Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I withdraw the accusation.
The Prime Minister said one thing and did another. This actually caused investors in this country to lose more than $25 billion in private savings. Most of those people were retired. They could not possibly and will not possibly be able to recoup these losses.
It is the biggest single erosion of private savings ever caused by a single government action.
With that one draconian and, as it turned out, stupid, costly and senseless action, the Conservative leader broke faith with the people. He breached it. He destroyed it. He threw it away.
He is no longer representing the income trust investors whom he asked to vote for him. Now he is ruling them. He is telling them that they must live with the gratuitous pain the government has caused. Now, with this bill, the government seeks to make this breach of faith the law of the land.
That is why I voted against the budget and why I cannot support this enabling legislation. Shame on those who wrote it and seek to impose it upon Canadians.
Today I am not going to add any more of my words to the debate. Instead, I will turn to those of average Canadian investors.
This week on my blog I mentioned that I would have the opportunity to stand here for a few minutes to speak about this issue. I asked individual Canadians if they would send me some messages they would like conveyed to the House. I was overwhelmed with the response.
I would like my hon. colleagues to listen for a couple of minutes to some of the messages.
Mr. Don Bool, of Courtenay, British Columbia, wrote:
For me it's not having the proof of tax leakage. The blacked out pages by the finance department pretty well says it all. I could live with changes to income trusts if it was proven they were not good for the Canadian economy. Just give me good reasons for changing income trust policy and I'll eat the loss. I didn't know much about the particulars of income trusts but when they presented blanked out pages I studied up on trusts and a simple person like me could see the fix was in. I have been taken for a schmuck.
Ron Murray said:
I am a senior citizen that dropped some $30,000 because of the [Minister of Finance's] complete misunderstanding dealing with income trusts. No discussion, no notice, lying to the public--
Sorry, Mr. Speaker. I mean to say “saying one thing to the public and doing another”. Mr. Murray continues:
--refusing to give the background of his numbers on the 'tax loss'.
Mr. Murray said that he sent a letter and states:
I sent a copy to my local MP and was called by him. I went to his office and was muzzled with [the] party line...I am not sure he had a clue what an Income Trust was. The main reason according to [the member of Parliament opposite] was that we were the only country in the world that did not tax income trusts.
Mr. Murray says phooey.
Then we have Tom and Ethna Anderson, who said:
The current government broke its promise not to tax income trusts. These actions have seriously lessened our confidence in the government's ability to govern with honesty and integrity.
Donald Metcalfe of Hanover, Ontario, said:
My wife and I are devastated by the damage the decision of the government to tax income trusts has done to our investments and to our monthly income. We are both seniors and rely on this income...we are down more than $1,200 per month. This is robbery and has affected our living in a major way. I talked to our [Conservative member of Parliament] and he told me [the Prime Minister] would allow him and his fellow MPs no say so why do we elect MPs to represent us when [the Prime Minister] is a dictator.
Again, in sympathy, Mr. Speaker, I will not name the member.
Elmer Sather of Surrey, British Columbia, said:
I am speechless, and in shock over how fast these Income Trusts are being taken over by foreigners.
He said it is staggering.
The Martinson family said that the Prime Minister told people something and did something else, although they used a more descriptive term. They wrote:
The government has successfully made it sound like they get no tax money from businesses involved in the Income Trust structure and people seem to be buying this. I feel it is important that it be made clear to the Canadian public that Governments gets lots of tax money due to Income Trusts.
As of March 31, the Martinson family reminds us that the Canada pension plan had 80 individual income trust businesses in its portfolio. If it was such a bad idea for individual citizens to hold income trusts, as the government would suggest, how could our public pension plan have invested in 80 of them?
Bill Fischer says this in regard to the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) who had a town hall meeting in his riding the other day on income trusts. He said:
I attended and here's my comment:
“We worked hard to elect a Conservative government, and were rewarded with betrayal. [The Prime Minister] promised one thing and did another. A 35 billion dollar--
I will not use the word--
--action. Calling manure a rose doesn't change the smell”.
[The secretary of state] spoke a lot of “rose” at the meeting, but few were fooled. He and [the Prime Minister] need to listen to Ralph Klein and recant, repent, and reimburse investors and seniors. You can't reward...politicians by voting for them [when they do not tell the truth]. It encourages them to continue the practise.
I have another comment here:
I don't remember reading in the party's platform anywhere that you had decided to decimate the nest egg of hundreds of thousands of senior Canadians. This is despicable behaviour from a government that touts itself as being accountable. To whom?
Art Moss, another senior says,
My RRSP took a 25% haircut in the aftermath of the Halloween massacre. It has since recovered about 10%.
However, the real pain of this legislation will come in 5 years when I convert to a RRIF. If all goes according to plan...I was projecting distribution income of $2,000/month.
He goes on to say, “the Minister of Finance calls this tax fairness. There is nothing fair about it”.
Mr. Speaker, I have probably 400 comments here. Could I have a couple of hours? If I could get unanimous consent from the House to continue to table these comments from individual Canadians, I would be a very happy guy because I would be able to tell these Canadians that I came here and stood here today, and actually got their voices to the floor of the House of Commons. Could you ask for that consent, Mr. Speaker?