Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to honour the many speakers from all parties who stood in support of my Bill C-214.
It shows what the House can be with all members working together for the common objectives of better visibility and better accountability of how governments spend. It empowers people.
The last time I rose was in the first hour of debate on the bill. I would like to mention some organizations that support it. The parliamentary secretary made reference to the auditor general. He stated:
We share your views that the cost of government programs and operations should be made more visible to Parliament and taxpayers.
Certified General Accountants' Association of Canada also support it.
I would like to read a final comment from a letter that I received since the last time I was on my feet. It is from the Canadian
Institute of Chartered Accountants annual letter to the finance minister. It states:
We believe that government must provide cost information and analysis prior to making decisions that affect the delivery of existing programs or initiating new programs. We believe that this cost information should be made available to the public in order to foster greater awareness of government spending.
A private member's bill such as 214 that has been brought forward calls for the departments of governments to provide for financial or cost analysis of each piece of legislation on its introduction. In this way government would be more conscious of the financial impact that legislation would have and a greater scrutiny of government spending would be provided to the general public.
We urge the federal government to ensure speedy passage of this bill.
On my way to the House this morning I heard a program on the CBC that talked about gambling. It occurred to me that quite often when individual members of the House rise to vote on various pieces of legislation that is what we are doing. We are gambling but we are not using our money. We are using taxpayers' money.
The bottom line is that we have developed a system of taxation that is not consensual. The history of taxation, while some people at home might have a big yawn, is really quite fascinating. It goes back to the time of the Romans and others who tried to implement taxation systems.
The one important thing about a taxation system that starts to fall apart is the day when people do not believe they consented to be taxed.
In its simplistic form, when taxation first came into existence people could see what they were getting. They would invest in roads, local schools and services they communally decided to invest in and which they benefited from.
When people look at their paycheques today, at the gross figure and the net, they do not understand the difference. Worst than that, many of those people do not believe they were part of the process that made the decision for that level of taxation.
As a result people generally have a negative attitude toward government. They do not figure they are part of the process. They cannot control it. They cannot control the money that is leaving their wallets. They become cynical. Generally the electorate is cynical.
The legislation is trying to let these people back into the loop so that they can be part of the process of change and can feel they are a part of the consensual process. Then they can say they understand how much it will cost and whether it is a good thing. It would let them have their say.
Most important, it would empower members of Parliament in the Chamber who represent those people to make those decisions. In the case they do not want to make them themselves we would have the proper power to do that.
In closing, this is not a new concept. We have estimates from Australia and other countries. It is a matter of simply putting those numbers in a bill, allowing the people in and shedding a bit of light on the government process in Ottawa.