Mr. Speaker, I know that gas is cheaper in Canada than in most countries, that it is difficult to lower gas taxes without windfall profits to oil companies, that truckers and others get their GST rebated, that we pass on GST revenues to municipalities for public transit, and that we should all conserve energy.
But was the recent huge spike in gas prices a reflection of a fair and open market place which should be the foundation of a healthy economy? I think not.
In the past, Liberal caucus groups led by the member for Pickering—Scarborough East have instigated inquiries into price gouging and fixing by the oil industry. These tended to show that the industry was more competitive than I thought, but that there is a serious lack of refinery capacity in Canada.
However, the recent post-hurricane spike smacks of something different. We have gone beyond price gouging into profiteering from a disaster. In wartime profiteering is a serious crime. I would suggest that it is in any human disaster.
I urge the Standing Committee on Finance to again conduct public hearings on gas prices, this time focusing on profiteering from human misery.