Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise again to speak to Bill C-9. The bill has now come out of committee and our party has had to introduce several motions to attempt to make deletions to the bill. The bill is so massive, at 880 pages, it must be a record, certainly by weight.
We have 60 some motions covered by these resolutions. The other members who have spoken today have essentially explained how and why the bill has come to us the way it has. It has been quite a number of years since I can recall a similar approach being taken by a government, which takes me back to 1889-90 in a minority government in Manitoba when the Filmon Conservatives did similar omnibus bills over a two year period, I believe. Not only did we have the budget implementation measures put into a bill, but we had extra items thrown in. One was the privatization of a business in Brandon that had absolutely nothing to do with the bill at hand.
If we fast forward to the present, this is the type of frustration with which the members of the House are dealing. The government has taken not only the budget implementation act, which we all agree is something that should be dealt with, but it has thrown in many extra measures, which rightly belong as separate legislation.
The best example of this is the issue of the Canada Post remailers. The government over the last two years, or perhaps longer, has attempted to get Bill C-14 and Bill C-44 through Parliament, which would remove Canada Post's legal monopoly on outgoing international letters. This is the thin edge of the wedge to start to privatize Canada Post.
The government introduced that bill as two separate bill numbers in past years, brought it into a minority Parliament and found the opposition so strong that it could not get it through. Therefore, the government has taken that legislation and added into this omnibus bill.
The government has added in the sale of AECL, which the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has rightfully pointed out has cost the Canadian taxpayers perhaps $22 billion in subsidies over its history. At the present time, nuclear looks like it is making a comeback. As the member indicated, we are looking at perhaps 120 new nuclear builds around the world. What the government is attempting to do is sell off this crown corporation, probably at fire sale rates and probably to foreign investors and American investors. They will then buy an asset, at a fire sale price, paid for by the Canadian taxpayer and will make a success of the company by building nuclear plants around the world.
This is what is being suggested. The fact is this element of Bill C-9 does not belong there. This is rightfully a subject for a different bill, a different day and a totally different subject for debate.
We want the Canadian people to understand what is going on here. A government that cannot get its way one way simply circumvents the process and attempts to bring it in through an omnibus bill.
After the second prorogation of the House, the opposition parties attempted to bring in motions and resolutions to put some qualifications on any future prorogations by the Prime Minister. It is high time the House adopt some rules on when the Prime Minister can prorogue the House.
Likewise, there should be some attempt made by parties to come up with some guidelines that the government should be able to follow for budget implementation legislation such as this. An independent panel of people, or an independent group of people, or any of our constituents, and I think my colleague, the member for Sudbury, would probably agree with me, will know the difference between what should be in a budget implementation bill and what is in this 880-page omnibus bill.
The privatization of Canada Post and the selling of AECL have absolutely nothing to do with traditional budget implementation. We only have to look at the environmental assessment issues. Our member from Edmonton spoke to this yesterday. The government is weakening the environmental assessment regulations. Once again, if it cannot get something through the House, it goes around to the back door.
It would take hours to deal with all of the issues in the bill, but I will talk for a couple of minutes about the taxation policy of the government. The government is reducing taxes on corporations, particularly on the banks. It is reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% at a time when it is already lower than the United States. It is doing it at a time when the banks made $15 billion in 2009. It is doing it at a time when the presidents of those banks made up to $10 million a year.
We have the highest paid CEOs in Canada. Gordon Nixon of the Royal Bank and Edmund Clark of the Toronto-Dominion Bank were granted about $10.4 million in 2009. The CEO of CIBC was granted $6.2 million. All of these presidents are in the stratosphere in terms of salaries.
What is the government doing while this is happening? It is sneaking through a huge increase in air travel taxes being paid by all air travellers in Canada. In fact, the increases are going up 50% on security fees paid on flights.
Representatives of the Air Transport Association of Canada, an organization that the government is very familiar with, provided testimony regarding the bill. The observations they made are these. In 2008, only two years ago, ATAC conducted a survey which ranked the security fees charged by governments and airports worldwide. Guess what it found? Canada's security charges, just two years ago, were the second highest in the world. Only the Netherlands was higher.
Guess what the government did? It increased those same taxes by 50%. After this tax announced in February, the Canadian security charges will be the highest in the world, having increased by 52% from $17 to $25 U.S. In the U.S. the charge is only $5.
For a government that wants to be competitive with the United States, it has just made itself uncompetitive. Its taxes are much higher.