Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to our supply day motion today which reads as follows:
That given the record increases in the price of gasoline and home and diesel fuel, severely hurting Canadian consumers, truck drivers and businesses, and given the recent promise by the Minister of Finance to reduce taxes, this House call upon the government to give immediate relief on fuel taxes, including repealing the increase in gasoline excise tax introduced as a temporary deficit elimination measure in 1995 and implementing the 1998 recommendation of the Liberal Caucus committee on gasoline pricing in Canada to remove the double taxation of the GST.
I cannot for the life of me figure out why government members who made these recommendations only two short years ago are bleating about their opposition to this motion. We are simply giving the House a chance to implement what the Liberal committee recommended.
In fact the Liberal committee consisted of 47 Liberal MPs. That is about a third of the Liberal caucus. They did not even have to worry about any opposition or any other input from other parties because they did not let other parties on their Liberal committee.
In spite of that, 47 Liberal MPs who heard over 1,000 people in their committee work two years ago recommended very clearly that the double taxation be removed from the price of gasoline, that is the GST duplication, and that the 1.5 cents per litre put on in 1995 to reduce the deficit be eliminated because it has worked and reduced the deficit.
The Liberals proposed this motion two years ago. Now we have the bizarre spectacle of those same individuals who loudly recommended that the motion be passed opposing it in the House. Why? We are not sure.
Is it a bad motion because the Alliance has put it forward? Was it a good recommendation when 47 Liberal MPs brought it forward in 1998? Today, when the Alliance is agreeing that it should be done because consumers are hurting, the Liberals will not agree to it.
Who is serving the interest of Canadians in the House? Is the interest of Canadians even uppermost in the minds of those members of the House? Is it sheer partisanship? Canadians are hurting and worried about how they will fill their home fuel oil tanks this winter. That does not matter to them. What matters is that they do not want to get together with the opposition. I would tell Liberal members opposite to grow up. We are here to serve Canadians. We are not here to serve just partisan interests.
We have brought forward a motion which is exactly the same as the one that 47 Liberal members travelling across the country came back with and recommended to their government. We are recommending the same thing. We are agreeing with the Liberals. We are saying that it should be implemented today. Let us vote for this motion. Let us get on with it. Let us help Canadians. Let us ease some of the burden. Yet we find somehow that ridiculous and specious reasons are put forward as to why all of a sudden their own recommendation does not have any merit. That is simply ridiculous.
I have heard the most bizarre reasons in the debate, one of them being that if we lower taxes it will not help consumers because the people who supply the product will simply raise the cost of the product. By that logic, we should raise taxes sky high to make sure that government gets all the money from products. By that logic the higher the taxes, the lower the actual price and profit to the producer.
NDP members are saying “God forbid that producers should get any money. Let us tax higher. Let us not cut taxes”. By that logic, why do we not add a 10 cents per gallon tax on fuel? Anyone can see that is an illogical position to take. Let us not go there. Let us go where Canadian people want us to go. That is to give them some hope, some relief and some means of paying the price of fuel that they desperately need. Canadians need fuel to heat their homes. This is not a luxury. This is a cold country. We need to tell Canadians that we will do what we can to make sure they have a reasonable chance of meeting the necessary costs.
People need fuel for transportation, whether it is for their own transportation or for car pooling or for taking the bus or for sending their goods by truck or for any kind of transportation that takes fuel. This is not rocket science. We are glad we do not have the horse and buggy economy anymore.
Fuel must be paid. If the government is taking the lion's share of the cost of this commodity, then ordinary regular Canadians trying to live their lives, heat their homes and carry on the ordinary commerce of their society are going to suffer.
I quote from an editorial from the Calgary Herald on June 13 which says:
Between 1996 and 1999, even before adjusting for inflation, the base price of gas declined from 30.2 to 28.6 cents per litre. By contrast, the government take in fuel taxes almost doubled—from 17.6 to 29 cents per litre.
Who is hurting Canadians? The government has imposed tax after tax on Canadians. The error of its ways has been recognized. A recommendation has been brought forward that that be reversed, that there be no tax on tax and that the temporary tax to eliminate the deficit be eliminated. Now we find that these common sense measures, these measures that would bring relief to every Canadian in this country cannot be supported.
I would say to every Canadian watching this debate who has a Liberal member of parliament representing them—and I use that term very loosely—to phone their member of parliament and ask them why they want to keep a temporary tax when the purpose of the tax has been fulfilled. Ask them why they would have a tax on top of tax. Ask them why they will not follow the recommendation of 47 of their own MPs and give Canadians the relief they want and need for peace of mind as winter approaches. Ask them if there will be some help from the people being paid to represent them. I ask Canadians to put these questions to their Liberal members of parliament.
If an election is called, I ask that someone get up at every single forum and take their Liberal candidate to task. Ask them why they want to keep a tax that they themselves said was temporary and now ought to be eliminated. Canadians should ask Liberal candidates about double taxing them.
I say to all members of the House that we put partisanship aside. Let us put our pet projects aside, our pet peeves against big corporations and all the things that have muddied the waters of this debate. Let us simply stand in our place when the time comes to vote on this motion and say to Canadians that yes, we will eliminate a temporary tax which is no longer necessary and whose purpose has been served and that we will no longer tax Canadians on tax. Canadians might actually applaud that.
I certainly hope that Canadians who see their member of parliament vote against such a common sense, reasonable, rational, helpful measure will punish those representatives who have kicked them in the teeth once again when it was totally unnecessary.