I have written many times about the escalating costs in BC and if it feels worse in BC than in the rest of Canada, it’s because it is.
BC’s inflation has outpaced Canada’s average 10 out of the last 15 months.
When the federal government took action last week by eliminating the carbon tax on heating oils in the eastern provinces, many other provincial leaders asked for the same tax treatment in their provinces.
As many know, BC has it’s own carbon tax, and has full jurisdiction to make decisions on how it is applied.
I should also note that while previous BC premiers like Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark chose to hold carbon tax increases in tough times, premiers John Horgan and David Eby have declared that they will work in unison with the federal government to increase the carbon tax every year.
BC’s current carbon tax is $65 per tonne and will triple to $170 per tonne by 2030. These annual carbon tax increases will raise the price of a litre of gasoline by 26 cents by the end of the decade.
The government claims it offsets the financial burden to British Columbians but the so called ‘Climate Action Rebates’ are the lowest in the country, when compared to the federal rebates available in other provinces.
In this context, BC United Leader Kevin Falcon announced his plan last week that hyper-focused on alleviating the cost-of-living pressures felt by residents across British Columbia.
This would be a comprehensive strategy designed to provide immediate relief, and a much-needed economic respite to the province.
BC United’s vision is simple; make life more affordable by making it less expensive.
So what is this plan all about?
First off, we would end the pain at the pumps.
British Columbians need to get where they are going. We also need to move goods and services across our vast province by truck.
A BC United government would permanently eliminate the provincial fuel tax - a move that would provide an immediate saving of up to 15 cents per litre on gasoline and diesel, putting money back into the pockets of drivers.
Secondly, we would cancel any planned carbon tax hikes.
The proposal acknowledges that during a cost-of-living crisis, the additional financial load is unsustainable for many.
The next important step would be to remove the carbon tax from all home heating fuels. I have had many many residents tell me that they often choose to skip a meal in order to afford to heat their homes. Removing this carbon tax from all home heating would provide immediate and much needed relief to those that need it most.
The BC United plan will also focus on lowering food costs. The escalating price of groceries is a universal concern, and Falcon's strategy targets a root cause by removing the carbon tax from on-farm fuel use.
In only makes sense that by reducing operational costs for farmers will lead to lower prices at the checkout. Furthermore, the removal of the provincial fuel tax complements this approach, aiming to make a tangible difference in the cost of daily essentials.
Lastly, if the federal government eliminated all federal carbon tax while Kevin Falcon was premier, he promised to follow suit. A BC United government would not put BC at a competitive disadvantage as the only jurisdiction in Canada with a carbon tax.
These initiatives are not isolated economic moves but part of a thoughtful strategy to combat the cost-of-living crisis head-on. By focusing on areas of significant financial outflow such as transportation, home heating, and food, Falcon is directly targeting the pain points of British Columbians.
BC United's commitment under Falcon’s leadership is to turn the tide on the affordability crisis. It is a commitment to ensure that living in BC is not just viable but also financially sustainable for its residents.
Interestingly, most of these initiatives could happen tomorrow if the provincial government chose to.
As a BC United opposition, we have been asking for the premier to take action on affordability and in light of the federal government’s removal of carbon tax on home heating oil, we expect him to follow suit for British Columbians.
So far, he as stubbornly refused.
As the province looks to the future, it's time for a government that doesn't just acknowledge the hardships but takes decisive action to alleviate them, ensuring that the beautiful province of British Columbia is a place where affordability is a reality, not a struggle.
My question to you this week is this: Do you agree with the BC United announced plans on making your life more affordable?
I love hearing from you and I read every email.
Please email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call the office at 250-712-3620.