House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gas.

Topics

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, while gas prices continue to go through the roof, the Canadian loonie remains locked in the basement. It is now trading at barely 67 cents U.S. Two years ago the finance minister said that was because of record low commodity prices which are now trading at record high levels.

Is the finance minister at all concerned that his high tax, high debt policies are leading to continued diminishment in our standard of living and buying power as Canadians?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to know if he looked back over the last 18 months that the Euro has lost close to 25% against the U.S. dollar. The British pound has lost close to 15%. The Australian dollar has lost close to 10% and New Zealand currency has lost substantially. In fact the only currency in the last year and a half that has gained against the U.S. dollar is the Canadian dollar.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, under the Liberal government the Canadian dollar has gained all the way from over 70 cents U.S. to 67 cents U.S. I guess that is the new Liberal math.

As the Canadian dollar continues to be weak against the U.S. dollar, it penalizes our consumers, including gas consumers. Oil prices are priced in U.S. currency. If we were to have a 75 cent dollar, Canadian gas consumers would save three cents per litre at the pump.

Why does the finance minister continue a high debt, high tax, low dollar policy that penalizes Canadian gas consumers?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we announced that we are paying the debt down by $12 billion. That is $18 billion over three years. That is an average of $6 billion a year. That is what members of the Reform Party huffed and puffed and said they wanted. They wanted it; we delivered it. They look pretty silly.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

September 21st, 2000 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, for some time now, the government has been telling us about Liberal compassion.

Where is that Liberal compassion when the Minister of Finance boasts about having billions in surpluses, while he is cutting seasonal workers off? They will not be getting EI benefits this winter and next spring.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, there are many ways that the government helps Canadian workers. We help them get the tools and the training they need to participate in the new economy. We help them in their pursuit of lifelong learning. Indeed we help them through the employment insurance program. As I have said on a number of occasions in the House, we monitor that program on a regular basis. If there is evidence that changes need to be made, there will be.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only is last year's surplus four times larger than the Minister of Finance had anticipated, but the 2000-2001 surplus could exceed $20 billion.

How can the Prime Minister explain to the people who marched on the streets of Baie-Comeau and Chicoutimi this week that his government will continue to cut employment insurance, when his government has billions of dollars in surpluses?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let us look at some of the facts. Since 1993 when this government was elected, the unemployment level in the province of Quebec has been reduced by 4.5%. Since that time almost 400,000 Quebecers are working today that were not working. Finally, in the past year the rate of job creation in the province of Quebec has reached 3.2% which is higher than the national average. These statistics are worth celebrating and we will continue to do more.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister has completely lost control of the crisis in Burnt Church. Worse, his inaction has led to violence and confrontation.

Today the minister said “We have told them they have 24 hours to remove their traps”. Canadians simply do not believe that 24 hours means 24 hours to the minister.

Why does he not enforce the law and get those traps out of the water today?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member knows that we have been enforcing the law. As I said yesterday, we pulled up 2,700 traps, arrested individuals and seized vessels.

It is incumbent on every responsible government to take every means possible to try to get a peaceful and co-operative agreement to avoid conflict. That is exactly what we are doing. Yes, I have shown restraint because we want a peaceful resolution. We want a resolution that reduces conflict. Every effort has been made to do that. In the final analysis, the rule of law will prevail.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians, or anyone for that matter, just do not believe when the minister makes a threat or an ultimatum in the name of peace that it is ever going to happen. He waited for others to suggest that Bob Rae go in and mediate. He hoped that Bob could do what he himself would not do. Plan b just walked away.

We know that there is only one commercial fishery, lobsters, in Miramichi Bay and that fishery is only in the spring. Why has the minister allowed any traps there now, let alone 24 hours from now?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, right from the beginning of this year we have had a federal representative who met with first nations bands and worked with them individually on their needs. Unfortunately, Burnt Church was not willing to sit at the negotiating table.

I have personally been to the Miramichi. I met with the chief and the band council members. Then my deputy minister went down and met with them. Then Bob Rae, from a list provided from Burnt Church, went down and tried to negotiate a deal.

Yesterday Bob Rae said that they had agreed to a substantial reduction in the traps that were in the Miramichi. Progress was being made. Unfortunately, that did not happen. For conservation purposes, today I closed the lobster fishery in the Miramichi.

Gasoline Pricing
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, high fuel prices are certainly not hurting the federal government. Not only is it collecting more GST, and more tax on oil company profits, but it is also continuing to enjoy the sizeable revenues from the excise tax.

I therefore ask the Minister of Finance whether the federal government should not temporarily lift its 10 cent a litre excise tax, given the supposedly unexpected surpluses the minister announced yesterday?

Gasoline Pricing
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, lowering the excise tax would require co-operation between the two levels of government. It must be pointed out that the provinces are taking in much more in excise taxes percentage-wise than we are. In Quebec, it is somewhere around 15 cents.

So the question is which option to go for. And that is something we are looking at.

Gasoline Pricing
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, just so that the minister is clear on this, the excise tax is a federal tax. In the provinces, it is a fuel tax.

If the Minister of Industry really wants to put a stop once and for all to the part of gasoline price hikes attributable to a lack of competition, would he be prepared to amend the Competition Act so that three major refiner marketers do not single-handedly control 75% of the market in Canada and hold us hostage to gasoline price hikes?