Mr. Chairman, I will try to answer the several questions that have been asked. Arguably not all of them were on clause 1, but nonetheless I think they are of considerable interest to members of parliament.
On the issue that some hon. members raise as to what they believe to be an April 1 retroactivity clause in this, it is not in the report. Perhaps the mistake, if I can call it that, has occurred by some misreading that Bill C-12 will come into force retroactive to April 1. Maybe that is where it comes from.
In terms of why the date of January 1 was utilized for this bill, hon. members who were here last time, particularly those who were in House leadership positions and so on, will recall that the last bill took effect the date of the election prior. That is the way it was done before. We could have done exactly the same thing this time. That would have made it retroactive to November 27. It would have given retroactivity of one more month but would have essentially meant adjusting everybody's tax returns for last year. I felt it would be quite a burden, given the small change that it would make. In fact, the tradition would have meant to back it up further, not less than what it is now. That is the reason for that.
Again, I am using the last question first because I did not note and I am only going from memory. How does the bill apply to someone who does not opt in? I will preface my remarks by saying that I hope everyone does opt in, even those who feel obligated for whatever reason to vote against the bill, although I hope there are no one does.
I said that yesterday, I said in media reports and I repeat it again before my colleagues, because I think it is an important consideration. The new bill would not apply for people who did not opt in. In other words, they would remain at where they are now: the old cost of indexation formula, the old salary structure, the old tax free portion, the old accrual rate and everything that exists now.