Mr. Speaker, the motion before us today as proposed by the Bloc Quebecois reads that this House deplores the absence of vision and concrete measures from the government with regard to policies directed toward job creation.
It seems to me that actually this House should be saddened by the absence of vision of this government in terms of job creation.
It certainly saddens me that the leaders on the government side have been in politics for so long that they really have no idea any more of how jobs are created in the private sector.
During the 1993 election campaign the now Prime Minister took the position that the economy simply needed a kick-start and that the infrastructure program proposed by the government would be that kick-start.
At the time the leader of the Reform Party stated that trying to start the Canadian economy with a $6 billion infrastructure program was like trying to start a 747 with a flashlight battery.
Six billion dollars represents such a tiny portion of the gross domestic product that any effects of it are probably impossible to measure. If I were grading the performance of the Prime Minister I would have to say that he earned a D for believing it was possible to kick-start the economy with a $6 billion infrastructure program. If he were playing a game with the public vote I would have to award him an A+ for his ability to convince the public that this would actually work.
Just how much of a kick-start to the economy is this program? Statistics Canada puts the gross domestic product for Canada for 1992, that is, the sum of all the goods and services produced, at $688.5 billion. The $6 billion job creation scheme at $3 billion per year for two years represents just .44 per cent of the gross domestic product. That is less than half a per cent of the gross domestic product. How could anyone seriously think that could kick-start the economy?
To put things in perspective, it is a little bit like a family with a gross income of $60,000 per year winning $264 in Lotto 649. What difference would it make to its living standards? It would not even pay for the kick-starter on a motor bike.
I have to wonder whether the members on the government side ever bothered to do the calculations or whether they just took the red book at face value. If they just accepted the red book proposal without doing the calculations then every single one of them should be ashamed for failing to show leadership, for failing to do the basic research that is essential if we are to be leaders.
On the other hand, if they did the calculation and came to the obvious conclusion, realized the implications and still failed to tell their constituents then they should be ashamed for deceiving the voters. There is no way out for the government members. They must admit to lack of research ability or they must admit to deception.
Reluctantly I must give them all a D for deception or an F for failure.
Think about who is paying the price for this boondoggle. The federal government is putting up one third, the provinces are putting up one third and the municipalities are putting up one third. There is only one taxpayer. Clearly this money has to come from the taxpayers and since the federal and provincial governments are running deficits, obviously it has to be borrowed. At the municipal level at which they are not permitted to run deficits it will obviously increase property taxes.
The whole program is a disgrace. We may benefit in the short run but it will be our children and grandchildren who carry the mortgage into the future.
I know that government members are itching to say: "Will you take the share of the infrastructure program in your riding?". I know they think they can paint me into a corner on that. The people of North Vancouver have to carry their share of the debt burden for this program so it is only just that they take their share of it as well.
Nobody wants to pay interest on somebody else's loan for infrastructure and neither do the taxpayers of North Vancouver want to pay interest on somebody else's infrastructure program in Canada. We will take our share but it does not mean that we agree with the program.
Prior to being elected I was in business for 13 years. I owned and managed a successful communications company with a staff of 10 until 1990 when I sold that business to start a leasing company. That company specializes in leasing to the small business sector, particularly home based businesses. Many of my friends are business people employing staff in the range of 10 to 15. I understand small business and I know what helps create jobs. I know what it is like to meet a payroll. I also know the job killing effects of excess taxation.
This is something that many of the government members do not know because they have always worked in the public sector, they have always been aldermen, they have always been politicians. How could they know what it is like? Their pay cheques arrive in their bank accounts each month and they have always done so. It is easy for them to broaden the tax base because they do not have to foot the bill.
However, let me explain what is like to be in a small business in which everything is so competitive that one does not get the choice of raising the prices the same way that the government can raise taxes.
On the sale of a fax machine for $600, a typical dealer in that industry will make about $75. That is the gross profit. In B.C. the combined GST and PST comes to $84. The two levels of government get $9 more than the dealer does for the sale of that product. Out of the $75 the business has to pay all the overhead, the salaries and the commissions and, if there is anything left over, 25 per cent tax on what remains.
In any particular month a business may have to remit income taxes, employee deductions, GST, PST, municipal taxes, workers compensation and property taxes. It is very disheartening for small business people to be remitting two or three times as much tax as they make for the companies and themselves. This is the single biggest disincentive to job creation. It causes business owners to avoid expansion. It causes them to avoid staff hiring because of the support costs. It encourages an underground economy full of cash only deals. Excessive taxation is killing jobs and forcing honest people into a tax revolt.
Compare this situation with a place like Hong Kong where the tax rate for corporations is only around 15 per cent and the unemployment rate is only 1 per cent. Nobody minds paying their taxes when they get to keep 85 per cent of what they earn.
It is time that this government admitted it has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and began taking steps to drastically reduce government spending. If it would do this the business sector would realize that something is finally being done about government spending, confidence would be restored and there would be a promise of tax relief in the future. This would encourage business expansion and the creation of new jobs.
I know this is true because I am from the small business sector, which is more than many of the government members can say for themselves. The light at the end of the tunnel would turn back on again and companies would begin reinvesting in new jobs and expansion.
We need to move the emphasis away from the public sector. We need to move it away from the public sector to the private sector if we are ever going to again experience a strong and healthy Canadian economy with the potential for adequate new job creation.
This House should be saddened by the lack of vision of the government side and I urge the government to take a real look at the situation. It is not magic, it just common sense. If we could get our corporate tax level down there would be a rush of all those businesses that have relocated into the United States back into Canada to create jobs for the people who need to live and work here.