Madam Speaker, the price of gas has risen over 40% year over year. If we look up the price of gas in the GTA right now in, from Toronto to Richmond Hill, we will see that it is currently around 209.3¢ per litre. The cost of gas is up, way up, and so is the price of food.
Even if someone does not drive, farmers drive to plant, to harvest and to do so much more, and they need gas. To get the food they grow to our grocery stores, they need gas. Gas prices are up 40%. It is no surprise that food prices have risen almost 10%.
We have seen the largest increase in the cost of food since 1981. That is a 41-year record. In 1981, I was not even born yet. My parents were still in a refugee camp. If we take into account the fact that Canada’s median age is 41.1 years, that means for half of Canadians, myself included, the increase in the price of food is the highest it has ever been in our lifetime. The price of gas is also the highest I have ever seen in my lifetime.
The soaring cost of gas and food is crushing Canadians, but while Canadians are struggling, the government is just raking it in. How much is it bringing in? Let us do the math. Annually, 65 billion litres of gasoline and diesel are sold in Canada. The GST revenue that the federal government collects from just these two fuels alone works out to about $6 billion a year.
However, members will remember that gas prices are up 40%, so the federal government stands to pocket $2.5 billion extra that it never budgeted for or earmarked. Those billions of dollars belong to Canadians.
I know I have much more time to speak, but I am going to jump straight to the point. The federal government has a duty to give this slush fund back to Canadians. I will ask this of the government, yet again: Will the government provide relief to struggling Canadians, just as the fiscally prudent and compassionate Liberal Paul Martin government did? Yes or no?