Kenora MP, Eric Melillo has had a busy week in Ottawa. Due to the rising costs of gas, Melillo is asking the federal government to remove the recently introduced Carbon Tax increase and introduce a GST break.

On April 1, 2022, Ottawa implemented its latest Carbon Tax increase, which then caused gas prices to spike by 2.2 cents per litre.

“I’ve been calling on the government to reduce those taxes to help make things easier for folks in Northwestern Ontario and Canadians from coast to coast actually,” says Melillo.

Currently, the price of gasoline in Kenora is sitting around 182.0 cents per litre, with the price in Dryden sitting at 185.9 cents per litre. The price of gas in Sioux Lookout couldn’t be determined at the time of publishing.

Since the beginning of 2022, the price of gasoline in Kenora has risen almost 30 cents, which has continuously broken records in the process.

Melillo had previously supported a motion that called on the federal government to reduce gas prices by 5 per cent, which is the same amount the federal government collects through taxation on fuel, which was shot down earlier this month. It would have reduced prices by about eight cents per litre on average.

The Kenora MP also wants to introduce a GST break for gas prices, to help Canadians even more.

“The cost of everything is going up as we know, gas prices are a big part of that whether it’s the Carbon Tax or the GST paid on gas.”

In Canada, five per cent of the final price paid for fuel goes towards GST. Each province also has its own provincial gas and fuel taxes as well. In Ontario, residents currently pay 14.7 cents per litre in gas taxes and 14.3 cents per litre in fuel taxes.

On April 4, 2022, the province introduced legislation that would if passed cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for a six-month span starting July 1, 2022.

If passed Ontarians would see combined savings of $465 in 2022 with the proposed gas tax cut along with the already elimination of license plate renewal fees.

Melillo has had no response from the federal government for the requests he’s made to try and help brings costs down for Canadians.

“They’re actually looking at opposing new taxes on trucks and SUVs, the vehicles we use every day to get to work, to travel to medical appointments across the region. I think this current proposal from the government is completely out of touch, it will make life more unaffordable, and it will impact rural areas like northwestern Ontario the hardest.”

If the proposed plan moves forward, the Green Levy Excise Tax would be removed for both light and heavy-duty trucks. Currently, the tax only applies to SUVs or passenger vans.  If an SUV uses more than 13 litres per 100 km, the tax is $1,000 and increases in $1,000 increments for each litre more, capping at $4,000 for 16 litres and over.

Light-duty pick-up trucks would see a tax of $1,000, while more heavy-duty trucks could see a tax of $4,000.

Melillo hopes with these proposed cuts of the Carbon Tax and the GST break could make life in Canada a little more affordable for Canadians.

The federal budget, which was announced on April 7, 2022, showed more funding for affordable housing. The budget includes $10.2 billion in funding to build more affordable homes and help people finance their first homes through a tax-protected saving program, as well as $475 million for a one-time $500 payment to Canadians facing ‘housing affordability challenges’. 

Currently, the average house price in Canada right now is $796,000. The average price in Kenora in 2022 for an entry-level two or three-bedroom family home is between $275,000-and $300,000.

In April the Canadian Real Estate Association said a March report showed that the average price in Ontario was a record-high $1,052,252, an increase of 22 per cent from March of 2021.

March’s Consumer Price Index showed the price of inflation jumped to 6.7 per cent, which is the highest rate seen in 30 years.

Gas prices jumped 11.8 per cent month-over-month, following a 6.9 per cent increase in February. Shoppers paid 8.7 per cent more for food bought from stores on a year-over-year basis in March, up from a 7.4 per cent increase in February. That was the largest yearly increase seen since March 2009.