British Columbia

Premier should cap gas tax to ease high prices, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson, leader of B.C.'s Opposition, says Premier John Horgan should cap gas taxes to ease high gas prices.

Andrew Wilkinson also says relationship with Alberta needs to improve

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says there should be a 'reasonable upper limit on the price of gasoline.' (Michael McArthur/CBC)

Andrew Wilkinson, leader of B.C.'s Opposition, says Premier John Horgan needs to cap the gas tax to help curb high gas prices in the province.

The Metro Vancouver region has experienced record-high gas prices this week, with regular gas hitting 172.9 cents per litre in Vancouver.

On CBC's The Early Edition Thursday morning, Wilkinson told Stephen Quinn that there should be a "reasonable upper limit on the price of gasoline." 

"When these prices surge up, this government should consider a cap price and then tail off the taxation," the B.C. Liberal leader said. 

Listen to the full interview:

Andrew Wilkinson, leader of B.C.'s opposition, says Premier John Horgan should cap gas taxes and improve the province's relationship with Alberta to ease high gas prices. 10:32

The carbon tax was originally introduced by the B.C. Liberals, but Wilkinson pointed out that under the Liberals it was capped at $30 per tonne.

The tax went up to $35 per tonne in April 2018. 

Improve relationship with Alberta

Wilkinson also suggested B.C. improve its relationship with Alberta, pointing out that the majority of gas Metro Vancouver uses comes from that province.

He said the current relationship between the provinces is in "very bad shape."

Although he conceded the relationship up to now has had little to do with higher gas prices, he said it could have ramifications in the future, considering the recent election of Jason Kenney as Alberta's premier.  

"The new premier of Alberta has made it clear that he's going to have a huge fight with John Horgan and the NDP government and you and I will pay the price for that."

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney addresses supporters in Calgary on April 16 after winning the Alberta provincial election. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Kenney has pledged to enact the turn-off-the-taps legislation tabled by Alberta's previous NDP government. The legislation would allow Alberta to restrict oil and gas shipments to B.C. if the latter continues to stand in the way of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. 

But Wilkinson also said he would defend B.C. if Kenney enacted that legislation. 

"Our party will firmly stand and say, you know, Jason Kenney needs to come to his senses. That's not the right way to do things."

Refinery idea rejected 

Previously, Premier John Horgan said the B.C. government would consider "some relief" for those who can't afford record high gas prices.

"Minister Wilkinson knows these are complex issues," Horgan said. "Not too long ago he was calling it a market issue with a market solution and now he wants intervention. We're going to do what we can to find a way to relieve some of the pain people are seeing right now."

Horgan suggested the industry should invest more in refineries and the federal government should invest more in supply.

Wilkinson rejected Horgan's idea of creating another refinery in the province. 

He said it would take far too long to build one and difficult to find a location for the infrastructure project.

"They're big and smelly and they would have to close down by 2040 anyway because the premier's decided that we all need electric vehicles," he said.

With files from Tanya Fletcher

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