Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity tonight to speak to Bill C-272, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (child adoption expenses).
The purpose of this bill is to allow a taxpayer a deduction for expenses of up to $7,000 related to the adoption of a child when computing his or her income for a taxation year.
I remind the House that my colleague from the Bloc, the member for Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans, introduced a bill almost identical to this one in 1998.
Another bill, Bill C-289, was introduced in September 2000 by the same Alliance member, but it died on the order paper when the election was called.
It is therefore a bill my party the Bloc Quebecois and I support.
As we know, adoption is a provincial responsibility. However, the lack of participation on the part of the federal government creates a grey area for adoptive parents.
Indeed, why would the federal government, which has no qualms about interfering in many areas under provincial jurisdiction, not intervene efficiently in the area of adoption?
A federal tax deduction would not only be a welcome incentive for adoptive parents, but would also make the tax system fairer.
Biological parents are covered under the health insurance plan for prenatal and postnatal care whereas adoptive parents must pay out of their own pocket the full cost of an adoption.
It is odd that the costs of in vitro fertilization are deductible when the costs of adopting a child are not. This is neither fair nor wise on the part of the federal government.
The Quebec government estimates that an international adoption costs the adoptive parents an average of $20,000. Children of the World, one of the largest Canadian adoption agencies, estimates the cost of adopting a child in China at $17,000 per couple. These figures include expenses in Quebec and in China.
The bill should allow taxpayers to deduct from their income the child adoption expenses, not by an amount not exceeding $7,000, but by double that amount.
The federal government should recognize, as Quebec does, the important social contribution of adoptive parents to our society. It has been observed that half of Canadian adoptions are to Quebec families. This is in part due to the fact that Quebec's family policy is far more progressive than that of the federal government.
Adoptive parents face special expenses, particularly in the case of private and international adoptions. I know whereof I speak. Thirty-two years ago, my wife and I adopted a child.
Many couples who want to adopt a child think about it twice because of all the expenses it entails, which is where this bill comes in.
For almost nine years now, Quebec has undergone a change quite unique in the western world. Every year, between 700 and 800 children from all over the world finally find in Quebec a family to adopt them. It obviously would have made adoption easier if the adoptive parents had been able to deduct from their income, at the federal level, the child adoption expenses.
We cannot talk about adoption without talking about family. In Quebec, we are proud to have an integrated and comprehensive family policy. This policy includes among other things a tax credit for adoption expenses, family allowance benefits and the development of educational services and day care for young children, what is commonly known as the $5 a day day care. Quebec is also developing a parental insurance program based on the needs of families in Quebec.
In short, it is obvious that the federal government is 20 years behind in this area. By quickly passing this bill, it would at least be taking a step in the right direction.
In closing, I deplore the fact that this bill is not votable.