Mr. Speaker, I am rising to speak to Bill C-47, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures. The Bloc Québécois has a lot of concerns about this bill, and about the budget it implements.
The government will continue to treat stock options like capital gains for ordinary taxpayers. The Bloc Québécois deplores the fact that only half the income derived from stock options is subject to the federal Income Tax Act. The Conservative government could show fairness to the workers and collect $1 billion in tax by cutting off this gift. In addition, businesses are not being asked to pay their fair share to increase government revenue, except that they have to make source deductions to ensure that employees with stock options pay their taxes. That is something else that is missing.
This bill also attests to the Conservative government's inertia with respect to the environment and the fight against greenhouse gases. Only one environmental measure is included; it encourages the production of clean energy. A number of things could be put forward.
The government is ignoring the Bloc Québécois' urgent calls concerning equalization payments and increased transfers for education and social programs. $830 million in post-secondary education transfers are still not going to the Government of Quebec. The fiscal imbalance has not yet been resolved. The government is also ignoring recommendations concerning income security for pensioners. Large corporations are filing for bankruptcy and abandoning their employees who are entitled to pensions.
This budget implementation bill confirms the Conservative government's intention to spare rich taxpayers at all costs and have the workers and the middle class pay off the deficit. The ideology of the Conservative Party's neo-Liberal Reform government favours those who are well off. Just think of tax havens. When they were in opposition, the Conservatives were scandalized; now they fully support tax havens.
Yes to oil; no to forestry. It is just incredible what the economies of Quebec and all provinces have had to bear because of the Conservatives' abandonment of the forestry industry. To help the rich, they are refusing to implement a 2% surtax on incomes of more than $150,000 per year. The automotive industry, concentrated in Ontario, received $9.7 billion whereas the forestry industry, vital to the regions of Quebec and all of Canada, only received $170 million. That is incredible.
For all intents and purposes the environment was ignored in the budget. However, the Conservative government put $1 billion towards developing nuclear power, which benefits Ontario, Alberta and the oil companies. The latter already have generous tax benefits. In addition, no new funding was announced for the cultural sector, which is important to Quebec's economy. The neo-Liberal Reformers have refused to acknowledge the need to bolster employment insurance and the guaranteed income supplement for seniors, the most disadvantaged. They also refused to tackle the problems of affordable social housing and homelessness. These problems were completely ignored. The fact that women are the most affected by poverty has not been mentioned, either.
The current Minister of Finance's way of doing things reminds me of one of his predecessors. I hope that my Conservative friends feel somewhat shameful about the fact that it is 2010 and I am comparing their actions to something that happened a long time ago. Not a lot has changed. I am thinking about Alexander Tilloch Galt, who was the largest land owner in Canada in 1867, who also owned the largest textile plant at the time as well as the Grand Trunk Railway Company. He was closely involved with the Bank of Montreal and was the finance minister under John Alexander Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister. Who was he partial to? The wealthy.
He was loyal, a bit like our current Minister of Finance, to one of the sayings of John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada. To paraphrase, Macdonald said that minorities needed to be protected. The rich being the minority, their protection needed to be guaranteed. And he did his utmost to protect them. Then there was the majority, which had difficulty just making ends meet.
We have a similar government here, and the tradition continues. It is shameful. This helps to explain much of the Conservatives' economic vision, the vision of the current Albertan leader. Oil yes; forestry no. Automobiles, yes; affordable and social housing, no. Tax havens, yes; the guaranteed income supplement for our least fortunate seniors, no. I could go on. It is scandalous.
And just to report how things turned out, before Confederation, Alexander Tilloch Galt realized that he could no longer do business with the Americans. As you must remember—perhaps you were there between 1861 and 1865—the Yankees and the people from Dixie were fighting the Civil War in the United States. And who did the British Empire support? It supported the South, slavery and Dixieland. England supported the South, which was secessionist, to the detriment of the Yankees, who were federalists. It was completely backwards. British subjects were not popular with the blue coats from the northern states.
Galt was in a serious bind. So what did he do? This is interesting. He drafted a document to develop the British colony along east-west trading lines because for obvious reasons he could not develop north-south trade. He wanted to join together three provinces: the united Canada—which was divided into Canada East and Canada West at the time—wealthy Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This document was called the British North America Act or BNA Act.
Galt was the father of this act. Why? To make sure it worked. In 1867, he became the first minister of finance of Canada. He had the newly minted Dominion of Canada borrow money from its bank, the Bank of Montreal, to build a railway across the country. What he did was a little like what the Conservatives are doing today. Know who your friends are; they will make you rich. Yes, yes, add to the campaign coffers. The Minister of Natural Resources could tell us something about that, seeing as how he is an expert in the field. So Galt had this big zipper, the railroad, built to pull Canada together. He even sold his own railroad, the Grand Trunk, to Canadian Pacific to further line his own pockets. Does that remind hon. members a bit of what we have been talking about this week?
For the Conservatives, it is useful to be both judge and judged. For the Conservatives, it is useful to favour the rich at the expense of the poor, and that is what we are seeing in this budget. There are things missing. There are some positive measures, but the poor are going to get poorer and the rich, richer. And that is very expensive.
Alexander Tilloch Galt was a member of the Conservative Party. And what was that party called at the time? Listen carefully. It was called the Liberal-Conservative Party. That way, people did not get confused; blue hat or red, it makes little difference, they have a good time and line their pockets. The current member for Pontiac should be happy with that title. He is being touted as the next leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec. It is not just the member for Bourassa. What is happening with the Conservatives makes no sense.
Coming back to Bill C-47, I will conclude on this note. We need to think about the workers at AbitibiBowater. Why does John Weaver get $27 million in bonuses, yet when the AbitibiBowater mill in Gatineau closes, the workers will not get $16 million in severance pay? That is what the Conservatives are doing, and their budget does nothing about this scandal.
They need to be put in their place, and that place is out of Parliament.