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Canadian group protests high gasoline taxes

When Gerry Wrigley pulled into a gas station in Halifax and paid $71.80 to fill his tank, he received a cash refund of $23.

The welcome surprise was a publicity event by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation on Wednesday to show how much of the price goes to taxes.

Calling it government "gouging," the federation held its 10th annual "gas tax honesty day" across the country, calling for lower taxes and more spending on roads.

"You're kidding — I didn't think it was that much," Wrigley said as federation director John Williamson reimbursed him.

Taxes average 28 percent of the price and should be cut by at least 5 cents a liter (19 cents a U.S. gallon), Williamson said.

Over the past year, drivers have paid $1.16 a liter ($4.40 a U.S. gallon) on average for gas, the federation said.

They are also being taxed twice — first for the gas and then for the federal sales tax applied on top.

The government still imposes the "deficit elimination tax" started in 1995 of 1.5 cents per liter even though there hasn't been a budget deficit for the past decade.

News in brief

• A health scare that kept a Via Rail passenger train quarantined in Folyette, Ontario, for eight hours turned out to be several cases of the flu and a sudden death. There was concern about a potential epidemic after a 43-year-old South African woman died and others became ill. It was later determined the woman died from a blood clot.

• Brenda Martin, imprisoned in Mexico for two years without a trial, was paroled from an Ontario jail. The Canadian government brought Martin, 51, home after her conviction last month for fraud over a scheme run by her former boss. Canada ruled she had served enough time and released her.

• Government bureaucrat Arthur Kroeger, whose career spanned six prime ministers, has died at age 76. He was a deputy minister for six departments and then chancellor of Ottawa's Carleton University for 10 years until 2003.

Facts and figures

Canada's real estate market is cooling with sales expected to drop 15 percent from last year's record and prices rising 5 percent this year, says Scotiabank economist Adrienne Warren.

The Canadian dollar nudged above parity, rising to $1.0022 U.S. on Friday, while the U.S. dollar returned 99.79 cents Canadian, before bank exchanges fees.

The Bank of Canada interest rate is steady at 3 percent while the prime lending rate is 4.75 percent. Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto Exchange at a record 14,915 points and the TSX Venture Exchange 2,595 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 9, 20, 22, 28, 35, 42; bonus 15. (May 10) 13, 15, 17, 26, 34, 48; bonus 25. Super 7: (May 9) 3, 14, 25, 35, 36, 38, 43; bonus 32.

Regional briefs

• A helicopter fell out of the sky in Cranbrook, British Columbia, killing Isaiah Otieno, 20, as he walked along a street. Also killed were pilot Edward Heeb, 57, and BC Hydro employees Dirk Rozenboom, 45, and Robert Lehmann, 37. The cause of the crash hasn't been determined.

• Bruce Cameron, a former Saskatoon librarian, pleaded guilty to fraud in a $1-million book-buying scheme. Cameron, 65, was head of the Wheatland Library and admitted buying books from a fake company he set up. He will be sentenced in August.

• Prince Edward Island will hold a summer of celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Known as the land of Avonlea, Canada's smallest province has hosted millions of fans at the historic Montgomery homestead in Cavendish that became the model for the book.

Jim Fox can be reached at

Canadian group protests high gasoline taxes 05/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2008 11:36am]
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