Mr. Speaker, I agree with the bill that has been put forward by the hon. member for Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing. The tax system does need to be reformed. How can anyone disagree with that broad goal of income security for all Canadians?
The disagreement, however, comes on these two questions: How should the tax system be reformed, and what constitutes social and income security?
Let me deal with the second question first. What is social and income security? In the minds of most Canadians it can only exist in a society in which there are good jobs with good incomes. That is the bottom line. To have good jobs there must exist good investment opportunities and there must be good rates of return or profit. Without that we will not have good jobs in this country. Such a society must also have an environmentally sound, financially viable economy alongside a supportive, responsive public services sector.
How do we get on the right road to achieving this objective for our society? How do we get there from here? There are many areas that need to be reformed. Reforming our tax system would be a major variable in the equation.
What kind of tax reform is needed? Our current system with its unjustifiably high taxes is a wedge, one that is being driven between Canadians eager to be fruitful, prosperous and just and the ultimate goal of achieving a socially and income insecure society. It is a wedge that is being driven between the intentions and the realization of that goal.
What is the real culprit? Why is the current system of high taxes a problem? These unfair high taxes are only a symptom of a bigger inherently related problem. We cannot separate the two.
What is the real problem? The real root that necessitates high taxes and prevents us from achieving the kind of society which we really want is government fiscal irresponsibility. We consistently spend more money than is brought in. These high taxes are detestable and they are a wedge that is coming between the ambitions of Canadians and the realization of their goals.
The driving force that forces up taxes and that fuels the underground economy and that causes unnecessarily high unemployment and makes businesses and jobs pack up and flee the country and creates social unrest and crime and a general loss of confidence in our whole country drives up interest rates and depreciates our currency.
The root cause is the fact that as a country we have lost control of our finances. We spend too much. Let us not blame anybody. We are in this together. High taxes are destroying jobs and they are destroying social programs because they destroy the initiative of the people and their desire to invest and work.
The common sense of the common people could have foretold us our fate. Do we seriously believe we can continually spend more money than we bring in? Can we keep borrowing from our neighbours, from businesses and from other countries? Someone, some time, has to pay.
Many of my hon. colleagues from the other parties in this House will on almost every subject in this House Reformers talk about the same thing, fiscal responsibility. Why are they stuck on that? Let me explain why.
We are focused on the financial matters of this country because we want Canada to decide its own future and not destroy it. We want Canada to have the best social programs and infrastructure, the most beautiful environment, the best jobs and incomes for its people. We are not going to get it the way we are going now. We cannot achieve a socially and income secure society for ourselves and for our families and future generations by continually demanding more.
We cannot withdraw from what will happen. We will eventually deny ourselves and our children everything that we are trying to preserve. We have to decide now how we are going to adjust our lifestyles, that we are going to tighten our belts and that we are going to expect less. It is really a cruel hoax on all our fellow Canadians to let them think that we can continue as we are. It is wrong.
It is a lot of fun to talk about spending, talk about social programs, to talk about women's rights and minority rights and immigrant rights and refugee rights, criminal rights, language rights, universal social programs like health care and day care and many other noble causes which some other group might feel is deserving money. It is fun to talk about those things and plan. The final result is that somebody has to pay.
Occasionally we may sound apocalyptic when we talk about our nation's finances. Perhaps things will turn around. Maybe it will happen some day. Maybe it will happen soon. Perhaps our debt crisis will not become drastically worse. Maybe we will look back in 50 years from now at this session of Parliament and on the continual attention that Reformers gave to the government finances as overkill. Maybe we will look back and see it as that.
I sincerely hope that happens. If it does it means we have done one thing, that we were able to control spending and taxes and bring in real fiscal reform. At the present time we are in a free fall. We are plunging downward. We are skydiving without any intention of opening our parachutes.
I agree with the motion. Let us reform our tax system. Let us reform the GST. Let us slash personal income tax, corporate tax and payroll tax. Let us pretend for a moment that all govern-
ments were able to cut taxes; federal, provincial and property. Would Canadians not love us? We would be heroes. We would go from being one of the highest taxed countries in the developing world to one of the least taxed.
What would Canadians do with all the money that previously went to government? One can only imagine and we should imagine. Canadians want to be freer. Canadians want to be free to decide what to do with all their hard earned money. What if the government kept its greedy, grimy tentacles out of the people's pockets?
Governments often have a philosophy that they have some absolute sense to know what is best for people. It is deceitful, it is dishonest and it is immoral. That ideology has manifested itself in the extreme repression of the former East Germany, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the Soviet Union, just to name a few. Such regimes were ruled by elites, elites who believed very strongly that they had the ultimate answer for a perfect society, indeed for a perfect world. Because of this elitist attitude they taxed to the max. Poor, hard working citizens had to pay the bills. There was very little regard for them. Their mental skills were seen as inferior.
If Canadians felt that the government was spending their hard earned dollars in a responsible way and that these programs were good for all Canadians, they would jump on board. However, Canadians see governments misspending their money and they feel things are out of control.
Canadians see government responding to policies and programs and funding any group or cause that will keep them in power. Our current system allows a majority government to implement policies to a myriad of controversial programs. Quite frankly, the government simply does not have a mandate for these programs.
One example is the bilingual-multiculturalism notions that the government is inflicting on the nation. We have never had a referendum on official bilingualism or official multiculturalism. We simply have to accept these policies because the elites have told us it is good for us.
When we question them we always get: "If you don't like it, five years down the road you can throw us out". However, if our leaders are accountable only every five years and not every day they end up representing the people only once every five years.
The essence of democracy is that we must be accountable every day. We are usurping individual freedoms, choices and responsibilities in favour of some elitist version of "what is best for them". The guiding hand must come from the bottom not from the top. We need government to promote law and order, but the big disagreement comes over how and what amount of government we have. The Reformers call it the legitimate role of government.
The legitimate role of government is to do for people only what needs to be done for them or they cannot do at all or as well individually or through non-government organizations. That is the legitimate role of government. If we want to have the best tax system in the world we must look at our expenditures. We must finance only those services that Canadians cannot provide for themselves or through non-government agencies.
In order to do that we must also have a different attitude toward government and a different attitude by our government toward ordinary Canadians. That is the only way we are going to have real tax reform.