Mr. Speaker, I must admit I am very disappointed to learn I will have so little time to talk about a matter that so fascinates people, as I have seen here today. However, I will nevertheless add my voice to those of my colleagues in speaking about Bill C-48, a new bill nearly 1,000 pages long that makes many highly technical changes to Canada's tax system, changes that have been piling up for over a decade.
As I have mentioned several times in this House, most of the changes contained in Bill C-48 have been announced over the 11 years since the most recent technical bill was passed in the many news releases and comfort letters of the Department of Finance and in the budget. These amendments have been brought into effect, but they have not been made the subject of a technical bill. Now the government seeks to enact them all more officially.
In addition to the measures we already know of, Bill C-48 introduces three new measures never previously announced. First of all, it repeals certain tax restrictions to assist labour-sponsored venture capital corporations in addressing some transitional problems. It amends the formula for allocating the taxable income of airline corporations to ensure that taxable income stays in the provinces or territories where those corporations are permanently established. It also provides for the implementation of a measure respecting the tax treatment of shares owned by short-term residents of Canada for departure tax purposes.
We in the NDP believe that the technical changes this bill will make to Canada's tax system will be beneficial and will generally have the effect of discouraging tax avoidance. That is why we will support this bill on second reading.
Tax avoidance is a problem often criticized by people across the country, particularly in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. These are honest taxpayers who pay their taxes and who see more privileged Canadians benefiting from privileges to which honest Canadians who pay their taxes do not have access. They want their members of Parliament to address this problem.
As representatives of these people, we have the responsibility to do everything it takes to minimize tax evasion and eliminate loopholes in the legislation. We must ensure that the state has all the resources necessary to guarantee that Canadians have the services and public institutions they depend on and deserve.
The Conservatives are offering all sorts of tax cuts and tax credits to oil companies without expecting anything in return. They are forfeiting revenue that the state needs and are never able to cut spending enough to lower the deficit. The Conservatives are using smoke and mirrors every day. They want us to buy the ridiculous idea that they are good managers of public funds, but they are unable to effectively and regularly implement the new tax measures that they are proposing to improve Canada's tax laws.
It is essential that the government quickly considers this problem and takes an effective approach to enact these technical amendments and thereby eliminate the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the current system. It is important for taxpayers, businesses and tax experts.
The government must act quickly to remedy this situation, which is problematic in a number of ways. We want Canadian businesses to be competitive so that they can perform well on world markets. They must have a clear understanding of the tax laws in effect and access to up-to-date information as quickly as possible. That is what we are asking from the government.
That is why we are going to support the bill at second reading; however, there is still work to be done. This government must do the work quickly in order to help all Canadian taxpayers and businesses.