Madam Speaker, after eight years of the Liberal government, we are facing some of the most difficult economic times our country has ever seen. In this budget, the Liberals have decided to continue increasing taxes and spending without limit. The budget contains $63 billion in new spending. That is an extra $4,200 of debt per household.
To add insult to injury, on April 1 the Prime Minister's carbon tax increased. The carbon tax now adds 14¢ per litre, which will cost the average Canadian family over $800 this year alone, even after the rebates.
Budget 2023 was an opportunity to give Canadians hope, but instead the Liberals chose to keep their hands in the pockets of Canadians with more inflationary spending and more taxes. The Conservatives cannot support this budget and will be voting against it.
After hundreds of phone calls, in-person visits, contacts and emails with people from Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, it is clear that the Liberal government is completely out of touch with Canadians. The Liberals have had no idea of the sacrifices Canadians have been making day to day since they came to power and cut their secret backroom deal with the NDP. Savings accounts are being depleted, credit cards are being used to purchase everyday items, home ownership is now a pipe dream for future generations and they will be on the hook for the Prime Minister's reckless vanity spending.
After listening to Canadians, the Conservatives had three key demands we wanted included in budget 2023 to restore hope to this country. The first was allowing Canadians to bring home powerful paycheques with lower taxes and scrapping the carbon tax.
With yearly increases to the carbon tax now in play, Canadians who are already in a desperate place are being squeezed again with little left to give. Frances, from Chatham, reached out and shared his family's situation with me. Here are his words: “We eat less, go out less and are stressed.”
A University of Saskatchewan study reports that one in five Canadians is skipping meals, and Second Harvest reports that in 2023 there will be a 60% increase in food bank usage. That is a sombre statistic. Mothers are adding water to their baby formula, and I have heard from people in my own riding, and this is sad, that some seniors are even resorting to eating cat food to survive.
How did Canada, a once prosperous nation, turn into a country where Canadians are going to bed with empty stomachs? This is what happens when we have a Prime Minister who does not pay attention to monetary policy.
The government proudly proclaims that the budget includes a one-time grocery rebate, but news flash, it is all smoke and mirrors. It is the GST rebate branded as a grocery rebate. What the Liberals fail to mention is the rebate disappears thanks to their carbon tax.
The Liberal government gives little and takes more in the same breath and expects people to be thankful for it. Canadians are seeing through this Liberal charade. The Conservatives know that real people deserve a real plan to deal with the cost of living crisis and that no serious plan will be coming until we form government.
Restaurants, bars, wineries, distilleries and breweries are being unduly punished by the Prime Minister's tax plan. The 2% increase to the excise tax this year on alcohol will negatively impact an already struggling industry. The temporary cap on the increase of the excise tax is only for one more year, and we can be certain the tax will increase again after that.
The Conservatives fought to scrap this tax in its entirety. Unfortunately, there is nothing the Liberals will not tax. Hard-working Canadians should be rewarded for their labour. Under a Conservative government, we will make sure this becomes a reality again.
The Conservatives also demanded a budget that would help bring home lower prices by ending the inflationary debt and deficits that drive up inflation and interest rates. Last year, when budget 2022 was tabled, the MP for University—Rosedale said that Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio was Canada's “fiscal anchor” and must decline for the country's finances to be sustainable.
If budget 2023 passes, Canada will be without a fiscal anchor. Let that sink in. There will be no return to a balanced budget and no plan on reducing our debt load. According to a recent Angus Reid poll, nearly half of Canadians want the government to cut spending and present a plan to balance the budget.
The Conservatives agree. Under our leader, the Conservatives would bring in a dollar-for-dollar tax law that would require the government to find a dollar of savings for every dollar of new spending. That would curb spending significantly and bring accountability to government.
The Liberals are always looking for ways to spend more money at the expense of Canadians. They tax, they borrow and then they print more money. The Conservatives understand how hard Canadians work for their money. Budget 2023 continues to tax Canadians to cover for the Prime Minister's out-of-control spending. The taxation needs to stop. The Conservatives will not support this tax-and-spend budget.
The third thing that Canadians were looking for in budget 2023 was a plan to bring homes to Canadians that they can afford by removing government gatekeepers to free up land and speed up building permits. Home ownership has become a remote reality for Canadians wanting to enter the housing market. Nine out of 10 Canadians who do not own a home say they feel they likely never will. Under the Liberals, everything has doubled. Minimum down payments have doubled. Mortgage payments have doubled. Rents have doubled.
The Liberals have taken away what was once a proud milestone in the life of Canadians. Instead of parents visiting their kids' new homes, parents are moving their kids back home to their basement in the house where they grew up. This is what happens when we have a Prime Minister who does not do numbers, who thinks economic growth comes from using a credit card and who does not understand the real impacts of consumer debt. What is the Prime Minister's response? It is to keep drowning Canada. The dream of home ownership has been trampled thanks to the Liberals.
We also have a housing shortage in the country, and according to the CMHC, it is projected that Canada will need 3.5 million new homes to restore affordability. There is no plan in budget 2023 to address Canada's housing crisis. The Liberals have no plan to get homes built. Canada must bring homes people can afford by removing gatekeepers, freeing up land and speeding up building permits. A Conservative government would withhold federal funding from cities that refuse to remove gatekeepers. Affordable housing is not a priority for the Liberal government, and we cannot support a budget that does not address this.
On agriculture, a pillar of the Canadian economy, we see a Liberal government unwavering in its attempt to break the backs of farmers and compromise Canada's food security at home and abroad. The budget does nothing to address the rising cost of fuel, feed, fertilizer, transportation and the energy necessary to grow and produce food.
The sector has also been hit hard with the carbon tax, making food production more expensive and the cost of food even more unaffordable for Canadians. When the carbon tax triples by 2030, it will compromise a farmer's ability to make a profit, leading to bankruptcies and the exit of farmers from the industry. That is already happening. The budget confirms that the Liberals' plan to reduce fertilizer use, which will decrease food production, will jeopardize our food security.
According to a recent report from RBC and the University of Guelph, the industry is set to lose 40% of farm operators to retirement in the next 10 years. With all the farmers retiring and no one entering the business because they cannot afford to, we have a serious problem looming in Canada. Here is an equation I hope the Prime Minister will understand: No farms equals no food. More and more family farms are closing due to the excessive cost of running them.
Reducing fertilizer will surely boost the number of Canadians visiting food banks as their grocery prices continue to jump due to a shortage of food supply. According to a study by MNP, the proposed Liberal reduction in fertilizer targets will cost the Canadian economy $48 billion by 2030. This is what a Canada run by NDP ideology will look like: weak, gutted and hopeless.
I am sure everyone in the House has heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words”. The budget is full of words. How can Canadians trust a government with a long record of waste? We have the $15-billion arrive scam app, the $6,000-a-night hotel room for the Prime Minister, a cabinet minister giving her friend a government contract and $100 million to McKinsey. It does not stop. With government revenue expected to decrease, Canadians can expect a flood of new taxes for years to come under the Liberals.
A constituent reached out to me with her views on what her country has become under the Liberals. Delaney wrote, “We cannot afford our life. I don't spend any money beyond our needs, but it is to a point where I wonder how I will continue to heat my house for my family and provide healthy nutritious meals for my kids. There is something seriously wrong with this country and currently I am not proud to be a Canadian. It is an embarrassment.”
Empty stomachs, unaffordable housing and high taxes are what eight years of the Liberal government have done to Canada, and budget 2023 does little to address the real issues Canadians are facing. I will not support this budget, and I am proudly joining my Conservative colleagues in voting against it.