Madam Speaker, I am honoured to stand to speak to Bill C-2 once again, and about some of the implications it will have when the bill moves forward.
It is great that we are in the House today debating the bill, because there are many things Canadians need to know about it, and that we as the official opposition have to bring to the attention of the government.
Today I want to start with the tax-free savings account. The current Liberal government has proposed a reduction in the maximum annual amounts Canadians can invest in these accounts. We know this is a tool that has been working for Canadians. Unfortunately, the government does not, on the false pretence that doubling the tax-free savings account only benefits the highest-earning Canadians, rather than just the middle class.
As we talk about this today, we are looking at all of these proposed middle-class tax hikes that we will be seeing for the middle class and for all Canadians.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. We probably know him as the member of Parliament for the “free the beer” campaign, another great campaign we have done.
I am here to talk about the tax-free savings account and the proposal of the Minister of Finance to move forward with the CPP contributions that the government will be inflicting on all Canadians, especially future generations.
The Liberals proposed middle-class tax cuts, reducing it to 20.5%. It really does sound good when they say they are cutting taxes for the middle class. However, they are forgetting to tell Canadians about all the other things they are going to do. We heard the Minister of Environment in the House this week talking about the carbon tax. We have to recognize that they are going to say they will be reducing taxes for the middle class in order to create more opportunities, provide better savings, and more opportunities for families, but they are not talking about all of these other things they are also proposing.
I am a resident of Ontario. We are already going to see gas prices go up 4¢ a litre, because it was proposed by the Ontario Liberal government. Now we see our federal Liberal government also proposing a carbon tax, a CPP tax, and all these other things. Therefore, although they talk about a middle-class tax bracket at 20.5%, they are not letting all Canadians know that they are actually taxing us in other forms. It really is very unfortunate that they are saying one thing but doing another.
We are not decreasing the taxes when we have backdoor amendments changing the current tax system. For those people living in Ontario, where we see horrible job creation and much unemployment, much like Alberta with the non-support in our energy sector, not only are Canadians not going to have jobs, but they will be paying more, even at the gas pumps. They are going to be paying more in the grocery stores, because we see governments taxing Canadians, whether they are in Ontario, or anywhere in Canada. I have huge concerns about this.
We talked about the tax-fee savings account, which is a vehicle for Canadians to save money. Our Conservative government increased it because we had Canadians saying this was a great vehicle for saving money. By introducing a new threshold for what they could save it gave them the opportunity. Many times, we will hear the government say people are not maximizing it. Now, what it is proposing is “nannyfying” what we are doing in Canada by introducing Canada pension plan increases.
We have a vehicle that currently works, the tax-free savings account, which allows Canadians to save responsibly, and many Canadians are doing so. However, now the Minister of Finance will be touring later on this month, trying to get all of the provinces on board to increase our CPP contributions. We have to recognize that that is not only a vehicle for savings. At the same time, it is a huge burden on small businesses. Those small businesses were looking forward to a decrease in their small business tax. However, the government will not be fulfilling that promise either.
Therefore, what the government will be doing is taking the tax-free savings accounts, which allow Canadians to make the choice on how they want to save their money, and instead introducing a new tax on Canadians and employers through the Canada pension plan, as a nanny state tax.
What is this going to do? We know that when students come out of university, they have high debts. It is something that we should be aware of as Canadians. We are asking our students to go out there and get the proper education they need so that they can make sure they have a brilliant future. They come out of those schools with debt and when they get their first job, not only are they going to have to contribute to the CPP but they will have to double those contributions. We are looking at an additional $3,000 out of their pockets to be put into the CPP.
As a parent, I have no problem because I believe that it is very important for people to save for their future. However, at the same time, what we are doing is having them save for retirement when they can take that money and put it into their student debt, put it into a tax-free savings account, or into the first-time homebuyers plan under the RRSPs and put that money toward their first home. What we have now done is taken away all of those opportunities for Canadians and, as a government, we are saying, “You must put it into the Canada pension plan.”
Although I think saving for retirement is very important, we have to recognize that this is the Canada pension plan. It does not help our current seniors, those seniors who we say are the most vulnerable. It will just be an additional tax. For those students who have come out of Carleton University with these enormous debts, we will see another tax on them. The opportunity for them to save their own money for what they choose is being removed by the current government. These are things that I am extremely concerned with.
The government has talked many times about deficit spending in its campaign promises. I want to talk about the middle class. The middle class we are talking about today will be that group of people, these young families who are currently the middle class, who will wind up with a huge debt. Whether it is the debt from the deficit or from the new CPP contributions or the debt they will have because we will be taking this carbon tax money, will we be using it properly? Those are some huge concerns I have.
I am very much an environmentally friendly person. However, I believe in the stewardship of our land. I think we need to ensure that we recognize that if we are taxing people, this money will actually reduce costs or, as the Liberals are saying, the man-made climate change, or will we just be taking that money and putting it into general revenues and pet projects. Unfortunately, I see the latter, the pet projects, truly being the focus of this climate change plan.
We have this new carbon tax that has now been introduced in the province of Ontario. We will see one at the federal level as well. Average Canadians, the people who will have to pay for this huge deficit in 2016, this line of credit or the 2016 budget, will just see huge debts that they will have to pay. That is a very large concern for me. As I said, I am parent and I have three children currently in post-secondary education. I recognize the costs of education. I am very fortunate to be able to assist with some of those expenses. Not all families can do that. What we have done is once again crippled the middle class by introducing so many different factors in this.
Going back to the tax-free savings account, this is a vehicle, as we have said, and as the government has said many times, to maximize contributions. This party on this side, the official opposition, sese this is an excellent vehicle for people to save money. It gives them the opportunity to put in maximum contributions. Instead, we are rolling that back. We have different institutions and different organizations throughout Canada saying, “We appreciate that increase and we think that's what needs to be done.” Instead, we see a government that is planning on taxing Canadians—tax, tax, tax, and spend, spend, spend. As we go through this, the bottom line is that we are trying to tax ourselves to prosperity. That is not what we should do. We are taking all of this money from hard-working Canadians and we will be taxing them more and more.
Unfortunately, now that the Liberal government has come into office after it had its great campaign, all it is doing is crippling our middle class and our seniors, and it has only short-term plans. I hope that when the Liberals look at this they will recognize that we need to do better, and we can do better. I hope that they look at and review all of the documents that they have put forward.