House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Budget
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. I know the hon. member for Medicine Hat has raised points which have created some interest in the House and the debate is lively, but it is hard for the Speaker to hear the words of the hon. member for Medicine Hat, which the Speaker is interested in hearing, and I know that hon. members will want to conduct themselves accordingly.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, you are a wise man. I appreciate that wise intervention.

My friends across the way are very sensitive about their role in reducing health care to its present state, and well they should be, but I will not dwell on that.

We believe that we have room, because we have a surplus approaching $150 billion over the next five years, to reduce taxes tremendously.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Thank you.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

My friend from Simcoe—Grey says thank you, but it is really the taxpayers who should be thanked. They are the ones who have borne the burden of the deficit fight through higher taxes. There are incredibly high taxes today in Canada, the highest personal income taxes in the industrialized world. We need to lower them.

Our plan would do three different things. It would increase the basic exemption to $10,000, drawing from that big surplus. It would extend a $3,000 deduction to all families with children. It would take the 26% and 29% rates and move every rate down to a single rate of 17%.

What would the impact of that be? It would mean that every Canadian would see their taxes go down dramatically. We would see that our country would be the most attractive country in the world when it comes to investment. We would see money come back into the country. We have seen $135 billion flow out over the last 10 years under the Liberal government and under the Tories before it. That money would start to come back into Canada because this would be an attractive place to invest.

More than that, we would see some great social benefits. I want to say a word about that. We would see a tax plan that would lift two million low income Canadians right off the tax rolls. It is tough enough being poor without having the government tax people for the crime of having a low income, but that is what happens every year.

We would also end the discrimination against single income families, something the government failed to do in its budget. In the tax code there is a discrimination against single income families. It continues under this tax plan despite the efforts of some members across the way. Unfortunately it does not sound like the government wants to change it. Under our plan it would change. We would get rid of that discrimination.

More important, we would attract a tremendous amount of economic activity to Canada. I want to say a word about why that is important.

In a situation where the economy is underperforming like it is in Canada today where we still have almost 7% unemployment, who are the people who are hurt the most? It is people without skills. It is people without education. We need to help those people.

We would do that by having an economy that moved a lot faster. If it did, those people would be scooped up. They would get the jobs. They would get the experience, the contacts, the capital and the confidence which would allow them to improve their lot. They could maintain their dignity. They could provide for their own families instead of being kept dependent by the government. It is shameful that it would allow people to be left in that state, but the government does it.

Solution 17 will lift Canadians off the tax rolls. It will lower taxes. It will attract investment. My friends across the way should not let pride get in their way. They should make sure they adopt this plan. Let them adopt this plan. Let us get Canadians back to work. Let us create some opportunity for Canadians from coast to coast.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my experience for every complex problem there is a simple solution and it is wrong. The Reform flat tax proposal is such a matter.

I would like the hon. member to tell Canadians that if this were introduced and if people at the low end of the tax regime were dropped off and the highest income earners who are presently taxed at high rates came down to lower rates, then exactly who would pay for the lost revenues from the low and high groups? Would the hon. member not admit that it would be middle income Canadians?

The Budget
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to tell the hon. member who would pay. The Department of Human Resources Development and the minister would pay, because we would not fund that garbage any more. It would be gone and the benefits would go to Canadians of all stripes.

I am glad my friend across the way asked me the question. I would like to quote from a study done by Dale Orr of WEFA Inc. He is the fellow who chaired the finance minister's private sector economists and who prepared the documents for the fiscal and economic update in the fall. In talking about our proposals he said:

The tax reduction proposals...are well focused on the needs of Canadians today. They expand the economy, and most powerfully: personal disposable income, consumption and our standard of living. They create jobs. By lowering the marginal tax rates they are particularly effective in stimulating work effort, and stemming the brain drain and other productivity enhancing features. By powerfully reducing the level of personal income tax, particularly for Canadians of average and above average income, they are well directed at providing a more competitive tax environment in Canada relative to the U.S. They focus precisely and effectively on “bracket creep”, raising the basic personal exemption, particularly affecting the lowest income taxpayers, by much more than the rate of inflation: By eliminating the current 26% and 29% marginal tax rates, any bracket creep relating to these rates is eliminated. The issue of fairness is addressed, not only by the elimination of bracket creep, but by honouring the original policy intentions of the 5% “deficit reduction” surtax and reducing EI premiums to be consistent with EI policy....The tax reduction proposals of the Reform Party are affordable. If all of the tax reduction proposals are introduced as a combined package, over the 2000-01 to 2004-05 period, there would still be a fiscal surplus in each and every year.

That is what our plan would do.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask to my colleague from the Reform Party a question. Every time I hear we should bring employment insurance premiums down, but what about those 800,000 workers who have lost their employment and do not qualify for employment insurance? What about the 1.4 million children who are hungry? What is the position of the Reform Party?

I have a motion in the House of Commons and it seems that the Reform Party does not want to support it. The only thing my motion says is to revise employment insurance. The only thing I hear from my colleague is to bring the premiums down. I have not heard any workers on the streets asking for the premiums to be brought down. They have asked that the benefits be brought up.

I would like to hear his position on that.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting how different people think so differently.

I would rather see people have a job than an enhanced social program. Families with children need permanent jobs, jobs that pay a good salary. That is what we have to focus our efforts on. Why does my friend automatically assume that the best use of money is through the hands of a government, to hand it out to different people?

Let us give that money back to the job creators in Canada. They will provide the best social program in the world and that is a good job.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about where money might be coming from to help out with spending on high priorities in this country.

Last week Environment Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada made a big announcement that they are going to put up $600,000 to put a sign by a farmer's gate to acknowledge that the farmer is helping out on environmental issues by the way he farms. Does the member believe that that $600,000 should go toward that fence post in front of that farmer's yard or should it be going into health care which we really need and want?

The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, clearly my friend has pointed to another example of the idiocy that occurs on a daily basis in the ranks of government. We see good money thrown after bad.

My friends across the way are sensitive and they should be. At the same time as that is happening, hospital beds have closed, people have left the country because the taxes are too high, and people cannot afford tuitions because they have been raised and transfers to the provinces have been lowered for those sorts of things. It is time to change that. Let us change that by getting rid of the grants and contributions that go to boondoggles. Let us take that money and put it to good use instead.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, first the hon. member suggested not to let pride get in the way. Pride cannot help but get in the way for me because I am very proud to be Canadian and very proud to be a member of the government that has brought unemployment rates down consistently for the last six years. I am proud of the fact that we have been able to manage the finances of this nation and actually deal with a surplus.

The hon. member seems to want to go to a flat tax system and gut health care and social programs. The member talked about redirecting funding from HRDC and focusing it on tax reduction.

Would he be prepared to come to my riding and talk to the Georgian Bay Literacy Foundation that got $29,000? It helps people who are illiterate to get jobs. Would he be prepared to go and meet Tracks Youth Unemployment? The people who are underemployed and unemployed in my riding who need the necessary skills so they can go into the job market and secure full permanent employment, would he tell them that the Reform Party does not care about them because it wants to gut the social programs in this country?

The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid my friend has beat me to the punch. They have already gutted health care across the way. Congratulations.

I will say to my friend that when he initially stood up and said he would not let pride get in the way, I thought it was going to be because he had no pride. Apparently he does not after the yarn we just heard.

My friend across the way should be aware that the Reform Party takes a very different approach. We say that Canadians themselves are very generous. We know that they would come to the fore any time they are asked to help out people in need. They have proven that year after year after year.

Leave the money in their pockets and they will look after their friends and their neighbours because they do it every day. We are a generous people. We do not need my friend across the way lecturing people on how they need to be a little bit more generous.

My friend across the way has proven through his actions and through his government's actions that they are the main culprits when it comes to hurting Canadians. They have done it for the last six years.

Points Of Order
Government Orders

February 29th, 2000 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Yesterday during the budget speech I used a digital camera to take pictures in the Chamber. I was advised by the Chair that although this is not written in our rules, it is not the practice of the House to permit that.

Therefore I would like to apologize to any members who were concerned about that and indeed to the entire House.

I would also like to confirm that all of the pictures have been erased and no pictures were printed.

Points Of Order
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

As it is now approximately 2 o'clock, we will proceed to statements by members.

The Budget
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to comment on the government's budget.

While I commend the government for following the Reform Party's advice and eliminating bracket creep, I believe this budget could have gone much further when it comes to tax cuts for average Canadians.

I wonder why the government continues to pile money into programs rather than health care and education where it is needed. Added transfer payments to the provinces of $2.5 billion over the next four years does not come close to meeting the needs of our hospitals and schools.

The public is crying out for an end to the waiting lists for hospital beds but the government would rather pour money into HRDC and Canadian heritage programs which often go to Liberal friends and insiders.

For every dollar the government is giving back in tax cuts, it is still spending $2 on programs. Has the government learned nothing from its billion dollar mishandling of taxpayers' money? Canadians deserve better.