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OUR VIEW: Province of B.C. must act now to ease our pain at pump

Provincial government should follow Alberta’s lead and offer residents some tax relief
Samantha Masyk gases up in Alberta, where the provincial government is cutting gas taxes to offset rising prices at the pump. (Photo: Paul Cowley/Black Press Media)

B.C.’s minister of public safety says there’s no simple solution to the insane increase of fuel prices.

We all know that.

But there is, however, a simple thing Mike Farnworth could do to help ease the pain, at least temporarily – get rid of, or at the very least reduce, gas tax.

In Metro Vancouver, we pay 73 cents tax on every litre of gas – and it’s about to go up to 74 cents in April, with the one-cent carbon tax increase.

SEE ALSO: B.C. has no tax reduction plans: Farnworth

SEE ALSO: Surrey Board of Trade calls on B.C. government to put an ‘immediate pause’ on fuel tax

Alberta’s done it. Its government has responded to the rising costs of fuel by reducing its tax by 13-cents per litre on both gasoline and diesel. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also announced his government would give $150 rebates on electricity bills.

It’s because Alberta’s government knows that its residents need relief from increasing costs, especially considering the fact that fuel isn’t the only thing that is costing substantially more these days.

(Cartoon by Ingrid Rice)

Food, housing, education, insurance, hydro, internet and cell phone bills – our bank accounts are all begging for mercy as the cost of living keeps rising.

Statistics Canada says grocery store prices were up 7.4 per cent for the largest yearly increase since May 2009, pushed higher by rising fuel costs that are being passed on to consumers. Shelter costs, which includes prices for homes and rental units, rose at their fastest pace since August 1983.

Overall, the annual inflation rate climbed to 5.7 per cent in February, its highest level since August 1991 and the second straight month over 5 per cent.

But while provinces like Alberta act decisively to help their residents as they face this financial crunch, B.C.’s government digs in its heels. There will be no relief at the pump and no comprehensive tax reviews in B.C.

‘Don’t blame us,’ is effectively what our province is saying. ‘It’s not our fault. It’s Russia’s. Besides, it’s complex.’

We don’t want excuses. We want relief.


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