Gas tax cut not being ‘actively considered’ for Saskatchewan
Mar 08, 2022
While Alberta looks to knock off a few bucks at the gas pump for its residents, it doesn’t look like Saskatchewan will be following suit.
On Monday, the Alberta government announced it would pause collection of the provincial tax on gas and diesel sales, which Premier Jason Kenney said would lower the price by 13 cents per litre. That will continue as long as the price of oil is above $90 per barrel.
As the price per barrel of oil shoots up, in large part due to the war in Ukraine, prices at the pump are climbing and so are government revenues tied to oil.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said while his government is looking at ways to help people weather a higher cost of living, he isn’t actively looking at reducing or eliminating the fuel excise tax.
“Alberta is much more reliant on the oil price than we are in Saskatchewan. We have a much more diversified natural resource-based economy,” Moe said Monday.
When it comes to any extra revenue coming into provincial coffers as a result of higher prices on the world stage, Moe talked about options including paying down debt incurred throughout COVID, dealing with operational debt, and starting a savings account for Saskatchewan people.
“We’re looking at what there is we can do to support Saskatchewan people understanding it’s their resource; they own the resource,” said Moe.
Moe said some sort of rebate to Saskatchewan people is also on the table.
“This is the Saskatchewan people’s resource whether it’s energy, whether it’s the land, whether it’s the uranium (or) the potash that we sell around the world,” said Moe.
But the premier was also careful to point out that, given much of the price increase is due to the war in Ukraine, it could be a temporary situation.
“What we’re doing is having some discussions about what is temporary and how long, potentially, could that last and I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that, and then ultimately what will the ongoing price of oil be,” said Moe.
The NDP is pushing for some measures to deal with rising gas prices.
“Saskatchewan people deserve some support and relief on this front. Certainly the province of Saskatchewan (with)its coffers, they’re experiencing significant increases on this front and as a temporary measure we need to provide some relief to Saskatchewan people,” said Trent Wotherspoon, the NDP’s finance critic.
When asked about it during Question Period, the government pivoted to talk about the federal carbon tax and how it will be going up soon.
Later, Wotherspoon pointed out Saskatchewan’s tax on fuel is higher than the carbon tax will be once it rises this year, and people don’t get any part of the provincial fuel tax back.
But Wotherspoon also said the federal government has a part to play and could consider pushing back the carbon tax increase.
“Now is the time that we need to see some urgent measure, temporary measures, to support people,” said Wotherspoon.
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