Madam Speaker, I would like to commend my colleagues from Hochelaga and Joliette on their excellent remarks. I think that they clearly set out the information that we have about the situation related to the motion before us.
For those who are watching, I would like to repeat the text of the motion that was introduced by the Liberal Party on this opposition day. It reads:
That, in the opinion of the House, the Government’s decision to proceed with cuts to the tax rate for large corporations fails to address the economic needs of Canadian families, and this House urges the Government to reverse these corporate tax cuts and restore the tax rate for large corporations to 2010 levels in the upcoming Budget.
This reference to large corporations clearly allows us to vote in favour of this motion since we are of the opinion that SMEs must be given room to breathe and that there is room to ease their tax burdens a little, especially given that, over the past few years, it has been mainly large corporations that have been benefiting from the situation.
We are currently dealing with a Conservative government that gives gifts to certain large corporations. These are large corporations that are making sometimes indecent profits, such as oil companies, banks and businesses with outrageous revenues and profits.
The actions of the Conservative government are indicative of its governance strategy. That is what I would like to speak about. The Conservatives' strategy involves taking every possible means away from the Canadian government so that they can then justify reneging on commitments related to the social safety net or social services. It started with the reduction of the GST from 8% to 6%, and now we are seeing it with the banks.
Let us talk about the Liberal government. They began lowering taxes in 2000. Corporate taxes were at 28%. Taxes were gradually lowered to 21% by 2006. Now the Conservatives want to cut them to 15% by 2012. Each percentage point costs Canada $1 billion in revenue. If this revenue were to go to help low income earners, those who are the worst off, it would be different. But that is not the case. We are talking about banks that have made approximately $46 billion in profits since 2007. That is huge. But the Conservatives still want to hand tax cuts to them and to oil companies that make billions in profits.
In the meantime, the Conservative government continues to apply a policy implemented by the Liberals, which consists in finding money to make up in some small way for the shortfall from people such as those who lose their jobs. We know that when the Liberal government was in power, it wanted to pay down the debt. It gradually complicated access to employment insurance to make as many people as possible ineligible. Earlier, my Liberal colleague said that the government is running a $56 billion deficit. But $57 billion was stolen from the employment insurance fund by the Liberals when they were in power.
If they want to redeem themselves and say otherwise, that is fine, but we need to look at the similarities in their policies.
The same goes for the Liberal Party. When a previous economic statement was tabled, the Liberal members had also voted to cut taxes for large corporations.
My two colleagues spoke earlier about the benefits granted to large corporations. I too would like to talk about the measures the Bloc Québécois has proposed to the Minister of Finance for the next budget.
First of all, we must not raise taxes for individuals or small and medium-sized businesses. Conversely, we must not cut taxes for large corporations. We need to stop giving these gifts to large multinationals, banks and oil companies.
The Bloc Québécois is proposing a series of measures. The wealthiest taxpayers should pay a surtax, specifically 2% for people who earn between $150,000 and $250,000 a year—some members of this House would likely have to pay up—and 3% for anyone who earns over $250,000. This measure alone would allow the government to bring in an additional $4.8 billion. My colleague, the hon. member for Hochelaga, has had the opportunity to present this measure to the Minister of Finance.
Another measure would be to impose a heavy tax on bonuses. In recent years, the public has been shocked to see companies closing or laying off many of their employees, only to turn around and hand out millions of dollars in bonuses.
We are also proposing a review of the federal military procurement policy. We believe that $470 billion over 20 years is excessive. We believe that a different measure is needed in order to support our soldiers, particularly in combat situations. Some of that money should be used to meet the needs of the people.
We must eliminate access to tax havens. At present, as surprising as it may be and despite the lofty commitments of successive Liberal and Conservative governments, it is still possible to put money in tax shelters by using offshore tax havens. Government operating expenditures also need to be reduced. Some of these measures have also been explained by my colleague from Hochelaga. Lastly, we also need to fight tobacco smuggling. Just those two measures alone would allow the government to save billions of dollars.
This morning, the Federation of Independent Business, which Canadian and Quebec businesses are a part of, said it did not want tax increases, and we concur. Where necessary, taxes could even be reduced. Small and medium-sized enterprises are what drive the local and regional economy. Tax cuts would ensure that the economy of proximity—those businesses that sustain communities and truly create jobs—is given priority in any strategy to support the economy.
Since there is a new Speaker in the chair, I will just remind the House that the Bloc Québécois will support the Liberal Party motion and continue to make suggestions for getting money where money is found. Let us stop allowing those who make profits to abuse the system.