Kenney's gas tax stunt
The premier pivots to election mode to save his ass
On Monday, Premier Jason Kenney announced that starting April 1, just over a week before Kenney’s leadership review in Red Deer, his government will remove a 13-cent gas tax, as the price of oil remains extraordinarily high due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
And media outlets completely surrendered the framing of this policy to the premier’s intent. CBC News described Kenney’s move as a gesture to “help hard-hit consumers,” while Global said it was “an effort to give Albertans some relief on their bills.”
"This massive tax relief is a response to skyrocketing costs at the pump,” Kenney said at Monday’s presser, where he also announced a retroactive $150 electricity rebate. “And … provide Albertans with the relief that they need when the cost of everything is going up."
As long as the price of oil stays over US$90 a barrel, there will be no gas tax. When the price falls back below US$80, the tax will be brought back. As of writing the price of West Texas Intermediate is US$124.80.
Kenney described the policy as a “fiscally responsible measure that will only provide this relief if the province is generating significantly generous revenues.”
But the notion that the highest oil prices in years would make this a suitable time to re-examine the low royalty rate energy companies pay to extract Alberta crude, and perhaps use those funds to invest in more sustainable forms of energy, is entirely off the table.
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