Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, income splitting is an economic policy that picks winners and losers, a policy opposed by many experts. The late Jim Flaherty voiced his concerns say, “I'm not sure that overall it benefits our society”. Today, another report shows he was right. Nine out of 10 Canadian households would receive no benefit.
Will the Conservative government abandon this unbalanced tax proposal that benefits so very few Canadians?
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC): Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister said that income splitting is a good policy for Canadian seniors and it will be a good policy for Canadian families. Once the budget is balanced, we are committed to continuing to look for greater tax relief for all Canadians. As a result of our low-tax plan, the average Canadian family of four right now has $3,400 extra in its pockets in 2014. It is because this government has a low-tax plan that helps build jobs, create jobs, and the NDP has a high-tax plan that will take money from Canadians.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, if the minister has specific facts on this issue, he should make them public, because the facts that we know are very distressing. Under 2% of families with children would ever be eligible for the maximum benefit. There are also vast disparities in different parts of the country and it does not benefit the middle class or working families.
Let us be clear. This is an ideologically driven, unbalanced fiscal policy designed to reward only a few. Will the Conservatives now agree to abandon this shortsighted and costly tax plan?
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State (Finance), CPC): Again, Mr. Speaker, under this government, over one million low-income Canadians, including 380,000 seniors, have been completely removed from the tax rolls in this country. Since we have come to office, we have cut taxes 180 times, reducing the overall tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years. As we approach the next budget, again we will be looking for measures that will continue to lower taxes for Canadian families, help create jobs, and build this economy.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, once again, we see that ideology and photo ops trump sound policy.
Just as we have seen with gross Conservative mismanagement on fighter jets and the F-35s, Conservatives stubbornly refuse to tell the House or Canadians when the decision will be announced or whether there will be a competition, and now we learn that the Conservatives have been looking for ways to drag this out until after the next election.
Will the government put aside its photo ops and PR and finally agree to an open and accountable procurement process?
Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, CPC): Mr. Speaker, in fact, the procurement process and the review through our seven-point plan have been totally transparent and open. In fact, all the data that has been gathered and we are looking at, in numerous pieces of analyses, is available on the website so that Canadians know the motions that we are going through.
We also brought in an independent panel of outside experts to review the analysis prepared by the armed forces, to look at the risk assessment, to make sure that it was both a rigorous review and one that is impartial. Once a decision has been made, then we will make the announcement.