MASSE QUESTIONS MINISTER ON GAS PRICES

Conservatives Continue to Favour Big Oil Over Canadian Families

[OTTAWA, ON] As Canadians continue to get hosed at the pumps Brian Masse NDP Vice Chair for the Industry, Science and Technology Committee demanded the Minister explain his Government’s policies that favour the Oil and Gas Industry over working families.

Masse explained: “The Oil and Gas sector is reaping windfall profits while continuing to gouge consumers at the pumps. Meanwhile the Conservative Government continues to subsidize the Industry with tax breaks and grants. Gas prices are driving inflation and hurting Canadian families who are still feeling the effects of the recession. The Minister needs to explain to Canadians why they continue to dole out corporate welfare to a thriving Oil and Gas Industry while they struggle to put enough gas in their car to get to work.”

The introduction of the HST in Ontario has also raised the price of gas in the province. Conservative tax policy has driven the cost of living upward at the worst possible time. Inexplicably for Ontarians the HST is not added to gas prices in British Columbia.

“With the introduction of the HST the Harper Government colluded with the province of Ontario to further gouge Canadian consumers at the pumps. This is just another example of the Harper Government’s choice to put its own bottom line over working families. The introduction of a new consumer tax in the midst of a recession and high unemployment is not only heartless but it’s bad economic policy.” Masse said.

The Harper Government has refused to take any action to protect consumers at the pumps ignoring NDP demands to create an Oil and Gas Ombudsman.

Masse explained the NDP approach to dealing with soaring prices at the pump: “We have repeatedly demanded that the Government create an Oil and Gas Ombudsman to monitor gas prices to ensure that consumers are treated fairly. Wild and inexplicable price fluctuations are de-stabilizing the Canadian economy, an Ombudsman could play a significant role offering Canadians some predictability and stability. The Harper Government’s plan is to delay any action with more study. Consumers need help now and that’s what the NDP plan offers.”

Transcript of Brian Masse’s question to the Minister of Industry:

Mr Speaker,

The Industry Committee has already studied this. We need action and that is what Canadians deserve right now, not another expensive study.

What we see right now are record profits, record gouging, record windfalls for stock speculators, record profits for oil and gas CEOs and we also see record complacency from the government. Canadians have no choice. They have to drive to work and take care of their families. The minister does have a choice, so why is he hiding behind the oil companies instead of going after the gouging?

Is he addicted to the tax revenue that is coming in? Why will he not establish an industry ombudsman or at least follow through with the recommendations the committee made last time?