Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C‑32, which seeks to implement the government's fall economic statement.
To be clear, let me just say that my pleasure stems not from the content of the bill, but rather from the fact that I get to stand up and be the voice of Canadians and the people of Beauce regarding what should have been included in the bill.
To begin with, I would like to take a moment to denounce the inflation created by the Liberal government itself. With punitive policies like the carbon tax, this government is destroying local businesses while at the same time driving up grocery prices. This out-of-touch government has also imposed an equally disastrous fertilizer tariff on farmers. Even as our country grapples with the worst food inflation in 40 years, the worst since the days of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, as I recall, the government is still looking to line its pockets with new taxes. Ours is the only G7 country to have imposed a tariff on fertilizer during the most difficult time in recent years.
Food bank use is growing so quickly that organizations in my riding, such as Moisson Beauce, are struggling to meet demand. In Beauce, a third of new food bank users are children. This government refuses to look in the mirror and admit its shortcomings. The Conservatives have been fighting for months against these taxes and tariffs, but this NDP-Liberal coalition has a hidden agenda, so it refuses to do the right thing. As a country, we should be taking care of the things that we can control. Everything starts in our own backyard. We need to help farmers lower production costs so that, by the time the food they produce gets to store shelves, people can afford to feed their family. Currently, one in five Canadians is skipping meals to stay afloat financially. That is shameful. This needs to change.
In this budget, agriculture is not even a minor priority for this government. We would think that after seven years, the Prime Minister would understand that feeding our population is essential and that it starts at the farm. Farmers have been ignored long enough. It is time to give them the tools they need to grow our economy and produce affordable food for everyone. This is a powerful economic driver for our country, and we have to exploit its full potential. We just need a leader who can open his eyes and see that.
Similarly, I would like to draw members' attention to another failed Liberal plan, the plan to open our Canadian borders to all Ukrainian meat products. The Conservatives are all for supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia, but there are much better ways of doing it. On Friday, in a press release, the government authorized import permits for unlimited quantities of chicken from Ukraine, without even conducting an impact analysis to see how that would affect the Canadian markets. To top it all off, the Liberals did not even consult stakeholders before signing this agreement.
Our American counterparts put off accepting Ukrainian meat for food safety reasons, and I cannot blame them. We could provide Ukraine with financial support while helping famine-hit countries closer to it by sending them those products. This is not just about taking care of our country's food system first. It is also a matter of global food safety. The last time the Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspected a chicken factory in Ukraine was in 2019, yet the government expects sanitary conditions to have remained the same in a war-torn country. How can this government be so naive?
Furthermore, given that this government promised to protect supply management, why did it sign this agreement to open up the market after stating over and over that it would make no further concessions with respect to supply management? The Liberal government is playing with fire at a time when we must be extremely vigilant.
Avian flu is becoming more prevalent in North America, and the problem is just as bad in Europe. Countries such as Poland, one of Ukraine's neighbours, have had several cases of avian flu in recent months. How can we have any assurance that imported meat is safe if we have no protective measures in place?
I would now like to move on to another topic, that of immigration in this country.
Canada's immigration system is broken. The Liberal minister rises in this place, makes bold promises and uses the same talking points every day, but nothing is happening in that department.
Every day, my two offices in Beauce receive multiple requests for updates from people who need help and from business owners about the system backlog. According to recent studies, there is a backlog of 2.3 million applications. Whether we are talking about applications for permanent residence, work permits or sponsorship, everything is at a standstill because of the government's poor management. Businesses in my riding are losing contracts and threatening to move abroad because they cannot get the temporary foreign workers they need in time.
Doctors are waiting for work permits and documents when they could be working in local hospitals and helping my constituents. It is shocking. It is not just the immigration system in this country that is broken. Name any department and there is a good chance that it is broken as well. Whether it is Service Canada with pensions, the guaranteed income supplement or the passport fiasco, the list of failures goes on and on.
When my staffers talk to employees on the phone, it is clear that things are disorganized and there does not appear to be any direction from the top. Employees are bouncing from department to department, burning the candle at both ends.
Training has slowed to a crawl, and most officers are too junior to help with complex cases. Some employees are still working from home. When is the government going to get its public servants back in the office and on track to better serve our communities?
The workers cannot be blamed for the government's incompetence. I sincerely respect these officers and the tough job they do, but something has to change. There is only so much they can do with the tools they have been given.
Now I want to touch on some issues that my colleagues have often heard me talk about here in the House. Rural Canadians are being left in the lurch. My riding does not have public transportation. We have to drive to get to work and take our kids to their activities. The people of Beauce are hard-working, as evidenced by our 2.1% unemployment rate, which I believe is among the best in Canada. Unfortunately, the carbon tax is eating up Canadians' paycheques. Cell service and high-speed Internet are not even close to what they should be in 2022, but there is nothing in the budget to fix that problem either.
Now, this government also wants to prohibit my law-abiding constituents from owning certain hunting weapons. Many Canadians make their living in part from hunting. This is one way we feed our families, but the government wants to eliminate that option too.
I could go on and on, but since I am running out of time, I have a message for Canadians. The Conservative Party of Canada will continue to be there for them and fight for what Canadians need, which is more money in their pocket at the end of the week and healthy, affordable food on the table for our families this holiday season.
A Conservative government would have made much more tangible changes if we, the Conservatives, had had the opportunity to introduce our own budget. I hope that Canadians are taking note of what this NDP-Liberal government is doing to our country. The time for change is approaching, and I hope that the Liberal government will be held accountable for the disastrous choices it has made.
I will continue to defend the people of Beauce and all Canadians by condemning this inflationary government in the House at every opportunity.