Mr. Chairman, the last time we discussed this bill was on November 5. At that time I was concerned about the manner in which Bill C-18 was presented, in that it does not allow for comparison between the proposals now being made, even if one looks at the schedules, and what already was in effect.
I have some questions to ask. How much money has been made on tariffs? Have they been increased? Is this a way of raising money? Tariffs raise money. At one time it was the main way of raising money for the general treasury. In those days there was no income tax, so money was raised out of tariffs. Since that time I would think that tariffs have changed.
November 19, 1979
If asparagus costs 2.5 cents in a favourable period and 10 cents in a non-favourable period from a non-favourable trading partner, does it mean that we are giving less money to the treasury than we did under the previous schedule?
I do not want to relate clause 2 to all the numbers that are in it and ask for an explanation of each one separately, but I do say that when the department brings this before us again it cannot do so in this form. It does not say a damned thing to a member of Parliament who wants to look at it, and it does not say anything to the industry except in respect of those specifics with which that industry is dealing. As far as I know, Bill C-18 does not even indicate whether the Canadian tax structure will enjoy a net gain or suffer a net loss as a result of the passage of Bill C-18. Therefore, I see absolutely no reason why we should be faced with this bill in its present form as members cannot look at it and make a decision.
Certainly when looking at these numbers, as I pointed out before, they are downright confusing. Even if you take them in conjunction with either the annex in the French part or the schedule in the English part, that does not make it much clearer. Most of us would like to know when we are dealing with food products and with seasons which are relatively short-and the length of time that can be selected by the industries is mentioned in the schedule-whether we have corrected the shortcomings in the legislation in the past. We would also like to know whether we have substituted something that will be advantageous in the future.
I do not know whether you can say that the customs and tariff legislation was mainly responsible for our having lost our canning industry, having lost a considerable portion of our hothouse industry, and having lost a considerable portion of our horticultural industry in this country, but it certainly has played a role.
Subtopic: CUSTOMS TARIFF