MP Tweed Speaks on Budget Implementation Act in the House of Commons
Mr. Merv Tweed (Brandon—Souris, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am privileged and honoured to speak to the budget implementation bill to do with the budget presented by our government. It is ironic that following a federal election in May and then a provincial election in Manitoba shortly thereafter, we have two governments basically on the same track in the sense of process, but on exactly opposite ends with regard to what people want and expect from their governments. I plan to draw some of those comparisons to the recently released budget in the province of Manitoba and the budget that the Government of Canada has put forward.
However, when we look at the actual details of the two budgets, we see a completely different story. It is important that Canadians see for themselves what can happen when a government is run by Conservatives, who listen to the people of Canada, consult with them and make a plan that meets their needs, as opposed to a government in Manitoba that completely ignores the people of the province and continues to bear huge tax burdens on them and their children well into the future.
Our budget was about jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canada. We have done many things in the past several years in previous budgets. It is only right that I take a look back at what we have accomplished, make comparisons and see where we will go in the future.
The federal government is proposing no new taxes and a reduction in taxes in certain areas. We have extended the accelerated capital cost allowance for manufacturing and processing equipment, encouraging purchases. With a strong dollar, the manufacturing side is looking to renew a lot of its equipment and would do so with a capital cost allowance that would allow companies not only to write it off faster but would also allow them to update their equipment to make them more efficient, more effective and environmentally friendly. We have also increased the small business limit to $500 and reduced the small business tax rate to 11%, all things Canadians told us they wanted and required to move forward, and we have delivered on them.
We have also lowered the federal corporate income tax rate to 15%, making us one of the most, if not the most, competitive jurisdiction of the G8 countries. That speaks well to the investment that is going to flow into Canada. It has already started and will continue to flow because people with money to invest look at countries that are safe, reliable and predictable in their plans going forward. We have had a consistent track record since 2006 of reducing taxes, creating new jobs and wealth for Canadians and opportunity for investment.
We have also increased the lifetime capital gains exemption to $750,000. Why is that important? We have had many discussions here on other issues, but, as we know, over time costs go up and returns have to go up to match them. Allowing businesses to take the $750,000 tax exemption creates better opportunities for the future.
As I said, I want to draw some comparisons, and I will do that now.
The NDP government in Manitoba is planning to overspend this year’s budget by $500 million. That is $500 million more in spending than the core revenue it is bringing in. This is what an NDP government does to the country. It has foisted taxes and new charges on the people of Manitoba to the tune of $184 million. In a time of restraint when countries are collapsing under the burden of financial difficulties, we have a province that continues to tax its people to the nth degree. I suggest the people of Manitoba were fooled when they were told by their current government that there would be no new taxes foisted upon them.
The Manitoba government has expanded the provincial sales tax to include more services and insurance premiums, adding $95 million more tax burden on the working people of Manitoba. Not finally but one of a few measures, it has increased gas taxes by 2.5 cents per litre, taking another $44.5 million out of Manitobans’ pockets.
I often think back to when we moved to the metric system. We all knew what the price of a gallon of gas was. When 2.5 cents is added to a litre it does not seem like much but it is over 10 cents a gallon for anybody who remembers what a gallon was worth. To add that to the people of Manitoba in one fell swoop, without any discussion, after promising it would not do it, shows what we get with a government that is not committed to making the hard decisions to move a country forward, to move a province forward.
In a short time in office, our government has cut taxes 140 times. That speaks to an investment community that knows it has a government that is on a path of lowering taxes, creating wealth, creating opportunities and creating jobs.
We have created nearly 700,000 new jobs in the last little while, which is unbelievable in a world where the economies of so many countries are struggling just to see the light of day. We only need to look back to yesterday’s news to see how important that is in certain countries in the world.
Our government, with its low tax policies, has removed one million low-income families, individuals and seniors from the tax rolls. Why is that important? The opposition tells us that people are in a situation where they are unable to pay their taxes or are barely scraping by. Well, one million more of them have an opportunity to spend their money the way they choose as opposed to being taxed by the government and then having it given back to them in dribs and drabs as some are proposing.
What else have we done? We have increased the amount that Canadians can earn tax free, again a decision made by a government that wants people to become independent, to think for themselves and to make their own financial decisions, not have governments telling them where and when they should make payments. We do that by lowering taxes. It puts more money in their pockets and gives people the ability to make their own decisions that affect their life, their family life and their community life.
We provided income splitting for seniors, one of the greatest things that could have happened in the sense of allowing people to share incomes to lower their taxable rate. We lowered the GST from 7% to 5%. We introduced a children’s fitness tax. We brought in the tax free savings account. I know many people of my generation were RRSP buyers. At the end of every year we would do that to reduce our taxable income. Now that money can actually be put into an account and taken out tax free as it grows in the future. If I were giving advice to anybody in Canada today, it would be to take a long, hard look at that tax free savings account as one of the many vehicles that we now have to prepare for our retirement plans, for the future and for our family’s future. It is important for people to look at this.This is not a paid political announcement but people should check with their accountants to ensure they are getting all the benefits.
When we look at what we have done across the country, a typical Canadian family today is saving $3,100 in taxes. Imagine having that every year and being able to make a decision on how to spend it or what to do with it, whether to invest in our children’s education or our retirement, or whether to buy that retirement home we have been looking for. All of those things are doable and possible when we have a government that is committed to low taxes.
I opened by making the comments that our plan is to keep taxes low, create new jobs and opportunity, create the environment for that to happen and, in doing so, we will create long-term prosperity for Canadians. It is what we told Canadians we would do in the last election and it is what we are doing today.
I urge all members to take a hard look at it and, instead of finding what they can vote against, they should look for the positives that they can vote for and support this budget.
Since he brought up the subject of Manitoba and lower taxes in his speech, I wonder if he could talk about the fact that, when the NDP came to power in Manitoba, the tax rate for small businesses was 8%. Since December 2010, as he probably knows, that tax rate has been zero. Small businesses no longer have to pay taxes. This is stimulating Manitoba’s economy and it is great for Manitobans.
There are about 100,000 businesses and 97% of them are small businesses. This is an excellent measure. I really do not understand why he is trying to scare people by saying that the NDP might raise taxes, when really, if we look at the facts, Manitoba has an excellent government and very good economic measures.
I would like to hear his comments on that.
Mr. Speaker, I was part of the provincial government in 1999 when the NDP won the majority and took over government. The NDP claimed that there was no money left in the till until it y found $1 billion. It spent that billion and continued to spend at a reckless amount. It is still spending above $500 million more in a province of 1.2 million people. That is what the NDP government is committed to spend and that is more than it will take in revenue this year. Plus, it continues to tax every living breathing individual and beyond now with the services it is now taxing people for.
It is simply an obvious case of numbers and the numbers do not add up for the Province of Manitoba. I do not want the NDP to ever be responsible for the numbers of Canada.
A section in the legislation amends the Salaries Act to abolish the Public Appointments Commission that the Conservatives so excitedly brought in. I was wondering why they would do that.
I would advise the member, and I suspect he was here at the time, that back when the commission was formally introduced, the opposition, in a minority government, railroaded the government into refusing the person we put forward as the chair of that committee and, therefore, we saw no more need for it.
However, the opposition members continue to complain about this being the shortest debate on budget implementation in a generation, even though no Liberal budget was ever debated this long under its government. They also complain that it covers too much ground. Could the member comment on the inter-relatedness of all of these measures?
To have a strong economy, an attractive jurisdiction for trade and investment, we need a stable financial sector. We need a responsible approach to resource development. We need jobs and growth and all of the enablers that go with it. Could he remind this House why all of these measures are needed in one bill?