Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of questions for the hon. member.
Just today I received a number of phone calls in my office here in Ottawa from people in Saint John, New Brunswick about the HST. The one that I received prior to coming to question period was that this gentleman, Mr. Phillips, had received a bill already for his HST on his safety deposit box which he never had to pay before.
I would like to know from the hon. member how the government can justify charging this when the bill has not been passed in the House, when the premier of the province of New Brunswick has not agreed. They have not reached an agreement and yet even with having not reached an agreement with our premier they have already given to him X number of millions of dollars. That was done a long time ago and the auditor general said that this is not proper, this is not right and this should not have been done. Yet we are still doing it.
I would like to know from the hon. member if he is aware of the anger that exists. The hon. member referred to anger about the GST. Is he aware of the anger that exists? Is the hon. member aware that people are very upset in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland?
I could buy a fur coat cheaper today because of this bill that will be passed probably tonight but a mother who is having a difficult time and a mum and a dad who have to buy the little snowsuit for the child will pay more. This is what is happening and people are really hurting.
I do not know if the hon. member is aware that insurance companies which sell segregated funds, like mutual funds, and if they are headquartered in those three provinces, the fund management service will be subject to HST for the very first time in those three provinces. The cost in the first year is estimated to be $350,000. In subsequent years the cost will be $100,000 more. We are hearing from everyone that anyone who is now looking for mutual funds will go outside the three provinces.
I do not know if the hon. member is aware that my board of trade, my business people in Saint John, who are real responsible people, have gone to the province. They have gone all over the province talking to the other boards of trade members because they are so concerned.
Is this member aware of what was done when the last government was in power, when the House of Commons finance committee looked at the proposed GST in November 1989? The Liberals said in this House: "Since it would be easier for the government to raise the GST rate in the future, if Canadians were not aware of how much tax they were paying at the moment, it is imperative that the GST be visible. The Liberal members cannot support a hidden tax". Then they stated: "Canadian taxpayers have a right to know what taxes they are paying. Any reform of the tax system should be designed to help Canadians understand how much and to which level of government they are paying their taxes".
They stated: "The sign of the times is that so long as we have a tax that is hidden from the consumer we are going to have problems that are a lot more serious than we understand".
This is all in Hansard . Can the hon. member tell us how he can justify standing up and supporting it when his colleagues who were then in opposition opposed a hidden tax at all times?