The rest of 2019 is looking extremely interesting for Albertans and Canadians with a provincial election likely just weeks away and a federal vote looming in October.
Parties are getting their hammers and two-by-fours out and are busily constructing election platforms. The latest promise comes from the federal Conservatives who say, if they're elected to govern Canada come October, they'll make home heating and energy bills GST exempt.
Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards explains that its a move to counter what he calls a "punishing carbon tax" that the Liberals are implementing to make heating our homes harder. "We want to try and find a way, in addition to repealing the carbon tax, find ways to make these things more affordable," says Richards. "At the end of the day, heating your home is something that's not a luxury, it's not a luxury item in any way and a lot of the other basic necessities of life actually are GST exempt so what we're doing is making home heating which is another basic necessity something that would be exempt from the GST."
The Conservative plan would save the average Canadian household $107 per year. In Alberta, the average saving for 2019 would be $118 and rise to $122 by 2022.
"Not an insignificant amount," says Richards. "It's something that helps a little bit and I think as part of a bigger package of things that we're going to be doing to propose to try and make life a bit more affordable for families, it will be just one more piece that will help to save people a little bit of money that will help make life a little more affordable for their families. You take away the carbon tax, you remove the GST on home heating, and people should look for more in the days ahead as we get closer to the federal election campaign."
Richards says he wouldn't complain if the Liberals wanted to take their idea for GST exempt home heating and actually put that into effect before the election because it would immediately mean Canadians were saving money.
"We'd certainly be thrilled if the government wanted to steal our idea. It certainly doesn't seem to fit with their pattern of raising taxes but if they were to steal our idea we'd probably be pretty thrilled. It means that Canadians are saving money and seeing their lives be more affordable."
The 43rd Canadian General Election will be held on, or before, October 21st, 2019.
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