Earlier this week I stood in the House of Commons to speak on behalf of the people of Provencher. I addressed the many promises made to Canadians within the Liberal Speech from the Throne.
Unfortunately, the Speech was long on platitudes but short on details. It is troubling to see the long list of spending commitments from the Liberal Government, while simultaneously neglecting to describe how these promises will be funded.
It’s easy to make such grand commitments, but who will absorb the cost of these promises? Far too often the cost of large and unending deficits falls onto future generations. We lay those costs on the backs of our children and our grandchildren. I know that I, along with so many that I’ve spoken with in Provencher, are not comfortable with promises that come at such a cost. We want Canadians to have resources, programs, and benefits that they can collectively afford and count on to be there when needed and we want to set future generations up for success. The government has the capacity to provide great programs and benefits to Canadians but it must involve careful long-term planning, sound budgeting, and fiscal responsibility.
It is unsettling to watch years of careful financial planning during challenging economic times unravel so quickly. I can’t say that I’m surprised however that the promise to cap deficits at $10 billion annually now looks to be nothing more than an empty and broken promise.
Although the spending promises in the Speech from the Throne were flowing quickly to some sectors, the speech was also concerning in regards to what was not included. Coming from a large rural riding with a strong and vibrant agriculture community, I can say that rural Canadians were left with many questions. The agriculture sector accounts for more than $100 billion in economic activity each year and employs more than two million Canadians, yet no mention of it was made in the speech.
The Prime Minister has stated to the world that “Canada is back”. What, Mr. Prime Minister, are we back to? Are we back to believing that the issues and interests of rural and Western Canadians can be ignored? I certainly hope that is not the case, but the early evidence indicates otherwise.
Farmers are the backbone of this country. This cannot be emphasized enough and as a Conservative I can assure you that I will continue to work for and represent the interests of Canadian farmers.
There was also no mention of Canada’s private sector, small businesses or its entrepreneurs in the speech. Small businesses are critical to the health of the Canadian economy. They represent 99% of all businesses in the country and employ half of all Canadians in the private sector and yet apparently they weren’t deserving of a single line.
Conservatives have long looked at ways to bolster this part of the economy knowing full well that it is essential for job creation and a thriving economy. It concerns me when a government speaks of growing the economy but neglects to acknowledge or make plans to support its key sectors. It’s easy to promise job creation and a robust economy, but without a plan or consideration of key players, these are empty words.
After years of careful financial planning, Conservatives promised and successfully delivered a surplus. The commitments contained in the Speech from the Throne lack important details, key players, and long-term vision.
Over the coming months I will continue to push the Liberal Government for details as to how they plan to finance all their lofty promises and I will continue to point out that their priorities seem out of step with the priorities of my constituents here in Provencher.