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B.C. government won’t delay carbon tax hikes in face of sky-high gas prices

Government defends new carbon tax
WATCH: With gas prices hitting record levels, the BC Liberals are demanding the NDP government rethink the new carbon tax coming in April. Keith Baldrey has more.

The B.C. government is not considering delaying an increase in the carbon tax by $5 a tonne on April 1, 2019.

The tax is set to move to $35 a tonne at the beginning of April and will increase prices at the gas pumps, as well as for the province’s businesses.

“It’s what business in British Columbia wants and that is what we are giving them,” said Heyman.

“What we are going to do for low- and moderate-income British Columbians is ensure they get a rebate that will mitigate the effect of the carbon tax and leave British Columbians far better off than they would have been under the plan of the previous Liberal government.”

READ MORE: Pipeline problems, not carbon taxes, the bigger factor in energy competitiveness

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The BC Liberals raised the issue in Question Period on Monday.

Based on numbers crunched by the opposition, by the time the carbon tax hits $45 per tonne in 2020/21, the cost per litre of gas will go from 6.7 cents per litre to 10.01 cents per litre.

The tax is scheduled to go up by $5 a tonne in each of the next four years. A compact car with a 65-litre gas tank would see carbon fuel tax rise from $4.35 per tank to $7.23 per tank, for a $2.88 increase per fill up.

The Liberals calculated that an SUV with an 80-litre tank would see carbon fuel tax rise from 5.36 per tank to $8.01, a $2.64 increase. A truck with 128 litres would see an increase from $8.58 per tank to $12.81, an increase of $4.23.

“We are in an era of big NDP government,” said BC Liberal MLA Jas Johal. “Nobody believes that increased taxation is good for the economy. Under the NDP plan, the price of gas is going up at least five cents a litre.”

READ MORE: Thousands march in Burnaby to protest Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

But the carbon tax isn’t the only factor that could send gas prices skyrocketing.

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The Alberta government announced last week that it will consider legislature that would ban the shipment of oil and gas to B.C. if the province stands in the way of the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Analysts have said that closing the taps could drive gas prices above $2 per litre.

“I want to come in the legislature when the opposition will not fear-monger about events that will never happen,” Heyman said in response to questions about the gas prices in the range of $2 to $3 per litre.

WATCH HERE: Gas prices could hit $1.54 a litre by the weekend in Metro Vancouver

Gas prices could hit $1.54 a litre by the weekend in Metro Vancouver
Gas prices could hit $1.54 a litre by the weekend in Metro Vancouver

The B.C. government is still powering on with a legal case that could give the province the right in the eyes of the court to restrict the flow of bitumen by pipeline or by rail through the province.

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Lawyer Joseph Arvay has been hired as external counsel to the government to prepare a present a reference case. The province has not decided the court within which to pursue the case in or how long it may take to present both the reference question or appear in a court room.

“He has won a number of landmark cases on constitutional matters at the Supreme Court. We look forward to working with him to reiterate what we believe in B.C.’s jurisdictions to protect our environment,” said Heyman.