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Government ignores opposition call for action on rising oil prices, profits

OTTAWA - The federal government is ignoring opposition demands that it do something about soaring oil and gasoline prices and profits.


OTTAWA - The federal government is ignoring opposition demands that it do something about soaring oil and gasoline prices and profits.

NDP Leader Jack Layton wants an end to tax breaks for petroleum companies, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rejected the approach. Layton accuses the government of dragging its feet as prices soar. Harper says the opposition's only solution is to raise taxes and he's not going to do that.

He says his government has cut the GST and reduced the tax burden for ordinary Canadians.

The opposition is angry that Petro-Canada is reporting a first-quarter profit of $1.1 billion, up from $590 million a year ago.

Peggy Nash, the NDP industry critic, says the government must end tax breaks for the oil companies and use that money to encourage the production of environmentally friendly autos.

"Right now, people are having a huge burden placed on them at the same time that the oil and gas companies are raking in huge, billion-dollar profits," she said.

Liberal MP Dan McTeague said higher gasoline prices - which are around $1.25 a litre in many parts of the country - are producing a windfall for the government in tax revenues.

He said the government should consider dropping the GST at the pump.

"I think they should strongly consider rebating that to consumers," he said.

 
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