House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, there is no double standard. In fact it is exactly the opposite. If we are to have success internationally in making sure that we get the Portuguese ships on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks which are in international waters to obey the North Atlantic fisheries agreement, we have to show that in Canada we also enforce the law.

These gentlemen of the Southwest Fishermen's Rights Association admitted that they deliberately went out and fished in the closed season for cod, haddock and pollock, which was in fact illegal--

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, gasoline prices are set to soar over $1 a litre this summer. Much of the cost is to be borne by Canadians because the Liberals are charging GST on top of gas taxes. Between the excise tax and the GST, the Liberals are ensuring that they are squeezing Canadian drivers for everything they have.

Why will the Liberals not help Canadians by cutting this extra tax on gasoline?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government obviously shares the concern of consumers with respect to these higher prices.

In terms of the impact of the GST, I have had the opportunity in the last number of days to actually do the arithmetic. It would appear that because of the price increases of the last couple of weeks, the actual difference in GST paid is something in the order of 1¢ per litre.

That hardly changes the equation. I think we have to search conscientiously for more profound solutions, because 1¢ a litre will not make the difference that consumers would like to see.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, neither are the taxes that the government is charging now. The least it can do is leave some of that money with Canadians, especially leading up to this busy season.

The Liberals are trying to play Canadians for fools. They have collected billions in gas taxes and GST over the past 10 years, but cities like Edmonton are riddled with potholes. Obviously the only commitment to a new deal with cities is how much money they can milk from drivers.

Canadians deserve a break before this busy vacation time. Why will the Liberals not step up to the pump and axe this tax on the gas tax?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, to make the simplistic change that the hon. gentleman is proposing, as I said, makes a difference of about 1¢ a litre. That will hardly make an appreciable benefit to the consumers.

The search for a solution has to be a little bit more sophisticated than a glib opposition one liner.

With respect to the hon. member's point about municipalities, we are in the process of rebating the entire GST to every municipality in Canada, which adds up to $7 billion. That is a real benefit to Canadians.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, sophisticated or not, inflated gasoline prices are hurting drivers in Saskatchewan and across the country.

Fuel taxes account for more than a third of what we pay at the pumps. Yesterday the Minister of Finance said that raising the fuel tax and the GST is not a part of the policy of the Government of Canada.

Can the minister tell Canadians, does his policy include lowering the tax we pay on fuel?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am always interested in finding ways to reduce the tax burden on Canadians.

What we are presently engaged in with respect to the GST and fuel taxes is obviously finding the ways to provide a greater cash flow to municipalities so that they can improve local infrastructure and the quality of life in local communities across the country.

The point raised by the hon. member, as I said earlier, would make a penny or two difference. That, quite frankly, on $1 per litre, is not of sufficient benefit to the consumers. We have to look for something more significant than that.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government claims that the skyrocketing price of gas is an international problem shared by our friends in Europe and around the world. I would like to point out that travel in Canada is vastly different from travel in Europe. My riding of Blackstrap is largely rural. Many constituents do not have the option of hopping on a bus or a train to get to work.

When will the government recognize its obligation to Canadians to provide fuel tax relief?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the solution were that easy and that simple, obviously it would be attractive to jump at it.

I would point out that the federal excise tax has not changed since 1995. The GST rate has not changed since 1991. There is no increase in rate that is imposed here by the Government of Canada.

In the course of the last two weeks, the difference in terms of the GST is purely a penny a litre. We have to find a better solution.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Industry showed her lack of interest in the concerns of consumers over the gasoline price increase and, more importantly, she showed that she and her government have no intention of assuming their responsibilities regarding this issue.

Considering that there are solutions, and considering that we are about to pay $1 for a litre of gas, what is the government waiting for to recognize that there is a major problem and to finally create what everyone has been waiting for, namely a petroleum monitoring agency?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the direct initial responsibility for action in relation to consumer prices has historically been the purview of the provinces.

Where matters cross the line from purely civil matters to be potentially criminal or in restraint of trade, or anti-competitive behaviour, that falls within federal jurisdiction. That is the purview of the Competition Bureau.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of merely parroting what he was told to say, why will the minister not listen to the former commissioner of the Competition Bureau, Konrad von Finckenstein, who said, and I quote “... the current legislation does not provide the bureau with the authority to conduct an industry study ... Such a big industry picture study should not be conducted by an investigatory agency, but rather by a neutral agency.”

In light of these comments, what is the government waiting for to finally act and set up a petroleum monitoring agency?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Question Period

May 14th, 2004 / 11:35 a.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe
New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for Homelessness

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is very concerned about the price of gasoline. However, I should mention that the Competition Bureau is currently conducting a review of the price of gasoline. Therefore, it is important to let it continue the work that it was asked to do by the Government of Canada.