Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak to our opposition day motion because the cost of living is the number one issue in this country.
It is unbelievable to me to think that a year ago 60% of Canadians were within $200 of not being able to pay their bills every month. Let us think about the increased costs that have happened during the pandemic and the multiple carbon tax increases from the government in the middle of a pandemic when people were losing their jobs, not to mention the exacerbation of everything under all of these COVID mandates, which are driving the cost of supply chain activities up across the country. All of these things are fundamental to the increased cost of living.
I am hearing from constituents in Sarnia—Lambton who are calling me, and it is heartbreaking. I have John, who is 73 years old. He is retired and has had to go back to taking two jobs to make ends meet. His wife is suicidal, thinking about the fact that they cannot afford to live. That is one story, but there are many others I could go into. This is all for what?
If we look at what is in the motion today, there is a lot to unpack. I am only going to focus on a few things. Let us start with the carbon tax. I heard the member of the Green Party talk, and his facts were not on point. Eleven cents a litre is the increase that we have had to date, and it is going to get worse. We know from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the tax on gas is 25% of the issue. The government has the power to do something about this today. France and Japan have eliminated taxes on gasoline, recognizing there is a shortage in the world and the price is high. This is something that could be done today.
However, the government continues to not just increase the carbon tax but to have a tax on that tax. There is huge revenue for its coffers, but the average Canadian is suffering. What did we really achieve for climate change out of this? We have achieved nothing, absolutely nothing. The Liberals have never met a climate change target. B.C. has had a carbon tax for 12 years, and its emissions have not gone down. Quebec has had a program for 12 years, and its emissions have not gone down. The government's emissions have not gone down, but it is punishing Canadians by continuing to raise the price on carbon tax, which is driving up not only the cost of gasoline but also of everything that has to be transported using gasoline.
We hear disinformation and misinformation on a daily basis in the House. The Liberals stand up and say that 80% of Canadians are better off, but that is not what the Parliamentary Budget Officer said. He said that 60% of Canadians are worse off with the carbon tax, and by 2024, 80% of Canadians will be worse off. We need to be honest with Canadians as they can see, when they are filling up their tanks and when they are paying their bills, that the costs are going up.
On the topic of the vaccine mandates, I very much appreciate the importance of vaccines to prevent COVID-19. I appreciated, in the heart of the pandemic, the many measures that were put in place. However, 55 countries around the world have dropped the mandates. The World Health Organization has said this is no longer effective for fighting Omicron or any of the current variants, yet the Liberal government continues to have these mandates in place. That is causing a shortage of all kinds of employees across the country. Truck drivers are just some of many. They were already short 14,000, and then with the mandates that increased.
I had women from the Canadian Federation of Truckers explain to me that one truckload of butter used to be $7,000 when they picked it up in the U.S. That is now $14,000, and that cost gets passed right on to the consumer. That is the reason why, when people go to the grocery store, single moms, seniors on a fixed income, and all of the people who are living below the poverty line, they do not have the ability to absorb it. I know the Prime Minister does not care. He has his trust fund. He does not have to worry about his bills. He is not concerned about the money.
The Prime Minister is punishing Canadians with these failed policies. It is not just individual Canadians. Let us talk about tourism. We visited today with the duty-free folks. They saw a 95% drop in the revenue of their businesses due to the border mandates. Instead of lifting the mandates, like all the other countries are doing, the Liberal government has doubled down and extended them into the heart of the tourism season. It is totally unacceptable, and it is accomplishing absolutely nothing.
Most of the people in the House have had all their vaccines, and all of them have had COVID one or two times. I am double vaccinated, and I have had COVID three times. It is not an effective technique, and these restrictions are causing problems at the airport and problems at the land border. It is impacting tourism and costing Canada economic activity.
Those are things the government could change with the stroke of a pen. With the stroke of a pen, it could help the tourism industry and drop those mandates. They are accomplishing nothing. We see the hypocrisy, when the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health stands up on the issue of ferries and says that, as long as someone's journey is less than 24 hours, they can be unvaccinated. The member for Cumberland —Colchester asked how many flights in Canada are less than 24 hours. The answer is all of them, so I ask why the mandates are not being dropped. This is killing economic activity, and it is hurting Canadians. This is something the government could do immediately.
That is the kind of solution that is in this motion. We are saying to put politics aside. This is the last chance before we rise for the summer. Let us get it right. Let us work together, and let us drop the mandates to get back to good economic activity.
I must not leave without talking about the farmers and the government's punishment of farmers. I understand the war of Russian against Ukraine. Everybody in the House has stood in solidarity to say we need to help Ukraine and we need to put sanctions against Russia, but it was clearly pointed out to the Minister of Agriculture that fertilizer was already purchased by Canadian farmers, and they have already paid the money to the Russians. The Russians already have the money, and now Canadian farmers are getting a 35% tariff. That is hundreds of thousands of dollars they are having to pay, and we have asked the Minister of Agriculture to exempt them back to March 2, but the government has refused.
Do the Liberals not understand where food comes from? There is already a concern globally about food security. Ukraine is one of the major suppliers of wheat in the world. The whole supply chain of food is at risk, and when Canadians farmers could be increasing their production, what is the government doing? It is punishing them, not just with prices of fertilizer and the tariffs on that, but also with the carbon tax on heating their barns for their animals and running their equipment. There is no relief in sight. It is totally unacceptable.
I would say that, when it comes to other things the government could do, it tries to pretend that, even though inflation is at an all-time high in the last 30 years, it is somebody else's fault. I have just pointed out things it could do about the carbon tax and the tax on the tax, and things they could do for farmers.
What about affordable housing? It is simple. It is all about supply and demand, so we have to increase supply. The government has had seven years to address housing affordability, and what did it accomplish? It doubled house prices. That is utter failure. Young people cannot ever have a dream of owning a house right now, and while there are solutions that our party has put forward, which the government could take advantage of, it has instead chosen to create a savings account that is tax free.
Do Liberals not understand that young people do not have any money to save? This is a totally fruitless exercise. It is not going to change anything. Some of the housing minister's programs that were put in place were taken advantage of by 9%, or perhaps nine individuals. I cannot remember. That is a failed plan. There are thousands of young people across the country who want to revisit the dream of owning a house, but the government has let them down.
My hope is that Liberals are going to look at this motion and look at the specific things they can do today to cut costs for Canadians because they are at the breaking point. It is my plea that Liberals will vote with us on this motion and that they will take these actions, because we need to be there for Canadians. Everybody in the House was elected to stand up and serve Canadians, and I want to see action from the Liberal government.