Madam Speaker, it is good to hear that Saskatchewan is being heard from in the House of Commons this afternoon. I know Saskatchewan has some pretty strong views on taxation. We know a lot about paying taxes. Like many Canadians, we feel we pay more than our fair share of taxes. We are not very excited about Bill C-70, to harmonize or blend the sales taxes.
We have talked about the Liberals a lot in the House of Commons. It sounds like a broken record but it is not. It is broken promises which are serious business. It is important for Canadians to know that Reformers are holding the Liberals accountable for their broken promises here in the House of Commons. I think this
has been said a number of times but it needs to be repeated because these are important people who have made these statements.
The current finance minister on April 4, 1990 when he was sitting on this side in opposition said: "I would abolish the GST". That is pretty plain and simple. I can understand that. Canadians understood that and they elected a Liberal government because they had a pretty good hunch that the current finance minister would hold that position in a Liberal government.
The current Prime Minister on September 27, 1990, just a few days after his finance minister had made that statement, said: "I want the tax dead". I know when something is dead. Coming from the farm I have seen dead animals. We bury them and they are no more. They are gone. They are forgotten and we do not deal with them any longer.
The GST is not dead. It is alive and kicking. In fact, it is growing new hands. It is going to pick more pockets through a blended sales tax, a BST. That is a fitting name for the Liberals' approach to tax reform, call it BST. Again, coming from the farm I know what BS is and this is an accurate name for this sales tax.
I want to tell the House about what is happening in Saskatchewan. We already have a 9 per cent sales tax, one of the higher sales taxes in Canada. There is only a province or two with a higher sales tax. We take the GST of 7 per cent and add it to our provincial sales tax and we have got 16 per cent or actually a little over 16 per cent sales tax on most of the goods we purchase. If it is services, because it is not a blended sales tax, we pay only the GST. As as farmer, if I go to my accountant or if I take a piece of machinery to a mechanic for repair or, as we all do if we have to get a haircut, we pay the GST but we do not pay the PST. It is on goods only.
Liberals think that they are not getting enough revenue from taxes and they have to blend it so that the provinces and the federal government can extract more from us, particularly in the service industry which all of us rely on so much.
What did the Liberals do? They thought the provinces would just jump at this chance of having a blended sales tax. They forgot one thing. Provincial governments also have to get elected. They were concerned and said "how are we going to sell this BST, taxes going up on new items that currently are not being taxed or at least taxed at as high a level as it would be under a blended sales tax?" There is a little problem with the provinces. They did not jump on board.
The Deputy Prime Minister could not keep her promise and had to resign, albeit a rather odd resignation, having done a poll first to see whether she could get re-elected before she resigned. I guess that is the way the Liberals think. Put honour at the bottom of the list and check out expediency and pragmatic opportunity first.
In any event, so be it. The Liberals were in trouble over the reform of the sales tax. Killing the GST was out of the question. They were trying to cloak that in some new scheme called blending or harmonizing the sales tax. They finally were able to sell it by offering three Atlantic provinces $1 billion. Whose dollars? A billion of our dollars, taxpayer dollars, to blend this new sales tax.
The Liberal premiers of the Atlantic provinces went along with this buyout. Suddenly they found out that Atlantic Canadians were not so excited about it. They realized that the bottom line is they are going to pay higher taxes. One province did not go along with it because of course that province had to go to the electorate sooner than any other province, the province of Prince Edward Island. The Liberals found out that they were not very popular in Prince Edward Island as that government went down to defeat. I believe that the blended sales tax was a part of the reason the Liberals' ship sank in Prince Edward Island.
We have an NDP government in Saskatchewan. Believe me, NDP governments know how to tax. They like to tax about as much as Liberals do. We have a 9 per cent sales tax in Saskatchewan. We are killing jobs and sending business to Alberta where there is no provincial sales tax. We have high taxes on our phone bills; we have high taxes on our power bills and the rates are going up; we have increased our gasoline tax, meanwhile our roads are in shambles; we have a high provincial income tax; provincial crown leases have increased; municipal reassessment is being done in Saskatchewan, which is increasing the cost to the taxpayers. Of course the taxpayer, no matter what level of government it is, is the same person.
The NDP got a sudden shock in Saskatchewan the other day when it lost a byelection in North Battleford, a seat it had held for most of the last 40 years. People in Saskatchewan were telling the NDP that they do not like the high taxes. They do not like the NDP nickeling and diming them to death. They are not prepared to pay more and more for less and less. Surprise, surprise. In Saskatchewan the NDP lost a safe seat. A new Liberal MLA was elected in the riding of North Battleford.
The Liberals have also selected a new provincial leader. Of course they have had all kinds of problems. They have been shooting each other in the foot and stabbing one another in the back, as Liberals are prone to do once in a while. Out of the whole mess they had to choose a new leader. What did the new provincial Liberal leader in Saskatchewan pronounce almost at the beginning of his mandate? He said: "I think we should harmonize the federal and provincial sales taxes".
I was jumping for joy. That will ensure that Liberals will not be re-elected as members of Parliament for Saskatchewan. Saskatchewans simply do not want higher taxes on services. We are opposed to it. I believe the Liberal leader is already backtracking. In later press releases and interviews he has talked about reducing the provincial sales tax more than he has about blending or harmonizing the federal and provincial sales taxes. Politicians, when they make as big a blunder as the new Liberal leader made, are pretty quick to change their ways before they totally annihilate their political future.
Harmonizing, he thought, would save Saskatchewan taxpayers money. Obviously Saskatchewan people do not think so. That is why he is changing his tune and talking about tax relief rather than a new tax.
Where did he get the idea that tax relief might be sold to Canadians? He has probably looked at Reform's fresh start, for one thing. He has probably listened to the people, the common sense of the common people, who are saying "we do not want more taxes, we do not want to see how imaginative you can be by introducing some kind of harmonized sales tax".
What Reform has offered Saskatchewan is not some new program, not a new tax scheme. It has offered tax relief. In the case of the province of Saskatchewan it would mean that $440 million would be left in taxpayer pockets. That is money they would not have to send to Ottawa.
In Saskatchewan we send everything out of the province. We send our young people out of the province. We send our raw products out of the province. We send our opportunity and our future out of the province. We send our tax dollars out of the province. Only Reform has talked about leaving tax dollars in Saskatchewan, in the hands of the people of Saskatchewan, so that they can make the best decisions as to how that money will be spent. That idea is going over extremely well.
We are looking at how we can keep things in Saskatchewan and how we can make that province grow. Reform has put forward a fresh start proposal which would leave $440 million in taxpayer pockets, rather than losing it through the BST, which was so aptly named by the Liberal Party.
My time has just about expired, and so I will set the record straight. The NDP tax high, Liberals tax high, Reform spells tax relief. That is what Canadians want. That is what the people of Saskatchewan want. That is what the residents of Kindersley-Lloydminster want. That is why I am speaking on their behalf in the House of Commons.