November 6, 1997 (36th Parliament, 1st Session)


Angela Vautour

New Democratic Party

Ms. Angela Vautour

We are not allowed to say such things in this place.
I think we really have to go see what happened. The Liberals criticized the Conservatives. They got elected on the GST, really. They came back and said “Yes, yes, the deficit was bigger”. First things first, the deficit—that has to be settled right away. Who has paid down the deficit? It is the unemployed, it is old people, it is students, people without jobs, people receiving social assistance. Those are the people who paid down the deficit.
I do not see any large corporations in this country that put a lot of money on the deficit. But nobody mentions that.
I congratulate these people. Each time I have the opportunity I congratulate them for having paid down the deficit because without the underprivileged in this country, it would have never been paid down. The government did not look elsewhere to pay for it.
So the people from the Atlantic region are very disappointed with the GST or the BST. It was just another tax. They say they are not increasing taxes, but people are paying 8% more for electricity and heating. It is not a tax. They did not increase taxes. I would not want them to admit that they increased them.
It is very sad, in our regions, when we see the rate of unemployment and the rate of poverty, and when on top of that, we have a government that imposes such a tax on us. This is unacceptable. Our businesses are being affected. The number of personal and commercial bankruptcies continues to rise, and this has to stop.
So I do not have to take 10 minutes to tell you that the GST stinks for me and its stinks for the majority of the people in New Brunswick and the Atlantic region. Only Prince Edward Island escaped from this.
It is true that there was a bribe. It is true that the former Premier of New Brunswick hurried to collect his $1 billion in taxes in an attempt to save the face of the Liberal government. They were trying to find a way to say that they had gotten rid of the GST. But who is paying for that today? It is us, the people from the Atlantic region. It is always the people who have a hard time making ends meet.
So I will end on that.
People in the three Atlantic provinces that have the BST are very upset. It is a very unfair tax. It is the people at the lowest scale of income who are paying the most. They are paying tax on electricity. They are paying 15% tax on children's clothing starting from the first dollar. However, if you buy an article that is over $93, you will pay less. There are not a lot of people down home who buy articles over $100. A lot of families cannot afford that. They buy just the necessities but they are the ones paying the most because of the blended sales tax.
On behalf of the people that I represent, I want it on the record that we are very disappointed in the Liberal government for their broken promises and a tax that is very unfair to the people of my riding and the Atlantic provinces.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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