Mr. Speaker, I was just paying attention to the testimony going on at the justice committee. If people are watching at home, I suggest they turn to that and watch the testimony by the former attorney general. It is quite rivetting. I will not take offence if my words get missed.
It is my pleasure to speak to Bill S-6, an act to implement the convention between Canada and the Republic of Madagascar for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income. In November of 2016, the convention was signed between the governments of Canada and Madagascar. While reviewing the bill, I was surprised to learn that we have had diplomatic relations with Madagascar for nearly 55 years.
In terms of economic activity between our two countries, Canada imported $100 million in goods last year. The bulk of these imports were mineral and vegetable products. Madagascar imported $16 million of Canadian goods last year. Global Affairs Canada reports that Canadian direct investment to Madagascar was $28 million in 2017. Canada has mining companies there. We do business with Madagascar.
Since 1976, Canada has entered into similar tax agreements with countries all around the globe. In fact, we currently have 93 such agreements in place. The main purpose of the convention is to eliminate double taxation and prevent international tax evasion.
I want to support Bill S-6 and the international efforts coordinated by the organization for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development aimed to reduce treaty shopping for tax havens. However, the bill reminds us that the government's overall approach to addressing international tax evasion is inadequate and more needs to be done.
I had the pleasure of rising in the House on September 28 of last year to speak to Bill C-82, an act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting. For the benefit of those at home and as a reminder to my colleagues in the House, Bill C-82 aims to make it more difficult for corporations to hide money in offshore tax havens.
What is double taxation? It is a taxation principle referring to income taxes paid twice on the same amount of earned income. It could occur when income is taxed at both the corporate level and the personal level. It also occurs in international trade when the same income is taxed in two different jurisdictions.
I had a number of concerns with Bill C-82. I will not repeat them all here, but one of my major concerns, which is an underlying problem with these agreements, is this. I really have no problem with the agreements that inevitably make other jurisdictions more attractive to Canadian investment. Promoting investment in Canada should be a priority for the federal government, but in truth we live in a global community with economic opportunities for Canadians outside the country, whether through direct investment or indirectly through mutual or pension funds.
What I see as a problem is when the government fails to support competitively lower taxes for Canadians and businesses domestically. With respect to businesses, we need to lower corporate taxes, reduce red tape and create an investor-friendly climate. This is something we must do in concert with bills like Bill C-82 and Bill S-6.
We have companies moving from Canada to the United States because of a lower corporate tax regime. If we want to stop the use of tax havens, we need to make it attractive to invest at home and make tax rates competitive with other jurisdictions. The more investment dollars we can attract and retain in Canada, the less taxes we need to spend in pursuit of those who exploit loopholes in tax rules.
Let me be clear. The Conservatives support measures to crack down on tax evasion. Aggressive tax avoidance is a major source of lost tax revenue for high tax jurisdictions like Canada. The vast majority of citizens and businesses in Canada pay their taxes and follow the rules. We need a competitive and fair tax system for all Canadians and corporations that do business in Canada. That is fundamental to a healthy and equitable economy.
During the fall economic statement, the Minister of Finance confirmed that the Liberals were borrowing about $18 billion this year and almost $20 billion next year to pay for their spending, and they have no plan to balance the federal budget. This year's deficit is more than three times what the Prime Minister said it would be. He has added $60 billion in debt.
We are giving the impression to Canadians, through bills like Bill S-6, that the Liberal government is more interested in hunting down tax evaders in Madagascar, although I am not aware of an outbreak of tax evaders in Madagascar, than creating a fair and equitable system here in Canada.
Canadians know that one does not need to be an economist to understand that more debt today means higher taxes tomorrow. Tax treaties might be important, but something that is far more important is the halting of the ongoing plundering of our children's economic futures.
Canadians are going to pay higher taxes once the government's Canada pension plan tax increases are fully implemented by 2025. That is up to $2,200 per household. The Prime Minister's national carbon price, the carbon tax, will cost up to $1,100 per household. Canadians are going to pay more in future taxes to service the interest on the government's ballooning deficit fuelled by out-of-control spending.
The Liberals' previously proposed tax grab would have forced business owners in Canada to pay 73% on savings income, penalized family businesses for sharing earnings and work with family members and doubled the tax on the sale of a farm from parents to children, forcing them to sell to multinational corporations instead.
This is not how we create a friendly investment climate in Canada. This is not how we create wealth and lift people out of poverty. This is not how we safeguard our children's future.
The previous Conservative government signed tax agreement's like Bill S-6, but we did this in concert with reducing taxes for Canadian families and businesses. The average Canadian middle-class family is paying $800 more income tax today than it did before the Liberal government took office in 2015.
The Conservatives implemented family tax cuts, arts and fitness tax credits and education and textbook credits, all of which were cancelled by the government.
Bill S-6 is more than just about cracking down on tax evaders. Trade and commerce between two countries are supported by these agreements. That is why our previous Conservative government signed a record number of them.
Under the previous Conservative government, Canadian workers and businesses won free trade access to more than 50 countries around the world, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and opportunities for everyone. In just three years, the Prime Minister has failed to secure a trade deal with China and delayed and nearly derailed plans for Canada to join the CPTPP trade agreement.
Worst of all, the Prime Minister made massive concessions to the United States at the NAFTA negotiation table. He backed down on cars, giving the U.S. limits on how many cars we could export. He even backed down on pharmaceuticals, giving the U.S. higher profits at the expense of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Canadians cannot bid on American government contracts and we still have tariffs on steel, aluminum and softwood lumber, with no timeline to end them.
Bills like Bill S-6 are important and need to be supported. Tax evasion is a real issue. We need to crack down on tax evasion, but we also need to support lower taxes for Canadian businesses. We have lost out on tens of billions of dollars' worth of investment because of the government's misguided fiscal policies.
Investment is fleeing, we are losing jobs, families are worse off than they were before and we are going in the opposite direction with respect to what most countries are doing by lowering taxes and making themselves investment magnets.