OTTAWA - Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the government is more focused on stabilizing oil prices by increasing supply than it is on trying to cut prices by offering Canadians a temporary reprieve from the federal gas tax.
“It’s being a little bit more thoughtful about economic strategy... It’s about actually pulling together the kinds of resources, and looking at the kinds of processes that typically prohibit rapid movement towards securing those opportunities.” ⤵️https://t.co/BvltLBHdiN— Jonathan Wilkinson 🇨🇦 (@JonathanWNV) June 21, 2022
His comments come as U.S. President Joe Biden is musing about slashing the federal gas tax south of the border, after other measures to curtail rising gas prices haven't worked.
If the Biden administration follows through on that plan, it would make Canada the only remaining G7 country not to have recently cut gas excise taxes or offered a subsidy to help lower pump prices.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine started pushing global oil prices upwards, the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany all slashed gasoline excise taxes, while France and Japan offered subsidies to consumers and fuel wholesalers, respectively.
Wilkinson says there are no immediate plans for Canada to join them, noting Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's speech on affordability last week pointed instead to scheduled increases in government benefit cheques, cuts to child care costs and increases to the Old Age Security program and the Canada Workers Benefit.
He says a gas tax holiday is not entirely off the table, but the government is currently working domestically and abroad to increase fuel supplies in a bid to bring world oil prices back under control.