Madam Speaker, I would like to boil this down for the taxpayers watching at home.
This is Bill C-28. See how thick it is. That is what the Liberals call a neutral tax or something that is a tax simplification or tax relief. That is what they call tax relief. It is a telephone book. A telephone book means that taxes are becoming more complex. It is not as though we were not complex already. Walter Robinson of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation sent a survey to all the members in the House of Commons and asked whether MPs do their own taxes. A large portion of MPs do not actually do their own taxes.
We are the people who pass the laws in this country. We are the ones who create taxes or change taxes. A Reform government would provide tax relief. Nonetheless, many of us as law makers do not do our own taxes because they have become so complex. Tax accountants and tax lawyers making their living doing taxes advocate that taxes should be made simpler and less complex. They as well as the taxpayers are crying out for help.
I see something as large as a telephone book. Members across the way in the Liberal government are the architects of the slash and burn in health care and the architects of tax increases. They tell us this is a good change to the taxes. Shame on them. How can they continue to justify Bill C-28 and its myriad of tax changes and tax increases as something that is good for the country?
There is no tax relief here. During the last election I do not believe the Liberals advocated increasing taxes when going door to door. Yet they have increased taxes twice since the last election and 36 times during the 35th Parliament. I bet any money that at any door they went to not a single taxpayer begged to have their taxes raised. Yet the Liberals have so willingly fulfilled that task and filled their pockets.
Disposable incomes have continued to decline since 1987. I know that the Tory across the way likes to quote from 1991 onward, but the fact is that real disposable incomes have continued to decline since 1987. Taxpayers need a break. They can only go so long. They can only suffer much.
There is no tax simplification by introducing something that looks like a telephone book. Nobody can pull the wool over my eyes and those of the taxpayers by telling us that there is tax simplification going on here. Indeed this bill is adding more regulation on top of regulation.
Number three, there are new taxes on municipal utilities. One government is taxing another level of government. It is bad enough when the government taxes the citizenry, the businesses, the employees and employers, but when it starts taxing other levels of government, indeed the desperation is thick.
Number four, this bill returns nothing to the health and social transfer. There were promises made by the Liberals in the last two elections.
In the election for the 35th Parliament in 1993 the Liberals said “Make us the government and we will guarantee the funding for health care and education and guarantee the health and social transfers”. What actually happened? The Liberals cut $6 billion out of the health and social transfers.
What has that meant? That has meant that the federal government is responsible for the hospital closures in this country. That is what it means. It is the federal Liberals passing the buck on to their provincial counterparts which is closing hospitals across this land. Their broken promises in 1993 and their broken promises in 1997 are closing hospital beds in this country.
The Liberals have cut the heart out of health care and they have the audacity to stand in the House and have their minister say that they are the friends of health care, when indeed waiting lists have grown longer and doctors and nurses are leaving this country. The Liberals are the architects of the slash and burn policies in health care.
The Liberals say one thing in the election but then deliver a far harsher stroke when it comes to their cuts in these areas. They download on the provinces. Shame on them.
The tax bill in this country is going to go up by $6 billion this year. That is not tax relief. That is more money coming from the pockets and the wallets of the taxpayers and going into the government coffers. It is a tax increase. Six billion dollars more are being taken from taxpayers this year than last year.
What does it mean in terms of this whole debt situation? We have all heard about these huge numbers in the debt but I am going to boil it down. Six thousand dollars out of the average taxpayer's salary goes to paying just the interest on the debt. That is $6,000 that could be allocated to a whole host of other things. The average taxpaying family is spending $6,000 just to pay the interest on the debt which this government and its past incarnations helped to create.
What about the contingency funds the government talks about? It would take 200 years to pay down the national debt by using these $3 billion contingency funds. The real travesty is that the Liberals are not even moving along that track because the contingency funds are being used to fund new program spending. That is exactly what they are doing. That amounts to a $45 billion payment we have to make every year just to pay the interest on the debt. As I said, that $45 billion translates into $6,000 for every family in this country.
I have been attacking the government. I have been attacking the Liberals for what they have done on taxes, but I am going to speak to the poor suffering some of the Liberals have undergone.
I speak of the poor finance minister. Yes, he is a millionaire. Yes, he is involved and owns through various arm's length relationships the Canada Steamship Lines. The poor finance minister has had to take his money and shelter it. He has had to put his assets offshore because taxes are too high in this country and he does not want his companies to pay tax in this country.
Do you know what? I feel for him. The hearts and the minds of this country's taxpayers bleed for our finance minister because while he recognizes that taxes are too high and while he does not want his own companies paying those high taxes, he has raised taxes on the rest of Canadians 38 times since the government has been in power and since he has been finance minister. Yet he shelters his own money offshore.
I feel for him because he has to fly Bahamian flags and not those of his native Canada. I feel for him because he likes the Netherlands Antilles with a 15% withholding tax as opposed to a 25% withholding tax. It works very conveniently into his trusts and his arm's length relationships. Shame on him. He should be paying tax in this country. If he is raising taxes on Canadians, he should have the decency to pay taxes in this country while Canadians suffer those bills. I feel for the finance minister.
High taxes have created a brain drain. Young professionals, people with a good university education, or any level of education, they do not even have to have a high school education, are leaving this country to go to other places with lower taxes.
I want to mention some of the 38 tax increases the Liberal government has brought in since it has been in power. It went ahead and changed the tax treatment of securities. It taxed dividends. It taxed insurance companies. It accelerated capital cost allowances. It increased excise taxes on gasoline and tobacco. It restricted the tax assistance of RRSPs and reduced the RRSP withdrawal age to 69. It increased EI premiums. CPP premiums will go from 5.2% to 5.4% to 5.6% to 6.0% to 6.4% during the government's term. Shame on the Liberal government for all its tax increases and the complications.