Mr. Speaker, I intend to give notice, and it is my sincere hope, that I, seconded by the member for Middlesex, would make the following amendment to the motion subject to further discussion with the Chair.
The current motion reads:
That given the record increases in the price of gasoline and home and diesel fuel, severely hurting Canadian consumers—
With my amendment, the motion would then read “—especially for those with lower incomes, this House calls upon the government to assist Canadians in coping with the rising financial burden, and that this House strongly urges provincial and territorial governments to consider providing similar assistance”.
Mr. Speaker, that is the amendment I wanted to provide to the House, and I may in fact have that opportunity. However, it is clear that the new boss and the tactics of the Alliance are the same as the old boss and the old Reform Party. On an issue so fundamental and important to the misfortune of Canadians, that party over there has decided to play politics, where this party, years in advance, decided to try to do something about it.
I can tell the hon. member for Calgary Southeast that the reason the price of gasoline is what it is today has absolutely nothing to do with taxes and everything to do with distortions in the marketplace.
The Alliance is very quick to point out a recommendation made by a Liberal committee on gasoline pricing two and a half years ago. I am really pleased that the hon. members across the way have finally discovered that fuel and high prices are an issue. It must be close to an election. Let me warn the hon. members that this is an issue on which this side of the House did its homework years ago, specifically with respect to this particular recommendation where it does indeed deal with a half recommendation of the Liberal committee on gasoline pricing.
For the purposes of enlightening the Chair, let me say what hon. members on the other side who proposed this motion are not prepared to say about the recommendations. The recommendation says that if the GST is removed from other taxes, the federal government should undertake measures to ensure that the resulting savings are passed on to consumers and not merely absorbed by the oil industry.
I know that some members of the Conservative Party would prefer to jump on this because they think it is a new issue. As I have already indicated, the report speaks for itself. It was published some two and a half years ago and the hon. members across the way have never bothered to look at its implications, even now.
I will begin my speech by saying that imitation is the greatest form of flattery but the way in which they have dissected this document and narrowly picked up on only one issue leads the consumers in Canada to conclude that they are very narrow in their focus on the issue of fuel prices. The public is not bought off and does not find very amusing the idea of these johnnies-come-lately suddenly picking up this issue that the Liberal Party has known about for years and is acting upon.
The hon. member and his leader have for some time talked about the interests and concerns of truckers. Indeed, myself and the hon. member for Oshawa were the only government members who took the time to actually be there back in February when the crisis arose.
Unlike the hon. Leader of the Opposition and his cohorts beside him, trucking and the issue of fuel taxes is totally irrelevant to the problem. That may stun members of the Alliance because, of course, they do not understand that the excise tax of 1.5% was not raised on diesel. Moreover, the GST is remittable through the input tax credit. More importantly, and I think this will come as something as a shock to Alliance members, if the provincial governments, such as the government of Ontario which charges 14.7% on its side of the excise road allowance tax consumption, or the government of Alberta at 9%, were so interested in helping truckers, they would have acted.
It is clear that the opposition in proposing this motion will not allow the facts to get in the way of a political opinion. It is with that in mind that I would like to speak at some length about what this side of the House has done with respect to the issue of gasoline.