Mr. Speaker, before I speak to Bill C-67, I would like to respond to my colleague from Edmonton—Sherwood Park when he used the hockey team analogy. He was very right in his response to a question from the parliamentary secretary when he said that if a hockey team charged $1 million for a seat in a hockey arena, the arena would be empty and there would be zero revenue. He is absolutely right, but that is if $1 million is charged. That is the key. If a reasonable fee is charged that hockey arena will be filled. That is what the National Hockey League did recently. It came to that realization.
From 1993 until this very day the Liberal team realizes that we have to use a balanced approach. We have to come to grips with what is going on in this country and tell people the truth, basically deal with it and say what the problem is and what we have to do. That is what we did in 1993.
Today we are discussing Bill C-67, the unanticipated surpluses act. Earlier on the gentleman from Abbotsford was a bit confused about the summary of the bill. I want to take this opportunity to read the summary of the bill so that members opposite understand:
The enactment authorizes the Minister of Finance to make, in respect of fiscal years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, certain payments out of the annual surplus that is in excess of the sum of $3 billion and the amount paid in respect of that fiscal year under An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments, being chapter 36 of the Statutes of Canada, 2005. It also authorizes the Minister of Finance to make, in respect of fiscal years 2007-2008 to 2009-2010, certain payments out of the annual surplus that is in excess of $3 billion. The enactment allocates the amounts authorized to be paid as follows: one third to tax relief, one third to spending priorities and the remainder to reduce the accumulated deficit for the fiscal year.
The enactment also provides a mechanism for increases to the basic personal amounts under the Income Tax Act for taxation years 2007 to 2010 in addition to those implemented in the Budget Implementation Act, 2005, so long as the increases are considered to be fiscally sustainable.
For the benefit of my Conservative Party colleague from Abbotsford, that is what the bill is all about.
I came to participate in this debate with set comments with respect to the bill and other issues related around why the Minister of Finance in his wisdom and through consultation with his cabinet colleagues and us as a party is presenting this bill. However, as I sat in this honourable chamber listening to the debate, all of a sudden certain comments triggered me to say to my hon. colleague from Edmonton—Sherwood Park, thank God for immunity in this chamber because a couple of times he contradicted himself. He talked about the debt being over $500 billion and then about it being lower than $500 billion. In a minute I will point out exactly what the debt is.
Certain comments were made. The member for Cambridge talked about fiction. Let me tell him and his party about fiction. In the 2000 budget, as was mentioned earlier by one of my colleagues, a $100 billion tax relief program was rolled out over five years. If he thinks that is fiction, maybe he should look at his T-4 slips for the last five years. I know that each and every Canadian looks at his or her T-4 slip and those Canadians will answer whether it is fiction or not.
The member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park talked about pennies, and I am glad he used the words “ EI premium”. In the past members of his party would say it was a tax. I cannot thank him enough. As a former employer, that is really what it is. It is an employment insurance premium.