Mr. Speaker, let us take a look back and talk about the Minister of Finance's presentation of budget 2005. You will recall that the presentation of this budget was not the seventh wonder of the world in the minister's eyes, nor was it the sixth. In his eyes, this was the greatest wonder in the world. In his opinion, nothing so extraordinary had ever been done in Canadian budgetary history. It was magnificent.
Just a few days before the Prime Minister practically appointed the leader of the New Democratic Party the de facto finance minister in some type of shadow cabinet, the actual minister had said that Bill C-43 was perfect and would not be amended in any way.
Earlier, during questions and comments, I mentioned that a similar bill had been debated in the Standing Committee on Finance and had been defeated. I want to point out that in committee, the parliamentary secretary's presentation was not very convincing, to say the least.
Earlier I mentioned that I was quite pleased that the parliamentary secretary had used his 10 minutes of speaking time. However, although he talked for 10 minutes, I must admit he was not any more convincing in the House than in committee.
As you can see, the motion we are discussing today is one that the government itself does not believe in. The parliamentary secretary was very clear that, in any event, future legislation will reintroduce the initial presentation.
That said, the Bloc Québécois was opposed to this motion in committee and we are still opposed to it today, for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that this motion effectively excludes roughly 60% of businesses from this tax cut.
It is understandable that the NDP, in its desire to improve its profile, has abandoned its main objective for a more watered down one by entering into a pact with the Liberal Party. It is understandable that the NDP has abandoned the unemployed by entering into that pact with the Liberal Party out of a desire for votes. It is understandable that the NDP has not joined us in pushing to obtain some improvements to EI by entering into that pact with the Liberal Party.
What is more, if 60% of businesses are excluded from these tax cuts, the competitive strength of those businesses is decreased. Competition now is not just within North America, or indeed all the Americas, but global. We have had reminders of that in recent months with some very sad events.
I will touch briefly on the situation in the textile sector in Huntingdon, and the more recent one with Tembec, in the forestry, pulp and paper sector. This has had a very heavy impact, in my riding among others. So excluding 60% of businesses from the tax cuts is harmful to the economy in general, and by extension to the workers. If people are to be able to earn a living they need companies to employ them. This strikes me as pure logic.
Today we have a motion the government does not even believe in, a motion inspired by the NDP budget, one which lets the unemployed down completely, in connection with both EI and conditions favourable to creating real employment for real workers.
The other dramatic thing about this situation is that, following the tabling of the 2005 budget, companies, workers and other governments—I am thinking specifically of the Government of Quebec—have taken steps in accordance with what was presented in that budget.
When Bill C-43 was introduced, all the provinces took note of this legislation and acted accordingly.
Let us take Quebec for example. Soon after the presentation of the federal budget, the Quebec government presented its own budget. Minister Audet looked at the overall situation. He noticed that the federal government was about to bring in a corporate tax cut. With the objective of making Quebec companies even more competitive on international markets, the Quebec government took advantage of this extraordinary opportunity and lowered its overall corporate taxes.
If the House adopts this motion, it will have a negative impact on all businesses in Canada, since it will exclude 60% of them. However, this negative impact would be even greater on Quebec businesses, because Quebec tried to reduce the tax on capital. While it increased the corporate tax marginally, it primarily tried to reduce taxes in general.
So, these two motions do not promote job creation and retention in Quebec. These motions do not reflect the long term management of corporate capital and taxes. They could have very serious consequences with respect to a challenge that we will soon have to face, namely, competition on international markets.
I am thinking more specifically of China, which is really hurting a large number of industries, including the textile and pulp and paper sectors. This is not to mention the competition with the United States, which is also hurting our industry very badly. Unfortunately, despite their very liberal—in the economic sense of the term—statements, the Americans often rely on protectionist measures.
In any case, we have before us a motion in which the government does not believe. This motion would impede the creation and retention of jobs. I do not see how the New Democratic Party—which likes to think of itself as a champion of the rights of citizens—can, in good conscience, support such a measure. It seems to me that this measure includes things that NDP members should really be concerned about. Again, it is critical that businesses can continue to create jobs for workers, so that the latter can earn a decent living.
It is really unfortunate—this was discussed a few minutes ago—to bring back motions considered inadmissible, on the pretext that there are extraordinary conditions. This is the case, especially, with Motions Nos. 1 and 2. At the same time, I find it rather ironic that the parliamentary secretary is saying that, in any case, the motions will be amended in future legislation. Then he tells the House, through the Chair, that it is important to reintroduce these motions for extraordinary reasons, not apparent to us at all.
I do not see what extraordinary reasons justify the reintroduction of these motions. They were debated in committee and rejected. The government does not even believe in them and plans to amend them in future legislation. I find this rather ironic. I would almost like to say that sometimes the parliamentary secretary talks out of both sides of his mouth, but I would not go that far.
Because of the parliamentary secretary's lack of enthusiasm, both here and in committee, we realize that the Liberal government does not believe in these measures. I suggest they withdraw these motions in order to be honest with the House and with their supposed allies, whom they plan to dump in any case at the first opportunity. Even more importantly, they should be honest with the public.
In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about public cynicism with respect to the public service. These are not measures that will increase public trust in elected officials. He told us himself that he knew he no longer had the confidence of the House and that he had to present measures to please the NDP and would be taking them out. That is not responsible.