Affordability, passport issues, fertilizer tariffs need answers from federal government

The price at the pumps has put the affordability crisis front and centre. It’s the number one issue facing Canadians — and has been for months. Soaring housing costs, the rapidly rising price of groceries, home heating fuel and every day goods.

While there are many factors — including Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, lack of housing supply, and more — that are driving up the price of everything, solutions are in short supply. Which is why I was so disappointed when our Conservative motion on March 23rd to pause the GST at the pumps to give Canadians a break was defeated in the House of Commons. It was a sensible step in the right direction. Rather, the government increased the carbon tax and excise taxes on April 1st which only exacerbated the affordability crisis.

Our local farmers, who are in the midst of planting this year’s crops, are being hit hard too. A tariff on fertilizer, already in short supply, was imposed as part of the sanctions against Russia. The catch is that the many farmers who planned ahead and booked fertilizer in the winter are being unfairly penalized by sanctions announced March 2nd. It’s only going to drive up the cost of food. We have been calling on the government to fix this and yet the Agriculture Minister won’t budge. Add the government’s opposition to a Bill by my colleague from Huron-Bruce to remove the carbon tax from farm fuels (which had unanimous support prior to the election) and our farmers are worried about our food security.

While the cost-of-living spirals out of control, the services provided by your federal government, which has hired more and more bureaucrats during the pandemic, only worsens. We’ve all heard about the Passport issues. The federal government didn’t plan ahead. A triple whammy of the expiry of the initial 10 year passports, increased desire of Canadians to finally travel post-pandemic and a large swath of the public service still working from home and we have the lengthy delays, back-logs in passport processing and long lines at passport offices. I was one of 83 MPs who signed an urgent letter weeks ago to ask the Minister responsible to immediately address this issue. So far, the situation has not improved.

Another issue is federal vaccine mandates that are keeping Canadian families separated while 62 leading developed countries, including much of Europe, have dropped federal mandates. I’m on the Transport Committee and we have raised this issue there again last week, and have been in the House of Commons continuously.

These are just some of the issues that are colliding at the federal level – where a lack of planning, increased taxes and misguided spending are directly impacting you and your family. We will continue to fight for change.