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Opposition pushing B.C. government for tax breaks at the pump

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The opposition hammered the provincial government Monday about affordability, pressing it to eliminate or reduce provincial fuel taxes — like other provinces, for example Manitoba — have done, a measure not present in last week's budget. 

“Drivers got hosed this weekend when the premier refused to cut gas taxes while prices surged 14 cents in Metro Vancouver,” said BC United MLA, Lorne Doerkson.

Premier Eby said Monday the province is providing different affordbalility measures, including its one-time electricity credit, valued at about $100, and says removing the provincial fuel tax, as Alberta temporarily did, wouldn’t help consumers.

“All they did was increase proifits for the oil and gas companies, we’re just not going to take that approach here,” said Eby.

Carson Binda with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation disagrees, citing lower prices for gas in Alberta.

He says the average driver would save $10 every time they filled up if the provincial fuel taxes were gassed.

“Gas taxes add to the cost of living -- every time a truck brings a load of cabbages from the farm to the processing plant -- gas taxes,” said Binda.

And there are more taxes coming for drivers. In just over a month -- on April 1 -- the carbon tax will go up to $80 a tonne from $65 per tonne. For drivers, that will mean an extra 3 cents a litre at the pump.

Although the carbon tax is administered by the B.C. government, the carbon tax is mandated by Ottawa, so while both BC United and the BC Conservatives oppose the hike, they both say they'd reduce other taxes -- specifically the provincial fuel tax -- to help drivers.

“(We would take) measures to make sure there is not increase in the cost of fuels due to taxation,” said BC Conservative leader John Rustad.

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