That, in the opinion of the House, the Conservative government's massive corporate tax cuts are destroying any balance between taxes for large profitable corporations and ordinary Canadians; they are stripping the fiscal capacity of the federal government; they are disproportionately benefiting the financial, oil and gas sectors, while leaving others behind, including manufacturing and forestry; and in so doing have failed to invest in those hard-hit sectors and the needs of everyday working Canadians; therefore, this House has lost confidence in the government.
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Outremont.
I am very pleased to speak in favour of this motion. The motion demands a balanced fiscal approach to make life more fair for hard-working Canadian families.
The NDP believes there must be a place where businesses and families can prosper together. That is not what we see today. Over the last 20 years, successive governments have picked the boardroom table over the kitchen table.
They have helped those who are making record profits, like the big polluters and the banks, all the while neglecting the priorities of today's families who are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.
Over the past 20 years, more than 50% of families have seen their income decrease. The 100 highest-paid CEOs now earn 218 times more than the average Canadian. In 9 hours and 33 minutes, they make the same amount that the average Canadian makes in an entire year.
In the past 20 years, the burden of providing government revenues has fallen increasingly to families as opposed to corporations. According to the last budget, the Conservative government plans to collect 12% more taxes from individuals but 14% less from corporations over the next three years. That is not fair, it is not balanced.
The contributions by corporations to the combined personal and corporate tax revenue of our country will decline to below 25% in the next three years. This new trend is due in large part to the huge corporate tax cuts announced in the 2007 economic statement.
The Conservative corporate tax giveaways are draining the fiscal capacity to build the kind of Canada that our Canadian people want us to build for them and their communities.
The Conservatives have surrendered 12.2%, nearly one-eighth of future federal revenues. The unbalanced, across the board nature of these cuts is stripping Canada's fiscal capacity. It is a great boon to the banks and the oil and gas companies. They are the ones making the profits, enormous profits, often at the same time as picking the pockets of the hard-working consumers across the country, those who are trying to buy some gas, or trying to take their money out of the bank or trying to pay their credit cards, but it does precious little to help out the entrepreneurs who are feeling the tough economic times.
The agenda means that fewer fiscal shock absorbers will be there to protect the middle class when we move into uncertain economic times. Therefore, it is very unwise and will leave more and more people behind as we find ourselves in tough economic problems.
Giving away billions of dollars to big banks and big polluters, while ignoring the key strategic investments in our ailing manufacturing and forestry sectors and in social priorities that Canadians are asking us to address, is creating irreversible damage. It is not something that can be fixed easily.
For the last 20 years, while governments have followed this unbalanced approach, every day families have suffered. Education is now out of reach for more and more families. Infrastructure is crumbling all across the country. The cost of prescription drugs is skyrocketing to the point where many people simply cannot afford the medications their doctors tell them they need to be well. While government hands out deep corporate tax cuts, over four million Canadians do not even have a family doctor.
While the federal government reduces Canada's fiscal capacity to provide the services families need, guess who will fill that void?
There are women in this country who work 24 hours a day trying to track down expensive, hard-to-find daycare centres while taking care of their elderly parents and trying to make ends meet as the cost of groceries climbs ever higher. It is working mothers who suffer under the misguided policies of this government.
It is time to put working families first. It is time for a balanced approach.
Not long ago in this chamber, we saw an earlier government propose a $4.6 billion corporate tax giveaway. The NDP stood up and said it was the wrong approach and recommended that investments be made. Indeed, ultimately, that decision was made and we were able to adopt a budget that was balanced and that met those tests.
The NDP believes Canada must have a competitive tax regime for businesses, but not at the expense of hard-working families and not across the board giveaways to companies that do not need the help. We want Canada to be a great place to invest and for businesses to prosper, but they will not prosper if our communities crumble, our families cannot have their basic needs met on a daily basis and we cannot have the educated workforce that is needed.
Improvements for businesses and families need to move in lockstep together. That is how to keep the balance in shape. We should not be choosing one over the other, as the budget is doing. It is possible to do both. We are a strong, innovative and wealthy country. The problem now is that the few are going to be the beneficiaries of that gift in which Canadians should be sharing in a much more just, sensible and balanced way.
The NDP's motion is a motion of non-confidence. The Conservative government has had 26 months to turn things around and make life more affordable for middle class and everyday ordinary Canadians. However, it chose not to do that. It chose to put the corporations first. The champagne bottles were popping on Bay Street. As a result, the gap between the rich and the rest of Canadians is growing and nobody can prove to the contrary. In fact, all one has to do is spend a little time with Canadians in their homes and at their kitchen tables to know that is the hard reality they are facing.
Conservatives have shown that ordinary Canadians cannot have confidence they will make life more fair and affordable for them and their families. Therefore, it is time to take a more balanced approach. The NDP has worked for that for many decades, and we are not about to stop now.