Canada-wide Update | Highlights

March 25, 2024


Highlights from Crestview Strategy’s weekly Canada-wide newsletter:


Alberta gas tax will rise by four cents per litre on April 1

The Alberta government announced that the provincial gas tax will increase by four cents per litre at the beginning of April, bringing the total tax to 13 cents per litre. This tax is designed to help offset lower royalty revenues when oil prices are low and is adjusted based on the average price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil. The 2024 budget projects WTI crude prices to average $74 a barrel. Despite the tax increase, Alberta’s Finance Minister Nate Horner stated that Albertans will continue to pay some of the lowest fuel prices in the country.

Atlantic Canada

New Brunswickers facing double-digit increase on April power bills

The N.B. Energy and Utilities Board has approved a second N.B. Power rate increase request which will result in a roughly 13 percent increase for residential customers next month. The EUB had already approved a 9.8 percent interim rate increase to help N.B. Power tackle debt and ‘unexpected events’ in recent years. The additional three percent increase is to cover higher than expected operating costs.  However, customers may be credited later this year if the 9.8 percent interim increase is not upheld when a final decision is made in June following the full hearing.  While the provincial government has blamed federal carbon pricing for negatively impacting the utility, N.B. Power provided documentation to the EUB showing that provincial fees and charges are much more significant, totalling more than $60 million for debt management, utility taxes and property taxes.

British Columbia

Election poll finds B.C. NDP still ahead but 51 per cent of voters ready for change

With the provincial election seven months away, the B.C. NDP, led by Premier David Eby, holds a sizable lead in voter intention polls, despite most respondents feeling that the government has not met expectations in areas like cost of living and health care access. Eby’s approval rating remains between 46 and 48 per cent, higher than his competitors Kevin Falcon of B.C. United and John Rustad of the B.C. Conservatives. The NDP is still the preferred party for tackling key issues like health care and cost of living, but 51 per cent of respondents believe it’s time for a change in government. Voter support for the NDP is mixed, with 55 per cent genuinely liking the party and 45 per cent supporting it due to a dislike of the other options.


Ontario to Boost Housing Infrastructure

Ontario announces an investment of more than $1.8 billion in housing-enabling infrastructure funding aimed at constructing at least 1.5 million homes by 2031. The investment includes $1 billion for the Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program and an additional $625 million for the Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund. The government’s proactive approach aims to expedite infrastructure projects, support municipal initiatives, and address affordability challenges.


Liberals survive non-confidence vote on carbon tax with Bloc, NDP backing

The Liberal government managed to survive a non-confidence motionregarding the carbon tax with support from the Bloc Québécois and NDP. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre proposed the motion, criticizing the planned carbon tax increase and urging MPs to vote against the government. The Liberals defended the carbon tax, highlighting its role in combating climate change and its benefits through rebate programs. They accused the Conservatives of misleading Canadians and lacking a viable climate plan. Despite fiery exchanges in Parliament, the motion did not pass, allowing the government to remain intact. The next federal election is scheduled to take place on or before October 20th, 2025.


Toronto mayor lays out FIFA oversight and advisory groups amid cost-overrun concerns

On Wednesday, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow took appointed a team of both appointed a team of current and former city councillors to oversee the city’s participation in the upcoming World Cup. Concerns have been mounting regarding various aspects such as the potential costs involved, potential overreach by soccer’s governing body, and the logistical challenges of policing the event. Toronto initially secured hosting rights for five games in the 2026 World Cup, later increased to six, with expenses now totaling $380 million. Considering these emerging details, Mayor Chow has been striving to strike a delicate balance in her messaging, aiming to highlight the opportunities and excitement associated with the World Cup, while also critiquing the dealnegotiated by her predecessor, John Tory.


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