FORT ST. JOHN -- British Columbia's Opposition leader is promising to immediately introduce cuts to the province's carbon tax if elected to form government next year.

B.C. United Leader Kevin Falcon says if the Conservatives are elected in Ottawa he'll follow their lead and eliminate the tax completely.Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has pledged to abolish the federal carbon tax if he's elected prime minister in the next election. 

“If the decision is made to eliminate the (federal) carbon tax, I'm not going to leave B.C. in a disadvantage position being the only province that is going to have a $95 per tonne carbon tax,” Falcon said Tuesday at a news conference. “We will get rid of the carbon tax in B.C.”

Falcon said he would cut the province's carbon tax on all fuels and halt planned future increases if elected to form government next year.

BC United would give motorists a break by eliminating the provincial fuel tax, currently at about 15 cents per litre on gasoline and diesel, and remove the carbon tax on all home-heating fuels, including oil, natural gas and propane, he said.

“There's no way for the province of British Columbia to undo the carbon tax until the federal government does it. But what we can do and what Kevin Falcon with B.C. United has done, is drop 15 cents per litre from the provincial fuel tax,” explains Dan Davies, Peace River North MLA. “That's an immediate savings that people are going to be seeing at the pump.”

Mike Bernier, Peace River South MLA, agrees. He says, “I think it's more than half of people are $200 away from not having enough money to pay their bills every month. So affordability is the number one issue that's facing most people right now.”

The B.C. United leader said people in the province are facing financial struggles, paying among the highest home, rent and fuel costs in North America, and cutting back on the carbon tax would be one of his proposed relief measures.

“Everybody that lives up in the Peace Region just have to look at their natural gas bill in the winter and see the level of carbon tax and see what the federal government has done by eliminating the carbon tax on home heating oil. It really isn't fair for those of us that have no choice but to heat our homes with natural gas up in the Peace country,” says Davies, explaining how the cut will help families and seniors in the Peace Region.

Bernier says the cut will bring thousands of dollars of savings to the agricultural sector as well. “The price of diesel, the price of natural gas for their green dryers or their barns or what have you. This will give immediate savings as well to our agricultural sector, which can then be passed down to try to make food more affordable.”

Falcon said B.C. United would also remove the carbon tax on farm fuel to cut operational costs for farmers and lower grocery costs for consumers.

He estimated his proposed cuts would have an impact on provincial revenues of almost $5 billion over three years, which is about two per cent of the B.C. budget.


With files from The Canadian Press.