The Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce is still waiting to hear back from Edmonton.
On December 19, the chamber sent a letter to the Alberta government regarding the challenges the Border City would face after the implementation of the law in 2017. There has been no formal response to the letter. However, gas prices within the community have settled to around the same level on both sides of the border.
“What it looks like, right now, in the short term, is that Saskatchewan retailers have raised their pricing,” said Rob Saunders, a member of the chamber’s Political Action Committee.
“When you look at Gasbuddy, or take a drive around, you’ll find within the City of Lloydminster boundaries, there is not a lot of price difference at this point.”
As of this writing, the prices of regular gas across the city currently sit between 105.9 on the Saskatchewan side and 108.9 on the Alberta side.
The day the tax was implemented, things were different.
“I know on the first day, I took a trip up and down, and there was pricing all over the map, but later that day, and the next day, it seemed to level itself out,” said Saunders.
“If you look at it today, there is pretty well similar pricing across the board.”
Saunders said the chamber is now monitoring the situation, and indicated that the end goal would be a seamless city.
Despite the lack of a formal response to the chamber’s concerns, there has been dialogue between the municipal government in Lloydminster and the provincial government. The Alberta government and the Saskatchewan government have also been discussing the matter, according to a statement from the office of Alberta’s Environment Minister Shannon Phillips.
“Whether its daylight savings time or issues related to the PST, border-straddling communities like Lloydminster face challenges whenever policies, laws or regulations change,” said Brent Wittmeier, press secretary to the minister.
“The carbon levy is no exception. Our department has been discussing this with leadership in Lloydminster as well as departmental officials in Saskatchewan as gas and diesel has historically been subsidized on the Saskatchewan side of the border. These discussions are ongoing as we adjust towards a federal carbon price.”
The minister’s office office also responded to the backlash in the city, which was the result of Phillip’s incorrectly indicating there was a public service tax in effect on the Saskatchewan side of the city.
Speaking to the CBC, Phillips had said that “people had been going to the Alberta side for quite some time, because we don’t have a PST, and Saskatchewan does. There a number of different situations that arise with Lloydminster, and we’ll be ironing that out and working with the mayor as we go forward.”
Questioned as to what exactly the minister had meant by her statement, Wittmeier said Phillips had been referring to the removal of the PST tax for the Saskatchewan side in years past. He also said she could have been clearer in her answer.
No firm details on whether or not Lloydminster will receive a carbon tax exemption have been released.