Madam Speaker, I thank my friends and colleagues in the House. I did note more applause on this side of the House than from some of my friends on the government side. I know they have missed me, because they have told me that in private. It is good to be back here.
I still see a government relishing patting itself on the back. That is after almost two years of a stunning display of broken promises, so much so that it reminds me of a quote attributed to Churchill. It has been used so many times that it has become part of his canon of quotations. It reminds me of how the Liberals define success. They define success as going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.
Whether it is broken promises to veterans, to taxpayers, to exporters or to our farmers, they are seeing a litany of broken promises that have really hit small businesses particularly badly. Seniors and families are tight with a dollar. I have met many of them in the last number of months across the country. They are already feeling the higher tax burden with the carbon tax schemes being implemented across the country.
We are debating a budget and budget implementation. As my colleague from the NDP so rightly commented, the irony of this debate was not lost on me. I want to thank my Jaimie’s intern, for helping me prepare some remarks today. I want to anoint a certain member of the House, someone I will call the high commissioner of hubris. We see him regularly. He is a nice guy. He is a friend to us all. He talks a lot in the House. I am going to pull back a few nuggets from his speeches in the past to just show the hubris of the government after less than two years.
Why am I doing this? It is because today the Liberals brought in a time allocation motion, closure, on the debate with respect to budget implementation. Let me point out what someone said a number of years ago in the House on this time allocation practice. He said, “Never before have I ever experienced a government that is so persistent in using time allocation, a form of closure, using it as frequently as [it does].” He went on to say:
Why has the Government House Leader not recognized the value of sitting down with opposition House leaders and trying to work through House business in a fashion in which the government would not be so dependent on having to bring in time allocation on virtually every piece of legislation?
Who said that? The member for Winnipeg North, who is now the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader. Does he forget those comments from a few years ago, where he decried this practice?
What is ironic is this is the least ambitious government in the history of Canada. After only two years, the Liberals have only received royal assent on 19 bills. How many times have they introduced motions for time allocation? It has been 23 times. They have used closure, or tried to, more than they have passed legislation through the Parliament of Canada, yet in the last Parliament, the member from Winnipeg North would howl at the moon if it was used. The Liberals are using closure more than they are passing bills. That is why I have anointed him today the high commissioner of hubris.
Let us hear a little more of that hubris. What is the budget implementation bill? It is an omnibus bill, the dreaded omnibus bills that the Liberals would go around the country saying that the last government was using to destroy democracy as we knew it. What did the member for Winnipeg North say about this type of omnibus bill? He called it “an assault on democracy”. He went on to say, “It is an assault on the House of Commons, the manner in which the majority… government has brought forward budget legislation.”
For the member of Winnipeg North, the high commissioner of hubris, I do feel assaulted. The irony is clear. The last budget implementation bill of the Conservative government was 172 draconian pages, to use the types of words the member would use.
What is this budget implementation bill? It is 308 pages affecting 30 acts of Parliament. Where is the outrage? Where is the indignation from the high commissioner of hubris? I do not see it. In fact, he is directing this right now in this House. He is in charge of the record use of time allocation and omnibus bills that are approaching the sky in length.
I would note that there is a certain irony that the Prime Minister said, just a few months ago, in response to talking about reforming and making this place better, because when he does come, he answers a lot of questions, “I hope that future prime ministers will not make excessive use of omnibus bills and will not resort to prorogation to avoid problematic situations.”
The member for Winnipeg North should tell his Prime Minister that they have used closure motions more times than they have passed bills through this House of Commons. It is almost a ridiculous record of failure. In some ways, as a Conservative, I am glad the Liberals are so lacking in ambition, because they would be doing more damage if they had more than 19 bills receiving royal assent.
Why are we here? I have to also comment on the member for Kelowna—Lake Country. He said earlier in this House, and then recited a bunch of things going back to Mackenzie King, “We are proceeding exactly the way we said we would.” He talked about being a Conservative and all that stuff.
What did the Liberal platform say with respect to budgeting? I am going to remind the member for Kelowna—Lake Country that it said:
With the Liberal plan, the federal government will have a modest short-term deficit of less than $10 billion in each of the next two fiscal years…. After the next two fiscal years, the deficit will decline and our…plan will return Canada to a balanced budget in 2019/20.
Someone should ask the member for Kelowna—Lake Country if $28.5 billion is more than $10 billion, because he broke his promise to the voters of his riding. The record cuts to the Department of National Defence under his watch are also a broken promise, so he is proceeding exactly how he said he would, I guess.
I said several times across this country that it saddens me profoundly that the finance minister‘s own department projects that the Liberals will not return to balance until 2055. As I often said as I was travelling across this country, my daughter Mollie, who is 10 years old, will be older than I am by the time the Liberals’ plan can get to balance. That is a failure for a generation of Canadians, at a time when the global economy is not in massive recession, as it was in 2008-09. There is not a need for stimulus and growing every part of government, yet the reckless spending means future taxes for our children and more taxes in the future for small business.
They have to look at this astounding record. I do not know how a single government member could defend this in his or her riding. The Liberals have raised taxes on families. They have raised taxes on small business. They brought in a nationalized carbon tax. They brought in a payroll tax on CPP reform, yet the benefits of the reform would help fewer than 5% of Canadians. They brought in an excise tax on ride sharing in this bill. The Liberals are taxing sharing. That is what they have resorted to. They will tax our beer, they will tax our wine, they will tax our income, and now they will tax us if we are going to share. A government budget entitled, “the innovation budget” is taxing and hindering the sharing, innovation economy. The irony is stunning.
The final thing is the infrastructure bank and the so-called invest in Canada department. The Liberals would spend over $200 million on a department that is already done by the Canadian Trade Commissioner. Our new commissioner is an excellent Canadian and outstanding at her job. Global Affairs does that. Finance Canada does that. The government is already encouraging investment in Canada. We do not need an office tower and $200 million. The infrastructure bank we do not need either. We do not need Ottawa to build up another department of bureaucrats and more Liberal appointees to build infrastructure, Canadians’ pension plans, and banks. We are doing it already.
I hope one of my questions will come from the high commissioner of hubris, the member for Winnipeg North.