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View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-21 14:54 [p.29473]
I have the honour to inform the House that when this House did attend Her Excellency this day in the Senate chamber, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms—Chapter 9.
C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada—Chapter 10.
S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts (ending the captivity of whales and dolphins)—Chapter 11.
C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Chapter 12.
C-59, An Act respecting national security matters—Chapter 13.
C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—Chapter 14.
C-77, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 15.
C-78, An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act—Chapter 16.
C-84, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bestiality and animal fighting)—Chapter 17.
C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 18.
C-88, An Act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 19.
C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis—Chapter 20.
C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020—Chapter 21.
C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tariff and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act—Chapter 22.
C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages—Chapter 23.
C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—Chapter 24.
C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 25.
C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast—Chapter 26.
C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act—Chapter 27.
C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts—Chapter 28.
C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures—Chapter 29.
It being 2:55 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 16, 2019, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 2:55 p.m.)
The 42nd Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on September 11, 2019.
Aboriginal languagesAboriginal peoplesAccess for disabled peopleAccess to informationAdjournmentAgriculture, environment and natural res ...British ColumbiaBudget 2019 (March 19, 2019)C-101, An Act to amend the Customs Tarif ...C-102, An Act for granting to Her Majest ...C-48, An Act respecting the regulation o ...
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View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-05-02 15:28 [p.27309]
Madam Speaker, as the member knows, I support this legislation as well. It is one of the few Liberal initiatives that actually makes some sense. I have called it in the House before a tax treaty for tax treaties. That is really what it is.
The member talked about many other things that had very little to do with the contents, so I am just going to ask him a question on that point. Originally the Liberals promised that the so-called increase on the top 1% would pay for itself. That is actually the wording they used, “pay for itself”. That is not what the Parliamentary Budget Officer found. He found that the top income earners in Canada were paying a higher share of total income being collected, which was not the point.
Would the member agree with me that the effect of the tax changes the Liberal government introduced gave a bigger tax cut to every single member of the House of Commons than it did to those earning $45,000 or less?
View Tom Kmiec Profile
View Tom Kmiec Profile
2019-05-02 15:38 [p.27310]
Madam Speaker, God is an honest payer, but a very slow one, as the Yiddish proverb goes. It means that for all the good things we do during our life, the treasures await us in heaven, which is a very common thing many Christians believe. The National Prayer Breakfast was this morning, so I thought I would begin with a Yiddish proverb that many know.
However, it also applies to taxes, because what we expect from Canadians, Canadian corporations and those doing business in Canada is to pay their taxes honestly and not to engage in aggressive tax planning and tax avoidance schemes, which this bill proposes to make more difficult by implementing a multilateral tax treaty. In this House, I have previously called it a tax treaty for tax treaties.
Those who are listening in or those who are in the gallery may be wondering what BEPS is, because many members have mentioned it. It is base erosion and profit shifting. I am going to provide a definition and I am hoping that everybody will be able to follow along.
The definition from the OECD is an example, so it is easy to figure out. Company A, which resides in the Cayman Islands, wants to provide a licence for the use of intellectual property to company C in South Africa. South Africa, however, has not concluded a tax treaty with the Cayman Islands and would thus be entitled to apply its domestic withholding tax rate on outbound royalties.
Hopefully, everybody is getting what I am getting at here.
However, a European country has concluded a tax treaty with South Africa that reduces its withholding tax rates on royalties. This country does not itself levy a source tax on royalties. Therefore, company A establishes a letterbox company in this European country and diverts the royalty payments through the letterbox company to reduce the tax withheld by South Africa. In this example, the principal purpose of establishing this arrangement, including the letterbox company, is to obtain the lower withholding tax rate available under the tax treaty between South Africa and the European country.
This is what we call base erosion and profit shifting. It is something that very large corporations routinely engage in and have been accused of in the past. It is sometimes called “the green jersey”. I have heard it called “the single malt”, depending on the jurisdiction it comes from. Typically, it heavily impacts high tax rate countries, such as Canada, the United States and others. Low tax rate countries are impacted as well, as they lose a lot of their ability to raise taxes on behalf of their citizens, because they are not able to track the money as it moves around. The companies are not honest payers in those situations, nor will they be slow ones in the future, unlike the Yiddish proverb I mentioned. We want to ensure that large corporations, large multinationals and individuals doing business in other countries are paying their taxes honestly and that they are not slow to do so but pay them on time and when they are expected to.
This is a tax treaty for tax treaties. I support this piece of legislation, because we want to ensure that our tax system is both fair and efficient, and that we are able to collect the taxes owed to the government. We know how much difficulty the Canada Revenue Agency has had collecting that information. Hopefully, now it will be looking at what the tax gap is.
I want to draw the attention of the House to article 28 and article 29 of this tax treaty, because that is the only part of the legislation I had concerns with at committee. This tax treaty will not return to Parliament to determine whether we continue with certain reservations or not. What this tax treaty is proposing to do is take Parliament out of consideration after the bill is passed by this House and by that other place as well. What will happen in those situations, with the many reservations the Canadian government has indicated to our multilateral partners, is that if in the future cabinet were to decide that we wish to participate in them, that particular matter will not return to the House and will not be taken up for consideration.
I think that was a matter brought up by Patrick Marley at committee with respect to articles 10, 12 and 13. He mentioned that, because of that, he had some concerns that perhaps Parliament would lose its ability to impact the tax treaty choices and specific implementation provisions in the future, perhaps when some members of this House are no longer here, or I am no longer here, and the contents of the treaty would not be well known.
That is literally the only part of the treaty that I have concerns with. Outside of that, I think the generalities of it are the MLIs, ensuring that our multilateral partners are harmonizing the rules with us and that we have the same rules applied across many different countries. This would ensure that we are able to collect the taxes that are owed to the Canadian treasury. We would also be able to ensure that tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning are reduced to an absolute minimum.
There are many examples of these types of companies that engage in it. Some of the largest ones, like the one that produces the smart phones in our pockets, typically have trademark and copyright subsidiaries that simply trade in the trademark. There is no actual business being conducted in the different jurisdictions; they simply charge a royalty for its use.
Starbucks is a great example. I have used it before and I am still waiting for their lobbyists to call me and complain that I used it as an example.
Starbucks engages in this practice by charging a royalty on its logo and its name, which it puts in a different jurisdiction. Then its Canadian, American and other subsidiaries—holding companies, sometimes—pay a royalty to the other place that does not charge any taxes on the royalty. That is the type of base erosion we are trying to avoid and do away with.
Before I continue, I will mention that today, May 2, is a special day. As I do on almost every May 2, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my father-in-law and my wife, who were both born on the same day. If I did not do that, I would not want to go home tonight and could not guarantee I would return next week. I say a very happy birthday to both of them.
May 2 is also a special day for those who, like me, are of Polish heritage. Constitution Day is the day the original Polish Constitution was created. It is the founding document of many European constitutions, including the American constitution. Guaranteed rights are set out in it. The principle of “no taxation without representation” comes partially from that original document, a principle that again is found in documents like Bill C-82, the tax treaty of tax treaties. That same principle applies here as well.
We are trying to ensure that the taxes owed to the people of Canada are paid by the corporations and individuals who owe them. I simply do not see a reason that we should not be enforcing as many of the provisions as we possibly can.
Many of our OECD and G20 partners will be participating, although the United States of America will not be participating in this multinational convention. However, we have many tax treaties with our neighbours to the south that will ensure they meet their obligations to us and we meet our obligations to them. They will ensure that taxes owed in both jurisdictions are indeed paid.
We know that the partial goal of the government with this document and with budget bills is to collect the difference between what is owed and what is actually collected. Many officials at committee said their hope is that they will be able to close that tax gap and collect the taxes they have not been able to collect. It is estimated that roughly $23 billion in profits that should have been declared in tax in Canada were shifted to a lower-tax jurisdiction. That is a large sum of money, but it would not be the full $23 billion; it will be a faction of that amount. It is all part of the government's attempt to find and scrounge every single last dollar to pay down the deficit.
Kudos to the government. It is about $20.3 billion off the target it set for itself in 2015, and it will still be off its target well into 2040.
I was at a town hall yesterday, and several constituents asked me whether the Canadian government was ever intending to reduce the deficit to zero and start paying down the national debt. I had to tell them that unfortunately, no, that is not the case, that there is no such intention in any government document at this point. It simply tracks how big the deficit and the national debt will be. For the first time this year, the Government of Canada owes over $700 billion on behalf of taxpayers. If we include crown corporation debt, it goes to over $1 trillion. After the next few terms, we are expecting to see another $250 billion to $300 billion added to the national debt, and that number excludes crown corporations.
Initiatives like this try to seek justice on behalf of Canadians by trying to collect the taxes owed in other jurisdictions, an important part of closing the tax gap. I will be supporting this piece of legislation, as I did at earlier stages of the bill and at committee. My only concern, which I am putting on the record so that future parliamentarians will see it, is provisions in articles 28 and 29 that shift the responsibility from Parliament to cabinet to decide which reservations can be done away with. Those will be done by orders in council. My understanding from officials at committee is that a simple order of cabinet would do so. It is a defect in the bill, but the defect is not sufficient to cause me vote against it. I invite all members to vote in favour of it.
View Dan Albas Profile
Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary skips over the fact that this was originally started with the OECD under the previous government. That being said, it is helpful to know that a government can recognize when it is in its interests to pursue what a previous government had done and building on that. Therefore, I am happy to see that happen.
The member mentioned a number of examples to fight tax evasion and money laundering internationally. While it is important to have these rules put in place, I would point out that on this very day, the solicitor general of British Columbia, David Eby, has called out the federal government for not supporting the RCMP so it can do the work that is required to tackle money laundering.
A tremendous amount of documentation in the German report has come out, yet the Liberal government does not fund the important part of enforcement.
Does the member realize that having rules is important, but there also needs to be a commitment to having boots on the ground to make a meaningful difference and to ensure we have a system that works for everyone?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are proud to support this bill, but there is a lot of hypocrisy in what we hear from the government on this. I will go into some of that in my speech, but I will give the member an opportunity to respond to this point.
The member talks about whether we are concerned with the situation of wealthy corporate executives versus the considerations of everyday people. However, on the carbon tax, the government has given a break to Canada's largest emitters. It says that they need the break. However, it will not provide any kind of break, with respect to the impact of the carbon tax, to everyday Canadians who now pay so much more at the pumps and elsewhere as a result of the government's punitive approach.
If this were an environmental measure, if the Liberals were serious about the environment and if they thought this actually would help the environment, they would apply it consistently across the board. They are not doing that.
In spite of the man-of-the-people rhetoric from the parliamentary secretary, why are the Liberals giving a holiday on the carbon tax to Canada's largest emitters, while ensuring the maximum impact on everyday Canadians?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today. I understand my friend from Carleton was trying to give me a run for my money in terms of being the most verbose Conservative, so today I am going to try to catch up to him, with a 20-minute speech on this important bill.
Before I get to the substance of the bill, I feel the need to respond to some of the things that the parliamentary secretary for finance said, because he is trying to set up this narrative that is based on made-up things. I want to point to some clear facts that my friends across the way will hopefully take on board and recognize.
What were the fiscal policies of the Conservative government with respect to tax reduction? It is important to underline that all of the taxes that were lowered by the Conservatives are the ones that were disproportionately paid by lower-income Canadians. We raised the base personal exemption; that is, we increased the amount of money that people can earn before they have to pay any tax. Surely, my friend across the way would not say that raising the base personal exemption was somehow targeted at helping the wealthy. Indeed, we took many low-income Canadians off the tax rolls completely.
We lowered the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%. It is the tax that all Canadians pay. In particular, it is a regressive tax that is paid disproportionately, because a higher proportion of GST is paid by lower-income Canadians than is paid as a proportion of other taxes. Therefore, lowering the GST was particularly beneficial to middle and low-income Canadians. We also lowered the lowest marginal income tax rate.
We lowered business tax rates, in particular small business tax rates. Why did we lower business tax rates? When we lower business tax rates, the evidence shows that it creates jobs. It also raised business tax revenue over the time that we have seen a reduction in business taxes in this country. It was a process that began under the previous Liberal government, which, relatively speaking, I think was better than the current Liberal government on many fiscal issues. It began the process of lowering business taxes, which was continued under the Harper Conservative government. The effect of that was that over the same period, we saw an increase in business tax revenue. The tax reductions we were making were targeted at improving the effectiveness of our economy and providing tax relief to those Canadians who needed tax relief the most. Did we lower the highest marginal tax rate? No, we did not. We targeted tax relief to Canadians who needed it most by raising the base personal exemption, by lowering the GST and by lowering the lowest marginal tax rate.
The parliamentary secretary for finance can say that the Conservatives think a certain way or that we want certain things, but I challenge him to speak specifically, which the current government never does. We believe that helping low and middle-income Canadians can be done most effectively by letting them keep more of their own money and deciding how they want to spend it themselves. We do not take a paternalistic approach when it comes to helping Canadians who are struggling financially. We think people can make good monetary decisions about what is in their interest and how they want to pursue projects and needs that are important to them and their family. That is why our approach emphasizes tax reductions.
The current government has raised taxes for middle-class Canadians and those, as it likes to say, who are working hard to join it.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Garnett Genuis: Members were clapping when I pointed out that the government is raising taxes on Canadians working hard to join the middle class, so they finally realize it. We certainly invite those members who realize this flaw to come over and join us. There is still some time. I know there are so many people coming over to the opposition benches these days, some voluntarily and some not, and we welcome more to see the light.
If we look at the contrast in approach, we have the carbon tax, which is a new tax imposed by the current government. That is specifically targeted at punishing Canadians who can least pay the tax. The government has said it is an environmental measure and that the Conservatives want to make pollution free again.
The Liberals are giving a holiday on the carbon tax to Canada's largest emitters. There is no paying of the carbon tax and there is no cost to those large emitters. Instead, they are imposing the cost on Canadians who can least afford it, on the single mom who needs to drive her car to take the kids to grandma's and grandpa's, on the small business owner just starting out and on individual Canadians who are struggling and do not have high-priced lobbyists or the ability to access the PMO.
We know how many meetings happened in the PMO on how to help SNC-Lavalin avoid prosecution. I wish they had at least that many meetings to think about Canadians who are struggling and will struggle more because of the carbon tax that is being imposed on Canadians who can least afford it while large emitters are getting a break.
If the Liberals were at all serious in their claim that this is an environmental measure, then they would impose a carbon tax across the board. However, it is not an environmental measure, it is a revenue measure and that is why Conservatives will get rid of the carbon tax. We will not just get rid of the carbon tax on large emitters, but we will make sure that no Canadian is paying the federally imposed carbon tax that the Prime Minister is so desperate to impose on them.
My friend from Winnipeg North wants to know what is going to happen in the provinces. We see in provincial elections across the country that more and more Canadians are rejecting the carbon tax as well. We have seen that rejection in Ontario, New Brunswick, his province of Manitoba and very soon we will see that in Alberta as well. I am looking forward, next week, to Albertans joining the growing movement of Canadians who are rejecting the carbon tax. People in my constituency may still face a federally imposed carbon tax even after the next provincial election. However, they will not have long to wait until we replace the current government this fall and ensure that Albertans and all Canadians do not have the burden of the carbon tax.
For the members who want to say this is the only possible way to respond to climate change, I point out to them that we saw a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions under the previous Conservative government. We saw in every jurisdiction across the country that emissions either went down or up by less than they had during the previous period. We saw an increase in emissions in British Columbia under the carbon tax that they have had in place for quite a while. All the evidence suggests that this is not an environmental measure and, again, the Liberals' own decision to give a holiday on the carbon tax to the largest emitters shows that they are just not serious about this.
The government needs to re-examine the rhetoric it is using in light of the reality and in light of the fact that it is imposing tax increases at every opportunity it can. It is clear why it is imposing these tax increases. It simply cannot get a handle on spending.
In the last election the Prime Minister looked Canadians in the eyes and told them that he would run deficits lower than $10 billion, and then he would balance the budget by the 2018-19 fiscal year. There was no balance. We saw very clearly in the budget that the government has not balanced the budget. It has no intention of balancing the budget and it will not face up to the fact that it made a promise that it simply did not have any plan or sincerity about keeping.
Now the Liberals are desperate to start to plug that fiscal hole by imposing new taxes on Canadians at every opportunity, and they have tried to do this in so many ways. After the last election, despite promising to lower the small business tax rate to 9%, they undid that promise and said they were going to leave the tax rate at 10.5%, effectively a tax increase on small business. Then, with great fanfare, after they had attacked small businesses, after they had called small business owners tax cheats, after they tried to impose these new rules that were met with such frustration, such virulent objection from the business community, guess what they said. They said they were going to lower the small business tax rate to 9%, which is what they had promised they were going to do in the last election before they unmade that promise. However, they still have changed rules for small businesses that impose a new and greater tax burden on them.
We know what the current government is about. It is about raising taxes at every turn to try to plug its wide-open hole in terms of its fiscal plan and we cannot let it do that. As these deficits and these debts grow, it will certainly be raising taxes unless we get a new government in place that ensures Canadians are no longer paying for the mistakes of the current Prime Minister and that instead allows Canadians to get ahead by lowering their taxes.
We can be sure that, as we have seen in the past, the approach of a Conservative government, under the able leadership of the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, would be focused on providing tax relief to those Canadians who need it most, those Canadians who are suffering the most under the current government's high-tax, high-spend agenda.
There are members across the way who are shouting the phrase “trickle down”. The approach of the current government is to pour subsidies on the largest corporations, to try to give special deals to its friends, to try to help SNC-Lavalin to get out of its prosecution and to somehow think that will trickle down. On this side of the House, we oppose the Liberals' theory of trickle-down government, and that is why we believe in providing tax relief to Canadians who need it most as we did by lowering the GST, by lowering the lowest marginal tax rate and by raising the basic personal exemption.
It was important for me to start out by responding to my colleague, the parliamentary secretary, but let me now make a few comments on this legislation, which, contrary to my tone until now, is actually legislation that we support. It is legislation that really builds on great work done by the previous government. We would not necessarily know it by hearing some of the comments across the way, but Conservatives in government were actively engaged with our international partners in ensuring that we have a fair and more transparent tax system. The work that we are dealing with in terms of the bill began as a result of an agreement in 2013 and Conservatives from that period onward, and indeed before that period, were active in engaging with our international partners.
In January 2015, we put in place a requirement that electronic transfers of $10,000 or more had to be reported to the Canada Revenue Agency by banks and financial institutions. We have always, in terms of our policy declarations and the principles we have put out there in platforms since, emphasized tax fairness and emphasized simplification of the tax code. This is vitally needed. An area that many Canadians bring to our attention on a regular basis is that there are opportunities for us to ensure proper reporting and ensure tax fairness and, therefore, strengthen Canada's revenue position.
Therefore, this is legislation that builds on that work that our colleagues have spoken in favour of up until now and certainly that we continue to support.
Even as we discuss this legislation, we continue to see the gaps in terms of some of the things the government members say and the reality in terms of what they do. In many cases with these international conventions, we talk about the issues of simplification, of consistency, of ensuring that CRA is treating everybody fairly and of making sure that there is not double taxation.
In that way, it is worth pointing out again the good work of my colleague from Calgary Rocky Ridge who put forward Motion No. 43, which was a motion that would impose a duty of care on the Canada Revenue Agency in its interactions with Canadians, basically to ensure that people are treated fairly in their interactions with the Canada Revenue Agency. While, on the one hand, we have situations where companies may be taking advantage of some of these creative tax-planning arrangements, we have situations where individuals who may be low-income individuals face the CRA coming down very hard on them and they have a difficult time responding. It was a common-sense, reasonable motion that my colleague from Calgary put forward and I was pleased to support that. Unfortunately, it was only members of the Conservative caucus who supported Motion No. 43.
All members of the government opposed this common sense tax fairness measure. Unfortunately, my colleagues in the NDP opposed it. We do hear the NDP members sometimes talk about the problem their constituents face with respect to interactions with CRA.
However, I hope we will have an opportunity to bring a similar initiative in the future, perhaps in a future Parliament. Maybe in light of the more recent comments we have heard on this from the NDP, maybe its members will support it at that time. Canadians can have confidence that when it comes to holding CRA accountable to ensure that people are treated fairly and equally under the law, thus far it has only been the Conservatives who have taken that clear, consistent principled position.
If the Liberals are concerned about fairness for the middle class, then we would expect them to vote in favour of initiatives that would ensure fairness for the middle class when they have an opportunity. Unfortunately, they have not done that.
On the issue of double taxation, I spoke earlier about the carbon tax. We have with the carbon tax a form of double taxation, which is the fact that the federal government is requiring a carbon tax in every jurisdiction. It is imposing a federal carbon tax in jurisdictions where provinces are not imposing it themselves. Then it is collecting GST on top of it.
The Liberals have said that this will be revenue neutral for the federal government. It is not revenue neutral for the federal government. In and of itself, the federal carbon tax imposed on provinces that have rejected it is not revenue neutral from the perspective of the federal government. They have said in their announcements that most of the money will be rebated back. That is a big difference from all of the money, but the government is collecting GST on top of that.
Therefore, right here within our own domestic reality, we have a problem of double taxation. We have taxes being imposed on top of other taxes. This increases the burden on Canadians who really can least afford it.
We have had a number of initiatives, and not just speaking of the work of the previous government, in this Parliament from different members of our Conservative team who have been trying to bring about tax relief for Canadians. Every time we propose measures to bring tax relief to Canadians, the Liberals oppose them.
The leader of the opposition had an excellent initiative around making parental leave tax free. This would give parents a greater ability to plan to preserve their own fiscal situation while they were going through the transition of having a child. Certainly, we want to support parents in that situation. The government's approach to parental leave is to try to reduce that flexibility by reducing the flexibility that families have to allocate leave between different partners. Our approach is to provide more choice, more opportunity by reducing taxes across the board. Unfortunately, the Liberals voted against it.
Finally, with respect to Bill C-82, a mixed signal is being sent by the government. On the one hand, it wants to look like it is being tough on tax evasion and tax avoidance. On the other hand, we have seen how dedicated the Prime Minister and his team were to try and get a special deal for SNC-Lavalin. We do not exactly send a message that we are tough on anything when it comes to the actions of big corporations, if then we also try to put as much pressure as we can to get a special deal for those well-connected companies that can afford high-priced lobbyists and can push back there. It is gravely inconsistent.
If the government wants to address this issue and the issues around it, it needs to send a message that everybody is equal under the law, that it does not matter if one is a big company or a Canadian who is struggling to get by, that the law is the law. Sending that message in a clear and consistent way, ensuring that everybody is treated equally and fairly under the law, would very much address what we are talking about. It would confront the problems that this legislation seeks to confront.
Therefore, while we support the bill before us, we recognize the desperate need for the government to do better, to stop piling taxes on those Canadians who can least afford to pay them and to start sending a message that everybody, regardless of where one is situated in society, is equal under the law.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the member is asking a similar question to one he has asked before, so he will no doubt receive a similar answer. Let me answer each point he made.
He said that Conservatives ran up $160 billion. Usually we hear the Liberals say it was $150 billion. Maybe by the election they will be saying it was $300 billion. The figure of $150 billion is not even accurate. In fact, in spite of the global financial crisis, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio went down during the period of the last Conservative government.
During this time, members across the way, some of whom were not here at that time, were calling for an increase in spending. Liberals thought we should be spending more, but we said, no, we would have timely, targeted and temporary deficits and we would get back to balance, which we did.
The member opposite wants to compare Canada's history over the last 150 years. I do not know if I can say much about the record of former prime minister Charles Tupper, for example, when it comes to deficit spending.
We could go back a long way. I do not hold the member opposite responsible for the Liberal policy under Pierre Trudeau of opening residential schools. I do not hold the Liberal Party responsible for all of the things it has done over the last 150 years, and I cannot necessarily be held responsible for Conservative policies that were pursued in the early part of the 20th century and last part of the 19th century.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the reason we enter into tax treaties, whether with higher tax jurisdictions or lower tax jurisdictions, is to ensure a framework for tax fairness so that people are not facing double taxation and to ensure there is a proper reporting structure to address possible issues of tax avoidance.
To the member's point, there is a principle here such that, regardless of the agreement, taxes should be paid in the jurisdiction where, in some sense, the work is being done. If there is a case, for instance, where all of the operational aspects are in one place but none of the taxes are being paid there, that is obviously an issue to discuss and to explore how we can respond to it.
I will also point out for the member that when other jurisdictions have lower taxes, companies can relocate to those jurisdictions if they wish to. It is not possible to, say, prohibit a company from moving its headquarters somewhere else. In fact, under the previous government, companies from the United States chose to move their headquarters to Canada. However, they would have had to bring aspects of their operations to Canada associated with that as well. When we are a low-tax jurisdiction, that can work to our advantage as well.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, what unbelievable language and what an unbelievable approach from the member for Winnipeg North.
I look forward to talking to his constituents about the carbon tax, because I am sure that people in Winnipeg North, as in Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan and elsewhere, are deeply skeptical of the government's claim that it will take more money from people, process it over here, and then give even more of it back. When has that worked out?
That is about the quality of math that we would expect from a Prime Minister who said he would balance the budget by this year, and yet we are still tens of billions of dollars in deficit.
Canadians know they are paying more as a result of the Liberal carbon tax, and they simply do not accept that they would be any further ahead with this process of taking their money and processing it and rebating some of it back.
I look forward to having the conversation in the next election about the government's plan on the carbon tax. We have shown that we can do more for the environment by not imposing new taxes on Canadians. The Liberals believe that the only solution, the only thing worth doing, is to impose new taxes under all kinds of different names and excuses. We reject that and we look forward to having that debate.
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2019-04-08 18:16 [p.26830]
Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleague a very important question. He mentioned how companies can relocate. As everyone knows, General Motors is leaving Oshawa. We have seen 1,500 job losses in Windsor, and manufacturing is very susceptible to bad tax policy and uncertainty. I want the member to address how important the tax policy is for certainty and competitiveness.
We heard our colleagues talk about the carbon tax. When I was knocking on doors this weekend, a constituent told me I had to go back and tell the Liberals to make the carbon tax even higher because he wanted it to be $1 million per tonne. That way, with Liberal math, he would be getting back $200,000 or $300,000. He said that then he could retire.
I do not know if Canadians realize how bad a policy this is. Could my colleague please talk about how important it is to have good tax policy to provide business certainty and to make sure we have competitiveness?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is a great question from my colleague, who obviously lives these issues and is hearing directly from his constituents about them.
I come from an energy-producing part of the country. He comes from a part of the country where manufacturing jobs in the auto sector in particular are very important. We see in both of these areas how the imposition of taxes and regulatory changes, in particular the imposition of new taxes, is hurting economic development.
We saw in the past how lowering business taxes led to an increase in business tax revenue. That was because companies were looking at those tax policies and making decisions about investment that reflected those calculations. They were choosing to invest in Canada as a result of the fact that Canada was a good place to invest.
We have many advantages. We have an educated workforce and many things going for us as a country, but the financial dimension of it is obviously critical as well for companies that are thinking about making these investments.
The government's solution to this is to tax more and put the money forward in corporate welfare for things like superclusters. We have seen it has much less effect for the government to pick winners and losers and give money to some of its friends while taxing other people more. It is a much less effective approach than simply lowering taxes for all Canadians, especially targeting tax relief for small business and to those Canadians who need that tax relief at the individual level the most, thus putting them in the driver's seat and allowing them to make decisions to take advantage of the opportunities that result. It is up to the government to give people as much opportunity as possible to get ahead and then to let them do that with their own resources.
View Tom Lukiwski Profile
Mr. Speaker, I wonder if my colleague from Carleton could expand a little bit on his thoughts about tax evasion in general and what Canada should be doing but has not been doing in terms of trying to recover some of this lost revenue.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2018-10-15 12:04 [p.22310]
Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the governing side has some expertise on this. We have a finance minister who, after increasing income taxes that took effect January 1, 2016, deliberately carried out a massive sale of shares just a month before that tax increase would take effect so that he would not have to pay higher taxes on his capital gain.
This is the same finance minister who registered his shares for a Toronto company in Alberta, even though he lives in Toronto, so that he could pay the lower corporate tax rate in Alberta, rather than paying the same tax rate as everyone else in the province in which he lived.
This is the same finance minister who set up a subsidiary for his family business, Morneau Shepell, in Barbados, which is a jurisdiction notorious for allowing corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Then, of course, we have the Prime Minister, who despite being a multi-millionaire recipient of trust fund money from his family, has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of speaking fees and other benefits that other Canadians could not dream of receiving.
They are the trust fund twins, the finance minister and the Prime Minister, wanting to tell us that they are going to bring tax fairness to Canadians. It is just a little bit rich.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2018-10-15 12:07 [p.22310]
Mr. Speaker, I did no such thing. In fact, according to the CRA, the wealthiest 1% paid $4.5 billion less in the first year after the government's tax changes took effect. According to the renowned and objective Fraser Institute, the middle class paid $800 more as a result of the tax changes by the government. Therefore, as a result of the tax changes by the government, the wealthiest 1% are paying $4 billion less, while a middle-class family is paying $800 more. That is the sum total of their changes.
What did the Conservative Party do? That was my colleague's other question.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the previous Conservative government reduced taxes by $30 billion with a preponderance of that money going to low- and modest-income families. That is why poverty fell by almost one-third during the previous Conservative government and middle-class incomes were up by over 11% after tax and inflation, the largest increase of any government in the last 40 years. That is what the Conservative Party did.
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
2018-10-15 12:09 [p.22310]
Mr. Speaker, the answer is that we did not. The government introduced changes to the tax system that had the effect of lowering taxes on the wealthiest 1%. This is CRA data. If the government does not like the CRA, then it should talk to the officials there.
The CRA has reported that in the first year after these tax changes took effect, the wealthiest 1% paid $4.6 billion less in income taxes while middle-class Canadians paid $800 per family more. How did they pay more? They lost the children's fitness tax credit. They lost the transit tax credit. They lost the education tax credit. They lost the textbook tax credit, in addition to the overall tax burden. That does not even include the carbon tax and the increases in payroll taxes that are expected to take effect on January 1 of this coming year and in the year following that.
Even without those additional forthcoming tax increases, middle-class people are already paying more while wealthy people are paying less. That is what we voted against.
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