Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this debate, even though we saw from the vote that took place earlier that, unfortunately, the government is infringing on parliamentarians' right to speak.
This government is allowing no more than one-third of the members of the official opposition to speak about this bill, which will have a direct impact on taxpayers both in the short and long term. The so-called positive measures set out in this bill will not take effect for 40 years. I do not want to make anyone feel old, but there are many people here who will not benefit from the supposed enhancement of the CPP set out in this bill.
There are in fact two conflicting views. On one hand, there is the view of the Conservative Party, which would prefer to give Canadians the tools they need to save for themselves. Let us not forget that we came up with the well-known TFSA, which is very popular and should not only be maintained but also made more accessible. We are giving people the tools they need to make the best choice about how to save.
On the other hand, the Liberal government says that it knows what is good for Canadians, that it will take more money from workers, and that it will force employers to pay higher CPP premiums.
These are two conflicting views. Not everyone will agree on which one is best, but it is clear to us that it should be the worker, the citizen, or the business person who decides what works best for them, rather than leaving it up to the government.
What will this bill do? It will result in workers paying an additional $1,000 on average into the Canada pension plan. For business owners, it means paying $1,000 more on average for every employee in every business. What a heavy burden to bear.
Let us first look at the $1,000 per worker. We believe that it is always better to leave money in people's pockets than to put it in the government's hands. A tax grab of $1,000 per worker is not the right thing to do.
What about businesses and employers? We believe that private enterprise, not the government, creates jobs. The government must do everything it can to support, empower, and pave the way for businesses. It is not the government's job to do the work of business people, who are the real creators of jobs and wealth. They are the backbone of the Canadian economy. We have to do everything we can to help them create jobs and wealth, but mostly, we should not be foisting new taxes on them, and yet, the government has decided to saddle them with additional costs amounting to $1,000 per worker.
Knowing that this government is going to charge our businesses even more fees does not bode well for the future. Let us not forget that this government wants to impose the Liberal carbon tax, which will have a direct impact on every one of our businesses. Let us not forget that this government was committed to reducing the business tax rate from 10.5% to 9%, but there is not one iota of information on how the government plans to do that. Let us also not forget that this government was elected on a promise of running a modest $10-billion deficit, but in reality it is three times worse and so far we have no idea when there will be a return to balanced budgets. Let us not forget that a deficit is a tax we are deferring to our children and grandchildren who will have to pay for today's mismanagement.
We believe that the government is on the wrong track with this bill.
Let us face facts: it goes without saying that we would all like to have a more pleasant and worry-free retirement. That is what everyone agrees on, hopes for, and wants to work toward. Here is another fact: the situation has vastly improved over the past few decades thanks to the sound policies put in place by previous governments, including that of the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney.
I should point out that, in recent years, the government implemented measures to help people save money. As a result, according to Statistics Canada, the proportion of low-income seniors dropped from 29% in 1970 to 3.7% today, which is one of the lowest rates in the world. That is something to think about. Of course, we always have to be mindful of the less fortunate among us, but there are fewer of them than before, particularly among seniors.
We were on the right track because we gave people the tools they needed to make the right choices for themselves. In 1990, Canadians saved 7.7% of their paycheque, and now they save 14.1%. That is happening because we got people more interested in saving and investing wisely.
If, God forbid, this bill is passed and comes into force, what impact will it have? According to a Finance Canada analysis, it will result in reduced employment, reduced GDP, reduced business investment, reduced disposable income, and reduced private savings. That is five reductions all told. That is two more strikes than baseball players get. Five strikes, five reductions, five factors that will slow economic growth. We know we need growth, especially considering that the people across the aisle are on such a spending spree, have no control over public spending, and do not even know when the budget will be balanced. Theirs is a worrisome approach.
A paper released by the C.D. Howe Institute shows that the Liberal Party's plan will not benefit low-income workers, because their premiums are going to go up but their net increase in retirement benefits will remain low, since higher CPP payments would be offset by clawbacks in GIS benefits.
Bragging about one's fine principles is all well and good, and so is saying that the most vulnerable among us will have more. That is fine, but what the government has given with one hand, it has taken away with the other. We, the Conservatives, are not the ones saying so; this is coming from the C.D. Howe Institute.
Incidentally, C.D. Howe was one of the greatest ministers in Canada's history. From my perspective, he was one of the people who helped shape Canada in the 20th century and helped establish this country's industrial base at a time when we were at war. I really like making historical asides from time to time. If we are going to be talking, we might as well enjoy ourselves a little.
The guaranteed income supplement was supposed to help the most vulnerable among us in the unfortunate event that people could not make ends meet with their private pension alone. Given that we pay more attention to that these days than we did in the past, when wages were lower and saving money did not occur to people so much, we created the guaranteed income supplement to bridge that gap and put people on a more equal footing.
However, considering the Liberal approach, that goal can unfortunately no longer be reached as it should be, and that spells trouble.
This bill is a clear indication of where we can draw the line between the government and our party. As far as we are concerned, we must give people the tools they need to make the right choice with respect to a good pension plan that is based on their own priorities. Of course we do not want to cancel anything that is coming from the federal government. The point is this. If it has to bring something new, then it should bring it on behalf of the people instead of putting it into the hands of the government. If we adopt this bill, the reality is that people will have less money in their pockets. This bill will give the government the right to take $1,000 a year out of the pockets of working people. Worse than that, it will cost entrepreneurs, those who create wealth and jobs and who are the real backbone of our economy, around $1,000 more for every worker in their business. This is not good for the Canadian economy, nor is it good for the people who work because it will take 40 full years before it achieves anything good for the people.
I urge all members of the House to vote against this bill.