Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address Bill C-59, an act to amend the Income Tax Act and the income tax application rules. This bill is nothing more than a 110-page sequel to the confusing, convoluted Income Tax Act which has become a 10,000 page script of income tax rules, regulations and subsections.
I am beginning to think that the Income Tax Act is some sort of secret government IQ test. Like most sequels, Bill C-59 serves up more of the same, showing no new ideas, no new twists and, for the most part, it would have been better if the writer had sat down and spent the time writing something new.
With Bill C-59 the federal government eliminates the $100,000 lifetime capital gains exemption which will seriously impede the build-up of capital in Canada. This is at a time when most wealthy people have already used up their exemption, whether it was the $500,000 or the $100,000. It is nothing more than a tax on the middle class who are the very people the Liberals purport to represent.
What the government should be doing is eliminating $5 billion in direct subsidies to businesses and start privatizing some of the 380 crown corporations. Like the Conservatives, the Liberals have continued to pick the pockets of taxpayers.
The biggest job that the Liberals are working on right now is figuring out how to get more money from the taxpayer without disturbing the voter. It boggles the mind to watch the government go after capital gains. It is considering taxing RRSPs and it is apparent that the Canada pension plan is in major trouble due to revenue shortfalls.
The questions that beg to be asked by Canadian taxpayers are: What is in it for me? Where are the incentives? What benefit do we get from government spending? Can someone give us a break? The answer is no.
The average benefit to taxpayers is about $20,000 per person while they are paying out about $22,000. In other words, they are getting less in benefits from the government than what they are paying in taxes. That is why people are very sensitive about paying taxes. We are at the high end of the tax scale. In fact, we are too far at the high end of the tax scale.
For the Liberals it is the same old story. The answer to these questions and problems are very complex. They must be studied. They will need committees, subcommittees, task forces and of course, to quote the finance minister, input for effective output and we must square the circle to solve the problems facing Canadians.
A planned economy is what the Liberals are targeting with infrastructure, a $2 billion expense; CIDA, Canadian Interna-
tional Development Agency, $2.2 billion, let us develop the other countries, let us help them not Canada; direct grants and subsidies to businesses, $2 billion. Yes, a planned economy. That is when the politicians make the plans and the people make the economies.
We have seen this movie before under directors Trudeau and Mulroney. Now we are going to add director Chrétien to the list. The only solution the current finance minister can come up with is to blame, first, the previous government for the inherited debt of $480 billion, as the Liberal government conveniently forgets that close to $200 billion of that was left by them when it left the House in 1983-84.
Second, the finance minister blames the Bloc Quebecois, the separatist official opposition, which he claims is negatively influencing the investment community.
Third and most recently, after a year in power he blames small and medium size businesses for not increasing productivity in the marketplace. It is their fault the economy went into a recession, according to the finance minister a couple of days ago in an interview with the Financial Post .
What will be the fourth excuse? I do not know but it will not be addressing the real issue. I would like to tell Canadians that Reformers and the Reform Party are currently working on a different script, a new story that will have a better ending for all Canadians.
If there is anything this bill proves it is the need for true tax reform. Listen to the 12 items the finance minister is trying to deal with: capital gains exemptions; employee benefits; age tax credits; homebuyers plan; charitable donations tax credit; business meals and entertainment expenses; tax shelters; partnership interests; divisive corporate reorganizations; investment tax credits; expenditure limit for scientific research and experimental development; small business deduction and mine reclamation funds.