Madam Speaker, after eight long years of the current Liberal government's economic mismanagement, Canadians are paying the price. The Liberals' reckless government spending, coupled with their love of taxes, has caused this inflation crisis. Their failed policies have left this country with a 40-year high inflation, interest rates not seen since the 2008 recession, and continually rising taxes that seem to end up in the hands of wealthy Liberal insiders or sent out the door in inflationary spending. Worst of all, the government is going to triple, triple, triple the destructive carbon tax and add a second one on top of it.
The reckless spending by the current government started even before the COVID–19 pandemic. The Prime Minister's promise of $10 billion was broken when, even before the pandemic, he had already spent $100 billion. After telling Canadians he would have only modest deficits, he broke that promise completely. Of course, during COVID, the current government kept the money printers going, adding half a trillion dollars to the national debt, and 40% of that spending was not even pandemic-related.
Former finance minister and random Liberal Bill Morneau has admitted that the government overspent during the pandemic. Lucrative government contracts have gone to companies like SNC-Lavalin, WE Charity and the company run by former Liberal MP Frank Baylis. Of course, Canadians got nothing out of those contracts in all those cases, but the Prime Minister's friends were happily paid off and it cost Canadians. The Auditor General has even reported that $32 billion went to people who should not have received COVID benefits, including prisoners, dead people and even foreign nationals. It seems the Prime Minister ranks Canadians lower than even criminals.
Who can forget the $54 million spent on the ArriveCAN app, which failed to do anything but wrongly send vaccinated Canadians into government-run quarantine centres? What is worse is that the Liberals thought they should add $15 billion a year in spending on contracts that go out to high-priced consultants who have personal connections to cabinet ministers and even the Prime Minister. As the Parliamentary Budget Officer once said, this is not “keeping one's powder dry”.
The Governor of the Bank of Canada, Tiff Macklem, has said that inflation is a homegrown issue. He admitted to the finance committee that the current Liberal government's out-of-control spending drove up the inflation that plagues Canadians today. He even indicated that the eight consecutive interest rate hikes were necessary because the Liberals cannot help but spend, spend, spend.
The former Bank of Canada governor and future Liberal leadership candidate Mark Carney told senators that inflation is a domestic problem. Former Liberal deputy prime minister and finance minister John Manley said that the Liberal spending is working against the efforts of the Bank of Canada to control inflation. He added that Liberal spending is fuelling inflation.
Inflation has also been fuelled by the current Liberal government's adding tax increases after tax increases. There is the triple, triple, tripling of the carbon tax, the new, second carbon tax coming this year, the payroll tax and the undemocratic escalator tax on the drinks Canadians enjoy.
When asked by Conservatives, the Bank of Canada governor admitted that the failed carbon tax is driving up inflation. It is not hard to see why. While inflation caused by Liberal spending has made everything more expensive, the Liberals' carbon tax is punishing Canadians, businesses and farmers for living their lives. Agriculture producers are dealing with higher prices for farm fuels, fertilizers needed to grow crops, and the feed they need to keep livestock alive. We know that, once tripled, the failed carbon tax will cost a typical farmer $150,000 a year, and the agriculture industry could lose upwards of $50 million on fertilizer emissions costs. The price of natural gas will jump as the tripling carbon tax adds about 30¢ per litre. Businesses are taking on the higher costs of buying goods, paying for transportation and paying for refrigeration and storage.
If farmers and businesses want to survive in the Prime Minister's Canada, they have to raise their prices. At the end of the day, they still need to pay their employees, pay the rent and pay for the Liberal tax increases. When producers making the goods are forced to pay more, it costs more for businesses to buy, transport and store goods, so it is not rocket science to see that it costs Canadians more to pay for the gas, groceries and home heating they need to survive in Canada.
It is that cost of living that is the issue. One in five Canadians is out of money. They are skipping meals or accessing charity services just to meet their basic needs; 60% of Canadians are cutting back on groceries, while 41% are looking for cheaper, less nutritious options. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment across Canada's 10 big cities is over $2,000 a month, compared to $1,171 a month in 2015. That is an almost 90% increase in rent. The average homeowner's mortgage payments have more than doubled since 2015, going from about $1,500 to more than $3,000 a month. Inflation on the interest on mortgages is up 18% year over year. It takes 60% to 70% of Canadians' paycheques to pay the mortgage, while inflation and the cost of living eat up the rest.
As we see skyrocketing home heating prices, due to the Liberal government cancelling good, clean energy projects that could have been made here in Canada, we also see that the carbon tax takes up about 18% to 20% of everyday Canadians' home heating bills. When Liberals triple, triple, triple the carbon tax, it would take anywhere from 40% to 60% of the bill alone, just on carbon tax.
Eighty per cent of variable rate mortgages have now hit the point where their mortgage payment is entirely just interest. The bank is forcing Canadians to pay more to pay down the principal part of their mortgage, and 45% of those homeowners on a variable rate mortgage will have to sell their homes in nine months. People living in one of the hot housing markets, like Ontario, could lose 30% on the sale of their house if they bought it in the last 12 months.
This carbon tax is a complete failure. It has failed to reach the Liberal emissions targets. In fact, Canada ranks 58th out of 63 countries in climate change performance. We rank lower than China and the U.S., and just barely perform better than Russia. It is clear the Liberal carbon tax is not an environmental plan; it is a tax plan. If Canada is to succeed on the environment and in our economy, government needs to get out of the way, incentivize businesses and let them thrive.
For decades, the private sector has been the innovators and developers of the technology that drives our economy forward. The right approach to addressing climate change is through technology and innovation, not tax. Liberals have crushed the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit and have even driven away investment. Since 2015, Canada has only seen a decline in investors wanting to bring their money to invest in our world-class businesses and industries, because of uncertainty caused by out-of-control Liberal spending, inflation and taxation.
We need to restore affordability and confidence to the Canadian economy. To do that, government is not, and will not be, the solution. Instead, it is time to fire the gatekeepers, cut the red tape and end the punishing tax burden on Canadians. Canadian workers and businesses are ready to get this economy back on track, restore good paycheques for our workers and reverse the damage caused by the Liberal government.
On this side, we know that the only way out of this affordability crisis is to stop the crazy government spending and instead make more of what money buys: affordable homes, affordable Canadian food and affordable, responsibly sourced Canadian energy. At a time of crisis for Canadians, Conservatives and our Conservative leader are listening and ready to act. Canadians are ready too, but they need to get the government out of the way. It is time to end the inflationary spending spree, end the cushy Liberal contracts and stop the tax increases. It is time to axe this failed carbon tax and let Canadians keep more in their pockets.