Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's question. It is a fair one and he makes a number of good points.
If in my remarks I suggested that I thought Canadians all of a sudden would want to pay taxes as a result of some changes in the system that was not my intent. My constituents told me with respect to the black market economy that they felt there were loopholes for some individuals, perhaps wealthier Canadians and perhaps government ought to consider whether or not certain aspects of the black market economy were loopholes for poor or lower middle class or middle class Canadians.
The question was raised. I do not know the answer to the question but I certainly do not want to give the impression that people thought that would correct the problem. The problem is much more complex. It is very difficult to quantify as my colleague has mentioned, and as the Minister of Finance or the
Minister of National Revenue indicated today. I want to make sure we are on the same wavelength and I think we are.
With respect to the flat tax, I must confess that I have done quite a lot of reading on it. One of my colleagues has taken a great deal of interest in it. I do not know enough about taxes generally to be able to say that is the way to go. Not only have I read the material but I have read critiques of it both in favour and not in favour.
It would bother me if the flat tax was not sensitive to those in the lower income brackets. I think it could be. We are talking about Canadians who earn $7,000 to $12,000 a year. Those people really should not pay any taxes. Therefore I could not support it from that perspective.
Let me say as a final comment that I am quite willing to support any type of taxation that is sensitive to the various economic realities in the country. I want it to be fair but I also want it to be perceived to be fair by Canadians because if they do not have that perception it does not matter whether it is flat or what have you it just will not work. It simply will not work.
What we have to be aware of is if we were to change the taxation system completely, and for the moment let us say it was a flat tax, there could be many potential ramifications that we had not anticipated. We have to anticipate the potential negative impacts on Canadians. I would want to make sure those were understood before going forward with the change.