Madam Speaker, Bill C-43 is an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005. However I am critical of it because, in the usual Liberal fashion, parts of it sound good but it falls short of the goodness it could have been.
For example, right off the top, printed in the summary of the bill is the following:
Part 1 amends the Income Tax Act and the Income Tax Application Rules to
(a) increase the amount that Canadians can earn tax free...
That sounds good but when the calculation is done, the average person would benefit from that provision by about $16 for the whole year, about the cost of taking the kids to McDonald's once. The Liberals give the kids a happy meal and in exchange they want to be kept in power and thanked for their benevolence to us all.
In this bill we are rightly concerned with the Liberal approach to this country's finances: spending without a plan; the Kyoto measures in Bill C-43; the wasteful potentials in Bill C-48, which is about the misguided and hurtful NDP; and the $25 billion in spending announcements in the last few weeks. This irresponsible fiscal approach will hurt families, children, seniors, government workers and new Canadians.
However there are some initiatives in Bill C-43 which Conservatives support and will implement if we form the government, such as the Atlantic accord, better tax relief, gas tax money for municipalities, RRSP initiatives, increases to seniors' pensions, et cetera.
However this bill must be looked at in the context of the overall Liberal-NDP budget. The Liberals have mixed some policies of going in the right direction with initiatives that would prove hurtful to the well-being of Canadians.
Then along comes Bill C-48, the Liberal-NDP deal, that undermines Bill C-43. It should be apparent to all who follow these things that the government is now ruining the country's finances with runaway spending commitments without real implementation or monitoring plans. It is sad to observe that the Liberals are spending billions in an effort to buy votes.
First, they bought 19 NDP votes for $4.5 billion. Now the Prime Minister is travelling the country trying to buy votes of sectors of Canadians by making huge promises. He then attaches a threat that the power hungry Conservatives want to take away this Liberal joy. This Liberal vote buying spree is nothing more than an attempt to distract from its ad scam, which itself is a vote buying scandal worth about $250 million.
It has all come down to the axiom that a vote for the Liberals outside of Quebec is a vote for separation inside Quebec. Voting for the scandal ridden Liberals sends the wrong message to Quebecers who do not like corruption in their name. In view of their sense of being insulted, sadly, Quebecers are choosing the separation option. The Liberals have been creating separatists and this budget bill is part of it.
Canada could have more and better paying jobs and a much higher standard of living but Ottawa taxes too much, spends too much and winds up still owing too much.
Since 1999-2000, program spending has gone up 44%, a compound annual growth of 7.6% when the economy itself managed to grow only 31.6%. That record is a fundamental flaw in Liberal management which will come to haunt our country if continued. It is not surprising that there is so much waste in the government.
Often the government responds to problems with a knee-jerk way of throwing money at a problem. It does not know what to do but it sounds good if money is sent along the way. The Liberals confuse spending money with getting results and value.
Throwing money at the firearms registry, for example, is their way of dealing with the criminal misuse of firearms and the gunplay on our streets and it reveals the general unprofessional approach of Liberal administration.
The gun registry was to cost $2 million. Media reports now say that the actual cost is about $2 billion and the program does not work. One can imagine the community benefit if Alan Rock had taken my advice in the beginning when I told him, in very strong terms in a consultation meeting I had with him, that I would rather have the registry money assigned to various crime prevention and community protection measures than waste it in the registry. Time has shown that I was right and he and his many advisors were wrong, very wrong.
In Quebec, the 1995 referendum was a scare for the nation. The Liberals responded by throwing money at it but without a real plan or a system of accountability. The result was the sponsorship scandal where $250 million were wasted, $100 million probably illegally funnelled to Liberal friends in the Liberal Party. It had the opposite effect of the intended purpose. In fact, it reinvigorated Quebec separation.
Between 2003-04 and 2004-05, the Liberals could not help themselves: program spending skyrocketed by 11.9% and per capita program spending by the federal government has reached its highest point in over a decade and is scheduled to go even higher in the future. However increases in real government spending do not equate to solving problems or getting better results.
Imagine if some of that money was left with families, in the form of lower taxes. The multiplier effect of that would bring more jobs and eventually greater tax revenue for health care and education. An administered tax dollar is an inefficient dollar for our general welfare, in comparison to the same dollar that was never taken from the taxpayer in the first place.
Of course, we need public services and it is for that reason that compassionate Conservatives are so concerned about wise fiscal management, for without care there will not be the revenue available to pay for the social programs that we want.
The NDP-Liberal finance bills have it all backwards and that is why NDP spending on services beyond the capacity of the economy puts into play a doomsday financial problem, when the predicted job losses surely will come and the welfare rolls will skyrocket. The heartless social consequences of NDP thinking and economics hurts people.
I believe it is more compassionate and wise to ensure that we have more people working than just getting by on a meagre public subsidy. A growing sound economy is the most compassionate thing a government can provide so that we are able to help those who cannot help themselves. In the long term, it is a truism that NDP socialism hurts people.
Recently, while government spending went up, according to Statistics Canada, Canadian families saw their after tax income stall in 2002 and in the fall of 2003.
Under pressure from the NDP to remove the tax relief for business, the finance minister told the House that his budget could not be “stripped away piece by piece”. However, within days, without telling his minister, the Prime Minister tried to cover up his sponsorship vote buying scandal by buying the votes of the NDP.
The $4.6 billion, now Bill C-48, will be allocated through order in council in 2005-06 and 2006-07 to programs for the environment, housing and post-secondary education. However the money will not flow unless there is a surplus of $2 billion in those years, and that will not be known for 2005-06 until the books close in August, 2006. That means that the money will not flow for at least 18 months. If it ever does flow at all, it will be at the discretion of the cabinet which again has not designated a plan or even stated a purpose for the money.
What we see is a familiar pattern of vague objectives, deception even of their own NDP partners and no concrete plans.
The Liberals and the NDP are falsely giving the impression that money for the budget initiatives will flow immediately after the Thursday vote. Following regular parliamentary protocol, the bill is closer to its beginning stage and needs to go through many steps and many more months of study before the money would flow.
Last year's budget implementation bill just passed the Senate this last month, a year late.
The bottom line is that the Liberals are corrupt. They are trying to distract the vote buying scandal of the sponsorship program by buying NDP votes and now the public's votes.
In most Canadian families, both parents need to work just for one to pay the taxes. We must never forget that a dollar left in the hands of a worker, homemaker, small businessperson or entrepreneur is more beneficial to the economy than a dollar taken into the hands of a government bureaucrat or politician.
The Conservative Party wants to clean up government. It looks like the finances of the Liberals say they want to clean out government.
Consequently, from a financial administrative perspective, we need an election because the Liberals are corrupt and they are ruining the country's finances. The government has lost the moral authority to govern, has not secured the legal financial authority to govern and, by ignoring Parliament, has become illegitimate.
What Canadians have seen in the last few weeks is truly unprecedented: a government already steeped in corruption attempting to cover-up one vote buying scandal by looting the treasury regardless of the long term consequences for average Canadians.
Canada cannot afford the unholy collusion of the Liberal-NDP financial deal.