Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your new posting. I also congratulate my colleague from the other side on his re-election.
We could not agree more in putting our partisan swords aside and trying to work continually for the benefit of all Canadians. I think that is a common theme that we have all heard today.
Let us talk about some of the facts with respect to the Speech from the Throne and delve into them. Those will be the basis of the questions that I have for the hon. member. My first remark relates to a common theme that we all have and that is how we manage to reduce the tax base and the tax burden on the poor and the working poor.
The government has said very clearly that it feels that the best way of doing that is to reduce the GST. Members from the other side have said that hundreds of dollars will be saved by Canadians. Is that actually the truth?
If the hon. member were to look at the facts he would find that 43% of Canadians make less than $40,000 a year. The savings for those people would be about $190 per year. If that amount were compared to a reduction in the basic personal exemption, with the lowest base going from 16% down to 15%, an increase in the basic personal exemption by $500 and a reduction in the lowest tax bracket from 16% to 15%, we would find in the same group that they would save about $390 per year.
Does my hon. colleague believe that a reduction in the GST by one percentage point will put more money in the hands of the poor and the working poor than an increase in the basic personal exemption of $500, as the Liberals did the last time, and reducing the lowest tax bracket from 16% to 15%?