By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on January 16, 2024.
Lethbridge-based Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on Alberta Liberal MPs to urge their party leader and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to scrap carbon taxing on home heating.
Kris Sims on Monday said in a release that “”Alberta families are praying the power stays on and bracing themselves for the carbon tax bills on their home heating.
“With this blast of deep cold, heating our homes is a life-or-death necessity, not a luxury we should be taxed on.”
The province was plunged into subzero cold that last week that was severe enough for the Alberta Electric System Operator to issue warnings to Albertans to reduce their electricity consumption to prevent the possibility of rolling power outages.
The federal carbon tax costs 12 cents per cubic meter of natural gas and 10 cents per litre of propane. According to the CTF, an average home in Alberta uses roughly 2,800 cubic metres of natural gas per year with the carbon ta expected to cost them about $337 more to heat their home this winter.
The carbon tax is presently set at $65 per tonne. That price is set to rise to $170 per tonne by 2030. The tax is expected to rise to $80 on April 1.
While the Liberal government suspended the carbon tax on fuel oil which is used primarily for heat in Atlantic Canada, most homes in Alberta rely on natural gas with those in rural and remote areas using propane, says the CTF. Those two fuels still have the carbon tax.
‘”Government MPs in Atlantic Canada convinced Trudeau to spare their constituents the carbon tax punishment on home heating, so with overnight temperatures hitting minus 40, why haven’t Randy Boissonnault and George Chahal done the same for Albertans?” said Sims. “You will hear a lot about Trudeau’s rebates this week, but the PBO says average Alberta families will lose more than $900 due to the carbon tax this year, with rebates factored in,” asked Sims.
In a telephone interview Monday, Sims said she hopes the Liberals drop the carbon tax on home heating and says the odds of it are better now than a year ago.
“If you would have asked me this a year ago, I’d say the chances of Trudeau suspending the carbon tax on home heating would be zero. Now it isn’t zero because he clearly understands people can’t afford it and it’s wrong to tax people on home heating because he did so for furnace oil,” said Sims.
Furnace oil users are getting a three-year reprieve and a lot of people “are scratching our heads saying ‘OK, where’s my relief?’ Because here we are, it’s a necessity. If we don’t use it we will freeze to death or our pipes will burst or both. Where’s our $300 a year saving?
“I now think that the odds are improved and he could listen. They’re not zero,” added Sims.
“We do have two Liberal Members of Parliament in Alberta and they want to keep their jobs in the next election so let’s pressure them,” added Sims.
The carbon tax, said Sims, will cost Albertans $900 more even with rebates.
She said Albertans don’t get more back in rebates than what they pay in carbon.
“That’s not true. For the Alberta family, we’re going to be out net more than $900 this year.
“And that’s going to up. Next year I think it’s $1,100 we’re going to be out net.. .it all adds up.”
That $900 figure, says Sims, comes from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, which provides independent economic and financial analysis to Parliament.
The PBO, Yves Giroux, is “a neutral, non-partisan party independent of government” who helps senators and MPs with their work, says his office. For more than two decades he’s been involved in the federal budget process in different capacities.