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The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

The collective blood pressure of Ontario taxpayers surged over the weekend as gas prices hit record levels across the province.

In large part, hardworking taxpayers can blame the federal government for soaring costs.

For the first time ever, gas prices in Ontario crossed the $1.50 per litre threshold.

A family that took their minivan and sedan to fill up for the workweek faced a $200 bill.

As the pandemic enters its third year, many families cannot afford such high gas prices. Far too many Ontarians have lost their jobs, seen their hours cut, or were forced to close the doors of their family business.

While governments don’t control the price of oil, they have much more control over gas prices than they let on.

The hard truth politicians don’t want taxpayers to know is that taxes make up a third of the price at the pumps.

When gas prices hit $1.50 per litre in Ontario last week, the actual price of gas, before taxes, was $1.02 per litre.

That’s right: 48 cents gets added to the price of every litre of gas because of taxes in Ontario.

To make matters worse, politicians in Canada are driving gas prices even higher.

While politicians in countries like India and South Korea are cutting gasoline taxes to help struggling taxpayers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to hike taxes for the third time in this pandemic on April 1, increasing the carbon tax from $40 per tonne to $50 per tonne.

That carbon tax increase will mean another 2.2 cents per litre of taxes for drivers at the pumps, bringing the total tax burden for Ontario drivers to 50 cents.

And that’s just the beginning. Trudeau plans to hike the carbon tax all the way to $170 per tonne by 2030.

Today, the carbon tax costs drivers 8.8 cents per litre of gasoline. By 2030, it will be costing drivers 37 cents.

The Trudeau government is also bringing in new fuel regulations that are essentially a second carbon tax. That will drive the cost of gas up by a further 11 cents.

If the federal carbon tax were to be fully in place today, drivers would feel their blood pressure spike even higher, with the cost per litre hitting $1.90.

Thanks to the Trudeau plan, by 2030 gas prices will be at least 27 per cent higher than they are today.

That means the same family filling up their sedan and minivan for the workweek will be facing a bill of over $250. Lower- and middle-income families can’t afford to be spending over $1,000 a month to fill up their cars just to drive to work, drop their kids off at school, and get to hockey practice.

And, of course, gas receipts aren’t the only place families are seeing higher prices. With high gas and carbon taxes driving up the cost of shipping, nearly everything is getting more expensive, including weekly bills at the grocery store.

As Ontarians desperately look for relief at the pumps, Premier Doug Ford has a political opening.

Ontarians have been waiting for four years for Ford to deliver on his promise to cut gas taxes by 5.7 cents per litre, which could save Ontario families $400 per year.

With hardworking taxpayers facing the prospect of eight more years of Trudeau carbon tax hikes, Ontarians desperately need tax relief at the pumps.

Ford has called the carbon tax “the single worst tax on the backs of Canadians that’s ever existed.”

Ford isn’t wrong. But before he can bill himself as a taxpayer crusader, Ford needs to deliver on his own promise to lower Ontarians’ gas prices.

Jay Goldberg is the Ontario Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

When Ontario Premier Doug Ford was running for office, he promised to deliver tax relief for Ontario families and businesses.

“We have a very simple theory,” said Ford during the 2018 provincial election campaign. “Put money back into the taxpayers’ pocket instead of the government’s pocket, because we believe that the taxpayers are a lot smarter at spending their money than any government.”

If that’s really how Ford feels, he has a strange way of showing it.

Taxpayers were promised that the second income tax bracket would be reduced by 20 per cent.

Three years later, an income tax cut is nowhere in sight.

Ford also pledged to deliver relief for drivers at the pumps.

While Ford did repeal the previous government’s cap-and-trade carbon tax scheme which lowered gas prices by 4.3 cents per litre, the Progressive Conservative government has yet to reduce the gas excise tax by 5.7 cents per litre, as promised.

For months, Ford has told taxpayers a gas tax cut is coming. But, according to the premier, Ontarians will have to wait up to another four months to get it.

With near-record-high prices at the pumps, Ontarians need relief now. It’s time for Ford to end his political posturing and finally deliver relief for hardworking families.

During the 2018 election campaign, Ford also promised to cut corporate taxes.

Reducing the corporate tax rate from 11.5 to 10.5 per cent would “enable businesses to create good paying jobs and attract businesses back to Ontario,” said Ford in 2018.

Ontario needs to attract businesses now more than ever. Nearly two years into the pandemic, Ontario has yet to fully recover its lost private sector jobs. Government jobs, on other hand, are up to the tune of tens of thousands.

If Ford truly believes in cutting business taxes to help spur economic growth and job creation, he should do it.

The income, gas, and corporate tax cuts were the three central pillars of the Progressive Conservative plan for tax relief in 2018. In terms of delivering on those priorities, Ford is zero for three.

A little more than six months from now, Ford will be asking Ontario voters to hand him the keys to Queen’s Park for another four years.

Ford has crisscrossed the province in recent months claiming “promises made, promises kept” as he makes billions of dollars in pre-election spending announcements.

But Ford seems to keep his promises only when it comes to spending tax dollars.

He has failed time and again to reduce the tax burden for hardworking Ontarians. While Ford keeps telling taxpayers that the government is the “worst place you can hand your money over” to, he’s spending taxpayer dollars at a record pace.

The government’s fall economic update showed that spending is going up in literally every sector of government.

Three years into his four-year term, Ford is proving himself to be a free-spending premier of historic proportions.

He’s saying yes to spending and no to tax cuts.

Since the 2018 election, Ontario’s provincial debt has exploded by over $30 billion. That includes more than $5 billion of new debt before the pandemic ever hit Ontario’s shores.

Ford promised to fight for taxpayers, but the province already spending more than $1 billion per month paying interest on the provincial debt. He’s actually taking money out of the wallets of future generations.

Ontarians elected Ford three years ago to cut their taxes. It’s time for Ford to do the job he was sent to Queen’s Park to do.

Jay Goldberg is the Ontario Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

Promises don’t pay the bills, but at least Premier Doug Ford is reaffirming is commitment to make life a little more affordable.

Ford says he’s planning on keeping his election promise to lower prices at the gas pumps and he’s calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to deliver federal relief.

Last week, when he was pressed by the media asking if he planned to keep his 2018 election promise to lower the provincial gas tax by 5.7 cents a litre, Ford indicated he planned to do exactly that.

“I will commit to the promises,” said Ford. “Promises made, promises kept.”

While it’s encouraging that Ford has committed to lowering provincial gas taxes before next June’s provincial election, politicians are notoriously forgetful about their promises.

It’s up to taxpayers to hold Ford to his word and to fight for lower fuel taxes.

While a 5.7 cent per litre gas tax cut may not sound like a big deal for well-heeled drivers filling up a Benz, it will mean real savings for everyday Ontario families.

A family filling-up their minivan once a week will save over $200 a year with this single gas tax cut. That buys a decent haul of groceries for a family of four. And, with millions of Ontario families just $200 away from not being able to pay their bills every month, the impact of that kept promise will be felt in a real way.

But at his press conference, Ford went an important step further. He challenged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to lower federal gasoline taxes and insisted Ontario would match any federal cuts.

He also called on Trudeau to scrap the federal carbon tax, which is driving up prices exponentially.

While Ford’s efforts to reduce prices at the pumps are welcome in Ontario, it is the soaring Trudeau carbon tax that will be the key culprit causing gas prices to skyrocket even more.

Ford’s gas tax cut would be wiped out by Trudeau’s planned carbon tax hikes between now and 2024.

Trudeau is planning to raise the carbon tax from 9 cents per litre to 38 cents per litre by 2030. And his new fuel regulations will add another 11 cents per litre. That would make gas prices in Ontario $1.89 per litre.

These high fuel taxes also make diesel cost more, driving up the price of trucking nearly everything we eat and use in Canada.

Millions of Ontario families need a car to drive to work, take their kids to school and shop for groceries. For them, driving is a necessity, not a luxury. And most families don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around to run out and buy an electric car.

The stark reality is carbon taxes haven’t been proven to reduce emissions.

Look at British Columbia.

B.C. drivers pay the highest gas prices in North America. B.C. was also the first province to adopt a carbon tax. But the province’s emissions are going up, not down.

According to federal government data, emissions in British Columbia have gone up 11 per cent over the past four years.

Politicians at every level have recognized that Canadians are facing an affordability crisis. With inflation ticking upwards and gas prices soaring, Canadians are feeling the squeeze. Our politicians should be trying to help taxpayers get by, not stand in their way.

Ontarians welcome Ford’s recommitment to his pledge to reduce gas taxes and now we want to see it happen. In the meantime, Ontarians also need to turn our attention to Ottawa and tell the Trudeau government that taxpayers cannot afford almost $2 per litre gasoline.

Jay Goldberg is the Interim Ontario Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.