One thing about this government, they don't publicly float anything unless pre-approved. With that in mind, what are we to make of these open musings from Conservatives, gathering to try and figure out some actual new policy:
Tories looking for ways to cut gas price
LÉVIS, Que. — The Conservative Party will look over the next two days for ways to bring down the price of gas even though there is no room for major tax cuts, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said.
Still, Mr. Flaherty said that the Conservative caucus will be exploring solutions to high gas prices at its current two-day meeting, including looking at a variety of tax measures that will be proposed by MPs.
Ottawa rakes in about 4 billion per year from the 10 cent/litre excise tax on gasoline. With a fall election likely, which really means little accountability on any surplus/deficit for this fiscal year, does anyone doubt the Conservatives would consider a token cut on this tax? Even if the government were to lower the tax, say to 8 cents, it would only mean a 800 million less in the coffers, something Flaherty could probably argue is doable. Forget how relatively meaningless this would be to the consumer, it would allow the Conservatives a talking point, heading into an election.
Lowering the excise tax would also allow for a nice contrast with Dion's Green Shift, which simply replaces the tax with a carbon tax, net neutral. Who wants to bet the Conservatives offer some token gas relief, to bolster their electoral prospects?