Judy WASYLYCIA-LEIS

WASYLYCIA-LEIS, Judy, B.A., M.A.

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Winnipeg North (Manitoba)
Birth Date
August 10, 1951
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Wasylycia-Leis
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=b8338fd5-94de-48ce-971f-e4fc26d1575f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
organizer, policy adviser

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
NDP
  Winnipeg North Centre (Manitoba)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
NDP
  Winnipeg North Centre (Manitoba)
  • N.D.P. Deputy Caucus Chair (January 1, 2003 - July 1, 2004)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
NDP
  Winnipeg North (Manitoba)
  • N.D.P. Deputy Caucus Chair (January 1, 2003 - July 1, 2004)
  • N.D.P. Caucus Chair (August 1, 2004 - January 19, 2009)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
NDP
  Winnipeg North (Manitoba)
  • N.D.P. Caucus Chair (August 1, 2004 - January 19, 2009)
October 14, 2008 - April 30, 2010
NDP
  Winnipeg North (Manitoba)
  • N.D.P. Caucus Chair (August 1, 2004 - January 19, 2009)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 364 of 368)


November 6, 1997

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on the opposition motion sponsored by the Bloc concerning the GST and the harmonized sales tax. I understand its reasons for putting forward this motion and the kinds of concerns that have been raised.

It is putting us all in an interesting position to debate the unfairness of some changes to a measure that is inherently unfair to begin with. As my colleague indicated in her comments, we are really discussing how two wrongs can make a right. It is important for us to deliberate on the very question of the need to introduce the GST by first the Conservatives and then the Liberals.

I will raise a couple of points in this discussion. The GST is a very regressive tax measure. That has been enunciated by a number of other speakers. It is in fact a good tax, but it is a good tax for business. It is a very bad tax for individuals. As we all know, unlike all other sales taxes, corporations do not pay the GST.

We are widening the gap between the haves and the have nots, creating an ever-widening gap between those who are struggling day by day to make ends meet and those who are enjoying an incredible amount of profits, dividends and luxury.

The people in our society today who need a break, some real tax relief, are the hard working women and men who have been trying desperately to make ends meet as real wages keep falling. What we are dealing with, and we have all experienced this for a number of years, is a tax measure that makes it even harder for those ordinary working women and men to make ends meet, who are forever left asking the question “Why is there so much month left at the end of the money?”

It was an inherently unfair tax to begin with, brought to us by the Conservatives and harmonized by the Liberals, a harmonization that heaps an even greater burden on individuals, hard working women and men, and gives an even greater break to the big corporations who are already enjoying incredible profits like we have not seen in recent times.

We are not only dealing with an inherently unfair tax, whether we are talking about the GST, or the BST or any other terminology that describes this harmonized sales tax, but we are also talking about a tax measure that was introduced in a most dishonest way. We know the idea originated with the Conservatives. Canadians will never forget that it was the Conservative government that forced the GST through even though at that time fewer than 10% of Canadians supported it.

At that time it was the Liberals who strongly opposed the GST. They made very strong public statements about that opposition. I want to quote the Prime Minister who said on October 29, 1990, “I an opposed to the GST. I've always been opposed to it and I will be opposed to it always”.

I want to quote the Minister of Finance who said on April 4, 1990, “I would abolish the GST. The manufacturers' sales tax which the GST replaced was a bad tax but there is no excuse to repeal one bad tax by bringing in another one”.

What did the Liberals do after making those strong statements? They did a double take. They practised deceit and dishonesty when it came to the Canadian public and at the earliest opportunity in government supported the GST. It went further and moved to harmonize the GST and increased the burden on working Canadians everywhere.

That whole move to harmonize, to blend, the GST with provincial sale taxes, if applied across this country, represents a shift of another $6 billion to $7 billion of the tax burden from corporations to people. As we know from the debate today, families in Atlantic Canada and Quebec are suffering very much from this policy.

By breaking their commitment, by breaking their word, the Prime Minister and other Liberals in this Parliament abandoned an opportunity to make Canadian families better off.

Speaking of inconsistencies and shifting positions, let us not forget to mention the position of the Reform Party. Reform members are standing in this House today expressing concern about the GST, raising concerns about the whole debate we are having today with respect to the blending of sales taxes.

It was the Reform Party that said in this House in 1994 in a report on the GST that the Liberal Party was to be congratulated on its attempts to harmonize the GST with provincial sales taxes.

It was the Reform Party at that time that recommended that consumption taxes should be levied on the broadest possible base. This of course would mean extending the GST to food, to medication and nursing home charges.

Canadians were hoodwinked on this issue. They did not support the GST. They believed the Liberals prior to 1993 when they said they would not move forward on the GST. Instead, they got hit with a double whammy, support for the GST and now a move to ensure a blending of the GST with provincial sales taxes across the country.

Our opportunity today is to suggest to the Liberal government particularly that there is an alternative to this kind of regressive tax policy. There are alternatives available to this government for both collecting necessary revenues and ensuring a measure of fairness in our tax collection system.

I raise in particular one such proposal since it is very much in the news currently and very much represents the unfairness in our system today. In about a month's time a group entitled Project Loophole will bring a matter to the courts pertaining to the fact that in 1991 Revenue Canada ruled that one family trust could transfer $2.2 billion in assets to the United States without paying taxes.

That raised a whole lot of questions about how many other family trusts are being provided this option. How much money earned here as a result of hardworking Canadians is being moved out of the country without taxes being paid? How much profit is being earned by corporations and wealthy individuals without contributing to the tax base of this country? That is but one example of the unfairness in our tax system and the need for this government to look seriously at alternatives to the GST and the BST.

We are talking about people under financial stress searching for meaningful work, trying to combine two and three part time jobs just to make ends meet everywhere in this country, being faced ever and ever with a burden that is just beyond their reach and beyond human capacity for responding to.

I urge today that in this debate we come to some consensus around the need to look at a fair taxation system and with real determination to actually end this harmonized sales tax and phase out the GST.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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November 6, 1997

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member. He talked a great deal in his speech about inconsistency and hypocrisy on the part of others in the Chamber. Certainly when it comes to understanding the Reform Party there is some merit to his argument.

However, if we are talking about inconsistency, where there is the greatest question, it comes down to the Liberal Party.

How could the member make those comments in view of his party's record with respect to consistency or lack thereof on the GST? In 1993 his leader, the prime minister of the country, said the GST would be gone within two years. Now, four years later, it is still with us. In fact it is being expanded and harmonized in terms of provincial sales tax in parts of the country.

How is it consistency in terms of Liberal policy when we have such obvious gaps and discrepancies in income tax policy and such unfairness in the whole system?

How does the member find it consistent that we have a situation before us today whereby Revenue Canada has allowed a family trust of $2.2 billion in assets to be moved to the United States, thereby avoiding taxes?

How is it consistent that we have today in Canada close to 8,000 Canadians with incomes over $100,000 paying no tax?

How could it ever be consider consistent to have untaxed corporate profits amounting to somewhere in the neighbourhood of more than $41 million every day?

How is it consistent to see such discrepancies in terms of the burden being shifted more and more to low and middle income Canadians and to see such wealthy individuals and such large corporations avoiding paying any taxes at all?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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November 6, 1997

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the Liberal member opposite, I believe I have answered the question.

I indicated from the outset that two wrongs do not make a right. We are dealing with an unfair regressive tax measure to begin with. The blending of the GST with provincial tax does not make it any better.

Our position has always been and will continue to be to reverse the Liberal government's decision to harmonize the GST and the PST in Atlantic Canada and in the province of Quebec. We believe we must stop any further negotiations for harmonization in other parts of Canada. We would work to immediately to remove GST from books, magazines and family essentials like children's clothing. We would phase out the GST in the context of comprehensive tax reform.

That kind of package is workable. It provides a real alternative to the Liberal government. I would heartily ask for their support for this kind of alternative.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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November 6, 1997

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis

Mr. Speaker, I think the member does a great disservice to the vast majority of Canadians who share our concerns when it comes to the government's very regressive tax policies.

I remind the Liberal member that at the time the government was promising to abolish the GST after having seen the effects of it under the Conservatives, only 10% of Canadians thought it had any possibility of benefiting the economy. Ninety per cent of Canadians knew at the time how harmful such a tax would be on ordinary working men and women. Those are the people already feeling tremendous unfairness in our tax system, where the burden has shifted so much from corporations and individuals to the shoulders of low and middle income Canadians.

The comments I made today dealt specifically with the needs of children who may not have mothers or fathers. Of course we support them. We will stand up any day to support the needs of survivors and the needs of children without parents. I hope the member opposite would share in standing up for such individuals.

I end by saying this issue is not narrowly defined and it does not affect a few people. It affects the vast majority of Canadians who want to see change.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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November 4, 1997

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the health care community in Canada, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Public Health Association and I might point out to members on my far right in the Reform Party, the Alberta Medical Association, all agree that global climate change presents serious health, environmental, economic and social risks.

To protect the health of Canadians and in support of health care professionals all across the country, will the Minister of Health support a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2005?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Environment
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