Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak to this opposition motion, which reads, and I quote:
That, given that the government has announced a “temporary, three-year pause” to the federal carbon tax on home heating oil, the House call on the government to extend that pause to all forms of home heating.
Note that we are talking about a “temporary, three-year pause”. That means that it will be coming back.
This is a fair, reasonable and common-sense motion. It could not be simpler. I think that everyone in the country can understand this. That is what we are asking for today and during the vote on this motion next Monday.
The Prime Minister gave to some. Now he must give to everyone. This motion calls on the Prime Minister to be fair to all Canadians, whatever region they live in or whatever form of home heating they use.
Last week, the Liberals announced three changes to the carbon tax aimed at Atlantic Canadians: a three-year pause on the carbon tax for home heating; a 10% increase in the rural top-up; and the creation of a program that will reward Canadians who register to switch from oil to heat pumps.
A heat pump costs between $5,000 and $10,000 and as much as $12,000. I hear it will be free depending on the province. I cannot wait to see that. I do not know of anything in life that is free.
This is all quite the coincidence. Our leader was actually in the Atlantic provinces for a rally against the carbon tax when the Prime Minister made his announcement. It appears the Prime Minister panicked, or perhaps it is because he realized his popularity was plummeting. In short, this is a disaster.
The problem is that this announcement only impacts 3% of the population; the other 97% will continue to pay the carbon tax on heating. Quebec will also continue to pay. The western provinces will also continue to pay. The Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency even had the nerve to say that people in the Prairies should just vote Liberal. Talk about condescending. It is impossible to make this up.
I want to be very clear. The carbon tax is making everything more expensive, contrary to what the Bloc Québécois has been saying for weeks. Contrary to what the Bloc Québécois has been saying, the carbon tax does have an impact on Quebec. Whether it is direct or indirect, the tax does have an impact on Quebec. Every product or food that comes from another province is affected by the carbon tax. Other provinces import services and consumer goods, particularly groceries, and this drives up prices in Quebec as well. The carbon tax therefore does apply to Quebec. As soon as those products hit the shelves and are consumed in Quebec, they are subject to the carbon tax.
Quebec is not self-sufficient. Even if Quebec were independent, as the Bloc Québécois wants, it would not be completely isolated from the world. It is absurd to think that Quebec could produce everything that needs to be produced in its own hypothetical country, which is what the Bloc Québécois wants to see someday. The reality is that Quebec imports goods. These goods are affected by the carbon tax, which the Bloc Québécois wants to radically increase. Let us imagine the end result. What will happen in five or 10 years? The government wants to quadruple the carbon tax and the Bloc wants to increase it as much as possible. This will inevitably have an impact on Quebec.
The Liberals granted their wish. The Prime Minister imposed a second carbon tax. The clean fuel regulations will raise the price of gas by up to 20¢ a litre by 2030. The Bloc Québécois's willingness to make Quebeckers poorer is astounding, but that is precisely what is going on. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated about 17¢, but after the GST and QST are added, the total adds up to about 20¢. The Bloc has been the government's ally on this issue from the start. Worse yet, I repeat, they want to drastically hike the carbon tax. That will inevitably impact Quebec and the entire country, against their wishes.
A few weeks ago, we moved a motion to abolish both carbon taxes, and the Bloc Québécois voted against it.
Bloc Québécois MPs say that they represent Quebeckers. Unfortunately, I do not think that Quebeckers want more taxes. People who live in ridings represented by Bloc MPs who are in the House or at their offices in Ottawa are all affected by these things. They are all having a hard time making ends meet. Currently, nine out of 10 Canadians, including Quebeckers, are using food banks. It is no longer just people on social assistance or people in a temporary bind, but workers and entire families who are forced to go to food banks.
A Canadian family will pay $1,000 more for groceries over the next year. The Bloc Québécois is okay with that. A report on food prices predicts that prices will go up by 34% over the next two years. Here are a few of the general numbers on increases in food prices since 2015, when the Liberals came to power: lettuce has gone up 94%; onions, 70%; cabbage, 70%; carrots, 74%; potatoes, 77%. Oranges have also gone up in price. Everything has gone up. When we go to the grocery store, we leave with one bag of groceries that cost $250. That is crazy. Things absolutely need to change.
A common-sense Conservative government will work to reduce the debt, pay it down. The Bloc Québécois could not care less. The Conservatives want to return to a balanced budget to bring down inflation and interest costs, which have caused mortgages to double. The amount required for a down payment has doubled, rent has doubled, everything has doubled. It is appalling. People are living paycheque to paycheque, month to month. It is hard for them to get by. The Bloc Québécois does not give a damn.
Worse yet, two of our Bloc Québécois colleagues told the House this morning that the Conservatives should be ashamed of getting their paycheques in Ottawa and that they should represent Quebeckers. It takes a lot of gall to say such things knowing that they want to divide or, indeed, outright undo the country we live in. Besides, where do they get their pay and pensions from? It is appalling to hear them say such things.
Monthly mortgage payments for an average house have now reached $3,560. That is a 150% increase since this Prime Minister took office. The average price of a one-bedroom apartment climbed from $973 in 2015 to $1,175 in 2023. The increase on a two-bedroom apartment is even worse, from $1,100 to $2,300. It used to take 25 years to pay off a mortgage. Now, it takes 25 years just to save up the down payment.
The situation has worsened to the point that some families are being forced to take out mortgages that will take them 50, 60, 70 or 80 years to pay off. That makes no sense. Most young people have actually given up on the dream of owning their own home. What we are currently experiencing across Canada is no picnic, and all because of this government's inflationary policies.
The government is making things worse with the carbon tax, and the Bloc Québécois wants to increase it drastically. I cannot say this often enough. Bloc members said it before in the House, more than once. They could not care less that the people of Quebec are struggling to make ends meet. They have no problem adding to that burden. Voting for the Bloc Québécois will be costly.
Bloc members are denying the obvious. The carbon tax increases the price of everything. I have no choice but to repeat that they refuse to believe it. It is incredible. We live in a country with 10 provinces and three territories, including Quebec, but these people seem to live on a different planet. They do not, and Quebec does not either. They live in Canada. Goods are bought and sold within Canada, and Quebec inevitably pays tax on them. I do not know why they insist on saying that this does not apply to Quebec. Yes, Quebec has a carbon exchange with California, which, by the way, has doubled. Where is that money going? I think that Quebeckers should check or at least seek more information on their current situation. It really is no picnic.
After eight years of this government, the time has come for a common-sense government. I therefore ask my parliamentary colleagues to support our motion and expand the pause announced by the Prime Minister to include all forms of home heating.