House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was measures.

Topics

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to participate in the finance committee hearings in which the finance minister presented his calculation of the so-called tax leakage. Unfortunately, many of the people, including the Governor of the Bank of Canada, had prepared their speeches prior to hearing the evidence of expert witnesses who demonstrated clearly that there was flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions in the finance minister's presentation.

The facts are that tax revenues on an annual basis will be reduced some $6 billion a year as a result of the private sector, private equity takeovers of income trusts to date.

Since the tax leakage that the finance minister was talking about was only $5 billion, and that was over six years, maybe the member could help to answer how can Canadians determine that in fact losing $6 billion a year is a better scenario than simply losing $5 billion over six years?

It seems to me that tax fairness means that we make sure that everybody is paying their fair share, but certainly that we do not give away all of the tax revenue with respect to income trusts that have been taken over because of this broken promise.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, before I address the hon. member's question, over the last two weeks I have received letters from students in grades 5 and 6 asking for members of Parliament to restore decency in the House. I would request the hon. member for Peterborough and other Conservative members who have been heckling to listen to me. They can ask their questions when the opportunity arises. I would like to remind all members of Parliament of that.

As the hon. member mentioned, tax revenues are gone because these companies are being taken by overseas companies.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

That is not what the statistics are saying.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the member for Peterborough is not listening. I remind him of the letters I received from grade 5 and grade 6 students about restoring decency in this House.

Companies will be paying their taxes overseas and we will not be able to collect from them. The loss to Canadians will be even bigger than what the hon. member thinks.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member points out that I had a number of things to say. I certainly want to get back in on this debate. I have a hard time listening to comments that are being said because there is such a distortion of the actual truth.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

CAITI and the Liberal Party. Step outside and say it.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

The hon. member wants to quote from CAITI, Mr. Speaker. Absolutely. Let me tell the member what journalists are saying about CAITI. They are saying that CAITI is a bunch of thugs that are beating up on the media and will not allow the media to tell the truth on this story. Journalists are afraid. We can see what CAITI has done to the hon. member for Winnipeg North, the NDP finance critic, who has been under attack from CAITI. I commend her for not backing down from a bunch of thugs.

I would like to know why the member is siding with CAITI in light of all the evidence that has been brought forward by experts from coast to coast who have said that what was happening with trusts was bad for Canada long-term, bad for investment, bad for productivity and bad for employment. This government made a tough decision to do the right thing and the member should support it. He should not support the thugs.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the member had been listening to me he would know that I am in fact standing here in support of the bill.

This government blacks out things and bypasses things. I am on the access to information committee and last week we had to deal with the report on Afghanistan. Does the member know which government blacked out things? It was the present Conservative government. The figures speak for themselves. When we inherited the economic disaster from the Conservatives in 1993 and this country was--

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

Order, please. It breaks my heart to bring this lively exchange to an end.

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Montmagny--L'Islet--Kamouraska--Rivière-du-Loup.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to speak on this bill. I know that my remarks will be interrupted because there is only five minutes left before members' statements and oral question period after. In the first part of my remarks and from the outset, I want to say that the Bloc Québécois will be supporting this bill with respect to changing the rules for foreign investment entities and non-resident trusts. It was high time that this kind of action be taken to bring about changes in the major areas in this bill, on which I will elaborate a little later.

On this day when the Minister of Finance announced what he called a tax fairness debate, we can see that the government has overlooked two things. This bill should also have included something about the whole issue of the tax treaty with Barbados. If there is a loophole for tax avoidance in Canada right now, that is the one. In addition, on the face of the government's proposal this morning, it would seem that it simply voids what the budget said. Very rarely is a decision that is not to be implemented for another five years, and that will be submitted to an advisory panel in the meantime, announced in a statement by the finance minister.

The government realized somehow that what was announced in the budget was not specific enough. It was having a major negative impact on the economy while at the same time not addressing all potential abuse in that area. It is therefore right to vote for Bill C-33 to ensure that this legislation can come into force. Indeed, tax fairness issues had been identified by the Auditor General, and even by predecessors of hers, but had not yet been addressed.

However, today, we would have liked—particularly the Bloc Québécois—the government to take advantage of the great opportunity provided by this bill to correct a problem, to address a major flaw in Canada's whole international tax structure, namely the infamous tax treaty with Barbados. We expected the minister to deal with this issue. Unfortunately, he merely dealt with the deductibility of interest costs, by coming up with a solution that looks like an attempt to muddy the waters. Moreover, there is no indication at all that the issue of the tax treaty with Barbados will be settled.

When we talk to people about this issue, they find it a bit complicated. It is simply a matter of understanding that, under the existing system—which is the result of the government's action, not something that happened by accident—each and every year, we lose $800 million in taxes that should be paid by businesses on the profits that come back from Barbados without being taxed. Indeed, we would have expected the government to do something about this situation in today's legislation, but it did not.

The bill amends the rules that apply to non-resident trusts and to foreign investment entities. These changes were necessary in order to amend the Income Tax Act, which sets the tax rules for these non-resident trusts. Normally, a trust falls under Canada's Income Tax Act if it has received a transfer or the proceeds of property from a partnership, joint venture, trust, fund, organization, etc. The trust is required to pay taxes on its revenues to the Government of Canada. If it does not do so, beneficiaries are held responsible and they must pay those taxes themselves. However, the amounts imposed on beneficiaries will reflect their contribution to the trust. An additional relief will be provided to those beneficiaries whose contribution is minimal, compared to the other contributions made to the trust.

So, this bill includes various measures and amendments that change the rules that apply when this money is brought back to Canada. More specifically, these measures define the additional criteria used to determine the fair market value of the assets held by a non-resident trust. In addition to correcting this situation, we would have liked the government to also deal with the issue created by the tax treaty with Barbados.

I will let the House reflect on this issue that is not dealt with in the bill, on this major lack of fairness that has a huge impact on Canada's tax system.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2006
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

Order, please. The hon. member will have 15 minutes left to continue his remarks.

We will now proceed to statements by members. The hon. member for Dufferin—Caledon.

Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, June 1, the town of Orangeville will once again be the proud host of the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival.

The annual festival had its beginnings in 2003. A small group of five volunteers organized and operated a full-blown festival over three days. Today, this annual event is the largest musical festival of its kind northwest of Toronto, which draws extraordinary talent and some of the most acclaimed blues and jazz performers in Canada.

The festival has been immensely successful due to the outstanding talent but also because of the tremendous efforts performed by the festival's organizers, such as Larry Kurtz, artistic director for the festival. I commend the efforts of Mr. Kurtz, as well as the other festival organizers, and thank them for drawing such positive attention to the town of Orangeville and to the local businesses and organizations in our community.

On behalf of the residents of Dufferin—Caledon, I wish the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival great success in its fifth season.

Victorian Order of Nurses
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, a historical and venerable organization in Canada is celebrating 110 years this year.

Established in 1897 by the wife of Governor General Aberdeen, VON Canada has been delivering health care and support services to Canadians in need and helping to build the Canadian health care system.

Since 1897, VON has been evolving to identify the health and social needs of Canadians and working with partners to develop programs to meet those needs. Decade after decade, VON has been called upon to respond to the changing health and social needs of Canadians and it has continued to deliver on its strong commitment to all Canadians.

VON continues to be a provider of high quality care through 51 branches in more than 1,300 communities across Canada affecting millions of Canadians each year.

I want to wish the VON a happy anniversary and I wish it 110 more years of dedicated service to Canadians.

Member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec members from the Conservative Party have repeatedly stated in this House that the Bloc is useless in Ottawa. Well, not only is the Bloc Québécois useful, but you will never hear one of us speak as crudely as the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière did at the May 7 meeting of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

The member said:

Often, a father will give his son advice on how to select a heating system. That is not usually something a mother discusses with her daughter; a mother is more likely to advise her daughter on what curtains to pick. That is the reality. It may be sexist, but that is the reality.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is sexist. After all, your remarks simply reflect the opinion this government has of women, as evidenced by the cuts to Status of Women, the new criteria for the women's program, and the elimination of the court challenges program.

I dream of a day when the very few women in the Conservative caucus will stand up to condemn such remarks.

Life-Work Balance
Statements By Members

May 14th, 2007 / 2 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, many of us took time to celebrate mothers but mothers in this country need more than flowers.

What mothers and fathers deserve is better work-life balance. They deserve not to be penalized for taking time off to care for children or sick and aging relatives.

New mothers deserve real maternity benefits. Currently, two-thirds of women who pay into EI cannot access maternity benefits.

Parents need affordable, not for profit child care so that working families can make ends meet. In order to make jobs work for women, we need to ensure flexible and family friendly workplaces.

This is the reason I introduced a motion that calls on the government to implement a multi-stakeholder task force to produce recommendations for better life-work balance choices. Women and men in this country should not need to choose either family or work. Canadians deserve the opportunity to do both.

Today the National Association of Women and the Law are here to discuss with parliamentarians many of these equality issues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organization for its work.