Mr. Speaker, I do not think so but I will not take up the full amount of my time as I have another commitment I have to go to.
I am pleased to rise on Bill C-72, a bill which makes amendments to the Income Tax Act, perhaps not to raise taxes but to ensure the Minister of Finance collects all the money he feels he needs. I want to give a few highlights that were really not brought out clearly in the budget.
I am looking at the budget plan 1999, page 55. A table points out anticipated revenues for the year 2000-01 are $159.5 billion. Back at the time when this government took office, revenues were about $123 billion.
In the time the government has been here and the time I have been here, we have seen a $37 billion increase in the amount of money the government collects from Canadian taxpayers. There are only 30 million people in Canada, including babies and babies are not paying tax. I know the government would like them to pay tax, but not yet, give them a few years. It works out to over $1,200 or $1,300 more that the government is collecting from every Canadian than it did when it took office five years ago.
This is the type of thing Canadians do not realize as we hear these wonderful statements about a balanced budget and how the government has done marvellous things. I do not think it is a marvellous thing that the government has taken all this extra money straight out of the pockets of Canadians.
The government has told us how much it has brought program spending down and kept it under control. Again, looking at the same table on page 55, from 1997-98 to 2000-01 the government is projecting a $5 billion increase in program spending. Away it goes. As soon as the budget is balanced, let the money flow.
Public debt is paramount in people's minds. Canadians know we are in debt. It is time the debt was brought down. Not one penny change is being proposed. By 2001 the debt will remain at $580 billion. Today it is at $580 billion. The government does not have the slightest intention of repaying any of the debt that the Liberals and the Tory party accumulated over 30 years and hung around the necks of Canadians.
These are the things we need to bring out. We have to let Canadians know it was not the government that balanced the budget. Canadians through extra taxes balanced the budget.
Let us look at the budget plan 1999 and personal income taxes on page 61. What is happening to personal income taxes? The government says it is going to cut them. Personal income tax for 1997-98 was $70.8 billion. For 2001 it is projected to rise to $76.2 billion. That is almost a $6 billion increase in personal income taxes.
What is going to happen with the hated GST? Look at the same table. The goods and services tax at $19.5 billion is going to rise to $22.4 billion. Another $3 billion squeezed out of the pockets of the taxpayers on top of the $6 billion. It is not much wonder the Minister of Finance is awash with cash.
What else is there? It says that employment insurance benefits will rise. The announcement I heard today by, I think it was the leader of the NDP, suggested the EI benefits were going down, not going up. As the Minister of Finance is awash with cash, he is cutting back on the payments to those who most need it.
Of course there are the public debt charges. The interest we pay on this huge $580 billion debt, is projected to rise from almost $41 billion to over $43 billion. The sum of $43 billion a year means for example that we could multiply by four the cheques we send out to people on employment insurance. Or we could double the amount of Canada pension plan payments. Or we could cut income taxes by more than $1,000 per Canadian.
That $40 billion is hanging around our necks. It is a noose strangling the productivity and the standard of living of Canadians. That is the legacy of the government and its predecessor. That is why the Reform Party is here. That is why we are saying lower taxes. That is why we are saying fairer taxes.
We heard earlier from the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, a medical doctor, a physician who dealt with the sick every day before he was elected. He told us that in his professional opinion, stay at home parents provided the most valuable of services to Canadians, to our young families and our next generation, by providing the nurture, the love and support for the most vulnerable of our people. Yet the Minister of Finance and the government find that they have to penalize people who want to do that.
I have heard it said so often that two income families have to work whereas a single income family does not have work, that one can provide enough money anyway. Let me relate a little incident which happened when I was going back to my riding. Going through the Ottawa airport, the security guard who checks the baggage and ensures that our flights are safe noticed my member of parliament pin. He stopped me and said, “I only make $23,000 on this job. My wife and I have three children but my wife is a stay at home parent because it is important for us that my wife raises our three kids”. There he was with a $23,000 family income and getting no assistance whatsoever from the Minister of Finance, absolutely none.
There is someone who is absolutely dedicated and committed to his family, someone who is obviously making great sacrifices financially for his family. No doubt as a family they are providing the nurture and the love to raise their kids to the best of their ability.
Those are the types of things the Minister of Finance does not tell us too much about. Another thing is he is salting some money away for the next few years after the millennium. Right after the millennium we might have an election and it seems that the two might coincide.
What is the Minister of Finance doing? For example, last year he took $2.5 billion, charged it against the public accounts and said, “I am not going to spend this money now, I am going to spend it after the millennium as a millennium scholarship fund. I am going to have $2.5 billion to spend on students after the millennium”. While students are crying and trying to pay for their tuition today, last year the Minister of Finance tucked $2.5 billion into a bank account. It is sitting there gathering interest and he is not spending a penny of it until after the millennium.
In the last budget he announced $3.5 billion that he will charge to the fiscal year ending March 31, 1999, a couple of weeks from now. The provinces can draw that down over the next few years to pay for their health care.
Just those two items alone add up to $6 billion which he has charged against the public accounts. And he has not spent a penny.
On top of that, the year before there was $800 million for the centre for innovation. The auditor general tripped him up saying the finance minister could not do that but he said yes he would anyway. They had a little spat. The auditor general called him to account for it, the same way he called him to account on the millennium scholarship fund. There is another $800 million that the Minister of Finance tucked away two years ago and the money has yet to be spent.
We are up to almost $7 billion that the Minister of Finance has prepaid. He has the money sitting in bank accounts. It will be after the millennium before Canadians see the benefit of this. In the meantime he says, “All I have got is a balanced budget. I cannot give you tax relief like you expect tax relief. I cannot show a surplus”.
Why does he not show a surplus? Because he is tucking this money away in other bank accounts and not spending it until he feels it is appropriate for his particular agenda. We can only speculate what his agenda may be. May be it is for the leadership. It could be for the next election. Who knows?
The point is Canadians are paying. They could have tax relief. They could have more money spent on health care this year. They could have more money spent to help young kids with their tuition this year, but the Minister of Finance said, “While you have paid for it, you are not going to get the benefit until later”, until it suits his agenda to give it.
That is the type of smoke and mirrors we are getting from the Minister of Finance. While he makes these wonderful magnanimous statements about how well he is doing, let us remember that the budget has been balanced on the backs of Canadians. There is a surplus that the finance minister has hidden away, $7 billion in total so far, that could be spent on Canadians or to provide tax relief which we have not seen. People need to know that.