Canadian Safe Drinking Water Act

An Act to ensure safe drinking water throughout Canada

This bill was last introduced in the 38th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in November 2005.

Sponsor

Peter Stoffer  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Not active, as of Oct. 15, 2004
(This bill did not become law.)

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

September 28th, 2005 / 7:20 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to add my voice to that of my colleague from Alfred-Pellan, whose riding is not unlike mine.

It gives me great pleasure to speak today on Bill C-306, which was introduced by my colleague, the member for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher. I salute her determination and perseverance with regard to this file.

In 2001, a similar bill, Bill C-209, reached first reading and was well received by numerous stakeholders, including the Canadian Urban Transit Association, CUTA. Unfortunately, the then Liberal government did not support this opposition bill. So now, four years later, we are experiencing serious problems related to infrastructure, pollution and, now, the spiralling costs of fuel.

My constituents in Vaudreuil-Soulanges have expressed their dissatisfaction to me, and they expect the federal government to take concrete action. My colleague told the House about innovative initiatives in his riding. The Festival des couleurs will be held in my riding on October 8 and 9. I invite the people of Montreal to use public transportation and the commuter train service. This solution put forward by the Bloc Québécois is simple, practical and effective. I am certain that everyone agrees.

Recently, the Société de transport de Montréal, or STM, indicated a great interest in this issue. For the past 10 years, the STM and a broad coalition of organizations have been unsuccessfully requesting that governments provide tax deductions for public transit users.

A tax credit compensating those who choose transportation habits more beneficial to the community and more responsible is but one option to encourage private vehicle users facing increasingly long traffic jams and urban problems such as parking shortages to jump on the band wagon.

In reaction to soaring gas prices, the Bloc Québécois recently proposed a series of measures, which included the tax credit for low income families and the tax credit for public transit users. By easing the burden of these families, we are also helping to prevent an economic downturn.

Monday night's emergency debate on the spike in gasoline prices was an opportunity for many of us to propose detailed solutions, such as a tax credit for public transit users.

Bill C-306 essentially provides Quebec and Canadian taxpayers with a tax deduction for the purchase of a pass in order to encourage them to make more use of the various modes of public transportation. The public must be encouraged to use modes of transportation that are far more economical and better for the environment, as well as contributing to reducing the traffic on our roads.

Such an initiative is long overdue. A number of countries are far ahead of Canada in their support of public transportation.

There have been a number of studies proving that it is very much in a community's interest to focus on the efficiency of its public transportation system for the sake of its competitiveness and prosperity. In order to gain full benefit from public transportation, moreover, the system must attract maximum ridership.

If people are encouraged to use public transportation, there is less pressure on urban infrastructure. The result is less investment in construction and repair, and improved traffic flow. This is good for both the economy and the environment.

The initiative proposed by Bill C-306 will attract new users. If the change can be made successfully, it will also help Canada achieve the Kyoto protocol objectives.

Earlier I was talking about the strategy to reduce pressure on transportation infrastructure. Allow me to give the example of the Université de Sherbrooke. Their innovative initiatives focus on the community choosing to make a firm commitment to use public transit. This fall, at the beginning of the new school year at the Université de Sherbrooke, roughly 5,000 students were given free passes to use the Société de transport de Sherbrooke, or STS, public transit. Instead of building more parking lots, the university recognized the long-term benefits of adopting a policy to encourage the use of public transit. In addition to stabilizing Sherbrooke's transportation network by increasing the student clientele from 16% to 20%, there is less congestion and more possibility for developing the university's property in the future.

A study by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal also found that congestion costs nearly $1 billion a year in the Montreal area alone and that public transit contributes directly to reducing losses incurred through congestion.

So, a 2% increase in the modal share of public transit means 19 million fewer car trips in the Montreal region. The economic benefits total more than $150 million annually. That is why it is important to promote the increased use of public transit. These are just a few, albeit very significant, examples.

However, there is one principle that we must keep in mind: the federal government must respect Quebec's jurisdictions.

There are many solutions to help public transit and reward users. The Bloc Québécois is proposing this tax measure, namely a tax credit that remains within federal jurisdiction.

I invite all members of this House to support Bill C-306. It has to with people's quality of life, environmental protection and economic vitality. Today's decisions will impact on the future.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

May 31st, 2005 / 6 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, my congratulations to my colleague from the riding of Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher on presenting this bill.

I am pleased to speak as the Bloc critic for national revenue to Bill C-306, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (public transportation costs).

A person might well wonder about the reasons behind this bill. Why give public transit users a tax deduction? In the course of my remarks, I will try to answer the question.

This is not the first time a bill providing tax deductions for public transit users has been debated in this House. In 1999, Parliament passed a motion, 240 to 25, calling on the government to examine the question of a tax exemption for public transit use. In 2001 as well, Bill C-209 proposed similar objectives. It was very well received by this House, and outside it, by user groups. However, the bill was blocked by the Liberal government.

The government has always contended that it was seeking a better future for everyone through a variety of programs. Any measure promoting greater use of public transit will certainly contribute to the achievement of the objectives in this report. Such a bill would really encourage people to use public transit.

There is a lot of discussion of the Kyoto protocol. In this vein, the Government of Canada could adopt a specific measure and thus accomplish two things at once, by promoting the use of public transit and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The measure could have an even more beneficial effect. It would help reduce highway congestion and the costs of building and maintaining roads and increase people's quality of life.

Clearly public transit is very economical for users. I might be allowed to demonstrate this. It costs about $8,000 a year to own a mid size car, which does not include the cost of parking. The cost annually of public transit, which varies according to where people live in Quebec, is between $500 and $1,000, which is a huge saving.

It goes without saying that some will object, claiming this is a discriminatory measure since it does not affect all Quebeckers and Canadians. My riding has several smaller cities in its regions. Residents of such small centres in rural areas with no access to public transportation will not benefit from this tax break. People living in rural areas do not always have established services like those in the cities.

Yet, this measure is beneficial to the entire population, since one of the most important parts of this bill is on providing a better quality of life for everyone.

The bill has not only a significant economic component but also an environmental component for improving quality of life for individuals.

In my opinion, the federal government must offer help to public transit users in the provinces and in Quebec to promote increased use of public transit.

Providing tax breaks will increase revenue for transit companies that could in turn provide better services in their community.

Despite the fact that Montreal—I think we must use Montreal as an example—is the place where public transit is used the most in North America, proportionally speaking, and that the use of public transportation continues to grow, unfortunately the use of the automobile is increasing at a faster rate. This phenomenon is seen in Canada, Quebec and other areas in the world.

Governments are facing a major challenge in motivating taxpayers to use public transit. To meet this challenge, the government will have to invest millions of dollars in renewing transportation infrastructure and equipment to ensure the sustainability and renewal of this community heritage. Just think of the metro in Montreal, which was built back in the 1960s; it will need a major facelift in the near future.

That is but the tip of the iceberg. Major investments are planned in Quebec. It is estimated that, over the next 10 years, the governments will be investing some $4.6 billion, as compared to $2 billion over the past 10 years.

In light of the many investments planned for the coming years, and given that part of the income tax, gas tax, and licence fees that taxpayers pay goes to public transit, I am wondering what measures governments could put in place to further encourage people to use public transit.

Bill C-306 has one significant advantage. First, by creating a tax deduction, the federal government is intervening directly in its own area of jurisdiction. Furthermore, this is a concrete measure that will undoubtedly increase the revenues of various public transit authorities. More taxpayers will purchase monthly or annual passes instead of individual tickets.

Second, this will also benefit the transit authorities on the outskirts of urban centres. If we use, as an example, the Société de transport du Saguenay, which, in my riding, has three major terminals: Jonquière, Chicoutimi and La Baie, and a budget of nearly $16 million annually, such a measure could mean increased revenues for this transit authority and act as an incentive for many residents thereby forcing some municipalities to add new routes and improve the public transit system.

In short, this bill is the ideal way to decrease traffic congestion in Quebec and Canada. If all users of public transit in the greater Montreal region were to drive, travel times would increase by 1.5 hours, tripling what they are now.

Such initiatives offer an affordable alternative to people who have become victims of rising gas prices.

Furthermore, our roads would last a little longer if we reduced the number of cars being driven. This would mean we would save millions of dollars each year on road maintenance and improvements.

I hope that Bill C-306 is adopted.

Canadian Safe Drinking Water ActRoutine Proceedings

October 15th, 2004 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-209, An Act to ensure safe drinking water throughout Canada.

Mr. Speaker, this particular bill has been introduced in the House for several years now. I am re-introducing it on behalf of all Canadians who are very concerned about the quality of their drinking water.

From coast to coast to coast, many provinces and municipalities have boil orders. We know exactly what happened years ago in Ontario and how people can easily die from the mistreatment of our safe drinking water.

The bill would encourage the federal government to work with the provinces and municipalities to establish a national safe drinking water policy so that all Canadians can rest assured that the water they drink will be safe now and in the years to come.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)