This week, the leader of the federal Conservatives, Pierre Poilievre, called on the Liberal government to pause the federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel for the summer road trip season. He also called for the GST and the federal carbon levy to be put on pause as well. This echoes a call being heard at the provincial level here in Saskatchewan from the opposition NDP for the Saskatchewan Party government to suspend the provincial gasoline tax.  

“Families who used to be able to afford vacations are living paycheque to paycheque, pinching pennies just to get by,” said NDP leader Carla Beck. “Everyone from Manitoba's NDP Premier Wab Kinew to federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre wants the gas tax suspended. This is a common-sense solution that Premier Moe could implement today with the stroke of a pen.”

Dustin Duncan, the MLA for Weyburn-Big Muddy, explained it isn’t as simple as just removing the tax, as where the revenues collected from it go is something many people have high on their list of priorities for government spending.  

“Every single dollar that’s collected in the gas tax goes into highways, and so one of the things that we’ve replied to in terms of the opposition’s call for us to remove the gas tax is that those are dollars that come directly out of the highways budget,” said Duncan.  

This year, the provincial budget includes $417 million for highway infrastructure. This includes $404 million for capital projects, as well as $13.3 million for capital grants for municipalities and industry partners. The capital portion includes upgrades, repairs and rebuilds of many highways, including the work to finish passing lanes and twinning along portions of Highway 39.  

“I think people in our constituency have seen the benefit of investing in highways, and see that there is always more work to be done,” Duncan added. “Now would not be the time to be taking out of the highways budget.” 

The call from the federal Conservatives for the pause on the taxes at the national level has also been met with resistance from the federal government. At this time, it appears there are no plans at the federal or provincial level to put a pause on any of the taxes collected on gasoline.