Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-05-12 18:16 [p.3301]
Mr. Speaker, on February 19, I asked this question to the government: why do the Liberals insist on inflicting crippling taxes that will send more people to the unemployment line?
That has been the case. For my province of Saskatchewan, the first quarter has been the worst quarter it has had in the last 10 years. We have sent far too many people to the EI lines. Then, as we talked about the carbon tax in the House in the first 100 days of the current government, the Liberals have flown to Paris, they have talked in Brussels, and they tried to have a group hug in Vancouver.
Thankfully, my premier, Brad Wall of Saskatchewan, withstood the pressure of joining the carbon tax in this country, and he made a great statement. It was great in the fact that when he went to Vancouver he was the only one who would not join the carbon tax parade, and when he left we found that New Brunswick and the territories had also joined Saskatchewan in its quest of slowing down this process by the new government.
We can collect carbon tax money and in this case it will pay EI. That does not accomplish anything.
In my province of Saskatchewan, people are hard-working. They want to support their families. Right now, as members know, in our province and in the oil and gas sector in Alberta, along with Newfoundland and Labrador, we have had a downturn in the economy. I will admit that there may be a time that a carbon tax should be implemented some day in this country. However, I would say now is not the time.
We have seen, as I mentioned, record unemployment in Saskatchewan. When I talk to Saskatchewan and Saskatoon—Grasswood constituents, they tell me that they simply want to work. I know EI was promised in some portions, in fact region 42 of Saskatchewan. That maybe helped Saskatoon and northern Saskatchewan but it did not help the oil and gas sector workers in south Saskatchewan and in particular Edmonton.
We all know right now the industry is suffering. Lay-offs are plentiful. It has happened in Alberta. We have seen tens of thousands of people laid off in that province in the last year. It has unfortunately come to my province of Saskatchewan.
I will just give members a little anecdote. On May 20, I am going to be in Lloydminster emceeing the RBC Cup. Lloydminster, on the Saskatchewan and Alberta border, once had a population of 32,000. When I visited that community a month ago, the population was down to just over 25,000 people. That is a loss of 7,000 people. It has decimated that community. I saw it first hand. The oil trucks are sitting in every parking lot in that community. Unfortunately, that is not what we want in this country. I saw houses that are empty. I saw trucks that were left abandoned at airports. When we lose 7,000 people in a community of 32,000 over the last year, we know we have an issue.
What would a carbon tax do for Lloydminster? I have already said it has lost 7,000 people in the last year.
Saskatchewan businesses are not looking for a handout. We found that out with the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce when representatives visited the Hill early this year. They were simply asking to let businesses do business and let government get out of the way. They have enough roadblocks in their industry right now. Saskatchewan does want to be competitive and that does not include a carbon tax.
When are the Liberals going to reverse their job-killing tax hikes? That has been the big question in the House, as they need to know that they have to stop the carbon tax for now.
Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-05-12 18:24 [p.3303]
Mr. Speaker, a carbon tax is a crippling tax. I come from a region that is devastated. We need hope in this country. There may be sunny ways on that side of the House, but I can say that from where I stand, and in Saskatoon—Grasswood, and Saskatchewan in general, when I go to Lloydminster, I look across to Alberta, and especially now in Fort McMurray where we are not up to snuff with production right now. Carbon pricing and a carbon tax has to be delayed in this country. I stand firmly by that thought. There may be a time, but now is not the time. We do not need a carbon tax right now and put it into EI. That is simply what has happened in my province. It is what has happened in Alberta, what has happened in Newfoundland, and what has happened in New Brunswick.
When will the Liberals, and their plan to help Canadians get to their jobs, reconsider the job-killing tax hikes that they have brought in in the first 100 days of being in office?
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=8268895