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House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was region.

Topics

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

I would like to thank the hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup. I will take everything I have heard under advisement, and I will inform the House of my decision shortly.

For now, we will resume debate. The hon. member for Markham—Unionville.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to debate Bill C-305, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (exemption from taxation of 50% of United States social security payments to Canadian residents).

Tax fairness is what we should consider when contemplating this bill. The question is whether Bill C-305 would deliver fairness tax fairness between Canadian residents who receive Canada pension plan payments and Canadians who live in Canada but, due to their previous employment, receive social security payments from the United States.

I will begin with a bit of the complicated history that surrounds this bill. Under a 1984 tax treaty with the United States, Canadians who receive U.S. social security payments were only required to claim 50% of their social security payments as taxable income in Canada.

In 1996, the treaty changed allowing the country, in this case the United States, to tax social security payments that were sent north of the border, rather than these payments being taxed in the country of residence. It instituted a 25.5% withholding tax at the time. This was good news for pensioners with high incomes as the 25.5% withholding tax by the United States was lower than their marginal tax rate in Canada and they saved money. However, for lower income Canadians the rate would have been higher than their marginal tax rate and, therefore, they were left worse off.

Partly as a result of this unfairness for lower income pensioners, the treaty changed again in 1997 when the U.S. stopped the 25.5% withholding from social security recipients and taxation power once again returned to the country of residence, which was Canada. The Government of Canada agreed at the time to make only 85% of the social security income taxable in the hands of pensioners living here.

What BillC-305 proposes to do is to turn back the clock by returning to the 1984 formula whereby only 50% of social security payments would be considered taxable income by the Canada Revenue Agency.

This is a very quick summary but with our limited time it does some justice to this very complicated issue. During the second reading of the bill, the Liberal members of Parliament agreed that the bill should go to committee so that it could be determined if there were a tax unfairness here and if the bill would appropriately rectify the problem.

During consideration of Bill C-305, the members of the Standing Committee on Finance determined that the bill would not lead to equitable tax treatment between Canadian CPP recipients and Canadian social security recipients. As a result, the committee recommended to the House that the bill not proceed.

I was pleased to see that the Conservative members of the committee were very sensible and pragmatic in their approach to this bill, although this recent amendment might suggest some reversal.

Yes, all members of the committee and all members of the House want to help Canadian seniors to make ends meet. On the surface, it seemed as though this bill might have been a way to do just that. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection of the bill, it became evident that it would create an unfairness in terms of how one group of seniors was taxed compared to another group of seniors. What it would have accomplished is to level the playing field between social security recipients in 1984 and social security recipients in 2008. Suddenly one group of pensioners receiving social security would have been taxed much less than those who receive Canada pension plan, even if they had similar levels of incomes.

What it would have accomplished is to level the playing field between social security recipients in 1984 and social security recipients in 2008. That is not tax fairness and it is not an appropriate tax policy for Canada.

I understand that there is often an almost irresistible urge to simply vote yes on a bill such as this. It seems so easy: lower the tax burden for some of Canada's seniors who happened to spend most of their working lives in the U.S. instead of Canada. However, when we lower the tax burden for one group of people, it means that other Canadians, including other seniors, will need to fill that void in order to provide the services on which so many Canadians rely.

Once again, I congratulate the members of the Standing Committee on Finance, particularly the Conservative members who, in this circumstance, were able to look beyond the surface of the bill and see that in the larger scheme of things the bill would have created a tax unfairness.

Therefore, I will be supporting the committee's recommendation that Bill C-305 not proceed further. With the committee having debated this matter at some length and reflected upon it, I really do not see the need to return the bill to committee.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike my Liberal colleague, I am very pleased with the amendment that the Conservatives have finally decided to put forward. It is in line with our position in committee—we wanted this change with respect to American pensions.

Today, I urge every person receiving an American pension, or whose parents receive one, to pay close attention to this debate over the coming weeks and months.

The Standing Committee on Finance studied a bill to rectify a long-standing inequity. Let us remember that at one point, the government decided that Americans should tax pensions paid to American pensioners, but there was no way for the United States to collect that tax.

Several members of the House participated in the debate. I remember Herb Gray, who was a member here at the time, and several other members from all over the region, including François Langlois, the member for Bellechasse. Together, we managed to restore the balance so that people could collect their pensions. Then the government set a tax rate that was higher than the one in place before this whole crisis started.

The member who introduced this bill wanted to follow through on a commitment made by the Conservatives. At the Standing Committee on Finance, I do not know why, we ended up wanting to kill the bill.

Members should always be willing to change their minds once they realize their mistake. The Bloc Québécois had said that it was important for the bill to be passed. We voted in favour of that in committee. However, the Conservative majority—we just heard the Liberal critic speak—felt otherwise. Now, the Conservatives are realizing that this bill still needs to be examined for two main reasons. First, on the substance of the issue, we need to be fair to people who collect American pensions, and, at the end of the day, ensure an appropriate tax rate. Second, the Conservatives realized that they were blatantly ignoring an election promise made by their party and brought forward by an MP. He was even cast aside by his own party.

Today, the amendment before us will enable us to continue examining the bill, and hopefully to implement a government measure that will rectify this situation. It is possible that the government plans on dragging this out until the next budget, but at least we will have the chance to once again discuss the issue and rectify the situation.

Some people are perhaps not familiar with the American pension issue. In the ridings I have represented, particularly during the period from 1993 to 2004—the regions of Témiscouata, Les Basques and a large part of the new riding I represent, Montmagny-Sud and L'Islet-Sud—a number of people worked for a living in the United States. They paid into an American pension plan. Now, when they retire, they collect those pensions, just as those who worked in Canada collect the Canada Pension Plan. However, I do not agree with the tax rate that applies to them. It needs to decrease and take into account the fact that the income was earned in the United States. A portion of the income was already taxed the way it is in the United States.

We must therefore find a solution that will be fair to the parties. It is true that we are not talking about large amounts because these people did not earn millions of dollars. Often they are pensioners, families, people who worked in the lumber industry. They worked very hard and this pension plan allows them to retire with dignity. They contributed to this pension fund when they agreed to work in the United States. They must continue to receive these pensions but they must be taxed fairly.

These people have gone through ups and downs. About ten years ago, their pensions were barely taxed. Then, they were taxed at 85%. Now, the time has come to review this matter and the bill will allow us to do just that.

Therefore, I invite the pensioners as well as citizens of the regions in question to learn about this matter because there are significant economic repercussions.

In many border towns in my riding, 25%, 30%, or 50% of retirees receive American pensions. These people make a significant economic contribution to their communities. It may be because of them that the local convenience store remains open.

It is a return on the investment they made by working. It was not easy to leave for weeks or months at a time to go to work. For example, at the time, reasonable work could be found in the State of Maine. But that meant leaving one's family for several weeks or months and then regularly coming back to seasonal jobs. Obviously it was not easy to make their contributions to the American pension plan. They needed this money for their daily survival, but they made the necessary sacrifices. Now they are happy to receive the amounts accrued.

Our responsibility is to ensure that the tax rate is adequate, fair and justified and that it provides maximum economic benefits for both those receiving the pensions and the economies of the regions involved.

I was ready to make a speech to the effect that the government had reneged on its own promise. That is what it was preparing to do. I think that it realized what it was about to do and decided to pull an about-face. What really matters is that the people in our ridings—those that I and the deputy for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques represent, as well as a number of others along the border—are able to receive the necessary benefits.

Tonight I am committing to one thing. Since the bill has been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance, which will be able to take the time to study it, we will make sure that people let the government know that they want this matter resolved to their satisfaction. It is very important that a satisfactory result be achieved.

As members, we certainly have the responsibility to contribute to a better distribution of wealth. In this case, we will do just that.

Since the beginning of this debate, the Bloc Québécois has been responsible and logical, saying that there must be a reasonable tax rate. We saw the government, and even the official opposition, engage in all sorts of gymnastics when it was decided not to follow up on the bill.

Today the government has seen the reality and the political fallout that would come from such a decision. On the substance, I will give the government the benefit of the doubt and say that it realized the current treatment is unfair and that changes are essential.

We will therefore be in favour of the amendment, which would allow us to continue to discuss this bill.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, like other members of the House, I am in a rather difficult position to address this issue without a determination from the Chair as to whether the amendment, which has been presented at literally the very last minute, is going to be admissible and we are going to send this issue back to the committee.

I am going to give my speech based on the fact that it is not going to be admissible. I came prepared to do that. My speech is going to be highly critical of both the government and the official opposition party. It is going to be critical of the member for Essex and of the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity. Both of those members, in previous parliaments, have had this same private member's bill before the House.

The secretary of state had it before the House on two different occasions when he was in opposition. The member for Essex has had it here on two occasions, in the last Parliament and again in this Parliament.

It is a highly emotional issue for me personally, I have to say, but also for a large number of my constituents. The greatest number of individuals in Canada who are Canadian citizens or Canadian residents receiving social security in Canada live in the Windsor-Essex County area. This has been a very difficult issue for a large number of them.

When I hear the member from the Liberal Party stand in the House and talk about justice and being fair, he obviously does not understand the issue at all. As for what happened here, the Conservatives recognized this, as did a number of members from the Liberal Party historically, including the former prime minister, who was in the riding in Windsor and said he would take care of this. Like so many other Liberal promises, it got broken because they did not carry through.

The current Prime Minister was in the riding and promised to take care of it. He said that it would be taken care of if the Conservatives got into government. We have had three budgets from them now. They have not done it either.

When we hear the member from the Liberal Party stand up and talk about justice, he just misses the point entirely. The issue of justice that is involved here is that the Canadian government, by way of a international treaty with the United States, agreed that it would tax social security benefits received in Canada in the same manner as the United States had been doing it up to that point.

That was the deal we made. In the same treaty, the U.S. agreed to treat Canada pension benefits received in the United States and tax them in the same way they had been traditionally taxed in Canada. That was the essence of the deal. It is as simple as that.

The United States lived up to that agreement. It continues to tax the Canada pension benefits received in the United States the same as if they had been taxed in Canada up to that point.

Canada has repeatedly refused to abide by that treaty. What it has done to a large number of residents in the country, most of whom are Canadian citizens, is that it has refused to abide by the treaty and it has taxed them excessively, above what was originally agreed to.

I always tell this one story about the woman who lived in my riding and went to my church. She and her husband both did. They had lived in Chicago for a good number of years, had built up their social security benefits, were Canadian citizens, and had returned to Windsor to live in retirement.

They were receiving their benefits under social security. They had bought a house and still were paying a mortgage. They both were receiving social security benefits from the United States. They both got hit with substantial increases in taxes because the then Liberal administration did not honour the treaty.

They already had their situation. That is what justice is about. They built their lives in Canada based on what they had been told would happen. They bought the house knowing that they could afford to do it and then they got hit with these additional taxes from the Canadian government.

They proceeded to lose the house. To this day, that woman still curses our former prime minister, sometimes even in church, because she remembers him coming into Windsor. She remembers a number of his candidates, members of this House historically, who came into the city and said they would take care of this. They said they would see that there was justice on this file. They did not do it.

Now we have the same repeat. We hear the member for Essex and the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism both making those pledges in a very concrete form in this House in the form of private members' bills, and then nothing. With two budgets, they do not go through.

Then this got to the finance committee. I was there on the final day and said to the members of the committee from both the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party that they were breaking their promise to the recipients of these benefits and their promise to the United States, and that they were illegally breaking their treaty obligations. Every single member from the Conservative Party and every single member of the Liberal Party voted in committee to strip the bill, so that we have this motion before us now to concur in doing away with any further work on this issue.

It is obvious from my comments that I would be very happy to support the amendment that has been put forward. I do not know if it is in order. I hope it is so that we can keep this issue alive.

This goes back to 1996. I remember that in the very first speech I gave in this House after I was elected in 2000, the very first one, I raised this issue. At that time, I thanked the members of my riding who had voted for me on this issue, because I also pledged at that time that we would deal with this.

I intend to continue to fight for that justice for them, but we are now 12 years from the time they first saw this miscarriage perpetrated on them. What has happened in that time, of course, is that a great number of them have passed away, because they were all at retirement age at that time.

We are faced today with both the Liberals and the Conservatives. There may be some last minute change of heart on the part of the Conservatives if the motion for amendment is admissible, but if it is not, then they have done just exactly what the Liberals did. They went out to the country and led people to believe, in various parts of the country where there are good numbers of these residents and citizens, that they would take care of this miscarriage of justice, and they did not do it.

It is quite obvious that if the results of what happened in the finance committee continue, this Conservative government, like the previous Liberal government, has no intention of keeping its promise to the Canadian people, and that is just an absolute shame.

I will conclude with this. I am desperately hoping the Chair will rule that this proposed amendment is admissible and that we can send this back to the finance committee. Hopefully, as opposed to what we hear from the Liberals, we in fact will look at this from the perspective of where justice really lies on this issue, not being worried about whether we are treating some retirees differently than others. That is not what the issue is.

The issue is that we told these retirees this is the way we would treat them. We told the United States that this is the way we would treat them. We have broken those promises and it is time for some justice to come into play.

Again, we heard from one of the speakers who was concerned about being prudent here. We have heard both the Conservatives and the Liberals advocate strongly for billions of dollars in tax cuts to the oil and gas industry and the banking industry in this country. By comparison, the money we are talking about here, which should be fairly granted by way of a tax break to the retirees, is minuscule. It is in the millions of dollars, but it is minuscule. It is nothing like the billions of dollars that both major parties have agreed to give away and have already given away. We need that justice.

Again, I hope very much that the Chair will see his way through to finding that proposed amendment in order and that in fact we can send it back to committee and keep the issue alive.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Before moving on with the resumption of the debate and after consulting with the Speaker, I will inform the House that the amendment has been found not to be in order.

We will resume debate. The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Finance and the recommendation on Bill C-305, as presented by my colleague from Essex.

In light of the ruling that you just made, Mr. Speaker, I would like to submit a new amendment. I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Finance (recommendation not to proceed further with Bill C-305, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (exemption from taxation of 50% of United States social security payments to Canadian residents)), presented on Wednesday, May 7, 2008, be not now concurred in, but that it be recommitted to the Standing Committee on Finance.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The amendment is in order. We will go on with resuming debate. The hon. member for Mississauga South.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, this has been a very instructive debate from the standpoint of how to scramble. Now that the amendment, which was an amendment to a bill that was dealt with in committee, has been ruled out of order, we have this other amendment that deals with the motion that was initially before the House, which was concurrence in the report of the Standing Committee on Finance. That report says that this bill not be dealt with further by the House.

I understand that the amendment that the hon. member just proposed is basically to say that the House should forget about concurring in the report and that we should defeat the report and send it back to the committee because, if we defeat the concurrence motion, the bill will be back in the House and it will be on the private members' order of precedence at the first hour of report stage and third reading.

I know the member for Essex has been very diligent in trying to protect this bill and he should. He should do everything possible to keep it alive. However, the finance committee, as represented by the member for Markham—Unionville, did give full consideration to this bill and determined that there were circumstances that led to inequities or problems and it could not be repaired.

However, that does not need to be the end of it. I would recommend to the member, depending on how this works out, that if there is an appetite for this matter to be considered with the amendment that was initially put forward, there is a way to do it. If the concurrence motion that is now before us is defeated, the bill would still live, it would go back on the order paper and it would be at first hour of report stage and third reading.

The member would then have two options. The first option would be to submit a report stage motion to amend the bill, which he can do, and then the House would consider it.

If the member feels, however, that two hours of debate at report stage and third reading would not be an appropriate consideration of the technical nature of the amendment, he may not wish to put forward a report stage motion but, rather, to simply have the question put on report stage and go straight to third reading debate, at which time he can then have a recommittal motion moved, which would basically say that this bill not be read a third time but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Finance in order to reassess clause x or whatever the amendment is. Therefore, there are two opportunities, either at report stage or third reading stage and recommittal.

I believe the Standing Committee on Finance has provided the House with a clear report and that it did the job it was asked to do. It had careful consideration of the provisions of the bill. The representations on behalf of the member for Markham—Unionville was that there were problems with the bill and that the committee decided that the bill would not meet the objectives that we should be pursuing, not that the issue should not be dealt with.

Accordingly, the matter before us really is the report and whether we have confidence that the finance committee did its work.

Depending on how it works out, the member has some options he can consider and, in the short time available, he can speak with the other parties about an approach to this. It would appear that the finance committee has done its work and that the bill, as it stands now, should not move forward. I do not know whether simply recommitting it without voting on the concurrence motion of the finance committee report and sending it back to the finance committee will to get a different result when the committee has already said that it did not hit the mark.

The member is going to have to seriously consider whether or not he can get agreement to have a report stage motion seriously considered here, or the support of the House to have a recommittal at third reading to make another amendment that he may feel is necessary to repair or to supplement the existing bill so that it is in a form in which the House would find acceptable.

Having said that, I believe that the House has an interesting question to consider. There is only another 15 minutes to go on this debate and I hope hon. members will give the member an idea of how they feel about the options that are available to the member.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise in this House and debate the amendment now before us regarding the seventh report from the finance committee.

I appreciate the interventions by the hon. member for Mississauga South on the other options he thinks may exist. Essentially he is asking us is to kill a certain thing and to send this back to committee so it can be studied in its fullness.

I did have an amendment to the bill that I would like the committee to consider. It was not considered originally. This would allow the committee to fully consider something it had not considered before.

The member for Mississauga South wants us to kill this opportunity and hopefully those members will support us later on with some other procedural option for changing the bill. That is simply not good enough. We are not going to do his dirty work. I know he and his party, when they were in government, sought every opportunity to kill this particular measure. They are the ones who instituted the crushing tax hike on these seniors. They are the ones who did not care about what the results of that tax hike were to these seniors. I am not interested in doing the member's dirty work, or that of the member for Markham—Unionville, or any one of them.

I am interested in this committee. If I recall, our objections at committee were not the same as those of the Liberals opposite. This phony idea that they have perpetrated for well over a decade that somehow this bill creates tax inequities proves in fact that they do not understand this issue properly. They continue to compare Canadians who live next door to each other, one who collects CPP versus one who collects U.S. social security benefits, and that is absolutely a false argument.

This matter needs to go back to the committee for some fulsome study. I am going to support this amendment and I call on my colleagues to support this amendment to get this bill back to committee. I reject the arguments of the member for Mississauga South.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is the House ready for the question?

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

An hon. member

Question.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the amendment carried.

(Amendment agreed to)

The next question is on the main motion, as amended. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion, as amended, agreed to)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7:05 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Independent Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this House on May 5, 2008, I asked a question that I feel is very important and for which I did not really receive a satisfactory response. I asked the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities what he intended to do to help consumers who have been taken hostage by the rising price of gas and the absence of alternatives such as public transit.

Not enough is being done to resolve this issue. In Rimouski, for example, there is no public transit per se, although there are alternatives such as carpooling and the taxibus program. It is a good start, but it is not enough and students in particular are lobbying municipal representatives. That is not all. The RCMs in my riding do not offer any public transit. There are 88,000 people in my riding, which is a significant number. It would therefore be useful, economically sound and more ecological to offer public transit between the municipalities and the larger centres.

Let us hope the government does not turn around and tell us that it has already invested and is sharing some of the gas tax with the municipalities. We know that. We want to know the government's new plans, mainly to deal with this crisis and the rising price of gas. In my region, as in many others, the RCMs do not have public transit.

In other words, the government's tangible actions are rare and inadequate from an economic and environmental standpoint. We know that the provinces and the municipalities are in a tight fiscal situation. Municipal governments have to replace aging infrastructure with a precarious tax base, maintain the roads, the wharves and waterworks and supply the towns with water. When all that infrastructure comes to the end of its useful life, it consumes a big part of the municipal budget, which is quite often small, and from which municipalities are expected to invest in public transit.

The investment required across Canada is around $31 billion to upgrade water treatment, $21 billion for transport, according to Professor Saeed Mirza, from the University of McGill, and $22.8 billion for public transit. The government's investment in these sectors pales in comparison and the annual $2 billion from the gas tax fund even more so.

Accordingly, can the parliamentary secretary explain why his government voted against my motion? Why did he and his colleagues reject my proposal to redistribute the wealth between the oil companies, who are making huge profits, and the people who are victims of a lack of infrastructure?

What is this government waiting for to implement public transit projects in the regions with provincial partners, including Quebec, to encourage energy efficient initiatives and considerably reduce our dependence on oil? That is the path to take, so why not do something to reduce this dependence and transition toward a green economy?

In light of the needs in the regions and the major environmental challenges, this government's responsibilities are overwhelming. When will there be responsible funding for public transit in the regions?

7:05 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I am from a rural area as well, so I understand many of the challenges the member faces. We have a lack of public transportation in our area of the world as well. This is really why the government has already moved ahead of the rising price of gas. We have redistributed wealth, as the member has asked. We have redistributed it from the government back to the pocketbooks of people.

The government is getting things done. We have lowered the income tax levels substantially. We have raised the personal exemptions. We have reduced the GST.

Therefore, thanks to our government's reductions to the GST alone, Canadians this year will save over half a billion dollars in reduced gas taxes. The Conservative Party and the Conservative government know that Canadians do not want higher taxes. They want results.

For the information of my friend across the way, I did talk to someone in my riding. He is the father of four young children. He does not make a lot of money, but he has told me that his accountant has said, because of the tax changes we have made over the last three years in government, that he will save over $2,000 in income tax this year because of those changes. Therefore, he is saving a substantial amount of money. He is able to keep his own money and make decisions about where he wants to spend it.

The opposition and the Leader of the Opposition want to go in the opposite direction. We want to lower taxes. The Liberals want to impose a new tax. The Liberal Party's new plan is to force a massive new permanent carbon tax on each and every Canadian.

We are already struggling with the high price of gas. To impose a tax is crazy. What is more, combined with the Liberals' musing about hiking the GST, the new massive gas tax would mean dramatic new and unparalleled tax increases on almost everything Canadians buy and do.

We know the Liberals love to reach deeper and deeper into the pockets of hard-working Canadians and take more and more taxpayer money to fuel their reckless spending, as they are determined to furiously max out the national credit card. The Liberal leader has already made spending promises that would plunge Canada $62 billion deeper into the hole. He realized that the only way to achieve those goals would be to impose a huge new tax, a carbon tax that would then enable him to make ends meet.

The Liberals have promised Canadians over the last year, on 10 different occasions, that they would not bring in a carbon tax. Now they say this is something that they are seriously considering, that they want to make it a core policy and presentation in their election platform. The problem with this is it is a tax on everything. It will be a tax on electricity, natural gas bills and home heating fuels. It is just a huge tax grab.

7:10 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Independent Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order—

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. Points of order may not be raised during adjournment proceedings.

7:10 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Independent Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

What he is saying has nothing to do with my question, and it has nothing to do with the four minutes I spent talking. I do not want to hear about the Liberals' situation. That is not what I said.

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.