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Quebec premier says he’ll address soaring fuel prices, inflation in upcoming budget

Click to play video: 'Legault says provincial budget will address issue of inflation' Legault says provincial budget will address issue of inflation
WATCH: As the war in Ukraine rages – many Quebecers are feeling the pinch at the pump with the very real possibility of prices reaching $2.00 a litre in the near future. But as Global’s Gloria Henriquez reports, Premier François Legault says he has plans to help Quebec drivers deal with the surging fuel costs. – Mar 8, 2022

Premier François Legualt said his government is looking at ways to tackle inflation, acknowledging Tuesday that the increase in cost of living is hurting Quebecers.

An area of particular concern for many Quebecers is the dramatic increase in fuel prices since the outbreak of the Russian-led war in Ukraine.

Read more: Gas prices soar to record highs across Quebec and are expected to climb higher

Just last Thursday, the average price of regular gasoline in Montreal was a startling $1.77 per litre  according to CAA Quebec — an eight-cent jump in a 24-hour period.

On Tuesday, Montreal-area motorists were looking at prices closer to $1.90, according to GasBuddy, a website that tracks fuel prices in real-time.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, told Global News last week that seeing prices soar to $2.00 wasn’t out of the question.

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Read more: Gas prices continue to hit new records. Here’s how to save at the pump

The conflict in Ukraine and the crippling sanctions on Russia, the third-largest oil producer in the world, have combined with oil supply lagging behind demand to send the barrel price of oil to the highest it’s been in a decade.

The increase in oil prices won’t just affect Quebecers at the pump. With increasing costs of diesel used in industry, imports and exports are expected to be impacted as well, leading to increased prices of other goods and services.

“Wait till you see what this does to your grocery checkout. We are looking to a 25- to 35-per cent increase on food,” McTeague said.

Read more: As the war in Ukraine rages on, experts predict higher food prices for Canadians

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday that the province will stop collecting the provincial fuel tax and introduce an electricity rebate as a way to bring some relief to Albertans.

Legault, however, indicated that cutting the fuel tax wasn’t an option he favoured.

“I think it’s important to try to help people who have the most problem, not necessarily the people consuming the most,” he said.

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“We think that it’s more fair when we talk about price of gas, price of grocery, rent levels — it’s better to give a fixed amount a bit like we did in January. We gave $200 to $275 to people with low revenue.”

Read more: Quebec to table spring budget on March 22

Legault said the issue of inflation would be addressed in the upcoming provincial budget on March 22.

So of course, some opposition parties may make negative comment or positive comments,” he said. “So we’ll have a debate about our economy and how do we answer inflation problems.”

— with files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines and Gloria Henriquez

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