June 9, 1981

LIB

Pierre Bussières (Minister of State (Finance))

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Bussieres (Minister of State (Finance)):

Mr. Speaker, I simply want to urge hon. members to reject the amendments. They would cancel outright the provision under which the tax on wines would be adjusted regularly and, as I explained this afternoon, there is no difference between that adjustment and an ad valorem tax. If the hon. member for Kamloops-Shuswap (Mr. Riis) objects to that process, then he must be against any ad valorem commodity tax, because just as an ad valorem tax goes up when, for instance, the currency fluctuates, so will this process enable the central government to maintain the same income tax margin as the revenue it derived before the commodity increase.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AND EXCISE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Gordon Edward Taylor

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gordon Taylor (Bow River):

Mr. Speaker, I am definitely and violently opposed to this type of taxation. It is a sneaky way to impose a tax.

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

An hon. Member:

What else do you know?

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

Gordon Edward Taylor

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Taylor:

You know all the sneaky ways. We are learning them but we do not like them.

If you want to put a tax on, why do you not bring it in to the House of Commons and have it debated? When this passes, it need never come to the House again. That is taxation without representation.

A moment or so ago the minister said that it is going to be a definite ratio. If that is so, why does the bill say that it can be adjusted or altered in such a manner as the governor in council may prescribe? You can do it any way you like. You can double it or triple it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AND EXCISE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order, please. With all due respect, hon. members must address their remarks to the Chair.

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

Gordon Edward Taylor

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Taylor:

Mr. Speaker, I am addressing the Chair. I have to look over to them once in a while to see what reaction I am getting. I might as well be talking to a stone wall, so I will not bother looking at them.

This is not going to be done by a definite ratio or the bill would have said so. It is open to any adjustment or alteration in any manner the governor in council will want to prescribe. That is an unsound principle. It is taxation without representation. If we can do it with wine and beer today, the next time it will be put on bread and meat. Grapes are an agricultural product, as was pointed out by the hon. member for Edmonton West (Mr. Lambert).

The people of Canada do not know what to expect from a government that introduces this type of indexation of taxation. It is completely unsound and hon. members know it. They have been hoodwinked into voting whatever way Pierre tells them to vote!

Excise Tax

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AND EXCISE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
NDP

Bob Rae

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bob Rae (Broadview-Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, since the government has not really answered the points that have been made with respect to this proposal but has relied upon its majority to put it through, I want to refer to the so-called executive summary and responses. This document was prepared by the minister's department and it refers to some of the criticisms of the government's scheme of indexing ad valorem taxes.

This document tells a great deal about the state of the bureaucratic mind, which is obviously the dominant mind on the other side and the one which controls government policies.

The Brewers Association of Canada points out that taxes on beer now represent 45 per cent of the retail price. It is one of the highest proportions of tax on beer in the world. The answer of the bureaucracy to that criticism was, that what the rest of the world does is not particularly relevant to Canada's social tax policies. That is a good, logical, thorough, well-thought-out, in-depth kind of answer. What the rest of the world does with respect to taxation of any product is of no concern to this government. We will just put our heads in the sand and say that how beer is taxed in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany or in any other country is really of no concern to us. We do not have anything to learn from any other country in the world. We know all the answers here in Ottawa. We have the answers to everybody's problems, and we do not have to rely on what may or may not happen in other countries in order to make up our minds. The government demonstrates that kind of ignorance of systematically putting on the blinkers, of carrying on with the policy regardless of what associations, producers or consumers say and regardless of the effect on them. All we hear is that we will carry on.

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

Charles James Mayer

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mayer:

That is not what they say when it comes to interest rates.

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

Bob Rae

New Democratic Party

Mr. Rae:

The hon. member for Portage-Marquette (Mr. Mayer) points out correctly that this is not what they say when it comes to interest rates. When it comes to interest rates, those of us who call for a different policy for Canada are regarded as those who want to walk off the end of the world. It is the Minister of Finance (Mr. MacEachen) and the Minister of State for Finance (Mr. Bussieres) whose department is walking off the end of the world with respect to this proposal. They just say that it does not matter. The Minister of State for Finance is shaking his head. But in the reply we find:

What the rest of the world does is not particularly relevant to Canada's social tax policies.

Elsewhere we can read:

-the burden of tax on beer is extraordinarily heavy in Canada and higher than in most other countries.

But they say the reference to other countries is inappropriate. Why is it inappropriate? It is inappropriate because it is embarrassing to the government to have to recognize that our taxes on alcohol are very high in Canada compared to the rest of the world.

June 9, 1981

Excise Tax

Here is another example of the concerns expressed by the Brewers Association:

Adverse social and health costs are more directly related to the misuse of spirits; control measures including taxation should deal more stringently with spirits.

The following is a scientific statement of fact put forward by the Department of Finance, I am sure after a great deal of intensive research, which reads:

Alcohol in any form, be it beer or wine or spirits, is equally intoxicating.

That is a statement of fact for which I do not see any proof, if you will pardon the pun, Mr. Speaker.

There is another statement of fact offered by the Department of Finance as firm proof for which there can be no question at all. The minister gets statements and briefs. Just today the Minister of Finance was talking about briefing books. This briefing book is the bible for the Minister of State for Finance. The Minister of State for Finance may have forgotten to read the briefing book today, so I will read from it again for him, as follows:

There are probably as many drunks whose libations are beer or wine as there are drunks whose favourite beverage is spirits.

Is that the scientific factual basis upon which the government will decide the relative burden of taxation? Is that the basis upon which the government is now fixing this year to be the base year on which all rates from now on, forever and ever, will be decided because of the indexation policy? There are probably as many drunks whose libations are beer and wine. Doesn't the minister know? Does he not have a chart which tells us how many drunks are drunk because of beer; how many drunks are drunk because of wine, and how many drunks are drunk because of spirits? I ask that because the government has just put this forward as if it were a solid fact. This is the theory: there is an equal number of beer, wine and spirit drinkers who are drunk. That is the first theoretical base. The second factual basis is that what the rest of the world does is not important to the Department of Finance. That is the way in which our tax policy with respect to indexation is being made, and it is absurd.

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

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is the House ready for the question?

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

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The question is on motion No. 6. All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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

Some hon. Members:

Yea.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AND EXCISE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

All those opposed will please say nay.

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

Some hon. Members:

Nay.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AND EXCISE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

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

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Following the procedure previously outlined, the division on motion No. 6 stands deferred.

Is the House ready for the question on motion No. 7?

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

Some hon. Members:

Question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AND EXCISE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The question is on motion No. 7. All those in favour of the motion please say yea.

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

Some hon. Members:

Yea.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXCISE TAX ACT AND EXCISE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink

June 9, 1981