There is an old saying that if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.
Last month, many of us witnessed long line ups at the gas pumps as motorists were eager to fill up their tanks before gas prices took a leap of six cents a litre. And while drivers have been forking over the cash, the federal government has been raking in the windfall.
The price you pay at the pumps includes provincial taxes, plus a 10 cent a litre federal excise tax and the GST on top of all of it.
The 35 per centf increase in the price for petroleum between 2011 and 2012 has provided $1.3 billion in extra revenue for the federal government. When similar increases took place while Liberals were in government, we rebated the windfall to Canadians in the form of Goods and Services Tax (GST) rebates in 2001 and again in 2003.
I believe the Conservative government should also use their current $1.3 billion windfall to support Canadian consumers. Instead, we're seeing cuts to public services and programs that help with the cost of living, including seniors' pensions. There's been no relief for consumers.
In 2004, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised relief for motorists. He said he would limit the GST when gas hit 85 cents a litre and remove the GST charged on the federal tax, the tax on tax. In a press release, the Conservative Party stated: "The fastest and easiest way to give Canadians relief at the pump is for the federal government to stop charging GST on top of gasoline excise taxes. It's time to axe the tax on the tax."
Removing the federal tax on tax would save you about a penny a litre, and about $82 a year.
Despite the sky high gas prices we are seeing across Canada, Prime Minister Harper has failed to live up to his 2004 promise. You're still paying the tax on the tax.
Canadians also lack a clear and transparent picture of the weekly supply and demand for gas, which Liberals have been calling for since 2008. I think everyone would benefit from having a clear picture of weekly market fluctuations and how they impact gas prices.
We pay the price for high gas prices not only at pumps, but also at the supermarket, at clothing stores and when we call in a plumber or electrician. Escalating gas prices mean higher costs for businesses, and consumers are getting squeezed.
It's time the Harper government took the side of motorists and became part of the solution to high gas prices. That's what they promised.