Madam Speaker, I only wish I had something to be happy about this afternoon, but Bill C-44 is a major disappointment.
We all remember that the Liberals were elected on a promise of modest deficits. That was something everyone in the House could agree on, because both Conservatives and New Democrats had pledged to manage taxpayers' money responsibly. The first disappointment came last year with a budget that went well beyond the so-called modest $10-billion deficit that the Liberals promised all the way to a $23-billion deficit.
We hoped the Liberals would come to their senses this time around. I should point out that they were elected by a minority of Canadians and that one day, it will be time to pay the Liberals' piper.
Unfortunately, the forecast deficit in the budget is $28.5 billion for this year. That is in addition to the previous deficit, so the total deficit for the past two years is over $50 billion. As they say, when it rains it pours, and indeed, the Liberals are determined to remain in this downward spiral of reckless spending, so much so that the parliamentary budget officer says it will be decades before we can even start to talk about balancing the budget again.
I am asking this government and this Minister of Finance why they are being so irresponsible toward future generations.
On this World Environment Day, we are reminded of the fact that sustainable development is a social, economic, and environmental responsibility. Obviously, the Liberals have done nothing on the environment to date, except choose natural resource development projects based on questionable, political criteria.
It is not very clear where the Liberals are going on the social front, and if I may say so, their budget plan is basically a descent into hell with recurring deficits that will place a tremendous burden on future generations. As my grandmother so aptly put it, “He who pays his debts grows rich.”
The problem we have right now is that the government is racking up shameful amounts of debt and, unfortunately, it is spending money on frivolous things. Now, it has introduced an omnibus bill, a Chinese buffet of sorts that has a little bit of everything but that does not balance the budget, far from it. That is another thing that the Liberals promised not to do.
That is the big problem with this budget and that is why I, like my colleagues who also spoke today, am opposed to it. That is why it represents a betrayal by the Prime Minister and the Liberals. It represents more of the government's broken promises to Canadians.
When the Liberals were elected, they promised to run only a small deficit and to balance the budget by 2019. However, that is not what is happening. As I mentioned, the government has already racked up over $50 billion in debt and is heading toward chronic deficits. Why chronic deficits? First, because the government is in a spending frenzy.
On the weekend, I spoke with a contractor in my riding who is doing work in downtown Lévis, near the ferry terminal. He said he was working on a major construction project and that he had asked the mayor where the money was coming from. The mayor said that it was from the gas tax. Therefore, it is not new money from the Liberals; the money that is being invested is coming from measures that our former Conservative government implemented.
Unfortunately, what we now see is that the Liberals talk a good game, but they are not so good when it is time for action. Not a lot of big projects are moving forward. It is quite the contrary: promises are sprinkled here and there, but the money is not flowing. Contractors and municipalities are waiting for that money for infrastructure projects.
Now, not only has the government decided to wake up and make sure that the money flows to the municipalities, but it also intends to take some of that money to put it in a new infrastructure bank scheme that seems to be completely arbitrary.
In Quebec, people are very worried that the Liberal government could infringe upon provincial and municipal jurisdictions. People are also worried about cronyism, because Liberals will be Liberals. We heard about patronage appointments this afternoon during question period. So that scheme will certainly be good for the Liberals' friends, but not so much for the municipalities and the communities that need water systems and other infrastructure.
That is one of the measures in the budget plan. A gigantic $30-billion organization will be created and middle-class taxpayers will bear all the risk, while the Liberals' wealthy friends will pocket the profits. That is what this infrastructure bank is all about. The problem is that costs are socialized while profits are privatized, and all taxpayers get is the short end of the stick.
This is the kind of Liberal approach that requires close scrutiny. However, the Liberals are steamrolling the House and insist on passing this budget bill that completely betrays the Liberal government's commitments to Canadians.
My colleagues also talked about the parliamentary budget officer, who will be more or less scrutinized, when he should be accountable to the entire House. The government appears to want to meddle in how the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer operates. Naturally we are opposed to this, since it has to do with the sacred principle that links the legislative and executive powers. This kind of interference undermines the ability of the legislative branch to keep a close eye on this Liberal spending orgy.
I talked about the infrastructure bank, but that is not all of it. The Liberals still want to create a new scheme. This time I am talking about Investment Canada, which aims to attract foreign investors to this country. However, the Liberals seem to be completely neglecting the resources we already have at our disposal. We have consular and embassy services, and the whole economic branch of Global Affairs Canada. The government is making a complete mockery of the commitments made over the past few years by creating another body that will only generate more red tape without necessarily producing any results.
These are some of the measures contained in this bill, which are all being added to the deficit; as we have seen over the past few days, there is a lot of frivolous spending. These are in stark contrast to the budgetary measures we had gotten used to under Minister Flaherty and Minister Joe Oliver. Look at the 180 cuts we made in previous budgets.
Sadly, yet again this Liberal budget includes hidden tax hikes. It is a shame that the government is attacking the average family that it claims to want to protect, including parents whose children take figure skating lessons or piano lessons. The Liberals are taking away the tools we had given to families and taking more money away from them. The same goes for businesses and people who take public transit or use Uber. In fact they are taxing beer and wine and imposing additional charges on SMEs. It is an utter fiasco.
The theme of the budget is innovation. Well, the Liberals have certainly been innovative in their art of misleading the next generation with their syrupy words.