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House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was energy.

Topics

JusticeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the families of the four RCMP officers tragically murdered near Mayerthorpe, Alberta are in Ottawa and they are seeking some changes to the criminal justice system.

Since this tragedy, we have continued to see a shocking rise in gun crime and gun violence right across this country but no action at all from the government. Will the Prime Minister join with police officers, their families and others across the country in committing to mandatory minimum sentences for serious repeat and violent crimes?

JusticeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I was in Alberta for the commemoration and memorials in honour of the four Mounties who lost their lives. It certainly was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever gone through and I am sure for those who watched it, it was exactly the same thing.

I met the families and had long discussions with them. I can assure the families and I can assure the hon. member that the government takes the issues that he has raised very seriously and that the government does intend, as has already been indicated, to act within this area.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

September 26th, 2005 / 2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the Prime Minister that we will continue to seek real action not just good feelings.

Over the past three months, besides rising gun crimes, Canadian businesses and consumers have been enduring record high gas prices across the country. On this issue as well, Canadians have seen nothing other than 100 days of inaction from the government.

Rather than continue to rake in record high revenues from record high oil prices, will the government simply cut gas taxes for consumers?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the majority of these taxes, certainly the excise tax, do not go up when gas prices go up. He also knows that as a result of actions taken by this government, 50% of those gas taxes will ultimately go to municipalities across the country to pay for things like urban transit, sustainable development and good roads.

If what the hon. member is suggesting is that in fact the money going to the municipalities should be cut, I think it would be very counterproductive. If fact I think those municipalities require that money, especially at this time.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, every time gas prices rise a cent, almost $40 million goes into the coffers of the government. It should stay in the pockets of consumers.

Here is a perfect example of this government's inaction. Three weeks ago, truckers in New Brunswick sent a letter to the Prime Minister asking the government to take action against the high price of gasoline. They have yet to receive a response.

Will the Prime Minister answer the truckers, and what actions will be taken?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question put by the leader of the opposition is clearly unfounded. The fact is that the government is not pocketing this money nor does it intend to do so.

Last year, the Minister of Finance put this money into a fund for medical equipment. The government intends to consider such options. We are not pocketing this money.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister spent the summer burning jet fuel in the Challenger making phony announcements, his cabinet ministers were touring the country in limos tanked up on taxpayer dollars. In contrast, Canadians were lined up at local gas stations getting fleeced by record high fuel costs.

From the cozy confines of 24 Sussex, the Prime Minister continues to dither on tax relief for Canadians. His government is pulling in money hand over fist because of the increased taxes on oil and gas.

When is the government going to give Canadians a tax break and stop gouging them on the high cost of oil and gas?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the statistics would show that the government does not anticipate a windfall from this situation. However we are determined to redirect any increased federal revenues to the benefit of Canadians, especially those in the greatest need. As I have said several times, we are considering our options for doing that in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister's credibility on surplus as well as corporate tax breaks is pretty speculative. Seniors and Canadians on fixed incomes getting their oil tanks filled this winter, truckers bringing in products on an already razor thin margin and farmers and fishermen bringing in cash crop and catch are all being hit by the increased cost of fuel.

The Prime Minister said that lowering the gas taxes would not be an answer, that this was not what was required. His finance minister said the same thing, that lowering taxes at the pump would not make a difference. It would make a difference for Canadians.

Why are Canadians carrying the costs of these increases in taxes and when will we see some action on the cost of fuel?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I wish the problem were as simple to solve as the hon. gentleman suggests. Unfortunately, the complexity and the volatility of the marketing chain means that we can see at the pump a variation in prices of 5¢ or 10¢ within a matter of a few hours.

A tax break of 2¢ or 3¢ per litre would rapidly become invisible. Indeed, the industry suggests that we would need a forensic auditor to find it.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport has said that there was nothing the federal government could do about the spike in gas prices. However, there are several avenues this government could take to alleviate the burden on consumers directly. The Bloc Québécois recently proposed a whole series of solutions including tax credits for low-income families and for public transit costs, and incentives for converting from oil heating.

Instead of dithering at the consumer's expense, why does the Prime Minister not move forward with the Bloc Québécois' proposals that are quick and easy to apply?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois is well aware that last year, when we were in a similar situation, the Minister of Finance deposited government receipts, the GST surplus for example, into a fund earmarked for medical equipment. This was very important for low-income, disadvantaged families.

The government has no intention of pocketing any money. We are looking at the very same kind of option.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

I must admit I am having a hard time following the Prime Minister's logic. I would like him to present concrete measures for farmers, independent truck drivers and the entire forestry sector. These are people directly affected.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to take action and present concrete measures in order to help low-income families and those currently affected by the spike in gas prices?

We need answers, not recycled old speeches.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has allocated up to half of the excise tax to municipalities, communities in Quebec and throughout Canada. This money will be used for roads and recreational equipment. This money will help Canadians who need it.

That is what we have already done. We are ahead of the Bloc Québécois.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has been recommending for more than two years that the government set up a petroleum monitoring agency. The government never followed up on this recommendation, refusing to act.

Will the government admit today that its unwillingness to act has directly contributed to the exorbitant rise in petroleum prices, given that a significant portion of this rise largely exceeds the increase in the international price of crude oil?

Will it finally set up this agency?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the government is concerned about rising fuel prices. We are concerned about transparency. I will be working with the Minister of Natural Resources to ensure that we do put in place a mechanism for monitoring gas and home heating fuel prices in the months ahead.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Let us talk about transparency, Mr. Speaker. For the past five years, the Bloc Québécois has been asking that the powers of the Competition Bureau be increased to enable it to investigate extensively in the petroleum sector and take action, as required. This bureau's president himself testified before the committee that he lacked the necessary power to take effective action.

Will the government undertake today to amend Bill C-19 so as to provide the Competition Bureau with the effective tools and the powers it needs to act with regard to the petroleum sector?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I hope the opposition supports Bill C-19. If we can amend and improve Bill C-19, we certainly will consider that.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister, who has been on holiday far too long when it comes to defending the Canadian economy. Across the country people, communities and businesses are hurting because of George Bush's attack on our softwood industry. People have had it with the all talk, walk away from the talks but do nothing attitude of the government when it comes to standing up for Canada. People want a government that stands up for Canada in these trade disputes.

When will the Prime Minister finally stand up and tell George Bush that Canadians have had enough with his trade attacks?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government has made it very clear that NAFTA is not an agreement to be ignored simply when American domestic interests demand it. This is an international agreement signed between two sovereign powers. Canada has won every single panel decision on the way up to the extraordinary challenge decision that was given earlier this summer. We have said, and I repeat now in the House, that the Americans should live up to the agreement they signed both in spirit and in letter.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is the problem. It is all talk and empty rhetoric. What Canadians want to see is some action.

Let us turn to gas and energy prices because it is exactly the same situation. We have absolutely no action such as, for example, rules that would ensure energy efficiency so people could burn less. Instead, what they are doing is paying more.

When will the Prime Minister lay out a plan that will ensure Canadians can burn less and pay less for their own oil?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, for my department it is an extremely high priority to reduce demand for energy by measures that improve energy efficiency while at the same time increasing supply by measures that encourage alternative energy. In these two ways, over the medium term, we certainly will provide benefits to Canadians by reducing their dependence on oil.

JusticeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, across Canada there has been a rapid increase in marijuana grow operations and crystal meth labs, destroying entire neighbourhoods. Along with the drug dealing is a marked increase in gun related violence.

How many more people need to die in our streets before the government decides to eliminate house arrest and impose mandatory prison sentences for drug dealers and violent gun crimes?

JusticeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government will be introducing legislation particularly with regard to combatting issues of conditional sentences and ensuring both that our streets are safe and that innocent victims are protected.

JusticeOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is a promise the government has been making for 12 years. Social programs cannot work in drug and gun plagued communities unless the government is prepared to increase front line police resources and institute mandatory prison sentences for drug dealers, gunmen and other repeat violent offenders.

Will the minister commit today to eliminating house arrest for drug dealers and violent or repeat offenders and send them to prison so our children and our youth are safe?