Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of my constituents in the Alberta riding of Crowfoot to participate in the private member's debate brought forward by my colleague, the member of Parliament for Kitchener—Waterloo.
First, I would start by saying that the Good Book says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. For all members of Parliament from all sides, as we look around our constituencies at the various charitable organizations that are volunteering their time and are doing everything they can to support good causes, we want to thank them. We also agree that there is a satisfaction, a feeling of being blessed, when we can be part of that and give in a charitable way. Anything we can do to help enhance that type of giving is to be commended.
Therefore, I thank the member for Kitchener—Waterloo. I had some questions about Bill C-458 initially and I sat down here in the House with the member for Kitchener—Waterloo. I understood that this was a member who had a passion for charitable organizations and for trying to do the right thing. There is no hidden agenda here. It is simply a question of how he can better move charitable organizations forward so that people can be part of that blessing, so to speak, of being able to give and to donate to these good causes.
In that stand, he has introduced Bill C-458, which proposes mainly two changes. The first change would create a national charities week in the last week of February each year. My colleague also wants to amend Canada's Income Tax Act. He would extend the deadline for people claiming charitable gifts for tax purposes from December 31 of the taxation year to 60 days after that to match the deadline for contributions for RRSPs.
This is an admirable attempt to help Canadians contribute to those less fortunate. All members of the House want to commend our colleague for bringing these two ideas to debate here in the House of Commons. The member for Kitchener—Waterloo, as it has already been stated, is earning quite a reputation for himself and his constituents as being one who cares about charities. We congratulate him and recognize that.
Previously, his private member's Motion No. 559 prompted a study by the House of Commons finance committee, which brought major attention to the needs of charities. In turn, his motion prompted a national conversation about the good work of these organizations in Canada. The committee's subsequent work report will no doubt inform the government's future action on support for those charities, potentially as soon as the upcoming budget 2013.
I can say to my constituents and to all Canadians listening to this debate that our Conservative government understands the value of the selfless work of charities and of the volunteers that make them successful. I see the value of this work in my constituency. It is remarkable to see the generosity and hard work of many churches, youth groups, schools, seniors groups and local organizations in my riding. I take this opportunity to commend all of them.
I am invited to many charitable events and fundraisers throughout the year in my riding. As a former businessman who owned an auction company and was an auctioneer, I am able to be the auctioneer for some of these events. I tell all of the charities in my riding that nobody wants to hear my speech, but they all want me to come and do the auction sale for them. Through this work, I have the opportunity to meet with many key people in the community, both in the volunteer sector and those who contribute through their finances.
Bill C-458 has some potential to increase the incentives that already exist for Canadians to give money generously to charities. It would facilitate even more good work in communities here in Canada and around the world. That is why it is important for the bill to be studied closely.
Canadians support the House engaging in a full assessment of the implications of the bill. We will be paying close attention to what stakeholders and those involved in carrying out our charitable work have to say. As my colleagues have noted, Canada already has one of the most generous systems of tax support for charitable donations in the world.
Our Conservative government has already introduced several measures in recent years to enhance incentives for donations. We have taken action to improve transparency and accountability in the charitable sector, including through measures announced in economic action plan 2012.
I want to thank the member for bringing this bill forward. A study in the House of Commons would be a very positive thing, and I look forward to the bill passing.