Mr. Speaker, whenever we deal with taxes, exemptions or whatever it may be, which come from the pockets of individuals, one thing the government should be consistent in is fairness. Fairness must prevail within a country. If there is no fairness, then the government does not last very long.
I know as a former hockey referee that a person attempts to be fair. The person may not seem to be fair but he or she attempts to be fair. If the person is judged not to be fair, then that individual's career in that occupation does not last very long.
Whenever the government is dealing with taxes and exemptions it should be fair. If we look at some of the problems that exist in our taxation, we will see there have been huge changes in the way certain things operate in Canada. For instance, at one time most of the school buses were owned, operated, controlled, repaired and so on by the school board. That has changed dramatically. Most of the school buses and the services are contracted out to a company. Therefore, we need to look at that because it has taken place across Canada.
I am absolutely amazed with the change the government wants in the disability tax credit. I cannot believe for one moment that after the tremendous problems which existed last year, when HRDC issued the forms to prove their disability, the government would come back and say that for an individual to qualify, he or she must be able to both feed and clothe themselves.
I have a sister-in-law who lives in a home for seniors and she would certainly qualify. However, there are many in that home who can get up and after many hours get themselves dressed but they cannot sit down and feed themselves or vice versa. Why should they not qualify? I think that is a terrible thing.
Let us look at fairness. The government recently gave the city of Toronto a few million dollars because of the loss which was brought about through the recent epidemic of SARS. If next month the same thing, and let us hope this never happens, another city experiences the same thing and the government chooses not to give money, that will not be viewed by the public as being fair.
I know when I sit down to pay my income tax and fill out the form, I have reason to believe that people with the same income, the same expenses and the same deductions will pay the same amount of tax.
However, in the case which I recently raised in the House about the auditing of a junior hockey league, it was obvious there was no fairness. It is so obvious that even the government is ashamed. When there are claims of unfairness in taxation what generally is done is we listen to what the complainant has to say. The government has done neither. I would beg the government in the interest of amateur sports across Canada to take another look at that action.
It might interest the House to know that an immigrant who has been here for some time now came to my office. What was the complaint of that individual? The person was complaining about the 36,000 illegal immigrants in Canada. After going through all the bookkeeping, the lawyers and all the necessary help to get into Canada, the individual was complaining about how the government sloughed off 36,000 illegal immigrants in Canada.
Indeed, this is all about fairness and I believe, with the number of older people coming into my office, that we should not limit the RRSP, not for one moment. Let them save because as costs and taxes keep going up more and more people cannot exist on their savings. Therefore when they are working, they should be allowed to have higher levels of RRSPs. That would also help the government. If they are allowed to save more now, they are least likely on their retirement to have to rely on the government for assistance with living and income. Let us look at fairness.
Two things really bother me. The first is the disability credit. It is just not good enough for those thousands of people who suffer disabilities. I would hope the government would change its mind as to who qualifies for the disability credits and disability amounts. Let us study that and listen to the people and associations for the disabled from across Canada. With an attitude of fairness, that would change overnight. I beg the government to look at that because it is now totally unfair.
If one automobile dealer could sell cars without collecting the GST, it would soon run everybody out of business. Let us be fair with those who are disabled, and with the amount of money, they have to spend so they can enjoy something in life. I believe what the government plans through this legislation is totally unfair to those with disabilities.