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 tax.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to our supply day motion today which reads as follows:

That given the record increases in the price of gasoline and home and diesel fuel, severely hurting Canadian consumers, truck drivers and businesses, and given the recent promise by the Minister of Finance to reduce taxes, this House call upon the government to give immediate relief on fuel taxes, including repealing the increase in gasoline excise tax introduced as a temporary deficit elimination measure in 1995 and implementing the 1998 recommendation of the Liberal Caucus committee on gasoline pricing in Canada to remove the double taxation of the GST.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why government members who made these recommendations only two short years ago are bleating about their opposition to this motion. We are simply giving the House a chance to implement what the Liberal committee recommended.

In fact the Liberal committee consisted of 47 Liberal MPs. That is about a third of the Liberal caucus. They did not even have to worry about any opposition or any other input from other parties because they did not let other parties on their Liberal committee.

In spite of that, 47 Liberal MPs who heard over 1,000 people in their committee work two years ago recommended very clearly that the double taxation be removed from the price of gasoline, that is the GST duplication, and that the 1.5 cents per litre put on in 1995 to reduce the deficit be eliminated because it has worked and reduced the deficit.

The Liberals proposed this motion two years ago. Now we have the bizarre spectacle of those same individuals who loudly recommended that the motion be passed opposing it in the House. Why? We are not sure.

Is it a bad motion because the Alliance has put it forward? Was it a good recommendation when 47 Liberal MPs brought it forward in 1998? Today, when the Alliance is agreeing that it should be done because consumers are hurting, the Liberals will not agree to it.

Who is serving the interest of Canadians in the House? Is the interest of Canadians even uppermost in the minds of those members of the House? Is it sheer partisanship? Canadians are hurting and worried about how they will fill their home fuel oil tanks this winter. That does not matter to them. What matters is that they do not want to get together with the opposition. I would tell Liberal members opposite to grow up. We are here to serve Canadians. We are not here to serve just partisan interests.

We have brought forward a motion which is exactly the same as the one that 47 Liberal members travelling across the country came back with and recommended to their government. We are recommending the same thing. We are agreeing with the Liberals. We are saying that it should be implemented today. Let us vote for this motion. Let us get on with it. Let us help Canadians. Let us ease some of the burden. Yet we find somehow that ridiculous and specious reasons are put forward as to why all of a sudden their own recommendation does not have any merit. That is simply ridiculous.

I have heard the most bizarre reasons in the debate, one of them being that if we lower taxes it will not help consumers because the people who supply the product will simply raise the cost of the product. By that logic, we should raise taxes sky high to make sure that government gets all the money from products. By that logic the higher the taxes, the lower the actual price and profit to the producer.

NDP members are saying “God forbid that producers should get any money. Let us tax higher. Let us not cut taxes”. By that logic, why do we not add a 10 cents per gallon tax on fuel? Anyone can see that is an illogical position to take. Let us not go there. Let us go where Canadian people want us to go. That is to give them some hope, some relief and some means of paying the price of fuel that they desperately need. Canadians need fuel to heat their homes. This is not a luxury. This is a cold country. We need to tell Canadians that we will do what we can to make sure they have a reasonable chance of meeting the necessary costs.

People need fuel for transportation, whether it is for their own transportation or for car pooling or for taking the bus or for sending their goods by truck or for any kind of transportation that takes fuel. This is not rocket science. We are glad we do not have the horse and buggy economy anymore.

Fuel must be paid. If the government is taking the lion's share of the cost of this commodity, then ordinary regular Canadians trying to live their lives, heat their homes and carry on the ordinary commerce of their society are going to suffer.

I quote from an editorial from the Calgary Herald on June 13 which says:

Between 1996 and 1999, even before adjusting for inflation, the base price of gas declined from 30.2 to 28.6 cents per litre. By contrast, the government take in fuel taxes almost doubled—from 17.6 to 29 cents per litre.

Who is hurting Canadians? The government has imposed tax after tax on Canadians. The error of its ways has been recognized. A recommendation has been brought forward that that be reversed, that there be no tax on tax and that the temporary tax to eliminate the deficit be eliminated. Now we find that these common sense measures, these measures that would bring relief to every Canadian in this country cannot be supported.

I would say to every Canadian watching this debate who has a Liberal member of parliament representing them—and I use that term very loosely—to phone their member of parliament and ask them why they want to keep a temporary tax when the purpose of the tax has been fulfilled. Ask them why they would have a tax on top of tax. Ask them why they will not follow the recommendation of 47 of their own MPs and give Canadians the relief they want and need for peace of mind as winter approaches. Ask them if there will be some help from the people being paid to represent them. I ask Canadians to put these questions to their Liberal members of parliament.

If an election is called, I ask that someone get up at every single forum and take their Liberal candidate to task. Ask them why they want to keep a tax that they themselves said was temporary and now ought to be eliminated. Canadians should ask Liberal candidates about double taxing them.

I say to all members of the House that we put partisanship aside. Let us put our pet projects aside, our pet peeves against big corporations and all the things that have muddied the waters of this debate. Let us simply stand in our place when the time comes to vote on this motion and say to Canadians that yes, we will eliminate a temporary tax which is no longer necessary and whose purpose has been served and that we will no longer tax Canadians on tax. Canadians might actually applaud that.

I certainly hope that Canadians who see their member of parliament vote against such a common sense, reasonable, rational, helpful measure will punish those representatives who have kicked them in the teeth once again when it was totally unnecessary.

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4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I cannot speak right now about what the punishment is going to be for various members of parliament, but I can assure Canadians this evening that when it comes to this issue, this party, unlike that party, knows it implicitly. More importantly, it does not play the kind of hair splitting recommendations where members selectively pick certain parts of this wonderful document. They have given credit to one simple area.

On the question of the resolution, the member across has conspicuously forgotten that as part of the condition of that recommendation, it recommended that if the GST was removed from other taxes, the federal government should undertake measures to ensure the resulting savings were passed on to consumers and not merely absorbed by the oil industry. They cannot talk out of both sides of their mouth. On the one hand they want the resolution. On the other hand they do not want to accept the mechanism, which is to give it directly to Canadians.

That member, her party and her leader today had an opportunity to give the tax back to Canadians, assuming of course it was going to bring down the level of gasoline and somehow remove the hardship on Canadians. I know Canadians understand this, that they are johnnies-come-lately on that side. They are shamelessly sitting here and trying to pass off their defence of an industry that for the past three years has been making excessive profits, cutting back production and creating all sorts of disruptions in a country where we have paid through our taxes to make sure that industry received more benefits than others.

I suggest they start talking about the oil patch, the difficulty Canadians are facing and understand how dangerous the resolution is without the amendment and give Canadians an opportunity to receive those taxes, not the oil industry.

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4:35 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, I feel sincere pity for this member who chaired a committee of 47 of his colleagues unsullied by any common sense from the opposition. Now he has to twist himself inside out to oppose recommendations which he himself brought forth. Surely that is a sad indictment of Liberal politics when a fine member of parliament has to twist and turn to repudiate his own findings. This is sad.

I am glad that my appeal to Canadians to take their Liberal members of parliament to task on this issue has struck a nerve. The only thing that will bring sanity back to the policies of the government is if they feel some electoral heat.

It is simply ridiculous to suggest that somebody who made a recommendation to repeal a tax, which was temporary and whose purpose has been served, and who spoke out against tax on tax should now speak out of both sides of his mouth and oppose the very measure that would have brought that forward.

If anything is more dangerous than a member of parliament doing that I would like to know.

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4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This hon. member has in some respects attempted to try to put words in my mouth in terms of what I have said. For the record, this is clearly—

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4:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

I am afraid this is a point of debate.

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4:35 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary—Nose Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, I would just say this. I know sometimes in the heat of debate and totally appalled at the hypocrisy of other members sometimes we get carried away.

Again, we need to focus on what is right and best for Canadians. What is right and best for Canadians is that we do what we can to alleviate the stress and the hardship that they are not only feeling now but will increasingly feel as winter continues and as their fuel costs rise. Let us put all of this aside and simply help Canadians. That is why we are here.

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4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik.

I am pleased to offer my comments on the motion before us today. I, too, am very concerned by the increase in price for gasoline, diesel and home heating fuel. This affects all of us as individuals, as businesses and as consumers.

As the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge has outlined so very well, our fellow government caucus members saw a need to study the whole issue of gasoline pricing and this included taxation. We issued a report in June 1998. As one of the co-chairs of that committee, I was and am certainly proud of our report.

This was a group of MPs who were concerned enough to go out and gather material that may have helped explain price fluctuations in Canada. We travelled to dozens of communities, speaking not only with members of the gas-buying public, but with representatives of the oil companies, independent retailers and trucking firms.

One of our committee's recommendations stated that double taxation, with GST on top of the retail price before and after provincial and federal excise taxes, must end, conditional on a guarantee that the tax decrease would be passed on to consumers and not absorbed by oil companies.

The 1.5 cents per litre deficit cutting tax we suggested also must be removed. These are but two of the Liberal committee's 29 recommendations.

This motion specifically refers to taxation and that, I agree, is an important element, but not the only one when it comes to price. There are other issues at play here that must also be addressed, such as competition in the industry, appropriate laws that prevent predatory pricing.

For example, the general mandate of the Liberal committee on gasoline pricing was to examine all aspects of the oil industry that had a direct impact on the pricing of gasoline in Canada. We examined such issues as operations and procedures in the oil industry, wholesale and retail selling, refining, gasoline exports, federal-provincial legislation and consumer protection.

As hon. members know, the Conference Board of Canada is currently undertaking a study of the pricing situation as well to give Canadians a solid and forthright accounting of the situation.

With regard to a tax cut on gasoline, we must ensure it is done in concert with the provinces. We must also guarantee that the price will not be taken up by the large oil companies.

I note that the official opposition is not calling for an inquiry into the domination of 85% of the gasoline market by only four refiner-marketers. It is not calling for a study of the fact that all wholesale prices are identical or that refiner-marketers' domination allows control of retail and wholesale pricing or that there have been no new entrants into the market, while independents are going out of business and the retail margins are uneconomic for even the most efficient independent operator.

Today's motion emphasizes the tax portion only. Perhaps this provides good optics, but we in government are responsible for good public policy. I want to emphasize, however, that I support the elimination of the 1.5 cent per litre excise tax that was added in 1995 as a deficit cutting measure.

Let us look at some measures of how to help low income people buy home heating oil this winter. I believe we must be creative and help where we can in the days ahead. The Minister of Finance, it is rumoured, may move in the weeks ahead on this aspect. As well, the minister has stated that the issue of the GST being charged both on the wholesale price and retail price is eminently worthy of further examination.

I have heard from my constituents in the trucking industry about the rise in diesel fuel costs. I recognize that truckers are an important part of our economy. I know the trucking industry is aware that the rack price for diesel is up about 105% from a year ago. The rack price is the wholesale price a refiner charges for fuel sold directly to trucking companies.

In the same time period, the rack price of gasoline is up 65%. This will impact not only on truckers' wallets, but also on those of all consumers.

School bus fleet owners have contracts in my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. Based on a 50 cents per litre gasoline cost, they are losing money.

Farmers are also being hit by higher prices. It is costing them $20 an acre more to put in a crop of corn because fuel costs increased by 97% between May 1999 and March 2000. In good farming years that $20 an acre was often all that was left over.

Predictions of a colder winter than usual will certainly increase the use of home heating oil and natural gas. This past February the sudden cold snap along the eastern shores of Canada meant that the demand for middle distillates increased. Home heating oil was one. As people turn up the heat in their homes, some of the crude that would go to diesel is diverted to heating oil. Gas retailers will tell us that there is less profit and volume in diesel and that the only significant user of diesel is the trucking industry.

At the same time it should be understood that the increase in the price of diesel fuel in Canada is almost totally attributable to the rise in the world crude oil price, which has more than doubled over the past. Of all the increases in the pump price of diesel, only about a half cent per litre is related to federal taxes, namely the GST.

However, GST revenues have not increased dramatically because most diesel is used by businesses that recover their GST through the input tax credit mechanism. For example, in January the GST input tax credit effectively offset the pump price for diesel. The same applies for businesses using gasoline where the GST has resulted in a one cent per litre increase at the pumps. Again, most commercial users recover the GST they pay through the input tax credit.

Canada has the lowest excise tax on diesel fuel in the G-7 at 4 cents per litre and the second lowest excise tax on gasoline at 10 cents per litre. The federal excise taxes on gas and diesel fuels are fixed. They do not fluctuate with price changes. That is important to note. Even when the excise tax is combined with the GST, total federal taxes on diesel are par with the United States.

We must address the issue of competitiveness at the federal level. This motion disregards and overlooks the larger perspective. Taxation on gasoline is but one element of a much greater examination of public policy. Governments have a responsibility to use the means at their disposal to ensure that consumers are protected and true competition exists. Our caucus committee firmly recommended that the preservation of true competition is the most important aspect in the protection of the interests of the Canadian consumer.

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4:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Madam Speaker, in listening to the hon. member, I could not help but note that she said “We in government are responsible”. Never have truer words been spoken. From what we have heard, the government's big concern, if there is a tax reduction, is where it will go, to the consumer or to the rich oil companies.

I want to remind the government of the figures that I used in my speech earlier on. These are the facts. Over an 18 year period the price of the gas component of gas taxes has gone down 25% in real dollars. The price of the excise tax component, or the total tax component of the price of gas, not just federal but all governments, has gone up 57%. These are not Canadian Alliance facts, they are Statistics Canada facts. When the member says “We in government are responsible”, those facts certainly support what she says.

I would also like the member to comment on the fact that not only has the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, who is sitting beside her, been on a task force, but so has the hon. member for Ottawa Centre, who spoke earlier. He was on a 1990 all-Liberal task force while in opposition studying municipal infrastructure. That task force recommended that there be a dedicated commitment of fuel tax revenues to highway infrastructure, a commitment that suddenly slipped out of the Liberals' minds when they became the government.

Therefore, the real question is not whether can we trust the oil companies but whether we can trust the government.

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4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, it is interesting that in the debate today we are debating whether the taxes have gone up or whether the cost of crude oil has gone up.

The member mentioned the taxes and whether governments will follow through, provincial or federal. I would like to share an example with my hon. colleague. Not too long ago we had the AIDA program. The federal government reviewed the criteria and felt that additional dollars were available and that a negative margin should be covered. It moved unilaterally in Ontario because Ontario was not fixed to go ahead.

This is the kind of rhetoric we hear when the national government wishes to move ahead and the provincial government does not follow.

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September 21st, 2000 / 4:50 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, the hon. member has given us an argument in explanation of the government's refusal to lower the excise tax by 10 cents a litre. We are told “The government is prepared to do this, but only if the provinces are also prepared to discuss doing so, and to do it”.

I cannot see how this argument, which strikes me as more of a pretext, relating to the absence or presence of provincial co-operation would ensure that this tax would no longer serve to add to the profit margin of the companies.

The federal government says “If we proceed unilaterally, we fear the benefits will end up in the companies' coffers”. But is there not the same risk if it is done along with the provinces? In my opinion, it is not because the provinces are involved that this obstacle, the risk that the profits will end up in the companies' coffers, will be avoided.

How can the hon. member explain this logic? It strikes me as more of a pretext used by a government that is actually thinking “If I am going to go short of revenue, the provinces have to as well”. This is bad logic.

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4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, I guess my response will go back in the form of a question. Is this hon. member really saying or can he suggest to us that the province of Quebec will be there for the consumers like the Liberal Government of Canada?

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4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Abitibi, QC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak on this issue. I have discussed the cost of gasoline in my region, a vast region in Quebec, on a number of occasions over the past few months.

I find the opposition motion rather timid. The Canadian Alliance is saying that taxes should be cut by 50%. We all agree that taxes should be lowered. It is important to lower taxes in order to help families, especially in vast regions such as that of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik.

They forgot to do one thing that I have been doing for several months, and that is to speak about it in the House of Commons, to table bills and motions.

On February 29, I tabled a motion—it will not happen every four years because it was on February 29, it will happen every year—in which I said:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should make sure that all service stations display the base price per litre of gasoline or diesel at the pump, free of the federal and provincial taxes.

On February 16, I gave a speech on the price of gasoline.

On April 12, I tabled Bill C-476, an act respecting the posting of fuel prices by retailers, without taxes. What counts is the consumer filling up at the station. One day, Camil Aubé of Val-d'Or said to me “Guy, that costs too much. Lower the taxes”. He was right, and what counts is for consumers to have their say. It is the most important point in today's debate.

As I rise today in the House, there are people who are at home, listening to us. What is the price of a litre of gas? The government is being criticized because of the taxes, but not the oil companies.

Let me give you an idea of what makes up the price of a litre of gas in Val-d'Or, in the Sullivan area, and explain how things work.

First, the consumer filling up this evening in Val-d'Or, Sullivan or Dubuisson will pay 81.9 cents a litre. The federal excise tax is 10 cents, and the provincial road tax 10.55 cents. Back home, we do not have to pay the Montreal tax, which is 1.5 cents. We do not have that tax. There is also the GST, which is 4.8 cents, 5.33 cents. This means that, out of the 81.9 cents, there is 30.68 cents for taxes and 51.22 cents for fuel.

Why do we not post a price of 51.22 cents on the signs? Prince Edward Island lowered its taxes, but the very next day the oil companies raised the price of oil.

We should post the gross price, because when consumers walk into a store, they know that, if an item costs $17, it means $17 plus taxes. Why not do the same thing with oil companies and majors?

Let me give another example using this price of 81.9 cents a litre. Let me tell you how much retailers operating in Abitibi, where gasoline sells for 81.9 cents a litre, pay for each litre of the gasoline delivered to them. It costs 67.22 cents, including 10 cents for excise tax and 10.55 cents for Quebec's road tax.

Does the Canadian Alliance not know that every year the oil companies give bonuses to all gas stations: Petro Canada, Esso, Ultramar or Shell? If a retailer sells 1.5 million litres of gasoline at his station, he will have a nice little Christmas present of 1.2 cents for every litre sold over 1.5 million. If he does not sell 1.5 million, he will receive 1 cent for what he sold during the whole year.

In addition, I have here a confidential invoice from a retailer in my region. It shows that Petro Canada charges an amount for participating in the RRP. It comes to 14 cents and something, fourteen tenths of a cent, but RRP. Is this Shell's or Petro Canada's “régime de retraite des patrons” or employers' pension fund? We do not know. I am keen to find out.

Nunavik is a large area of Canada. It is the only riding in Canada with villages and communities above the 60th parallel. This evening, as we speak, a litre of gas costs $1.10. Of that, 30.4 cents is for taxes and the oil companies get 79.6 cents.

I spoke about the oil companies this afternoon, with Charlie Alaku from Kangiqsujuag, Adamie Alayco from Akulivik, Magie Emudluk from George River, and Pita Aatami. This is what is too bad and what the Alliance does not mention in its motion. The oil companies have to be put on the spot. We have to tell them: “Wake up. Advertise exactly what you are charging for a litre of gasoline”. We will look after the taxes. Quebec, Ontario the provinces or the government will look after the taxes. But we have to wake the oil companies up. They are ashamed to advertise the real price of gasoline.

In any event, I received many letters. I have one from the Minister of Finance in which he writes “I would like to begin by pointing out that there is no federal excise tax on fuel oil for home heating”.

Do people realize how much profit the provinces are making at this time on oil, gas and fuel? Fifteen billion dollars. How much for Canada? Perhaps $4 or $5 billion. I have a precise figure here, which I will give. In 1998-99, Canada made $4.267 billion on gas, and $437 million on diesel fuel.

Looking at the 2000-01 budget for the province of Quebec, last year it got $1.559 billion in fuel tax.

What is important, at any rate, is that the federal government made $4.5 billion and the provinces $15 billion. I am not complaining about the provinces, but I am saying that we pay one way or the other. We pay for gas, and we pay taxes as well. Yet why do the damned oil companies not display the price without tax? They are afraid to. The chairmen of their boards are afraid to tell people what the price of a litre of gas is, and I cannot understand this.

I have letters here from Petro-Canada, stating that the price is confidential. I have one from the Office de la protection du consommateur du Québec. I have filed a complaint against Petro-Canada in fact. It rejected my complaint in February saying “No, we will send you to Revenu Québec”.

Revenue Québec wrote me, and this is what is interesting, that “We know that this business practice is common among retailers selling gasoline in Quebec and that they do not indicate the gasoline tax separately on any document of sale. In this regard, the Quebec department of revenue is flexible and does not require retailers to comply with the provisions of section 12 if they wish to sell gasoline”. Take note: governments give orders but do not apply them.

I come back to the oil companies. They are listening to us today. Their political attachés are sitting and listening to us. They are right to listen, because I am angry with them, I am hopping mad and consumers are too. Every president of every company is listening, their political attachés and their secretaries. I say to them “Wake up. Display the price per litre of gasoline before taxes”. That way, we will have respect for the companies and we will know how much money they make. But they better wake up. This is important. They better wake up for consumers. This is not the fault of governments. Government deserves respect, but I oppose oil companies that do not display the before tax price per litre of gasoline.

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5 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the Liberal Party member. I think he has just given us all the solutions his government ought to put forward but fails to put forward. It has the power to take action but does not. Why? The member has said that the government has powers it is not using. I have a question for him. I belong to a coalition which is defending consumers against gasoline price increases. We have been bringing pressure to bear for a year and a half now. We have boycotted Petro-Canada and now it is Ultramar. People in my riding no longer go to Ultramar and they did the same with Petro-Canada. I ask my colleague this: If tomorrow morning we were to tell the Canadian government to suspend its excise tax and its GST and to tax the oil companies' profits, would he agree?

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5 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member has made a very interesting comment. We are here to find solutions. Today I looked at the price of gas at the Canadian Tire on Talbot. It is 79.4 cents a litre. It is important to talk about the oil companies. Petro-Canada has a sign posted near one of its pumps pointing out that taxes account for 51%, but does not indicate whether this 51% is being levied by the provinces or the Canadian government. This is misleading advertising on Petro-Canada's part.

I come back to the hon. member's question. It is a very good one and it is together that we are going to find solutions. We must. Right now, Canada's Minister of Finance is trying to find solutions. It is also important that they come not just from him but from all provincial finance ministers as well as those in the territories and Nunavut.

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5 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by the Liberal member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, in which he referred to a notice of motion that he presented to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, on February 29, 2000.

That motion was relatively timid, particularly since I had tabled one on February 10, 2000, which went a lot further. That motion read in part:

—to identify and recommend, as soon as possible, concrete means to fight the abusive increase of petroleum product prices and to regulate petroleum product prices on a permanent basis.

That document was tabled on February 10. It listed very specific measures, but the Liberal majority rejected it. Today, the member said that the Canadian Alliance motion was timid. It is timid, but it is based on important values. Some people pledged to increase the tax to fight the deficit. There is no longer any deficit. We have a surplus. Now, we must remove that tax.

Then there is the issue of double taxation. This is also an important principle. Even if the Canadian Alliance motion is timid, the fact is that it is a wake up call for the government. The motion of the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik is a big to-do about nothing. It is like the elephant labouring to bring forth a mouse.