Whitehorse Daily Star

YP repeats call for fuel tax suspension

Four months after an initial call to suspend the territorial fuel tax in the face of spiralling inflation,

By Whitehorse Star on August 3, 2022

Four months after an initial call to suspend the territorial fuel tax in the face of spiralling inflation, the Yukon Party is once again asking the Liberal government to stop collecting the fuel tax until inflation eases.

Tuesday’s renewed call comes as data from other jurisdictions show prices at the pump are lower in areas where the collection of the provincial fuel tax has been suspended.

The Yukon Party pointed out that Trevor Tombe, a University of Calgary economist and former member of the territorial Liberals’ Financial Advisory Panel, has shown that the Alberta government’s suspension of its fuel tax has led to significant savings for the consumer.

Tombe told the Calgary Sun that about 10 cents out of the total 13-cents-a-litre tax saving is being passed on to consumers.

“By suspending the tax in early March, the Liberals could have saved Yukoners hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of dollars,” the Yukon Party said.

“Instead, the minister of Economic Development (Ranj Pillai) called the idea a ‘boutique policy’, and the premier (Sandy Silver) dismissed this suggested tax relief as ‘parlour tricks’.

“Now months later, as Yukoners are being buried by inflation, the premier and his team continue to ignore this issue,” said the official Opposition.

The common price for a litre of regular gas in Whitehorse has dropped to $1.85 after having hovered above $2.20 earlier this summer. The territorial tax is about six cents per litre.

“Yukoners are growing frustrated with the price at the pump as we enter August,” said Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko.

“If the premier had actually listened and suspended the territorial fuel tax as suggested in March, Yukoners would be better positioned to ride out this period of inflation.

“Instead, like they did in the spring, the Liberals are dismissive of the idea, and it is Yukoners who are again paying the true cost of this government’s inaction.”

Cabinet communications staff, however, called cutting the fuel tax “a short-sighted policy in response to inflation.

“We are seeing this play out in Alberta, where Premier Jason Kenney is learning the price of interfering,” the staff said in an email to the Star.

“While that province suspended the fuel tax in April, it benefited large oil and gas corporations ahead of Albertans at the pumps.

“Just recently, Premier Jason Kenney released a statement noting he will be asking the Competition Bureau of Canada to investigate potential gasoline price fixing in Alberta,” the cabinet staff pointed out.

“… ‘it now appears Albertans are no longer benefiting from the tax cut,’ Kenney said,” the email noted.

“Fuel prices are quite volatile, but we are encouraged to see them drop in recent weeks,” the cabinet statement added.

To help address inflation, it recalled, the government introduced a $150 rebate on electrical bills for all residential and commercial customers in the Yukon.

“This is helping people on fixed incomes as well as those in rural communities, and is yet another step we are taking to put more money in people’s pockets,” the statement said.

The government also referenced raising the minimum wage to $15.70 hourly in April, doubling the medical travel subsidy to $150 daily in January 2021, and continuing to “make historic investments to support the Yukon’s first-ever universal, affordable childcare program.

“This program saves families up to $700 per month, per child for licensed childcare programs. These programs have lowered the living wage by over $2.50/hour, as recently noted by the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition.”

With investments in housing, renewable energy and health care, the cabinet staff said, “we are making progress in closing the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage.

“We will continue to take a multi-faceted approach to making life more affordable for Yukoners.”

Comments (18)

Up 7 Down 4

Jim on Aug 8, 2022 at 8:30 am

@yukoner32, it’s not whether we agree that universal childcare or medical travel subsidies are needed or helpful. Why I call it Liberal deflection is because they are using these programs to somehow say this helps everyone with the high cost of fuel. But the bottom line is that Liberal government(s) policy is for high fuel prices are preferred to help with their push for people to take public transit or switch to EVs. But I believe we will see some shocked people when they receive their first heating oil fill up this fall.

Up 3 Down 2

yukong on Aug 8, 2022 at 8:17 am

Since it's already in play, why not be efficient and expand the inflation rebate on electrical bills instead?

Up 9 Down 3

Big Daddy on Aug 6, 2022 at 2:49 pm

Hey guys! Don't be so hard on us! It takes bucks to replace sections of highway that are perfectly fine. It's expensive to widen the Alaska highway into enough space to place a football game on it sideways, by the airport! You think all these contractors replacing the Teslin bridge for no reason at all work for nothing???

Up 8 Down 6

Yukoner32 on Aug 5, 2022 at 3:01 pm

@Jim. How is it just 'Liberal Deflection' when the NDP and Yukon Party also proposed universal childcare and then called for raising the medical travel subsidy? Sounds to me like they are all the same. I'm sure you won't agree though and will think that your particular party is somehow more virtuous than the others.

Up 11 Down 3

Yukoner32 on Aug 5, 2022 at 2:54 pm

@Mitch. Sorry to hear how horrible you have it. Here is some more bad news for you, every political party including the Yukon Party committed to similar subsidies for childcare.... so who are you going to support in the next election to cancel it? Maybe you can start your own political party I guess ha ha ha.

Up 10 Down 6

Juniper Jackson on Aug 5, 2022 at 12:45 pm

I'd rather have the Yukon Electrical subsidy back. When the Liberals cancelled that my electric bill went up $106.00 a month, from $57.00 a month to $163.00 a month. I thanked God i was working. My pensions are strained to make it now. BUT, I just did get a notice that because i am over 75 I would get a 10% increase in my CPP.

Up 14 Down 0

unReal on Aug 5, 2022 at 7:19 am

WOW! On average, I use 50 litres of gas per week. If 6 cents a litre is removed from the price of gas, I would save $3.00 a week/$12 a month! I'll try not to spend all my 'savings' in the same place.

Up 5 Down 6

Why so serious? on Aug 4, 2022 at 7:14 pm

At - MITCH on Aug 4, 2022 at 3:37 pm:

Unfortunately Mitch you have already bought and paid for it. We appreciate your support for our “little failures”. Please do your best to better yourself so that you can earn more to pay more taxes. There will soon be 100,000,000 people in Canada which means a whole lot more of those “little failures” for you to support - Go Mitch! You will be able to attend the daily dance recitals of the Liberatzi’s!

Up 15 Down 13

MITCH on Aug 4, 2022 at 3:37 pm

Not sure if you individuals are trying to be sarcastic, agreeable or what have you, but I'm not buying it. Maybe you need 60-70k and custody arrangements, I just want my EI payments back for the last 27 years, since I can never use it and it gets given to drug addicts and homeless and govvies, anyone but who needs it. They who earn it, need it. The proof is evident.

Up 23 Down 13

iBrian on Aug 4, 2022 at 5:41 am

Does it really matter. This current government has no connection to the masses of people who work for a living. So detached from reality, it is scary.
With all the hand out, printing money, foreign gifting. The money has to come from somewhere and Trudeau hasn’t de-valued the Canadian dollar enough yet that we want to switch his digitally currency.

Up 12 Down 8

Parasitic Relationships on Aug 4, 2022 at 1:15 am

In agreement with MITCH on Aug 3, 2022 at 4:29 pm:

It adds to your expenses though doesn’t it. Maybe you should go get a kid or two from the daycare so you have something to show for your money? Spend the day with them and have some fun. You’re paying for them!

Maybe there should be a temporary custody schedule for all taxpayers?
Maybe we (the parents who raised and paid for their own kids) should file a class action lawsuit A nice check for the 60-70,000 we paid would be nice right now with fuel costs the way they are?

This daycare subsidy is like a carbon tax rebate for ‘parents’ and another carbon tax for people without kids. Kind of ironic seeing as how children are a climate change accelerator… Nice stuff from the party that calls you raycist, privileged, entitled, and then makes you pay for everyone else’ party - Sucker!

Up 21 Down 13

Al on Aug 3, 2022 at 10:03 pm

The response shows nothing but arrogance from the government. This is becoming atypical of ministers of late. Any time the YP questions the government the response comes back from not the minister(s) but rather the propaganda arm of the government. The minister(s) can't be bothered to be directly accountable.

So let's just take a look at this response in some detail. Before I do I want to draw attention the fact most measures that are alluded to is very old news and was not put in place to hedge against inflation:

1, The minimum wage increase had nothing to do the with Liberals - that was a key promise they had to honour with their agreement with the NDP buddies.

2. The $150 medical increase for travel was identified to increase an outdated benefit of $75. It was identified before the last election.

3. The $700 largess for childcare was not created by this government but rather by the Feds that this government signed onto.

4. The $150 (spread over the 3 billing periods) on electrical rates was the "only" item they used as a tool to fight inflation. Hm, that one was interesting considered the ATCO had been placing shortfall riders that together for the average household is far in excess of the $50 per month. All they did was draw down on the riders for 3 months. The short falls still exists for ATCO. They will continue to hammer away at these on the consumer. In others words we as consumers still owe against these riders - it has just been deferred. This is nothing more than an accounting shell game. Now does this help to clarify how we have been helped?

So what exactly have they done to ease the burden for childless families, or single people, or seniors or even families in general you may ask. That is easy they have in fact have done nothing - zip.

I, as a senior, have seen nothing but the rising cost of food, fuel (which also includes a GST grab on the higher cost of fuels - a windfall for the government), clothing - well let's just say everything that we (the beaten down citizen) need to sustain ourselves in order to maintain our health, which with their inability to provide decent health is in decline.

I certainly hope that the Liberals enjoy their cushy jobs with their high wages and their jaunts around the country - at our expense. There is not such as inflation for them.

Up 17 Down 16

bonanzajoe on Aug 3, 2022 at 9:14 pm

Liberals and NDP squander taxes then raise them to pay for the devastating results of their squandering. It's the usual way they do business. They don't believe in saving for a rainy day. Karl Marx would be so proud. When Conservative PM Stephen Harper left office he left a surplus of 25 billion dollars. Liberal PM JT squandered it within the first month he took office. Now, has more than doubled Canada's national debt and gave our future generations over 350 billion dollar deficit to balance. Keep voting for him fools. He will thank you and then laugh at you while you suffer to pay it off.

Up 18 Down 15

Jim on Aug 3, 2022 at 8:11 pm

Typical Liberal deflection. Medical travel subsidy? Universal child care? Raise the minimum wage by a few points. What do any of those have to do with the price of gas. Let’s wait till this winter when people are trying to fill up their fuel tanks with oil that will probably be 50% higher than last year at the rate it’s going. That piddly $150 rebate will be long gone by then. The bottom line is Liberals have no intention of making fuel cheaper. Their plan is to use the high prices to push their electric cars and electric heat. Is Yukon Energy going to just absorb the increase in cost for fuel to run their generators? Will groceries and almost everything else going to continue to rise with shipping costs averaging 50% more? It’s not like Ranj doesn’t know all this. This has been their game plan since Trudeau was elected and our local yokels tow the line.

Up 15 Down 16

Wilf Carter on Aug 3, 2022 at 7:04 pm

This tax is taking away solid food, recreation, holidays from major groups of Yukoners. It is killing the life of poor people seniors, disability, creating more street people, and low income workers quality of life does not exist and families with kids are hurt the most.

Up 12 Down 14

Making life more affordable for the Liberatzi on Aug 3, 2022 at 6:19 pm

Yes it’s funny isn’t it Mitch? Making life more affordable by asking ‘you’ to pay more for other peoples obligations. Take comfort though in the thought that these children, these Liberatzis, will perform dance recitals that you can pay to attend during your staycations. I think it’s a good trade off, sacrifice your holidays, to pay for other peoples kids so they can save huge dollars for their travel plans - This is your contribution to the societal value of big-E equity!

Thanks Mitchie… If you’re hungry in the meantime you can always raid the community gardens and attend the food bank.

Up 44 Down 16

MITCH on Aug 3, 2022 at 4:29 pm

People without children in Canada have just as viable needs as anyone paying taxes. I am sick of paying for people's little failures. Childcare subsidies do not change my bills.

Up 47 Down 16

Groucho d'North on Aug 3, 2022 at 3:44 pm

It's quite sad that Mr. Silver and the other Liberal MLAs are hiding behind their un-elected Cabinet communications staff when they try to defend their less-than-adequate decisions to help with affordability in the Yukon.

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