March 11, 2016

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-03-11 12:28 [p.1769]

Mr. Speaker, changes to the Income Tax Act as proposed by the new government are a major concern for entrepreneurs and professionals from coast to coast to coast.

These are the people who drive our economy, the small business owners who have taken a chance in their life, and through their hard work are now being rewarded. Now the government has taken the initiative out of the most ambitious people in our country, like the doctors who have studied for years, have made huge sacrifices, and have built up huge debt, knowing there was a reward for them at the end of the day.

Last week, I went to a young optometrist in Saskatoon. She was just starting her career. She is under 30 years of age. The professional spent the better part of her twenties in school. She graduated with a mountain of debt. This was a concern. However, at the same time, this young professional was confident that over time she could make it up.

Now we are not too sure about this young optometrist. With this plan of more taxes for higher income earners, we are discouraging success and are actually punishing those who are high achievers in this country.

Saskatoon will be the home of a much-needed children’s hospital. This has been a dream of ours and our province of 1.2 million for decades. Many families in our province were forced to send their sick children to centres like Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and even to Minneapolis, Rochester, and New York.

We now have the opportunity in our province to have the sick children stay at home and be well attended to. Construction has started on this project in the Saskatoon area, and optimism is very high. However, there is a legitimate concern about where the doctors will come from to feed this fabulous facility.

This is a specialty area, and it is competitive for these specialists. Not only do we compete with other provinces like Alberta, B.C., and Ontario, but with these proposed changes in the Income Tax Act, we will be losing our professionals to other parts of the world. What good is the bricks and mortar, if we cannot staff this facility with highly qualified professionals? How can we be competitive with this extra burden on those who are in this tax bracket? They will simply pick up and leave Saskatchewan, and leave Canada.

This is called “brain drain”. This Liberal tax plan will certainly lead to an exit of professionals right out of this country. I have talked to many doctors and dentists who employ a lot of people in our city. They do not need to be putting in extra hours, knowing they will be paying more taxes to the government. Many have said they will simply cut back on their hours. Instead of serving the public for six or even seven days a week, they have all said they are going to cut back their hours.

Professional athletes already have apprehension about playing in Canada. Let us take the NHL players in Ottawa, Montreal, or Toronto, along with Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. With higher taxes, they can make the decision, telling their agents when they are free agents, that they simply do not want to play in Canada. When free agency hits, they have the option. They can actually put a no-trade clause into their contract not to be based on a Canadian team.

The reason is simple. Hockey is a business, and players know they only have a small window of opportunity to make their living. Taxes matter in this age group. It is no coincidence that if the playoffs were to open today in the NHL, not one Canadian-based team would make the NHL playoffs today.

Yesterday, the President of the United States made a reference right in front of the Prime Minister, asking where was the Stanley Cup. Well, guess what? The cup is in the President’s home town of Chicago. Do we think that is a level playing field? It certainly is not.

How about the members across from me? Could it be another 50 years before Maple Leaf fans can plan a Stanley Cup parade down Yonge Street with this tax plan? The same goes for the entertainment business. Canada’s most talented people today come from a zip code instead of a postal code, and this is going to make it worse.

I can tell the House that Canadian charities are very concerned with this Liberal tax plan and this bill. High-wage earners over the years have been very generous with their money in our communities in Canada. If not for this group, many social organizations would not be around today. These are the people who dig deep for charities so they can provide the necessary programs needed in our communities. I have sat on many charities in my city over the years, and if it were not for some of these professionals, organizations would have closed their doors long before now. Charities that do not need federal handouts can continue operations because of this class of people who give back to the community in many ways. We have all been in offices that have local art on the walls. That is because people give back to their communities so that others can enjoy their lifestyles and passion.

When the Liberals originally introduced this new system of tax breaks, they promised it was going to be revenue neutral. Four months later, though, the finance minister conceded in the House that this plan is not revenue neutral at all. A recent report from the parliamentary budget officer estimates that the cost could actually be closer to $1.7 billion. We already know that the government has blown by its $10-billion deficit per year that it promised during the election campaign. We are at least at $18.4 billion, and climbing every day. Conservatives cannot wait for the budget to come down to see the number on March 22.

I ask, who is going to pay for this? It will have to be repaid at some time. Is it our kids or our grandchildren who will pay for this Liberal tax plan? It is a broken promise because it was grossly miscalculated. I might add that it will completely eliminate the $1 billion surplus that the Conservative government handed over to the Liberals last year.

The Conservative government, and rightfully so, believed in the concept that people need to save for the future, a future that requires at one point or another taking money out of the popular TFSAs for an emergency. This was designed to take the burden off the federal government so that it could redirect much-needed money to other programs in this country. Now there is no incentive at all to put money away. The very popular TFSAs have been sliced back. Many families and seniors in my riding of Saskatoon—Grasswood are not happy at all with this new Liberal tax plan.

The report yesterday said it all in The Globe and Mail. It stated, “The more we get to know TFSAs, the more they demand attention as a vehicle for retirement saving.” The previous Conservative government introduced this program. It was a great tool for investing, even for a first home.

Canadian household debt is at an all-time high today. This country lost 2,300 jobs last month, instead of the expected gain of 10,000. Canada’s unemployment rate is at 7.3% today. That is the highest level in three years. It is only going to get worse with this new Liberal tax plan. I will not support Bill C-2 today.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-03-11 12:39 [p.1771]

Mr. Speaker, it is Friday in the House and we will not be here next week, so I guess the hon. member from Manitoba needs a history lesson. We did give the Liberals a surplus of over a billion dollars.

We are really excited for the new government because of this bill, because we know it is $30 billion. We have talked about the $150 billion deficit of the Liberal government. We will have a history lesson with the Liberal government when it is done, and four years from now Canadians will realize the mistake they made on October 19.

Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-03-11 12:42 [p.1771]

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, we have waited decades for a children’s hospital in our province. Our province has rallied around this facility. We have sent our sick children out of the province for far too long. The people in this community of Saskatchewan , 1.2 million people, have rallied around this facility to keep this charity local. However, we are worried about the specialists needed to keep this open. We are deeply concerned.

I will also say this for charities, because Saskatchewan is one of the best at donating. Last week, the Kinsmen Telemiracle raised over $5 million on a telethon that lasted over two days. That is the charity of the Saskatchewan people. However, with this tax plan, they will not have the money to donate. What will happen to the Kinsmen Telemiracle? What will happen to the children’s hospital when it has its hand out looking for money from the citizens of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan?

The full debate can be found online at:  http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=42&Ses=1&DocId=8156562