Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to our opposition day motion. I want to start off with some basic facts, so I will read into the record this very important piece of information. This is the type of stuff we are actually discussing today:
Between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, over 800,000 people in Ontario alone accessed a food bank. In total, there were 5.9 million visits to a food bank in this time period. Feed Ontario reported that “if the 800,822 people who visited Ontario’s food banks between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, became their own municipality, it would be the third largest city in the province ahead of Mississauga.”
This tells us we have a problem, yet we are back to this debate. As the member from the NDP stated, Conservatives are bringing up this motion for the 11th time. We are trying to bring some common sense and understand why over 800,000 people in Ontario alone are using a food bank.
Just this week, at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, we heard it is forecasted that a food bank in Kelowna, B.C., is expecting its growth to be 100% in the next year. In addition, “More than one in six visitors say they are employed, which is an 82 percent increase over 2016-17 and a 37 percent increase over the previous year.” Now it is forecasted that, for 2024, there will be a hundred per cent increase in the use of food banks.
Why is this happening? It is very simple. It is because the cost of living is skyrocketing. Canadian mortgages have doubled, the costs of rents are increasing faster than the increase in wages and affordability is just absolutely out of control. We are in a broken economy right now.
We can try to paint a flowery picture, as we have heard from many parties here, and specifically the government's side. We can paint a pretty picture of all they have done. They can talk all they want about the Canada child tax benefit, refunds from the carbon tax and $10-a-day child care, but none of these policies are working to date.
This is why I am bringing this forward. We can talk about the Canada child tax benefit that was reformed in 2016, but we have to take into consideration what people received back in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Yes, I recognize there was an escalator to that, but the cost of living has continued to increase. Therefore, at the end of the day, Canadians are actually finding that they have less money in their pockets because of the cost of living. The more one spends, the more taxes the government is bringing in. This is the bottom line, and that is why it is so important that we axe the tax for farmers, families and first nations. It is desperately needed.
I am from the incredible riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London, where some of our key industry is farming and agribusiness. I will share a bit of information I received yesterday. When one starts receiving such things, one wonders if anybody from the government benches is doing any reading. Specifically, this comes from Dowler-Karn. I would really like to thank Dowler-Karn and the great people there who are servicing our farmers daily to try to make sure we get crops off and that grains are being dried and everything.
Dowler-Karn has seven locations from Windsor to Kitchener and services industry, agricultural producers, trucking companies and some residential home heating. It does not service gas stations or the mandatory residential home heating. I contacted Dowler-Karn in respect to its carbon tax expenses and was shocked to learn about the revenue that is leaving Elgin—Middlesex—London.
In a 12-month period, from November 30, $27.2 million in carbon tax was sent from Elgin—Middlesex—London to the federal government from Dowler-Karn alone, which is only one of the riding's providers. By April 1, 2024, rates will be going up 23%, so the carbon tax for 2024 is estimated by Dowler-Karn at $34 million.
Where does one think the $34 million comes from? It is added as one of the input costs to farmers. It is that simple. It is part of the business costs, so at the end of the day, when input costs go up, we are going to see the cost of food going up. It is really difficult for me to talk about food if we are not going to actually recognize that carbon tax plays a huge role in the production of food. It makes me very concerned that we are ignoring this.
Currently, the monthly average for Dowler-Karn is $2 million to $2.5 million in carbon tax. Recently, the Canadian Propane Association released a study that, on average, Canadian households are spending $300 to $350 monthly on home heating alone. Currently, the rate of carbon tax on diesel fuel is 17.4¢ per litre, with an estimate to 45.4¢ per litre by 2023. This is affecting all transportation of goods in Canada by truck or rail.
I also want to read into the record an email that we received. We are talking about families. We are talking about how people are being impacted. We recognize that there is absolutely an urban and rural divide on this, but people in the cities may pay less when it comes to the carbon tax because maybe their driving distance is shorter, or their homes may be different, like they might not being living in century-old farm homes. Barry Brigham of London wrote:
With several years of country wide tax contribution income now in place and recognizing rebates extended back to taxpayers, my personal question...[to you] Has there ever been a public release of an accountability statement to the current summary of the carbon tax ledger dollar amount to share with taxpayers. Information such as the current balance along with income generated from interest and details as to the disbursement of this carbon tax income ledger detailing the direction of funds for environmental improvement areas would be of great value and interest to review for a majority of Canadians.
Why do I bring this up? It is because when we talk about all of this money that is coming from the carbon tax, this psychological program that they are playing with Canadians, we are seeing that Canadians are paying a lot of money and they are absolutely desperate. They are asking where the government is taking the money it is receiving from the carbon tax, and are asking where it is investing it to ensure that we actually have climate solutions. That is what we see. The government continues to put its money into the general coffers so it has more revenue. This is a tax plan. It is all about bringing more money in, but we are not seeing the investments in technologies that we need to see.
On Bill C-234, let us turn to something that is really disgusting. I have an email here from some farmers in my riding. Currently, one livestock farmer has already spent approximately $38,000 in carbon tax alone to heat his barns, and will be spending approximately $12,000 in carbon tax to dry his grain.
Another large farming corporation that does some incredible work in the grain and oilseeds industry has already paid $80,000 in carbon tax. Where do people think this money comes from? It will come from the consumer at the end of the day because the input costs continue to go up.
I know I do not have a lot of time left. We have talked about the families, we have talked about the farmers and now we need to talk about our first nations. I think one of the greatest challenges I have seen here is the fact that the first nations have been left out of this. We saw Atlantic Canada get a break on the carbon tax. Why? It was not working and it was making people poor.
We are hearing the same things from our indigenous leaders. I want to read from a CBC article by Olivia Stefanovich. It states, “Ontario First Nations leaders are asking the Federal Court to exempt their communities from the federal carbon tax, a policy”—