Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank my hon. colleague, the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, for splitting his time with me as I stand for the first time in the House of Commons speaking on behalf of the constituents of Markham—Unionville.
Before I begin to address the shortcomings of the government's Speech from the Throne, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to the residents of Markham—Unionville for their faith in me and for entrusting me to represent their interests here in Ottawa. I promise here and now, and officially in Hansard, that I will work tirelessly to prove to them that I am worthy of the honour they have bestowed on me.
I also look forward to working with my colleagues to hold the government to account as Her Majesty's official opposition and especially on the immigration file, on which I have been appointed the deputy critic.
I want to give special thanks to my family, to Joe Reis, my campaign manager, and to all of my campaign team, who worked tirelessly to help me claim victory. Markham—Unionville is a diverse community with members from many diverse backgrounds who share the Conservative vision and elected me as their federal representative.
I want to move on to express my concerns, and those of my constituents, on the government's Speech from the Throne, delivered last month. While listening to it and then reading the speech, it often felt as though I were reading bullet points from a poorly drafted business idea. As a businessman before entering politics, I am very familiar with the business world, and I can safely tell the House that this is a very sad looking business plan for governing Canada for the next four years. Make no mistake, based on the baseless one-liner promises in this speech, the government's lifespan will only last until 2019. However, I digress.
While the government touches on institutional openness and transparency, there is no mention of its fiscal plan and how its platitudes will be paid for. As we all know, empty promises with no spending explanations are just nice words on paper, and are not even worth the paper they are printed on. It is quite shameful that the government did not even reference its plan for fiscal responsibility or transparency in its themes, as this is an issue both close to my heart and important to my constituents.
Canadians know very well that policies need financial backing, and one cannot go without the other. Governing cannot be done halfway without financial backup, and the government has not provided any fiscal explanations in its Speech from the Throne to support its care-bear economics.
Just last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer released a new report on household indebtedness, highlighting this issue as one the federal government needs to address. Unfortunately, this throne speech also ignores this issue, which affects so many families in Canada today. The best way to bring down household debt levels, in my opinion, and in that of my party, is to grow our economy, with higher incomes for everyday working people and their families, and not to have the federal government go into further debt. That would only make matters worse for us all.
Furthermore, the government's plan of platitudes continues to ignore many of the industries on which the livelihoods of the residents of Markham—Unionville rest.
There is no mention of the automotive sector, which employs so many Ontarians, including many of my constituents, nor any of the other manufacturing sectors on which many Canadians' jobs depend. This to me is one of the biggest losses in this agenda introduced last month; and so, I stand with my caucus colleagues in rejecting the government's Speech from the Throne.
The constituents of Markham—Unionville are hard-working Canadians. I am sad to see the Liberal government ignoring their interests and those of the rest of the citizens of the greater Toronto area. The government has already made it clear that this agenda is more focused on managing savings for them. Why else would the Liberals' have declared their intention to cut in half the limit that Canadians can put in their TFSA accounts?
My party and I believe that most Canadians know how to manage their own money. We will support only measures that would do exactly that, measures that would keep taxes low and keep more money in Canadians' pockets. Canadians know how to go about their lives and how to manage their own families and businesses. They know how to achieve their goals. They do not need the government to do it for them.
Finally, I would like to touch on one of the biggest omissions in the throne speech, namely, addressing the fight against ISIS and the government's plan with respect to fighting international terrorism. While this issue may seem remote to some Canadians, some of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle directly felt it over a year ago in these very corridors. Every day Canadians hear about the international fight against ISIS or the human and material destruction that comes after, but they hear nothing on the matter from the government. It is quite shameful that the Liberal government's plan for Canada's mission against ISIS is indecisive, incoherent, and confusing to our allies and our fellow Canadians. Under the Liberal government, Canada is being forced to sit back while we let our international allies fight our common battle to defend our shared values. The biggest proof of this was the lack of an invitation to Canada to join last week's administrative level talks in Paris. The government is already developing a reputation for preferring to talk and lacking decisive action, and Canadians are embarrassed by this.
Once again, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston for splitting his time with me and the residents of Markham--Unionville, whom I am honoured to serve.