Manitoba premier says he's considering extending tax holiday on fuel

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said Tuesday he is considering extending his government’s fuel−tax holiday, which is set to expire at the end of June.

The NDP government fulfilled a campaign promise when it suspended, for six months, the 14−cent−a−litre provincial fuel tax on Jan. 1. The move was aimed at helping people deal with inflation.

The government left the door open to a possible extension at the time, and Kinew said Tuesday he is considering it, although he was not prepared to make an announcement immediately.

He referred to the recent closure of an Imperial Oil pipeline that brings gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to Winnipeg from Gretna, Man. The closure is expected to last three months.

"The situation with the pipeline is something that we’re learning to live with over the next few months and we’re going to be there to help keep life affordable in Manitoba," Kinew said.

When asked whether he would announce a decision before the budget set for April 2, Kinew was coy.

"Where’s the showmanship in telling you that now?" he joked with reporters.

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives called on the government in the legislature to extend the tax holiday, in anticipation of a potential spike in prices caused by the pipeline disruption.

"Any prolonged fuel shortage in Winnipeg over the next three months may lead to increased prices," Tory Greg Nesbitt said.

Provincial and Winnipeg city officials have said they are not expecting major disruptions in supply because trucks and trains will be used to replace the pipeline supply while repairs are done.

"Today, I’ve confirmed that fuel trucks are already on their way to Winnipeg from Gretna," Natural Resources Minister Jamie Moses told the legislature.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2024

The Canadian Press