seen that the federal government's past decisions have limited Canada's ability to help Europe as much as we otherwise could have during an energy crisis, but what is worse is that the government still does not have the willingness to rise to the occasion with Canadian energy. We saw that when the German Chancellor personally came here on a special trip and the Prime Minister gave him a disappointing response. The Chancellor came here looking for Canadian LNG to help wean Germany off its dependency on Russia, and he was told “no”.
The Liberals are not going to reverse their anti-energy policies, which they will continue to expand. One of the new and subtle ways they are doing this is through a shares tax. They are not saying it openly, of course, but the industry has raised it as a concern. What is even more telling, though, is that opponents of the energy sector have also pointed to this tax as something that specifically targets Canadian oil and gas.
The likely result is that there will be damage done to Canadian jobs and industry more than anything else. It is also going to help drive carbon leakage into other areas run by dictators, like some of these overseas places we are importing oil from and other countries are dependent on when they should instead be focused on Canadian oil and gas. As usual, the Liberals pretend to go after big business, while their policies make life more expensive for all Canadians, including the most vulnerable. It is exactly the opposite of what is needed while facing economic hardship.
This is the same government that weakened our economy before it had to go through stressful events, and then decided to make it worse with wasteful spending. The Liberals' economic update proves that they have not learned much from their mistakes. As a case in point, the Liberals are going to raise the carbon tax, even though it has been a big part of the problem in terms of the cost of food and fuel. They say it is an environmental plan, but it is really nothing but a tax plan.
Along with that, the Liberals are failing to support workers and communities affected by their mandated coal transition. I represent some of these communities, alongside the member for Souris—Moose Mountain. Rockglen and Willow Bunch are such communities that are in my riding, and this year the environment commissioner's audit has shown that so far, the transition program is shaping up to leave these communities and their workforce behind. In fact, it goes so far as to say there is a complete lack of a plan, and that over the pandemic the Liberals have taken the last two years completely off, while not even allowing an extra two years in lieu for these communities to get their orders in line to be able to meet this transition from the government, but without the government's help.
There are a lot of talented people who are doing the best they can to prepare for this coming change, but again, as I just alluded to, there is still no planning and no attention from the government. These places still are not getting the answers they need for the future. When I look at the economic update, it still seems like this not a real priority for the Liberals, and that they will continue to break their promise to these coal communities.
These are the things we need to talk about while the government tries to shut down debate. These are things that should have been brought up in the fall economic update and have not been brought up, which is why we need this time to be debating this here today.
The Liberals are once again missing an opportunity, and they will continue to use the same kinds of decisions that brought us here, to where we are, where they limit debate along with the help of the NDP, and Canadians cannot afford it anymore.