Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to reintroduce my bill calling for the creation of an oil and gas ombudsman on behalf of consumers right across the country who are tired of getting hosed at the pumps.
While it is true that the combination of growing demand, worries over the turmoil in the Middle East and the closing of several strategic refineries in eastern Canada will continue to keep gas prices high for the foreseeable future, it is also true that speculation by unregulated derivatives traders and index investors operating without enough government oversight exacerbates those price hikes.
Rampant speculation has thrown the fundamentals of supply and demand right out the window, and if the supply and demand fundamentals cannot discipline the price discovery, then the price can be whatever it wants, and any excuse can be used.
That is where the oil and gas ombudsman would step in. The ombudsman would be charged with providing strong and effective consumer protection to make sure that no big business can swindle, cheat or rip off hard-working Canadians.
As it stands right now, people can only complain to each other about being gouged at the pumps. Clearly that is not good enough, so my bill creates a meaningful vehicle for having those complaints taken seriously, with effective mechanisms for investigation and remediation to help consumers fight the squeeze.
I am pleased to report that my bill has been endorsed by the Consumers' Association of Canada and that it is being seconded today by the NDP's critic for gas prices, the member of Parliament for Windsor West. Together we will put an end to highway robbery.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)