Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just want to echo what my colleague said, to inform my colleagues across the way that the witnesses were perfectly clear on this issue. The experts disagreed on other issues, clauses or parts of the bill. However, in this case, their opinions were aligned. The witnesses were clear and specific. If my memory serves me correctly, the five witnesses before us all disagreed with these increases, particularly the increases that will be adjusted based on inflation.
I'm talking about clauses 42 and 43, which seek to increase, in line with inflation, the excise duties on beer. I'm talking about both clauses. My colleagues can support an increase in excise duties on beer once, on this occasion only. However, I urge them to reject clauses 42 and 43, which seek to adjust the increase in excise duties based on inflation.
I think this will be extremely harmful to the industry. It's not only my opinion. I'm echoing what the witnesses told the committee, in particular the beer industry representatives, who are obviously directly affected by clauses 42 and 43. Later, we'll talk about wines and spirits, which are covered further down in part 3 of the bill.
I want to point out that the witnesses were unanimous, especially when it came to the increases based on inflation. I implore my colleagues to reject this component of Bill C-44, because it will clearly harm the industry. It will impose tax increases indefinitely, for an indeterminate number of years. It will also create a constitutional issue, as indicated by the beer industry representatives. They said,
no taxation without representation.
This measure seeks to increase taxes indefinitely in future years, and Parliament won't even need to approve the increases each time. If we approve this measure today, the excise duties will keep increasing indefinitely. The parliamentarians will never again have the opportunity to vote on the matter, unless other amendments are made to the Excise Act, 2001. Therefore, I implore my colleagues to reject this indefinite increase. Their desire to support a relatively small increase in excise duties is understandable. However, the increase should be made only on this occasion. Please don't support an indefinite increase.