Left Behind By the Liberal Budget | June 22, 2021

Chris Lewis, MP Essex spoke to the Liberal’s Budget Implementation Bill on June 22nd. Later that day he voted against it. Below is a transcript of the speech and a video of him speaking to the Bill.

Mr. Speaker,

Fifteen months ago, after this Government’s failure to heed the early warning signs of the pandemic ravaging Asia, Parliament was shutdown for three weeks to flatten the curve. 

These many months later, this Government’s record is characterized by bad ethics, poor decision-making, undemocratic measures and huge deficits.

This Government propped up by the NDP, Bloc and Green Party has repeatedly failed Canadians – from their early and repeated power grabs, their failure to shut down international flights in the early stages, their failure to secure PPE, and their disastrous vaccine procurement and roll-out.

On top of that we had the ill-conceived Canada Student support program and resulting WE scandal that led to the prorogation of Parliament to avoid scrutiny.

For fifteen months, we have seen them reward their Liberal buddies with contracts and now judicial appointments.

Only the Conservatives as the Official Opposition has stood against Liberal excesses. 

The NDP has voted with the Liberals at every turn, even joining with them to shut down Committees to help the Liberals avoid scrutiny.

At a time when Canadians needed true leadership, ideology and partisan interests have trumped principle.

Why I am mentioning this record, Mr. Speaker, in a speech on the Budget?

Because post Covid Canada needs an economic recovery plan and yet again this Liberal/NDP/Bloc/Green Party alliance has failed to offer anything but shiny baubles. 

The record speaks for itself.

The Liberal/NDP budget is a massive letdown for workers in my riding.

This is not a growth budget and fails to put forward a plan to encourage Canada’s long-term prosperity.

I have three children just entering adulthood.  My first grandchild was born on May 8, 2021. 

I think of families in my riding – generations who have made their home in Essex County.

I wonder will my children and their children be able to have the things that previous generations took for granted – a well-paying job, affordable housing, saving for their children’s education?

I am receiving emails from constituents who remember the Canada of my youth.  They tell me they have no heart to celebrate Canada this year. 

They see the writing on the wall. 

Rampant corruption – unchecked – has tarnished our hallowed halls.

Bill C-10 threatens our Charter rights.

Deficit spending and high debt always leads to tax increases and program cuts down the road.

It is an open question if we will be able to protect our social safety net and our seniors’ pensions. 

They should be able to enjoy their retirement worry free.

As this government continues to print money against Canada’s GDP, as Conservatives predicted, inflation has risen to 3.6%

The cost of housing has soared, as I said previously, putting it out of reach of many young families.

As the cost of living rises so does the costs for basics like food which hurts the lowest income and seniors on fixed incomes the most.

This government’s spending today borrows against our children’s future. 

This is not a cliché, Mr. Speaker, it is a simple reality that everyone who has a personal or household budget to manage understands.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has noted that a significant amount of the Liberal spending in the budget will not stimulate jobs or create economic growth.

Conservatives support getting help to those who have been hit hard by Justin Trudeau’s failure to create jobs.

Under Justin Trudeau, Canada has consistently had one of the highest unemployment rates in the G7 and record economic decline.

In fact, the Liberal government has spent more and delivered less than any other G7 country.

Canada’s Conservatives were very clear that we wanted to see a plan to return to normal that would safely reopen the economy and get Canadians back to work.

It is very clear that the Trudeau/NDP budget was more about partisan priorities than creating jobs or growing the economy.

With their uncontrolled spending, the Trudeau Liberals made it clear they have no plan to return to a balanced budget.

Throughout the pandemic, Conservatives have made emergency support programs better for Canadians.

Alas, unemployed Canadians hoping to see a plan to create new jobs and economic opportunities for their families, Workers who have had their wages cut and hours slashed hoping to see a plan to reopen the economy, were let down.

Lay-offs at the Fiat Chrysler Assembly Plant in Windsor means that expectant mothers will see their maternity benefits cut.   With all the money going out the door in income support what has this Government done for them?

Small business owners have been devastated by repeated lockdowns.  Many have closed their doors permanently.  Many are hanging on by the slimmest of margins. 

Gyms like Xanadu in my riding have petitioned their government for ongoing aid.  It will take months for them to recovery.

Hair salons and barber shops, many of them owned and operated by women supporting their families and many not qualifying for business support.

Travel Advisors went fifteen months without any revenue.

What does this Budget do for them?  Absolutely nothing!

Manufacturers in my riding whose entire business model is based on cross-border transactions have experienced losses of major contracts because this Government did not see fit to deem them essential despite repeated appeals to their Government.

This tone-deaf Government could not grasp the concept that you cannot export goods without the free movement of the people who make and sell them.

The effects of this will be felt five years from now.

It will take ten years for manufacturers to get back to where they were. 

While they brag about the numbers, the Liberals fail to understand that the stuff manufacturers are working on now was negotiated 2 years ago before the pandemic.

Manufacturing is 13% of Canada’s GDP. 

This sector is the largest contributors of taxable income.

In Essex & Windsor 54,000 jobs are represented in this industry. 

85% of those goods produced go to the USA.

Manufacturers have done a good job – they were mandated to keep open and they did everything required.

Yet this Government did not see fit to recognize their good work.

When I first raised this issue with the Minister in the House and other government officials appearing before the Special Committee on Canada US economic relations, this Government’s response revealed their total ignorance and outright indifference.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not mention the loved ones who have been separated by the Canada-US border closure.

Even when changes were made to broaden the definitions, many were left out or could not afford to quarantine for 14 days.

And then to make matters worse, their Government adds quarantine hotels at exorbitant costs and with unsafe, sub-standard care.

The human toll has been steep.  Here’s but a few examples

Husband and wives unable to be reunified due to lack of vacation time to satisfy quarantine and delays with immigration processes.

Grandparent(s) unable to meet their grand-children for the first time.

Parents looking to be with their son graduating after 10 years of medical school.

Adult child needing to cross to assist in the care of their ill parent, but unable to stay due to work and home responsibilities.

Families unable to receive their medical care in the US including dentist and optometrist or pick up prescriptions.  Services not deemed as essential travel so subject to PCR test and quarantine with every visit.

Nursing home that has not been able to have their resident doctor tend to their residents due to restriction from caring for patients over 65 because they reside in the US.

Mr. Speaker, the mental health of Canadians has taken a big hit.  There will be costs for years to come. 

The Liberals are very good at lip service, but frankly, I do not think they are capable of understanding the true cost.

For all those who have sacrificed much, for these young families, for the unemployed and the laid-off workers, for these small business owners and these manufacturers, I cannot in good conscience vote for a Budget that will make their lives harder, their economic future more uncertain and their prospects dimmer.

I made a commitment as the MP for Essex to leave the world a better place than I found it.  I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

Supporting this Budget would make things worse for my constituents. 

The simple fact is this budget does nothing to secure the long-term prosperity of Canadians.

Justin Trudeau’s plan will do serious and permanent damage to our nation’s finances.

He will add more to our national debt than all previous Prime Ministers combined.

I cannot in good conscience support a Budget that will ravage Canada’s fiscal position for years to come and that has no real plan to restore the one million jobs lost or position Canada for future prosperity.

By contrast, Canadians can be confident that with Canada’s Recovery Plan, Conservatives will secure their future by recovering and creating millions of jobs, introducing policies that result in better wages, and help struggling small businesses get back on their feet.

Canada’s Conservatives got us out of the last recession. Canadians who are worried about their future know that we can and will do it again.

Chris Lewis MP - Essex

Constituency Office

Ottawa Office