No April Fool’s Joke

The price of gas went up at the pumps today. I’m not sure by how much, because I haven’t been out yet. News reports earlier suggested the hike would be 11 cents a litre (44 cents an American gallon).

Certainly the war in Ukraine has been the cause of some of the recent hikes in gasoline prices we have experienced recently, but that isn’t what has caused today’s hike. This one is purely a tax increase, courtesy of the federal government.

Inflation in Canada was 5.7 per cent in February, the highest rate since 1991. And housing prices aren’t factored into inflation, so the true increase is undoubtedly higher as our housing market is out of control. Expectations are, when the March figures are released the numbers will be higher. Canadians are feeling the pinch – wages aren’t rising that quickly.

So why increase taxes? It is all part of the government’s environmental policy. They are taxing carbon, and the tax increases are regular and designed to be noticed. The idea is to get Canadians to change their habits, to use less oil and gas.

That is, I suppose, a worthy idea as we confront climate change. And the government promised rebates to offset the pain at the pumps.

The Liberals assured us that their carbon tax would be revenue neutral. The rebate you receive would be more or less what you had paid in carbon taxes. The government wouldn’t make a dime, but people would change their habits, which would be good for the environment.

I’m not sure how effective these taxes are at changing people’s lifestyles. We live in a cold country. We have to heat our homes, no matter how expensive heating oil becomes. The alternative literally is to freeze to death. And with a dearth of public transport in most places, if you don’t drive a car you aren’t going anywhere. The cost of the gas may be a hardship, but you have to pay it.

So the carbon tax will keep on going up, adding to the inflationary pressure on Canadians. Calls to delay the increase have fallen on deaf Liberal ears. They are certain their way is the best way. I understand that, and they can do what they like – they command a majority in the House of Commons.

Funny thing though, it turns out there is a problem with their math. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has analyzed carbon tax revenue and the rebates. Turns out the program is not revenue neutral.

The government is taking in more money on carbon taxes than it pays out in carbon rebates. That means most Canadians are losers with this “revenue neutral” tax.

Given that, you would think today’s tax increase might have been lessened, or put on hold or even canceled. Instead, Candians are being asked to pay more taxes. The government needs the money.

I guess that is an April Fool’s joke on the entire country. Somehow, I don’t think too many people are laughing.

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