House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was energy.

Topics

Justice
Oral Questions

September 26th, 2005 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the families of the four RCMP officers tragically murdered near Mayerthorpe, Alberta are in Ottawa and they are seeking some changes to the criminal justice system.

Since this tragedy, we have continued to see a shocking rise in gun crime and gun violence right across this country but no action at all from the government. Will the Prime Minister join with police officers, their families and others across the country in committing to mandatory minimum sentences for serious repeat and violent crimes?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was in Alberta for the commemoration and memorials in honour of the four Mounties who lost their lives. It certainly was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever gone through and I am sure for those who watched it, it was exactly the same thing.

I met the families and had long discussions with them. I can assure the families and I can assure the hon. member that the government takes the issues that he has raised very seriously and that the government does intend, as has already been indicated, to act within this area.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the Prime Minister that we will continue to seek real action not just good feelings.

Over the past three months, besides rising gun crimes, Canadian businesses and consumers have been enduring record high gas prices across the country. On this issue as well, Canadians have seen nothing other than 100 days of inaction from the government.

Rather than continue to rake in record high revenues from record high oil prices, will the government simply cut gas taxes for consumers?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the majority of these taxes, certainly the excise tax, do not go up when gas prices go up. He also knows that as a result of actions taken by this government, 50% of those gas taxes will ultimately go to municipalities across the country to pay for things like urban transit, sustainable development and good roads.

If what the hon. member is suggesting is that in fact the money going to the municipalities should be cut, I think it would be very counterproductive. If fact I think those municipalities require that money, especially at this time.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, every time gas prices rise a cent, almost $40 million goes into the coffers of the government. It should stay in the pockets of consumers.

Here is a perfect example of this government's inaction. Three weeks ago, truckers in New Brunswick sent a letter to the Prime Minister asking the government to take action against the high price of gasoline. They have yet to receive a response.

Will the Prime Minister answer the truckers, and what actions will be taken?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question put by the leader of the opposition is clearly unfounded. The fact is that the government is not pocketing this money nor does it intend to do so.

Last year, the Minister of Finance put this money into a fund for medical equipment. The government intends to consider such options. We are not pocketing this money.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister spent the summer burning jet fuel in the Challenger making phony announcements, his cabinet ministers were touring the country in limos tanked up on taxpayer dollars. In contrast, Canadians were lined up at local gas stations getting fleeced by record high fuel costs.

From the cozy confines of 24 Sussex, the Prime Minister continues to dither on tax relief for Canadians. His government is pulling in money hand over fist because of the increased taxes on oil and gas.

When is the government going to give Canadians a tax break and stop gouging them on the high cost of oil and gas?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the statistics would show that the government does not anticipate a windfall from this situation. However we are determined to redirect any increased federal revenues to the benefit of Canadians, especially those in the greatest need. As I have said several times, we are considering our options for doing that in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister's credibility on surplus as well as corporate tax breaks is pretty speculative. Seniors and Canadians on fixed incomes getting their oil tanks filled this winter, truckers bringing in products on an already razor thin margin and farmers and fishermen bringing in cash crop and catch are all being hit by the increased cost of fuel.

The Prime Minister said that lowering the gas taxes would not be an answer, that this was not what was required. His finance minister said the same thing, that lowering taxes at the pump would not make a difference. It would make a difference for Canadians.

Why are Canadians carrying the costs of these increases in taxes and when will we see some action on the cost of fuel?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I wish the problem were as simple to solve as the hon. gentleman suggests. Unfortunately, the complexity and the volatility of the marketing chain means that we can see at the pump a variation in prices of 5¢ or 10¢ within a matter of a few hours.

A tax break of 2¢ or 3¢ per litre would rapidly become invisible. Indeed, the industry suggests that we would need a forensic auditor to find it.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport has said that there was nothing the federal government could do about the spike in gas prices. However, there are several avenues this government could take to alleviate the burden on consumers directly. The Bloc Québécois recently proposed a whole series of solutions including tax credits for low-income families and for public transit costs, and incentives for converting from oil heating.

Instead of dithering at the consumer's expense, why does the Prime Minister not move forward with the Bloc Québécois' proposals that are quick and easy to apply?

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois is well aware that last year, when we were in a similar situation, the Minister of Finance deposited government receipts, the GST surplus for example, into a fund earmarked for medical equipment. This was very important for low-income, disadvantaged families.

The government has no intention of pocketing any money. We are looking at the very same kind of option.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

I must admit I am having a hard time following the Prime Minister's logic. I would like him to present concrete measures for farmers, independent truck drivers and the entire forestry sector. These are people directly affected.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to take action and present concrete measures in order to help low-income families and those currently affected by the spike in gas prices?

We need answers, not recycled old speeches.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has allocated up to half of the excise tax to municipalities, communities in Quebec and throughout Canada. This money will be used for roads and recreational equipment. This money will help Canadians who need it.

That is what we have already done. We are ahead of the Bloc Québécois.

Gasoline Prices
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has been recommending for more than two years that the government set up a petroleum monitoring agency. The government never followed up on this recommendation, refusing to act.

Will the government admit today that its unwillingness to act has directly contributed to the exorbitant rise in petroleum prices, given that a significant portion of this rise largely exceeds the increase in the international price of crude oil?

Will it finally set up this agency?