Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, the great parliamentary secretary who works with us.
It is with great pleasure that I rise to support a call for tax cuts from the socialist NDP, as unbelievable as that may be. Unlike the tax-and-spend NDP opposition, we truly believe Canadian families and businesses should not pay higher taxes.
Our Conservative government has been a strong supporter of lower taxes and has clearly demonstrated this since taking office in 2006.
We understand that lower taxes make our economy stronger and create good, long-term jobs for today and tomorrow. That is why we are delivering historic tax relief and cutting taxes in every way that government collects them, from personal taxes to consumption taxes, to business and excise taxes, and others.
Since 2006, in fact, we have had an outstanding record of cutting over 120 taxes. We reduced the GST. We increased the amount Canadians earn tax free. We introduced pension income splitting. We introduced important tax credits like the Canada employment credit, the working income tax benefit, the child tax credit and much more. We have reduced the overall tax burden to its lowest level in more than 50 years, including by removing over one million low-income Canadians from the tax roll. We have built on our legacy of tax relief by reducing taxes on savings via our the landmark tax-free savings account, the most important personal savings vehicle since the RRSP.
Overall, the total savings for a typical family are over $3,000, leaving more money in Canadian families' pockets, where it is most needed and where it belongs.
Tax freedom day, the day Canadians start working for themselves after paying off all their taxes to all levels of government, has come earlier and earlier under this government. In 2005, under the tax-and-spend Liberals, tax freedom day was on June 26. However, after more than 120 tax reductions by our government, including the reduction in the GST from 7% to 5% and the introduction of the tax-free savings account and pension income splitting, the savings for a typical family are over $3,000 a year. As a result, tax freedom day now comes on June 6 this year, more than two weeks or some 20 days earlier.
Our Conservative government's clear and positive record of allowing Canadians to keep much more of their own hard-earned money is great news and one of our proudest achievements.
Our record also includes giving Canadian job-creating businesses more freedom to create jobs and make further investments by improving their tax competitiveness. That includes by reducing business taxes, eliminating the federal capital tax, providing tax relief to our manufacturing sectors, and more and more and more.
We also recognize the vital role that small business plays in the economy and job creation. That is why, since 2006, we have also lowered their tax bill to help them succeed, such as by reducing the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, increasing the amount of income eligible for the lower small business tax rate from $300,000 to $500,000, and increasing the lifetime capital gains exemption for small businesses from $500,000 to $750,000.
Building on our record, we are doing more to help small businesses. For instance, in the next phase of Canada's economic action plan, a plan that every person in this Parliament should support, we announced the new hiring credit that will encourage some 525,000 small Canadian businesses to hire new employees with a one-year EI break.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has welcomed it:
CFIB is extremely pleased to see its top budget priority--an EI Hiring Credit for Small Business--announced in the 2011 budget....this credit will be a major help to small firms in growing their workforce.
While our Conservative government has a strong and proven record of lowering taxes for Canadian families, seniors and businesses, especially small businesses, the NDP's record is dramatically different.
The socialist NDP and the NDP members of Parliament have a proven record of pushing a high-tax agenda by voting no again and again in the House of Commons to our Conservative government's initiatives to lower the tax burden. The NDP voted against reducing the GST. The NDP voted against pension income splitting. The NDP voted against reducing the small business tax rate. The NDP voted against the small business hiring credit. The NDP voted against our tax relief for families and businesses each and every time.
Even more troubling, the socialist NDP has repeatedly protested and mocked our efforts to leave more money with everyday Canadian families and businesses.
What is more, public statements by the socialist NDP leader and members of Parliament clearly underline their fundamental belief that Canadian families and businesses should be forced to send more of their hard-earned money to government.
Here are just a few examples:
The NDP leader has declared, “Tax cuts that have no basis in terms of moving the economy forward, such as the GST proposal...are not the wise choice now”.
The NDP member for Hamilton Mountain bemoaned, “The Prime Minister is picking up the [tax fighter] mantle...The Conservatives are intent on taking us in the wrong direction”. Imagine, tax cuts in the wrong direction. Who would figure?
The NDP MP for Victoria complained, “The Conservatives have a single-minded obsession with tax cuts that is not shared by the majority of Canadians...all they’ve delivered are tax cuts”.
The election on May 2 actually proved something totally different from that thought. It makes one wonder.
Even worse, while our government is promoting positive economic policies that would give businesses more freedom to grow and create even more Canadian jobs, the NDP has been promoting negative job-killing economic policies.
In a telling moment, even the NDP member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, the sponsor of today's motion, sheepishly and stunningly admitted publicly, “There are elements in our party that have not been adequately concerned about the health and growth of businesses”.
Specifically, they are targeting job-creating businesses with massive business tax hikes along with massive EI and CPP premium increases.
First, as businesses try to rebuild and recover from the recession, the NDP wants to slap a huge $10 billion a year tax hike on them, something that would hit small businesses very hard. A $10 billion a year NDP tax hike would mean losing good Canadian jobs and jeopardizing the financial security of hard-working Canadians.
Small businesses know that Canadians cannot afford that. They know they cannot afford higher taxes and cannot afford the job-killing policies of the NDP.
Despite what the NDP says, small businesses strongly stated their objections with the NDP's tax hike plan during the recent election campaign. Here is what Catherine Swift of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said, “--an awful lot of medium-sized companies that will also be affected by the tax hike”. She added that cutting corporate tax rates will help small-business, small firms and that they are very supportive of continuing the reduction in corporate income tax.
Second, small businesses are extremely concerned with the NDP plan to hike EI and CPP premiums. As we all know, the NDP is a strong supporter of a 45-day work year, something that would drastically increase EI premiums by a whopping 35%, and other legislation to dramatically expand EI as demonstrated last fall.
Here is what the CFIB said at the time:
To have Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs all support a private members' bill to dramatically increase the generosity of EI benefits is troubling to say the least. This bill would drastically increase EI rates as people would qualify for incredibly generous benefits after only nine weeks of full-time work. [This would] make it harder for businesses to hire skilled workers...It's totally irresponsible--
Even worse, the NDP wants to dramatically increase CPP premiums by doubling them. Again listen to what the CFIB had to say about that, “NDP talk of doubling CPP benefits would mean increased premiums and a heavy hit on small business payroll costs”.
While our Conservative government is focused on keeping taxes low and helping create jobs, the socialist NDP wants to raise taxes and kill jobs despite today's platitudes.
People in my constituency have seen NDP policies at work. We have seen our kids move away. We have seen jobs go to Alberta. It is amazing that after four years the province of Saskatchewan, with a population of one million people, all of a sudden announced today that the population is at 1,054,000 just because the proper polices were in place for taxation, just for allowing businesses to grow, just for allowing businesses to expand, and just by saying it is open for business. Saskatchewan has seen what the NDP can do. It has also seen what can happen when proper polices are put in place, and the population growth has definitely proven that.