Friday, May 09, 2008

Opposition Gas Tax Rhetoric Haunts Governments

Like Prime Minister Harper, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall also blasted high gas taxes when he was in opposition. Now the NDP is reminding him.

With oil prices hovering above $120 a barrel, the New Democrats are reminding the Saskatchewan Party about their old idea of cutting gasoline taxes to give consumers a break.

On Sept. 6, 2005, then-opposition leader Brad Wall proposed cutting provincial gas taxes by one cent for every dollar over $60 the price of a barrel was exceeding. The man who's now Saskatchewan's premier argued then that a government awash in oil and gas money should give people a break at the pumps.

At that time, oil was $67.43 a barrel. Under Wall's proposal, the gas tax would have been cut by seven cents a litre at that point.

On Thursday, Opposition leader Lorne Calvert reminded the government of Wall's proposal, and noted that motorists in Regina are now paying 131.9 cents a litre.

Living up to Wall's promise would now mean eliminating the entire 15 cent-a-litre provincial tax. Calvert asked when drivers could expect that tax cut and added some more reminders of what Wall said in 2005.
In response, Finance Minister Rod Gantefoer said, "The price of gas at the pumps is only one of a number of issues that we are closely monitoring to make sure that our citizens are aptly looked after."

In the 2004 election campaign, Stephen Harper promised to eliminate the GST on gasoline once it reached 85 cents per litre. These promises were reiterated in the House while the Conservatives were in opposition. In August 2005, Harper said, "There's no reason for the federal government to profiteer when consumers are hurting...This is causing considerable dislocation. There are a lot of people on fixed incomes. There are a lot of businesses on thin margins that are going to be affected by this."

This remains true, even after the Conservatives lowered the GST by two points. Yet, now that Wall and Harper are in a position to do something, they're less willing to move.

1 comment:

Wolfman Brad said...

Lee, I've noticed your posts are devoid of any kind of commentary. You could at least tell us the position of the CTF instead of making us infer it. Quite frankly, if I want the news, I'll read the Globe and Mail.

And it must KILL you to be on the same side of an issue as the NDP! Why don't you tell them they got it right for a change?

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