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House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Madam Speaker, with regard to the first point in terms of what is fair and what does not act as a deterrent to persons investing, taking risks, being successful and encouraging success, in a sense that is what creates our economy, when a tax system does that and does not act as a detriment to investment.

To stand and say that I could judge what the rates should be and whether the three rates we have in place today are fair or not would be difficult. The point I wanted to make in my presentation was that the cost of government today is too high. People, no matter where they are, whether they are in business, private individuals, in labour or whatever, are paying a rate of taxation up front in many cases of 25 per cent as wage earners. They are paying 25 per cent. They are sending it to Ottawa through their income tax forms. That is too much. We are taking away too much from people that they could use for their own personal reasons. That is a deterrent.

The only way we are going to deal with that is to bring the cost of government down. That is the whole thrust of the objectives of the Reform Party. We must bring the cost of government down so that there is more money in the hands of the people. That is the point I make there.

The next point is with regard to using the Income Tax Act or other tax policy for social purposes. I have found in my travels and in the hearings of the finance committee on the GST that every time we tried to use the tax system for social policy it created inequities. For example, when we were in Quebec City a professional group made a presentation to us and said: "We are not exempt from GST". Another professional group that appeared before the committee prior to that one had said it was exempt. Which professional organization should have had the exemption and which should not have? We could go down the line and find other social organizations. Some are exempt from GST and some are not. The tax is applied unfairly.

Social policy initiatives should go through the budget process. In this assembly we should determine what types of benefits we will pay to which group, make it an expenditure program as such and deal with it directly rather than indirectly through the tax system.

SupplyGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak on the need for simplification of the Income Tax Act.

The Income Tax Act was introduced in 1917. As we all remember it was to be a temporary tax to pay for the first world war. At that point Canadians had an obligation to defend democracy and freedom around the world. In order to do so they introduced a tax which they called the income tax. It was to help pay for the war but it was only to be a temporary situation. After the war when things were back to normal the tax would be eliminated. That was 77 years ago. The war has been over for 75 years and we still have the tax.

There are basically two things in the world we can count on: one is death and the other is taxes. The bad news is that death comes but once and taxes every year.

Back in 1986 the government at the time suggested that it would introduce tax reform because taxes were far too complex. Back in those days we had 10 different categories or 10 different brackets to reach the maximum marginal rate of income tax. The government said that it would reduce those 10 brackets to 3 brackets and that the taxes would be much simpler because it eliminated 7 different categories or brackets of increasing levels of taxation.

It did not say that it would leave the top bracket where it was and take a bit off the people at the bottom or that the middle class would get a bit of a break which the government would recoup later. It called that tax simplification or tax reform.

I have here the 22nd edition of the Income Tax Act published in August 1993, all 2,091 pages. I am an accountant. This may make sense to a layman, but as an accountant I have a hard time dealing with the complexity of the Income Tax Act. There are statements and sentences that go on for hundreds of words without a period to indicate the end of a sentence. The complexity and the meaning of the Income Tax Act test the abilities of the wisest, the most intelligent and the most expert in the country.

I sit on the public accounts committee. We were examining people from the Department of National Revenue and the Department of Finance regarding a loss to taxpayers of $1.1 billion that was pointed out by the Auditor General because the government that wrote the legislation could not understand the meaning of its own words. The resource sector disagreed with the interpretation of the words. It ended up in court. The government lost. The resource sector won. Taxpayers are out $1.1 billion because of the complexity of trying to define the true meaning of one simple clause in the Income Tax Act. All 2,091 pages of the act give some idea of the complexity.

Capital gains was introduced back in 1971 by the Liberal government at that time. It was deemed to be a tax on increasing wealth. However at that point in time this country was at the threshold of a decade of tremendous inflation. Capital gains in essence became a tax on inflation.

Capital gains was not a tax on increasing wealth but a tax on inflation and the government knew that. It knew people were not getting richer. If you bought a house in 1971 for $25,000 and sold it for $100,000 in 1981, the actual value of your wealth may

not have gone up, but in terms of actual dollars it went up significantly. The government said: "You have to pay a large part of that in tax". It was a tax on inflation, not on wealth creation.

Along came the Tory government which said: "We would like to give our friends a break". So the Tories brought in the capital gains exemption saying it was going to be phased in over a number of years. They envisaged that the first half a million dollars of capital gains was going to be tax free. Remember that the average person on the street really does not get the opportunity to have half a million dollars in capital gains. However the intent was: "We are going to give it to the taxpayer and we are also going to segregate it into things such as the capital gains exemption for farmers". They were going to be different.

As time went on the government realized it could not afford this measure it was introducing so it capped the capital gains exemption at $100,000 but said: "Wait a minute. We are going to add some complexity to this. What about the farmer and his half a million capital gains exemption? Is he going to get both?" No, he can only get one, half a million dollars.

As one accountant explained it to me, we are going to have two buckets. There will be a big bucket for the farmers which will hold half a million dollars capital gains exemption. Inside that big bucket will be a small bucket which contains the $100,000 capital gains exemption. When the small bucket runs over then that of course is subtracted from the large bucket.

The concepts being put forward belie the comprehension of the average person on the street. When someone does not understand the tax he is paying, how do we expect him to pay it voluntarily and willingly in a democratic society? This is why we are finding that coercion and pressure are becoming more and more the order of the day. That statement has come right from the Minister of National Revenue who has said he will not tolerate people who evade taxes and so on. Yet the people on the street cannot understand the tax they are being asked to pay.

This government has to listen. When people fill in their tax returns they write the cheque saying: "I am mad at the government. I don't know why I have to pay all this amount of money. My accountant says I have to pay it but I don't understand it. I feel I pay far too much and I am being ripped off". We have a problem. This government has to explain to taxpayers how the taxes are arrived at. Having 2,091 pages of small print is not the way to go about it.

We have seen complexity added to the Income Tax Act as a kind of smoke and mirrors attitude to collect more taxes. Ten years ago the government introduced limitations on the Canada savings bond accrual.

Canada savings bonds are a Canadian institution. We have been buying them since the war to help the government fund its debt. Some people bought the compound interest bonds. They keep them for seven years, cash them in and get all the interest at once. Maybe that was their plan, with the high income they would keep them until maturity when they retired. The government said: "No, you cannot do that. You have to report the interest at least every three years".

As an accountant filling out income tax returns many times I had to tell people who had compound Canada savings bonds that they cashed in at maturity: "Wait a minute, you should have reported this three years ago". They said: "Well nobody told me". The Bank of Canada knew these people were holding compound bonds but it did not tell them they had to pay taxes.

When we finally make the adjustment we have to go back three years. The government says: "Fine, thank you very much and here is the interest owing because you are three years late in reporting". Is that the way for government to endear itself to the taxpayers?

I could go on. Time after time after time there is unneeded complexity which is useless and is there to basically generate more revenue through penalties, interest and other maintenance for the government. It feels that the taxpayer can be squeezed unceasingly.

My time is up. I could go on, but I think I have given some indication that reform is long overdue.

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12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Dennis Mills Liberal Broadview—Greenwood, ON

Madam Speaker, I do not have a question. I will begin on debate but I believe there is another member who might have a question.

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12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments. We seem to be talking about simplicity, making the system simple. Like him, as an accountant preparing tax returns over the years it has been my observation that the problem with the system is not that it is complex. The real problem is that we keep changing it every year. The complexity and the reason people do not understand it is that it changes year after year. The reality is we should stop fiddling with it.

Could the hon. member comment on why he wants to continually fiddle with the system and make it more complex so that people will not understand it next year either?

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12:05 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Madam Speaker, I understand the member's point that we should stop fiddling with it. However I say ask the taxpayer on the street how we arrive at the amount of taxes due by him and he will say he does not know. We add up the income, take a percentage, and that is what is due. That was the old way of doing income taxes.

Many of my former clients ask me why it has to be this complex when 40 years ago it was a dead simple one page form. We have added and added complexity. Today we cannot get by without our computers. Even as an accountant I have to rely on a computer to do the complex forms because I feel it is more accurate than trying to figure it out myself.

The time people have to spend even trying to get their minds around complex issues like the cumulative net investment losses. That is where a loss which may have been claimed five years ago comes back to hit you with a bill for interest because you had forgotten that you claimed for a deduction five years ago and it now affects your taxes payable this year.

There is no need for that. It used to be that your income this year was what you reported and that was it. Now we have RRSPs that have a multiyear basis, capital gains for a multiyear basis, cumulative net investment losses on a multiyear basis, and on and on and on.

There seems to be no end to the opportunities the government takes to add complexity rather than simplicity to the tax return.

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12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan Liberal York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, I have been listening with great interest and following the direction of the debate. It appears the Reform argument is coming from two possible areas. One is that we should have a very simple income tax form which I certainly agree with, but also that social policy measures should not be part of our income tax system.

If I were to go back to my constituents they would be appalled to learn the Reform Party is advocating banishing registered retirement savings plans. So many Canadians find this as the only way they can contribute toward their retirement years.

If you look at a registered retirement savings plan, as has already been noted, there is some complexity with it. If we did not have them on our forms it would indeed be a very simple form to fill out. It is clearly a direct social policy measure that the Canadian government is looking at helping Canadians save for their retirement.

I am appalled and I think my constituents would be appalled that the Reform Party is advocating something like this.

SupplyGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Madam Speaker, let me put the matter straight. Is anybody in the Reform Party advocating that we eliminate RRSPs?

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12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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12:05 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dennis Mills Liberal Broadview—Greenwood, ON

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this debate. I believe I am on debate, Madam Speaker.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, on a point of order. There should be more comments.

I heard an hon. member say he got along fine without me and I am glad to see him again too.

Madam Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and I think you will find there is unanimous consent for the following motion:

That, notwithstanding any standing order:

The Standing Committee on Finance is instructed to report Bill C-17, an act to amend certain statutes to implement provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 22, 1994, no later than May 25, 1994;

The report stage of the said bill shall be on May 26 and May 30, 1994 and at 15 minutes before the expiry of the time allotted for government business on May 30, 1994 the Speaker shall put all questions necessary to dispose of the report stage of the said bill without further debate and any divisions necessary shall be taken immediately;

The third reading stage of the said bill shall be on May 31, 1994 and at 15 minutes before the expiry of the time allotted for government business on May 31, 1994 the Speaker shall put all questions necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the said bill without further debate and any divisions necessary shall be taken immediately.

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12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to obtain some information.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

I give the floor to the hon. member for Roberval.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Madam Speaker, normally, 48 hours must pass between report stage and third reading, since amendments are not acceptable less than 48 hours before.

I would just like to make sure that if there are only 24 hours between report stage and third reading, the opposition's amendments would be in order if presented 24 hours in advance. It is just to make sure that the time provisions of our Standing Orders would of course apply to this motion.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, of course, when amendments are moved by any member in the House on this bill, they are considered by the Chair and the Speaker will decide at the beginning of the debate at report stage.

Regrettably, with this motion, we specified that the debate would begin 48 hours after the report, but we will have only 80

hours. So it will be a little harder for the Chair and also for members, but that is the arrangement we made.

The report from the committee will be received on May 25 and the debate will start on May 26. We have arranged for the debate to start on that day.

Those days have been designated because they are long days in order to give the opposition every opportunity to debate this bill on a reasonable basis. We could have the debate on a Friday but it is a short day. In order to lengthen the opportunities for the opposition, we have agreed to have the debate on the Thursday and Monday instead. That is the reason we have shortened the notice period for the report stage. However I think it is a reasonable compromise and that is the reason for it.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to be sure that I understood correctly. It is not to create problems; on the contrary, it is to avoid them. I did not quite get what the hon. member was trying to convey to me, so I would ask him the question again.

Since there is only one day between consideration in committee and report stage, we would then leave it to the Speaker to decide whether or not he accepts the amendments presented. Accepting the motion as is without specifying whether amendments would be in order would mean that throughout the last day of the committee's work-I believe that I just said report stage and third reading; sorry, I meant that there would only be one day between committee stage and report stage. This means that no amendment would be acceptable on the last day, which would be basically contrary to the spirit of the rules of procedure of parliamentary committees.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

The standing orders would require that the notice of the amendments be given on the day after the report. So the report will be received on May 25 and presented in the House during Routine Proceedings that day. Obviously the notice of the amendments would have to be given before six o'clock that day to be considered the next day. Normally you have an extra day.

The Chair will have the amendments by six o'clock and will be able to work on its ruling overnight and communicate with the parties. If there are a lot of amendments it may mean an all-night work session for the Chair.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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12:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

SupplyGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 1994 / 12:15 p.m.

Broadview—Greenwood Ontario

Liberal

Dennis Mills LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Madam Speaker, I am appreciative of having the opportunity to participate in this debate because it is an issue very near and dear to my heart. It is an issue that is near and dear to the heart of every member of Parliament. You cannot be in public service today without hearing from your constituents that they are frustrated with the current tax act of Canada.

When you test a tax system it should stand up to three basic criteria. First, is it simple enough that the person on the street who basically has to be responsible for participating in the tax system can understand it? On simplicity the tax act of Canada fails.

Second, on fairness we have heard time and time again of examples within the tax act where people who are making millions of dollars a year are not paying anything and people in the lower income spectrum, sometimes under $50,000, paying more than multimillionaires. When it comes to the test of fairness, it does not pass the test of fairness either.

When you talk about the third criteria, efficiency, my goodness when it comes to efficiency there is no one in this country who would stand up and say that the current tax act is an efficient system.

I must start off by reminding everyone in this House that the Prime Minister during the last election led the debate on tax reform. He led the debate. He said it in the red book. He came to Toronto on more than one occasion. I can vividly remember in the control room of CFRB when they confronted him on the issue of tax reform. The Prime Minister, then the Leader of the Opposition, said our government will be committed to comprehensive tax reform and it will have to meet the tests of simplicity, fairness, and of course efficiency.

We have been in office for just six months and we have started the process of addressing comprehensive tax reform. I believe the finance committee has done a terrific job going across the country and listening to all the different ideas that were presented.

The previous government moved arbitrarily on the GST, without proper consultation, and it ended up getting us all in a mess. It ended up fracturing the confidence of Canadians. It

destroyed a good part of our retail industry, not to mention that it exacerbated an underground economy beyond our ability to calculate right now. The underground economy it is said could be as high as $30 billion to $40 billion.

I say to the members of the Reform Party that they are not alone in their quest for comprehensive tax reform. All of us on this side of the House are on the same pathway as they. I have to caution them, and I say this humbly to the members of the Reform Party, that it is not easy to reform the tax act of Canada.

I believe that I can say that from a bit of experience. I began this journey on tax reform four and a half years ago when the Prime Minister of Canada at that time, Prime Minister Mulroney, and Michael Wilson would stand up on this side of the House and when we would criticize the GST they would say: "Come up with an alternative. Don't just criticize it. Come up with an alternative". A group of us got together and said: "This is going to be an interesting exercise". We came up with this idea called the single tax system.

I want to spend a couple of minutes explaining why we called it the single tax rather than the flat tax. I think it is very important to understand this point. I believe it is essential in advancing comprehensive tax reform further down the path.

For years there has been an attempt to reform the tax system. The number one alternative for debate was called the flat tax. The problem with the flat tax system was that the proponents never took into account the constituencies that needed to be addressed when it came to progressivity. In other words, and I am not suggesting the Reform Party is doing this because I have listened carefully to their speeches, the flat taxers tended to say: "No credits for seniors, no credits for families with children, no credits for charitable donations, to heck with the RRSPs". The flat tax system developed a very bad name. It was: "Here is the gross revenue. You have one single credit and then after that you are 20 per cent, over and out".

The seniors in our community, families with children and charitable organizations, the most disadvantaged in our community who we should care about the most, started to look at the flat tax and said: "The social side of the equation is being ignored in the flat tax system". Regrettably the flat tax got a very bad name. The biggest slam against the flat tax was it was not progressive.

A group of us who were dealing with this problem and doing the research said: "We can't go with that name because if we are going to get acceptance we have to design in the tax form credits that will make sure that those people who are most disadvantaged in our society are looked after right up front". We came around to this name called the single tax, a single rate of tax, corporate and personal.

We designed the personal side of the form. I am sure many members have seen this form. It is a relic now because it is draft two which was done in about April 1989. We are now at draft 19. In five years seven or eight of us have been listening to thousands and thousands of Canadians, probably about 100,000 Canadians over five years who gave us advice and input on how we could refine it. I only bring this point out that it took five years because most of those points that people made were good points. It taught me a big lesson.

Even though I wanted to come in in one year or two years and reform the tax system, I realized that a package this complex could not be done overnight. Believe me, I am not being defensive. I still support the idea of a single tax. One cannot just do it. It is not like putting something in the microwave and 20 seconds later, it is there, ready to go.

Going back to the personal side of the single tax, we started off with the following premise. We must for starters make sure families with children are recognized in the single tax. Therefore they must have a credit. We then said that the seniors need to feel comfortable with this tax act, therefore they need to have a line in the tax act and a credit.

Another line that we put in the credit was for charitable donations. I want to tell members that that 1 per cent line for charitable donations is essential. When we did our early research on this issue we called Drs. Hall and Rabushka from the Hoover Institute at Stanford. They said to us: "Do not make the mistake, Dennis, that we made when we started. We scrubbed the charitable donations line. We said no more charitable deductions".

They told us that the charitable organizations went to their local politicians and went to the press and they were such a force that they condemned the system even before it got out of the gate.

One has to have a line in one's tax act for charitable donations. One can cap it, but one must be generous because ultimately one is going to need those constituencies supporting the system if you are going to pull it off.

Then we said that we cannot do away with the RRSP structure. The RRSP structure is almost a part of our fiscal framework. We put that in the act but we capped it. Of course there was the basic deduction.

After all, there are those deductions or those progressive credits. I want to put the emphasis on progressive because the biggest criticism of this project is that it is not progressive enough. One can design progressivity into the act or into the

card. At any rate after those progressive features were designed, we told them that after their basic income and those deductions they could take a single rate of 20 per cent.

On the corporate side, because one needed to have a fully integrated system, we said that there should be a very progressive credit for small business on the first $50,000, no tax. After that, it is their basic corporate expenditures and after those corporate expenditures and their basic depreciation is put in place, there is a single rate there as well.

That is the direction that we have been working on. We believed that would accomplish a number of goals. The most important thing is simplicity. I think very few people would argue that this system is not simple. There it is. One can see it. One can fill it out. It is very straightforward.

The next most important thing is to make it doable and that is the challenge that we have in this Parliament.

There are difficulties in moving a tax system that primarily ran and to this day runs the economy of Canada and now we are saying, those of us who support this type of idea, that we want to stop running the economy of Canada through the tax act. We basically want to make it a tax collection unit; no more preferences, no more loopholes, flush them all out with those exceptions that I mentioned for seniors, families with children and charities.

I have to say to the Reform Party that the transition from the current system that we are in to a single tax system is really the debate that we have to engage in because that transition period is the real challenge.

I do not believe the challenge is one of whether or not we are going to generate enough revenue because right now the current tax system is so flawed that some experts say the underground economy is over $40 billion or $50 billion and growing. The notion of a simple, fair tax system is reinforced by the underground economy right now.

There is another factor and it is called having a globally competitive tax system and I do not believe we have been talking about that issue enough. Our tax system right now is driving people not only underground but offshore. In other words, our achievers, our entrepreneurs who are creating real wealth are starting to leave. Over a million Canadians are in California right now and we did a survey and found that many of them are there because of our tax act.

I believe that one of the reasons we should investigate comprehensive tax reform which the Prime Minister and our party have supported is that we need to reverse the capital flows. We have to design a tax system that causes the capital to flow back into our country rather than flow out. The current tax act is not doing that very well.

People from time to time come to me and ask how I could support somebody making $60,000 a year paying 20 per cent and someone making $1 million a year paying 20 per cent. Is that not unfair, inequitable?

For me it is not. There are many others in Canada who believe two things. Number one, the harder you work and the more you achieve and the more you earn, you should at least be able to keep some of it in your pocket. There is another thing. Right now there is no guarantee that we are getting anything on the person who is making $1 million or $2 million whereas in the single tax it is airtight. We are going to get that 20 per cent no matter what, including family trusts. In other words, under a single tax system all income is in the loop, it is airtight.

I suggest that if we had a system like that then those people, whether they be scientists or doctors or people who have achieved entrepreneurial wealth, rather than being tempted to leave would stay. Not only that but we would see other capital from around the world coming to our country because we would have a competitive tax system, a tax system that respected wealth creators, job creators, a tax system that respected people who have achieved through their intellect all kinds of scientific discoveries.

I want to say that we on this side of the House support the pathway that leads to comprehensive tax reform. However, at the same time I want to say as someone who has been engaged in this debate for a long time that it is not an easy task. This transition period is going to be a very tough period.

Let me give an example and let us deal with the energy sector right now because many of the Reform members are from western Canada and I know that the energy sector is very important to their constituents.

Right now in the tax act there are billions of dollars of tax grants to the energy sector. Under the single tax all of those grants or those preferences are gone, eliminated. When a company from the province of Alberta that has been used to getting these tax deductions, some of which are actually in the billions, finds that all of a sudden they are gone, it is a tremendous kick to the cash flow of that particular company. It is going to come running up to Ottawa or to members in their constituency offices saying it is out of business if that tax credit is cancelled.

Therefore, we are going to have to have a transition period because we are going to have to analyse whether that entire tax grant should be eliminated.

My own view has always been the following. Any grant, whether it be a direct grant in a line department or an indirect grant through the tax act, should always be linked to the policy objective of creating jobs. The problem is that because these tax grants are buried in the tax act there is no accountability as to whether they are meeting the policy objective.

I am going to close in 30 seconds. I want to say to the members of the Reform Party that we have to make sure when we move those grants into the line department we link them to job creation. If they do that, where they are transparent and accountability, we could have a successful tax act.

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12:35 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I very much enjoyed the speech of the hon. member. In fact, I hope he has the ear of the revenue minister and is managing to get some of these changes put into effect without too much delay.

I hope the hon. member will listen to my speech later on today about tax saturation because I think that is a point perhaps we have reached here in Canada today. Taxes are too high and part of the reason is that the spending is far too high.

I hope the hon. member will admit that is part of the problem. I certainly hope that it does not take a debt crisis as it did in New Zealand before we can come to grips with this tax situation and actually turn it into something fair.

I agree with the member regarding the complexity of the system. He implied a few times that millionaires do not pay their fair share of taxes. I would like to explore that a little. I would like to know if the member can give me a list of the reasons or ways millionaires do not pay tax other than because of a family trust, which he mentioned. I would really be interested to know. If millionaires can avoid paying taxes in some way legally then those same ways should be available to any average taxpayer in this country. If those ways are there I would like to know about them because I think I am paying too much tax as well.

I wonder if the hon. member could explain the ways millionaires escape paying tax.