Personal Data

Lanark--Carleton (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 7, 1951
public affairs executive

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
  Lanark--Carleton (Ontario)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
  Lanark--Carleton (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 16 of 16)

February 1, 1994

Mr. Murray

Mr. Speaker, this has been of particular interest to me personally over the years. I have not pursued it primarily for the reason that in my previous job I enjoyed a high income and it was always my sense that if someone talked about the problems that high income earners face with the tax system they should be dismissed as perhaps those who do not deserve to be complaining.

However, when one looks at the burden of taxes on upper and middle income earners and if we consider that a family could be five or six people getting by on the income of one person one starts to realize that there is quite a bit of unfairness embedded in the tax system.

I really had my suspicions confirmed during the election campaign when I would go door to door. During the daytime I would meet women who were at home raising their children and very much feeling the pinch from high taxes.

It is only fair that the government make this change partly to recognize that people who do stay home to look after their children are providing a real benefit to society. Most of us would agree that it is in the interest of the children and the interest of society if they are able to be raised by their parents.

I have not looked into the intricacies of such a change. I am sure it has been suggested in the past. I am sure the Department of Finance must have looked at this as an option. It is one that I intend to explore in the coming days. I thank the hon. member for his comments.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Pre-Budget Consultations
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February 1, 1994

Mr. Ian Murray (Lanark-Carleton)

Mr. Speaker, may I first congratulate you on your appointment. This is also my first opportunity in the House of Commons to thank the people of Lanark-Carleton for putting their trust in me as their member of Parliament.

I want to thank the Minister of Finance for convening this special pre-budget debate. This is a worthwhile extension of the cross-country consultations the minister has held during the past 10 days.

The most important consultation with the people of Canada took place late last year when each of us during an intensive 47-day election campaign heard first hand from Canadians how they felt about their country and their governments.

The economy of my riding which is just west of Ottawa includes small businesses, farms, manufacturers and the centre of Canada's high technology industry. The people of Lanark-Carleton have felt the full impact of the recession and the realignment of international trade. I have been impressed by the tenacity and the resilience demonstrated by many small business owners.

I am sure all hon. members listened during the election campaign to countless individual examples of economic hardship, personal bankruptcies, jobs lost or families squeezed by ever-increasing taxes demanded by every level of government.

On October 25 Canadians voted for change. They demanded a change from a system that fostered dependency to one that rewarded initiative; a change from a climate of worry to a climate of hope; and, a change from a system of privilege to a system of fairness.

When the first budget of this government is presented it will be judged by the men and women of Lanark-Carleton on how we live up to our commitment to change. There is no shortage of ideas available to the minister as he prepares the budget. There are only difficult choices. Therefore we need a set of principles to guide us as we make those choices. In particular, we need to reward individual initiatives and those who create jobs for other Canadians. We must be fair. We must agree that taxes are too high. People have said "enough".

In the short time I have today I want to mention a few specific items. Whether we like it or not each federal budget influences the behaviour of Canadians. There will always be trade-offs but the issues of fairness as perceived by taxpayers must be addressed. Though we try to make the tax system neutral society is too complex for the tax system to accommodate all of our differences.

Personal taxation has been based on the traditional family unit. We must come to grips with the realities of change in the family unit, whether it be single parents, working couples or stay-at-home dads. Like many Canadians, I am wrestling with how we can make the system fairer by allowing for these differences.

Several residents of Lanark-Carleton have suggested we look at the income of the family unit as a whole. There is a sense that families which decide to have one parent remain at home while raising children are penalized by the tax system. One suggestion which I personally support would allow income splitting between spouses while they have dependent children.

I have also heard from many people who are very concerned that the budget may target RRSP contributions. It is easy to portray this tax expenditure as a benefit for the rich. However for many self-employed people and others who do not have the security of a company or government pension plan RRSPs represent their best opportunity to save for their retirement.

The government should also continue to encourage people to take personal responsibility for their future.

During the election campaign all parties spoke of the importance of small business to our economy. In fact we are looking to small business to be the primary engine for economic growth and job creation in Canada.

If it is the role of government to create an environment to stimulate private enterprise what can we do to show entrepreneurs that we mean business? We must allow them to operate free from the growing burden of taxation, required contributions and paperwork they now face. Our priority should be to make it easier for them to hire new employees. Government must change its attitude and realize that the vast majority of business people are honest, law-abiding citizens who do not need bureaucrats and government auditors looking over their shoulders.

Let us address the question of financing for small business through the innovative use of the tax system. Just as we should encourage those who create jobs we should use the tax system aggressively to reward individuals who invest in Canadian start-up companies.

For example, the real problem we face as we move further into the information age is how to finance small software companies with few if any capital assets. Their main asset is brain power. Though a high percentage of new high-tech companies fail, those which succeed more than compensate for that risk. This has been proven many times in my riding. The well-known success stories inevitably spin off new companies. This may be an opportunity to put the capital gains tax exemption to good use by rewarding risk takers. Low risk investments do not need support from other taxpayers.

Business associations have been saying for years that government handouts to large businesses should end. Let us take those groups at their word and channel money from existing grant programs toward funding tax incentives for job creation. Grants would remain available to small businesses as their more stringent cash-flow requirements make it difficult for them to take advantage of tax incentives.

One government-funded program that has received far too little credit comes under the community futures program of the Department of Human Resources Development. Local business development centres provide loans as well as technical advice to new or existing companies.

Over the past six years the Business Development Centre in Lanark-Carleton has been responsible for the creation of several hundred jobs at little cost to the taxpayer. As we look for expenditures to cut I hope ministers will recognize the importance of maintaining this community based program.

The first budget of this new government is only one step along the road toward renewed prosperity and job creation. The coming months will see the development of complementary programs that were outlined in the Liberal election platform "Creating Opportunity".

As a responsible and caring government we must never lose sight of Canadians who are the casualties of global economic forces. As Canadians we are in this together. We do need to ensure that scarce financial resources are directed where they will be most effective.

I wish the Minister of Finance well as he and his colleagues continue to work on dismantling interprovincial trade barriers and the sooner the better.

I also believe we should keep in mind that real job creation comes from the creation of wealth, not its redistribution. The minister is faced with making exceedingly difficult choices in the certain knowledge that he will not please everyone.

The people of Lanark-Carleton will be looking for a budget that rewards initiative, inspires hope and restores a sense of fairness in the way that government operates.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Pre-Budget Consultations
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