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Fitzgibbon believes the gas tax should be raised

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “Lower taxes on fuel? I think we should raise them,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon.

The Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, is banking on more transparency to reduce price differences at the pump in Quebec. But at the same time he considers that the tax on gasoline is not high enough.

The elected CAQ member made this astonishing statement Thursday, at the very end of a press briefing on the profit margins of gasoline distributors in certain regions of Quebec. “Lower taxes on fuel ? I think we should raise them, if we do something,” he told the parliamentary press before leaving the room.

This speech breaks with the historic position of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government, which has always refused to impose tax increases on taxpayers. Contacted for details on Thursday, Mr. Fitzgibbon's office did not respond to our questions. However, a few minutes later, the minister went to the social network »

At the CAQ, tax increases are far from being a habit. The Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, for example, has already described the addition of taxes – penalties – on polluting vehicles as a “bad idea”.

“We don’t want to increase the consumer’s bill even further,” he said during the 2022 election campaign, commenting on Quebec Solidaire’s proposed tax on the purchase of a gasoline vehicle. “The great danger is to create an aversion to mobilization. We must mobilize the population and not turn them against us. »

$0.19 This is the current amount of gas tax per liter.

During a leaders' debate, Mr. Legault, since returned to power, also accused the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, of wanting to add taxes on gasoline. “How much are you talking about ? Thirty cents a gallon, a dollar a gallon ?” he asked. “It comes out of nowhere,” replied the PQ leader, who was in fact proposing a tax on the “excess profits” of oil companies.

The gas tax currently stands at approximately $0.19 per litre. Last year, the same Pierre Fitzgibbon suggested that the gasoline vehicle fleet would have to be reduced by at least a third by 2050 for Quebec to meet its greenhouse gas reduction objectives. “Pierre, he read a lot of reports on environmentalists this summer,” Prime Minister Legault joked, before adding: “We still have to be realistic. »

No more, the floor price

Pierre Fitzgibbon released a report on Thursday on the gasoline retail market in Quebec.

In this document commissioned last year, Robert Clark, professor of economics at Queen's University, recommends eliminating the floor price on gasoline, in order to reduce costs at the pump for motorists. The expert also suggests that the government demonstrate more transparency on the price of gasoline by making “higher frequency price data available to consumers.”

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These two recommendations will be followed by the Legault government. Mr. Fitzgibbon intends to take advantage of the tabling of his energy bill, between now and the end of the parliamentary session, to abolish the floor price on gasoline, which has not had the expected effects — it is that is to say, to avoid the consolidation of the big players in the industry – according to him.

The establishment of a “transparency regime” will allow consumers to “go where it’s cheaper,” added Mr. Fitzgibbon, who thereby hopes to reduce the price gap between the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches regions and the rest of Quebec. “It’s the best we can do for now,” he said.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116