Mr. Bill Gilmour (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance)
Madam Speaker, I would like to put a few points on the record in the five minutes that remain.
It is interesting to look across the way. It is almost a state of denial. Look at where 40 years of successive tax and spend governments have put us. I will show myself as being a little long in the tooth, but I remember in the 1950s when we went to the United States and put a dollar on the table, we got $1.12 back or $1.09. The Canadian dollar was worth more than the American dollar but today it is below 67 cents. That did not happen by osmosis; it happened through government policies.
We consistently get the denial from across the way “Well, we always look at our pals in the United States. It is the United States that we always look to”. In some ways we do, because the Americans have the luxury of an economy that is going far faster, in multiples of what ours is doing.
If we have to make a comparison, we do not have to go down to the United States. We just have to compare my home province of British Columbia with its next door neighbour Alberta to see what different taxation policies can do. We not only have the Liberal government to contend with but we also have the provincial NDP government and British Columbia has been put on its knees with the cumulative effect of the two. Compare that to Alberta which basically has no sales tax and has a very envious record. Again, that is through public policy, policies of successive governments that have gone in the direction of building the economy, not knocking it down.
It is not just a simplistic answer. We have interprovincial trade barriers, for example. We have talked about it. It is a huge cauldron. In Ontario and Quebec it is a one-way street with workers going across one way but it is not reciprocal the other way. That is a simple example of the trade barriers in one province not being the same in others. It goes right across the country.
What about our debt? I started out by saying our dollar was $1.12 compared to a U.S. dollar 50 years ago, and it is now down to 67 cents. Back in those days we had a very tiny debt. The reason our dollar is down on its knees is the huge burden. The world markets are looking at Canada and saying that with this huge debt we have hanging over us, they do not have faith in our economy and they do not have faith in our dollar.
Canadians would like the government to address that. For example, the U.S. plans to pay off its debt in about 13 years. Australia plans to do it in about three years. With the forecasting from the finance minister, in Canada it is something like 190 years at the present rate. There is no political will to move forward to attack that debt so that we can bring the economy forward.
It is the cumulative effect of taxes, of debt and of legislation that does not favour business. In fact, it penalizes business. It penalizes. It is as if it is a crime in this country to make a buck. This is with tongue in cheek but basically with the Liberal policy, the simple tax form in part A asks how much money we made and part B says to send it in. That is about where this government has been going.
Canadians are on their knees. They are taxed not only federally, but in some cases we have a provincial regime that does not work, and the municipalities as well. This country needs to get its tax burden across the board under control. All levels of government have to do that.
We have seen other countries that we have to compete with. I mentioned earlier in a question Japan, Taiwan and now China. These are countries that started off at the low end but through the years and with progressive government policies that favour industry and productivity have moved forward. These are the economies we as Canadians have to deal with.
I am running out of time, so I will wind up. On the tax issue, if there is just one message I wish the government would really listen to, it is that we need to lower taxes at all levels.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Income Tax Amendments Act, 1999