Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise and speak against this Liberal motion that would turn back Canada's fragile economic recovery through what the tax and spend Liberals understand best: tax hikes to help pay for more reckless deficit Liberal spending.
In 2007 our Conservative government introduced, and Parliament passed, a bold and broad-based tax relief plan for Canadian job creators. The aims of the low tax plan have been to make Canada more competitive, attract more investment and, more important, more jobs for Canadians. Indeed, over 110,000 Canadian businesses are benefiting from our low tax agenda.
This bold plan had almost immediate results. A short while later an icon of Canadian business returned to Canada, having fled the country due to the punishingly high taxes under the Liberals. In the words of a National Post editorial of the day, “Tim Hortons has announced that it wants to reorganize as a Canadian company”. This is good news.
We take even greater satisfaction in terms of why Tims has returned. Canadian corporate taxes are falling so significantly that Canada has once again become attractive as a site for corporate headquarters and plants. Let us meet at the drive-thru to celebrate with an iced cap and a maple glaze.
Unfortunately, while most Canadians were celebrating the return of Tim Hortons along with other new investments and jobs due to our low tax plan, the self-described tax and spend Liberal leader was finally coming clean on the Liberals' hidden agenda for higher taxes.
First, he admitted that a GST hike was on the table. Second, the Liberals refused to rule out the return of a job-killing carbon tax. Third, in the worst of the global recession, the Liberal leader told a stunned audience of business leaders in hard-hit southwest Ontario that federal taxes must go up, saying “we will have to raise taxes”. Fourth, and most stunning, the Liberal leader announced a massive tax hike on Canadian job creators still trying to deal with a massive global recession.
The litany of Liberal tax hikes does not include other bizarre proposals such as an iPod tax. Clearly the Liberal leader does not believe Canadians are paying enough taxes. He does not believe hard-working families, fixed income seniors and job creating businesses are sending Ottawa enough money to fulfill schemes for massive new big government programs like national daycare, 45-day work years and much more.
Under the Liberal leader, Canadians will have to pay more and more of their hard-earned money to Ottawa to fuel these tax and spend Liberal schemes. What the Liberal leader does not understand is higher taxes, especially on business, kill jobs and economic growth. I am a little amazed that the Liberals do not understand that.
I am even more amazed that the Liberal finance critic, the member for Kings—Hants, does not understand it either, especially considering his own words not so long ago when he said:
—we cannot increase corporate taxes without losing corporate investment. If we lose corporate investment, we have a less productive economy....That means fewer jobs. That means more poverty.
That is the Liberals words about their own plan to hike taxes on job creators.
However, maybe the Liberal leader should talk to other Canadians as well about our low tax plan, especially the private sector businesses that he demonizes, private sector businesses that employ the vast majority of Canadians.
For instance, we all know the difficulties that Canada's forest industry has had over the past few years and the impact that has had on our resource communities. Instead of helping the forest industry, the Liberals want to attack it with a massive and reckless tax hike.
In the words of the Forest Products Association of Canada, “the business tax reductions announced in 2007 are an important part of the industry’s recovery plan for the period ahead”. I have two sawmills in my riding of which one reopened last Monday and one is considering reopening. I am absolutely sure that the challenge of the dollar is one thing and it is the corporate tax cuts that are giving them the confidence. If the Liberals really want to help our forestry sector, maybe they should listen to it and keep its taxes lower instead of trying to hike them.
Maybe the Liberals should go and talk to Canadian small businesses that employ millions of Canadians and serve as the backbone of our economy. Listen to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, representing the voice of business in Canada, as it speaks out against the Liberal tax hike on job creators, “Businesses don't just plan one or two years ahead. Once something has been put out there, it's usually very poorly received that the rug would be pulled out from under you”.
What about the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes? It said:
--following through on the business tax reduction is critical to moving from government--and Canadian taxpayer-funded--stimulus to a private sector led recovery. The timing of the tax cuts allows a significant fiscal injection into the Canadian economy as fiscal stimulus winds down and the focus turns to the private sector to drive growth. The alternative is an increase in taxes. And raising taxes would be good for neither growth nor employment. [...] If MPs renege on their promise to continue with promised tax decreases, many businesses will be forced to reconsider their plans. Certainty and predictability are of paramount importance to business planning. Businesses across the country have invested for the future with the understanding that Canadian taxes would decline. All Canadians will lose if the jobs and well-being of Canadian families are held hostage by political manoeuvring.
What about the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Association, representing an industry hit about the hardest during the global recession? It recently released a study outlining the positive impact of our tax relief for job creators. This study came to some very interesting conclusions.
First, and most importantly, it concluded that the last stages alone of our low tax plan would add almost 100,000 good, high quality jobs to Canada's economy.
Second, it would increase per capita personal income by $880, an increase in income that would sure help a lot of Canadian families coast to coast to coast. I know in my riding it would be an enormous benefit.
The study also looked at the important effects it would have through increased business investment, increased productivity, and more research and development spending, something I had hoped the Liberal Party would agree is important for moving the Canadian economy forward.
I will quote the conclusion of that study. In the words of Jayson Meyers of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters:
The numbers show that corporate tax cuts are critical drivers of the Canadian economy. The question is not if we can afford corporate tax cuts; it's can we afford not to--
Or maybe the Liberals could read what the International Monetary Fund had to say about Canada and what is driving our positive economic outlook:
Canada has weathered well the global recession...The [government's] ambitious fiscal consolidation plans include growth-friendly measures to support Canada’s long-run economic potential, notably...cuts in corporate income tax.
If this is not enough for the Liberals, maybe they should listen to their provincial cousins, like Ontario's Liberal finance minister. Dwight Duncan said:
Scrapping... corporate tax cuts would hurt the fragile economic recovery by raising taxes on the struggling forestry and automotive sectors. It is about the most short-sighted, dumb public policy pronouncement one can envision.
Instead of constantly demonizing Canada's job creators, maybe the Liberals should talk to some of the people I have just quoted and realize what they are threatening to do to Canadian jobs and Canadian families with their short-sighted policies.
This is the worst time to raise taxes and kill Canadian jobs. This is the worst time for this Liberal tax hike motion.