Cost of new clean fuel standard a second carbon tax

Two carbon taxes

One of the issues that recently came to light in Ottawa is the cost of the new clean fuel standard, which is basically, a second carbon tax.

This is at a time when inflation and interest rates are still high and families and small business finances are still squeezed.

According to an analysis by the office of the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), the second carbon tax is estimated to cost the average Canadian household an additional $573 per year. That is without any rebates, and with families in some provinces facing costs as high as $1,157.

The PBO’s past analysis showed a majority of Canadians already are further behind, net any rebates they may get, based on the first carbon tax.

The PBO reports the combined impact of both carbon taxes will result in an additional 61 cents per litre of gasoline once fully in effect. The first carbon tax will cost 41 cents per litre, the second 17 cents per litre, and with three cent per litre GST added on, it will add up to the 61 cents per litre. The GST on these carbon taxes is nothing more than a tax on a tax.

This will also significantly affect the cost of anything shipped—whether it be food, medicine, home appliances, construction supplies or anything else we buy.

The PBO also confirmed this tax will shrink our economy with predictions British Columbia will see a GDP contraction because of the carbon tax policies. The additional costs associated with carbon taxes hinder economic growth and competitiveness as a trading nation.

These policies come at a time when Canadians are struggling with a cost-of-living crisis, and a reported one in five people are skipping meals due to 40-year high inflation.

I have heard from many members of our community who are worried the additional costs will significantly affect the affordability of gas, heat and groceries, further straining household budgets. Local food bank use is up more than 30% already.

Despite previously claiming the PBO is a non-partisan and trustworthy source, the environment and climate change minister has disputed the findings, saying it is an “incomplete analysis”.

Conservatives are committed to common sense policies by eliminating the carbon taxes and bringing home affordability for Canadians. It is important we protect the environment through technological advancements and innovation, reduce global GHG emissions through LNG exports, incentivizing carbon capture and storage and speeding up approval processes for tidal energy, nuclear and hydro.

If you need assistance with programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out, at 250-470-5075 or at [email protected]

Tracy Gray is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Making laws for Kelowna-Lake Country

MP's effort to support bills

I am always looking for every opportunity to bring the voice of Kelowna-Lake Country to Ottawa, and one way to do this is by seconding of a Private Members Bill.

In this report, I want to highlight some of the legislation I've seconded in the House of Commons that can impact many in our community. And, as a reminder, I also tabled my own Private Members Bill, C-283 the “End the Revolving Door Act”, which aims to get mental health assessments and mental health and addiction recovery in federal penitentiaries.

A Saskatchewan Conservative MP’s bill, C-318, is a proposed law that seeks to provide equity to families of adoptive and intended (surrogate) parents.

While any new parent today will receive parental benefits, adoptive and intended parents do not receive maternity benefits and, therefore, fewer weeks of benefits. We rightfully recognize that time for attachment with a child is vital, and is needed for all parents. Forming a loving bond can come with extra challenges, especially when it has been estimated that most children adopted in Canada are over the age of 10 at the time of placement or, if the child has a disability or developmental challenges, who need extra care and attention.

If passed, C-318 will be inclusive to all parents and provide adoptive and intended parents the same benefits, in terms of both dollars and weeks, that non-adoptive parents receive through parental and maternity benefits.

I spoke about this legislation in the House of Commons and said how this bill is close to my heart, as I was adopted at birth.

A Nova Scotia Conservative MP’s bill, C-323, is proposed legislation seeking to exempt psychotherapy and mental health counseling services from GST. Under current law, counseling therapists and psychotherapists are the only regulated mental health service providers who must remit tax on their work.

It's no secret too many Canadians have their mental health needs unmet. According to Health Canada statistics, nearly one-quarter of Canadians over the age of 15 self-report having unmet mental health needs.

An Angus Reid poll showed 54% of Canadians said their mental health worsened over the past couple of years, so there are more people than ever who may be reaching out.
Government should not leave unfair and inequitable financial burdens upon those seeking help or those offering their services to help. This bill is one tool that could help.

Lastly, a B.C. Conservative MP’s bill, C-313—brought forth by a former Crown prosecutor—is a proposed law that seeks to reform our bail system by raising the floor on which an individual will be eligible for bail after committing a crime with a firearm when they were already prohibited from possessing one.

In the last eight years, we've seen a shocking rise in violent crime, with a doubling of gang-related homicides since 2019. In Toronto, just last year more than half the people charged with gun murders were out on bail at the time of the crime they were charged for.

Putting the burden on repeat violent offenders to justify why they should continue to walk the streets is a common sense thing to do. I know from the many responses to my recent bail reform questionnaire that this is an issue people in our community are passionately concerned with.

Improving the public safety of our communities is a basic responsibility of government and this bill could help better achieve that.

These are just a few pieces of legislation I'm working on with my colleagues from across the country on behalf of our community, and I always welcome your feedback.

If you need assistance with programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out, at 250-470-5075 or at [email protected]

Tracy Gray is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

MP connecting with people, groups and organizations in the community

MP out and about in riding

With the House of Commons in Ottawa now in our spring session until the end of June, it was wonderful to spend as much time as possible during the recent constituency weeks at home, meeting with many residents one-on-one, attending activities and events and being out volunteering.

I wanted use this column to give a rundown of some of my activities in the community where I connect with people, which helps me advocate in Ottawa and to know what is important to constituents.

April marks some important religious dates celebrated in our community, including Easter, Passover, Vaisakhi and Ramadan, with many residents opening their hearts, wallets. It is also a time to help the less fortunate.

I was proud to lend a helping hand serving meals alongside many hard-working volunteers at the Kelowna Gospel Mission's Easter dinner and at the Mission Hall Easter pancake breakfast event. I was also happy to rally volunteers and help again at the annual Rutland community clean-up to keep neighbourhoods and parks clean.

Local not-for-profits serve on the front lines helping people and it’s important to me to connect with them. Organizations like Jewels of Hope are vital in helping vulnerable women. Groups like the Food for Thought Program, Central Okanagan Food Bank and Lake Country Food Bank feed an ever-increasing number of struggling families.

The KGH Foundation and the newly opened Vision Loss Rehabilitation Centre are working hard to ensure that those needing specialized medical care or services can receive them here at home.

With local businesses continuing to struggle with inflation and interest rate hikes. Connecting with entrepreneurs at events put on by the Uptown Rutland Business Association and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce are vital for me to hear what issues are important to their members. I also sat down with the owners of a local brew pub and a local craft distillery to hear how the government's newest excise tax hikes will affect them, as well as other business challenges they have.

Similarly, it was great to see so many of our talented local artisans, growers and small business owners at the Kelowna Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market season opening, as well as at The Woman's Fair.

It was a privilege to be a guest speaker at the Lake Country Rotary Club and at a UBCO political science (event) as these are always great chances for me to give an update on my work and answer questions.

I also had the opportunity to connect with many childcare providers to discuss the effects of federal childcare legislation.

It was also wonderful to connect with some of our many cultural communities. There was a Ukrainian Easter Bazaar, Hindu events, the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club’s 57th anniversary and several Sikh community activities, including celebrating Vaisakhi. I also attended a lecture with Mehrsa Maali to hear about the challenges currently facing Iranian women in Iran.

Finally, one of the great honours I have in serving as your MP is recognizing residents for their acts of accomplishment, inspiration and service by presenting a parliamentary certificate and community service medallion.

During the last month, I've had the privilege to acknowledge locals Liz Borrett, the first woman of her age group to complete six major world marathons and consistently win in her age category, Marshall Orton, a local hero who helped save someone who had a diabetic emergency and Brad Hartridge, a RCMP officer who helped stranded children in Kelowna on Christmas eve.

I will be home as much as possible on weekends, so maybe I’ll see you out in the community.

Do not hesitate to reach out if you need assistance with federal programs or would like to let me know your thoughts, issues or ideas.

Tracy Gray is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

The housing crisis in Canada is very real says MP

Housing crisis needs action

The issue of housing is something I’ve heard more and more about over the last few years, and continues to be top of mind to many in Kelowna-Lake Country, especially with the rise in interest rates a record eight times over the past year.

That is why Conservatives asked the government ahead of the budget to introduce a plan to bring down inflation and bring homes people can afford. Unfortunately, Budget 2023’s plans on housing are sorely lacking.

Despite the federal government’s claims of taking the housing issue seriously, their latest budget has only six pages dedicated to housing measures, in a document that is nearly 300 pages long.

One of the hallmark items the government announced to help with home ownership is a Tax-Free First Home Savings Account. Outside of the fact that Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) are already available for Canadians, this account would only benefit those who are actually able to save money.

That is backed up by Statistics Canada data which shows credit card debt in Canada has risen 14% since 2021to $93 billion. The facts is, since the current federal government took office, the average down payment needed to buy the average house has doubled. The average mortgage payment has doubled. The average cost of rent has doubled. Nine out of 10 young people believe they’ll never be able to afford a home, and a recent Ipsos poll reported more than 60% of Canadians who presently do not own a home have given up on ever owning one.

Even for those who own a home, maintaining ownership has become harder with interest rate hikes and the impacts of rising inflation and taxes which have spiked the cost of gas, groceries and home heating. I recently heard from a local senior who said she would like to be able to live alone, but has to live with three other people just to get by.

Recently, CIBC reported one in five of the mortgages in their portfolio are in a position where the borrower’s monthly payment is not high enough to even cover the interest, let alone the principal mortgage, and are seeing their loan balances grow despite continuing to pay their mortgage monthly.

In Parliament, I currently sit on the Human Resources committee, and one of the areas this committee has a mandate on is housing. Our committee has undertaken studies in this area and have called the housing minister and the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) to answer questions from committee members on their inaction on this file. It was disappointing that the housing minister refused to even acknowledge that we are in a housing crisis, with even one of his Liberal colleagues on the committee calling it a crisis.

CMHC data for January 2023 showed that new housing starts were at the lowest level since 2020, and Canada now has the lowest number of housing units per 1,000 residents of any G7 country.

The most recent Angus Reid data showed that fully one-in-three Canadians are either in “bad” or “terrible” shape financially and 35% are deferring or not making contributions to an RRSP or TFSA, an increase of 13% just since September.

This shows how out of touch the federal government is with making a TFSA a new hallmark of their housing strategy.

All the data points to one thing – we are in a housing crisis, even if the federal housing minister doesn’t think so, and the government needs to act to remove gatekeepers, and get more houses built.

The government also needs to put forth budgets that won’t perpetuate inflation, like the 2023 high debt, high spent, and high tax Budget which will leave more people behind.

If you need assistance with programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out, at 250-470-5075 or at [email protected].

Tracy Gray is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More In Your Service articles

About the Author

Tracy Gray, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is her party's critic for Employment, Future Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

She is a member of the national caucus committee’s credit union caucus, wine caucus, and aviation caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award, worked for 27 years in the B.C. beverage industry.

She founded and owned Discover Wines VQA Wine Stores, which included the No. 1 wine store in B.C. for 13 years. She has been involved in small businesses in different sectors — financing, importing, oil and gas services and a technology start-up — and is among the “100 New Woman Pioneers in B.C."

Gray was a Kelowna city councillor for the 2014 term, sat on the Passenger Transportation Board from 2010-2012 and was elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the boards of the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library and was chairwoman of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

She volunteers extensively in the community and welcomes connecting with residents.

She can be reached at 250-470-5075, and [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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