Madam Speaker, ironically, the very next line in my speech is that “the government really knows how to waste time”. I think that was just a great example of it right there.
I want to assure colleagues that I am not going to waste the time of my constituents in Saskatoon West. I am going to dive into this piece of legislation and speak about why I am voting against it. Then I am going to talk about what matters to the economy of Saskatoon West, which is agriculture and energy, and why this fall economic legislation should have focused on those drivers of our economy.
I need to tell my constituents why I oppose this legislation. I invite all Canadians to go to page 36 of the fall economic update to understand how damaging this legislation is for our country. The government’s own figures show that once this legislation passes an additional $28 billion in debt will be added in the fiscal year ending this week. For the next fiscal year, which starts on Friday, this legislation will increase the debt by another $13 billion.
The government thinks this is a non-event with nothing to see here, but the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has a debt clock that shows our debt. Did colleagues know that the Liberals broke that clock? It did not have enough digits. The clock shows our debt is increasing at $4,500 per second. That means in the minute and a half that I have been speaking, our debt has increased by $400,000. Every 10-minute speech by the Prime Minister adds $2.7 million to our debt. Last year’s deficit added well over $300 billion. This year’s deficit will add another $150 billion and next year is half of that again.
How do governments come up with this extra money? They issue bonds and print money. All economic theory will tell you that printing money increases inflation. History teaches us this same lesson. It could be the hyperinflation of Weimar Germany or the stagflation of 1970s America. Twenty years ago it was the Asian flu, and 10 years ago we had South American governments that were defaulting and becoming bankrupt. Time and time again, when governments print money it results in inflation. Inflation hurts Canadians, especially seniors and those on fixed incomes.
Another effect of money printing is rising house prices. Property prices skyrocket, requiring larger and larger mortgages and putting homeowners under financial stress. That is exactly what caused the 2008 housing crash and the Great Recession. I think most Canadians understand that government spending causes inflation. I think that Canadians also understand that only the Conservative Party can fix the mess caused by the Liberal government. We will fix this one. We will reign in government spending. We will unleash the power of our entrepreneurs and risk-takers. We will multiply the advantage of our resource sector. We will restore confidence in Canada again.
In Saskatchewan, agricultural policy is economic policy, and Bill C-8 does not mention this. Even though I represent a fully urban riding, I know the importance of agriculture to the economy of Saskatoon West. Plus, we all need food and most of us enjoy it too.
There are two main growing areas on this planet. The first is the great plains of North America, which stretch from northern Saskatchewan all the way down to Texas. The second are those in eastern Europe. Putin’s unprovoked invasion and war in Ukraine is destroying the second-largest wheat growing area in the world. We have not seen a disruption of eastern European food supplies on this scale since the Holodomor under Stalin, when that brutal dictator stole the crops of the people and starved millions of Ukrainians to death. Now that we are counting on Saskatchewan and the great plains to feed the entire planet, our farmers will step up to the plate. There is no doubt that Canadian farmers have the capacity to make up the shortfall, but there are problems that our farmers face.
I sat at the environment committee, and I focused on farmers' issues and the harm that the NDP-Liberal government's policies were doing to our farmers. First and foremost is the carbon tax. This tax is adding massive input costs. Fertilizer and fuel for planting machinery is adding significantly to each bushel of wheat. Output costs are going up as well. Fuel for harvesting machinery and transport costs by trucks and train are adding even more dollars of cost per bushel of wheat.
To help mitigate this for our farmers, I asked the environment minister at committee if he would recognize Saskatchewan’s carbon capture system as equivalent to the federal system. His answer was, “That's certainly the intent.” True to form, he then reneged and imposed his own separate system of federal costs on Saskatchewan farmers. The result is more inflation on the price of food.
We will certainly grumble over the massive inflation price increases, but we are a rich country. The people who will suffer the most are in Africa and Asia, the most vulnerable people on the planet. I guess, in the minds of the small cabal of NDP-Liberal politicians that have a power lock on this House, mass starvation is a low price to pay for a carbon tax.
Let us look at the NDP food policy. As I have said, Canada is a global agricultural superpower, but the NDP do not recognize this. Indeed, the NDP's policy statement says the opposite. It says, “We’ll work to connect Canadians to farmers with initiatives like local food hubs, community supported agriculture, and networks to increase the amount of food that is sold, processed and consumed in local and regional markets.”
We might ask what is wrong with that. A Saskatchewan farmer produces tens of thousands of bushels of wheat, and he is not going to sell that at a farmers’ market. How many Canadians do members know who mill their own wheat into flour and then transform that into bread and pasta? If it were up to the NDP, all we would have are community gardens in urban settings that grow food like a few carrots and cabbages. There is nothing wrong with community gardens, but they only feed a small group of Starbucks-sipping people, whereas the Conservative Party has a long history of unlocking Saskatchewan agriculture.
It was under Prime Minister Harper that we eliminated the Canadian Wheat Board, allowing farmers to finally market their own crops. We also gave plant breeders the right to give our farmers access to the most modern crop technology available. All these measures were opposed by the NDP-Liberals. The people in my riding of Saskatoon West need to ask themselves whether the NDP really has an agriculture policy that benefits our province and them.
In Saskatchewan our energy and mining sectors are the two other drivers of economic activity that are not really addressed in this legislation. Last month, I spoke to the importance of these sectors to our province. Energy is 26% of the economic activity in Saskatchewan. In my riding alone, 40 businesses are directly involved in primary energy extraction. Our province produces an average of 500,000 barrels of oil per day, or one-fifth of all the oil consumed in Canada every day, and additionally we have 1.2 billion barrels of oil in reserve.
How is this oil transported? Some of it goes through pipelines, but much of it travels on railways. The NDP-Liberal government has done everything in its power to kill pipeline projects that would safely move oil and natural gas to refineries or tidewater. Conservatives, on the other hand, understand the need for pipelines and the need for Canadian energy.
Right now there is massive global demand for Canadian oil and natural gas due to the war in Ukraine. The price of oil is as high as it has ever been. Russian liquefied natural gas has been cut off from Europe. Our allies in the U.S. and Europe need our energy. President Biden has instead turned to the dictators and despots of Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia for this energy. Why? It is because the NDP-Liberal government is keeping its ideological blinders on and not seizing on this opportunity to move our energy to market.
The people of Saskatoon West have faced a host of issues these past years, while suffering under the yoke of the current Liberal-NDP government in Ottawa. This current legislation promises to add to the crisis of Justinflation. The Bank of Canada admitted earlier this month that the carbon tax is directly contributing to this inflation, which has raised the cost of groceries an average of $1,000 a year. For many people that is simply out of reach, especially as they make trade-offs as the prices of gasoline, clothes, rent, mortgages and other necessities experience record high inflation as well.
There is a strong contrast between NDP-Liberal policies that will pickpocket people and redistribute their money to special interest groups, and the Conservatives, who will allow people to keep their money and let them decide how they want to spend it. Do we want our taxes to rise, or do we want tax cuts to help Canadians struggling to get by? Do we want income splitting? Do we want unrestricted access to EI and CPP payroll taxes to make up government policy shortfalls, or do we want to have rates that keep politics out of those funds? Do we want to pay tax when we sell our houses? Do we want tax rates that are set by G20 bureaucrats or by people in Canada?
I could go on, but my constituents get the point. NDP-Liberals will tax and spend and drive inflation through the roof. Conservatives will always be there to make life simpler for Canadians.