There’s bad news, good news and hope for the future.
The bad news is Albertans are paying more to drive to work, heat their homes and to buy groceries, thanks to the latest federal carbon tax hike.
The good news is Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s government has almost neutralized that pump price sting by suspending the provincial fuel tax.
While folks in Saskatchewan are paying the federal carbon tax and the provincial excise tax, costing them a combined 29 cents extra per litre of gasoline, Albertans are only paying federal taxes, giving us the cheapest fuel prices in Canada.
The long term hope is to ensure Albertans never have to pay a provincial carbon tax again.
Here’s what happening:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has jacked his mandatory minimum carbon tax up to $65 per tonne, with the support of the NDP.
The carbon tax costs Albertans an extra 14 cents per litre of gasoline and an extra 17 cents per litre of diesel. Filling a minivan costs about $10 extra and filling up a pickup truck costs about $15 more.
That’s serious money out of a family’s budget, as $15 could buy a roast chicken and a jug of milk. Families with two vehicles will see the carbon tax punishment compounded.
The tax hike on diesel will cost folks even more.
Filling up the heavy duty diesel pick ups that haul horse trailers and work equipment will now cost an extra $30 because of the carbon tax. Truckers filling up the diesel cylinders of their big rigs will need to pay about $154 more.
Nearly everything we eat and use is brought to us on trucks and trains and filling up a diesel locomotive will cost about $2,400 extra because of the carbon tax.
This is a severe financial punishment for Albertans.
The Parliamentary Budget Office shows that Alberta families will be about $700 poorer this year because of Trudeau’s carbon tax. When the Trudeau government or the NDP claim that Canadians will “get more back than they pay” in the federal carbon tax, they are not telling the truth.
Now for the good news.
Here in Alberta, Smith has fully suspended the provincial fuel tax, saving taxpayers 13 cents per litre of gasoline and diesel.
Albertans are paying the lowest fuel prices in Canada because we are paying the lowest fuel taxes.
The only taxes Albertans pay at the pump right now are the ones imposed upon us by Ottawa.
Carbon taxes also don’t just hurt at the gas pump. Albertans are being hammered by the federal carbon tax on home heating and electricity bills.
Households will pay about $300 extra per year due to the carbon tax on natural gas, propane and furnace oil.
The Trudeau government is planning on tripling the first carbon tax and imposing a second carbon tax on us this summer. The NDP fully supports this move.
Life is about to get a whole lot more expensive.
In the meantime, it’s wise to secure fortress Alberta close to home.
Smith should commit to adding carbon taxes into the Taxpayer Protection Act.
That way, no future provincial government can slap a surprise provincial carbon tax on Albertans the way former premier Rachel Notley did back in 2017. When Notley imposed her carbon tax, it cost Albertans more than $1 billion per year.
The Taxpayer Protection Act requires a provincial government to hold a referendum before imposing a PST in Alberta. The same rule should apply to a provincial carbon tax to prevent one from happening here again.
Record numbers of Albertans are struggling to afford basics like food and fuel.
Suspending the fuel tax and preventing a provincial carbon tax from returning to Alberta is the right thing to do.
Kris Sims is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.