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British Columbians pay tax on the carbon tax, and one Vernon city councillor isn't happy about it

4.6-cent hike brings chill at gas pumps
4.6-cent hike brings chill at gas pumps

A disgruntled city councillor is trying to take the federal government to task for taxing B.C.'s carbon tax.

Bob Spiers, a city councilor in Vernon B.C., started a petition urging the federal government to stop charging the Goods and Services Tax on the provincial carbon tax.

"The feds are putting the carbon tax right across Canada," said Spiers, who lobbied against the carbon tax was first introduced. "It dawned on me ... here's another chance to warn everyone in Canada that there's a heck of a lot of money going back to Ottawa."

Spiers is not alone in his outrage — over 300 people signed the petition in the first 24 hours. He needs 500 signatures before the federal government officially responds to it — but he hopes to get more.

How a tax gets taxed

Every British Columbian generally pays a five per cent GST tax when purchasing a good and service.

According to the provincial government, "any applicable carbon tax and/or motor fuel tax is included in the purchase price for the purposes of calculating GST."

So, whenever a consumer pays their heating bill, or fills up their gas tank, they pay a GST that is calculated using the total price of the product plus the carbon tax. Provincial Sales Tax, however, is not included in the the calculation of GST.

Spiers says the numbers directly contradict a statement made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau late last year, when he stated that the federally mandated carbon pricing plan would be revenue neutral for the federal government.

Last year, British Columbians paid a total of $1.216 billion in carbon tax dollars, generating an extra $63 million to the federal government from GST, according to Spiers' estimates.

With files from CBC's Radio West

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: British Columbians pay tax on the carbon tax, and one small-town politician isn't happy about it