Mr. Speaker, I will not call my colleague on the dispute between the government and my colleagues of the Bloc Quebecois on the referendum question. Like many others, even in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, my region, I and my fellow citizens do not waken up at night thinking about the date of the next referendum. We have a lot of other priorities at the moment.
There are basic concepts we do not want to let drag on and waste our time debating, but I would like to call my colleague on the subject of taxes.
Every time a member of the Conservative Party rises, they raise the figure of the $42 billion deficit, but they always fail to say that this deficit had been accumulated with the $200 billion in debts the previous government had left us.
We are not going to change history, but it would be interesting to compare the two governments. We would see that there was no shame in being Conservative for nine years.
The essential issue is taxes. The big topic of conversation at the moment is that a lot of people are thinking of moving for tax reasons. It costs a fortune to live in the Province of Quebec, because our tax system is utterly regressive. I think the federal government must also have a more progressive policy on taxes.
In the analysis done by economists Ferland and Laferrière, 14 federal measures are prejudicial. I would like the opinion of my colleague from Beauce on that. Is it usual for a government to withdraw all the benefits from free trade, $22 billion from the GST and tens of billions of dollars from the surplus in the employment insurance fund, while overtaxing by some $30 billion at a time when people have no more money in their pockets.
We cannot afford to just say “Wait for the next budget”. For families earning between $25,000 and $70,000 a year, it is a disgrace to live in Canada and in Quebec at the present time, for tax reasons. They have nothing left of their pay cheques. They wonder how they can arrange things differently so that they have a little bit more left in their pockets.
There are, of course, some provinces that are better off than others at this time, like Alberta and Ontario. Their premiers decided to say “Yes, we are going to work at decreasing the deficit, but with moderation. We are also going to look at the taxation system”. They know it is a key to reviving the economy.
I would like to ask my colleague from Beauce whether he does not find it unreasonable to keep on pocketing people's money as the Liberals are doing, to create what are almost hidden funds, to have a taxation system that is hideously complex. People cannot figure out what is going on any more, but there is one thing they do know. The bottom line is: their net salaries continue to get smaller.
There are examples of this. There are typical cases that have been referred to in reports. People get pay raises that cost them money. Something must be done. We must not say “Wait for the next budget”. Administrative corrections need to be made. It is nothing complicated.
If a single-parent family with an income of $31,000 a year gets a $1,000 increase in income, which costs it $1,056, including a $260 drop in the child tax benefit, we do not need to wait for the next budget in order to remedy this. The Minister of Finance merely needs to send a note to his deputy minister indicating “This needs fixing. It is not right”. There are 14 different elements that have negative effects on Canadian families, Quebec families in particular.
I am sure that my colleague from Beauce is doing his best to represent his fellow citizens well, as did his predecessor. I would like to have his opinion on the taxation system.