Source: Facebook

Premier Danielle Smith refuted comparisons between her decision to reintroduce the province’s fuel tax with the decision to hike the federal carbon levy.

Both tax changes will be going into effect on April 1, the beginning of the fiscal year. 

Smith has been facing criticism for her decision to fully reinstate the tax after it was temporarily suspended in 2022. 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation was chief among critics, blasting the UCP government for the apparently contradictory approach. Smith also fielded criticisms from the opposition NDP. 

CTF Alberta director Kris Sims took to social media on Thursday to call the move “very disappointing.” 

“This increase of the provincial fuel tax is higher than the carbon tax increase on gasoline,” wrote Sims.  

“Easy to throw shoes at the Trudeau government over its callous increase of the carbon tax, but then cranking up your own fuel tax on the same day?”

Smith responded to the comparison on Friday saying that a fee for road usage is not akin to a blanket tax on everything that uses fossil fuels in production or transportation. 

“There’s sort of an implicit understanding that when people use the roads, they should pay a portion of the cost so that we can continue to repair them,” said Smith. “It’s part of the reason we brought in an electric vehicle tax as well this year to create that kind of parity.” 

Additionally, the UCP government has pointed to the fact that Alberta has some of the lowest gasoline prices in the country. 

Smith insisted that Albertans should place their ire at the feet of the federal Liberals over its “punitive taxes.” 

“That’s the thinking that we have. But the real problem is the federal government is continuing to just add punitive taxes onto people without any thought of where those dollars are going,” said Smith.

“We also know that the amount of rebate is actually lower than the cost people pay. And that’s where the real problem happens.”