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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was per.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for St. Paul's (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 54% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Excise Tax February 5th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I understood that we were extended to 6.40 p.m. Is that not correct?

Excise Tax February 5th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have a suggestion that might speed things up, although the hon. member opposite for the third party did not seem to be interested in speeding things up.

However, perhaps he might consider this, as my colleagues in the official opposition would. It appears these amendments from Motion No. 6 to Motion No. 117, which you are reading to us so well, all delete references in particular clauses to harmonization, so that the bill is restricted to simply making technical changes. The amendments proposed by the opposition in this block all relate to deleting references to harmonization. I may incorrect in that so you would want clarification from the opposition.

But if that is correct, one way might be to group them all by removing references in all those clauses to harmonization and maybe that would speed it up. Then we could get on to debating these motions.

Excise Tax February 5th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the hon. member opposite that we did suggest that we might dispense with the need to have the Speaker read all the amendments that he is now having to read as a result of their declining the opportunity for unanimous consent. The hon. whip for the official opposition did agree in discussions earlier but we did not have House agreement. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, you will have to read. I apologize as well.

Excise Tax February 5th, 1997

Are we moving now to Group No. 2 motions? There will be a number of motions in Group No. 2.

Excise Tax February 5th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Motion No. 2, which my hon. colleague will be speaking to in a few moments, I might reserve my comments, as the same issue comes up later on. It does speak to the issue of books and the possibility of zero rating books and deleting the rebate which has been provided for in Bill C-70.

We feel quite strongly that the provision with respect to the purchases of books by certain libraries and public institutions responds very directly to the concerns of those who care about the important issue of literacy in this country, that the proposal instead that we are going to hear about in a few moments would be costly and not effective in responding to the literacy needs of this country.

The provinces that are harmonizing at this time are also offering point of sale rebates which will also go a long way toward addressing some of these concerns. I will reserve my further comments for later on.

Excise Tax February 5th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, Motion No. 1 in Group No. 1 pertains to clause 26 of Bill C-70. It enacts new subsections 177(1.2) and (1.3) of the Excise Tax Act which sets out the sales tax treatment of goods sold by auction. Subsection 177(l.2) provides that the tax on such goods must be collected and remitted by the auctioneer.

In response to concerns raised by some registrants that frequently sell goods by auction in large lots, typically at the wholesale level, the Standing Committee on Finance passed an amendment to add new subsection 177(1.3). This subsection allows an auctioneer and a registered principal to jointly elect to have the auctioneer instead pass back the tax to the principal that would be required to report and remit it.

This election could be made where all or substantially all of the proceeds from the sale of goods on behalf of the principal at the particular auction were attributable to prescribed goods that are often wholesaled in this manner, such as motor vehicles, certain construction equipment, horses and flowers.

The purpose of the motion before the House now is to correct a deficiency in new subsection 177(1.3). The correction adds that the election applies only with respect to sales by auction in respect of which the principal would otherwise be required to collect the tax. That only seems a fair and appropriate correction.

As a result, the general rules that apply to sales by auction continue to apply, for example, to personal use property of the registrant sold by auction.

That concludes what I have to say with respect to Motion No. 1. However, I need some guidance from the Chair as to whether we would be debating Motion No. 1 or whether I could make some comments on Motion No. 2 as well at this time.

Excise Tax February 5th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, a point of order. You might find unanimous consent for all motions on the Order Paper today to be deemed to have been read and seconded and a recorded division requested and automatically deferred on each according to your ruling.

Excise Tax Act December 10th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I must have struck a chord. The people of Atlantic Canada clearly know what is in their interest and are prepared to rise or fall as governments on that. Unfortunately the Reform Party does not represent that area of the country but thinks it knows best, knows better and knows what would help them. Reformers are prepared to stand here for two days to tell Atlantic Canada just what is good for it. That is some indication of the incredible arrogance and paternalism of the Reform Party with respect to other regions of the country.

With regard to the Bloc let us point out something else that is quite incredible about the spectacle of its interventions in the debate. Let us understand this clearly. Bloc members want to deny harmonization to Atlantic Canada, but they forgot to say in a single speech over two days that the Quebec sales tax is harmonized with the GST. They tell Atlantic Canada not to do it, that it is outrageous. By the way, they go on to say: "You are buying them off. You are doing this adjustment assistance".

I did not hear in one speech any rejection of the adjustment assistance for farmers when agricultural subsidies were removed. I did not hear a word from Reformers on the Crow rate subsidy of $1 billion plus. No one stood and said at that time: "Don't give this to us". They said: "Don't help us with an adjustment to this structural change. No, don't do that". They were silent, struck dumb.

When it comes to assistance to Atlantic Canada there is not a word from the Reform Party about the Crow rate subsidy of $1 billion plus. However it is no to Atlantic Canada, no adjustment assistance for them. From the Bloc there is no adjustment assistance for structural change but on agricultural subsidies the cheque can be written. It is really quite incredible and I do not think anybody will be fooled.

The hon. member opposite stands and says: "We are still waiting for the formula". Nonsense. The formula has been well known. It is compensation for a loss of revenue greater than 5 per cent of the sales tax base. He knows it. Hon. members know it. Anybody who has been unfortunate enough to watch the debate for two days knows it because we have said it several times. Quebec does not qualify. Nor would other provinces qualify that have not yet joined but will in due course.

The Atlantic provinces qualify. They are losing that revenue. What did Quebec do when it harmonized? It wanted to keep it secret but did not want the Atlantic provinces to have it. It ran two systems side by side and had an increase in revenue. There was not a decrease when Quebec harmonized. It did not qualify then and it does not qualify now.

I go back to the history of the last couple of years. I participated in the finance committee when it travelled across the country asking Canadians about the GST. Members opposite can invent what took place but I was there and so were some of their colleagues.

Canadians told us there was an incredible anomaly with two sales taxes in most provinces, some 10 sales taxes in total. Whatever else we do, they told us to harmonize. The following sounds like a quote from the Reform Party, but there is only one taxpayer so there should be only one tax administration, one tax. Canadians asked for simplification over and over again.

To listen to the parties opposite one would think they were not sitting at the table with us. They asked for tax inclusive pricing. They wanted the option of knowing what the tax was. That is why it is provided on the receipt as it is in most of the world. Canadians told us they wanted no more sticker shock, no more counter shock.

In closing, I will make another point about the incredible spectacle we heard from the Bloc. I wonder if the reason its members have not reminded Canadian people about harmonization in Quebec is that it is a competitive advantage vis-à-vis Atlantic Canada. They know that. They do not want Atlantic businesses and consumers to have the advantage available to Quebec businesses and consumers.

This change will result in input tax credits in Atlantic Canada, tremendous savings passed on to consumers, cheaper prices and no net increase in tax revenue. It is good for Atlantic Canada. That is why their governments want to do it, no matter what the Reform or the Bloc may have to say about it.

Excise Tax Act December 10th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I wonder to myself what Canadians might think watching this debate on television. It is quite a spectacle sometimes, especially when members of the opposition stray from discussing and debating the issues before us and launch into a litany of complaints, frustrations and concerns which have nothing to do with those matters.

I will speak to the issue before us and point out what viewers, Canadians observing this spectacle from the opposition, will easily conclude. It is incredible. From members of the Reform Party we have incredible paternalism. Who would expect otherwise? Let me put in a nutshell what they have been saying for hours and hours: "We know better than Atlantic Canada. Don't do this to yourselves because we know better".

One colleague suggested today that perhaps the best response would be for the Reform Party to run candidates in Atlantic Canada and teach the people there what they do not seem to understand themselves. The people of Atlantic Canada have elected governments that know what they are doing and have decided it is in the interest-

Excise Tax Act December 10th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, if I might apologize to you, there was never any intent whatsoever to question your ruling. I was on my feet as you stood to make your ruling. I was not recognized. I stayed on my feet and I stated my position for the record.