Economic Outlook

Falcon slams NDP for high gasoline tax, housing prices

Kevin Falcon, new leader of the BC Liberal Party, laid into BC NDP government policies today – from gasoline taxes to housing initiatives – that he said are making it hard for ordinary British Columbians to get by.

B.C., especially Vancouver, has been seeing record-breaking gasoline prices in recent days, with gas prices in Vancouver inching towards $2 per litre.

While there are geopolitical reasons for soaring oil prices that are driving up gasoline prices everywhere, including the war in Ukraine, they are particularly painful in Vancouver due to a suite of fuel taxes, Falcon said.

Asked if he thought a gasoline price cap similar to what New Brunswick has is the answer to high gas prices, Falcon said it wasn’t.

“No — that kind of interference in the marketplace, frankly it won’t work,” Falcon said.

He said the government had a tool for lowering taxes for British Columbians as carbon taxes on gasoline rise – revenue neutrality – but pointed out that the NDP government scrapped the revenue neutrality requirement of B.C.’s carbon tax…read more.

Oil Prices Break $130 As EU And U.S. Allies Consider Ban On Russian Crude

The United States has confirmed that it is in talks with European allies to potentially sanction Russian crude oil in response to Moscow’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine, sending oil prices briefly above $130.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted on Sunday during the NBC talk show Meet the Press on Sunday, “We are now in very active discussions with our European partners about banning the import of Russian oil to our countries, while of course at the same time maintaining a steady global supply of oil.”

The latest considerations follow a stream of sanctions that have already had a significant impact on the Russian economy but have not yet been able to halt Putin’s advance into Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen has yet not fully supported the idea as of yet, though she has expressed that one of their primary goals in the sanctions that have been levied thus far is to cut Putin’s funding streams…read more.

Oil Rallies As White House Considers Ban On Russian Oil Imports

  • WTI crude rose 7% following the news that the White House is considering a ban on the import of Russian crude oil.
  • On Thursday, the White House had tersely dismissed the idea of banning Russian crude oil imports.
  • On Friday afternoon, the White House’s take on banning Russian crude oil softened. Oil prices continue to inch higher, with new reports that the White House is considering a ban on Russian crude oil.

At 3:01 pm ET, WTI crude had risen to $115.20 per barrel, up nearly 7% on the day and up more than $20 on the week. Brent crude was trading at $117.70, up 6.58% on the day and up more than $19 on the week.

On Thursday, the White House had tersely dismissed the idea of banning Russian crude oil imports, pointing out that doing so could cause oil and gasoline prices to rise even more than they already had.

But other U.S. lawmakers have pushed for a full ban, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

On the other hand, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki downplayed the role Russian crude oil plays in the United States, adding that it only makes up 10% of the total crude oil that the United States imports…read more.

  • Kremlin officials told the Russian outlet Agency they didn’t know Putin was going to invade Ukraine.
  • Sources said the Kremlin prepared for smaller sanctions over its recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk.
  • “Everything is fucked,” a source close to Putin’s administration told Agency.

Kremlin officials say they didn’t know Russian President Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine, and were shocked by the severity of Western sanctions imposed upon it, the independent Russian investigative outlet Agency reported.

One unnamed senior official said people in the Kremlin “did not know” that it would be an all-out invasion and that many were shocked when news of the military assault broke, the outlet said.

In the run-up to the invasion, Putin’s cabinet had only prepared to deal with Western sanctions introduced over Russia’s decision to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk on February 21, not for an invasion, a source close to Putin’s administration told Agency.

After Russia invaded, countries including the US and UK, as well as the EU, sanctioned Russian entities and individuals, seizing assets belonging to those closest to Putin and ejecting Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial system…read more.

No gas-tax relief ahead for British Columbians facing skyrocketing prices: Horgan

Premier John Horgan said Thursday that taxes on gasoline won’t be changing anytime soon amid surging prices brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

His position echoed that of B.C. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston, who said earlier in the week the province would not delay the province’s one-cent carbon tax hike due to go into effect April 1.

“I’m not passing the buck when I say that the federal government has a climate action plan, as does the province of British Columbia, and pricing carbon is a key component of that,” Horgan said during a media briefing.

“It may be easy for [opposition] politicians to declare that taxes are the problem, but those taxes go to building our roads, to providing transit to making sure that our infrastructure is as modern as it can be.”

Prices in Metro Vancouver have been climbing towards $2 a litre over the past week amid heavy sanctions targeting Russia.

Earlier in the day BC Liberal Party Leader Kevin Falcon said the government had a tool for lowering taxes for British Columbians as carbon taxes on gasoline go up – revenue neutrality – but pointed out that the NDP government scrapped the revenue neutrality requirement of B.C.’s carbon tax…read more.