Mr. Speaker, I ask members of the House not to shoot the messenger. That is just what people are saying.
This is a serious matter. Under the standing order referenced earlier, members have the right to submit questions to the government and receive responses to those factual questions. Beyond a potential breach of that standing order, this is a matter that may rise to the seriousness of contempt.
This chamber, of course, is the child of the mother Parliament in Britain, wherein the joint committee on parliamentary privilege attempted to provide a list of types of contempt which included, “deliberately altering, suppressing, concealing or destroying a paper required to be produced for the House”.
My point of order refers to the suppressing or concealing of said information. The evidence for the possibility of this breach is in comparing an Order Paper question and the non-response to it with subsequent documents that were released under access to information.
The original Order Paper question asked for “analysis conducted in 2015-2016 by the government with regard to the impact on family household budgets” of the carbon tax. The government refused to release any documents in that regard, suggesting that none existed.
At the time, I acted in good faith. I refuse to ascribe to malice that which might only have been explained by incompetence, as it would be incompetent not to have done such an analysis before imposing such a tax. I took the government at its word.
A subsequent access to information request revealed that in fact it does have documentation that says, “Imposing a price on carbon emissions, either through a tax or cap-and-trade system, would raise the cost of fossil fuels and energy. These...costs would then cascade through the economy in the form of higher prices”. Those prices are then laid out in a table, which is whited out. As a result, we do not know what is in it, but we do know that it exists. Therefore, we know the government was breaching its duty to share that information with respect to the original Order Paper questions.
I then asked the government what impact the new carbon tax would have on the price of the market basket measure. That is a measure by Employment and Social Development Canada that determines the full cost that a family must absorb in order to buy basic goods and services required to live as a functional part of a society. Again, the government claimed not to have any data on that whatsoever.
However, the ATIP that I subsequently came into possession of says, “Imposing a price on carbon emissions, either through a [carbon] tax or a cap and-trade system, [does lead to] higher prices”. It goes on and makes reference to a second table, which would answer the question. Therefore, that table also exists.
Finally, I asked the government for any impacts to the change in food prices for a family of four. Again, the ATIP makes implicit reference to changes in the costs of food to nourish a family, but, of course, that too is blacked out.
I can go on and on. I think the government would like me to, but in the interest of brevity, Mr. Speaker, I will give you a systematic list of all of the documentation to which the government admits it is in possession, but which it deprived me of receiving when I submitted my original Order Paper question.
The Prime Minister is attempting to portray himself as a cornucopia, spraying riches far and wide, but he did not produce those riches. He takes them from those who did, and by depriving those people of the information on the original costs he deprives—