With my annual summer listening tour underway, I have already heard concerns from many residents in different parts of our region.
One of the largest concerns is about high gas prices. For many who must commute to work, the higher prices can be devastating. Likewise for seniors on a fixed income who have to travel for medical appointments, the added costs cannot be recovered.
I have heard from many contract drivers who are not able to charge more, despite having significantly increased costs. Small business owners are receiving goods with significantly higher freight bills that must, in turn, be passed on to customers. For many this situation is causing serious financial hardship.
However, for those who strongly support carbon taxes on fuel, these higher gas prices are exactly what a carbon tax is designed to do.
When the federal finance minister was recently asked about higher gas prices and the crippling effect they are having on many Canadians, as well as the Canadian trucking industry, her response was clear.
“This price increase in fuel costs is a reminder of why climate action is so important” said deputy prime minister, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.
The challenge with this statement is that many countries, including our largest trading partner, the United States, do not have carbon taxes. Also, other G-7 countries, including the United States, are actively taking measures to reduce the price at gas pumps, recognizing higher gas prices have a compounding effect in significantly driving up inflation.
This Canadian government remains alone in the G-7 in taking no significant actions to reduce gas prices at the pumps.
Often, members the government will talk about carbon tax rebates, arguing some people come out further ahead.
The finance minister, who lives in Toronto, has publicly stated her family does not own a car. Certainly, for someone who lives in Toronto and does not own a vehicle, I have no doubt she would benefit from carbon tax rebates. However, how about someone who lives in Hedley, B.C.?
In Hedley, there are no supermarkets, no primary care clinics, no high schools, and extremely limited public transit options. One is forced to commute long distances for basic services.
There are many communities in our region where people are forced to commute for services that are not locally available and they are paying heavily right now.
My question this week:
Are you being adversely impacted by higher gas prices?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.