Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-11-17 17:03 [p.6885]
Mr. Speaker, seniors will not benefit at all from the CPP increase right now. The Liberals will bring this in over 40 years, as we have heard.
Seniors in my riding have taken advantage of income splitting and the TFSAs. We increased the GIS. That government has followed through. The report I have here shows that from 1970 to today, poverty levels have really come down in this country. We increased the withdrawal limit up to $10,000 for workers who get laid off, allowing them to withdraw that amount at any time. Now, because of the current government’s decision to scale that back, others are standing in line for EI benefits instead.
Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-11-17 17:01 [p.6885]
Mr. Speaker, the premier of my province has been the most vocal premier of any province or territory in this country. He does not want this carbon tax. He does not want it for several reasons. It will cost 1.2 million citizens in my province money, up to $2,600 per family. That is not revenue neutral. I have a brother in British Columbia where gas prices continue to go up because of the carbon tax. Therefore, I think this is very bad news for the province of Saskatchewan, as we have heard that from our premier on down.
Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-11-17 16:50 [p.6884]
Mr. Speaker, this is my first opportunity to speak to Bill C-26. If I am one of the 36 on this side, I am privileged to extend the debate here today in the House.
The Liberal government continues its assault on hard-working Canadian families. If it is not the carbon tax, it is the CPP tax hike from 9.9% to 11.9%.
What does this mean for hard-working Canadian families? It means they will have less money in their pockets today. They will have less money in their pockets to maybe purchase their first home. They will have less money in their pockets to maybe go on a trip this winter. The economy will suffer because of this. This increase, as we all know, could put thousands of jobs at risk.
I will go further on that. It is another tax on small businesses. The Liberals have broken their clear promise to small businesses to proceed with their reduction in the small business tax rate to 9% in 2019. This decision will cost small firms over $900 million per year as of 2019, according to the CFIB. Now businesses will have to pick up the increase in these CPP premiums. Premiums will rise up to $2,200 per worker, split between the employer and the employee. Seventy per cent of small business owners totally disagree that the proposed CPP increase is “modest”, as the government calls it. Ninety per cent of small businesses think it is important to have public consultations before any deal at all is finalized.
The Liberal government talks about being engaged with Canadians. Then why does it not sit down with the business community of this country first before going ahead with this? Yes, it has said before that it has consulted with the territories and the provinces, but perhaps it should first talk to the businesses that will be most affected by this CPP increase.
Even with the low Canadian dollar, the Liberals have generated 20,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in the country. In my province of Saskatchewan alone, we lost 4,000 jobs this August from the same period last year. The trend continued. Six thousand fewer people are working in my province this year than they did the year before. The October numbers are out, and they do not paint a pretty picture. Ten thousand fewer people are working in my province today than they did in 2015.
Our previous government led the way for Canadians to save for their future. Canada’s savings rate has climbed, as we all know, from 7.7% of pay back in 1990 to almost double that today, at 14.1%. According to Statistics Canada, the share of Canadian seniors living on low income has dropped from 29% in 1970 to 3.7% today. That is still too high. We would all love to see it at zero. However, that is still among the lowest rates in the world today. Eighty-three per cent of Canadian households are on track to maintain their current living standards for retirement.
Let us be honest that each and every family has different views on retirement and that this, too, is up to the family.
The TFSA, put in by our previous government, was simply a fantastic tool for investing for retirement, or even for someone today who is one of the 10,000 in my province who were laid off . Many Canadians are enjoying these benefits. We wanted to increase the contribution limit to $10,000, knowing that it would give Canadians an incentive to save for the future, but the Liberal government, as we all know, rejected that idea.
I believe that the CPP tax hike is really an insult to hard-working Canadian families. Our previous Conservative government believed that Canadian families were able to manage their own money. We had confidence. Obviously, the Liberal government does not trust the Canadian family.
What is concerning to me is that in my province of Saskatchewan, since we have had downturn, more than half of the people are on the verge of not paying their bills. A report by Meyers Norris Penny shows that 64% of people in my province are now living within $200 a month of not being able to pay their bills or their debts. The Liberals can talk about the CPP increase starting at $6 a month and increasing to $33 or $43 a month, but think about these families who today are within $200 a month of not meeting their bills. Thirty-four per cent of people in my province say they already do not make enough money to cover their bills and 57% of people are concerned about their current level of debt—again a jump of 14%.
May I remind the Liberals of laid-off workers. Their families are not the only ones hurting. The slowdown has trickled down to everyone in my province, including the retailers, the restaurants, and virtually every business and every sector. This is why the CPP tax would have a major effect on everyone in my province, the 1.2 million who live there.
We all know that the small- and medium-sized businesses drive the healthy economy, but the additional CPP tax on them could have major impacts on their hiring decisions. We have already seen that. In the past year, the Liberals have not created one full-time job in this country. We wonder about this. The millennials in this country are now upset, as they should be, about the sunny ways of the finance minister, who was recently talking about the job turn and saying not to expect any long-term employment at all. We have witnessed massive increases in part-time jobs at the expense of full-time employment. This will further erode the middle class in our country.
Employees have four avenues of retirement. We have pensions, the current CPP, the improved GIS, and the OAS. Plus, let us not forget that we have other assets like inheritance, life insurance, and other financial assets along with the TFSAs. The value of housing has certainly gone up over the last 10 years, more so in Vancouver and Toronto markets, so that when the baby boomers die, their bequests will give many millennials a healthy financial backing.
We have talked about the CPP tax increase. I am going to discuss the carbon tax now because it is another tax on employees and employers.
In my province of Saskatchewan, we have been very vocal about this carbon tax. I am going to invite the politicians in this House to fly over my province, and especially over Buleya, Saskatchewan. On the field, farmers have created circles with the letters c-a-r-b-o-n t-a-x. These farmers have gotten together in their fields and have drawn a circle around those letters and a line through them, saying no to a carbon tax.
I hope all of the farmers in our province do the same for the CPP tax increase. We do not need it in our country at this time. We all want to have money for retirement, and increasing the CPP premium rate from 9.9% to 11.9% starting in 2019 would have a big effect, not only in my city and in my province but also in the entire country.
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=8601431