Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I continue to remind this government about the need for a zero basedreview before any tax increases.
I started this session several weeks ago raising the concerns of many of my constituents in this city regarding the way the government potentially wants to tax-monger these new ideas through our next budget process. Mr. Speaker, 23 days ago I raised this issue, and I would continue to raise this issue. The fact is the Finance Minister must listen to the people. They cannot bear being punished with further taxes. Good fiscal management needs to be the philosophy.
Again I say that we do not have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem, Mr. Speaker. I hope the Finance Minister is listening to all the feedback he has heard from this side of the House and certainly from constituents, as I have.
The fact is the knife cuts both ways. Yes, we might get a short term increase in taxes, but in the long term we’ll erode our tax base. Think carefully, I say to the Finance Minister; think carefully. I stand firmly here today reminding the Finance Minister that almost every one of those should be dropped, if not every one of those. They should have had the red pen treatment and fallen onto the floor and been struck off long before public consultation was considered.
Mr. Speaker, the public at large can no longer bear unnecessary costs to a regular cost of living. This government has not proven to any degree that it is working as hard as it can with the sharpest pencils and doing government in the best and the most efficient way.
Mr. Speaker, they cannot take it, nor will I. I say to the Finance Minister: heed the warning of the public, because I can use the drumming of restless constituents who will demand responses — and measured responses. That discussion paper released by the Department of Finance has caused serious ripples in our North. People in industry are starting to second-guess this investment climate. Individuals are concerned about covering day to day costs. The tone of the economic environment in our North is struck and rung clearly by the Finance Minister.
I have a message for that Finance Minister: before you run out into that dark room and draw up the next budget, be careful which tax bell you ring and how hard it is rung. You cannot unring a tax bell that scares the investment climate and destroys the tax base. Be careful, Mr. Finance Minister.