House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was dna.

Topics

International Aid
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton Southeast.

Human Rights
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Kilgour Edmonton Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, following the Dalai Lama's visit to Parliament recently, the subcommittee on human rights decided to look at human rights abuses in China, with particular reference to Tibet.

Last week Iris Almeida of Rights and Democracy testified before the subcommittee. She had this to say:

--we are not talking here about anything other than respecting human dignity and autonomy. We are not talking about independence...we are talking about the dignity of people who are isolated, marginalized and who are struggling within the context of known violent strategies to be heard by both China and by the international community.

Canada needs to play a more proactive stance and as an honest broker, as a mediator, as a peace-builder--

One hundred and sixty-five members of Parliament and Senators have called for Canada to act as a peace mediator between China and Tibet. The subcommittee plans to continue its work this afternoon. Many colleagues believe the government must address this in its upcoming international policy review.

Government Policies
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, one year ago today I became the member of Parliament for Perth--Middlesex.

One week later one mad cow was found on an Alberta farm. It has been a very trying year for the cattle industry and associated agribusiness.

The government has thrown money at agriculture without a plan to make sure the money actually gets to the farm gate. It forgot totally about agribusiness that was dependent on a healthy cattle industry. It had a cull cow program that did not even cull the cow.

I have watched for a year now as municipalities in my riding, which had previously requested federal funding for infrastructure, find themselves still waiting and wondering.

VIA Rail service in southwestern Ontario continues to be neglected while the gas prices go through the roof.

I have watched as the government was unable to improve health care for Canadians, was unwilling to address the culture of corruption and ignored rising tuition costs.

What a year.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will know that across the country Canadians are struggling with record gas prices. Canadian businesses are being hurt. Canadian consumers are burdened with the difficulties this is causing, but the government itself is rolling in record gas tax revenue.

Will the Prime Minister finally do the right thing and agree to lower gas taxes for Canadians?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, before answering the Leader of the Opposition, allow me to say a few words about several interventions that have been made. I would like to thank the hon. members who will no longer be with us, should we have an election. On behalf of all Canadians, I would simply like to thank these members on both sides of the House.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps you will just allow me, given that a number of members have risen in the House to thank their colleagues on both sides of the House who have contributed so much, on behalf of all Canadians to thank those people who served with such distinction?

All members on this side of the House are obviously very concerned with the rising gas prices. It is for that reason that it has been referred to the Competition Bureau. The Competition Bureau is working with those agencies and the provinces which are concerned.

I can assure the House that the government will take every measure necessary to deal with this.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, something is seriously wrong when Canadians are hurting from high gas prices and their own government is benefiting from their pain.

Not only is the government getting more revenue from the high gas prices, it even charges GST on top of its own gas excise taxes.

Will the Prime Minister agree to at least stop charging GST on top of other taxes? Will the Prime Minister agree to axe the tax on the tax?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the hon. gentleman would also agree with the government that, first, there has been no change recently in federal taxes. Second, the largest share of taxes is picked up by the provinces, not by the Government of Canada. Third, the important point is that our government has committed itself to work with municipalities across the country to deliver to them not just a full rebate of the GST, but indeed a portion of the fuel tax itself.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when all is said and done, the government seems content with high gas prices. The reason is the government does not want to reduce gas taxes, so it actually wants high gas prices.

The Minister of the Environment, when he was first appointed in 1999, issued an internal discussion paper in which he said, “The tax increases required to achieve the Kyoto target would more than double gasoline prices to about $1.40 per litre”.

Will the government admit that the real reason it does not want to do anything is that $1.40 is its actual target price for gasoline?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is truly remarkable how the Leader of the Opposition can stir and stir around in his own brew and come up with such remarkable inebriation.

The fact of the matter is, since 1995 every measure taken by the government has been to reduce taxes, not to increase them.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, talk about stirring, while the Prime Minister and his gang continue to deny their role in the ad scam whodunit, Canadians are getting hosed at the pumps. The Prime Minister has pumped up his own record of fiscal acumen and revised history with false claims.

In reality the Prime Minister has downloaded costs to Canadians by cutting transfer payments to the provinces and by jacking up prices on gasoline.

When will the Prime Minister tell Canadians when they will get a break at the pumps? When will he stop pumping Canadians?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are working on very tangible measures to deliver benefits to Canadians. That is the whole point of our negotiations with the municipalities.

We have already provided the municipalities with a full rebate on the GST. That will amount to $7 billion over the next 10 years. We are now working on proposals to rebate to the municipalities a significant portion of the federal gasoline tax, along with, we hope, a portion of the provincial excise tax. That will materially help Canadians and local communities.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is easy for the minister to say while his limo is idling outside. Gas prices have skyrocketed in the country. The Competition Bureau has launched an investigation into price fixing. Even Liberals are worried about this. The member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge has stated that the public is being fleeced to the tune of at least 7¢ a litre.

My question is for the Prime Minister. When will the Prime Minister take concrete action to bring down the price of gasoline and stop gouging Canadians?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is not a limo. It is a Dodge van and it runs on ethanol fuel. That is for our environmental protection. It is not something that is on the hon. gentleman's mind.

I would point out again that one of the great benefits that we are working on in our agenda for the future is to provide new revenues to municipalities so they can deliver a higher quality of life to Canadians across the country. Obviously the opposition is not interested in that.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have a visitor among us today, in the person of the Prime Minister. I greet him, and take advantage of his presence to ask for an explanation of the words he used, words heavy with portent, in connection with the sponsorship scandal. On February 12, the Prime Minister declared himself, and I quote, “absolutely prepared” to go before the Public Accounts Committee and stated that “there had to be political direction”.

Since the Liberals have managed to arrange it so that he will not appear before the committee, can the Prime Minister tell us today who was behind that political direction in the sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Public Accounts Committee was struck precisely to answer such questions, as was the Gomery Commission. This is also the reason Mr. Gauthier was asked to help, that is, to find the answer to these questions.

When the leader of the Bloc mentioned a visitor, I thought he was referring to Bono, who is here to celebrate an announcement with great significance for Canada concerning our lead role in connection with AIDS throughout the world.