Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the point which my colleague from the Alliance Party made that as the opposition party the Alliance supports Bill C-13. Our concern though is that this will be viewed as a final step and not as a temporary, necessary technical change in our tax system on the long road to full taxation reform.
I will not get into the details that were discussed by my colleague on the Alliance policy on tax reform. However I do want to speak about a luncheon I attended last Friday for the Vancouver Board of Trade. It was very illuminating for me. The guest speaker was the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mr. Dodge. He spoke about the variety of variables that go into having a sound economy. It was like a lesson on 101 central banking. The unfortunate thing though was that he did not once mention the taxation system.
We all know in the House that there is a great link between monetary policy and fiscal policy. As my colleague just discussed, taxes are high and the Canadian dollar is low. What the Alliance puts forth, and I say, is that taxes are high therefore our Canadian dollar is low. More important, it does not allow the Governor of the Bank of Canada to do what is right with monetary policy, which would be to have lower interest rates at this time.
Mr. Greenspan, the chair of the federal reserve in the United States, dramatically and successfully used the proper monetary tools at his disposal and reduced interest rates a full half a per cent. Obviously, he believed there were further tough economic times. The Bank of Canada put forth a very anemic quarter per cent interest decrease.
It is not because the Governor of the Bank of Canada does not understand that we need a softening of monetary policy to deal with these tough times. It is simply that he cannot. His hands are tied because of the lax fiscal planning of the Liberal government.
I and the Alliance Party believe that the chair of the federal reserve of the United States will follow up with a further half per cent decrease. However our Governor of the Bank of Canada, legitimately so, is so concerned about the level of the Canadian dollar that his hands are tied. Why are his hands tied? They are tied because there is a direct correlation between economic performance wich includes all of the variables and the level of the Canadian dollar.
The level of the Canadian dollar, outside of the fluctuations on a day to day basis, is simply a reflection of the economic health of the country. Tax policy is a key in that economic health. If Canada were a patient, it would not be doing very well right now because our economic policy is correctly reflected by our low Canadian dollar.
What should the Canadian government do? Bill C-13 is a positive step. Why? It deals with certain technical problems that the government itself created in the past seven to eight years. That is good.
My concern with Bill C-13 is not what is in the bill but what is not in the bill. As my colleague said so eloquently, the economic problems we face in Canada should be dealt with quickly.
Let me give one example. There is a severe housing shortage right across this country. Even in an area such as my constituency of Richmond, British Columbia, which is viewed as a middle class rather affluent part of Canada, we have a problem as well. It is the problem of not enough housing.
We all know about the tragic, and I use that word carefully, situation in Vancouver East which the member of parliament for that area eloquently spoke about. I do not agree with many of her proposals on how to fix the problem, but I do agree with the point that there is a problem and the Liberal government is ignoring it. Sure it throws $25 million here and $25 million there. I would argue that that is exacerbating a problem rather than fixing it.
Why not utilize the tax system to urge the creation of rental stock through the private sector? Yes, there is 5%, 10% or maybe 15% of the population who are marginalized and have other problems that have to be dealt with, such as alcoholism, drug abuse and coming from broken homes. The government has to play a role there. However on the creation of a housing stock, that is where the tax code can be utilized and it is not.
Why is it that apartment owners and builders are not treated as a business when it comes to capital gains, rollovers and loss allocations? It is a simple step. Rather than taking moneys and providing housing in a grandiose national plan, perhaps it would be a better approach to allow the private sector to build affordable housing with the provision that there is a segment of marginalized Canadians who have to be helped in a different way.
I commend the Liberal government for the variety of technical bills it has put forth in this session to deal with the inadequacies that it created. However it is a first step. I hope that in the next step of dealing with the economic morass that we are in, it will put forth more substantive tax reductions to deal with an economy that is declining. I do not say that with partisan vigour. Sure there is the parry and thrust of debate. Sure there is a partisan element of the electoral process. However I think we all agree that we do not want a more complicated tax system. I believe we all agree that the reduction of capital gains tax is a way to spur economic growth.
I hope that in the next few months we will have from the other side of the House real substantive tax reform and not simply necessary and technical amendments to problems that were created by this government.