The brilliance of the gas price inquiry

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Looks like Andrew Wilkinson laid another rotten egg; this time in relation to fuel prices.

Oh?

When gas prices spiked to $1.70 (or higher) per litre a few months ago, it triggered the NDP to convene an inquiry to ascertain the reasons why BC’s gas prices were so out of tune with the rest of the country; with an eye towards collusion if it could be discovered.

Well the report came back, and while collusion (between big oil companies) couldn’t be proven, the report did cite the virtual monopoly of only 5 companies that controlled the marketing and delivery of fuel to BC. And something about an inexplicable 13 cent extra that we’re paying in BC compared to anywhere else.

13 cents per litre extra.

That’s not ‘taxes’ either.

Taxes, while significantly higher than the rest of Canada on BC’s regional fuel prices, are probably the most transparent part of what costs go into your fuel tank. At any rate, if one is looking for blame on that file, the NDP increased the carbon tax on fuel by one penny; hardly justification for this price differential.

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Where Andrew Wilkinson has screwed up badly here is where he hitched his wagon to the narrative that the NDP’s fuel taxes are too high while simultaneously ‘blocking’ pipelines. Well the taxes, though higher, aren’t the NDP’s fault, and it was legitimate court action by first nations who have brought delays to Kinder Morgan. I’m not sure the BC Liberals want to instigate that kind of fight.

But in banging that drum, the BC Liberals have exposed big oil, though not necessarily acting in collusion, but acting like a virtual monopoly. That 13 cents per litre is a significant boost to a profit margin, now it has a political defender (at the expense of regular commuting drivers) in Andrew Wilkinson. This is not the position he wants to find himself in; defending big oil at the expense of average folks.

But there is a silver lining here.

In boosting fuel prices thanks to what can be best described as profiteering, its pushing electric vehicle sales, and its making driving less affordable (incentive not to drive); achieving a climate change goal in one fell swoop. Best thing about this? Its completely a market driven result.

Good work Andrew.

My2bits

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

License requirements matter

When it comes to the license requirements for ride hailing drivers when the new regulations kick in, these new drivers will be required to have a class 4 license.

That’s it.

The angry BC Liberal side is saying this is an unfair and onerous weight to carry, I say otherwise.

The stats suggest that on average, there’s a .6pt safer advantage of a class 4 over the basic class 5.

In terms of averages, thats not a big deal. But when played out into the raw numbers of how many accidents in total vs what this .6 means, we get 2100 fewer accidents as a result of class 4 licenses.

But that’s another issue. If we’re to say that ride hailing should only use class 5, then we’re basically saying that the extra accident rate is worth the $100 that ride hailing drivers don’t have to pay in getting the superior license.

I think that’s a morally reprehensible position to take.

And if you’re one of those taking the position that the class 4 license is onerous with its medical exam, criminal background check, proof of safe driving, and working knowledge of your vehicle are too much, kindly go fuck yourself.

What if your son or daughter was killed off as part of that 2100 extra accidents that don’t matter.

Any layer of safety is worth it.

Anything to not let this happen here.

Grieving Toronto mom hopes stronger ride hailing licensing rules go ahead in B.C.

My2bits

BC Liberals are hypocrites on ride hailing

If you’re just tuning in, you might be forgiven for thinking that the BC Liberals have been the champion of ride hailing services the whole time.

You’d be wrong. Very wrong.

As recently as 2014, a year after the ’13 election, the BC Liberal transportation minister was openly threatening fines and/or jail time for such drivers.

But now they’re the champion?

Not likely.

But don’t let the cynical political games of the BC Liberals get in the way of a good lie.

My2bits

Ride hailing is coming quickly to BC and the NDP can take credit for it

There are those to be sure who don’t like the idea of the ride hailing service, but it’s here and unavoidable now.

What’s interesting now is the desperate flailing of certain BC Liberal partisans trying to gain a wedge issue in the thing they had 8 years to deliver but only made a deathbed conversion when looking at Parliamentary defeat.

Tough shit.

What I have been vocal on is that ride hailing drivers fall under the same rules as taxi drivers. Same license requirements, etc.

And I wasn’t alone either. The government passed its ride hailing legislation that requires a class 4 license (as Alberta does) plus a handful of other transition measures to establish the new business.

But not to the partisans. They’re out to convince you that the NDP are laggards on ride hailing, bowing to the powerful taxi lobby. If so, they failed at that.

Ride hailing has existed since 2009 with the founding of Uber. At no time until the last gasp of the 2017 provincial campaign did the BC Liberals find this as a priority. Indeed, they were in power all the previous time and didn’t seem at all motivated to bring in ride hailing at all. I wonder who’s lobby had their ears.

It wasn’t until the NDP/Green agreement did a formal plan take shape to bring in Ride hailing. So it was bundled into legislation and passed.

September is when it opens for business.

That took two years.

As for the onerous regime the NDP is putting ride hailers through, spare me your verbal diarrhea.

Other than time, ride hailing corporations have had a fairly smooth sailing to being legitimate here in BC. Just look at what they’ve experienced elsewhere.

Ride hailing isn’t going to solve any climate issue. It won’t take many cars off the road. It’s a convenience based business model. That’s all it is.

Oh and get used to a new term: “surge pricing”.

My2bits

Update: here’s a link to a sad story coming from Toronto where a grieving family had to bury a son lost to an inexperienced ride hailing driver. Punchline? That the mom hopes BC holds the line in requiring the higher license requirement and that other jurisdictions follow suit.

BC media adopting BC Liberal talking points. Again.

Here it is. The narrative is changing to accuse the NDP of sinking personal wealth through the various housing countermeasures they’ve initiated.

Let’s clarify why this is.

The BC Liberals deregulated the housing market over a decade ago while simultaneously turning lethargic over money laundering in BC.

This left the door open for criminal money to find it’s way into the housing market as a means to flip it to cleaned cash. The results of this were naturally that the housing market overheated and pushed tens of thousands of otherwise middle class families out of the housing market entirely.

But to hear some business leaders tell it (by extension, BC Liberal friends), the NDP combating this rotten scenario are the real problem; not the deregulated cesspool the BC Liberals prefer.

Horse shit.

If your personal wealth is artificially inflated by forces driven as a result of criminal money infecting the economy, then it’s not real. And correcting this problem will do more benefit to those who can now buy a home vs those who were trying to cash in on the fraudulent “boom” we had as a result of money laundering.

Crocodile tears I tell you.

Working folks are told the tale of an honest days pay for an honest days work. If the BC Liberals are looking to revert to the old days of cronyism and looking the other way, then shame on them. Never let them govern again.

My2bits

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