Mr. Speaker, I would first like to mention that I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge.
What I am hearing from the members across the way is unbelievable. The Liberals are out of touch with reality, and they are not working for Quebec. It saddens me.
I would like to remind the House that our political lieutenant for Quebec tabled a motion this morning. I am very proud that the member for Richmond—Arthabaska tabled a motion that is in the interest of Canadians, especially Quebeckers.
We are here to stand up for Quebeckers. We are the Quebec caucus within the national caucus of the Conservative Party of Canada, and our colleagues listen to us very carefully. However, that does not seem to be the case across the aisle. As Conservatives, we work together in the interest of all Canadians, but today in particular, we need to think about the interests of Quebeckers and the single tax return.
I would like to remind the people listening to us at home what topic we have been discussing this morning in the House. As I was saying, my colleague tabled the following motion this morning:
(a) the House has great respect for provincial jurisdiction and trust in provincial institutions;
(b) the people of Quebec are burdened with completing and submitting two tax returns, one federal and one provincial; and
(c) the House believes in cutting red tape and reducing unnecessary paperwork to improve the everyday lives of families; therefore,
the House call on the government to work with the Government of Quebec to implement a single tax return in Quebec, as adopted unanimously in the motion of the National Assembly of Quebec on May 15, 2018.
In my view, letting people file a single tax return is the least we could do. I do not understand why the Liberal government are so stubbornly opposed to the idea. Quebeckers are the only people in Canada that have to do twice the work in February, March or April when they file their tax return. I do not understand the motives behind the Liberal government's decision to say no to Quebec, no to Quebeckers and no to a single tax return. That is unacceptable.
What is the basis of that refusal? The Liberals justify it by saying that they want to protect 5,500 jobs in Quebec, meaning the jobs of Canadian public servants working for the Canada Revenue Agency.
Before being elected to the House, I was an entrepreneur. If entrepreneurs in Canada and Quebec acted this way, it would be irresponsible for the future of their companies.
It is 2019, and the technology exists. Can we at least consider the possibility of finding a solution so Quebeckers have less paperwork to fill out? The Liberal government’s position is a categorical no. Why is this centralizing government saying no to Quebec? To protect jobs.
The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the leader of the official opposition in the House of Commons, has very clearly said that no jobs would be lost. It must be said that we have a better record of keeping our word than the Liberals do. When the Liberals say things and make promises, we have our doubts, because they have a long list of broken promises.
However, when our party, the Conservative Party of Canada, formed the government, we kept our promises, whereas the current government has caused a mess over the last three years. Our “score” is almost 100%, which is excellent.
What is important to understand is that we must undertake a reflection. Personally, I think that the 40 Liberal members from Quebec, and I am not talking about Ali Baba and his 40 thieves, should be realistic and fair. They should have the trust and willpower to get things done. They should respect Quebeckers.
It is acceptable for the GST. Revenu Québec can collect the GST and remit it to Ottawa, but maybe the Liberals see Quebeckers as second-class citizens when it comes to filing tax returns. The Liberals have not even considered the possibility of finding a solution and studying the feasibility of a single tax return. Is that trust? I do not think so.
We need to be realistic. As I mentioned earlier, there is reality. It is 2019, and the technology exists. We can reduce the paperwork today. It is a matter of putting numbers in columns, but the exercise must be multiplied by two and by the number of residents of Quebec. How many additional returns is that?
Where there is a will to make things better, there is a way. Where there is no will, excuses will certainly be found. Scare tactics will be used. We need to be realistic. Being realistic means looking at the system that exists now and considering the feasibility of the issue. However, the Liberals' answer is a categorical no, and they refuse to commit.
Why ask twice the effort from Quebeckers in the name of fairness? Quebec is the only province to complete two income tax returns. To be fair, will the Liberal government announce a tax credit in its next budget for Quebeckers who are required to pay an accountant twice as much because they file two tax returns? Maybe we will have a surprise in March when the Minister of Finance tables his budget. If we follow the government’s reasoning regarding fairness, there should be compensation for Quebeckers.
What is lacking is political will. The minister is hiding behind the argument of lost jobs. I repeat, as our leader mentioned, that no jobs will be lost. I asked the Prime Minister a question last week. We were discussing the income tax return and the reason why he was saying no to Quebeckers. I will read his answer to my question in the House. I do not know what planet he was on, but he replied, “Mr. Speaker, how interesting. The Conservatives are saying one thing in French and another in English.”
I do not know if he was talking about the Liberals. We Conservatives are saying only one thing.
I can speak English and French.
We will work for Quebec and to meet the needs of Quebeckers. Quebec has a labour shortage. More than 1,000 positions are vacant according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. We will continue to work with Quebec on its files.
Here in the House last Wednesday, the Prime Minister himself said that there was a labour shortage. The Minister of National Revenue says she wants no lost jobs. I have quite a few ideas for her to consider. Take employees and send them to work on tax evasion. For three years, the Liberals have invested millions of dollars without any results.
Why not use that expertise? Public servants are skilled workers. We will respect Canadian public servants, and we will ensure that they are paid, which is very important. At the very least, public servants need to be paid by the government for the services they provide.
I am getting carried away. I should return to my notes. Speaking of the Minister of National Revenue, a few months ago, she developed a new slogan, “the net is tightening”. Last week it became, “Chop, chop, chop”. This is not the theatre; this is the House of Commons. This is serious. Quebeckers deserve our respect. This is unacceptable behaviour on the part of a minister. It is as if she were on a stage. She is putting on a play. It is unacceptable as well as irresponsible.
I do not understand how this Liberal government can say no to Quebeckers and no to a single income tax return.