SOARING GAS PRICES
The sky-rocketing costs of gasoline at the pumps have become an unfortunate reality for Canadians, particularly for our community in Windsor. As an auto-city in which almost every family relies on the utility of a vehicle to get from one point to another, we know first-hand the impact of the mismanagement of gasoline prices.
The problem now extends beyond the price of the barrel and the situation in the Middle East, which has contributed to a spike in the value of each litre we purchase as well as the supplemental goods that see an increase in costs. The problem currently rests with the oil and gas companies who have not been held accountable for their actions when it comes to gouging Canadians at the pumps. It also has much to do with rampant speculation in the markets that has thrown off the equilibrium between supply and demand.
For years, the Conservative government has chosen to do nothing to mitigate this problem. Instead they have chosen to provide large corporations, including those in the oil and gas business, with significant tax breaks.
My New Democrat colleagues and I have done a significant amount of work both legislatively and publicly to propose solutions that would reduce oil and gas consumption in Canada, which would inevitably keep gas-pricing at a reasonable rate. For example, my colleague Brian Masse, MP for Windsor-West, recently introduced a motion in the House calling on the Government to address this critical issue by proposing the establishment of a petroleum monitoring agency to keep the gas market in Canada accountable to citizens. His motion read:
“That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) create a petroleum monitoring agency with a three-year mandate to collect and disseminate, on a timely basis, price data on crude oil, refined petroleum products, and retail gasoline for all relevant North American markets; (b) in consultation with stakeholders from the petroleum sector (the “majors“, the “independents“, and consumer groups), appoint a director who would lead this agency; (c) require the agency to report to Parliament on an annual basis on the competitive aspects of the petroleum sector in Canada; and (d) request that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science and Technology review the agency's performance and the need for an extension of its mandate following the tabling of the agency's third report.”
Brian reintroduced this motion in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 in the House of Commons. Unfortunately, the motion never made it to a debate or a vote in the House.
In addition, my colleague Chris Charlton, MP for Hamilton Mountain has made numerous attempts to bring policy changes to the area of gas-price regulation through the establishment of an Office of the Oil and Gas Ombudsman to investigate complaints relating to the business practises of suppliers of oil or gas. Most recently in the 41st Parliament, Chris tabled bill C-336 which seeks to do just this. You can track the status of this bill online using this link: http://parl.gc.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&billId=51...
Below is an attachment for a petition calling upon the Government of Canada to do the following:
a) Implement protections for consumers of gasoline in Canada
b) Augment the existing inspection regime
c) Establish an office for an Oil and Gas Ombudsman
Please feel free to print this petition, circulate it to family and friends, and send it back to my office, postage free, at:
Joe Comartin, M.P.
713 Justice Bldg
House of Commons