Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I am rising today in accordance with Standing Order 39 and Question No. 575 on the Order Paper regarding the government's new carbon tax.
According to O'Brien and Bosc, Order Paper questions are a way for Parliament to obtain “detailed, lengthy or technical information” about the government's plans.
Since Confederation, members have had the right to submit these questions to the government or to a specific ministry for a response within 45 days. It is a way of obtaining specific information from the government. It is also one of the ways the House keeps the government accountable. It is a basic right of members of Parliament to ask these questions on behalf of Canadians.
The environment minister did not attempt to answer my Question No. 575 and the questions I have raised therein, even in the slightest. I have in my possession the purported response received from that department. I also posed questions to the Departments of Finance and ESDC, and they did not respond.
Let me just highlight the questions that were asked in writing and submitted in proper format: How would the carbon tax impact family budgets? How many people would a carbon tax push below the low income cut-off line? By how much would it increase the market basket measure of goods, a measure used by Statistics Canada to determine the affordability of common household goods? How would it impact people in each province? How would it impact grocery bills? How would it impact electricity bills?
The environment minister provided nothing more than vague talking points in her response. What little substance the minister did provide is concerning. She said:
Any impacts on business and consumers will be modest....
A carbon tax is a big deal. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says that the costs will be approximately $1,028 per person, or $4,112 for a family of four. Does that sound modest to the House? Does the government expect Canadians who live on fixed incomes to find an extra $1,000 per person to pay for this costly new government scheme?
Professor Nicholas Rivers has said that the carbon tax would add 11 cents a litre to the price of gasoline, 10% to electricity, and 15% to natural gas.
I could go on with—