BC Liberals playing a dangerous blame-game on fuel prices

christy-clark

Look, I get it. Andrew Wilkinson’s BC Liberals are the opposition and they’ve got a job to do in trying to throw in enough shade towards the government so that they can portray themselves as the champion of the little guy and the NDP is the aloof elitists governing from their ivory tower; disconnected from reality.

To do that however, the BC Liberals will have to campaign against themselves and against their own policies.

To that end, I draw your attention to the attempt to swoon Andrew Weaver’s Green Party into a BC Liberal led coalition with promises made in their 2017 Speech from the Throne that pledged (among other things), a $50/tonne carbon tax (just as the NDP had promised).

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Next up would be the false attribution of *all* fuel taxes to the NDP. This is false and the BC Liberals know it. There are taxes on fuel, and on average, they’re higher than other regions in Canada; but we’re not the only place that has taxes on fuel. But to listen to the BC Liberals, its 100% the NDP’s fault and they’re supposed to arbitrarily lower these taxes, regardless of what funding impacts this makes to various local governments and transit authorities.

We lost five of seven refineries in BC over the decades. The BC Liberals would blame the NDP for this; despite this trend taking place over a generation (or two). It didn’t happen overnight, and the reasons inconveniently undercut a BC Liberal narrative.

Consider what car you drove 30 years ago. Imagine its fuel economy then, now imagine paying the fuel costs in today’s market. Aren’t you glad this shift to higher efficiency cars and trucks has taken place? I know I am. And for the first time in my life, I am considering an electric or hybrid vehicle to make my transport dollar go even further.

A generation ago, in our 1980’s fuel crisis, powerful thinkers in all parties saw the vulnerability we had in gas guzzling vehicles. So they went down a path of regulating higher efficiency cars, smaller engine blocks and pollution controls. It all helped. Industry responded by building cars and trucks to meet the standards, but it had an interesting side effect. It caused us to buy less fuel, drive further on what we had, plan better, and change our way of thinking.

We’re in another energy crisis of sorts, and to listen to some grotesquely opportunistic politicians, there is someone to blame here (the folks in power of course). But the last energy crisis forced innovation and change and there’s no reason to think that it can’t happen again.

The price of gas isn’t at record levels because of a penny increase to the carbon tax, its because there’s a serious supply issue on the west coast and the free market is doing exactly what it does. Andrew Wilkinson and his merry band of negative nellies would have the NDP cut taxes that had zero to do with the rapidly increasing gas price, but would profoundly impact the province’s ability to deliver on transportation needs. But that doesn’t matter when your a crass opportunist.

What matters is that Andrew Wilkinson and his BC Liberals are now standing in opposition to the philosophy they had when they first introduced the carbon tax (the first in North America I might add); where attaching a price to carbon was supposed to change behavior/habits. As a partisan myself, even I give credit where its due, the carbon tax has worked. While the spike in gas prices isn’t necessarily related to taxes but it may as well be, and now is as good a time as any to rethink how we drive and how often. It may not cut the price of fuel, but maybe it will lower our demand a bit.

So, here we are. BC Liberals attacking a policy they once championed. They may think this is good politics (and in the short term it is), but there’s more than a few of us ready to staple this one to their foreheads in the coming weeks and months ahead; and most certainly in the next campaign.

my2bits

Shady ‘labour’ group upset at fair representation for workers

At stake are the regulations regarding large infrastructure projects in BC that the new NDP government has set in place. In a nutshell, the government is pursuing PLA’s (or project labour agreements) which pre-establish union rates and guarantee no work stoppage on a project. They can be more expensive in one sense as pay rates may be relatively higher, but also deliver certainty and are famous for their on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs.

Enter the Progressive Contractors Association, allies of CLAC.

CLAC, or Christian Labour Association of Canada and their allies, are mighty upset by this. While CLAC meets a legal definition of union in the sense of protected status as a member of an association, to most unions, they’d describe CLAC as a ‘rat union’.

CLAC hasn’t done itself any favours to quell this reputation, it lost a recent arbitration with a friendly employer it had a so-called ‘voluntary recognition agreement’ they fought against SEIU. I’ll let you read it for yourself; a link to the LRB decision is linked in the article.

CLAC and the PCA are friendly to the BC Liberals because dealing with these folks gives the BC Liberals some badly needed credentials that they need to not sound so anti-union.

We’re at this place because for 16 years, the BC Liberals gutted the apprenticeship and training programs in BC while the demand for construction and blue collar trades hasn’t gone anywhere but up. How bad is it? Then-Premier got up in front of a business crowd to call for more temporary foreign workers to build LNG.

So this may come as a surprise to folks when the BC Liberals have a phishing page on their site paying lip service to the call for BC workers being prioritized for LNG.

No, seriously.

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In my view, the court challenge being launched against the NDP government’s CBA (Community Benefit Agreement), which is a PLA by definition, is futile. PLA’s have been ruled legal and constitutional before and that’s how WAC Bennett got his dam built in the Peace Country (and many projects since).

Allies of CLAC and the BC Liberals should take this as a lesson that instead of being adversarial and attack working people, start treating them fairly and with respect and you’ll never be on the wrong side of labour again.

But that is a choice.

My2bits

Palmer’s advertorial for BC Liberal a sad display of using political talking points to draft “editorials”

A sad ‘editorial‘ published by Vaughn Palmer today misses the mark and faces a legitimate fact check.

The BC Liberals, desperate for an angle to attack the NDP have railed against the unusually high gas prices in BC, specifically in the lower mainland. They’re doing this by attacking the BC carbon tax that they would have you believe the NDP invented and jacked it all the way to 8.78 cents/litre. The fact is that the NDP did increase the already existing carbon tax by (wait for it) by 2 cents per litre in two years.

Enter, Vaughn Palmer.

Picking up where the BC Liberals left off, the opinion writer then attempts to pin *all* fuel taxes on the NDP (which were largely in place before assuming power in 2017). But don’t let a good spin get in the way of facts.

Vaughn then makes the flawed argument that the delayed Kinder Morgan expansion would ease gas prices. Its a flawed argument because its false. The pipeline expansion is for export only, and the price at the pump will likely increase.

Vaughn goes on about refineries; next time he opens his yap about refineries, he should do some research. The proposed Kitimat refinery and attached pipeline has the support of Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

These items are worthy of the theatrics of Question Period as they would easily be batted away by facts. I didn’t expect them to be picked up by long time reporter/opinion writer Vaughn Palmer.

my2bits