Mr. Speaker, while members of the committee are in that region, perhaps they could take a detour over to Indonesia where Paul Martin could see some of his employees for Canada Steamship Lines. While they are in the region, they may as well.
As I was saying, it is important to note that of the over $4.7 billion in gas taxes that are collected by the federal government, only 2.4% of that amount is actually spent on roads. Of the 100% of the 2.4% spent on roads, 99% was spent east of the province of Ontario. There is a dramatic inequity and it is something that needs to be considered. I am citing a report from Walter Robinson, a good friend of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He reminds us of an important fact, that Canada is a confederation, that it is a unity of provinces each looking out for their interests, united together for the common purposes of a national identity and national interest. We need to keep that in mind.
Canada's road system is comprised of a total of 900,000 kilometres of roads, highways and bridges. Of those 900,000 kilometres 15,000 are federally owned, which is only 1.7%; 231,000 are provincially owned which is 25.5%; and 655,000 are municipally owned which constitutes almost 73% of all the roads. If we take that in total, of the 100% of the cost of a litre of gasoline, about 50% is taxation. Half of that taxation is federal and half is provincial.
Ninety-eight per cent of all the roads are engineered, built and maintained by provinces and municipalities but half of the tax gouge on gasoline is going to the federal government. The federal government is only returning 2.4% of that into roads and of the 2.4% that it turns back into roads, 99% is spent east of Ontario.
It may sound like a lot of numbers but it is an extraordinary gas tax ripoff that is happening for Canadians. What we are trying to do in the Canadian Alliance is to stand up for Canadian travellers, to stand up for Canadian taxpayers and to ensure that they are getting a fair deal for what they are paying at the pump.
Here is another number. Only 2.4% of gas tax revenues on the federal side is spent back into roads. Here is the reality: 91.6% of all provincial gas tax revenues that are collected are invested back into roads. That is what the accountability mechanism of this motion we are debating today is all about.
While 50% of the price at the pump is taxes, half of the taxes go to the federal government and half of the taxes goes to the provincial governments. Ninety-one per cent of the revenue collected by the provincial governments is going into roads, 2.4% of the revenue by the federal government is going into roads and 99% of that amount is only going east of the province of Ontario.
What we are endeavouring to do with this motion is to turn over to the provinces a portion of the gas tax revenue. The provinces have demonstrated clearly by the statistics I have cited to be more fiscally responsible and more accountable with regard to engineering, building and maintaining the roads that they are responsible for, in over 98% of the roads that we drive on in this country.
We have a broad problem in this country with regard to fiscal responsibility. There is one level of government that has to provide a service; a second level of government that taxes money away that would provide that service; and then there is bureaucracy between the two levels of government that causes confusion and a lack of straight line accountability for Canadian taxpayers.
We see this with regard to health care. The fact is there is not a single provincial government, not Mike Harris, not Ernie Eves, not Gordon Campbell, not Ralph Klein, not a single provincial government has ever cut from one year to the next the net amount of dollars spent on health care. It is only the federal government that has ever cut health care but because of the way that taxes are collected and spent, there is not a clear line of accountability. The Canadian Alliance with this motion is trying to create that sort of accountability.
I understand that I only have one more minute left to speak which is unfortunate because there is a lot to go into. As the leader of the Canadian Alliance, the leader of the official opposition, said in a speech just a week ago, what we are proposing is that the federal government permanently vacate a portion of the federal gas tax, say 3¢ to 5¢ a litre, and allow provinces the option of collecting that revenue. In order to ensure that this money is not used for other purposes, the transfer of these revenues to provinces and on to municipalities would be conditional on signed agreements that these resources would be used for infrastructure.
That is what is needed for accountability. It is what is needed to stop the gas tax ripoff. It is what is needed to ensure that the taxes that are collected for a certain public purpose are used for that purpose, which is the building of roads. As 98% of all roads are engineered, built and maintained by provinces and municipalities, those levels of government need to have the tax dollars necessary to ensure that this important element, not only of infrastructure but of nation building is maintained into the future.