House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was region.

Topics

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

7 p.m.

An hon. member

Question.

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

7 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the amendment carried.

(Amendment agreed to)

The next question is on the main motion, as amended. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

7 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Finance
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

7 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion, as amended, agreed to)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

June 17th, 2008 / 7:05 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this House on May 5, 2008, I asked a question that I feel is very important and for which I did not really receive a satisfactory response. I asked the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities what he intended to do to help consumers who have been taken hostage by the rising price of gas and the absence of alternatives such as public transit.

Not enough is being done to resolve this issue. In Rimouski, for example, there is no public transit per se, although there are alternatives such as carpooling and the taxibus program. It is a good start, but it is not enough and students in particular are lobbying municipal representatives. That is not all. The RCMs in my riding do not offer any public transit. There are 88,000 people in my riding, which is a significant number. It would therefore be useful, economically sound and more ecological to offer public transit between the municipalities and the larger centres.

Let us hope the government does not turn around and tell us that it has already invested and is sharing some of the gas tax with the municipalities. We know that. We want to know the government's new plans, mainly to deal with this crisis and the rising price of gas. In my region, as in many others, the RCMs do not have public transit.

In other words, the government's tangible actions are rare and inadequate from an economic and environmental standpoint. We know that the provinces and the municipalities are in a tight fiscal situation. Municipal governments have to replace aging infrastructure with a precarious tax base, maintain the roads, the wharves and waterworks and supply the towns with water. When all that infrastructure comes to the end of its useful life, it consumes a big part of the municipal budget, which is quite often small, and from which municipalities are expected to invest in public transit.

The investment required across Canada is around $31 billion to upgrade water treatment, $21 billion for transport, according to Professor Saeed Mirza, from the University of McGill, and $22.8 billion for public transit. The government's investment in these sectors pales in comparison and the annual $2 billion from the gas tax fund even more so.

Accordingly, can the parliamentary secretary explain why his government voted against my motion? Why did he and his colleagues reject my proposal to redistribute the wealth between the oil companies, who are making huge profits, and the people who are victims of a lack of infrastructure?

What is this government waiting for to implement public transit projects in the regions with provincial partners, including Quebec, to encourage energy efficient initiatives and considerably reduce our dependence on oil? That is the path to take, so why not do something to reduce this dependence and transition toward a green economy?

In light of the needs in the regions and the major environmental challenges, this government's responsibilities are overwhelming. When will there be responsible funding for public transit in the regions?

7:05 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands
Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I am from a rural area as well, so I understand many of the challenges the member faces. We have a lack of public transportation in our area of the world as well. This is really why the government has already moved ahead of the rising price of gas. We have redistributed wealth, as the member has asked. We have redistributed it from the government back to the pocketbooks of people.

The government is getting things done. We have lowered the income tax levels substantially. We have raised the personal exemptions. We have reduced the GST.

Therefore, thanks to our government's reductions to the GST alone, Canadians this year will save over half a billion dollars in reduced gas taxes. The Conservative Party and the Conservative government know that Canadians do not want higher taxes. They want results.

For the information of my friend across the way, I did talk to someone in my riding. He is the father of four young children. He does not make a lot of money, but he has told me that his accountant has said, because of the tax changes we have made over the last three years in government, that he will save over $2,000 in income tax this year because of those changes. Therefore, he is saving a substantial amount of money. He is able to keep his own money and make decisions about where he wants to spend it.

The opposition and the Leader of the Opposition want to go in the opposite direction. We want to lower taxes. The Liberals want to impose a new tax. The Liberal Party's new plan is to force a massive new permanent carbon tax on each and every Canadian.

We are already struggling with the high price of gas. To impose a tax is crazy. What is more, combined with the Liberals' musing about hiking the GST, the new massive gas tax would mean dramatic new and unparalleled tax increases on almost everything Canadians buy and do.

We know the Liberals love to reach deeper and deeper into the pockets of hard-working Canadians and take more and more taxpayer money to fuel their reckless spending, as they are determined to furiously max out the national credit card. The Liberal leader has already made spending promises that would plunge Canada $62 billion deeper into the hole. He realized that the only way to achieve those goals would be to impose a huge new tax, a carbon tax that would then enable him to make ends meet.

The Liberals have promised Canadians over the last year, on 10 different occasions, that they would not bring in a carbon tax. Now they say this is something that they are seriously considering, that they want to make it a core policy and presentation in their election platform. The problem with this is it is a tax on everything. It will be a tax on electricity, natural gas bills and home heating fuels. It is just a huge tax grab.

7:10 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order—

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. Points of order may not be raised during adjournment proceedings.

7:10 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

What he is saying has nothing to do with my question, and it has nothing to do with the four minutes I spent talking. I do not want to hear about the Liberals' situation. That is not what I said.

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.