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House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Slave Trade AbolitionRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeSecretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise to mark the bicentenary of one of the great achievements in the fight for freedom and human dignity, the abolition of the slave trade in Canada and throughout the British Empire.

Two hundred years ago, on March 25, 1807, King George III granted royal assent to the act for the abolition of the slave trade, which read as follows:

Be it therefore enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty.... That... the African Slave Trade, and...all manner of dealing and trading in the Purchase, Sale, Barter, or Transfer of Slaves, or of Persons intended to be sold, transferred, used, or dealt with as Slaves, practiced or carried on, in, at, to or from any Part of the Coast or Countries of Africa, shall be, and the same is hereby utterly abolished, prohibited, and declared to be unlawful;

These words were the beginning of the end for the vile practice of the African slave trade, a practice that would be unthinkable today.

For three hundred years, millions of African men, women and children were kidnapped from their homes and families, transported across the Atlantic in horrible conditions and then sold into a life of duress and misery across the Americas.

It is impossible to say how many thousands died on this journey due to illness, mistreatment and even murder since those believed to be too weak to survive the voyage were simply thrown overboard.

Today we celebrate the victory of those brave abolitionists who overcame overwhelming opposition to call a nation and an empire to her conscience.

Foremost among those heroes of human dignity was the great William Wilberforce whose lifetime struggle against the evil of slavery did not stop with the adoption of the act we celebrate today, but continued to his deathbed in 1833 when he learned that Parliament had adopted his bill abolishing slavery altogether.

To this day, Wilberforce and his passion for speaking truth to power remains a model for all of us as parliamentarians.

On this day we should also call to mind the leadership of Canadians in the struggle against slavery, foremost amongst whom was Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe who in 1793 persuaded the legislature of Upper Canada to pass the first meaningful restrictions on slavery in the British Empire.

We also recall those who made Canada the North Star of the underground railroad for tens of thousands who escaped American bondage to come to British North America, beginning with the thousands of black Loyalists who helped to settle Nova Scotia.

Finally, we should remember the courageous role of Canadian sailors in the Royal Navy, many based out of Halifax Harbour, who, at great risk to themselves, helped to enforce the ban on the African slave trade throughout the 19th century.

While we celebrate the bicentenary of these great achievements, we must acknowledge that unjust racial discrimination is one of the sad vestiges of slavery and we must reaffirm our dedication to combating such racism in all of its forms. The achievements of great Canadians, such as His Honour Lincoln Alexander and, indeed, of Her Excellency the Governor General, demonstrate that Canada has met this challenge in so many ways. Canada is truly a land of hope and equality of opportunity and a refuge for the oppressed.

Let us honour the memory of the abolitionists by fighting against slavery and the conditions similar to slavery, which continue to exist even today.

Millions of individuals throughout the world do not enjoy personal freedom when they live in conditions of forced labour or sexual slavery, among others.

The government is dedicated to acting against the vile practice of human trafficking here in Canada. In this regard, I would like to commend the Standing Committee on the Status of Women for its recent report on human trafficking entitled, “Turning Outrage Into Action to Address Trafficking for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation in Canada”.

Today, 200 years later, let us remember the glorious work of William Wilberforce and his colleagues, brave men and women, who were willing to take on a vile and odious industry and to bring the beginning of freedom to millions of people of African origin who had so unjustly been deprived of it.

Slave Trade AbolitionRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud today to stand in the House to mark and to honour this important date in the ongoing and ever present struggle against oppression and discrimination.

I am especially proud because I stand in the full and confident knowledge that my party, the Liberal Party, has a long and proud history of standing up for the rights of the vulnerable and for all those who are discriminated against arbitrarily on account of their social, cultural or ethnic background.

As just one recent example of this commitment, I remind the House that it was the member of Parliament for Laval—Les Îles, a member of the Liberal Party, who introduced a motion last Friday that reads:

That the House recognize the importance of March 25, 2007, as the International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Act to Abolish the African Slave Trade in the British Empire.

It is a credit to all members of the House that the motion passed unanimously.

Anniversaries, such as the one we mark today, are important because they provide us with the opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and how far we must still go in the ongoing battle against oppression and discrimination. As odious and unthinkable as slavery may be to us, for very many people in the world today, slavery remains a reality.

Moreover, it saddens me to remind the House that slavery is not something that exists only in distant and foreign lands. No, slavery can and does exist even today here in Canada. We members of the House, the government and all Canadians must be ever vigilant and ever ready to identify new forms of human degradation which are all but slavery in name.

It is right, I think, to highlight the special role played by William Wilberforce in the struggle to abolish the slave trade and slavery itself. What most impresses me about Mr. Wilberforce's personal struggle was his commitment to principle and his far-reaching vision. Unwilling to be swayed by public opinion or to curry political favour at the expense of the vulnerable, Mr. Wilberforce pushed against the tide of public opinion, which, in his day, supported slavery, and eventually he helped to turn that tide.

On this day all members of the House and all Canadians must remember that the achievement of high ideals requires lasting conviction and sometimes the strength of will to resist popular opinion. Nevertheless, above all else on this day, we must remember and honour as best we can those who directly suffered at the cruel hands of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The trans-Atlantic slave trade may have left an ugly scar on the history of the world but racism, forced detention and labour, and dehumanization of millions that is associated with it, left very real scars on very real people who endured it.

Tragically, it took the lives of at least three million people. It was a barbaric and appalling chapter in the history of humanity. The misery and suffering borne by men, women and children of African decent as the result of this horrific practice should never be forgotten.

We must congratulate ourselves for turning the page on this moment in history but we must never forget the reality of that history.

Slave Trade AbolitionRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity today in this House to draw attention on behalf of the Bloc Québécois to the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire.

Prior to March 25, 1807, the black slave trade made it possible for the British Empire's industry, merchant fleet and English ports to flourish. Beginning in the 16th century, all of Europe took part in the transatlantic slave trade to the enormous profit of a few. An estimated 250 million Africans died or were deported to the Americas during four centuries of the slave trade.

Why?

Because the cotton industry became such a major source of revenue for the southern states of the United States.

Because European immigrants went to America so they could own their own land and were therefore reluctant to work for others. There was also a shortage of labour because there was so much land.

Because people wanted to maximize their land ownership and their profits. They needed a vast supply of labour. Slaves were cheap labour that made it possible to get the work done at low cost while maximizing profits.

Because an oligarchy realized that it could get very rich very easily by exploiting a black slave population.

Because black slaves from tropical West Africa were considered efficient labour because they were used to working in the heat and were immune to certain tropical diseases.

Slaves were cheaper for landowners. Slaves were cheaper, just like workers in developing countries today in various globalized economic sectors.

On March 25, 1807, by a vote of the Commons, Great Britain—which, of the European powers, was considered to be the most active in the slave trade—officially ended this unspeakable practice that reduced black men to beasts of burden and left scars that can still be felt in Africa today.

I have walked along the beaches of the Gold Coast, the West African coast, many times. I have felt a deep connection to the narratives stored in the collective African memory. I have felt the despair of a woman who drowned her little boy because she could not bear the idea of seeing him become a slave one day.

Many times I have pictured these slave ships leaving the west coast of Africa with a cargo of slaves headed for the Americas. I have felt the atrocities during the months of crossing, a gloomy eternity, horror-filled centuries of these countless European ships engaged in the slave trade. I have had a glimpse of all the horrors, humiliation, desperation and heroism experienced by the captives of these ships and I have been plunged into the depths of despair.

When the long lasting horror of the slave trade came to an end, countless shattered men and women had to learn how to live again, step by painful step.

Today we must honour the memory of the victims of the slave trade, acknowledge the fight of the abolitionists, slaves, former slaves, statesmen and ordinary citizens, and give credit to those who enacted abolition.

I want to focus on the memory of William Wilberforce, from England, and on the memory of Victor Schoelcher, from France. Let us not stop addressing the poverty and inequality that still exist in Africa and the West Indies.

Let us not stop fighting the inequality, discrimination and racism that persist today and that affect, in particular, populations originally from Africa and the Caribbean that are now established here in Canada. Let us fight unrelentingly against modern day slavery in all its forms.

Slave Trade AbolitionRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with a great sense of humility that I rise on behalf of the NDP caucus to speak on this occasion of marking the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade, one of the most evil enterprises in our history.

Millions of men, women and children in Africa were forcibly abducted and relocated across an ocean. Countless lost their lives in the journey and those who survived were subjected to some of the most heinous and reprehensible treatment imaginable.

In recognizing and marking the bicentenary, it is time to focus on the slave trade and some truly inspirational individuals who dedicated the fight for human dignity that brought it to its end.

Many of those have been mentioned here today. I want the House to know that we in the NDP are equally appreciative and awed by the inspirational work of political representatives, grassroots activists, and in many instances soldiers and law enforcement officials in many countries, including Canada, who helped bring about the end of this disgraceful endeavour.

As a member from Hamilton I was proud when I heard the name of the Hon. Lincoln Alexander mentioned earlier here today. Linc, as he is affectionately known, remains a fine example of a man with the principles and beliefs that made Canada the great country it is today.

It is also critical at this time of commemoration that we focus on the impact of the slave trade and what it still has in our world today. The slave trade fostered the more modern issue that continues to affect Canada and many countries around the world and that is racism.

I welcome the comments made here today by the government and other opposition party colleagues but, as I did several months ago and again on Friday when the motion was passed to commemorate the bicentenary, I must repeat that this is not enough.

Our words here today are not enough. We cannot fight human trafficking whose roots are likely found in the slave trade by making statements alone.

Only with real efforts to eradicate poverty and injustice throughout the world can we combat the reasons why people are abducted, sold or trafficked in our modern world. Last week's budget put us nowhere ahead in the push to meet our international commitment of 0.7% of national GDP in official foreign aid.

We cannot just be grateful for the women's committee recent report. We must act now on the 33 recommendations made in the report on combating human trafficking.

We cannot educate our youth about the bicentenary if we do nothing to support the grassroots efforts around this country that are trying to hold public educational events and programs commemorating the end of the slave trade.

Last week's budget and the response of Canadian Heritage to date has been to ignore the requests for help from individuals and groups across this country seeking to educate and commemorate this important anniversary. We should be commemorating this important bicentenary with a plan of action to move forward to continue the fight against racism.

It is not too late and I hope the words in this House today will help rededicate all in this House to the important fight against inequality, injustice and intolerance.

Natural ResourcesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

The committee report is entitled “The Oil Sands: Toward Sustainable Development”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, your committee requests a government response.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions today. I am pleased to table the first petition on behalf of the hard-working families of Hamilton Mountain about the lack of child care spaces in our community.

On the day that yet another early year study confirms that Canada is dead last in investing in early learning and child care, the petitioners are expressing their frustration with the government's ABC approach to early learning which under the Conservatives has come to mean anything but child care.

The petitioners are asking Parliament to invest in real early childhood education by passing the NDP's Bill C-303 to create significant child care spaces through a national, high quality, universal, not for profit, affordable and accessible child care system.

Status of WomenPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

The second petition, Mr. Speaker, also comes from hard-working families in my community of Hamilton Mountain and it comes in the year 2007 which is the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

These petitioners are outraged at the cutbacks to the Status of Women regional offices, particularly the one in Hamilton. They will be there protesting this Friday morning at 10:30. They are upset about the removal of advocacy and equality from the mandate of Status of Women Canada, long before we have achieved any such equality.

They are petitioning the Parliament of Canada to take some serious steps to ensure adequate funding and support for seven fundamental areas that need redress. These include: violence against women prevention, a national housing plan, support for women's equality seeking organizations, affordable quality public child care, pay equity, access to justice, and support for the voluntary sector agreements with the federal government.

I am pleased to say that these petitions are not just signed by women. They are also signed by many men in my community who are concerned about the future of their daughters, their granddaughters, and the standard of living of their wives, their aunts and their parents.

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I have a petition to submit on behalf of several dozen constituents in the riding of Simcoe North.

They are essentially compelling the government to reconsider and re-evaluate sentences handed to criminals, particularly that those sentences be in proportion to the crimes in which these offences occur. They cite several concerns particularly relating to criminal activities of younger criminals.

I submit that for the consideration of the government and ultimately the House of Commons.

Summer JobsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I am tabling a petition from five women's centre organizations in my riding.

The petition I am tabling was signed by 89 people and asks the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development to bring back the youth summer employment program that was in place in past years. The petitioners are also asking for a review so that it can be run by local people instead of centralized government officials who are far away and unfamiliar with each riding's needs.

ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting today a petition on behalf of 183 residents of my riding of Parkdale--High Park and of the city of Toronto concerning my once in a lifetime bill, Bill C-394.

As I am sure the House knows, life is difficult for new Canadians. When they come here, it is a huge adjustment for them. Often they do not have close family and friends to help them adjust.

That is what the bill is designed to address. The family reunification aspect is a key part of immigration policy and the current rules are too restrictive. It means that many family members are not eligible for sponsorship.

The petitioners are calling for the Parliament of Canada to ensure that Canadian citizens and landed immigrants are given a once in a lifetime opportunity to sponsor a family member from outside the current family class as currently defined in the Immigration and Refugee Act as contained in my Bill C-394.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

March 26th, 2007 / 3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 166 and 167 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed

Question No. 166Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

With respect to aircraft used by Transport Canada for departmental use: (a) how many aircraft are owned, leased or under contract by the department; (b) when were they bought, rented or leased; (c) at what cost were they bought, rented or leased; (d) from whom were they bought, rented or leased; (e) what were the terms under which each aircraft was bought, rented or leased; (f) what are the total operational costs associated with these aircraft on an annual and monthly basis for the last year; (g) what are the costs associated with each aircraft, broken down on a yearly and monthly basis; (h) what are the costs of these aircraft according to province; (i) what section(s) or division(s) of the Department has the responsibility for these aircraft; (j) under whose authority is use of the aircraft granted; and (k) what is the home airport of each aircraft?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 167Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

With regards to defence procurement by the government: (a) for programs planned, but not approved, (i) are funds available to acquire and support the program, (ii) what are the reasons for its non-approval, (iii) if the Department has been waiting for approval, how long has this delay been; (iv) do these programs have a schedule for their future and what are their respective schedules and milestones; (b) for programs approved for which no contract has yet been signed, (i) are funds available to acquire and support the program, (ii) what are their respective schedules and milestones, (iii) have these programs proceeded according to schedule, (iv) what is the budget for these programs, (v) who are the competitors for these contracts, (vi) how much anticipated work will be done in Canada, (vii) where in Canada will this work take place; and (c) for programs for which contracts have been signed, (i) is contract performance proceeding according to schedule, (ii) how is contract performance being monitored, (iii) what has been delivered to date, (iv) what are the next key deliverables and when are they scheduled for delivery, (v) when is the final product delivery scheduled, (vi) how much has been paid to date and, for all payments, is the amount in accordance with the contract, (vii) are there any factors that have increased program cost and, if so, what are they?

(Return tabled)

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement, government orders will be extended by 19 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government, and of the amendment.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise again to speak to the budget.

When I left off I was talking about the renewable fuels and what a benefit that will be to our agricultural community, helping our industry diversify. For instance, a company like Eastern Greenway Oils in my riding in the community of Waterville started the production of biodiesel on a small scale and are actually working to help develop that and also do test markets in New Brunswick and beyond.

These renewable fuels initiatives as well as our environmental initiatives will help the forestry industry as well. As stated by Avrim Lazar, the president of Forest Products Association of Canada, the industry has switched to fossil fuels like biomass, a clean and green carbon neutral energy source derived from the industry, which has actually got it to the point where 60% of its production and sector's energy needs is coming from these types of fuels.

I firmly believe that these budget commitments that we have made, both last year and this year, will help to expand that impressive number in years to come.

While we have contributed significantly to the agriculture and forest industries, we are also investing in the backbone of industry and communities in Tobique—Mactaquac, which is namely infrastructure and trucking.

A significant point in fixing the fiscal balance is the recognition that we do have a large infrastructure deficit in Canada. The new long term infrastructure plan outlined in budget 2007 delivers an astounding $33 billion over seven years. Whether it be our large municipalities, small towns, villages or many of the local service districts that dot our province, this funding will serve to maintain and enhance the backbone of our livelihood in Tobique—Mactaquac.

New Brunswick itself will receive $64 million for infrastructure. These dollars will be spent on things to enhance our safety and standard of living, things like roads and the much awaited development of route 8, which runs from just inside the federal riding of Fredericton clear through the riding of Tobique—Mactaquac, some 36 kilometres in length.

Infrastructure also means water and waste water, like the project we just announced in the town of Nackawic, in partnership with the province of New Brunswick and the town of Nackawic, and the development of key recreational facilities in other municipalities, such as Grand Falls and Hartland. This commitment is good news for these communities.

With respect to trucking, the riding of Tobique—Mactaquac has one of the highest per capita concentrations of trucking in Canada. Some refer to trucking as the backbone of industry in New Brunswick. My riding exemplifies the movement of this with the movement of agricultural and forestry products, many of which are exported, such as potatoes and lumber, to the U.S. These goods would just not get to market without the trucking industry and its drivers.

For example, when I talked to people at various trucking companies in my riding as part of the pre-budget consultations, three major concerns emerged: the regulatory regimes that companies and truckers have to deal with, the need for them and their equipment to comply with environmental regulations, and the minimal allowances provided to truckers. I am proud to see that our government is beginning to address these concerns.

In addition to our action on regulation and our ecofreight initiatives, we are also helping our truckers.

Meal allowances have been a serious concern for truckers for a long time. This budget will increase allowable deductions for meals from 50% to 80% for this group that plays an important role in our economy.

This respects the fact that these people must be away from their homes for long periods of time and must ensure that the allowance for their travel had better reflect the costs and the need for these folks to be more healthy.

The requirements of a long haul driver have changed over the years. With the increased technical complexity of the equipment and complicated regulation, this job is not just driving a truck. In fact, many of these fine individuals are a company's first line of customer service when delivering products to their customers. It is time we started showing them the respect they deserve.

In fact, Peter Nelson, the executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, said, “This is a positive step forward in recognizing the valuable contribution of our long-haul drivers”. Again, this is good news for a sector of our economy”.

Finally, ordinary New Brunswickers stand to gain in excess of $60 million per year from the tax initiatives proposed in this budget.

I will reiterate that I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Cambridge.

There will be $60 million in tax benefits going to New Brunswick. Small business, the lifeblood of our economy, also benefits. In the March 24 edition of the Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Andreea Bourgeois, the director of provincial affairs for New Brunswick, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, commented on the help the federal budget had provided to small business. She stated:

Looking at the big picture, we got a big victory for our members. The one that I can tell you that members are most happy with is the increase in the capital gains exemption from $500,000 to $750,000.

She also went on to praise the efforts to reduce the tax burden and paper burden by 20% by 2008. It was not just the statement that we would reduce the paper burden, but the commitment to a timeline to get it done.

We are going to do our best to help put the financial life back into small business.

In conclusion, I would like to say that this is a good budget. It is balanced because it takes care of the environment, fills the infrastructure funding gap, addresses the fiscal imbalance, provides tax relief and takes care of our health system.

The common theme in this budget is taking action. A common theme from this government, since it was elected last year, is taking action. I am proud to support the budget and the principles it represents for our country, my province and my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand the member's enthusiasm, but taking action sometimes does the wrong thing. Take, for example, the promise of the government that it would never tax income trusts. In fact, on October 31, 2006, the government broke its promise and announced the taxation of income trusts, which led to the loss of the value of the nest eggs of ordinary Canadians, many of whom are seniors, of about $25 billion.

What is worse is the finance minister was called before the finance committee to account. Does the government remember the term “accountability”? The minister refused to lay out the calculation of the so-called tax leakage. In fact, expert witnesses had shown clearly that the methodology was flawed, that the tax leakage was nominal and that the approach used by the government was absolutely draconian and unaccountable. It was telling Canadians that it did not care, that it had to do this for another reason. It has not said what that reason is.

Could I hear the member's words on accountability and on the fraud perpetrated on the Canadian people. According to the Prime Minister, the greatest fraud is to break a promise.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the biggest fraud I remember is the $40 million that we are still missing from the Liberal Party of Canada.

This is all about tax fairness. We implemented tax fairness and income splitting. I watched the Minister of Finance at the finance committee meeting go into great detail during his PowerPoint presentation. It seems to me that the opposition party does not want to listen. This is for tax fairness. If there were no tax leakage, why are all the ministers of finance and provinces supporting our efforts?