Mr. Speaker, I rise today to denounce this government's undemocratic ways.
We have before us a budget implementation bill that is over 160 pages long, contains over 270 provisions and amends dozens of laws. I find it appalling that the government has introduced such a huge bill that includes legislation that has nothing to do with the budget. What is the prevention of terrorist travel act doing in a budget implementation bill?
I think it is worth pointing out that the current Prime Minister was the first to condemn this kind of practice when the Liberals were in power. At the time, he was shocked that a government could enact so many laws in one fell swoop. He has become very good at something he once denounced.
The number of pages in this omnibus bill is not the only problem. Another frightening thing is that the government is refusing to debate it. It imposed a gag order, as it does every time one of its bills contains contentious provisions. We cannot properly represent our constituents, the people who elected us, if we do not have the time to thoroughly examine the proposed provisions.
We are talking about the budget implementation bill. We are talking about Canada's future, and it is not right for a government to have such contempt for the people or toy with its institutions. This government is making a mockery of democracy and thumbing its nose at Canadians.
I will now talk about the content of the bill. Bill C-59 is a bill that we cannot support.
Let us start with income splitting. This is the perfect example of how out of touch the Conservatives are, since, as we know, only families with two incomes in two different tax brackets will benefit from this measure.
I would like to remind everyone of the impact that income splitting has on women. I have the good fortune of sitting on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, and I would like to share some of what we heard from witnesses. According to them, single women and single-parent families will not benefit at all from income splitting.
Similarly, the elimination of the child tax credit will take away about $2 billion from parents, many of whom are single parents. All of the family-related tax transfers actually deter the very women the government claims to care about.
Fewer women will be participating in the workforce as a result of this measure. According to Kathleen Lahey of the faculty of law at Queen's University, the advantages of income splitting will actually encourage young women and female college graduates to pay even less attention to their salary, since, after they talk to their peers, spouse or partner, they will know that it may be more worthwhile for the family to replace paid work with unpaid work.
While the whole country is trying to find better jobs for women, the government is using tax breaks to encourage them not to work. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer, whom the Conservatives love to quote, has been critical of income splitting.
He estimates that the average benefit will go to families whose income exceeds $180,000, which is 15% of families. He also said that income splitting will cost taxpayers $2.5 billion in 2015. The Conservatives are ignoring the 85% of Canadian families who will not benefit from this measure. Why? Because they have their sights set on the election coming up in a few months and they are more interested in helping out those they think will vote for them. That group of people never seems to include families that are working very hard and having trouble making ends meet. The fact is that these families are struggling with income stagnation and the rising cost of living, which is prompting them to take on massive debt.
There are now 250,000 fewer jobs in Canada than there were before the recession, and 160,000 fewer jobs for youth. If one believed all the ads the government has bought with taxpayer money—almost $750 million worth—one would think everything was hunky-dory. However, Canadians know different because they are still carrying the highest debt loads in Canadian history.
In an atrocious economic environment, one would think job one from the government of the day would be to create jobs, to get people back to work, to diversify the economy, and to invest in the economy in ways that would actually produce the jobs that we have been missing since the last global recession.
Instead, we see the true priorities of the Conservatives when it comes to jobs, and that is their own jobs. They are hoping to buy back re-election just one more time. That is why they raised the ceiling for the TFSA, which will benefit only 20% of the wealthiest Canadians and will not increase Canadians' savings; however, it will certainly cost our economy billions of dollars.
Instead of doing things that are not going to stimulate our economy, the government could have invested in our health care system. Investing in health is an investment in Canada's economic future. For example, providing care to someone over 65 costs five times more than providing care to someone between 15 and 65. This Conservative government is turning a deaf ear and abandoning our seniors, the middle class and the least fortunate, who will not be able to access adequate health care. They prefer to spend money on catering to the needs of the highest earners.
Canadians deserve a government that works for all Canadians, not just for its supporters. They deserve a budget that works for them and contains sound economic measures, not electoral goodies.
I will close by emphasizing that this is the 96th time the government is imposing time allocation in this parliament. In Canada, we have never had a government that abused time allocation and closure as much as this one has. This is a testament to the arrogance and incompetence of this government, which has introduced a number of bills in the House of Commons that have been rejected by the courts. They were rejected because the government does not really do its due diligence to verify its bills. Canadians are fed up with this government that plays fast and loose with its institutions and they will prove it in October.