I appreciate Mr. Aldag's concerns about the bill. Unfortunately, what he doesn't highlight is the fact that when federal Finance officials came before us, they suggested they had done a study of the impact this tax credit would have on the fiscal framework. They said that it's going to cost between $55 million and $67 million. The problem was that it was a half-baked study and I'm using the term half-baked here. It should have been an embarrassment to those Finance officials because they didn't do an analysis of what the spinoff benefits would be, in terms of economic activity and additional tax revenues generated by the very activity that's being promoted by the tax credit.
As we did our study, there was a lot of evidence before this committee about the American experience. It was suggested that $1.25 to $1.30 was the return that could be expected for every $1.00 that was spent on the tax credit. In other words, there was a net gain to government in terms of tax revenues.
Sadly, as I suspect they had a preconceived notion of where they wanted to land on this, our Finance officials refused to give us the second part of that analysis. I find that very disappointing because it compromises the ability of this committee to have an honest discussion about a bill that a number of you have called for. We all have heritage buildings in our communities.
The second point is that there's been a suggestion that this tax credit leaves out some organizations, like indigenous groups, etc. Of course it does. This is a very tailored tool that is being used. At this committee, it has always been said that the tax credit is only one of a number, perhaps a host of, additional tools and incentives that we require in Canada in order to promote the preservation and conservation of historic sites.
The suggestion that somehow this tax credit doesn't cover every single Canadian and every single Canadian organization that touches on historic sites doesn't take into account what the purpose of this tax credit is. It is to incent the private sector because they're not doing it enough. It's very clear that we are losing heritage buildings at an alarming rate.
Here we have a bill that is sensible, that has been brought forward by one of our colleagues, and that provides for an additional tool that almost certainly will generate economic activity and slow down the decline in the number of heritage properties we have across Canada.
I'm very disappointed by this motion, especially coming from Mr. Aldag, because he understands that we have placed our heritage buildings in Canada in jeopardy. I would ask him to reconsider that. A lot of thought went into Mr. Van Loan's bill. Quite frankly, if there were safeguards that the government wished to include, they could have done that by coming forward with amendments.