Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. One has to wonder why Canadian oil companies—and U.S. companies, too—have closed so many refineries.
I understand very well that they wanted to streamline operations in order to increase productivity. When supply more or less matches demand and there are extraordinary circumstances—an international event, or hurricane Katrina, or an ice storm—they do not have the necessary reserves to absorb the rise in prices and so prices skyrocket. I do not understand why the oil companies do not have these reserves that would enable them to weather the storm.
Perhaps the federal government should force them to establish such reserves—or perhaps the government should do so itself—to avoid this type of situation. One has to wonder if this is what the oil companies were hoping for. It may not necessarily be collusion but not producing enough at the refinery creates an artificial shortage or artificial pressure on prices. We must take a closer look. The purpose of the motion is to shed light on the issue and to find the means to decrease the supply-side pressure toward price increases, while ensuring the availability of gas when needed.
I will close by saying that heavy demand during periods such as the Easter and Christmas holidays and the construction holidays are not unpredictable. These events occur at the same time every year. How is it that prices magically increase?