Mr. Wayne Gates: Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to speak today.
I’m happy to say we had the Premier from Quebec here, who gave an excellent speech today. I’m happy he was here so I can illustrate a point. The Premier of Quebec’s province is one of five provinces in this country that currently regulates gas prices in some way. Though they all do it differently, there are regulations in place which help to stabilize the market and, in some cases, protect the consumer against unnecessarily high gasoline prices.
In my riding in Niagara this weekend, gas prices rose 14 cents a litre without any large change in the price of oil-that’s around a 56-cents-a-gallon increase. Oil prices since the start of this year have not increased substantially. We enjoyed paying 85 cents a litre then, yet gasoline prices have steadily climbed since then and now we’re paying $1.13-an increase of over 30%. People are having a hard time covering these bills. Everywhere they look in Ontario-gasoline, hydro, food prices-everything is rising.
This government needs to take a serious look into the price of gasoline. If other provinces have turned to regulating their gas markets, why wouldn’t we at least talk about it? If oil prices are dropping, then we may have an opportunity to make sure that people can drive to work for less and have a few extra bucks in their pocket to spend in their communities.