VICTORIA — British Columbia Premier David Eby says it's unfair that Atlantic Canada is being targeted for federal relief on heating bills that won't apply to B.C., after Ottawa announced a three-year pause on carbon pricing for home fuel oil.
The pause announced last week applies to the 10 provinces and territories where the federal fuel charge applies, although home fuel oil usage is more prevalent in Atlantic Canada.
British Columbia, Quebec and the Northwest Territories are excluded because they collect their own fuel tax.
Eby, who is facing calls from Opposition politicians to cut the province's carbon taxes, said people in Atlantic Canada are struggling to make ends meet, but so are residents of B.C.
He told an unrelated news conference in Victoria on Monday that a proposed heat-pump rebate that is being piloted in Atlantic Canada should also be made available in B.C.
"At a minimum, fairness demands equal treatment of British Columbians," said Eby. "People struggling with affordability around home heating face the same struggle in B.C. It's not a distinct or different struggle."
B.C. introduced its own carbon tax in 2008, which now amounts to almost 17 cents per litre on light fuel, including home heating oil.
"Here in B.C. we believe very firmly that part of the climate solution includes recognizing that carbon has a price," he said.
Opposition BC United Leader Kevin Falcon called on Eby to give B.C. taxpayers a break and eliminate the province's carbon tax.
Eby said in the legislature carbon pricing would remain among the province's weapons against climate change.
"Our commitment on this side of the house was to take strong climate action," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2023.
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press