Life is getting expensive.
Inflation is the highest in a generation.
I am pushing the government to provide immediate relief, by temporarily removing the GST from gas and diesel.
Every time you fill up at your local gas station or go through the check-out at the grocery store you are constantly reminded that your paycheck or pension doesn’t go as far as it once did.
While we’ve been raising these issues for months, I cannot point to a single policy change the Liberal government has enacted to respond to this cost-of-living crisis.
I fear how bad it must get out there to finally, finally shake this government out of their slumber.
The bears are coming out of hibernation at this time of year, and I urge the Liberals to do the same.
Time is of the essence and inaction is inexcusable.
There are going to be a few more bumps along the way for Canadians and I urge them to brace themselves and their wallets.
The federal carbon tax is about to go up on April 1st.
According to the Canada Revenue Agency, the price increase translates to 8.8 cents per litre of gasoline for the regular consumer.
Supply chains are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the war crimes committed by the Putin regime and the Russian military are not only killing thousands of innocent Ukrainians, but the impact of this illegal invasion is also being felt around the world.
Its shock was immediately felt on global markets, such as the price of energy and the price of commodities.
While I am fully aware there are external pressures driving up the price of energy and food, that is no excuse for the government to not act.
I am thinking of the seniors who have reached out about how the price of groceries, rent, utilities and just putting gas in the car is getting out of reach.
I am thinking of the parents in my riding who go into town to drop their kids off at school or to pick up their groceries.
I am thinking of the student who must drive into the city to go to Brandon University or to Assiniboine Community College.
No one is immune to the rising price of gas.
The only difference is some people can afford paying the extra hundreds of bucks per month, while most others are getting crushed by it.
Seniors on fixed incomes and working families are struggling and this government is drowning in their own talking points rather than proposing solutions.
With the price of gas skyrocketing in the last month, it has resulted in hardship and hard choices for families and seniors.
A politician must have their head further in the sand than an ostrich to not recognize what is happening.
The simplest and easiest way to provide some relief for my constituents facing the rising cost of gas is to temporarily wave the GST off gas and diesel.
This policy could be implemented without needing to set up a new program.
It wouldn’t involve growing the size of government or people needing to fill out a form.
It could be implemented quickly and would provide at least some relief for those who are most struggling.
As a fierce defender of the rural way of life, it is my responsibility as a Parliamentarian to ensure those voices are heard.
While the City of Brandon is the largest community, it is also the regional hub where people drive in from all over the region every single day.
It is not unusual to drive 75 or 100 kms every day just to get to work or go to school.
Or in some cases, someone who lives in one town must drive to the next town over to go to work.
It’s very common for a teacher, a nurse, a social worker, or someone in the construction industry to drive from one town to another.
Or a senior that needs to drive to their doctor’s appointment or the pharmacy.
These examples are not just unique to my constituency, they’re happening in every province in the country.
People drive pickup trucks either for work, for their daily lives, or simply due to the fact they need four-wheel drive for the blustery prairie blizzards.
There are no buses, subways, or LRTs anywhere in sight.
There are also no taxis, Ubers, or Lyfts.
There are simply no public transit alternatives for people who must get from point A to point B.
And while the reward of living in rural Canada is too great to put in words, the consequence is paying for a lot of fuel.
That is the cost of living in a small community, one that many do as they raise their family or decide to retire outside a major town or city.
It’s time to provide immediate relief, such as temporarily removing the GST from gas and diesel.
And for those wondering why target the GST and not other taxes, it’s because unlike other static taxes, the GST is also a tax on a tax.
When the price of gas goes up and the carbon tax goes, the GST goes up.
It is just one way this government could acknowledge that our constituents are facing severe hardship due to the dramatic escalation in gas prices.
This proposal is guaranteed to provide tax relief.
It acknowledges the government can reduce the financing pinch that families and seniors are facing at the pump.
It also acknowledges that rural Canadians and those who must commute are struggling to put fuel in their cars and trucks to get to work or take care of their families.