Madam Speaker, I rise on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central to state our case in opposition to Bill C-22, the Liberal government's proposed changes to the Income Tax Act, the income tax application rules, the Canada pension plan, the Customs Act, the Excise Tax Act and many other acts.
Earlier this morning I spoke in opposition to the Liberal's proposed changes to Bill C-9, the Canada Elections Act. That act creates a two tier electoral system. Among other things, it discriminates against smaller political parties. The Liberals are eroding our democracy with that bill and we cannot support it.
Bill C-22 seeks to amend the Income Tax Act and statutes originally included in Bill C-43 and to put into place key aspects of the last two budgets. The bill has 31 amendments touching on a number of tax deductions and their definitions.
There are three main reasons the official opposition and my constituents oppose the bill. First, the bill fails to address the enormous complexity of the tax code. It adds further complexity to an already complex tax code.
Second, it undermines the family, particularly one income families.
Third, the tax cuts provided for in the bill fall far short of what the Canadian Alliance proposed and what the government must do to increase our nation's productivity, competitiveness and standard of living. I would like to elaborate on those three points beginning with the complexity of the bill.
The government should be moving toward simplifying and broadening the base of the tax code. Lowering the taxes of all Canadians would be easier and it would have a far more positive impact for everyone. If the tax code were simplified and if it had less exemptions, further clarification would not be necessary.
The bill adds to the enormous complexity of the Income Tax Act with its numerous amendments. Rather than simplifying the act as the Canadian Alliance would do, the Liberals continue to maintain a costly and complicated tax code.
Another reason for my opposition to the bill deals with measures in the bill that assist the tax position of families with some minimal tax reductions. Nothing is done to address the longstanding inequality between single income and dual income families. The bill increases the inequity by increasing the child care tax deduction which is only available to high income or dual income families.
The bill also erodes the legal position of marriage. By changing references of spouse to common law partner it is including same sex partners.
Even after the changes proposed in the bill, Canadians would continue to pay far too much in taxes. The mini budget claimed to cut taxes by $100.5 billion over five years. However here is the reality. It is a bit technical so I would like to go into a little detail.
From the $100.5 billion claim of gross tax relief we must subtract $3.2 billion over five years for social spending, chiefly the child care tax benefit. The child care tax benefit is a spending program delivered through the tax system. The increase in the tax benefit should not be confused with being a tax decrease as it is a spending increase. The figure above excludes indexation because indexation is accounted for separately.
We then have to subtract $29.5 billion over five years for increased CPP premium hikes. We then have to subtract $20.7 billion over five years for cancelled tax hikes, namely indexation. Indexing the personal income tax system is meant to hold the tax burden constant over time so it should not be counted as a tax reduction.
Therefore when we take into consideration all those deductions, the net tax relief is only $47.5 billion provided over five years, not immediately.
The reality of the Liberal Party's 2000 tax relief package is that it is less than half of what it claims it is and half of what the Canadian Alliance proposed during the election.
These are the realities when we do a little math and we go into detail. This is how the tax relief would work in contrast to the image of tax relief the Liberals are projecting through their propaganda. We are watching a smoke and mirrors show by the government with respect to the bill.
Bill C-22 is a 500 plus page bill. I will read it later on because it will take too long. The Liberals say the bill is concerned with administrative, technical and implementation measures. They say it implements about $100 billion in tax cuts over five years. As I demonstrated it does not. It is less than half of that amount.
The more people study the bill, the more problems they will find. The more people study the bill the more complexities it creates in the minds of Canadians. I will take the time to go over some of the points.
There are 31 amendments in the bill. One amendment is about non-resident film and video actors. It would apply a new 23% withholding tax on payment to non-resident film and video actors and their corporations, with an option to have the actors and corporations pay regular part 1 tax on the net earnings instead. This provision alone hurts my beautiful province of British Columbia where film making has become popular and is contributing to the economic well-being of my province.
Canada Citizenship and Immigration has also imposed restrictions on issuing visas to those who are trying to come to Canada to make films and make the best use of the beautiful British Columbia scenery and its facilities. This hurts B.C. Those people then go to other countries to make films. Why should they come to B.C. to make films? Many people are hoping the film industry will contribute to the prosperity of my province.
The bill deals with limited liability partnerships, replacement property rules, types of property to be considered, stop-loss loans and a capital tax. An additional capital tax would also be imposed on life insurance corporations. Foreign affiliate losses would determine the affiliate or accrual property income for a particular taxation year. It deals with a foreign affiliate held by a partnership with simultaneous control in a chain of corporations and the control of their stake. It deals with advertising expenses concerning periodicals and magazines between Canada and the United States. It also deals with trusts and the tax treatment or property distribution from a Canadian trust to a non-resident beneficiary. Further, it deals with mutual fund trusts, RRSPs and adjusted retirement income funds.
When we go into the detail of the bill, we will notice that there are more complexities, more anti-family type situations and many other things.
There is taxpayer migration which is the ability to tax the gains accrued by immigrants. It will affect the projection of the country's image with respect to future immigrants.
With reference to foreign branch banking, there would be a 15% investment tax credit for certain grassroots mineral exploration. There is the foreign exploration and development expenses and the value of foreign resource property owned. It would impose a 30% restriction for the annual deduction of new foreign exploration and development expense benefits.
There are many other points. Here is another one. There would be a foreign tax credit on oil and gas production sharing agreements. Another one is weak currency debt that limits the deductibility of interest expenses and adjusts foreign exchange gains and losses in respect of weak currency debt and associated hedging transactions.
There are many points in the bill which will further make the tax codes very complicated.
Since capitalization, it reduces the acceptable debt to equity ratio from 3:1 to 2:1 and it repeals the exemption for manufacturers for aircraft and aircraft components.
As far as CPP contributions on self-employed earnings, these amendments introduce a deduction from business income for one-half of CPP contributions on self-employed earnings with the other half of the contributions remaining eligible for the CPP tax credit.
Here is something regarding students and scholarships, fellowships and bursaries. The exemption would be increased by $3,500 for scholarships, fellowships and bursaries received by the taxpayer in connection with the taxpayer's enrolment in a program and in respect of the taxpayer claiming the education tax credit.
Here is another one for the education tax credit. It would double the monthly amounts the tax credit allows to full time and part time students based on $400 and $120 respectively.
It also affects the medical expense tax credit.
There is not one area that does not affect families, caregivers, infirm dependant tax credits, disability tax credits, child care expense deductions and so on. Therefore, I assume this bill will not only be affecting families but also those individuals and low income people.
The Canadian Mining Association supports some aspects of this bill. It supports the definition of mining property, yet it was not aware of the changes until the official opposition contacted it. The association was not consulted. It had to learn from us that the definition of mining property was being tinkered with by the government.
This is a government from behind closed doors. Surely if the government was sincere in its intention, it would have contacted stakeholders and various groups in Canada. It would have listened to Canadians. It should have understood that Canadians want the tax credits to be implemented sooner rather than up to 2005.
The bill guarantees that the basic personal exemptions will hit a minimum of $8,000 by the year 2004. The credits and relief provided in the bill are a step in the right direction, but they are baby steps nonetheless.
Efforts have been made to reduce the capital gains tax, deficit surtax, marginal rates, raise marginal income thresholds and tighten up various other rules surrounding deductions. The bill would increase and clarify the disability tax credit.
There are some good points and some bad points.
In conclusion, Canadian Alliance members would restore public confidence in the fairness of the Canadian tax system by reducing its complexity. We would restore indexation and move toward a simpler tax system built around a single rate of taxation to ensure lower taxes for all Canadians. We believe all Canadians above a minimum income level should share in the cost of the services provided by the government, which benefit all of us irrespective of income.
We hope the government will consider the amendments and what witnesses have said at the committee hearings on this bill. At this point the Canadian Alliance will not be supporting this bill.