Big g-OIL-vernment

Ottawa - Thursday, September 4, 2003 - by: Walter Robinson, Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation


Last August, federal Transport Minister David Collenette mused about hiking gas taxes in speech before the Couchiching conference. Well, he’s back and more infuriating than ever. Hot on the heels of the latest gasoline price spike at pumps across the country motorists are demanding gas tax relief. But Mr. Collenette is stuck in 2002 and refuses to budge. More on him in a moment but first …




Over the last 16 days pump prices across North America shot up in response (according to the oil industry) to a pipeline break in Arizona, last year’s cold winter, low summertime supplies versus high demand and the recent Northeast-Ontario blackout. Fair enough.




On the other hand, while U.S. prices have climbed 20¢ per gallon during this period (or 6¢ /litre), Canadians have been walloped with price hikes in the 12¢ /litre to 15¢ /litre range with temporary spikes climbing as high as 20¢.




Hmmm, interesting?




However, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's mandate is to focus on government. And when it comes to the gas tax file, the federal government’s pump gouging makes big oil look like a corner store operation. Just look at the facts …


The feds annually collect $4.8 billion in fuel and excise taxes and return less than 3% of this amount ($119 million) to road and highway transfers with over 99% of this paltry figure destined for the four Atlantic provinces and Quebec. As for the rest of Canada; too bad, so sad.
According to the Public Accounts of Canada, over the past decade the Chrétien administration has returned a mere 10% of all gas tax revenues to infrastructure with “infrastructure” being generously defined to include projects such as river fountains, canoe museums and bocce ball courts.
In 1995, former Finance Minister (and likely future Prime Minister) Paul Martin hiked the federal excise tax on gasoline from 8.5 cents/litre to 10 cents/litre as a measure to help vanquish the deficit. Canadians assumed the hike would be temporary (shades of 1917 and the imposition of income tax no doubt) but alas … the tax still remains.
Of the $24 billion in fuel taxes collected by the feds since 1997, at least $4 billion is directly attributable to this 1995 tax hike: A blatant rip-off of Canadian motorists. Now back to David Collenette.
This week, Minister Collenette did his bit for national unity, sadly he unified the country against his own insensitive and bizarre comments. It’s as if central casting sent him to answer a director’s call for “a politician to rile national anger.”
“Taxes are an inevitable part of life” he told the CBC. “You have to pay for the quality of life you have in the country, whether it’s transportation infrastructure, whether it’s health care or social benefits …
Canada’s transportation infrastructure is in desperate need of upgrades. Engineering estimates put our road deficit at $17 billion. Canada’s air travelers are screaming for real domestic competition. As for our health care system, its ranked 30th in the world by the World Health Organisation. Meanwhile, the bonanza of corporate welfare handouts and failed regional development schemes costs taxpayers a cool $4 billion annually. Ah, Minister, no more tax lectures.
It is David Collenette who is taxing airports out of existence with exorbitant rents. It is Minister Collenette who has presided over the deaths of eight airlines during his tenure as Transport Minister. And it is Mr. Collenette’s government that collects over $1 billion each year in GST from pump sales since the GST is charged on the total pump price on top of federal and provincial taxes. On this point, Ottawa’s silence speaks GST volumes.




Canadians deserve leadership and action, not lethargy and lectures. And taxpayers deserve better by being taxed less each time they fill ‘er up.

Walter Robinson
Federal Director



Return to Ensign - Return to Saskatchewan News

This page is a story posted on Ensign and/or Saskatchewan News, both of which are daily web sites offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. These publications are the work of Faster Than Light Communications . If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us email.

Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004