May 13, 2004

BQ

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, as there are only a few hours left before I leave this place, where I have had the privilege to make a modest contribution to parliamentary democracy for the past ten years, I would like to pay tribute to the people of Laval Centre. The trust they have placed in me has allowed me to serve them to the best of my abilities and to see just how many generous, courageous and determined people there are in our society.

Thanks to them, I have learned that the quality of the work of an elected representative goes hand in hand with an active presence within the community, support of the various socio-cultural organizations and excellent service to one's constituents.

I must thank the House staff for their professionalism and readiness to help, which have made my life a lot easier, in this world where the great and the small rub shoulders for better or for worse. To colleagues who are moving on, I wish the excitement of new challenges; to those who soldier on here, I wish the success they deserve.

In looking back on these ten years in the other capital, I will have fond memories of respect, friendship, and why not, complicity.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Member for Laval Centre
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LIB

Elinor Caplan

Liberal

Hon. Elinor Caplan (Thornhill, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, born in China, she emigrated to Canada in 1962, received the Order of Canada in 1994 and, when elected to the riding of Vancouver Kingsway in 1997, became the first Canadian woman of Chinese origin elected to the House of Commons.

We were elected together and we worked together. We travelled to China and successfully secured travel documents for the misguided youths who boarded boats for a dangerous journey that led them to detention in a Canadian jail for a year, but saved them from a life of slavery.

I was moved by her impassioned plea to the most senior Chinese officials to help their children return home and alert other youths of the perils of the snakeheads. She said, “They are your children and your future”.

The House of Commons is losing a strong voice, an individual whose dedication and commitment to her constituents and this country have been an inspiration. She really made a difference.

We wish success to the member for Vancouver Kingsway, my dear friend and colleague.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Member for Vancouver Kingsway
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LIB

Art Eggleton

Liberal

Hon. Art Eggleton (York Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I rise to inform hon. members that after much thought and reflection, I have decided not to seek re-election in the forthcoming general election.

It has been an honour to represent the people of York Centre in the House of Commons these past ten and a half years. I want to thank them for their support and confidence. This decision draws to a close 32 years in elected office, starting as an alderman in the city of Toronto in 1970, mayor of Toronto in the 1980s, and then a member of Parliament, including eight and a half years as a cabinet minister in three portfolios.

I have always worked hard to make a difference in the lives of individuals and for the betterment of my city, province and country. Whatever endeavours lie ahead, I hope that in one way or another, service to the people of Canada will continue to be a part of my life. After all, as King George VI once said, “the highest of distinctions is service to others”.

In that spirit, I extend best wishes to all who serve in this House in future years.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Member for York Centre
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CA

Stephen Harper

Canadian Alliance

Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, in Quebec the CAA is receiving letters from consumers who are furious about gasoline prices. For every cent the price of gas goes up, this government collects $32 million in extra revenue. It even collects GST on the excise tax on gasoline.

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to eliminate this tax on a tax?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, in terms of our relationship with municipalities, of course all the GST is remitted to municipalities through a refund. We are now working on remitting a portion of the fuel tax to municipalities as part of our new deal for communities across the country.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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CA

Stephen Harper

Canadian Alliance

Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, that may be on the GST that the municipalities pay, but it is certainly not on the taxes that consumers pay.

Yesterday, in Liberal fashion, the government blamed everyone else for high gas prices. It blamed the provinces, the oil companies and it slammed the opposition, yet it refused to do one thing to help consumers. That would be to eliminate the GST on fuel excise taxes.

Why are the Prime Minister and the government refusing to axe a tax on a tax?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman knows the principles of taxation underlying the broad based GST because the party he now leads introduced it.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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CA

Stephen Harper

Canadian Alliance

Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, what I know about taxes is that our taxes are too high and we should be getting them down.

The finance minister claimed yesterday that communities would benefit from higher gas prices, but there is still no deal with the cities to transfer gas taxes. It is just another unfulfilled promise. Only the federal government is actually getting the benefit out of these gas taxes.

Why will the government not admit it just is not right to raise gas prices by charging tax on top of tax?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman said there has been no agreement with Canadian cities. In fact there is agreement.

First, we are rebating to the municipalities 100% of the GST that they pay. That is worth $7 billion over the course of the next 10 years.

Another part of the agreement with communities is the acceleration of infrastructure. That is an acceleration of 50%, bringing forward our infrastructure programming into the next five years as opposed to the next ten.

The third part of the agreement is the arrangement with respect to the fuel tax and we are working on that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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CA

Monte Solberg

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC)

No, Mr. Speaker, the government broke its promise to give a share of that gas tax to the municipalities. That is the promise it has broken.

Let me quote from a document that we received from Environment Canada under an access to information request. It states:

The tax increases required to achieve the Kyoto target would more than double gasoline prices--from about $0.54 per litre to about $1.40 per litre by the year 2010.

How is that going to go over in Victoria? Is it not true that the environment minister's only concern with $1 a litre gas is that it is too low?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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LIB

David Anderson

Liberal

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is once more, as were all his colleagues in the last two days, quite wrong about the report he quoted and which he tabled in the House yesterday.

The report in question was a joint federal-provincial-territorial private sector report. It was an analysis of various scenarios, none of which were policy proposals, and Environment Canada did not have a member on the drafting committee.

Furthermore, as pointed out, 93% of all the spike in gasoline increase in prices goes to the oil companies. Only 7% goes for health, education and other things like that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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CA

Monte Solberg

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I can see the environment minister has absolutely no respect for some of these companies that provide billions of dollars in revenues to fund that government and its overspending ways.

As late as February--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Medicine Hat has the floor. I can hear him quite well if he would continue with his question.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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CA

Monte Solberg

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Monte Solberg

Mr. Speaker, another attack on Alberta.

As late as February, the environment minister was musing that gas taxes should be raised because if they were not, income taxes would have to be raised and hospitals would have to be closed.

In 1992 the Prime Minister was taking--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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The Speaker

I do not know whether there was a question there, but if the hon. Minister of Finance wants to reply to the allegations, we will hear him.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it was indeed difficult to follow the chain of that because the hon. gentleman was interrupted a few times, including by himself.

I want to assure him that raising the fuel tax and the GST is not a part of the policy of the Government of Canada.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, while consumers are paying obscene prices for gasoline, the Prime Minister declared yesterday in this House, and I quote, “—that the government will take every measure necessary to deal with this.”

The price of gas in Montreal has risen beyond $1 a litre; can the Prime Minister tell us which of those necessary measures the government has taken to curb the oil companies' appetite?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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LIB

R. John Efford

Liberal

Hon. R. John Efford (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I made a commitment to the House on three occasions in the past several days.

We are very concerned about the price of gas. We know it is an international problem. The price of oil per barrel has escalated to above $40 U.S. We know the companies are doing an excellent job out there. They are performing very well producing oil and gas all across this country. What we have said very clearly is if there are any problems, they will be reported to the Competition Bureau and we will check them out.

We are concerned and we are checking out every possibility to deal with the issue at hand.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, in Quebec, the average price of gas is 95¢ a litre. In Montreal it is even worse, at more than $1 a litre for the premium grade. Today the minister is wondering if there is a problem. Yes, there is a problem, and I think he is the problem.

Under these circumstances, how can he still wonder if there is a problem, while the Prime Minister is saying he will take action? What are they waiting for? Do they not understand that there really is a problem?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Gasoline Prices
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May 13, 2004