Mr. Jim Hawkes (Calgary West):
Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to speak at second reading stage on Bill C-139. The first thought that occurs to me is that 1 am participating in what fundamentally is an anti-democratic exercise. We have a Bill here that is 295 pages long and we have just heard the Clerk of the House indicate that the motion would move this Bill to a Committee of the Whole.
Inside this Bill are an enormous number of tax changes which attack our society, which create unemployment and which are not good for this nation. If we were moving this Bill into a standing committee we could call witnesses to provide us with testimony on the possible impact of each of the provisions of the Bill. By moving it into a Committee of the Whole, I am quite certain that the Government will ultimately invoke closure. We will not even be able to debate, with the kind of sureness that is required, each of the individual clauses and each of the individual tax measures. We certainly will not be able to call witnesses to tell the Canadian people and Members of this House what the possible repercussions are of each of these individual tax changes.
It reminds me of the omnibus energy Bill. That was such an abomination of democratic principles that we were forced as an Opposition to ring the bells in this Chamber for two weeks before the Government agreed to split the Bill into different parts and to move it to committee where witnesses could be heard.
Mr. Speaker, we are elected to come to this Chamber, hopefully with a sense that collective wisdom will prevail. We are not all experts on all aspects of Canada and the Canadian economy. Very few of us can feel comfortable with the diverse range of topics that go from national defence to atomic energy to farming to manufacturing, and on and on and on.
Some time today we will be asked to vote on this piece of legislation which is 295 pages long. It includes complex tax provisions which will affect all aspects of Canadian society. We have the certain knowledge that it will move into Committee of the Whole where we can talk about it more and question the Minister. However, experts and average Canadians will be denied the right to appear before a parliamentary committee as witnesses to provide information to Parliamentarians on what might be good in the legislation, what might be bad and what needs changing.
When the Government adopts processes of this kind regarding legislation that is so important, it is no small wonder that the country is in trouble. If you have bad processes, you have bad conclusions. If you have good processes, there is no guarantee of good conclusions, but the odds go up that the conclusions will be better.
As I stand in this Chamber and try to review the 295 pages of this Bill, I ask myself what principles are contained in this legislation. The first one that leaps out as I read through it is that this Bill will attack employers. Employers are the job creators. Many of the provisions will make it more difficult for companies to stay alive and employ people. In the present climate with over 1.5 million Canadians unemployed, why bring in a piece of legislation which attacks the employers, the job creators?
A principle of this Tax Bill will disallow future legitimate business costs. Businesses which want to grow and expand must borrow money. The interest cost on that money is a legitimate business cost, but this legislation says that some parts of it will not be legitimate. A trucking business that wants to expand must buy more trucks and a construction business would buy more construction machinery. According to this Bill, the cost of that machinery will no longer be a legitimate business cost in the same way. When you say to the employers of this nation that their interest costs, equipment costs, are not legitimate business costs, you are telling them not to grow, expand or hire more people. If you get an unemployment rate of over 12 per cent, with more than 1,600,000 Canadian unemployed, you should not be surprised. It is because the Government is attacking the employment creators through legislation such as this.
This Bill also attacks employees. It says they shall not benefit from their work the way they used to do. It is a discouragement for people to seek a job, a discouragement for them to put their heart and soul into their work. First it attacks employers and then employees. I repeat, Mr. Speaker, you should not be surprised to find 1,600,000 Canadians
February 21, 1983
unemployed. This Bill attacks all Canadians. The minute you put a six and five cap on deductions in the income tax system, you increase the tax take. You take $1 billion this year and $2 billion next year out of the pockets of Canadians and hand it over to Government. Therefore, Canadians cannot make purchases which would create jobs. A farmer cannot stay in business if no one buys his produce. No one can stay in a manufacturing business unless we have people willing to buy what the manufacturer makes. This Bill will be taking a great deal of money out of the pockets of the consumers of this nation, the buyers of this nation, and if the consequence of that is not increased unemployment, then tell me what it is. I suggest it is increased unemployment. If people are not buying, there will be no jobs.
One other aspect of this Bill and other legislation is that it is a specific attack on Canadian families. It is a specific attack on the principle of marriage. In a most clear-cut provision previously in our tax system we have declared that any adult Canadian is entitled to own one piece of property and to dispose of that piece of property without paying tax. But this Government, the Liberals on the other side, have decided that if a person signs a marriage licence they have half of the rights of all other adult Canadians. They have a shared right, a half right, simply because they signed a marriage licence.
As for the Child Tax Credit provisions, we cut Family Allowances in this Chamber the other day much to the objection of the Conservative Party. We replaced it with a one time only $50 bribe. It does not go on forever, it occurs only once. That extra $50, Mr. Speaker, is given to someone who makes $10,000 a year, and it is also given to someone who makes $40,000 a year. That is not just, Mr. Speaker. It is not right. We have nothing in this provision to strengthen the traditional family in this country and we are doing much to hurt it, even destroy it.
On the weekend I held a public meeting and many people attended. Many of those people were disturbed about specific provisions in this tax Bill. They were disturbed about the general thrust of policy over the last three years. I feel, Mr. Speaker, that what has been destroyed by this Government is the spirit of Canadians, the sense of confidence which Canadians have had in their country.
One day in this Chamber one of the Hon. Members opposite stood up and told Canadians what it was to be a Liberal. At the public meeting I held on the weekend a Liberal was described as someone who put Party first and Canada second. A Conservative was described as someone who put Canada first, family second and Party third. It is time we got back to that kind of philosophy.
Subtopic: INCOME TAX
Sub-subtopic: AMENDMENTS TO STATUTE LAW