By Gage Haubrich
Saskatchewan is falling behind in the fight against carbon taxes.
“Just watch me,” Premier Scott Moe said in 2017 when asked if he would stand up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax.
But despite Moe’s opposition, Trudeau forced his carbon tax on the province in 2019 and increased gas prices for Saskatchewan drivers. Since then, the Saskatchewan government’s main tool against the carbon tax has been rhetoric alone.
Other provinces have taken real action to provide tax relief to their residents. The provincial governments of Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador all cut gas taxes to save their drivers money.
Drivers in Alberta filling up a sedan every week will be saving $430 this year. In Ontario, a family with two cars filling up weekly will save $440 a year. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the same two-car family filling up once a week saved $520 at the gas pumps last year.
Moe needs to follow the lead of the provinces and make life more affordable in Saskatchewan.
Trudeau’s carbon tax currently increases gas prices by 14 cents per litre. This will cost the average family $410 this year even after the rebates, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
But the carbon tax isn’t the only thing making you pay more at the pump. The Saskatchewan government also charges you a gas tax of 15 cents per litre – one cent per litre more than Trudeau’s carbon tax.
For a government that rightly calls out the cost of the federal carbon tax, it’s ludicrous that the Saskatchewan government is currently adding more to your gas bill than Trudeau’s carbon tax is.
Trudeau’s carbon tax adds $9 to the bill when filling up a Nissan Maxima or $15 for a Ford F-150. Saskatchewan’s gas tax adds $10 to the bill for the same sedan and $17 for the pickup truck.
Moe should show that he can do more than just talk a good game. He should immediately make life more affordable for Saskatchewanians by cutting the provincial gas tax.
If Moe cut the provincial gas tax to zero, drivers filling up their sedan once per week would save $500 each year. That’s a significant amount of tax relief. And it’s relief that Saskatchewanians need because Trudeau plans to keep hiking up federal gas taxes.
By 2030, Trudeau’s first carbon tax alone will add 37 cents per litre to the price of gas.
And then there’s the second carbon tax that Trudeau imposed on July 1. By 2030, the second carbon tax will increase the price of gas by up to 17 cents per litre and cost the average Saskatchewan family $1,100 every year.
That means that in 2030 you will be paying $35 just in carbon taxes every single time you fill up your family’s sedan.
Along with the carbon tax, Trudeau also charges you a federal gas tax and the GST on top of all the other taxes. In 2030, you’ll be forced to fork over $57 in taxes every time you fill up.
Cutting the gas tax would show that Moe is serious about his opposition to carbon taxes, and it means Saskatchewanians would have more left over in their wallets to spend on necessities. Plus, the provincial government can afford to give drivers a break.
The government of Saskatchewan is projecting to rake in $508 million in gas taxes this year. With a $1 billion surplus projected, Moe could fully cut the gas tax and have $500 million left over to pay down provincial government debt.
Saskatchewanians gassing up their car to get to work, filling up their minivan to take their kids to football practice or trying to take their families on summer road trip, need relief.
Talk is cheap and Moe knows the carbon tax is causing financial pain. There’s a simple solution: Moe can step up and cut the provincial gas tax to offset the cost of Trudeau’s carbon tax.
Gage Haubrich is the Prairie Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
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