February 19, 1990

PC

Robert Nesbitt Horner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Horner:

Was that the Pocklington proposal?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Dennis Joseph Mills

Liberal

Mr. Mills:

Was that a question? Is it the Pocklington proposal? I should tell you absolutely not.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. members:

Order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Léonard-David Sweezey Tremblay

The Acting Speaker (Mr. TVemblay (Quebec-Est)):

Everything that I have heard is, as I see it, matter for debate and I give the floor again to the hon. member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley (Mr. Gardiner).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Speaker, I know that from our knowledge of the rules it would be a good guess that interventions were probably not points of orders, but that is okay. I will accept that because I know from time to time the Conservatives probably do the same thing.

New Democrats would never rise on a point of order and try to make debating points. I appreciate my hon. friend from the Liberal Party and his nice, fancy tax proposal that I have received. It is in the pile to read at some point.

The Conservative member is correct. As far as we know it is not Liberal party policy. I think the hon. member who rose in his place was considered at one point to perhaps run for the leadership of his party.

I guess the fact that he could not raise the money, the $1.7 million that the Liberal party says you need to become the leader of that party, prevented him from doing so. He cannot afford it. He had to step down. That shows how much support his idea has in his own party. He could not sell enough books. It is a real comment on the sins of the Liberal party and on how the party treats some of the members of its own caucus who are trying, I think, to make a serious effort with some honourable proposals. But I wonder if the associate finance critic of the Liberal party is aware of this proposal, and what does he think about it.

I wonder if he is prepared to take it to the convention. With the shell game that we are seeing by the Liberals and Conservatives on the GST, we are never sure what to expect.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Dennis Joseph Mills

Liberal

Mr. Mills:

Alberta endorsed it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

A member said Premier Getty. That is really something. That is a real plus. Premier Getty has endorsed it. This is the premier of Alberta who is being ridiculed for Family Day today by the Liberal Party.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Dennis Joseph Mills

Liberal

Mr. Mills:

The Liberal Party.

February 19, 1990

Government Orders

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

That is even more serious than Premier Getty. Do you want to add to the list? Pretty soon Premier Vander Zalm will declare the Liberal flat tax policy as a distinct tax policy for Canada.

It is probably in the dinosaur museum already. After hearing the hon. member from the Liberal party who has clearly indicated such a responsible group of people who have endorsed his tax proposal, I suppose we will see where it will go in the future.

What is the purpose of Bill C-52? An article in the Toronto Star deals the distribution of income in Canada. It is a very important issue for us to deal with because when we talk about RRSPs we are dealing with the distribution of income. We are talking about what measures a government implements to either raise funds or not raise funds.

Some years ago the Liberal government at the time was taking anything that was not currently being taxed that should be taxed and considering it as a loss to the government. One would either be taxed for parking a car, or the government considered it lost tax revenue. That is the kind of thinking you get from the Liberal party.

Let me refer to this important editorial. The distribution of income in Canada is highly unequal. In 1981, the 20 per cent of Canadian families with the highest incomes ended up with 41.8 per cent of the total income pie. By contrast, the 20 per cent of families with the lowest incomes got less than 5 per cent. What does the Conservative finance minister try to do? He takes a look at this problem. He takes a look at poor people in this country. I think it is an obligation and a duty that members of Parliament become aware of the concerns and the needs of people who are less fortunate, probably than most of us in this House. What does he do? He brings in Bill C-52, an amendment to the Income Tax Act.

This editorial in not NDP propaganda. It is an editorial commenting on the minister's proposals.

Under the finance minister's new proposals, Ottawa would provide tax assistance to all employed Canadians to create a nest egg that would allow them to maintain their incomes in retirement up to a pension limit of $60,000 a year. To do so, he would provide the greatest assistance to those at the upper end of the income scale. That is very important.

Someone earning $20,000 a year would get an annual tax break worth about $1,200, compared to a break of about $7,500 for those earning more than $86,000 a year.

We do not know yet whether the Liberals support this bill. They want to go into committee. Knowing the Liberals, they will make it even better for the wealthy, knowing their style.

The finance minister says the change is necessary to restore equity to the way in which our tax system treats retirement savings. A high income earner working for a corporation with a pension plan of its own, for example, currently gets more tax assistance than a self-employed person with the same income or a person who works for a company with no pension plan.

This is the point I was mentioning about the lost revenue to government. The finance minister's proposal, when fully implemented, would drain an estimated $300 million a year from the federal treasury, which the finance minister has said on numerous occasions, as we have all heard in this House and in the news across the country, is stretched to the limit.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

I thought they had to cut back.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

The hon. member says he thought they had to cut back. Let us refer to the comments made by the member from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, about the kind of revenue and capital that is available in the country.

What would $300 million do? I can give you an example from my own province. It is something I have spoken about a lot and something we hope to hear about in the budget tomorrow night. That $300 million would nearly fund the federal-provincial forest agreement in British Columbia. I have talked about this before. This is an example of the different ways funds can be used. In this particular case, the funding of that forest agreement with that $300 million, one should consider this investment for the long term benefit of this country.

The points we are making about Bill C-52 are not that we are against RRSPs. It would be good to have an RFSP, a registered forest saving plan. My friend from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca talked about municipal loans infrastructure in Canada. We have examples in the United States where municipal infrastructure is falling apart. In Canada, municipalities put together infrastruc-

February 19, 1990

ture programs. But they were rejected out of hand by the government.

The government should put the effort it is giving to the goods and services tax into a fair tax system, into helping those sectors of our economy that are in need, whether it is cleaning up pulp mills, planting more trees or helping diversify some of the economies.

Just think about that. If it had put that year-long effort into helping poor people and giving young people jobs and education, planting trees and cleaning up the environment, think how much better this countiy would be, rather than the havoc it is going to wreak on the economy in the early part of next year. Bill C-52 simply offers ongoing protection to the wealthy.

With the alternatives our party has talked about and the message we use in this Parliament to get it across, people will start to see through the shilly-shallying of the Liberals and Conservatives on the GST and Bill C-52. They are going to see a clear message coming from our party. I know they will support that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Leonard J. Gustafson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gustafson:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member from the NDP seems to say that he is supporting RRSPs but he does not want to increase the level and he wants to use the socialist ideal of socializing everyone into the poverty level. These ideals have been rejected around the world. They have been rejected in eastern Europe and they are being rejected again and again. It is obvious that the NDP does not understand the importance of investing in your own country.

Why is the member opposed to Canadians investing in their own country, for the good of Canadians? I think he should rethink the whole idea of the NDP policy. There has been a love affair going on here between the NDP and the Liberals. They get to spatting over who is the opposition but they really have not explained what direction they would take in regard to creating some investment capital in this country.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Speaker, an hon. member suggested that the question was not worth an answer. It is not fair to treat the Conservatives that way. Even Conservatives deserve an answer.

Government Orders

The hon. member touched on a couple of points in his question to me. He referred to the rejection of the ideals of the NDP in Europe and so on. The fact of the matter is that it is quite the reverse. People in Europe are rejecting the extremes of the right and the left and the strategy of social democracy and a mixed economy is becoming more accepted all over the world than ever before. I think it is ridiculous for members on the opposite side to suggest that people are jumping on the capitalist train. Whether that exists nowadays or not, I do not know. We all know about the efficacy of social democracy, about the mixed economy, something for which this party has stood for years.

The member also made comments about the poverty level as though under the New Democrats we are all going to wear grey jackets and what have you. Well maybe the hon. member was right, maybe the question was not worth answering, but I can refer the hon. member to some good background reading. On this particular point there is one particular group of people who have got together in this countiy and other countries, including some European countries the hon member has talked about, who have helped people struggle out of poverty.

I speak of the trade union movement in this countiy. We make no apologies for working closely with people in the trade union movement. The trade union movement has fought to ensure that people have had fairness and equality, good wages and good working conditions, not like the party opposite that uses every opportunity to drive down and beat up unions whenever it has a chance. Those members will take all the benefits of working in an organized work site, just as they will take all the benefits of socialized medicine.

As my colleague from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca always says so clearly, if they don't like it they can rip up their medicare card anytime. You know they are not going to do that, Mr. Speaker.

We have said clearly that this legislation helps the wealthy. We are going to slow down this legislation coming from this government just as we are fighting the GST because it is the Conservatives and Liberals protecting their wealthy friends once again.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

I would like to ask my colleague to elucidate a little further on some of his comments.

February 19, 1990

Government Orders

Is it not true that the members opposite in the Conservative Party have continuously been saying that we have to change all our spending priorities because we are short of money and that we should eliminate those programs that help people who are better off in order to help those people who are really in need?

That seems to be totally in conflict with what the government is doing in this case, which is turning $300 million to $350 million a year over to the people who need it least when tomorrow in all likelihood it will take away money from the people who need it most. It seems to me that that is a bit of a conflict.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Brian L. Gardiner

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gardiner:

Mr. Speaker, yes.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is the House ready for the question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

Question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. members:

No.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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February 19, 1990