Madam Speaker, that was quite an introduction to my speech. It basically took all the oxygen out of the House.
Let me start by saying that this bill is effectively the budget implementation act, which would implement a portion of the last federal budget, budget 2022, which was tabled just over a month ago. Not surprisingly, after having given this much thought, considered it and looked at all the different elements of this particular bill, as well as the budget itself, we as the Conservative opposition have no choice but to oppose it. I will tell the reasons why.
When I spoke earlier to the budget itself, I highlighted the fact that there were a number of issues we took very seriously. One was that, contrary to expectations, it was not a growth budget. In fact, it was very much like the previous budget in 2021, which was panned by the Liberals' own former advisers, who said that the claims that that budget was a growth budget were actually profoundly wrong. In fact, it was a spending budget. It turns out this budget, budget 2022, is also a spending budget.
Why can I say that it is a spending budget? We know the figures, and the officials have confirmed them. There is somewhere in the order of $57 billion or $58 billion of new spending in this bill. That is not just carrying over from the previous year or established programs simply carrying those forward. This is, on top of that, $57 billion more that the government would spend.
I believe we need to place this all in context because the government took over some six and a half years ago in 2015, and over those six and a half years, and members will not believe this, spending has grown 53%. To put this into further perspective, just between 2019, so just before the COVID pandemic, and today, spending has increased by 25%, so by all measures this is a tax-and-spend Liberal government. Canadians should not be surprised. That is the reputation they have earned over many decades.
Is this a growth budget, which is what it was supposed to be? It was intended to be about fundamental changes that were going to improve the prospects for long-term growth for our country. About the growth we are seeing in the economy today, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has said that growth is actually “GDP inflation.” In other words, it is not organic or substantive growth that is generated by improving productivity within the economy that would improve our competitiveness on the world stage and the global marketplace.
For example, there was nothing in this budget about comprehensive tax reform, which would clearly position our tax system as being fairer, making sure the wealthy pay their share, and also position Canada to be competitive within the global marketplace. Such a tax system would attract investment from all around the world, because today Canada has a reputation of being a place people do not invest in. They shy away. It has too much regulation. Taxes are too high. There is no certainty that the investment will ever be approved, and it has a federal government that is not supportive of this investment, certainly not investment in our resource sector and certainly not investment in our oil and gas sector.
This is also not a growth budget because there is nothing in it about regulatory change or about regulatory reforms that would speed up the approval process for worthy projects. That just is not here.
There is nothing in this budget about interprovincial trade barriers, which have bedevilled governments for many, many decades. It is tougher to do trade among the provinces and territories than it is to do trade with some of our free trade partners around the world. What a sad comment on the performance of the government, which had nothing in the budget or in this bill that addresses that serious problem.
There is nothing in the budget that addresses Canada's lagging investment performance. In fact, Canada is at the bottom of the list of the 38 OECD countries when it comes to investment performance. Investors from around the world just do not see Canada as an attractive place to invest.
I want to hearken back to a comment that the finance minister just made. She made it seem like Canada's growth rate is the best in the world. There is nothing to see here. It is all great. “Don't worry, be happy.” In fact, she quoted the IMF, which said that Canada is going to have a good growth rate for a couple of years.
Do members know what the OECD has said? Canada ranks 38th of 38 countries when it comes to expected future growth of our economy over the next 30 to 35 years, between 2030 and 2060. Canada will be at the bottom of the list of the developed countries of this world. That is a failure on the part of the Liberal government. This is not a growth budget. The prospects under the government are bleak when it comes to future growth.
Second, let me address the issue of inflation. Inflation is the biggest challenge to Canadian families today. The affordability crisis stretches from coast to coast to coast. Yes, there are external influences that have driven inflation from around the world, supply chain challenges and spiking commodity prices, but the government has to take responsibility as well. Economist after economist notes that governments cannot keep spending and spending and pumping more money into our economy without paying a price, and that price is the inflation we see today, especially in our housing market. The housing affordability crisis is as severe as I have seen in my lifetime. It has never been so bad in this country. Right now, the government cannot give Canadians any hope that things are going to get better in the near to mid-term.
The problem is this. The Liberals had something in their budget called a housing plan. They said they were going to pump $10 billion into Canada to help ease the housing crisis, but $4 billion of that is simply a transfer from the federal government to municipalities across the country. It will not create one extra house in Canada. It will not build one extra house over the next few years. It is going to be used, purportedly, to help the municipalities improve their application processes, to make sure they are more efficient, more timely and speedier, so they can get more permit approvals out the door, but that is going to take years to manifest itself. I think we all in the House know that this is not a quick fix.
The other $6 billion from this $10-billion fund is going into a program that will allow first-time homebuyers to set up a savings plan where, over a period of five years, they can invest $8,000 per year for a total of $40,000 in an account that has tax-deductible investments into the fund and one can take money out tax-free. It sounds great, but it is only $40,000 and it is over five years.
Over five years, these families are going to be left far behind by a housing market that is raging out of control. To boot, that program is going to increase demand for housing in Canada even more as more Canadians take advantage of this. We are going to have a problem on the demand side and a problem on the supply side of housing in Canada.
The real challenge here in Canada is the housing crisis itself, and the inflationary aspect of it is a made-in-Canada crisis. Some of the elements that go into our home construction would be impacted by global forces, but for the most part, housing inflation in this country is a made-in-Canada crisis. We had the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, at our committee not long ago and we specifically asked him if it was possible that some of the inflationary spending that the federal Liberals had done, the borrowing and spending, with record deficits and record debt, could be contributing to housing inflation. He admitted that yes, that was true. Housing inflation can be driven by excess liquidity in the marketplace.
It is not available to the Liberal government to simply wash its hands of the inflation crisis besetting our country and afflicting homes across this country. It has to take some ownership and responsibility for a crisis of its own making. It is not solely of its own making, I will be the first to admit, but it is significantly of its own making.
That was the cost of living, and of course it is going to get worse because on one side we have inflation. How do the Bank of Canada and Mr. Macklem fight inflation? He now has to increase interest rates. At committee last week, he admitted he was going to have to do that quickly and that the increases in interest rates would be significant.
Now we are between scourges afflicting families across this country: on one side, we have skyrocketing inflation, and on the other side, we have rising interest rates. Canadians who have mortgages that are due for renewal are going to be paying higher mortgage rates. That means higher payments, which in turn mean less disposable income for those families. That is the story and the legacy of the Liberal government.
I will go to the third problem that we see with this budget and this bill. The finance minister was expressly directed by the Prime Minister, just over a year ago, not to engage in any more new permanent spending. That was in the middle of the COVID pandemic, and the government I thought had realized that we could not keep spending. We need to discipline spending because, at the end of the day, we also have a duty to future generations of Canadians who have to pay back this massive debt that has been incurred because of the COVID pandemic and because of the government's reckless spending.
Instead, after receiving that clear directive, a year later what did the Prime Minister do? He gave the finance minister another mandate letter in which he purged any reference to eliminating new permanent spending. I do not know. Maybe the Prime Minister already knew that he was cooking up a coalition between the NDP and the Liberals, that it would cost taxpayers a lot of money, and then the government would have to borrow a lot of money to satisfy the NDP. I do not know that, but I do know this.
Shortly after the finance minister received that mandate letter, she started crafting her 2022 budget, which introduced a massive amount of new permanent spending, including a dental care program. In the last budget, it was a child care program. In the next one, we expect there will be a pharmacare program.
What was shocking to me, as a member of the finance committee, was the process when all of these requests were pouring in as we did our pre-budget consultations. There were stakeholders from across Canada. Five hundred written submissions came in, and many more witnesses were basically asking the government to fund this program or that program or to give them this subsidy or that subsidy. We asked the other members of the committee if we could at least go through a process of prioritization and triage all the requests flooding in, so that we could bring a critical eye to them to determine which ones were actually affordable for Canadian taxpayers and future generations, who would have to pay the bill.
The Liberals, NDP and Bloc said that they were not interested in prioritization. They wanted to take all the recommendations and send them up to the minister to see what she would do with them. What a reckless way of doing business. That is not the kind of country I want to live in. I want to live in a country that is fiscally responsible. I want to have a Prime Minister who actually thinks about monetary policy, not who shuns it and says it is something that does not concern him.
It is the monetary policy of this country that is requiring interest rates to go up because of the reckless borrowing and spending of the Liberal government. That is the permanent spending part of it. There is $57 billion of new spending just in this budget alone, and that will saddle future generations with an albatross. It is a huge indebtedness that they are going to have to pay back with rising interest rates.
The last point is taxation. The Liberal government often talks about having Canadians' backs and being there for the middle class. “Hear, hear,” they say, yet the budget is tax after tax. It is unbelievable. Look at the escalator on wine excise taxes, for example. It is unbelievable. The escalators automatically drive up the taxes on goods that Canadians purchase every single day. It is tax after tax. What is worse is the fact that with the dramatic escalation in the price of gas at the pumps, Canadians who already had a tough time filling up their tanks are now realizing, because we Conservatives are telling them, that on top of that gas price, they are paying GST, which means more revenues for the federal government but less disposable income for them.
We, as Conservatives, brought forward a proposal, because we are solution-oriented. We are problem-solvers on this side. We came forward to the Prime Minister and said that we could at least temporarily suspend carbon taxes and temporarily suspend the GST on gas so we could give Canadians a break. The Liberals said no.
Let me close by saying that there is no way the Conservatives, the official opposition and the loyal opposition, can support a budget bill that is irresponsible. I have a motion that I would like to table in this House.
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “that” and substituting the following: “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-19, an Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures, since the bill fails, among other things, to address inflation, provide tax relief for Canadians and take immediate action to increase housing supply.