House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Communication between Member and Constituent
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in question period the member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre read from what he alleged was a private communication between me, an MP from Toronto, and my constituent regarding the Liberal Party's policies toward Israel.

The House does not know how he came by that letter, indeed whether it contained the quote cited, or more importantly, whether he respected the privacy issues related to a communication between two individuals, he being neither of them.

Would he do the honourable thing and provide clarity and transparency by offering to table the document in its unredacted form, so that we can verify that legal and ethical practices were followed in the acquisition of private mail by a third party?

Communication between Member and Constituent
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I might suggest the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence could send a note, perhaps a letter to the hon. member for Kitchener Centre asking him if he could provide that information to him. It seems to be something the hon. member might want to send by mail rather than have an oral answer provided to his question on the floor of the House, whether it be in the form of a question of privilege or a point of order, whatever it might be. We will leave it there.

The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North had the floor on a question of privilege before question period, so we will hear further from him at this moment.

Content of Ten Percenters
Privilege
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had just begun to raise a question of privilege regarding a mailing that went into my riding from the member for Brandon—Souris.

I have no objection to ten percenters. They can be useful if they are honest, straightforward, and shed intelligent and thoughtful perspectives on contentious issues with honest political differences. But the thing that set this mailing apart, from the other mailings that my constituents of Thunder Bay—Superior North receive, was that this mail-out contained a falsehood, purposely meant to mislead my constituents about my personal record as their member of Parliament. It has interfered significantly with my ability to represent them.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that if you look into this case of spreading falsehoods about another member of Parliament, using taxpayers' money to do so, you will find that it is an egregious breach of privilege. I will explain.

This mailing was about my record on the long gun registry. In it, the member told my constituents, “Your member of Parliament worked to support the registry and end the amnesty”. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the member for Brandon—Souris well knew and well knows, I have for many years been against repealing the long gun registry. I have never worked to support the ending of the long gun registry.

In every political campaign that I have run and in between, I have never worked to end the long gun registry, and I challenge the member to come up with any instance where I have. Of course, he will find that he cannot.

To the contrary, the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar has commended me personally, and in the media, for working across party lines on her private member's bill to get rid of the long gun registry. While I also support and congratulate the member for Portage—Lisgar and her efforts to end this program and the passage of her bill, the defamatory mailing calls into question her party's desire to actually get rid of the registry and uses it as an inflammatory tool with which to attack other parties.

Mr. Speaker, I may, a minute ago, have misspoke. What I have done repeatedly is work to end the long gun registry.

I had previously and publicly stated my support for the hon. member's private member's bill. Why punish supporters of her bill in this way? If the objective is to punish and weaken those members who have stated their support for ending the long gun registry, it really calls into question the Conservatives' sincerity and whether they are really trying to scrap the long gun registry.

The defamatory mailing also states that “Instead of working to correct previous Liberal mistakes, your member of Parliament is still trying to keep the long gun registry in place”. Again, this is completely and utterly untrue, and the member for Brandon—Souris must know it. I believe it is libellous.

I do not know if the member performed due diligence in verifying what was mailed out on behalf of his office, but certainly he has a responsibility to do so if these falsehoods were cooked up in the PMO or the Conservative research bureau and sent out in his name.

It is a sad state of affairs that our fundamental and necessary mailing privileges are twisted in such a way, but this is only the continuation of a recurring and deliberate pattern of behaviour from the members opposite, one that has been growing worse over time.

Mr. Speaker, you have already ruled on a similar breach of privilege in the case of the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore. This ten percenter sent into my riding by the member for Brandon—Souris has libelled me, sought to damage my credibility, reputation and character, lowered the quality of debate on this important issue in the House, and sought to obscure and deny the facts of the matter.

Mr. Speaker, today I seek a ruling from you as to whether this libellous and untruthful mail-out into my riding is a breach of privilege.

Content of Ten Percenters
Privilege
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, very briefly, since the member for Brandon—Souris is not here, I would suggest that the government will be making a response to this at its earliest opportunity, if you would allow me to make that intervention at some time in the near future.

Content of Ten Percenters
Privilege
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

That is fine. I will take the matter under consideration.

Comments by Member for Ottawa South
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, on November 23, at 12:04 p.m., I raised a point of order regarding a false statement made November 20 in the House by the member for Ottawa South on Bill C-311. He stated that it was not two weeks ago that his colleague, referencing me, the critic for the NDP, was in agreement with the extension of 30 days in committee as it was extremely important to hear other expert witnesses. This is, by the way, a complete falsehood. I had voted against the extension and had spoken very clearly in the committee and outside. I wanted an expedited review and vote on that bill.

To my knowledge, the member has not yet withdrawn this false statement and I seek your intervention, Mr. Speaker, to resolve this request.

Comments by Member for Ottawa South
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I will examine the point raised by the hon. member and I will get back to the House if necessary on this point.

Receivability of Government Motion No. 8
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise a point of order with regard to the receivability of government Motion No. 8.

I believe the introduction of this motion at this time defies logic and challenges the ability of members to represent their constituents. Members are being asked to consider time allocation on a bill that has not yet been tabled in the House, a bill for which a ways and means motion has just been passed. This, in itself, puts members in a difficult position. We are asked to make a judgment on the requirement to limit time for debate when we have not even had the opportunity to review the bill, because it has not been tabled in the House.

I believe time allocation or closure must be considered in context. I would suggest there is no way of determining at this point that the government's ability to advance its program, which is the operative phrase, the key phrase in O'Brien and Bosc, has suffered any difficulty whatsoever.

There is no indication at this point that there is any reason to believe time allocation is required or necessary. Given that the bill has not been tabled, the ability of the government to move it through various stages has never even been tested. Perhaps an argument for time allocation could be justified if the bill had been tabled, if it had come up for debate and if it had somehow become bogged down in the process, but we are in no position to judge that at this point.

There is no evidence to show that such a bill would not proceed through the House within the usual parameters. There is no evidence therefore that the government's ability to advance its program has been impeded.

It is also difficult to justify to my constituents that such a massive suspension of the usual process for consideration of legislation is necessary. Without the bill being tabled in the House, it is impossible to know why this legislation will require such a significant change.

This is particularly important given that this is a tax measure. The government has told us in the motion that the bill it wants to limit debate on has to do with an amendment to the Excise Tax Act. Tax changes, increases to taxation are surely an issue, a subject which requires careful consideration. Surely our constituents deserve the due diligence of members on a new tax measure, perhaps especially on a new tax measure. Surely that due diligence requires the engagement of the usual process for the consideration of legislation in the House.

These time limitations will severely curtail the ability of Canadians to make their views on legislation known, through their MPs during the debate at various stages of the bill in the House and through their ability to participate in hearings on the bill during committee consideration.

In the development of our democratic traditions, we have often heard the rallying cry of “No taxation without representation”. Short-circuiting the usual process challenges the idea that citizens will have an opportunity to participate in the decision about an increase to the taxes they pay. It will also deny the usual opportunities to improvement of the legislation that regularly results from engaging in the legislative process.

I suspect my constituents would appreciate that such a suspension of the usual process might be justified in the case of an emergency, where speed was essential. I would suggest this is not the case today. The fact that the HST is hugely unpopular in British Columbia and Ontario might be a serious political consideration for the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party, but is not in any an emergency situation that merits abandoning the established and usual legislative process.

We should note that the government's own estimation is this measure would not come into effect until July, mid-2010, which gives ample time for engaging the usual process.

A motion such as this should only be in order if it can be demonstrated that the government has suffered some kind of setback in advancing its program or that there is some kind of emergency that requires such a suspension of the usual legislative process. There has been no setback to the government program because the bill has yet to be tabled. There is no emergency because even by the government's own timetable there is lots of time to engage the usual process.

I would urge you, Mr. Speaker, to find this motion out of order.

Receivability of Government Motion No. 8
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief, unlike my colleague from across the way. As you well know, in connection with the procedure to bring forward government Motion No. 8, all the necessary procedures have been followed. I would point out for my hon. colleague, in all seriousness, that if he is looking for evidence of dilatory tactics by a very small political party in this place trying to hold up the necessary work of government in order to respect the provincial jurisdiction of the provinces' right to address taxation issues in their individual provinces, he need look no further than the tactics of his own party today.

In following all the necessary procedures, the government did put on the order paper the fact that we would to call the ways and means motion and then we wanted to go to debate on Government Motion No. 8, fully expecting the New Democratic Party, because there is nothing democratic about that party, to try to obstruct the work of Parliament. That is exactly what has transpired here today.

Because the New Democrats saw on the order paper the intentions of the government to move forward with the HST, because their opposition to that is well known, they have tried every possible dilatory procedure and tactic throughout today. Their consecutive points of order, their bogus questions of privilege are very transparent. We can see what they are up to. Canadians viewing this at home can see what they are up to.

I would end by again reiterating that all the necessary procedures have been followed and there is no further evidence necessary to the Chair, I believe, of the tactics that the NDP will stoop to than what we have already witnessed for several hours here today.

Receivability of Government Motion No. 8
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that any questions of privilege are within your jurisdiction, not that of the House leader.

I want to supplement the comments from my colleague and draw your, Mr. Speaker, attention to Standing Order 28(3). I think the effect of government Motion No. 8 , which has been put on notice before the House, is an end run around the jurisdiction again that you exercise under that Standing Order.

That Standing Order deals with the situation where the House is adjourned and it is proposed by the government to bring the House back. That can only be done in consultation with you, Mr. Speaker, and in effect, because of precedent in this regard, it is done after you are convinced, in the course of that consultation, that the issue facing the House, by the government wanting to face the House with it, is important enough, a crisis, whatever, and you make that decision.

The effect of government Motion No. 8 is now going to push us, if it carries through, beyond the end of the scheduled sitting time for the House of December 11. If we went to December 11, when the House normally adjourns, in the debate on this HST bill, whenever we get to actually see it, the government would then have to come to you, Mr. Speaker, and seek your endorsement, your authorization to call the House back.

Therefore, the effect of this, in addition to all the points that were made by my colleague, is to completely undermine Standing Order 28 and your authority under that. I would urge you, Mr. Speaker, to take that into consideration when you rule on this point of order.

Receivability of Government Motion No. 8
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I think what I will do is put the motion before the House so we know what the form of the motion is, and then I will make a ruling on the acceptability of the motion in accordance with the points of order.

Disposition of an Act to amend the Excise Tax Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, a bill in the name of the Minister of Finance, entitled An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act, shall be disposed of as follows:

1. not more than one sitting day shall be allotted to the second reading stage of the bill and, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day of the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment;

2. not more than four hours following the adoption of the second reading motion, any proceedings before the Committee to which the bill stands referred shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the committee stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment; a representative of the Committee may report the bill to the House by depositing the said report with the Clerk of the House, whereupon it shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House, provided that if the bill is not reported from the Committee by 11:00 p.m. on the day of the adoption of the second reading motion, the bill shall immediately be deemed to have been reported from the Committee without amendment; that for the sole purposes of this Order, the deadline for notice of report stage motions shall be 3:00 a.m. the day following the adoption of the second reading motion;

3. the bill may be taken up at report stage at the next sitting of the House following the notice deadline for the presentation of report stage motions, provided that a motion for third reading may be made immediately after the bill has been concurred in at report stage;

4. not more than one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage and third reading stage of the bill and, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day of the consideration of the said stages of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stages of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment;

5. should a recorded division be requested on any motion in relation to any stage of the bill and such a division is eligible to be deferred pursuant to Standing Order 45, the division may be deferred to a time not later than the end of Government Orders on the day that stage is under consideration and the operation of Standing Order 45(6) shall be suspended in relation to this bill; and

6. if the bill is not read a third time and passed by Friday, December 11, 2009, when the House adjourns on Friday, December 11, 2009, it shall stand adjourned until Saturday, December 12, 2009, at 10:00 a.m.; commencing on December 12, 2009, and concluding on the day on which a motion that the House stands adjourned pursuant to this Order is adopted the hours of sitting, the Order of Business of the House and the provisions of Standing Order 54 shall be those provided in the Standing Orders for a Tuesday; at any time on or after December 12, 2009, a Minister of the Crown may propose, without notice, a motion that, upon adjournment on the day on which the said motion is proposed, the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, January 25, 2010; the said motion shall immediately be deemed to have been adopted provided that for the purposes of Standing Order 81(10)(c), the House shall be deemed to have been adjourned on December 11, 2009, and provided that, during the adjournment, for the purposes of any other Standing Order, the House shall be deemed to stand adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28.

Receivability of Government Motion No. 8--Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order
Government Orders

December 3rd, 2009 / 3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

With respect to the point of order that was raised, it has been suggested that the motion that I just read is out of order because it is not in conformity with the practices of the House.

The House is master of its own procedure. The Standing Orders of the House, which are our rules, are adopted by the House and are used by it and the Chair as the rules of the House. However, the House is free to adopt a special order on any occasion that it wishes to do so, which can change those rules either permanently or on a temporary basis, or in respect of a single bill, or in respect of a special committee, or any other purpose.

Members of the House are free to agree upon and make changes in the rules of our practice, which we do frequently, often by unanimous consent, but sometimes without unanimous consent, because a motion is introduced and changes are made.

On February 23, 2007 the government introduced a motion. It read in part, “That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, a bill in the name of the Minister of Labour” had special provisions set out that dealt with the disposition of that bill in the House.

The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh raised a point of order on that occasion, arguing that the motion was not in order, that it was contrary to our practice. He made a very able argument, but he ran into difficulty because the ruling from the chair said that his argument was not a good one. I will quote my ruling if I may. I do not like quoting myself, but I am happy to do so in this case. I said:

I am concerned about his reference to the fact that a majority of the parties in the House have not agreed to something and therefore that something may not be in order. The House decides matters, not by party but by votes, by the number of members supporting or rejecting a motion. In my view, that is the way the House operates and will continue to operate.

What we have here is a motion that has been put forward to the House to make changes in the rules in respect of one bill. If the House decides that it wants to do that after a vote by the members of this House, it seems to me that it is entirely within the jurisdiction of the House to do it. It is not for the Speaker to say that the motion is out of order because it does something that the rules do not allow for.

The rules do allow us to make changes to the rules whenever we want, and we do it on a fairly regular basis. We had a rule change today to allow statements by ministers at 3 o'clock instead of this morning at 10 o'clock. That was not a problem; members agreed to it and it happened.

We now have a proposal to make changes to the rules that apply to a particular bill that has been introduced in the House and is now going to be the subject of debate under different rules perhaps than other bills are. I have just read the long thing. It is tedious, but there it is.

In my view, it is a matter that can be brought to the House for debate and it should be discussed by the House and then ultimately voted upon by the House, as I am sure it will be when the debate concludes.

Thus in my view, the motion before us is in order. I now call upon the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance who wishes to make a speech on this matter.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Disposition of an Act to amend the Excise Tax Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am tremendously relieved, as I am sure most members of this House are, to actually get on with what you were just referring to, that is, democracy.

The government House leader deserves a great deal of credit for recognizing how important this is, and that is what my speech today will be reflecting, the fact that this is indeed very important. We heard many interventions this morning and again this afternoon suggesting that this was not important. My suggestion would be to tell that to the provincial leaders, to tell that to the elected members of the Ontario legislature, the elected members of the British Columbia legislature. British Columbia is actually debating this now. They need confirmation, they need assurance. Businesses need to know what the taxation system in their province is going to be. Provincial governments need to know with assurance how they will be collecting their taxes in the coming years. Therefore it is indeed very important, and this House and this government is absolutely seized with that.

Therefore, thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to begin this debate on this very important motion. The motion begins a process that would allow the federal parliament to affirm a fundamentally straightforward principle, that provincial taxation is a provincial responsibility and, as such, that provinces should have the freedom to choose the model of taxation they decide best suits their province. It is that simple. It is a motion allowing the federal Parliament to demonstrate basic respect for provincial autonomy and to facilitate provincial choice, including a move to a harmonized value added tax.

Presently in Canada different provinces have adopted different models with respect to their sales taxes. Currently, five provinces have sales taxes; four provinces have a value added tax or a variation thereof; and one province has neither, that being my own province.

What is important is that these provinces have the freedom to choose what model suits them best: a sales tax, a value added tax, or neither. We support that freedom and we believe that all provinces should be treated equally. All should have the right to make their own decisions with respect to provincial taxation, including the right to adopt a harmonized value added tax.

I note that the previous Liberal federal government, under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and then finance minister Paul Martin, first facilitated that decision of the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador to harmonize new value added taxes with the federal value added tax in the 1990s.

We believe that all provinces should have similar freedom to make their own decision.

Recently, two more provincial governments, specifically, British Columbia and Ontario, decided to make a similar decision and to replace their sales taxes with a harmonized value added tax.

Again, as all members of this House should know, let me underline that at the end of the day, provincial governments alone make this decision.

As the current Liberal member for Vancouver South, a former premier of British Columbia, recently noted:

Ultimately it is the decision of the provincial government whether or not to do HST.

Or listen to the current Liberal member for Toronto Centre, a former premier of Ontario. He noted that it was up to provinces to decide whether they wanted to proceed with a harmonized tax. He said:

It's a decision for them, not for us.

Let me repeat and emphasize that last part: “It is a decision for them, not for us”, referring to the federal government here in Ottawa.

Indeed, let me quickly read into the record statements underscoring that very sentiment that were made recently by both current premiers and both current finance ministers of the provinces in question.

The Premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell, said:

This is a matter of provincial autonomy. It is simply saying that British Columbia and Ontario will get the same kind of opportunities they have had for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.… This is important to our future as a province. When I hear leading economists across the country saying this is the most important thing we can do for our economy in British Columbia, for our forest industry, our mining industry, and they've defined this themselves, not me, as the most important thing we can do as they move into the 21st century, I'm willing to stand on that.

The Finance Minister of British Columbia, Colin Hansen, said:

The question MPs have to ask themselves is not whether they like or don't like the HST, it's whether or not they will honour a request from the provinces of B.C. and Ontario.

The Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, said:

The people of Ontario aren't so much interested in the interplay between the various parties on Parliament Hill, they're interested in their future....

I am counting on all members of the House of Commons...to understand how important this is to the people of Ontario.

The Finance Minister of Ontario, Dwight Duncan, said:

I fully expect and hope the parliament of Canada will honour the wishes of the duly elected governments of Ontario and British Columbia

To summarize what both premiers and both finance ministers are requesting is very straightforward. It is clear that they simply both endorse the commonly accepted principle that provincial taxation and changes made to it are indeed a provincial responsibility. Moreover, provinces must be allowed the opportunity and freedom to adopt whatever model of taxation they deem fit. This is not complicated, and we fully support and recognize, as does the Liberal Party of Canada and the Bloc Québécois, their provincial autonomy in this matter.

If any member of the House, specifically the members of the NDP, do not fully recognize or respect that concept of provincial autonomy, I believe the proper course of action for them is to follow the lead of their former NDP colleague, the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam, Dawn Black, or their former NDP colleague from Elmwood—Transcona, Bill Blaikie, and run provincially in their respective provincial legislative assemblies.

Again, we fully support the right of a province to adopt whatever model of taxation it chooses, including a harmonized value added tax. However, as was the case when Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador decided to make the transition over a decade ago under the Chrétien government, a technical legislative change was required to support a move to a harmonized value added tax.

To facilitate such a transition in a fair and consistent manner, we will be proposing technical tax legislation to implement a provincial choice tax framework, to be equally available to any province that chooses to move to a fully harmonized value added tax. This technical legislative change to recognize provincial choice will require parliamentary approval. As British Columbia and Ontario are currently undertaking a significant restructuring of their economies on the basis of that, this federal Parliament must act quickly. Uncertainty and delay are not an option.

Unnecessary delays would be unfair to business, unfair to provincial governments and their employees, unacceptable to consumers and unhelpful to Canada's international competitiveness. Again, this is not a difficult decision: either Parliament supports the right of provinces to choose their own model of taxation, including moving to a harmonized value added tax; or it does not.

This motion will allow Parliament to make the decision in a timely manner and confirm the right of provinces to choose freely without federal intervention. A timely decision will provide certainty for businesses and provinces, certainty they deserve and that we can provide them.

Before concluding, let me turn my attention to the federal New Democratic Party. We will hear some strange things from it, I might argue, and I think we already have; but in the days going forward we will hear some more about their record on taxation and their opinion of taxes.

From the start, let me set the record straight. The NDP does not and has never believed Canadian families should pay less tax. The NDP has voted against, criticized and mocked every single tax cut our Conservative government has ever introduced. That is the NDP record.

Unlike the NDP, our Conservative government believes that leaving more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadians is the right thing to do and we have the record to prove it, unlike the NDP. Since coming to office in 2006, we have, in fact, cut over 100 taxes, reducing taxes in every way government collects it: personal, consumption, business, excise taxes and more. We have removed almost 950,000 low-income Canadians completely from the tax roll. We reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in almost 50 years. That all translates into substantial tax savings for individuals and families.

As an example, families with incomes between $15,000 and $30,000 will receive tax relief in 2009 on an average of nearly $650, while families with incomes in the $80,000 to $100,000 range will receive on average a tax reduction of over $2,200. The NDP voted against these Conservative measures and protested every single step of the way.

Let us review the actions we have taken to reduce taxes on individuals, families and businesses by an estimated $220 billion over 2008-09 and the following five fiscal years. We ensured all Canadians, even those who do not earn enough to pay personal income tax, benefited from the 2% reduction in the GST rate. The NDP voted against that.

We ensured all taxpayers benefited from personal income tax relief which included reducing the lowest personal tax rate to 16% and increasing the basic amount that all Canadians can earn without paying federal income tax. Again, the NDP voted against that.

We introduced the new tax free savings account to improve incentives to save through a flexible, registered general purpose account, a policy initiative generally heralded as the most important tax measure included in this area since the RRSP that allows Canadians to earn tax free investment income. Once again, the NDP voted against that.

The recession fighting, job creating home renovation tax credit introduced last January, guess what? The NDP voted against it. We introduced significant tax relief to position Canadian businesses for success--