Mr. Speaker, I am truly honoured to rise and speak on this piece of legislation that is before us in the form of a private member's bill.
I want to thank my colleague from Northumberland—Quinte West for his camaraderie and friendship. He is a kindred spirit to me. We are both former law enforcement officers, although he has much more experience than I do. We are both hunters and fishermen who love the great outdoors. I can only commend him for the excellent work he has done on the hunting and angling caucus and in passing a bill in this place that recognizes those historical traditions in our country. I want to thank him deeply for his service, and I wish him all the best, good health, and a long and healthy retirement catching all the fish and hunting all the game that is out there and available for him over the years to come.
I thank this House for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-661 and to discuss how our low-tax plan is providing all Canadians with tax relief and to talk about our strong record of helping farming and fishing businesses succeed.
As the member opposite may know, our government holds an impressive record on tax relief. In fact, since 2006, the government has introduced over 180 tax relief measures, and the overall federal tax burden is now at its lowest level in more than 50 years. I have been proud to stand in this place over the last almost nine and a half years and vote in favour of all of these tax reductions.
Canadian families and individuals have benefited from significant tax reductions that have given them the flexibility to make the choices that are right for them and their families. Canadians at all income levels are benefiting from the tax relief introduced by the government, with low and middle-income Canadians receiving proportionally the most relief.
Our government knows a thing or two about tax relief. In fact, many of these farming or fishing businesses the member is raising awareness of through the proposed legislation are in fact small businesses. Our government believes that small businesses should spend their time growing their businesses and creating jobs, not choking on stifling high taxes. Cutting taxes and reducing red tape is the way to create prosperity for these business people.
We cut the small business tax rate to 11%. I actually know that number, unlike the leader of the NDP. We also increased the amount of annual income eligible for this lower rate from $300,000 to $400,000 in 2007 and to $500,000 in 2009, creating more wealth for job creators.
We cut the general corporate income tax rate to 15% in 2012, which is the number the leader from the NDP does not seem to know, from 22.12% in 2007. This benefits successful small businesses on their way to becoming big businesses, when their income exceeds $500,000.
We also reduced small businesses' El premiums by introducing the small business job credit. This credit is expected to save small businesses more than $550 million over 2015 and 2016.
To encourage further small business growth, economic action plan 2015 proposes to reduce the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019, which in effect will be the largest tax rate cut for small businesses in more than 25 years.
Let me present a few numbers to illustrate the impact of the tax reductions introduced since 2006. For example, take a small business with taxable income of $500,000. The amount of federal tax paid by that business in 2019 will be 46% lower than it would have been in 2006. This represents an annual tax reduction of up to $38,600 for that business. That is enough to create a job.
These changes, among others, will help enhance the ability of small businesses across Canada to retain capital, grow their businesses, and create jobs.
If the hon. member who introduced the bill is looking for an example of a tax relief measure that benefits a number of farming or fishing business owners, she need look no further than the lifetime capital gains exemption, which this government has enhanced.
The lifetime capital gains exemption for farming or fishing property provides an incentive to invest in the development of productive farming or fishing businesses and helps farming or fishing business owners accumulate capital for retirement. This is already a measure that provides real value to these businesses, but in economic action plan 2015, we are proposing to make it even better. Economic action plan 2015 proposes to increase the lifetime capital gains exemption applicable to capital gains realized on the disposition of qualified farm or fishing property on or after April 21, 2015 to a whopping $1 million.
It is estimated that this measure will reduce capital gains taxes on owners of farming and fishing businesses by about $50 million over the 2015-16 to 2019-20 period. This is money that farmers and fishermen have invested in their businesses. They have grown their businesses. They are now able, when they dispose of these assets, to keep that hard-earned money in their pockets, money that they have invested over the years to grow their businesses. Clearly this measure would provide much more significant tax relief than Bill C-661 from my colleague across the way ever could
Before I wrap up, I want to touch on the measures our government is taking to help Canadian farmers. Through the Department of Agri-Food and Agriculture and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, our government runs several programs to help farming and fishing businesses succeed.
Under growing forward 2, which is a $3 billion dollar investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments and the foundation for government agricultural programs and services, farmers have access to a suite of business risk management programs, including agri-invest, agri-stability, agri-insurance, and agri-recovery, which help farmers in managing risk due to severe market volatility and disaster situations. These initiatives also help the industry in its efforts to research, develop and implement new agricultural risk management tools.
In addition, the federal agri-marketing program under growing forward 2 helps farmers and food processors compete in markets at home and around the world. It supports the agriculture industry by creating and maintaining access to markets and taking advantage of market opportunities. Economic action plan 2015 has provided $12 million over two years, starting in 2016-17, to expand the agri-marketing program.
I will go back to the bill. What is so confusing about this one is the irony of the NDP's position on this. We know that Bill C-661 would allow siblings to benefit from the exception to the existing anti-avoidance rule, which is presently only available for spouses and children. This would effectively enable siblings to exit the farming or fishing business, while deferring capital gains tax. This is no small matter. This would be a special tax concession not available to others in similar circumstances, and it is inconsistent with the general scheme of the tax rules, which for the most part limits tax deferred asset transfers to spouses and in some cases their children.
I recall another debate that the House had recently, and that is in regard to the family tax cut. Our Government is proposing that a married couple is a single economic unit, that two spouses should be considered an economic unit. The NDP members have rejected that definition and have been opposed to this tax fairness from the very beginning. However, now they are in fact proposing to expand the definition of a single economic unit to a brother and sister or any combination of siblings. That is complete and utter hypocrisy.
Therefore, the New Democrats do not think spouses are an economic unit, but they do think that siblings somehow are. It simply does not make sense. Either they support tax fairness or they do not. Clearly this hypocritical bill put forward by the NDP suggests that it does not truly understand tax fairness either way.
In closing, allow me to reiterate that Bill C-661 would offer limited benefits for a handful of people, and would loosen the application of the anti-avoidance rule, and as such, I urge my colleagues to oppose it.
Going forward, our Government will continue to work diligently toward making life more affordable for hard-working Canadians and helping Canadian farmers and fishermen who are the backbone of our country. We will continue to build on our impressive tax relief record with measures that make a difference on the bottom lines of Canadians, and implementing measures that will help create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.
In the time I have left, I just want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, and everybody who occupies the chair and all of the staff at the table as well as everybody who does wonderful work in this place.
I have been a member of Parliament for almost 10 years. I tell the pages that there are 308 MPs during a four-year term and there are only 160 pages. It is harder to become a page in the House of Commons than it is to become a member of Parliament. I thank them for the diligent work they do.
I thank all of the staff and all the people who support us. I especially thank Constable Franchi for the excellent work he did on October 22. He has become a good friend of mine. He came into the room and calmed us all down on the day we were all deeply affected. I want to thank all of the House of Commons and Senate security guards, the RCMP officers who are here and keep us safe, not only on Parliament Hill, but all across the country. They do an absolutely excellent job. I thank all of those who serve here to empower me to do the best I can for my constituents in Wetaskiwin.
This is the end of the constituency of Wetaskiwin. I will be the last member of Parliament for the federal riding of Wetaskiwin, which because of the growth in Alberta is going to see new seats. I just want to say to everyone who volunteered, encouraged me, supported me, or voted for me that I could not have been more proud to be their representative for these last nine and a half years, and I look forward to running in the new riding of Red Deer—Lacombe.
From the bottom of my heart, I just want to thank everybody in the constituency of Wetaskiwin for allowing me the privilege and honour of being their member of Parliament.