House of Commons
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP) : Mr. Speaker, in July, an unemployed woman in Vancouver goes to JJ Bean for coffee in the morning and ding, 7% more.
She needs a haircut for a job interview, add 7%. Her car breaks down and she needs a tow, 7% more.
She takes a taxi to the job interview, 7% more. I could go on. Will the minister explain to the people of B.C. why they need an unfair tax increase when times are already so tough?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC) : Mr. Speaker, the decision on whether or not to harmonize the sales tax is a decision of the province.
I find it most interesting to see the member for Vancouver East now becoming the newest tax fighter in Canada. We welcome her new-found interest in cutting taxes and keeping taxes low.
Where was she when this government needed her support to cut the GST? She was not just missing in action, she was voting to keep taxes high. That is something she will have to explain to that same woman she speaks about.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, HST started with this government. And the story continues.
After a job interview, this woman in my riding bought a morning newspaper. It was 7% more.
She opens the paper and reads about yet another $8 billion in corporate tax cuts that the minister has engineered. She feels pretty outraged, just like everybody else in B.C. and Ontario.
Why is the government slapping an unfair tax increase on families while cutting taxes on Canada's most profitable corporations?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC) : Mr. Speaker, the same woman went to fill out her income tax and got some good news; that this government cut her income tax. She will have to explain to that same constituent, that same woman who she professes to care so much about, why, if the member had her way, she would have to pay higher income taxes.
This women, for the last two years, has been paying a lower GST. Why? Because this Prime Minister and this government stood up for that woman so she could pay less tax, so she could invest it in her community, so she could provide services and supports for her family.
This government is concerned about that woman. Where has the member for Vancouver East been when we have been trying to help her for all of these years?
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP) : Mr. Speaker, I have to tell the minister that my constituent and thousands of others have already figured out that the government is shifting the tax burden from big businesses to families.
In B.C. alone, the HST amounts to a $4 billion tax hike.
Each year the average B.C. family will pay an estimated $828 more, a senior couple $883 more, a single mom will pay $522 more and Canada's most profitable corporations will be paying $8 billion less.
Again, will the minister explain to British Columbians why they should pay so much more?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC) : Mr. Speaker, in British Columbia tax freedom day, the day when individuals, British Columbians, start to earn money for themselves, is now some two or three weeks early, thanks to the efforts of this government.
If the NDP had its way and if the member for Vancouver East had her way, the woman would be working an extra 21 days to support big government rather than to support her family. Those of us on this side of the House think that is unfair.