EDMONTON, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — The province of Alberta has become the first in Canada to “fully” suspended its provincial fuel tax, a move which the United Conservative Party (UCP) government says will help families deal with the current red-hot inflation crisis.
Our government is supporting Albertans struggling with #Affordability. That’s why we fully paused the tax on fuel – saving Albertans 13.6¢/litre on gas and diesel. And we’ll ensure these savings are passed along from retailers to Alberta consumers #ableg #gasprices #GasWizard https://t.co/tTVJHtLiLR
— Danielle Smith (@ABDanielleSmith) January 2, 2023
The suspension of the fuel tax will stay in place until at least June of this year, at which time the program will be reviewed.
Smith first announced the coming measure last month, but the policy did not formally take effect until January 1, 2023.
Alberta’s Minister of Service and Red Tape Reduction Dale Nally said that if gas stations are found to not be passing on the savings to consumers, they could face fines of up to $300,000 or even jail time.
High fuel costs in Canada have added much inflationary pressure to the average Canadian’s pocketbook, with many families reporting that they are struggling just to pay for the basics of shelter, food, and heat.
While some provincial governments such as Alberta have quickly recognized that higher fuel costs through taxes are an unnecessary burden for the consumer, the federal government has continued to go the other way.
In fact, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is poised yet again to raise the rate of its so-called “carbon tax” later this year, which right now is applied to gasoline, natural gas and diesel fuel and already costs Canadians nearly 12 extra cents per liter of gasoline.
Nally noted that despite Alberta having the lowest gas prices in Canada, “the punishing effect of the federal fuel tax and carbon tax only adds to the pain Alberta families are feeling.”
“It’s why we have called on the federal government and their NDP coalition partners to suspend the carbon tax and rescind their plan to increase it 300 per cent by 2030. The NDP has zero credibility when it comes to tax relief for Albertans,” added Nally.
The government did indicate that the tax could be phased back in, but only if oil prices go below $90 dollars a barrel.
According to the province, under this new tax relief plan, Albertans will save $6.80 on average when filling up a small car, and as much $18.50 when filling up a full-sized pickup truck. For those operating large semi-trucks, the average amount saved per fill will be around $185.50.
Under former Alberta premier Jason Kenney, a similar pause in the fuel tax took place in April of 2022, but was reinstated shortly before Smith became premier last fall.
Current estimates show that Albertans have saved some $850 million since the first pausing of the tax last spring.
The Alberta government also announced it will be using surplus money from oil and gas revenues to directly help seniors and families with children, in the form of monthly monetary payments, which are slated to begin later this month.
Other provinces such as Ontario and Newfoundland have partial fuel tax saving programs in place, but have not committed like Alberta to fully suspending them.
The war over oil and gas tax hikes has been a source of much controversy in Canada in recent years, particularly in the western provinces.
Since taking office in 2015, Trudeau has continued to push a radical environmental agenda, which included signing Canada up for the United Nations’ pro-abortion “Sustainable Development Goals.”
Under his plan, Trudeau intends to decrease nitrous oxide emissions by limiting the use of fertilizer, something farmers have warned will reduce their profits and could even lead to food shortages.
Just before the new year, the Trudeau government also said it was looking to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035, despite the fact Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world and electric cars have limited use in cold climates.
Smith late last month promised to defend Albertans from any federal electric (EVs) mandate, warning her citizens that the “Liberal-NDP plan to outlaw non-electric vehicles will drive up vehicle costs and take away your freedom to choose what vehicle makes sense for you and your family.”
“As Premier, I will make sure you have a choice when it comes to the vehicle you drive — the NDP and Liberals can butt out.”