Gurmant Singh GREWAL

GREWAL, Gurmant Singh, B.Sc. (Hons.), M.B.A.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative
Constituency
Newton--North Delta (British Columbia)
Birth Date
December 21, 1957
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurmant_Grewal
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=6acdee2c-675f-4664-bfb5-ebd49028a8ba&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
entrepreneur, entrepreneur, manager, professor (assistant) - management, professor (associate) - commercial law, real estate agent

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - March 26, 2000
REF
  Surrey Central (British Columbia)
  • Reform Party Deputy House Leader (June 12, 1998 - March 26, 2000)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (June 12, 1998 - July 31, 2000)
March 27, 2000 - October 22, 2000
CA
  Surrey Central (British Columbia)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (June 12, 1998 - July 31, 2000)
  • Canadian Alliance Deputy House Leader (March 27, 2000 - July 31, 2000)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
CA
  Surrey Central (British Columbia)
December 23, 2003 - May 23, 2004
CPC
  Surrey Central (British Columbia)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
CPC
  Newton--North Delta (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 180)


November 1, 2005

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Newton—North Delta, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta to participate in the second reading debate on Bill C-66, an act to authorize payments to provide assistance in relation to energy costs, housing energy consumption and public transit infrastructure, and to make consequential amendments to certain acts.

I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni.

I would like to highlight that the bill would allow the government to make a one-time energy cost benefit payment of $250 to families receiving the national child benefit supplement and $125 to recipients of the guaranteed income supplement. It also would allow the government to spend $838 million on measures to reduce housing energy consumption and it would remove the requirement that $800 million for public transit infrastructure, set out in the NDP budget bill, be contingent on the size of the surplus. The bill calls for the payments to be made in January 2006.

To assist with the background, this summer crude oil prices soared to record highs. For consumers, the effects were primarily felt at the pumps. Gasoline broke the dollar barrier earlier in the summer and kept on going up, reaching a new peak on Labour Day weekend of up to $1.40 per litre.

While both crude oil and gasoline prices have come down in recent weeks, they remain at near historic highs and this winter promises to be the most expensive ever for heating one's home.

Since June, natural gas prices across North America rose more than 30%. In British Columbia, natural gas is the dominant energy used for home heating, being used by over 800,000 households in the province. Twice in the last four months the B.C. Utilities Commission has approved a request by Terasen Gas for a natural gas commodity rate increase. In June, the commission approved a 5.6% increase. This was followed last month by a 13.3% increase.

As a result of those increases, my constituents can expect to see their annual heating bills jump by nearly $300 to over $1,500. In the last two years, the price to heat a lower mainland home with natural gas has increased by over $500 annually. If that was not bad enough, it is almost guaranteed that prices will go up again before spring.

An American government report issued earlier this month estimates that heating bills for all fuel types will cost Americans about one-third more this winter. The same is true in Canada.

The Energy Information Administration sees the cost of heat by natural gas rising 47% and heating oil 32%. The Canadian Gas Association is predicting the price of natural gas will increase from 20% to 50% this winter. This is bad news for British Columbians and for the 50% of Canadian homeowners who heat with homes with gas.

Energy prices have never been so high or increased so quickly. For some low income families, the sharp jumps could mean choosing whether to eat or keep warm.

Even more affluent Canadians will be hard hit by soaring heating costs. With today's high cost of living, particularly in urban areas like British Columbia's lower mainland, many families earning good salaries still live from paycheque to paycheque. An extra $100 a month for home heating, combined with higher gas prices and rising interest rates, could be enough to cause financial hardship or even possibly bankruptcy in some cases.

The government's rebate plan would leave thousands of low income British Columbians out in the cold. According to its own numbers, the government scheme will aid less than 10% of Canadians. Even the poor will only receive assistance if they already collect child or elderly benefits. Bill C-66 does nothing for the majority of students, many of whom live in dirty, old apartments. Students are one of the main low income groups in this country but the Liberals have forgotten about them.

As well, Canadians with disabilities who claim disability benefits will receive no help with their heating bills. Similarly, farmers and over 200,000 low income seniors who do not file for the GIS will not receive help. Bill C-66 offers no assistance to poor Canadians who are childless. Statistics Canada indicates there are nearly two million individuals under 65 who fall below the low income threshold and who have no children. These individuals will receive nothing from the government.

Now, talking about current affairs, we know that almost $45 million is missing or is unaccounted for from the sponsorship program. The people I mentioned, the seniors, farmers, people on fixed incomes or low income and students would have been better off if the government had some accountability in place. It has been confirmed that on the Liberal side there is a culture of entitlement, corruption, greed, carelessness and mismanagement. We have been saying that all along for so many years and today it has been confirmed by Justice Gomery. These are the facts. These are not only accusations.

The sponsorship program was directed politically and there have been no political consequences. Only the bureaucrats have been made the scapegoats. That program was set up by the Liberals. They ran the program. They used the program and abused the program. The kickbacks have been going to the Liberal Party for the benefit of the Liberal Party. It is important--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act
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November 1, 2005

Mr. Gurmant Grewal

Mr. Speaker, the member is right on. The government has left out a lot of people who were supposed to be entitled to these cheques, but this is not the first time. I remember before the 2000 election, the government sent cheques to dead people and to people in jail, but it left out the people who really deserved to be given the money. In this situation it is again leaving out truckers, people in the transportation industry, farmers, students, people with low incomes and people without children.

The government is completely mismanaging this issue. It does not know where the consumption of gasoline or oil is and who really needs the help to pay their bills. To heat a home, $1,500 is a significant amount. Some people who are living from paycheque to paycheque are experiencing hardship. Seniors who are living on fixed incomes have to choose whether to eat, to heat their homes, or to buy medicine.

This is a very serious issue. It is a classic example of the government mismanaging the program while focusing on how to corrupt the government and how to steal money and throw it into the Liberal Party while forgetting about all those other people.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act
Full View Permalink

November 1, 2005

Mr. Gurmant Grewal

Mr. Speaker, I care about the students, the farmers, the people on low incomes and the people on a fixed income who did not get enough money to pay for the rising heating fuel and gasoline prices.

That is why I was referring to the government wasting money. Today's example, which is listed in the Gomery report, is about the sponsorship program. There have been many boondoggles, mismanagement and wrongdoing on the Liberal side and it continues again and again.

I am quite sure that those farmers, those people on a fixed income and low incomes and people without children will hold the government critically and democratically accountable when the time comes for them to vote, despite the fact that the government is thinking that some sort of smaller cheque will go to them before the election.

According to the finance department, the government is limiting the rebate program to the people I mentioned. Instead of providing assistance to Canadians who need help, that heartless government continues to mismanage this file as well. The rebate program is more about politics than about helping people who are struggling to heat their homes.

The government knows that the heating prices are skyrocketing. With an election on the horizon, it wants to give the appearance of helping people out, but Canadians cannot be fooled. Having cheques arrive in the mail just prior to an election is a side benefit the government is anticipating, but it will not come true.

Even if a person pays nothing for heat, that person still might get a cheque. That mismanaged boondoggle by the government happened during the 2003 election.

An option to the Liberal plan would be to remove the GST from home heating fuel. This is a more fair and straightforward way of dealing with the spiralling home heating costs. I made this proposal four years ago in March 2001 when I introduced Motion No. 289 which read:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should stop charging the GST on energy costs for residential properties.

This would be an effective way to provide sensible price relief to all families, not to a selected group. It would also deliver real help at the point of purchase and would do so without red tape, confusion or discrimination.

To conclude, most people in B.C. agree that something needs to be done to address the rising costs of home heating this winter. However, everyone I talk to has the same opinion of the federal plan, that it is inadequate.

The Liberal scheme leaves out many needy people who will be struggling most of the time to cope with high heating costs. The Conservative Party will still be grudgingly supporting the bill. Low income Canadians need immediate assistance and they cannot afford to wait until the government comes up with a fair solution.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act
Full View Permalink

November 1, 2005

Mr. Gurmant Grewal

Mr. Speaker, the GST is one of the things the government can control. As I mentioned, in March 2001 I introduced Motion No. 289 which asked the government to stop charging GST on the energy costs for residential properties so that there would be a fair system of helping those who are paying much more with the rising costs.

It is not a matter of what our party's position is on royalties, but what matters is that the government has been unfairly, and I would use the word “illegally”, charging GST on other taxes, such as the federal excise tax and other taxes. Those taxes are neither goods nor services. When the government charges GST on other taxes, it should be illegal. That should never have happened.

When calculating the price of gasoline, there is the crude oil price, then the distribution, profit margin, royalties and everything. Then add to that the excise tax, the federal and provincial taxes and then GST is charged on top of that. That is illegal and should not happen.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act
Full View Permalink

October 31, 2005

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Newton—North Delta, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, my constituents of Newton--North Delta have been asking for a very long time for the expansion of South Fraser Perimeter Road, a tunnel to be built in North Delta. We have Fraser docks in my riding. We have a huge movement of people and goods. I had a lengthy question I wanted to--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Pacific Gateway Act
Full View Permalink