Albertans to spend more at the pump and on a pint starting Monday

It’s no April Fool’s Joke! Calgarians hitting the pumps April 1st were dealing with a double gas tax hike. Jillian Code headed to the pumps to see how drivers are dealing.

By Dione Wearmouth, Phil Wood

Alberta’s provincial fuel tax increase comes into effect Monday morning — pushing the cost per litre from nine cents to 13 cents. But, that’s not the only increase hitting the wallets of Edmonton drivers, as the federal carbon tax is increasing by 17.6 cents a litre, or 24 per cent.

The carbon tax increase has long been criticized by Premier Danielle Smith, and that criticism is about to materialize in the form of a protest expected Monday morning south of Cochrane.

It’s being hosted at the intersection of Highway 1 at Highway 22, in an effort to “overturn the tax through peaceful protests.”

Organizers say they intend to leave at least one centre lane open to traffic during the events.

RELATED CONTENT: Critics call out Alberta and federal governments for upcoming gas tax increases

The event is just one of many supposedly planned across the country Monday.

In Edmonton, a protest is planned outside Liberal MP and cabinet minister Randy Boissonnault’s office. Edmonton police say they are aware of the protest which is expected to take place around 12-4 p.m., and it will impact traffic in the area.

The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation expects the increase will cost Alberta families an extra $911 this year, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently justified the tax, saying Conservative premiers across Canada are “misleading Canadians” about the tax.

“Eight out of 10 families across the country in federal backstop jurisdictions make more money with the Canada Carbon Rebate than it costs with the price on pollution,” Trudeau said.

At the same time, the provincial fuel tax is going up which, earlier this month, Minister of Finance Nate Horner said will increase revenue by $1.4 billion over the next year.

In Calgary, many drivers rushed to the pumps over the weekend to avoid the increase, and most told CityNews that no matter how you justify it, it’s still hard to hear.

Smith took that message to the feds last week, speaking virtually in the House of Commons, where she called the increase “inhumane,” even as her government moves to increase the provincial gas tax at the same time.

READ MORE: Danielle Smith urges feds to scrap ‘inhumane’ carbon tax hike at House committee

“Albertans and all Canadians, need common sense, compassion, and responsible government to prevail,” she said. “That’s why I’m urging you today, to heed the calls of Canadians across the country and suspend the increase to the carbon tax on April 1.”

Early Monday morning, showed a range of prices for gas in Edmonton, with the lowest at 134.9 cents/litre, and the highest at 159.9 cents/litre.

Alcohol tax increase also coming April 1

Gas isn’t the only thing getting more expensive Monday, so are your favourite wines, beers, and spirits.

The increase to Canada’s alcohol excise tax amounts to two per cent, lower than the first expected 6.3 percent, which would have been the biggest hike in almost a decade.

But, it ends up costing nearly a quarter of the price on a 24-pack of beer.

The tax is typically adjusted every year to match the rate of inflation, though federal Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland has previously announced the increase would be capped at two per cent per year until 2026.

The Alberta Hospitality Association is calling for the feds to abandon the tax hike.


Ruhee Ismail-Teja, the director of communications at Calgary’s Chamber of Commerce, says the tax adds insult to injury.

“Everything from the cost of labour, from property tax, obviously supply chains continue to be an issue, inflation, interest rates, supply chains,” she said. “We really see that businesses are repeatedly getting hit.”

Consumers won’t necessarily see the increases on their receipt, as the tax will be imposed at the manufacturing level.

However, Dan Allard with the Cold Garden Beverage Company, believes the added costs will impact bars, restaurants, and breweries that aren’t as busy as his business.

He expects his bills could increase roughly $300 a month.

“To some people listening to this right now, that might seem like it’s nothing — you know, it’s peanuts, 300 bucks a month, it’s a drop in the bucket — if you’re busy and if you’re not, that could mean you’re closing the doors,” Allard explained. “It should be something where we want to feel good about donating money to the government so they can be doing better services, but if it’s at the expense of businesses, we’ve go to toe that line a bit.

Plan to pay more to park at Alberta Health Services’ facilities

On average, daily rates will go up by $0.75 in large markets such as Edmonton, and $0.50 in smaller markets.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) says monthly and weekly parking passes are available to patients and visitors at rates well below market value.

-With files from The Canadian Press and Henna Saeed

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