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Hamm Government Urged to Show Leadership on Fuel Prices

From the Councillor's Office

Hamm Government Urged to Show Leadership on Fuel Prices

(Wednesday, March 15/2000)-- Woodside Councillor Bruce Hetherington challenged the Nova Scotia government today to "show some leadership" and its reduce its share of taxation on fuel and heating oil prices.

The District 8 Councillor said almost 40 per cent of the consumer cost of a litre of gasoline goes to the federal and provincial governments. He provided the following statistics, based on a price of 74.9 cents per litre:

Crude oil cost 27.3 cents
Refining margin 8.1
Marketing/retailing 6.3
Provincial Tax 13.5
Federal excise 10.0
Subtotal 65.2 cents

HST (x $0.15) 9.7
Total 74.9 cents

*Source: Canadian Directorate of Petroleum Products, Dartmouth, N.S.

"It's about time that government recognizes that we live in a northern climate and as a result, Nova Scotians need heating oil and they need gasoline and diesel to get to work and run their businesses. We don't have a choice. When it's -10 below outside, we have to stay warm," he said.

Councillor Hetherington says "Both levels of government have taxed fuels and heating oil "through the roof" and have come to depend on these lucrative revenues to cover up their other mistakes in managing our economy."

He said most Nova Scotians have no difficulty with increasing taxes on the luxury items, such as cigarettes and alcohol, but the heavy taxation on heating oil and other fuels is "almost obscene."

"I'll bet if the provincial government announced they it would halve its take on heating oil and other fuels during the winter months, they would be re-elected for as long as they wanted," he said.

In addition, Councillor Hetherington said the Province should be very wary about the high price of gasoline and diesel during the busy summer months too.

"The government tells us that tourism is a billion dollar a year industry for Nova Scotia. I'm willing to bet that if gasoline prices don't improve in a hurry, we will have the whole province all to ourselves this summer because the motoring tourist just won't be coming," he said.

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Councillor Bruce Hetherington
(902) 488-4808