moved that Bill C-342, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (carbon levy), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, it is truly a great honour to have the privilege to introduce a private member's bill.
One of the first things that happens in Parliament is that we elect our Speaker. The second thing is that every member's name is drawn from a hat. I was given the great privilege of being number 70 drawn out, and here we are, almost two years into this Parliament, and my turn came up to introduce a bill.
There is a lot of thought that goes into what the important issue is that needs to be addressed in a private member's bill. In the last Parliament, I was very happy that I was able to introduce the “safe at home” bill, which required a safe distance between a victim of sexual assault and the offender. During the warrant period of sentencing, there has to be a separation to protect both physical and psychological health. This passed, which made me very happy. However, here we are in the current Parliament and I am again honoured to have a private member's bill. What should it be? I truly wanted to represent the community that I love, Langley—Aldergrove, which is one of the most beautiful parts of Canada and the world.
One day, I was checking out my energy heating bill. I am quite excited that the Conservative position always has been and in reality is the only party to stand up for the Canadian taxpayer. Traditionally, both the Liberals and the NDP have supported tax increases whenever possible. I hope that is not the case now, but one expects an action based on past performance, so I would expect the Liberals to support more and more taxes.
Canadians, as the Prime Minister has said, are willing to pay their fair share. Canadians are very fair. However, when I looked at my energy heating bill for heating my home, and I live in Langley, British Columbia, there is the carbon tax. There is a line that shows the cost of the natural gas, then other charges, the carbon tax, and two lines below that there is the GST. Suddenly, I realized that the government is collecting a tax on a tax.
There are diverse opinions on whether or not we should have a carbon tax. The government is supporting the greenhouse reduction targets, which are part of the targets of the Paris accord, and it is one of the reasons why this side supported it. Those were our targets and the Liberal government has used those targets in the Paris accord, but how do we achieve those targets? Some would like to see energy efficiency through regulation.
My colleague for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa has a long successful history in protecting the environment. I want to thank him for the great work that he has done. I have been honoured to work with him on the environment committee. However, he is a Conservative member of Parliament who does not believe that the government should be taking every opportunity to tax Canadians. Here is an example of where the Liberals have that right to come up with their policies, and they are going to put a price on carbon. This is how the Liberals believe they can reach those targets. We do not believe that will be successful, but that is their right and that is their policy.
However, when the Prime Minister announced putting a price on carbon, he said, for that price on carbon, it would be up to the provinces as to what they would do with those revenues. The Prime Minister promised Canadians that it would be federally revenue neutral. Yes, each province would determine how they would collect that price on carbon, but federally it would have zero effect on the revenues to the federal government. This was a promise. There are a lot of promises and a lot of statements made by the Liberal government here in the House and to Canadians. Be it in the House or out publicly at town hall meetings, there was promise after promise that it was federally revenue neutral, but that is not true.
I saw it on my bill, and I started talking to constituents, asking them to check their bills. For everyone who checked their bill, sure enough, the government was charging GST on the tax. That is a tax on a tax.
Time and time again, Canadians were shocked. They had believed the Prime Minister. They had trusted him. He had said, like Yoda trying to play the Jedi mind tricks, “High taxes, they are good for you”. Canadians were believing it until they saw the truth. What the Prime Minister was saying was from the dark side. It was not the truth. The truth is now being revealed, and Canadians are realizing they have been deceived.
We also called on the Library of Parliament and asked it to do a study and tell us if this is just a little money, because the Prime Minister has continually said this is a small cost and that we would go into a deficit of $10 billion, that it is just a little to build a strong Canada. We did the research with the Library of Parliament, and we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars coming out of B.C. and Alberta every year. As the price of carbon goes up, so does the GST.
There must then be evidence in the budget the Liberals introduced that there are additional revenues on that line for GST. There it was. The Library of Parliament indicated hundreds of millions of tax dollars coming out of Canadians' pockets.
The Liberals believe in high taxation and lots of social programs, but as a Conservative, we are the only party in the House representing the Canadian taxpayer and saying we trust that money in the pockets and in the bank accounts of Canadians. They will use their money wisely. The Liberals on the other hand say taxes are good, this is fair, and it will be revenue neutral. That is all not true. We know from the report from the Library of Parliament it is not true, and we also now see it in their budget. There it is. It is a little hidden, but if we dig, there it is. There is a massive increase in revenues for the federal government. It is not revenue neutral.
What do we do? Being good Conservatives, representing Canadian taxpayers and low taxes, we told the truth and presented that document from the Library of Parliament in the House and asked for unanimous consent that it be tabled. Sadly, we did not receive unanimous consent. The Liberal Party did not want that made public. However, it is a public document, so we released it to the media and the Canadian media put it out there. Canadians can now see it by looking at their energy bill.
How is this going to affect Canadians? As I said, the report indicates hundreds of millions of dollars being taken out of Alberta and British Columbia. As the price of carbon expands across the country, we are talking about billions of dollars.
If we think back to the party that represented the Canadian taxpayer. The Conservative Party of Canada, in 2006, promised we were going to lower the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%. We all remember that. One of the things I really respect, and a reason I am so pleased to be a Conservative, is that Conservatives keep their promises. If they say they are going to lower the GST down to 5%, it will happen.
A lot of times, our promises are delivered even before Canadians expect it. That is what happened. We could see the economic clouds on the horizon, and instead of lowering it from 7% to 6% to 5% over a gradual phase, it was done almost overnight from 7% down to 5%. Why the GST? The Conservative government provided the lowest taxation in Canadian history, whether it was income tax or lowering taxes for corporations and small business.
That was one of the promises that was made by this party, that if we had formed government, we would have lowered small business taxes. The Liberal Party made the same promise, and of course that is another broken promise. The Liberals have refused to lower taxes.
What is the advantage of low taxes to small business? It helps businesses create jobs. We are competing provincially and locally, but also internationally. For Canada to remain competitive and for small businesses to able to expand their distribution and create jobs, lowering taxes creates a much healthier economy. However, the Liberal government made that promise, and it is another broken promise.
The former Conservative government lowered the GST. It is the tax, the one tax that affects everyone, and it benefited those living on fixed incomes and in poverty more than any other tax, but particularly those on fixed incomes who have difficulties in choosing between buying medicine, heating their homes, what they are going to have for supper, or how they are going to get around. We provided a bus credit, so that transit costs would be lower. Unfortunately, that is another thing that the Liberal government took away from our Canadian seniors.
The Liberals are deceptively moving the GST from 5% to 7% and higher. As the price of carbon goes up so does the GST. Again, billions of dollars are deceptively being taken out of Canadian taxpayers' pockets.
I have not yet met one Canadian in my riding who thinks it is fair to charge a tax on a tax. Canadians, as the Prime Minister has said, are fair. However, it is not fair to quietly, deceptively charge a tax on a tax. A goods and services tax, GST, is a tax on goods and services. Is a tax a good? No. Is it services? No. It is a tax. Maybe the government, if it is going to continue on taxing taxes, needs to rename what it is doing.
What are Canadians saying? As I said, none of my constituents think it is fair. I have not met one Canadian yet who thinks it is fair to charge a tax on a tax, in principle, except for some of my Liberal colleagues, and unfortunately, some of the other colleagues in the House. I do not want to prejudge what they are going to do, but it is fundamentally unfair.
What Bill C-342 does is, and it is very simple, it makes an amendment to the Excise Tax Act of Canada so that the price of carbon is GST exempt. There are a number of items under the GST legislation, the excise tax legislation, that are exempt. One of those should be tax. A government should not charge a tax on tax, especially when it promised that it would be revenue neutral.
It is only a Liberal government, supported by members of Parliament who think it is okay to charge tax on tax, that would oppose this. I hope I am wrong. I am prejudging from what I have heard. I am thinking of all the times the Liberals have said that providing marijuana to our children will be good for them. They have said that it is revenue neutral and higher taxes are good for us.
It is like Jedi mind control. I am thinking of a quote from Yoda, “Powerful you have become...the dark side I sense in you.” I sense that high taxes and deception are coming from the dark side.
I am proud to stand up in a party that believes in low taxes and standing up for the Canadian taxpayer. I encourage everyone to support this very important bill. Let us make the change. Let us be fair to Canadians.