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House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was income.

Topics

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial InstitutionsGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

The House has heard the proposal of the hon. member for Scarborough West. Does the hon. member have the leave of the House to proceed as indicated with the two stages of the bill without debate?

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial InstitutionsGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-205, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Copyright Act (profit from authorship respecting a crime), as reported (with amendments) from the committee.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

April 10th, 1997 / 5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough West, ON

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

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

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough West, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member who, on this side, he had those discussions with since I was not a party to them? I know he was planning on having those discussions but I was not privy to them. I hate giving unanimous approval to something of which I was not a part. Could he explain that?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I had my discussions with the critic for justice for the Reform Party, the member for Crowfoot, and also with the member for Lethbridge whom I believe is the House leader. Both of them concurred with this. I assure my hon. friend of those discussions and that they did agree.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know we had planned those discussions. I know our party has been supportive of this bill and I will take the member at his word. I am happy to support the motion that has been put before us.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion at third reading?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

moved that Bill C-324, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (entertainment expenses), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Barry Campbell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

In light of the great co-operation that has been evident in the House this afternoon I am sorry to rise now just before my hon. colleague is about to speak, but I must rise on a point of order with respect to private member's bill C-324.

I must sadly say, and I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to rule on this, that the bill is not in order on the grounds that the intent of Bill C-324 is to increase taxes and would therefore require the tabling of a ways and means motion.

I remind my hon. colleagues that such legislation requires the tabling of a ways and means motion which can only be tabled by a minister of the government. On these grounds, I would ask,Mr. Speaker, that you rule this bill out of order. I would like to add that I am sorry to have to rise and do this but as a matter of the order of the House I felt it essential to do so lest we have a breakdown in the way in which those sorts of bills are brought forward.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to take a position on that.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, once again I find myself disagreeing with the parliamentary secretary on this issue. He well knows that we have a committee that reviews private members' bills. It is the job of that committee to determine whether or not private members' bills should go forward.

The scrutiny and review of the principles and objectives of that bill, whether or not they conflict with government policy, whether or not they should be allowed to proceed, is determined in that committee. Members well know that.

This bill is at second reading. It was presented to the House. The government House leader had ample time and opportunity to ask the member to withdraw. This gentleman has worked hard to put forward some ideas in his suggestion. Whether we agree with it or not is another issue.

This gentleman is a member of Parliament. He has followed the proper course and if you rule in favour of the point of order of the parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, you will be stepping on the toes of another hon. colleague.

We should just proceed with this debate as planned and let this thing play itself out. The proper procedures have been followed.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think this bill deserves our consideration, especially since it is not votable. In addition, the bill not being votable, the point made by the parliamentary secretary is irrelevant, as it will have no funding implications. This is simply an opportunity for this House to look into the matter and the desirability of taking action in that area.

Not being votable, this bill will have no economic impact, but it will have an impact nonetheless because of the relevancy of the idea put forward by the hon. member.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Barry Campbell Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of points. It was evident in the hesitation in my earlier remarks that I am troubled to

be rising to object to this bill's being receivable and debatable here because of the hard work of my hon. colleague which many of us do in trying to get private members' bills before this House.

I do not want to interfere with that process. However, it is always up to you to decide whether something is in order that we are debating in this House.

Notwithstanding the procedure that has been followed, it is clear that the sorts of bills that call for this kind of action by the government must be preceded by a ways and means motion which can be tabled only by a minister of the government.

Mr. Speaker, should you rule in favour of proceeding with this debate, we will proceed and debate this motion. I want to make it clear and have it on the record that the bill, in the government's view, is not properly receivable by this House because of the nature of the bill. I am sorry that is the outcome.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. With regard to the point raised by my hon. colleague, I would like to make a few points clear.

This bill was properly researched and drafted by the private members' business office which, I assure members of the House, is highly professional in its organization with many years of experience in these matters. It saw no problem with regard to the exclusive prerogative of the crown to levy taxes and believes this bill to be in order.

Erskine May's twenty-first edition, pages 727 and 728, shows examples of matters that require a ways and means resolution to be initiated by a minister of the crown. The examples listed include, under taxation, new taxation, continuation of an expiring tax, reimposition of a repeal tax, increase in the rate of the existing tax, and extinction of an instance of tax.

This bill does not change or repeal the rate of taxation or offend any of the criteria which fall under the purview of the government. It merely eliminates a deduction which will cause persons and business affected by this bill to pay this rate of taxes, as do other Canadians.

I therefore ask you, Mr. Speaker, to rule against this point of order and let the debate proceed.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, to satisfy the parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, as the member from the Bloc Quebecois pointed out, this is a non-votable motion. There will be no ways and means required to do anything because the House does not have to vote on this.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

The chair has heard the arguments put forward by all hon. members on this issue. I want to stress that in my view the parliamentary secretary is absolutely correct to raise the issue at this stage. It may seem late to hon. members, but bills are introduced and read for the first time without being reviewed by other hon. members. They sit on the Order Paper until they win a draw and are put on the order of precedence. It seems to me entirely appropriate that the issue be raised at this stage.

It could have been raised earlier I suspect as a point of order at any other time but it has been raised now and it clearly impacts on whether the bill is votable.

I must say that I have grave doubts as to whether this bill is in order. I refer to page 821 of Erskine May's twentieth edition:

Matters which are covered by the term `charges upon the people' may be briefly summarized as-(2) the repeal or reduction of existing alleviations of taxation such as exemptions or drawbacks-

It is clearly stated that where there are such changes it would appear that ways and means proceedings are necessary and the full scope, that is a resolution, would have to be introduced first, followed by the bill.

In view of the fact that the House is ready to proceed with the debate today and in light of the fact that members are prepared to debate the subject today, and in view of the comments that have been made concerning the possibility of such a debate, as your Speaker I will take the matter under advisement and give a formal ruling on the point of order at another time.

We can proceed with debate today. I have indicated the way the Chair is leaning in light of the arguments advanced. If that is satisfactory we will now proceed with debate.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Barry Campbell Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, thank you for resolving it in that fashion. I want to indicate to my hon. colleague we will proceed as a result of what you said but I want to be assured that did not stand as any precedent whatsoever.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

As I indicated to the parliamentary secretary, I will come back to the House with a formal ruling at a later time, possibly next week.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure to rise today to speak on my private member's Bill C-324, an act to amend the Income Tax Act. Bill C-324 provides for the elimination of entertainment expenses as a deduction under section 67.1 of the Income Tax Act.

I received a number of calls and correspondence from lobby groups and business associations under the mistaken belief that meal deductions would be affected by this amendment. I would like to make it clear from the outset that this amendment would not affect business meal deductions.

What this amendment would do, however, is bring a certain amount of fairness into the tax system for both small businesses and individuals. I would like to commend the government which in the 1994 budget reduced the deduction from 80 per cent to 50 per cent. At that time there was much concern expressed by the

business community that this would have a detrimental effect, but this was proven not to be the case.

I believe that elimination of the entertainment deduction would in the short term cause a small amount of disruption but in the long term have no negative effect on businesses and a positive effect on the revenues of the government and create a more equal playing field for all those who pay taxes

If we look at sport stadiums in any major Canadian city the majority of the best seats and practically all the box seats are held by corporate entities. They do so with the help of 50 per cent deduction on their income tax, while at the same time the average Canadian sits in a cheaper seat up in the bleachers and pays full price. The same holds true for attending the theatre, opera or the events where the business community gets to deduct half the cost while the average Canadian pays full price. This situation gives rise to the circumstance that most sport stadiums count on the very expensive box seats to provide necessary revenue to pay the exorbitant salaries of sports figures who are indirectly being supplemented by the Canadian taxpayer.

Although no figures are available there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that many of these corporate seats and boxes are used by employees and their friends and families rather than to further business contacts, as was the original intent of the deduction. In my opinion this change would result in significant savings to the people of Canada with relatively no impact on small businesses and only a small period of adjustment for large businesses.

While this bill has not been deemed a votable item, I believe that it is of some importance and when the opportunity arises I shall resubmit it.