Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today with another opportunity to warn the government about the course it is on.
Winston Churchill is famous for saying, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, and he was right. We can just look at the Liberal government. High taxes, high inflation and corporate socialism are not an innovation of today's Liberals. It has been going on for years. This is a lefty obsession: raising the taxes of everyday Canadians, and then turning around and spending so much money that the government runs massive inflationary deficits and runs up the debt. The only people who benefit are the wealthy Liberal insiders and their corporations. In the 1970s, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau did this exact same thing. At the time, he spent more than all his predecessors combined, driving up Canada's debt and leaving in his wake nearly two decades of high inflation and high interest rates.
Canadians are turning in their house keys, taking on more household debt just to survive and worrying about whether they can afford to heat their homes, buy groceries or gas up their cars. It sounds very familiar. It is another example of history repeating itself.
We know that, just as in the days of Pierre Trudeau, the current Prime Minister created the inflation and cost of living crisis we see today with his out-of-control spending. While he got Tiff Macklem and the Bank of Canada to cover his massive deficits with money printing, he did nothing to address the inflation concerns or ease the inflationary pressures of higher taxes. Instead, the Prime Minister passes on the taxes. He takes from everyday Canadians and spends their money on high-priced consultants and Liberal insiders who get cushy government contracts.
The concept of money printing and inflation is not even the invention of the Liberals of the 1970s. In the 1700s, French banker and economist Richard Cantillon observed that the rich and the insiders get all the benefits when the government increases the money supply. In those days, the rich and the insiders were the aristocracy closest to the French king. When a gold mine was discovered and the supply of gold increased, Cantillon saw that the value of gold did not increase, and neither did the wealth of the everyday people. Instead, the value of gold diminished. Instead of one gold coin purchasing a loaf of bread, it now took two, yet the wealthy gold mine owner and the landowner growing grain for bread were better off. They could keep spending money on luxuries, while everyday people fell further behind.
Today, Canada sees the same thing happening. We are not just witnessing the 1970s repeat themselves. We are seeing fundamental economics return with a vengeance. Leave it to the Liberal government to ignore an at least 300-year-old lesson in inflation.
Today's aristocracy is the ones benefiting from the $600 billion spent in the last eight years. These insiders enjoy privileged access to billions of tax dollars stashed away in Liberal programs like the Canada Infrastructure Bank or the Canada growth fund. These are the same insiders who will benefit from the so-called “just transition”, which will eliminate hundreds of thousands of good-paying, responsible Canadian energy jobs. They are the same insiders who will benefit from the $21.4 billion the Prime Minister is handing out to consultants like McKinsey, and from what his ministers are handing out to their besties in cushy contracts. These insiders are the same ones getting rich off the inflationary deficits and wasteful spending.
Do not get me wrong. As a proud Albertan and Conservative, I support the free market and individuals' ability to make and use their money the way they want to. What I have a problem with is when the Liberal government takes more out of the pockets of everyday Canadians and in some quasi-corporate socialist way redistributes these tax dollars to the rich and the Liberal insiders.
This is such a disregard for freedom, free enterprise and Canadians' money. The blatant payoffs to Liberal friends using taxpayers' money only make life more expensive for the rest of us. As the Leader of the Opposition has clearly explained to this House, just as Cantillon observed 300 years ago, it is this type of government waste that causes the people to suffer while the rich insiders have never had it so good.
What is most frustrating is how the Liberals cannot see that the increasing cost of government is tied to the increasing cost of living. That is what I take issue with. In the study the finance committee overtook, despite the warnings and voices of everyday Canadians pleading with us to address the real issue, the cost of living crisis, the Liberal-NDP costly coalition joined forces to make recommendations that will not restore affordability.
In our dissenting report, Conservatives were clear: The Liberal government must rein in its inflationary deficit spending and address its ballooning debt. We reiterated our calls for no new taxes and no new spending, including all planned tax hikes, such as the tripling of the carbon tax, the second carbon tax, the luxury tax, the escalator tax on alcohol, and the payroll tax increases. We called on the Liberal government to adopt the pay-as-you-go law the Conservative leader proposed, which was endorsed by the Minister of Finance in a letter to her own ministers last fall.
The reality is that, after eight years of the current Prime Minister, Canadians are out of money and the Liberals are out of touch. We cannot saddle future generations with borrowing for current spending and deficits. Interest rates are the highest they have been since the 2008 global recession. One in five Canadians is skipping meals, out of money or accessing charities for basic needs. Newcomers are being driven out of this country. One in five newcomers wants to pack up and leave. The number one cause of that is the high cost of living in this country.
Mortgages and rents have doubled since 2015. The average rent across Canada's 10 biggest cities is now over $2,200 a month, compared to almost $1,200 a month in 2015. Mortgages are now above $3,100 compared to $1,400 a month in 2015. All the while, Canada has the lowest homes per capita in the G7, and the lack of supply has home prices still inflated 30% above prepandemic levels. This is the result of eight years of out-of-control Liberal spending and increasing tax hikes.
That is why Conservatives are calling for budget 2023 to reverse the economic mismanagement brought on by the Prime Minister. Canada needs to stop printing money and, instead, make more of what money buys; axe the damaging and failed carbon tax, especially for farmers, so they can produce the food that Canada and the world need; remove gatekeepers to free up and speed up permits for homes, so that people can afford homes and so that job-creating energy projects can get built, which will create paycheques at home in Canada. By addressing inflationary deficit spending and high taxes, we can bring home lower prices and more powerful paycheques so that hard work pays off again.
This pre-budget consultation report fails to address the inflation and the cost of living crisis, and fails to provide real solutions. That is why, while I am on my feet, I move that the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:
the 10th Report of the Standing Committee on Finance, presented on Friday, March 10, 2023, be not now concurred in, but that it be recommitted to the Standing Committee on Finance with instruction that it amend the same so as to recommend that the government create a “Blue Seal” National Professional Testing Standard to quickly license professionals, like doctors and nurses, who prove they are qualified, and that anyone who has passed the common national test for their profession would get a “Blue Seal” certificate allowing them to work in any province or territory that chooses to join the Blue Seal Standard.