BC Liberals find new ways to look pathetic over ride hailing

The BCUC approved the ICBC proposal on a basic insurance product for ride hailing corporations ahead of the anticipated September 16 legalization date.

John Yap

The BC Liberals found a way to complain about it. The angle? The product is too cheap and other drivers will have to subsidize ride hailing corporations as a result.

This is of course after months of belly aching over the government requiring a class 4 license for ride hailing drivers because it was an expensive barrier to earn a few extra dollars.

But this should come as no surprise from a party that likes to stand on both sides of an issue and would have attacked the NDP no matter how they handled it.

What’s really going on here? The desperate and pathetic flailing by the BC Liberals in frustration as they witness a government getting things done compared to the dithering and triangulation that Campbell and Clark were famous for.

The BC Liberals had every opportunity to enable ride hailing in the last two terms (of the 4 they served) where ride hailing corporations existed. But, no. They went as far as chasing out Uber with legal threats when they began operations without proper authorization from the gov’t.

It was only an 11:58pm conversion in the last few weeks before the 2017 election that the BC Liberals found religion on ride hailing, but even then, they misread sentiment. They still do.

In 2018, a poll discovered that while the public overwhelmingly approved of ride hailing, it wasn’t without limits. They wanted drivers to carry class 4 licenses, wanted limits to how many ride hailers could exist as nobody was looking to put *more* cars onto the already over capacity lower mainland road system.

One of the advantages of waiting as long as we have to get ride hailing off the ground is we get to see what long term trends look like in large cities like Vancouver with the advent of this click-and-ride service.

Studies show that unrestricted ride hailing services adversely affect traffic congestion. So putting a regulatory cap in place on how many may drive for ride hailing corporations would have been wise policy for those cities. Good thing it’s coming for BC.

I’m not saying that I’m in favour or opposed to ride hailing. But if we’re to have it, the drivers should at least play by the same rules we expect of cab drivers they pretend to be.

It’s a newer business model and an alternative to traditional cabbies. But it’s not the answer for traffic congestion or climate change.

Even the Green Party is on the wrong side of history here.

My2bits

The Greens are trying their hand at populism and its just as disingenuous as anything on the far right

unpopular opinion

I get the antipathy towards fracking; its a drilling technique fraught with risks to carbon pollution; potential groundwater contamination and seismic activity.

Its also the exclusive technique used to extract natural gas and shale oil. Now for the sake of this article, I’m not considering the environmental aspect of the Green’s argument – because at this point, it doesn’t have legal or constitutional standing.

92a

This however is the snippet of the Constitution Act (1982) that the Green Party hasn’t considered.

If the Green Party was to win an election outright and invoke this part of their platform, they would immediately be met with a challenge from energy producing provinces. As they should: infringing upon a clear right of a provincial government will trigger a very serious national unity crisis.

Worse, imagine the Greens playing a role in a minority government where this pillar is key to their cooperation.

While this awkward promise sits out there unchallenged by anyone in the media, Elizabeth May went on the offensive against the announced bus expansion of the Victoria regional transit service. Accusing Justin Trudeau of playing ‘lip service’ to climate change, she rips the agreement. See here.

For reference.

space-required-to-transport-60-people-car-bus-bicycle

Granted, some of these new buses would be powered by natural gas, the larger objective is to get more people out of their cars and into transit. The advantage is two fold: folks save fuel and pollution by taking a bus instead, and it clears up some congestion from roads and highways.

Seriously, Liz. WTF.

Look, fracking is controversial. But its also a changing science; and fracking looks different today than what it did 40 years ago when it was pumping up natural gas in BC. There’s no reason why it cannot continue to evolve.

Whether or not the Greens sentiment is right or wrong is up to you. But for them to advocate something they cannot constitutionally do will have unintended consequences.

Upon losing a Supreme Court case against the provinces who move quickly to uphold their rights under 92(a), the Greens would further strengthen the hand of pro-fossil fuel parties and may serve to elect even more conservative regimes across the country.

How does that look? See Alberta where they elected the UCP government out of a frustration to get their tar sands oil industry back on track, but are getting a hard right socially conservative administration that’s rolling back rights of LGBTQ folks ‘while they’re at it’.

There are seriously dangerous consequences to opting for a rhetorically populist party.

Update: September 15
some of the more rabid Greens cite Section 91 of the Constitution Act as license to override the provinces in their plan ban fracking.

Here’s the problem. Section 91 holds that the Federal government has the right to pass laws or regulations in areas of jurisdiction not explicitly laid out in Section 92. Well, natural resources are explicitly defined as provincial jurisdiction. We can thank in part Federal/Provincial scrap that Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program of the 1980’s where Alberta won in the Supreme Court on a related matter.

Feel free to read up on Section 91 if you wish.

So, in my opinion, the Greens are promising something they cannot deliver for the sole purpose of gaining votes.

I must add that in watching supporters of the Federal Greens demonizing the Federal NDP over the the BC NDP govt policies on natural gas. Fine I suppose if we’re going by “all is fair in love and war”, but it opens up another problem where the Greens risk another national unity collision with the provinces.

That’s very unwise.

My2bits

Update: new Green MP joins the attack on new buses for Victoria.

Repeat after me: “tax cuts do not pay for themselves”

Trickle down economics has never worked. Ever. Yet it was tried again here in BC when the BC Liberals took office in 2001 with results that literally anyone could have predicted.

Now a former Gordon Campbell cabinet minister reflects back on the times that were and thinks it wasn’t good times. We could have told you that Mr Abbott, but you went along with it anyways.

It’s worth noting that former BC Premier Gordon Campbell is advising the Ford gov’t in Ontario, ostensibly with a mandate to uncover areas worth cutting funds to.

New Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has also diverted some of that stinky BC Liberal bathwater to help his new govt settle into power.

This isn’t going to work out well for Alberta or Ontario.

“Tax cuts pay for themselves” is a rebranded “trickle down economics” and it’s never worked, not a single time. Yet we’re drifting towards parties that believe in this mythology.

Don’t fall for it again.

My2bits

Andrew Wilkinson and his BC Liberals would be wise not to do a victory lap on the appeals court decision.

Whoops. Too late, they did.

How did we end up here? The NDP government tried to assert their right as a provincial government to protect rivers, streams and our coastline.

As it turns out, the environment wasn’t considered in this judgement, only a jurisdiction issue.

Which strikes me as odd, as the means the federal government used to initially approve #kmx was through a provincially signed “equivalency agreement”. Theoretically, if an agreement such as this can be approved, it can be repealed too.

Interesting words used in Andrew Wilkinson’s comments today that the BC govt was “smacked down”. Mr Hubris should remind Andy that it took the Supreme Court 20 minutes to “smack down” the BC Liberal government anti-teacher laws (after the BC appeals court upheld the BC Liberal government position).

This isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.

My2bits

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).

bclpcarbontax

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

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