Quebec pays less fuel taxes with Trudeau's 'special deal'

Suppose the fundamental unfairness surrounding equalization wasn't enough to have you fuming with Canada's current state of affairs. In that case, you can add the federal carbon tax to the mix.

Quebec pays less fuel taxes with Trudeau's 'special deal'
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld & The Canadian Press / Ryan Remiorz
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On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau permitted Quebec to pay a lower carbon tax than every other province in the federation.

“Trudeau is giving Quebec a special deal on carbon taxes and giving other Canadians higher gas prices and heating bills,” said Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “The solution is simple: Trudeau should scrap his carbon tax and lower gas prices and home heating bills across Canada.”

Provinces had two choices: they either implemented their carbon tax system, or Ottawa imposed a carbon tax. Quebec did the former and legislated its own.

Quebec's provincial cap and trade carbon tax currently costs about nine cents per litre of gas and must stay above 4.8 cents per litre next year. Quebec's provincial carbon tax will rise to 22.5 cents per litre of gas by 2030, according to La Presse.

“This estimate is based on a set of assumptions, including a price for PEPS [carbon market] emission allowances of $97 per tonne in 2030, which is consistent with private sector forecasts,” said a document provided to the media.

Other provinces will see the carbon tax amount to 37 cents per litre of gas by 2030 at $170 per tonne.

Quebec's Environment Minister Benoit Charette estimates it will achieve 51% of its GHG emissions target and reduce emissions by 15.9 megatonnes by 2030 compared to 1990.

With the inherent fairness of the federal carbon tax facing immense scrutiny, Albertan households are on the hook to lose upwards of $1,017 annually. In contrast, neighbouring Saskatchewan and Manitoba lose up to $495 and $310, respectively.

Even Ontarians will lose $113 each year by 2030.

According to the government backgrounder on the federal carbon tax, they “[remain] committed to ensuring that carbon pricing is in place across Canada at a similar level of stringency."

However, Terrazzano doesn't buy the malarkey.

He called out the Trudeau Liberals' dealings with Quebec, adding: “[It] shows the carbon tax was always about politics, not the environment.”

Between 2018 and 2022, the federal carbon tax backstop increased by $10 per tonne per year, reaching $50 per tonne in 2022.

Following back-to-back annual carbon tax hikes, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) estimated in a report released in late June that it would add $120 per tonne in carbon tax by 2030.

By 2030, Albertans will pay 67.8 cents in fuel taxes per litre of gas, while Saskatchewan and Manitoba will pay over 80 cents.

Assuming Quebec paid the $170 per tonne federal carbon tax, they would face a whooping 107.1 cents in fuel taxes per litre of gas. However, this also accounts for their self-imposed 19.2 cents provincial excise tax and 19.5 cents provincial sales tax.

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