Mr. Speaker, that is so like the Tories to have caused the problem, to have started the fire and when they start to feel the heat of it what do they do? They say that it is a point of privilege and not a matter of debate. Well the world's smallest violin gets played for them.
The premier of New Brunswick, Frank McKenna said the federal government should stop giving grants to Atlantic Canadian businesses and use the savings to stimulate businesses in the region with lower tax rates. Sounds pretty logical to me. If I were operating a business in Atlantic Canada and I was taxed at the highest tax rates in the country, I would certainly consider moving if I could, because what is the point of keeping a business in an area where I would be taxed to death.
Both of those parties are complicit, indeed they are. Let us look at some of the taxes that these two wonderful governments, the Tory government and the Liberal government, have brought to the people of Atlantic Canada. Right now the federal government and its finance minister are more than happy to brag about the overpayment of taxes in terms of employment insurance. Right now there is a surplus of about $15 billion that they have sucked out of the Canadian economy and they brag that the budget has been balanced. It has been done on the backs of those people who are not getting work because of the high employment insurance tax.
Once again the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has called for a 25% cut in the EI premiums because it would create more jobs. Even Department of Finance studies indicate that high payroll taxes cut and restrict the number of jobs. But no, we do not hear those solutions coming from the Tories. Instead they try to say that the hon. member should be quiet and not mention their past blemished record. They did not have solutions then and they do not have solutions now. All they can propose is a study. Unfortunately a study is not going to cut it.
Then we look at something else that is coming down the pipe and it is payroll taxes once again, the Canada pension plan. The government is going to suck out $11 billion and it is proud to do it with a 9.9% roughly 10% tax. It thinks that somehow that is going to create jobs in Atlantic Canada. Surprise, surprise. Once again it is a failed government program that is not going to create jobs in Atlantic Canada. More taxes do not create jobs.
At the end of the day when we look through all of this, what do we have here? We have Tories who with their ministers in their previous government ignored environmental studies. We have people who kept taxes high. We have people who sucked off multimillion dollar pensions.
Then we look across the way hoping for another solution and we look to the Liberals. There we have the harmonized sales tax. They thought that by raising value added taxes it would be a benefit. They kept EI premiums high by taking out $15 billion more than they should have and they thought that would do good. Then they raised the Canada pension plan and they are going to be taking $11 billion out on that.
We have these two parties both proposing studies and raising taxes when they were in power. The Tories want a special study, a special committee to look at it and the Liberals have hired Eugene Harrigan to look after the problem that they created with the Atlantic groundfish strategy. Once again both of them are proposing more, new and expensive studies, both of them are raising and keeping taxes high and they expect that somehow the problem is going to be looked after.