Madam Speaker, the hon. member has given us an argument in explanation of the government's refusal to lower the excise tax by 10 cents a litre. We are told “The government is prepared to do this, but only if the provinces are also prepared to discuss doing so, and to do it”.
I cannot see how this argument, which strikes me as more of a pretext, relating to the absence or presence of provincial co-operation would ensure that this tax would no longer serve to add to the profit margin of the companies.
The federal government says “If we proceed unilaterally, we fear the benefits will end up in the companies' coffers”. But is there not the same risk if it is done along with the provinces? In my opinion, it is not because the provinces are involved that this obstacle, the risk that the profits will end up in the companies' coffers, will be avoided.
How can the hon. member explain this logic? It strikes me as more of a pretext used by a government that is actually thinking “If I am going to go short of revenue, the provinces have to as well”. This is bad logic.