If you will examine the bill you will see that in every case it is written that these are new sections. I submit it was the duty of the parliamentary secretary to rise in his place and explain why the changes are being made and what gain is expected in comparison to the old act. As I said a few moments ago, while I do not agree with the principle of delegation because people are elected for a specific purpose, since it had to be done I am sure it could not be on more capable shoulders-except that he did not do it. He has not given the committee any explanation of why this is done and what the government expects to gain by it.
I shall give a bit of information on what we are gaining under the present act. Let us examine the record, Mr. Chairman, and see what it shows. We find that in 1970 Canada received $513 million in interest and dividends on foreign holdings, a 74 per cent increase over the 1967 revenue of $295 million. In 1967, Canadian direct investment abroad represented a book value of $4 million out of total long-term investments with a book value of a little over $8 million. Canadian direct investment abroad in 1970 was $215 million exclusive of undistributed profits.
With that in mind, Mr. Chairman, it becomes the duty of the parliamentary secretary to tell this House what improvement the government is going to make. I know what has been said by some members. They have raised this particular phase of the new bill and emphasized that portion of it which would interfere with people who are wealthy and move their place of residence to another country. I agree with that. I do not, however, agree with the idea of saying to Canadian corporations which are doing business throughout the world that you are going to make it as hard as you can for them because there are ways in which they could be made to pay taxes.
In my opinion, the people who are contributing to taxation in this country, which last year amounted to something in the area of $6 billion or $7 billion, are a most important class because they contribute to the expense of various social services and the expense of government in general. Why should the government try to make it hard for the taxpayer? It seems to me that what they are doing is discouraging him or the corporation to the extent that he loses his incentive to go ahead and make a profit. I happen to believe in profit because, in the first place, I believe it makes for good times and, in the second place, government gets about 50 per cent of it anyway. I see that you agree, Mr. Chairman, because you smile. Why should the taxpayer be held up almost as a public enemy of
November 22, 1971
Canada when he is almost the greatest benefactor that the country could possibly have?
I think we have to look at all these phases, but it seems to me that the government has not considered them. They seem determined to make change, but unless you can make an improvement you should not make change. The power to tax is surely the power to destroy, and the power to change taxes and make them more onerous surely has the same connotation. I think the parliamentary secretary should have been on his feet a long time ago telling this House what the government had in mind and why they were doing it.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: INCOME TAX ACT