Canada not ruling out gas tax break amid record inflation, cost of living concerns: Freeland

By Cormac Mac Sweeney and Hana Mae Nassar

As many Canadians continue to struggle with the high cost of living, the country’s deputy prime minister has hinted the federal government isn’t closing the door on the option of reducing gas taxes.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says if the government needs to do more to address the rising cost of inflation, it will.

“We’re going to watch the affordability challenges that Canadian families are facing very, very carefully. And we are prepared to do more, if necessary,” she said Monday.

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However, her comments came after she said Canada is different than the United States, which is actively considering a gas tax holiday.

“Consumers are really hurting from higher gas prices. It’s been a substantial burden on American households and I think, while not perfect, it is something that should be under consideration,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

The U.S. decision on its gas tax measure is expected later this week.

Meanwhile, Freeland also spoke about boosts to supports for Canadians struggling with inflation and carbon tax rebates.

Just last week, Freeland detailed financial commitments the government previously announced in a bid to help ease concerns. She highlighted the federal government’s “Affordability Plan,” which she referred to as a suite of measures totalling $8.9 billion in new support for Canadians in 2022. These measures were included in the past two federal budgets.

On Thursday, she called the recent skyrocketing inflation we’ve been seeing as a “global phenomenon” that’s been driven by lasting impacts of the pandemic, as well as other factors, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Conservatives have been pushing for weeks for a suspension of federal taxes on gas, in order to give Canadians a break at the pump.

Gas prices have shattered records in recent months, with many areas seeing a litre of regular go for more than $2.

In Metro Vancouver, which is seeing some of the highest figures, prices dropped several cents over the weekend. However, a litre of regular continues to cost over $2, with some stations posting $2.179 as of Monday morning.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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