Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to put some thoughts on the record regarding the agenda put forward by the present Conservative government and to say to members of the House and the public that it is not something that we New Democrats would do.
With respect to the priorities in this country, we believe what is necessary is that we invest whatever money is available to us in community infrastructure, social infrastructure, health infrastructure and education infrastructure. In that way we can position this country to be the best in the world when it comes to economic performance and look after our citizens in the many ways in which Canada has come to be known in the rest of the world.
What is happening out there and in here are at cross purposes with each other. The government is proposing in its economic statement a cut in the federal corporate income tax rate from 22% to 19.5% in 2008, to 18% in 2010, to 16.5% in 2011, and to just 15% in 2012. That will take anywhere from $6 billion to $12 billion out of the government coffers.
That money could be used to invest in the programs that we all know we need to support our children, to provide a future for generations to come, to make sure our health care system becomes once again the envy of the world, to make sure that our post-secondary education system is available to everybody so that we will have the kind of workers we will need to compete in the evolving global economy.
That cut significantly outstrips the promise in budget 2007 p to cut the corporate income tax rate to 18.5% by 2011. The Minister of Finance commented that the corporate tax cuts are the deepest and fastest ever contemplated. When that is stacked up against the kind of corporate tax cut that was given in the 1990s under the previous Liberal government, one has to be amazed at the aggressive nature and zeal the government has to return money to big corporations that already have more than they will ever need.
Unfortunately, as we look for allies in this place to stop this agenda, we heard the leader of the Liberal Party comment that he supported the corporate tax cut and noted he had called for that very same measure himself. To suggest for a second that there is any opposition in this place, aside from the NDP and at times the Bloc, by the Liberals is to not understand what is going on in this place.
Over the last couple of months since Parliament returned in October after the prorogation, time after time the Liberals have had the opportunity to stand and say no to this slash and burn and cut agenda, this agenda to diminish the capacity of government. Time after time the Liberals have had the opportunity to actually participate in the building up of the common life of this country but they consistently have sat on their hands and have refused to vote. They will not stand to vote yes or no, in that I think some in that party are conflicted, but in any case they will not vote.
The economic statement forecast that the annual revenue cost on full implementation in 2012-13 will be $6 billion. That is $6 billion which is not available to government to invest in those things that students out there know are needed if we are going to ensure that post-secondary education is affordable, and that seniors know are needed if we are going to work with them to ensure they can live lives of dignity, to reflect the work they have done throughout their years in the workplace.
That is $6 billion out of the government's capacity to respond to the crisis in health care. That is $6 billion that will not be available to help our veterans, who have fought in wars on behalf of this country. They have fought for freedom and democracy and have come back to find themselves living in some very desperate circumstances and without the support they need to look after themselves and their families and to live with dignity.
Progressive economists conclude that this $6 billion is actually understated and that the actual figure of forgone revenue from this measure is more likely to be in the $12 billion range. That is a lot of money.
That is a lot of money not available to the government to transfer to the provinces to fix those roads, to invest in public transit, to build bridges and to make sure that our communities are in good shape, to provide clean water, to help the smaller communities that have a very small tax base to deal with some of the new regulations that are coming in with regard to how they deal with waste, waste water and sewage disposal.
The banks and resource sector benefit most from these cuts, so big oil and big banks are the winners. The financial sector, one-third of Canadian corporate pre-tax profits, and the booming oil, gas and mining sectors, one-sixth of Canadian corporate pre-tax profits, account for the bulk of corporate income. They will benefit nicely from this corporate boondoggle that we are going to see delivered if the Liberals do not develop a bit of spine and backbone, and oppose with us this very devastating and damaging agenda that is coming forward.
These blanket corporate tax cuts will do nothing to target the sectors we want to stimulate. So not only will they take away from government's ability to invest in the infrastructure that we need if we are going to continue to have Canada number one and number two in the world when it comes to investing in its people, but it is not going to stimulate the economy either in the way that the government suggests it will because this money is going to the wrong sectors.
We need investment in sectors like manufacturing and green companies where we can help stimulate quality job creation and invest in renewing machinery and equipment, and strengthening research, development and innovation.
What is happening out there, as we debate this very draconian approach to the finances of the government and the country? As I travel the country and meet with people, I find there is an anxiety growing, an unease among the populace, around their future and what they will be able to count on.
Mr. Speaker, I will continue my speech after question period.