Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise at the end of this first hour of debate on the motion by my colleague from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. I also appreciated the speech by the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
Today, the federal government has decided to put in place a money distribution scheme in order to provide lower-income people with compensation for the increase in gas prices. Unfortunately, the administrative or bureaucratic trick that would give people living alone access to this benefit has not been found. It has been decided that low-income people with children, as well as older people, will be entitled to some amount, but there is no mechanical way to grant it to people living alone, as they receive neither the guaranteed income supplement nor the child tax benefit. Without a bureaucratic solution, we will not move forward.
Today, I am speaking to a motion whose movers have proposed a solution. Time and energy have been invested in something that seemed very complex. We are talking about the profits of a company managed for a rather long period of time by the Prime Minister. As soon as he was appointed Minister of Finance in 1994, a number of people began looking for a way to ensure that his company, still managed by his family, could benefit from an unfair advantage.
We all pay tax on our income, every one of us, no matter what our jobs or positions are, and that is right. Our progressive tax system is such that the person who earns a higher income can make a bigger contribution to the workings of our society. That is a good thing. Some provinces and some governments have made more progressive choices than others. But all in all, the basis of our income tax system is for everybody to pay his or her fair share. In the end, that ensures that the government has enough revenue and that all taxpayers pay their fair share.
In this case, the situation all started in a complicated procedure that is difficult to get into. It is a question of investments that are made by an international holding company in a country like Barbados. This allows the investor to save taxes on amounts that should normally be taxed.
Companies doing business in Canada or the United States that have assets here also benefit from efforts made and work accomplished, and also from clients with whom they do business and people in society who contribute to providing them with the necessary infrastructure. Just think, for example, about the St. Lawrence Seaway and other harbour equipment and infrastructure. These things have cost and continue to cost the Canadian tax system. It is the people of Canada and Quebec who foot the bill. We need to have a system whereby highly profitable companies have to pay taxes in proportion to the profits they make.
However, this is not the general practice in this government. The issue of gas prices is another example. The government has condoned for many years a model under which oil companies could generate all the profits they wanted, since market forces rule, and the government thinks that is quite all right. Afterwards, we have seen huge profit margins in refining, which is totally unacceptable.
Under pressure from the Bloc Québécois and the people, the government decided to give more teeth to the Competition Act. The same goes for the tax exemption agreement with Barbados. The government has implemented a system that deserves to be watched closely. We would then avoid creating the situation that we saw with the company that the Prime Minister was responsible for.
Unfortunately, my time has expired. I hope that, during the second hour of debate, beyond the debates that were held during this first hour, we will be able to convince the House of the relevancy of this motion and close this loophole in our tax legislation that is not a credit to Canada.