House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.


Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members


Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members


Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members


Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members


Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members


Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Budget Implementation Act, 1996Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Dear colleagues, the recorded division on the motion stands deferred until 6.30 p.m. today.

Income Tax Budget Amendment ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec


Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

moved that Bill C-36, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, the Excise Act, the Excise Tax Act, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, the Old Age Security Act and the Canada Shipping Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Income Tax Budget Amendment ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

St. Paul's Ontario


Barry Campbell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to begin debate in support of Bill C-36, the Income Tax Budget Amendment Act, 1995. I will begin my remarks with a few observations about the context of the tax measures we are proposing. To do that I must revisit the challenges the country faced and the expectations of the people we represent when the 1995 budget was introduced.

Then-as now-, Canadians wanted their governments to spend their money and to make savings in a sensible way, according to their values. And their values were undeniably reflected in the principles guiding our budgetary decisions.

These principles, underlying the bill being debated today, were set forth by my colleague, the Minister of Finance, in his budget speech.

The first principle stated that the government had to put its house in order. In other words, the budget had to focus on reducing program spending, rather than increasing taxes.

Another principle emphasized the need to be fair, fair toward the various regions of this country and its different citizens.

The record shows that we kept faith with Canadians. For the three year period that was the focus of last year's budget, from 1995-96 to 1997-98, the government has secured almost $7 in spending cuts for every dollar in new taxes. The spending reduc-

tions that were set out for the three year period total $25.3 billion and we took care to ensure that the burden was shared fairly.

Some $16.9 billion, or two-thirds of the total cuts, are to come about because of program review actions announced in the 1995 budget. This top to bottom re-evaluation of what government does and how government spends is now well under way and reflects an important reality of the 1990s.

In today's world where resources are limited, there is no question that government must change. If we are to do a better job of meeting key priorities we must reduce our presence in areas where others can do the job better.

The results of our actions in all three budgets introduced by this government speak for themselves. In 1993-94 federal program spending stood at $120 billion, or almost 17 per cent of GDP. By 1998-99 the money we spend on programs will be down to $105.5 billion, or 12 per cent of GDP.

From the start we set out tough deficit targets and we are firmly on track to meeting them. Our milestone is a deficit equal to 3 per cent of GDP for this fiscal year and 2 per cent next year.

As I mentioned previously, most of our decisions focused on reducing expenses. But, given the size of the challenge, we could not avoid a reform of the tax system.

In the budget speech, the minister pointed to the fundamental principle guiding our tax policy: taxes involve more than just rates, there is also the question of fairness.

With this in mind, we introduced a number of tax measures increasing the fairness of the system. We did not, however, increase personal income tax rates. In fact, we have not changed these rates in any of our three budgets, because we are well aware of the deep exasperation felt by many Canadian taxpayers.

I would like to briefly describe a number of measures we are proposing in the bill before us today.

I am sure all members will agree that fiscal equity begins with the collection of all taxes payable. We cannot allow some Canadians to evade their duty at the expense of other taxpayers.

Measures in this budget will protect the collection of source deductions made for income tax, Canada pension plan contributions and unemployment insurance premiums. Let me explain.

There have been cases where taxpayers are encouraged or even forced by third parties in a position of influence not to remit source deductions and similar withholdings. This can happen, for instance, where a secured creditor of a taxpayer in financial trouble controls the disbursements of the taxpayer's business. In an attempt to recoup its own losses, the creditor permits the payment of wages but refuses the remittance of source deductions and similar withholdings.

To protect source deductions in these and similar circumstances the government proposes amendments that would make such secured creditors liable to pay unremitted source deductions, along with any interest and penalty charges, just as the taxpayer is liable.

It is also proposed to allow Revenue Canada to exchange business name and address information with other federal departments and the provinces when they adopt the business numbers to identify corporations, partnerships or certain associations of taxpayers. This will allow federal departments and provinces to cut duplication, simplify business registration and develop joint business services. From the business person's point of view it will reduce the cost of compliance and give access to more effective government services.

I would now like to talk about the measures in this bill that propose changes to the tax system itself, changes that will make the system fairer. For example, we propose to change the tax system on investment income of private holding companies by eliminating the attractive deferral opportunities that existed until now.

Also, the current film incentive measure will go from the present tax shelter, which profits high income investors, to a new refundable credit offered directly to Canadian film producers.

The government is also acting to eliminate tax advantages flowing from family trusts. This includes repealing the previous government's decision to allow deferral of the 21-year rule.

I will now turn to other tax issues. First, measures in this bill affect the tax assistance the government provides to Canadians to encourage them to save for retirement. In last year's budget it was announced that the contribution limit for RRSPs would be reduced to $13,500 for this year and next, then allowed to rise incrementally to $15,500 by 1999.

In that budget it was also announced that the contribution limit for money purchase registered pension plans would be reduced to $13,500 for this year, then rise incrementally to $15,500 by 1999. However, in this year's budget the government announced that the contribution limits would instead be frozen at $13,500 for another six years, that is until 2003 for RRSPs and 2002 for money purchase plans.

The legislation before us implements the changes to the contribution limits announced in the 1995 budget. The further freeze in the limits that was announced this March will be dealt with at a future date.

As well, under this legislation, the amount of over-contribution allowed to an RRSP without being subject to the one per cent per month tax penalty will be cut from $8,000 to $2,000. There are, however, some traditional measures to accommodate taxpayers with prebudget over-contributions below the old limit but above the new one.

The 1995 budget changes will being the limits closer to the original pension reform target of providing tax assistance on earnings up to two and one-half times the average wage. The subsequent 1996 changes will bring this target down to two times the average wage, allowing us to better target this assistance to those who need it most, modest and middle income Canadians, while limiting the cost to the government and all its taxpayers.

As we consider the Canada of the future, in the early decades of the next century, there can be no question about the need to encourage retirement savings. In so doing we help today's wage earners prepare for their eventual exit from the workforce and thus avoid a too heavy reliance on public pension and income support programs in years to come.

Let me pause for a moment and mention one measure being introduced which affects today's higher income seniors. These individuals must repay part of the old age security benefit to the extent that their income exceeds an indexed threshold of $53,215 for this year. Through Bill C-36, instead of having them receive the full benefit and then make a repayment when they file their income tax, the government proposes to reduce the benefit before it is sent out. I want to stress that the level of the clawback is not being changed with this measure but simply how it is implemented.

Let me now turn to another issue which I wish to discuss in some detail, the action to eliminate the deferral of tax on business income. Under current law unincorporated business owners can use a fiscal year that does not correspond to the calendar year. If the year end is, for example, January 31, then all income for the remaining 11 months is added to next year's taxable income. Needless to say, taxpayers taking advantage of this feature enjoy a significant benefit over others. This approach runs counter to the general rule for taxpayers that income is taxed in the year in which it is earned.

To remedy this situation and to treat all taxpayers as equally as possible, a new rule was announced that would require all sole proprietorships, professional corporations and partnerships to have a fiscal year end of December 31. This proposal, however, came in for considerable criticism from many business people who are affected by the change and from members of this House.

The government has listened to them. It recognizes that some of the comments made to us were valid. Many businesses are of a seasonal nature and a fiscal year end of December 31 imposes hardships on them. Operators of a ski hill, for example, would prefer to focus on their business in the winter months, not on their accounting.

Second, a uniform year end would see much of the demand for accounting services concentrated in December and the few following months. In contrast, the variation of year ends allowed by the current system spreads the work more evenly throughout the year to the benefit of small businesses as well as their accountants.

The response has been to provide an alternative method of calculating income, one that addresses the goal of treating taxpayers as consistently as possible and at the same time allowing small business to retain a fiscal year end that reflects their needs.

Under this method taxpayers with a year end other than December 31 will have to adjust their income to take account of earnings between their fiscal year end and the end of the calendar year. There will be, of course, a transitional provision so taxpayers can allocate additional income from 1995 to future tax years. This alternative method will be available to individuals carrying on a business and to partnerships where all members of that partnership are individuals.

Let me also mention in passing that the decision to allow individuals to retain a fiscal year that does not end on December 31 has implications for their remittance of collected GST amounts. Individuals will continue to have the option of adopting their fiscal year for GST purposes.

The third area I wish to discuss is changes the budget made to corporate income tax rates. The government announced an increase in the large corporation tax by 12.5 per cent. As well, it proposes to raise the corporate surtax on profits from 3 per cent to 4 per cent. Taken together, these two measures will generate an extra $260 million annually.

The goal is to ensure that big companies contribute a more equitable share of the burden required to bring the deficit down. A temporary tax is being imposed on the capital of large deposit taking institutions, including banks. From February 27, 1995 to October 31, 1996 the budget anticipated this would raise $100 million over the covered intended period. Life insurance companies, which already pay an additional capital tax, would not be subject to this temporary surcharge.

Finally, let me mention one amendment that is not targeted at the fiscal environment but is targeted at the natural environment. The legislation acts to eliminate the current limit on the charitable donations credit for the donation of ecologically sensitive land. The current limit is 20 per cent of income, a level that may be a

disincentive in some cases where the value of the land is high relative to the donor's income.

This measure reflects the fact that the government appreciates not only the vital importance of environmental action, but also the growing importance of the charitable sector in Canadian society. In this year's budget, for example, a number of additional measures were announced that will be introduced in the months ahead.

The tax changes we are proposing in this bill are fair and equitable. They are totally in accordance with the principles we have set for ourselves to give direction to the tax policy. These principles, as I am sure members are well aware, reflect the values and expectations of Canadians.

As elected representatives of the Canadian people, we would fail in our duty if we departed from these principles. That is why I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this important bill.

Income Tax Budget Amendment ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to participate in the debate at second reading of Bill C-36, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget-not the last one tabled by the Minister of Finance, but the 1995 budget.

First of all, regarding the government's behaviour, it is quite remarkable that, more than one year after tabling a budget, the government reintroduces provisions that had been announced at that time while focusing on beneficial measures from the 1995 budget, which may appear small but which are in fact magnified a thousand times. This amounts to doing the same thing twice so as to heap praise on the government and the Minister of Finance. I think the secretary of state has become an expert on this.

In the next few minutes, I will go over four of the measures in this bill which are especially important. I will talk about two positive measures on which the official opposition agrees with the government, and about two measures which, in our opinion, are highly detrimental.

I will first approach Bill C-36 in a general way. When one compares the measures in this bill with the responses given by the Minister of Finance since the 1995 budget, it is like water and fire, like night and day.

Since the 1995 budget and again recently, the Minister of Finance has often told us: "Since the 1995 budget, and even since the 1994 budget, I have put in place tax reform measures to make the Canadian tax system more effective, to correct the inequity, the imbalance between businesses that pay no taxes and those that pay taxes every year. Since my 1995 budget in particular, I have taken steps to correct inequities between individuals who pay too much tax and some businesses that do not pay any".

We in the official opposition say again to the Minister of Finance that he has done nothing to make the Canadian tax system more equitable. He has done nothing to make global or specific improvements to the Canadian tax system since taking office, since his first budget in 1994 even. He has done nothing to close tax loopholes, and this lack of action, this laissez-faire attitude is apparent in Bill C-36.

Since this bill contains measures relating to tax deferral and corporate income tax, why did the minister not take the opportunity, in preparing to table his budget, to truly reform our tax system, as we have been requesting ever since we were elected to this place?

If those are the measures on the basis of which he boasts day in day out to have "plugged the tax loopholes", it is clear-plain as day, as we would say back home-that it makes no sense whatsoever. Referring to tax deferral measures, he claimed to have fixed the problem, rectified the inequity in situations where a corporation could defer tax, perhaps indefinitely, in combination with accelerated depreciation for instance, so that it never paid a cent in taxes. He claims to have resolved the problem. He keeps referring to the 1995 budget.

What does the 1995 budget provide for on the particular matter of tax deferral? According to this budget, any corporation that is not a business corporation must end its financial year on December 31 instead of carrying income forward 18 or 24 months.

That is not it. If that is the finance minister's basis for stating: "Indeed, we have managed to ensure that all corporations pay the tax they owe", it is skimpy. Very skimpy in fact, as it does not even meet one tenth of the target the Minister of Finance claims to have met.

This is so remote from the actual objective that recently, when the issue of the capital gains tax was raised, the Toronto Star showed the weaknesses of the Canadian tax system, including loopholes that were in no way eliminated by the finance minister, whether through Bill C-36 or even the February 1994 budget. The Toronto Star wrote that a Revenue Canada report''-not a Bloc Quebecois report, a Revenue Canada report-released last month indicated that, in 1991, assets worth some $60 billion-that is a lot of money, a lot of wealth-left Canada without the department being able to identify the origin and destination of this money''.

The Toronto Star suspected that these $60 billion worth of Canadian assets had been secretly transferred to tax havens, thanks to the permissiveness and flexibility of the Canadian tax system. Mr. Speaker, we are talking about $60 billion worth of assets.

If this was the case in 1991, if no corrective measures were taken, if the Minister of Finance only kept telling us that we were wrong, that the Canadian tax system was good, that it was airtight and that we could rely on it to prevent capital flight and outright tax

evasion schemes such as the ones mentioned in the Toronto Star , then we have a problem.

A number of parties, including the major Canadian banks, were identified as having taken part in this massive tax evasion scheme.

We keep repeating to the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister and the former and current revenue ministers that it is not normal that major Canadian banks have some 46 branches in Caribbean countries alone, which are considered to be tax havens. It is not normal that these banks have twice as many branches in the Caribbean as in the rest of the world.

Now, we learn that, as regards the tax evasion scheme whereby $60 billion worth of assets left Canada, a finger could be pointed at the major Canadian banks.

Everyone in Quebec and in Canada knows that the official opposition energetically accused the government of being too soft and decried the tax loopholes, by pointing out the opportunities for the businesses and the banks, as well as some of the richer families in Canada, to avoid paying their share to Revenue Canada. Even if the Minister of Finance said: "You are exaggerating. It all amounts to a few dozens of millions of dollars", we now know that billions of dollars, as stated in a Revenue Canada report, could leave the country and dodge income tax, that is evade the Canadian tax system.

We now have the evidence. The Minister of Finance was proud of his 1995 budget as reflected in Bill C-36. He even told us that there were no problems.

The government has made quite a few blunders, Mr. Speaker. An unkept promise about the GST; what amounts even to the most federalist of Canadians to a $1 billion partisan agreement to buy the maritime provinces; the many more blunders on constitutional issues. Now, with flights of capital of such magnitude, we realize that the Minister of Finance did not improve the tax system. This all adds up to a lot of bad points for the government.

So much for the overall approach. Let us now examine the more specific measures.

Bill C-36 deals in part with family trusts. The Minister of Finance is not a fast worker, since it took him more than a year to implement last year's budget. In 1995, the Bloc Quebecois called the Minister of Finance a "stand-up comic" and said that the minister was putting up smoke screens.

The Minister of Finance pretended to address an issue that is close to the hearts of the official opposition members, because it is quite a scandal, and said: "We have taken some measures concerning family trusts". You can take any measure on any possible issue and still not do your work, and that is exactly what the Minister of Finance did in 1995.

He said he was going to amend the rule allowing taxes on assets held in family trusts to be deferred, a rule that had been amended by the previous government and that allowed a taxpayer to defer taxes up to 80 years. Under the provisions of this rule, it was possible to defer tax on capital gains until the death of the last exempted beneficiary.

The Minister of Finance told us this would be corrected and we would go back to the old rules. We were happy, because under the old rules you had 21 years, which, while not perfect, was better than 80. At least after 21 years, taxes were paid on billions of dollars worth of assets that were accumulating in family trusts.

But the Minister of Finance immediately followed this up with the announcement that the 21 year rule would not take effect until 1999. If you were a trustee, if you had billions, tens of millions, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a trust, what would you do? I ask the question and I will give the answer. I think you would investigate all the fiscal options open to you with a view to minimizing the tax you had to pay to Revenue Canada.

The Minister of Finance has given very rich Canadian families and large businesses, which also use trusts, an opportunity to analyse all the financial and fiscal vehicles available, and he has given them four years to transfer their money from family trusts to other vehicles, or worse yet, outside Canada.

When we voiced our objections, the Minister of Finance said: "Well, what do you expect, the official opposition is just a bunch of separatists". The usual attack, and the usual rhetoric we have come to expect from this government. There always has to be a scandal somewhere, something has to happen. Even though we have been saying and shouting for two and a half years that the government is losing hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in taxes, it always takes a bombshell for the government to finally see the light.

This bombshell came three weeks ago when the auditor general said that two family trusts had transferred $2 billion worth of assets to the United States without paying any taxes on these assets. The finance minister said that family trusts were not a problem, that he would deal with that but we had to give him four years to do it. That meant we had to give Canada's richest families, like the ones that transferred $2 billion worth of assets to the United States, four years to find ways not to lose money.

But the ordinary Canadian taxpayers will pay. They are the ones who will pay for those $2 billion that were transferred to the United

States tax free because of this government's laxness. Taxpayers will pay, consumers will pay, unemployed people who are the victims of this government's cuts in the unemployment insurance fund will pay. It is outrageous.

Considering the sacrifices that ordinary Quebecers and Canadians are being asked to make, that the real taxpayers who are supposed to be represented by the members of this government are being forced to make, we will continue to ask not only that the issue of the 21 year rule be dealt with, but also that the appropriateness of maintaining an instrument such as family trusts at the expense of Quebec's and Canada's real taxpayers be looked at.

A second aspect of Bill C-36 which has something indecent about it. The Secretary of State was saying this morning "As a government, we have met our responsibilities. We have taxed the major chartered banks. We have levied a special renewable $160 million tax".

There is a special tax of $160 million on the chartered banks, banks which have amassed some $5 billion in profits. Yet those banks, if we can believe a Toronto Star article which reports on the contents of a Revenue Canada report on tax evasion and refers to the $60 billion in assets siphoned off to the U.S. and just about everywhere else, are not paying the federal government, Revenue Canada, its just dues. They are taking advantage of tax loopholes to transfer part of their untaxed funds into branch operations, particularly in the Caribbean. As I have said, there are 46 of these. It is easy for them to plan their affairs so as to pay the minimum in taxes.

Mr. Speaker, since you are indicating that I have two minutes left, I will end with this measure and continue after question period. The banks are being hit with $160 millions in taxes-a temporary measure-when, at the other end, there is $60 billion in tax evasion and $2 billion that went to the United States untaxed through family trusts.

We should compare the $160 in special tax on the banks to the billions it is costing Quebecers and Canadians with the restrictions in unemployment insurance, for example, and with the cuts to social assistance, post-secondary education and health. I think Quebec and Canadian taxpayers will realize that this government is working, but not necessarily in their best interest. It is working more for big business; for the powerful families, like those that succeeded in transferring $2 billion through family trusts without paying tax; and for certain financial institutions, including the banks. I will return to this in my analysis of Bill C-36.

Income Tax Budget Amendment ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleagues, it being nearly 2.00 p.m., we will now proceed to Statements by Members.

WestfortStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my riding the residents of Westfort are renowned for their friendliness and fierce loyalty to their community. In order to further build on this positive sense of community, Westfort was chosen for a recent federal-provincial project aimed at increasing neighbourly ties in small communities.

The three year Neighbourhood Outreach Development Project wound up recently. As far as the project organizers are concerned, there is no such thing as too much community goodwill.

A key outcome of this initiative was the construction of the West Thunder Community Centre. At this centre one will find people of different ethnic origins and linguistic groups, mingling and interacting together in harmony. What a model for community living.

This model demonstrates that our differences are no reason for division. Instead, diversity can serve to bind us closer together in peace and harmony.

Major Junior HockeyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Bernard Deshaies Bloc Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, as reported in the Journal de Montréal , the victory of the Granby Prédateurs means that Quebec major junior hockey has gained respectability and credibility. People will no longer say that Quebec teams do not measure up to western or Ontario teams. People will no longer say that they are unable to go all the way to the top.

The Bloc Quebecois salutes the Granby Prédateurs on the occasion of their victory. The obvious support people gave the club is proof of the pride they felt and the gratitude they wanted to express after such an amazing season.

As the coach of the team, Michel Therrien, said, this victory is good for the whole of Quebec.

British Columbia ElectionStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, one of the parties running in the B.C. election is calling for an end to the gold plated MLA pension plan, for victims rights to be put ahead of the rights of criminals, for dangerous young offenders to be upgraded to adult court, for free votes in the legislature on everything but budget bills, initiative, referendum and recall, for two year balanced budget legislation, for pay cuts for politicians

who overspend, for opposition to gun control Bill C-68 and for the reworking of the Nisga'a land claim deal.

These certainly sound like Reform policies, and they are, but they are also listed in the B.C. Liberal campaign literature. No wonder the member for Halifax and many of her caucus colleagues have been so critical of B.C. Liberals. They are the most un-liberal Liberals in the country. They are actually promising what the people want.

The last decaying bastion of tax and spend liberalism is the one in this House. For the sake of taxpayers let us hope its passing is swift.

Winds Of Change ConferenceStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Chris Axworthy NDP Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

Mr. Speaker, as the winds of change conference wrapped up its efforts to unite the right this weekend in Calgary, it seemed shameful to me that the Prime Minister and his Liberal colleagues were not invited to the party. Surely their slash and trash approach to social and fiscal policy over the past three years is more than equal to the price of admission.

If anything, the Prime Minister's relentless march to the right should have earned him the role of guest of honour at that winded exchange conference and neo-conservative fun fest.

While Tories and Reformers spent the weekend only talking about tearing the country apart, the Prime Minister has been actually doing it. He has gutted social programs, health care and UI. He has broken promises on GST and the NAFTA. Last week at a Liberal fundraiser he admitted there was no hope in sight for the million Canadians who are unemployed.

Do not despair, Mr. Prime Minister, Canadians recognize that you belonged at that conference. I am sure your invitation got lost in the mail.

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is widespread belief in Ontario at present that the oil companies are gouging consumers through exorbitantly high gas prices. Prices in our communities go up and down, mainly up, all at the same time. Why, people ask, if each service station has different amounts of already paid for gas in its tanks do prices change at the same time?

In Peterborough there have been demonstrations at gas stations to no avail.

It is time something was done about this. I am a great believer in keeping government interference in business to a minimum. However, it seems my constituents are being manipulated by huge corporations.

I call on all members to support Bill C-267 which will control the way companies can change gas prices. I also support the MPs' appeal to the competition bureau.

Teaching ExcellenceStatements By Members

May 27th, 1996 / 2 p.m.


Ron Fewchuk Liberal Selkirk—Red River, MB

Mr. Speaker, it was an honour and a pleasure for me to present the Prime Minister's awards for teaching excellence in science, technology and mathematics to the Edward Schreyer School in Beausejour, Manitoba, and to teacher Judith Hattie.

This award recognizes her for the hard work she did which had a major impact on her students' performance in the fields of science, technology and mathematics.

Excellence in these areas is essential to building a better Canadian economy. Teachers like Judith play a critical role in shaping the attitudes of students and in preparing them for the career opportunities in the global economy of the future.

TaxationStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, some time ago, the auditor general drew the attention of lawmakers to decisions regarding the transfer to the United States of funds worth at least $2 billion which were held in family trusts in Canada.

These 1991 decisions did not reflect the legislator's intent. The legislator's intent is first and foremost to protect the tax basis against possible erosion. This was not the case. Regardless of diverging opinions and decisions, the fundamental principle which is the protection of Canadian taxpayers was clearly set aside.

The operation which frustrated the legislator's intent and the lack of documentation and analysis regarding the adoption of such significant positions fly in the face of the principle of tax fairness. We are concerned and perplexed by the non-publication of these decisions over at least the past four years, and this will have to be looked into.

FisheriesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, crab fishermen in New Brunswick were justifiably outraged when they learned the fisheries minister planned to reallocate a portion of their quota to

groundfishermen. This is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. More to the point, the minister has graphically demonstrated why fisheries in Canada are in trouble. Political decisions override sound management of the resource and political reallocation on both coasts undermines industry viability.

Does the minister not realize his half baked make work program at the expense of crab fishermen just creates instability? How long will it be before Canadian taxpayers are asked to bail out another failed fishery?

It is long past time that politics and fisheries management were surgically separated in Canada. Canada's commercial fishery is not some elaborate social program; it is a business and it ought to run like a business.

As long as politics overrides science and drives management decisions, the biological integrity of the resource is threatened and economic failures will continue to be the hallmark of the federal government.

BurmaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I want to emphasize the outstanding courage displayed by the 8,000 or so people who met yesterday in Burma to attend the congress of the leading opposition party against the ruling junta, the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

At least 238 of the 300 delegates who were to attend the congress are said to have been detained by military authorities in an attempt to prevent the meeting from taking place. Note that Ms. Suu Kyi was imprisoned and put under house arrest for nearly six years after winning the 1990 democratic election.

We salute the extraordinary determination of this woman and encourage her to carry on her fight for democracy, freedom and human rights.

Cksb Radio StationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate CKSB, Manitoba's French language radio station, on its 50th anniversary.

On May 27, 1946, at 6 p.m., CKSB, a radio station financed by the generous donations of francophones in Manitoba, went on air for the very first time. In 1973, CKSB joined the CBC network. After 50 years of existence, CKSB remains an indispensable part of our community, a tool that unites us and helps us to know one another better.

I applaud CKSB and all the members of its team, past and current, for their dedication and their contribution to the Francophonie in Manitoba and Canada.