Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate the member who has presented his private member's bill for the House's consideration.
As my colleagues have pointed out, the government's intent with respect to the reform of the tax system is to make the system a progressive system, one that is equitable and treats taxpayers the same regardless of what regions they live in and what employment they are involved in. Generally speaking, there should not be any hyphenated taxpayers in this country. They should all be respected and treated as Canadians fully committed to an equitable tax system.
I remember talking about provisions in the tax regime that would look at mechanics, particularly apprentice mechanics. I remember that for a great deal of time the industry was asking for a particular tax regime that would recognize tools used by mechanics, especially during their apprenticeship, as being tax deductible and viewed as educational components.
At that time other arguments were put forward by tradespeople, arguments that had just as much legitimacy as the arguments relating to apprentice mechanics. The government struggled with that and worked toward finding an equitable treatment before it could go ahead and give a tax dispensation to people in a specific trade. I think the ultimate solution was welcomed by industries right across the country.
The forestry workers are obviously a very large, substantial and respected part of the economic life of Canada. If it were at all possible to provide, within that regime of progressive and equitable treatment, a dispensation or compensation for necessary moves, then obviously the government would like to try to do that.
However, the implications have been pointed out. I think it is important that when exemptions are made they should, generally speaking, fit into a category that is available to all Canadians. If individuals who are involved in the construction trades, those who are heavy equipment workers and operators, those who are involved in the steel industry or the mining industry or whatever it may be, need to go to another region of the country, then the amendments should be equitable and as of right to all Canadians.
In my humble estimation, the way to achieve that would be to have a moving allowance which would be deductible for the purposes of individuals relocating to another region in order to avail themselves of the opportunity to work in that region. That is the kind of mechanism that is available to workers, as I understand it, whether they are in the forestry sector or other sectors, and even students have particular access to the tax regime that allows them to deduct the costs of moving.
That is the way the tax system responds, equitably and right across the board to Canadians as of right. For that reason, while we laud the objectives of our colleague who has moved the private member's bill, we cannot support it because it really does treat Canadians as different classes and makes them either more or less equal before the tax regime. That is not the objective of the tax system.