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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 12th, 2003 / 3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions, the first of which asks that the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College, which is essential to training Canadians for emergency situations, be reinstated.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the next petition, the petitioners call upon Parliament, the Department of Justice and the Government of Canada to call an immediate amnesty for all unregistered firearms or, in the absence of the amnesty, to scrap the firearms registry altogether.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the next petition, the petitioners are calling upon Parliament, the Department of National Defence and the Government of Canada to exercise their contractual right to cancel the supply chain project and by doing so ensure the long term employment of the employees at the Canadian armed forces.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the next petition, the petitioners are calling upon Parliament to refrain from including sexual orientation as an amendment to the hate propaganda section of the Criminal Code of Canada.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the final petition, the petitioners are calling upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. That is the silent majority of Ontario speaking.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the hon. member for Québec, to submit this petition concerning the protection of children affected by war. The petitioners ask Parliament for more efforts to protect children affected by war. According to UNICEF statistics, 2 million children have died and 6 million have been seriously wounded in armed conflicts during the past decade.

In addition, the petitioners ask that Canada refrain from joining in the warlike acts of powers that wish to dominate the world and that Canada make assistance to children affected by war one of its highest priorities.

There are some 8,000 signatures on this petition, which does not conform to the rules of this House. Therefore I ask for unanimous consent to present these petitions.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie have unanimous consent to present these petitions?

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

An hon. member

Agreed.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a huge petition here from some 27,000 Canadians. It is a very weighty matter. It is on the subject of natural health products.

Canadians are saying no to regulating our nutrients as drugs. They are concerned about natural health products being regulated as a subclass of drugs. They also call for the repeal of section 3 of the antiquated Food and Drugs Act and schedule A.

These are recommendations that my private member's bill, Bill C-420, addresses and that are badly needed. Nine ladies who were today because of the withdrawal of their natural health product that has helped them with bipolar disease, because Health Canada is restricting their product at the border, illustrates the need for this to be enacted. I hope the government is listening to the will of Canadians on this matter.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of patients who wish to obtain marijuana for therapeutic purposes, and in particular on behalf of Johnny Dupuis and Nicole Massicotte of Duhamel. These people have done extraordinary work in getting over 600 people to sign this petition, across Quebec and Ontario in such places as Toronto, Montreal, Gatineau, Burlington, Milton, Oakland and Hamilton.

Their point is that many sick persons cannot get exemptions in order to use marijuana for therapeutic purposes such as pain relief, and others cannot get their exemptions renewed.

Consequently, the petitioners ask Parliament to pass legislation providing that the patient's physician alone would be authorized to prescribe the therapeutic use of marijuana and that the money needed for clinical research be made available.

On their behalf, I am pleased to present this petition to the House.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition in which the petitioners point out their concern that the addition of sexual orientation as an explicitly protected category under section 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada could lead to individuals being unable to exercise their religious freedom as protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

They call upon Parliament to protect the rights of Canadians to be free to share their religious beliefs without fear of persecution.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Canadian Alliance Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by several hundred of my constituents in the riding of Cypress Hills--Grasslands who want to draw the attention of the House to the following: that marriage is the best foundation for families and for the raising of children; that the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman is being challenged; and that this hon. House passed a motion in June 1999 that called for marriage to continue to be defined as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

The petitioners, therefore, call upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

This petition includes petitioners from communities as diverse as Morton Lake, Caronport, Chaplin, Swift Current, Leader, Richmound, Herbert, Mendham, Shamrock, Hodgeville, Assiniboia, Rockglen, Limerick and Maple Creek.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by a number of people from various parts of Canada who say that non-embryonic stem cells, known also as adult stem cells, have shown significant research progress without the immune rejection or ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cells.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary to treat the illnesses and diseases of suffering Canadians.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to present a petition on behalf of Canadians who are concerned about Bill C-250 and are asking that Parliament take a good look at the legislation and halt the passage of Bill C-250 to ensure that religious freedom remains unfettered in Canada.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, after consulting with the clerks, I would like to table petitions bearing 8,000 signatures calling for the protection of children affected by war. I seek unanimous consent of the House to table these petitions.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we briefly looked at the petitions in question. They seem to comply with the criteria that we will probably adopt in a few days following the report tabled today. Given that these petitions will be in order shortly, we would be prepared to give our unanimous consent to table them.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to table these petitions?

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among all parties in the House and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, immediately after government orders are called on Friday, June 13, the House shall proceed to consider second reading of Bill C-42 and, after no more than one representative of each party has spoken for no more than five minutes each, the bill shall be deemed to have been read a second time, referred to a committee of the whole and reported without amendment, concurred in at report stage and read a third time and passed, and the House shall then proceed to consider and dispose of Bill C-44 in the same manner as provided for in this order for Bill C-42.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion, is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central to participate in the debate on the Canadian Alliance motion concerning gas taxes and infrastructure development needs.

In recent years I have witnessed the burden of gas taxes on my constituents. As oil prices have soared so has the government's take in gasoline taxes.

On average, taxes account for 42% of the total consumer price. To add insult to injury or fuel to the fire, the Liberal government collects GST on gasoline taxes. That is charging taxes on taxes. Taxes are neither goods nor services. How can the government charge GST on taxes? This practice is shameful.

In 2001 and again last year I moved a motion in the House calling upon the government to at least stop charging GST on federal and provincial gasoline taxes. Unfortunately, the Liberals have not shown any interest in that idea. The government continues to collect about 2¢, depending upon the province, on every litre of gasoline sold in Canada.

Every day B.C. motorists battle traffic congestion to get to work, daycare, shopping, school and so on. As the population of the Lower Mainland continues to swell, the need for roads and bridges becomes ever more apparent.

Last year the B.C. transportation minister estimated that the province's transportation infrastructure required $10 billion worth of investment by the year 2012. That figure is well beyond the government's present ability to pay. Premier Campbell launched a $600 million program for much needed improvements to roads in February, paid for in part by an additional 3.5¢ per litre gasoline tax. However, there is no room to add even one single extra penny at the pumps. Gas prices are already too high. The money to fund transportation improvements must come from somewhere else.

Hence, the B.C. government is soliciting bids for a 55 year lease of the Coquihalla Highway to a private firm in exchange for a one time payment of roughly $500 million. The firm would initially be allowed to charge private autos $13, up from the current $10 per vehicle, and increase the amount over time.

The city of Surrey has immediate plans for road improvements, repaving and new traffic lights. However, these needed improvements come with a hefty price tag. While the city usually spends $15 million annually on its streets and highways, this year the budget has almost doubled. Work will progress on the Fraser Highway which is going to be turned into four lanes, with sidewalks, a median and more traffic lights. In Surrey, 88th Avenue and 80th Avenue will be repaved.

Provinces and municipalities have a crying need for more money to cover transportation infrastructure costs. This is especially true in urban areas which continue to grow. Transportation infrastructure is handling more traffic than it was designed for and the public is paying the price.

Look at how much time is wasted on the roads. It is almost criminal that the federal government continues to rake in millions of dollars in gas taxes while sending practically nothing back to the provinces.

The Liberals rake in $4.7 billion in fuel tax revenue every year. In addition, they collect $2.25 billion in GST on gasoline. The federal gas tax, including GST, cost an average Canadian $221 last year. In 2001-02 the Liberals transferred a minuscule $118 million to the provinces for highway and road development. That is 1.7% of the gross they have taken from the provinces.

In comparison, the U.S. government spends 84% of its gasoline revenues on road-related infrastructure. Our provinces even do better, spending 91% of the money they collect in gas taxes on transport-related infrastructure projects. Of the little money the Liberals do spend on transportation infrastructure, 99% of that small amount goes to provinces east of Ontario. Does the government not realize that there are roads outside of Quebec and Ontario?

Last November the Prime Minister's caucus task force on urban issues, after an 18 month study, rejected the idea of sharing fuel tax revenues as it was too complicated. While acknowledging cities needed more infrastructure cash, the task force claimed Ottawa needed the money more than the provinces. Can anyone imagine? Would it be that the government needed to use that money for more billion dollar gun registries? Or maybe more sponsorship contracts for Liberal friends? I cannot understand that.

The former finance minister, the member for LaSalle—Émard, claims that if he becomes Prime Minister he will share the federal gasoline tax with the cities. Call me a cynic, but why did the hon. member not deliver cash strapped cities a share of the gas tax during his nine year tenure as finance minister? Where was he for those nine years?

Members will recall that this is the same finance minister who in 1995 raised the gas tax from 8.5¢ per litre to 10¢ per litre as a deficit fighting measure. He then conveniently forgot to reverse the increase once the deficit was brought under control with the efforts of the official opposition. In 2001-02 alone this 1.5¢ per litre deficit fighting tax took $705 million out of the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

The Canadian Alliance believes that taxes which are imposed for a specific purpose, like this deficit fighting tax, should be used for that purpose alone and removed when no longer required, as in this case. The former finance minister obviously does not subscribe to that view.

Even though the price of gas has fallen in recent months, it is still much too high. Retail prices this week were between 75¢ and 79.9¢ per litre in Vancouver. Canadians are spending considerably more to fill up their cars than a year ago. Yesterday's news does not bode well for the future. Oil prices surged to $32.36 U.S. a barrel, the highest close on the New York Stock Exchange since mid-March, a 63¢ increase per day.

What will the government do? Nothing. If we were to drive around, we would see gas prices at 55¢ per litre at 8 o'clock in the morning. At 10 o'clock, if we were to drive by, no new truck had come to provide new inventory for the gas station, but the price would go up. Oil companies are colluding and the government is doing nothing.

In closing, the government must do something about this. It must eliminate the deficit fighting tax and reduce taxes on gasoline. The government has no right to charge GST on taxes.