Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the minister on his remarks. This minister is a very accomplished and distinguished minister who has set a tone of constructiveness in his government. While I disagree with much of what he said, I believe that he is a constructive force for federalism in this country and I commend him on that.
This minister does talk a great deal about children and families, which is nice to hear. Liberals do like to talk about those issues but the unfortunate thing is they do not like to act very much on them. In particular, this minister talked about the child tax credit, a commendable albeit very modest effort on the part of this government.
I would like to ask this minister if he thinks it would not be a laudable public policy for the government to pursue tax fairness for families, that is to say to remove the intrinsic penalty that exists in the current code against single income families, families that choose to keep one parent at home to raise their children. There are millions of such Canadian families penalized by the fact that the child care deduction is limited to double income families.
Would the minister support measures such as converting the child care deduction into a refundable credit available to all families? Would he also agree in principle to raising the basic spousal exemption in the tax code to a level equivalent to the basic personal exemption so that stay at home parents are no longer penalized by this government's tax code?