Mr. Speaker, I totally agree with what my colleague has said. The tax on gas is a cash cow for the government. It is extremely profitable, and the government reinvests little of it.
It is all very well to boast from time to time because there is an infrastructure program, even if the infrastructure megaprograms represent an investment of $2 billion over three years, which represents about $700 million a year for all of Canada. Every year, the government collects $5 billion in taxes, excluding revenues from the GST. With the excise tax, it is nearly $5 billion a year.
The total budget of the Department of Transport, including the rail, air, land and other sectors, amounts to no more than $1 billion. The same is true of the Department of the Environment. In social terms, the government could say that gasoline taxes fund the highways network and are reinvested in the environment, because there are alternatives to gasoline, which affects the environment.
I would have no problem with closely examining the issue of dedicated taxes and having the excise tax go to funding them. The federal government would have to deal with the following problem: either it reinvests more in highways and the environment or it reduces its taxes, because they are not justified and it should not be taking this amount of taxes.
I totally agree with that and hope that the entire debate on the present matter will lead us to look at what is actually happening in the federal government, at how it profits hugely from the current situation and the high taxation, which is quite indecent, given how little of it is reinvested. The comments by the Alliance member in this regard are absolutely right.