June 7, 2016

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-06-07 14:09 [p.4143]

Mr. Speaker, after a 24-year absence from the Olympic Games, the Canadian men’s volleyball team has qualified for Rio. At the final qualifying tournament in Japan, Canada beat China three games to two. In fact, the men won the fifth set 15 to 9. It should be noted that the Canadian team rallied, from down three games to one, to win the last two games.

The Canadian team is led by Gavin Schmitt from Saskatoon. He scored 23 points in the come-from-behind win over China. Schmitt is a remarkable athlete. He is six foot 10. However, what makes this story even more remarkable is that Schmitt suffered a stress fracture in January and had to go through surgery. After a quick recovery, five months later he is on the court to lead Team Canada in the qualifying tournament.

The volleyball team will head to Saskatoon later this month, but today it is a celebration for head coach Glenn Hoag and the rest of the men’s Olympic-bound volleyball team.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-06-07 16:47 [p.4167]

Mr. Speaker, today is June 7, a day to celebrate, according to the Fraser Institute. The Fraser Institute says today is tax freedom day, although those in Quebec will have to wait just a little longer, at least a week.

If it sounds as if we are paying a lot of taxes in this country, we do. We pay income tax, payroll tax, health tax, sales tax, property tax, fuel tax, vehicle tax, profit tax, import tax, along with various sin taxes. We will see next year if the Liberals have increased all our levels of tax.

Provinces like Ontario and Newfoundland, run by Liberal governments, are running massive deficits right now, so with the election of these Liberals to run our country, we are seeing that trend continue. It is called spend, spend, spend.

In reality, this budget is all about spending. After they broke their major election promises, including capping the deficit at $10 billion, why should we trust the Liberals? The Liberal budget is a plan for reckless spending that offers higher taxes and billions of dollars in new debt, and yet we have no real plan in this country for jobs.

At the recent G7 meetings in Japan, the Prime Minister was determined to sell the merits of deficits to grow the economy. Fortunately, that was met with major resistance. Large-scale deficits and debts are weakening investor confidence. Other countries have chosen to cut their deficits. Many countries in the G7 have been rewarded for their efforts, but the Prime Minister sought to promote deficits backed by growth at the recent G7 meeting. Many around that table did not buy it.

Many saw first hand the positive effects of curbing the spending, in fact, reducing their deficit, as did the previous government here. There was no appetite around the world for adding the deficits, so why then is the Prime Minister promoting deficits to the G7? Stimulus requires international co-operation. Stimulus spending will have a marginal impact on the open Canadian economy when dealing with our trading partners. The result, though, will be bigger deficits and certainly more debt.

The point I am making is that it appears Canada is on an island all by itself when it comes to spending and adding more debt. The G7 meetings recently in Japan showed that this government has little or no respect among our trading partners.

The Liberals have also picked winners and losers with the EI program. Twelve regions qualified, including my city of Saskatoon, along with northern Saskatchewan, but south Saskatchewan, where the resource sector suffered tremendous pressure with job losses, was not included. Weeks later, because of our relentless pressure, the government then decided to include south Saskatchewan along with the Edmonton area for improved EI benefits.

I have said in this House before and I will say again that Canadians want to work. In Saskatchewan, where I come from, people are known for their work ethic. They want to wake up in the morning with a job and with a purpose. They want to provide a future for their families.

Unemployment rates in Saskatchewan and our neighbouring province, Alberta, have spiked since the Liberals have taken office. We should be reminded that Canadians need more job support, not simply longer periods of EI benefits. When will the government, for example, support the oil and gas sector? Pipelines are needed to move product safety, yet we constantly see delays, every day in this House. This is costing us jobs. Evraz in Regina, which manufacturers pipelines, was forced to lay off workers in February. It laid off another 50 workers just last month.

Cameco, the largest uranium manufacturer in the world, suspended its Rabbit Lake mining, putting another 500 people out of work. This mine was an economic engine for northern Saskatchewan, employing many first nations people. These positions were very well paying jobs, creating wealth in our northern region of Saskatchewan.

However, the Liberals have taken their frustration out entirely on small businesses. It is unfortunate, really, that 700,000 middle-class small business owners who employ about 95% of working Canadians are the target of the government in the recent budget.

The Liberals have ended the hiring credit for small businesses. They have cancelled their planned youth employment hiring credit. The Liberals have broken their clear promise to small businesses in this country to proceed with just that small tax rate reduction to 9%. Plans for any small tax cuts, in fact, will now be deferred, maybe forever with the government.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the decision will cost small firms over $900 million per year to 2019. The finance department has estimated that this broken promise will actually cost the small business sector $2.2 billion over the next four years. All signs point to trouble for Canadians.

The Minister of Finance is planning another hit to Canada’s small businesses by increasing the CPP premiums. This would, in my estimation, send more people to the unemployment lines in this country.

An employer with, let us just say, one employee would see an increase in the CPP to $880 a year. Imagine, let us say, if there were 15 employees. The employer would end up paying over $13,000 per year. For small business, this is a direct payroll tax. The self-employed would be paying an additional $1,700 a year. That would certainly be a big hit for those who have decided to be entrepreneurs and do business on their own.

This spells big trouble for our economy: higher labour costs with little or no productivity. This would lead to more job losses, possibly wage cuts, or even freezes, putting everyone at risk.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is also very concerned. It stated recently that the importance of businesses has really plummeted in this budget. As we all know, during the election, the Liberals said publicly that small businesses are just tax havens for the wealthy. Well, business owners are middle-class people. Far more make less than $40,000 per year than what the Liberals think they make, $200,000-plus a year.

By increasing taxes on job-creation, the Liberals are destroying success, and they are really not promoting entrepreneurship or even innovation in this country. As we all know, saddling businesses with higher taxes will not create jobs.

Previous tax breaks for middle-income families have been taken away, for the arts community and for fitness, which included sports, and even the most popular family income splitting, as well as the reduction of the TFSA limit, where hard-working Canadians actually had an opportunity to prepare for retirement.

In fact, when I was home this past weekend for a barbecue, many came up to me asking what they could do about unnecessary spending leading to a greater deficit, which this country will share. We should always try to run our country as we run our households: live within our means, especially when the circumstances do not justify the spending. We are really not in a recession, yet the government is determined to run up huge deficits.

The former Conservative government created jobs. During the worst economic downturn and this great recession, Canada, it should be noted, had the best job creation for economic growth among the G7 countries. We balanced the budget. In fact, we left the Liberals with a surplus of over $3 million at the end of 2015. We lowered taxes for Canadians, to their lowest point in 50 years. A typical family of four saved $7,000 a year.

Finally, Canadians have just heard the buzzwords in this budget. Soon they will realize that it is not what it is cracked up to be.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-06-07 16:58 [p.4168]

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that in the city of Saskatoon, there are two infrastructure projects that were promised by the Conservative government. They were shovel ready. There were overpasses at Boychuck and McOrmond. The money was sitting there. The infrastructure minister came to the city about two weeks ago and delivered the message. Why? Because it was the Conservative government that promised those two overpasses. There are no other plans in Saskatchewan with the Liberal government. That is the infrastructure in my city, a population of 250,000.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-06-07 17:00 [p.4169]

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. That was asked at the original news conference at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, when the minister started to talk about the 12 regions. During the new conference, the minister did not know that region 42 existed, which is Saskatoon, and region 43, which is northern Saskatchewan. It was just simply picking winners and losers.

I had toured the province and knew that Estevan, Weyburn, and even Regina were in serious trouble because of the oil price and, then, of course, Edmonton, the hub of Alberta, along with Fort McMurray. A lot of people work in Fort McMurray but live in Edmonton. They were excluded from this. A lot of people who live in my city and work in Fort McMurray were also excluded. I do not know why.

Obviously the Liberals realized their mistake because they included south Saskatchewan and the Edmonton area after hours of debate in the House, led by my side of the House. It is too bad they selected winners and losers.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-06-07 17:01 [p.4169]

Mr. Speaker, this will affect me. My first grandchild was born in August, during the campaign. Not only are my two kids going to have this debt heaped on them, but so is my new grandchild. I am appalled by what will happen with this Liberal budget. It will not saddle me as much, but it will my kids and now my grandchild. That is the story all Canadians will have to face four years from now.

The full debate can be found online at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=42&Ses=1&DocId=8338219