Madam Speaker, I rise on behalf of Canadians, and my constituents in particular, to oppose the Bloc motion which would delete a component of clause 4 dealing with the provincial share of cash contributions and CHST from April 1, 1999 to March 31, 2004.
Bloc members believe that this disbursement of funds occurs too quickly and would like to spread it over a longer period of time. They believe that the time line criteria for cash contributions should be weighted in favour of demographic changes.
The motion amends the bill we are debating today, Bill C-71, which is legislation intended to implement many of the programs announced by the government in the 1999 budget.
Just for the information of those who are watching, the bill is divided into nine parts. Part one amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Relations Act to implement $11.5 billion, which is an increase in the CHST for the purpose of health care. It is an important part because it is dealing with the health care aspect on which I will be elaborating later.
Part five enables some first nation bands to impose a 7% value added tax on fuel or tobacco.
Part six increases the maximum national child tax benefit by July 1, 2000 to $1,976 for the first child and $1,775 for each subsequent child. The other measures are simply housekeeping changes.
I will talk about the health care and child tax benefit aspects, but before doing so I would like to talk about the CHST. In 1993 when the Liberals took power the CHST for each taxpayer was $1,453. In gross terms this was $18.8 billion. Taking into account this budget, the CHST for taxpayers now will be $1,005 or $14.5 billion that they will try to restore. There is still a $448 decrease, which is 31% per taxpayer compared to what it used to be in 1993.
Compared to the $11.5 billion that they will put back over the next five years, the Liberals are removing $3 billion from the system for every $1 billion they are putting back. It is a ratio of 1:3.
The government will raise the income threshold at which the child tax benefit begins to be phased out to $29,590 from a front level of $25,921. The child tax benefit was announced in the 1998 budget and implemented in July 1998. It replaces the child tax benefit and working income supplements.
The new Canadian child tax benefit began clawing back benefits at lower levels of income than the existing system. When announced in 1998, the CCTB clawback began when a family's after tax income exceeded $25,921.
This budget states that spending would increase by $14.1 billion over the next four years, including the remainder of this year. We also know that the revenue is now expected to rise to $156 billion for 1998-99.
What I am driving at is that our tax system is failing. We heard already the debate on productivity. The Minister of Industry is on one side and the Minister of Finance is on the other side, and the Prime Minister is somewhere. We do not know what the government is doing.
They are hiking taxes. Productivity is falling. The standard of living is falling. The government has no sense of where it is heading or what it is doing. We pay the highest personal taxes of all G-7 countries. This is killing jobs in Canada.
My constituents agree that what we are looking at is a pay more, get less budget. The Liberals balance the books on the backs of the taxpayer. I do not call it balancing the budget. It is not balancing the budget at all. It is matching the budget.
The Liberals try to match the revenue to the spending level. That is how they balance the budget. If that were the criteria to balance the budget on the backs of the taxpayers without reducing spending, without eliminating duplication or waste, it could have been done 29 years ago. Why did the Liberals wait for 29 years?
The real balance in the budget is reducing tax levels, reducing spending and trying to match them. This is matching of the budget, not balancing the budget at all. The Liberals have not made the size of government smaller. They have not controlled or significantly reduced spending levels. Duplication and waste are not eliminated.
The government is boosting the health care budget. Let us talk about the record. The Liberals must pay back the billions of dollars they have been taking out of health care spending. As the new official opposition deputy critic for health, I will not allow the Liberals to forget that hospitals are closing, there are fewer beds in hospitals, waiting lines are longer and longer, 1,400 doctors and 6,000 nurses have left the country since the government took over. There are about 200,000 patients on the waiting lists for medical services. Waiting times for Canadian patients to see a specialist, for example, are up by 38%. That is appalling.
Who are the people who are waiting? They are our loved ones. They are our relatives. They are real people. They are human beings who are waiting on the lists to get treatment. What have the Liberals done to help Canadians since they caused the health crisis? They have done absolutely nothing.
In the budget for 1999, which is the pay more, get less budget, Canadians are paying $2,020 more in taxes than they did in 1993. Let me tell the parliamentary secretary that the Liberals have increased taxes by that amount but in return they have $1,500 less to spend per Canadian on health care.
The government has its priorities wrong. It caused this health care crisis by slashing health care spending. It is the root cause for what we see happening currently in the health care system. Now they are trying to act very generously by trickling money back into health care, not even restoring what they have cut so far.
What they are not restoring is the $21.4 billion they cut from health and social spending since 1993. They are simply putting in $11.5 billion over the next five years. That is peanuts to improve the system. That is half of what they owe Canadians for health care.
The cumulative decrease in federal funding will grow to $21.4 billion in 1999 from $17 billion in 1998. Canadian taxpayers are paying $42.1 billion more in taxes in 1999 than when the government took over in 1993. In my view, which is shared by the Auditor General of Canada, by leading accountants and by economic editors around the country, the Prime Minister and the finance minister are cooking the books. The auditor general has refused to sign the books for two years in a row.
When the Liberals were running the government at a budgetary deficit they backloaded the federal government's annual budget. Then they were busy cooking the books. They started frontloading the budget. Whatever the surplus was, they are trying to show that the surplus is getting smaller and smaller. The Liberals even budgeted the millennium scholarship endowment fund money, which is supposed to be spent in the year 2000, in this account.
In conclusion, this is a pay more in taxes and get less in health care and benefits budget. Despite the increase in CHST we should remember that it was the Liberals who gutted and savaged the health care system.
The budget did not contain any significant debt or tax relief measures, increase disposable income, or create investment opportunities for entrepreneurs. It completely ignored small business. The budget perpetuates the discrimination against single income, two parent families in the tax code.
There are many examples I could give but just to summarize—