Keeping it Real…

Keeping it Real… header image 2

Horgan/NDP Playing the Public for Fools

May 27th, 2019 · 29 Comments

Premier John Horgan and his NDP government are laughing all the way to the bank.

First, they made it look like they ARE doing “something” about money-laundering and in BC and its impact on high housing prices by basically doing “nothing”: appointing a public inquiry.

Ho hum! As I pointed out on this blog, all that will do, is ensure the money laundering will continue for YEARS more … no REAL action to stop it NOW … as various governments, their developer and realtor friends, party financial contributors, the bureaucracy and all the lawyers involved continue to cash in from the process.

You can review that article here: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/public-inquiry-will-benefit-governments-lawyers-realtors-casinos-investors-bureaucrats-money-launderers-and-their-friends-but-not-you/

It will be a WASTE of millions and millions of public dollars … and in the end, I predict, tell us very little authorities don’t already know.

But the public and most of the media bought it.

So much so … Horgan/NDP have done it again … this time ordering an “inquiry” of sorts by the BC Utilities Commission into high gasoline prices: MORE STUDYING … instead of ACTION … in an attempt to satisfy the masses and the media … while the various governments, agencies and their corporate friends and supporters will AGAIN continue to cash in … and the public continues to suffer.

The BCUC will have the power to subpoena oil and gas company executives to explain how they set … or many would say FIX … gasoline prices in BC.

Great! Can hardly wait to watch them explain why BC has among the highest gasoline prices in North America; the least competition I’ve seen anywhere; the fastest increases I’ve ever noticed when world prices rise and the slowest drops I’ve ever noticed when world prices fall.

And hopefully we’ll see them defending their HUGE profits too, while they’re at it.

But that’s all only part of the picture.

Horgan/NDP have ORDERED the utilities Commission NOT to look at the BC government’s OWN policies … in other words, provincially-imposed TAXES and FEES, as they affect gas prices.

What a farce!

Who EVER heard of an inquiry being ORDERED in their terms of reference NOT to look at a MAJOR reason for the very problem they are asked to examine.

Ridiculous! What are Horgan/NDP afraid of … that they don’t already know?

I submit it’s THEIR OWN RIPOFF of the taxpayers … beyond any reasonable measure of taxation….. that they do not want focussed in on or publicized.

There’s the Provincial Metro Vancouver fuel tax 1.75 cents per litre in Metro Vancouver (7.75 cents elsewhere in BC); plus BC’s carbon tax 9.8 cents; the BC Transportation Authority tax 6.75 cents; TransLink tax in the Metro area 17 cents; Transit tax in Victoria 5.5 cents; Federal excise tax 10 cents … and then, dadding insult to injury, don’t forget the GST 5% … added to the total price.

That’s more than 60 cents a litre ADDED ON by governments/agencies in the Vancouver area.

And the TransLink tax will INCREASE another 1.5 cents per litre …. up to 18.5 cents per litre … July 1.

“B.C. drivers are being taken for a ride by politicians who are using them like tax-grab ATMs,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

And ironically, top wage earners aren’t feeling the pain as much as middle class, working families…. those in urban areas, who voted largely for the NDP.

Cutting in half the government/agencies’ extortion rate of taxation on gasoline … on top of reining in any corporate greed … would go a long way to restoring fairness in BC gas prices.

But the Utilities Commission won’t be allowed to say so.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · National

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gene The Bean // May 27, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Harvey, appreciate the passion but I’m sure the majority here and in the province think the money laundering investigation is overdue and required. As we’ve already discussed that, lets move on.

    Gas prices and the continual gouging of John and Jane Sixpack started in the late 1970’s when the Corporatists figured out 1) they could buy the government and, 2) if they limit refining and KEEP long identified roadblocks in place, THEY can dictate prices whenever they want.

    Create an ‘issue’, call for a ‘maintenance shutdown’ and create your own supply and demand problem. This has been confirmed through a couple of Boilermakers who say generally shutdowns are planned 4-5 months in advance but they occasionally get a ‘two weeks notice’ one where they go in, get paid, but do little if any work. It was a contrived “problem” purposefully done to shut down the refinery and jerk the system.

    Big Oil also does that with pipeline “issues” and other transportation (specifically railway) “problems.”

    Years of bought off governments have enabled this behaviour and now it is entrenched. No way ANY government can go against Big Oil now. Just look at what they do in Alabama-Berta, give hundreds of million$ of working peoples taxes to Big Oil as corporate welfare. Heritage Fund …. POOF! Given to Big Oil.

    Corporatists are not the friend of anyone except big banks, investment syndicates, billionaires and misguided uninformed Con voters.

    I laugh at the Alabama-Bertans who praise Big Oil like they are a godsend when it is them that have been screwing them with contrived boom/bust cycles for 50 years.

    I would prefer a wider scope for the enquiry but not looking at government imposed “add ons” doesn’t bother me ‘cuz we all know what they are. Most of the population can do the math, even when it doesn’t fit their ideological straight jacket. If it is taxed at $0.60 a litre, that’s what it is, now lets look at the other $1 a litre and the contrived “issues” as I have explained above that result in huge discrepancies and pricing models that go three steps up, but only one step down.

    The BCUC became a wet noodle when Gordo neutered it so his friends and backers could make hundreds of million$ in the IPP scam. It functionally no longer serves a real purpose. Do a public inquiry instead.

    (Response: Your one-sided view of the issue …blame the corporations but say nothing about the overtaxing ripoff by governments/agencies is exactly what Horan/NDP (and Translink/Ottawa) want to hear. Music to their ears …and that’s exactly why/how THEY get away with gouging the taxpayers well beyond any reasonable level of taxation. h.o)

  • 2 Gene The Bean // May 27, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Harvey, I like to be in fights I can win. We can beat the corporatists. They have to be reined back in before meaningful change can happen in government – any government.

    The table has been so tilted the last 30 years by the Cons spewing TAX CUT that it is virtually impossible for ANY government, for ANY reason, to raise taxes to where they should be and remove all the HIDDEN taxes like the stuff on gas. Without th0se gas taxes we both know Translink and BC Transit would be crippled.

    The political model is to scream TAX CUT over and over so the low IQ voters buy in – which they have. Working people still pay the same amount, hidden or otherwise. Rich people will continue to pay nothing. The TAX CUT message is purposeful and directed towards their low IQ “base”.

    I’d like to see all the hidden taxes, fees, levies and costs exposed. Full disclosure across the board, government, crown corps, everybody. Information is power. Why do you think the rabid right never properly funds public education?

    Lets expose the corporatists for what they are and what they do. Then we can elect multi-term governments that will govern for the people and enact the changes that are needed to do exactly what you are talking about.

    I have watched the Cons for far too long playing chess whilst progressives try to do the right thing and are stuck playing checkers.

    This isn’t a battle. It is a war and I will fight it every single day. I know how happy that’ll make some folks here.

    Tick Tock.

  • 3 e.a.f. // May 27, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    who ever is in government is going to have to levy taxes for the whole government to work.

    Haven’t personally checked but some time ago it was reported on by msm that even when they take the gas taxes out of the equation we in B.C. still pay 40 cents more for gas than the state of Washington, who use the same refinery as us. Would be interesting to know what the exact number is.

    not that concerned. We still pay less than Europe.

    that huge sucking sound most working people hear are taxes, from here and every where. with out taxes though how do we pay for public transportation, fire fighting, social services, prescription programs, government workers, etc. Personally I’m in favour of a re vamping of our income taxes so that we pay a higher amount there and forget the rest of it. corporations aren’t interested in that. By the 1980s taxes, which had been largely paid in this country by corporations, were off loaded to the citizens in general and corporations were paying less. Now we’ve heard every excuse in the book for corporations not paying their fare share.

    Like the gas taxes, who pays more in the end, corporations or people going to work every day? I’m leaving out retirees because we don’t have to drive more than once a week if we don’t want to.

    I think the inquiry is a good thing because, we may find out if we truly do pay more for than the State of Washington and other parts of Canada.
    Don’t have a problem with the inquiry not looking at the gas taxes because, really we do know what they are. Its the rest of the costs. Its the fluctuation of the gas prices which have caused me to believe its a game the companies play, not the gas stations but the gas companies.

    When you look at the price of a litre of gas, its usually the same in Richmond as in Vancouver, yet Richmond has a by law which stipulates all gas must be pumped by employees–provides jobs. I leave Nanaimo and come to Vancouver and some times the price is higher there than in Comox or vis a versa. I’ve driven in to Courtenay and decide to tank up on the way out of the valley–price is great. 3 hrs. later, up 20 cents. Come down island, still the old price. Go over to Vancouver, still the same price. It would not surprise me if they move it up and down when they think the customers have had enough of high prices in one area, they lower them and hike them in another area, but their profits still remain stable, although always going up. Once the price has gone up, i.e. 30 cents, when its dropped its never dropped 30 cents perhaps only 15 cents but consumers are so happy, no one says anything. but we’ve been gouged.

    I’m O.K. with the inquiry. I want one. Its not going to cost a fortune. the report will be out by Aug. I think (may have the date wrong, but I’m sure some one will correct me)

    As to the money laundering inquiry, we need it, I certainly want it, as do some others I know. No they’re not all lefties.

    Did hear Elizabeth May on the radio this afternoon and she suggested as we transition to renewable energy sources we in Canada, should not be exporting or importing, but using our own products.

    We could build a refinery or two and be done with it.

    Its a good topic and perhaps we will finally hve some answers.

    (Response: Yes, governments need tax revenues .. but when they extort 60 cents a litre … that’s EXCESSIVE. Interesting that our neighbour, Seattle, which is also a very well developed city, can “manage” it all with gasoline still costing about only $1.18 a lire Canadian … compared to $1.69 in Vancouver. h.o)

  • 4 Harry Lawson // May 27, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Harvey,

    Great post,

    All I an say is smoke mirrors and politics if one calls a enquiry it looks like you are doing something even tho ,you are doin not much a. Enquiry is only as good as the terms of reference.

    Also we need to look at report timing, with gas the cheaper winter gas will be in supply, with money laundring the lead up to the election will be in place and the liberals will be taking a hit. Brilliant political strategy. Lol

    (Response: Actually, in a way, I do admire what/how they’re doing it … making it LOOK like they’re caring, responding and doing something …while in REALITY they’re AVOIDING doing anything that will cut their revenues and profits from the very things that are oppressing the people … at least for some considerable additional time. That will allow the government to add MILLIONS more to their coffers … plumping up their coffers to fund pre-election promises. It’s brilliant! The real sad part is that many voters … AND THE MEDIA … don’t seem to realize what is happening. … except those who read this blog, written by someone who has covered politics, politicians and governments of every stripe and at every level for almost four decades. That brings out the cynic in me ..or I like to think, my ability to see through the smoke and mirrors. h.o)

  • 5 helena handcart // May 28, 2019 at 6:10 am

    Hi Harvey. I thought that I had clicked on a Postmedia article by mistake. I’ve just returned from a vacation in France and Spain. Drove everywhere. Gas was north of $2.30 a litre and most of my driving was on tolled Autoroutes. It was nice to get back to BC and fill up with cheap gas. We live in God’s country and still whine like spoiled kids. We really are a province of ungrateful wretches.

    (Response: Too bad you didn’t vacation closer to home: like Seattle where gas is $1.18 litre Cdn; or Florida where I paid $2.53 US a GALLON in April; or how about even elsewhere in Canada, like Calgary, $1.11.9; Regina $1,17.9; Toronto $124.9; or even the highly taxed Montreal $134.9. Your willingness to accept the ripoff imposed on us … without even the same levels of health care, social assistance, educational supports, superb transit, inter city trains and even superior highways they have in France and Spain is exactly what Horgan/NDP love to see … a complacent population willing to accept being gouged beyond reason. h.o)

  • 6 D. M. Johnston // May 28, 2019 at 7:33 am

    Horgan is nothing more than an NDP apparatchik, who happened to appeal slightly more than the utterly corrupt “photo-op” and the BC Liberal Party.

    He has done nothing, but reward party insiders with goodies and has treated the rest as peons with deep pockets.

    The real reason for the inquiry is to destroy the Liberals in the next election and has nothing to do with money laundering.

    One of the big issues is regional transit, which Horgan and his pals continue with big show-case projects (Broadway subway and the Surrey SkyTrain extension) which will create many union jobs, enrich the NDP’s old friends, Bombardier Inc. and SNC Lavalin, yet for $5 billion, do nothing to alleviate growing congestion and gridlock.

    All I hear on the radio, if i turn it on, is the NDP selling union jobs for all.

    The NDP haven’t changed, just took off where Clark and McPhail left.

    Horgan had better give a damn about getting reelected because for myself, there is no way in hell i would vote for them. And for you Liberal/conservative types, there is no way in hell I would vote for that dreadful party as well.

    I think the ossified thinking behind Horgan and the NDP is simply this, the old guard will always vote for them. I have news for you, if the the current demographics remain, the Greens will take your votes simply because the NDP is a party of panderers and not doers.

    Horgan nad his gand of pick pockets had better change their tune, soon or they will become a footnote in BC history books, “The Party That never Could”.

    (Response: Horgan/NDP should be very careful. I actually felt they began their term quite well, but now they are starting to show a financial wastefulness … spending MILLIONS and MILLIONS of taxpayers’ dollars on useless efforts that will yield little or nothing: their futile fight (unpopular too with most British Columbians) against the Trans Mountain pipeline; the hugely expensive money-laundering inquiry that will recoup little or more likely NOTHING; and now a gasoline price inquiry that will specifically be excluded from examining a PRIME reason for the ripoff of British Columbians … taxes, fees, etc added on to every litre by the provincial government and other governments/agencies. Think of how all those MILLIONS and MILLIONS could be used to help projects/people who really need it: working poor; seniors; health wait lists; education. This fiscal waste will no doubt come back to haunt them. h.o)

  • 7 e.a.f. // May 28, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Regarding my previous comment on the need for the government to be financed: AMENDMENT ON THAT THOUGHT. Was over at the CBC on line: it reports that government subsidies to Canadian business is greater than its entire defense budget, coming in at $29BILLION in subsidies. That is what the federal government and the 4 largest provinces hand out to corporations. Alberta ranks first and Quebec second for “largess” for corporations.

    O.K. drop the gas taxes and the subsidies for corporations. We can call it even and we’ll all be happy, except perhaps the corporations. that big sucking sound maybe our money going into the pockets of corporations. Come to think of it, public transportation could be considered a subsidy for corporations. Some may suggest its the workers who benefit, but really corporations benefit “hugely”. what do they pay towards these expensive bridges, public transport systems, if they’re already receiving subsidies. What do these subsidies take out of our economy. Oh, I think you wrote something about that some years ago, when it came to subsidies for the movie industry.

    Perhaps the enquiry could look at where we could get the money besides the gas tax. the gas tax does impact low incomes earners more than high income earners.

    (Response: I don’t like corporate subsidies with our taxes ..BUT I realize sometimes they are necessary: for important projects in the national interest; to assist/stimulate a corporate project (with a proviso that when it becomes profitable, they pay back our investment); and in instances where Canadian companies are competing with foreign companies on huge industries also getting subsidies from their governments (again with a proviso taxpayers get repaid when the project turns a profit). Meanwhile, it’s not the role of the BC Utilities Commission to tell government where else it could raise needed monies: that’s the job of the brilliant experts/strategists in the government. A good place to start would be STOP wasting MILLIONS and MILLIONS on useless, futile endeavours I have already mentioned. h.o)

  • 8 Gordie // May 28, 2019 at 9:16 am

    A few comments here.

    Firstly, it seems useless to ask big oil why they charge so much for gas. They will just give the standard excuses we’ve all heard before. They aren’t going to admit gouging the public. I’m not sure why you are blaming Horgan/the NDP for the taxes (here’s what you say: I submit it’s THEIR OWN RIPOFF of the taxpayers … beyond any reasonable measure of taxation….. that they do not want focussed in on or publicized). To my knowledge the current government has not imposes any new taxes or raised taxes, except for maybe the carbon tax, which really should be much much higher than it already is. Some of those taxes are not even under provincial jurisdiction so the NDP can’t do anything about them anyway. Furthermore, the taxes have been well-discussed in the press and are no secret, so why bother investigating them? But I agree, the inquiry into gas prices is a waste of time.

    As for the money laundering inquiry, I also agree that these inquires often result in a thick document that gathers dust on a shelf. But this is an important issue that affects all of us and is investigating something criminal in nature, so I’m willing to wait and see and hope that something good comes of it. Also I think that that this is the second inquiry (the first was the Craig James fiasco???) for the current government. The James inquiry did result in James “retiring” so something came of that. Maybe the Horgan government is different. At least give them the benefit of doubt until they prove that they are just like the rest.

    (Response: I sure hope BCUC inquiry staff will come armed with the reported HUGE PROFITS for all of the oil companies they call before them … and if/how they have grown over the past five or ten years (after hiding/deducting as much costs/writedowns etc. as they can): the media could do a lot on that now …expose it all now and chase after oil company execs now … but will likely wait until it’s handed to them on a platter at the inquiry. h.o)

  • 9 Gene The Bean // May 28, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Gordie #8 – you raise some good points.

    FYI Canada subsidized fossil fuel companies (you know, those multi-national billion dollar companies that pay little if any taxes but pay huge dividends to shareholders and executives) to the tune of 3.3 BILLION dollars of YOUR tax dollars. Remember the only money government ever has is what working people give them.

    Alberta-Bama alone subsidizes oil and gas companies to the tune of 1.16 BILLION dollars a year.

    Anyone think that is fair? YOUR money going to subsidize companies that make billions in profits each year. The system is broken folks and it needs to be fixed.

    EAF hits it on the head too in comment #7.

    Any one of us here (with a couple of exceptions) could solve a lot of these problems in an hour. Vastly reduce all subsidies for everyone except non-profits (yes that means you Bombardier), tax the rich, tax corporations and remove loopholes and ‘easy outs’ for the wealthy in the tax code. Easy peasy. I’d say that’s 20 – 30 billion dollars right there – every year. Imagine how many hip operations or opioid treatment centres or meals for seniors of subsidized houses that is.

    People need to stop chasing the dragon (the almighty dollar) and just be a decent human being.

  • 10 Eldon // May 28, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    The NDP doesn’t appear to stand for anything. Change with the wind and more symbolism than action. More and more I’m leaning to Green.

  • 11 nonconfidencevote // May 29, 2019 at 5:26 am

    “that huge sucking sound most working people hear are taxes, from here and every where. with out taxes though how do we pay for public transportation, fire fighting, social services, prescription programs, government workers, etc. ”

    *************************************

    I dont mind paying taxes when the money is well spent.
    Health “care” and Education take 80% of every tax dollar and they always want more…
    Pretty amazing really when you think only $0.20 of every tax dollar collected pays for all the rest of the govt workers squealing at the trough.

    As for monopolistic gas pricing.
    Its not too hard to figure out why prices are so high when you look at monopolistic BC Car insurance rates.
    We pay the highest gas prices in North America and the highest Car Insurance rates in Canada.
    Good old “competitive” ICBC.
    The govt proving once again what ever the private sector can do the govt can do at twice the staff and triple the cost.
    Perhaps the off shore buyers tax, the money laundering crack down, etc will help us reduce our car insurance rates…
    and a Federal pipeline from Alberta will help with gas prices.

    The NDP ?
    Not to worry. The economy is creaking to a stop as the housing industry grinds to a halt.
    Falling sales, cancelled construction projects, laid off workers plus the rising user fees and taxes will all stick a knife in the heart of the NDP re-election campaign.
    Horgan and pals are too stupid to call an election today….they want to wait until the unemployed , overtaxed masses are really angry in about 1.5 years.
    Ya gotta luv the socialist mindset when it comes to other people’s money…..

    (Response: I still believe, despite my criticisms, that if an election were held today, Horgan/NDP would/should defeat Andrew Wilkinson and the Liberals. I have not seen anything from them that would motivate me … and I suspect many other non-partisan British Columbians … to put the Liberals back in power … and, frankly, Wilkinson hasn’t impressed. Maybe that’s why Horgan/NDP are playing the voters the way they are ..spending millions and millions on useless p.r. endeavours disguised as inquiries, while doing very little to solve the serious problems surrounding them or ending government (and friends) profiting from it all. h.o.)

  • 12 chuckstraight // May 29, 2019 at 8:41 am

    We are used to it. Remember the 6 million payout to Basi Virk?
    The BC Liberals didn`t play the voters?

  • 13 e.a.f. // May 29, 2019 at 9:42 am

    it is to be hoped that housing prices fall. working people in this province are finding it harder and harder to purchase a home. An article in yesterday’s Sun discusses how Vancouver has the highest priced houses in the world and they do it on the basis of average salary to average home price. Vancouver is rated some where around a 12 to 1 while other expensive places are 4 to 1 or a 6 to 1. when Vancouver is almost double or more than other “expensive” places, we need to think where are people going to live. Housing isn’t a place to gamble and make huge profits, its what gives a city a stable place to live. In the past 5 years I believe the article mentioned housing in Vancouver had gone up 20% a year. that is great for investors, but for people living and working here, not so much.

    when houses go up at a steady rate year over year, fine/good and keep pace with salary increases. An inquiry will look into how much of the “dirty” money went into our housing sector. If the results of the inquiry take it out, I’m good with that. .

    Gas prices, are higher than other places? We might want to know why. Over the years all sorts of people have wondered why? now we’ll get an answer. As to ICBC, don’t know how old you are, but I remember clearly a time when people didn’t have it and couldn’t get insured. It happens in other provinces all the time.
    It isn’t all the NDP’s fault things went side ways, do remember the B.C. Lieberals were in office for 16 years. The NDP has been there for 2 years. that’s what I love , its always the NDP’s fault, even if the Socreds/B.C. Lieberals were in office for a decade or more.

    The gas inquiry is set to deliver its report in Aug. if I recall. That is not a lot of time to wait and not a lot of time to spend too much money.

    As to the “serious problems surrounding them”, if you don’t know the cause of the “serious problems” you can’t find adequate solutions.

    When I look back on the Krever blood enquiry, some thought it not necessary, cost too much, etc. In the middle of that inquiry, during testimony I found out the blood supply had not been “clean” until after a year we had been told it was. that year it was to have been clean the spousal unit had had 7 units of blood. I was in the dr.’s office the next morning telling them what I’d seen on t.v. and went for blood testing. Perhaps that’s why I like inquiries. We find out things we didn’t know, same with the Robert Dziekanski inquiry. Costly to be sure, but we found out the truth and sometimes there is no monetary amount which can be placed on the truth.

    if you want to save money, stop subsidizing corporations.

    (Response: I agree it is not just the NDP’s fault that our gas prices are about the highest in North America. But they have made it WORSE … look at the taxes/fees added on during their term of office … and now, instead of making it better, they are making sure nothing happens for quite a while more by asking the BCUC to investigate (ie STALL!!!) while the governments/agencies/corporations continue to cash in ..and, making the whole tin a farce, they have ordered the BCUC NOT to look at how the government has made it worse by adding new additional taxes/fees. I can just imagine what the NDP and their supporters would say if the Liberals ever did the same!!! It’s a total farce. h.o)

  • 14 e.a.f. // May 29, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Harvey, in the end you could be quite correct. You certainly have observed enough in politics/business, etc. to make an educated “guess”. You’re quite correct in saying if another party did something like the party who does it now, there would be screaming from here to the end of the block.
    We can only hope these inquires go well and see what happens.

  • 15 nonconfidencevote // May 30, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    @#13 e.a.f.
    “As to ICBC, don’t know how old you are, but I remember clearly a time when people didn’t have it and couldn’t get insured. It happens in other provinces all the time.”

    +++++

    Isnt that what SHOULD happen to bad drivers?
    Banned?

    (Edited …off topic: the phoney restricted gasoline price inquiry. h.o)

  • 16 Marge // May 30, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Putting things into perspective.
    One of my students is a Chaldean Catholic refugee from Iraq. I talked to her mom today and asked what the family had experienced. In Iraq her daughter was slapped by her teacher at school countless times for not wearing her burka properly. The mom had been a kindergarten teacher and was warned by the school that no one would protect her if someone came into the school with a gun. She stopped working at the school. On another occasion my student’s school was surrounded by gunfighters who wanted to use the kids as hostages for money. When her school bus was fired on, that was the last straw. My student stayed home. The dad who worked at the church was told if he continued he would be murdered. He stayed home too. The only one working was the eldest son

    Finally the family was told that their eldest son would be murdered because the family was Catholic – apparently this was a common practice to intimidate people to vacate the country. It worked with this family.

    They headed for Syria where they stayed for three years. They experienced bombings, lack of food, low wages because they were foreigners, high inflation, no resources, robberies, you name it. They slept at night together expecting that if a bomb dropped on them, they would go together or they would all escape together. The mom sold her jewelry to pay for food as it was so scarce since nothing was coming in our out of Syria.

    Finally the family were told that they were being sponsored to Canada. They were to fly out of Syria but unfortunately the airfield had been bombed. A bus was arranged to drive them to Lebanon. During the bus ride, the bus stopped and all the passengers thought they were going to be dragged out and shot. Lucky for them, they weren’t. The bus just had mechanical problems.
    Arriving in Canada, the mom told me that she thought she was in heaven. She told me what she appreciated most was being able to sleep through the night and not waking up countless times to bombs.

    Getting gas after work tonight, I didn’t complain one bit out loud or to myself about being gouged at the pumps. We have it pretty good here!

    (Response: While I am sympathetic to real refugees and recognize overall we live a very HIGH quality life in Canada and, for that matter, many other countries of the world. However, I think your attempt to use the comparison you cited as an EXCUSE to accept the ripoff of our taxpayers and consumers by our governments, agencies and corporations is ridiculous. It’s like someone getting pulled over, then mugged by a police officer, having their purse or wallet stolen from them .. but and then giving thanks because at least they weren’t shot. In OUR society, we have the right to EXPECT our governments, agencies and even corporations don’t EXTORT and RIP OFF the population … just because they can. h.o)

  • 17 G. Barry Stewart // May 31, 2019 at 8:19 am

    If oil execs are legally required to give truthful answers to any and all questions, then what’s not to like about an inquiry? News reporters can only go so far in their digging before the doors get shut.

    Gas pumps often display the shakedown on where the taxes are going, for each litre purchased. That’s already up-front, so I agree that it’s a waste of time to have the BCUC look at taxes.

    Having said that: it would be fairer if the GST were a set amount per litre, rather than sliding up and down with the retailers’ price. (As far as I can see, GST is the only tax that floats. It’s also a cruel joke to pay taxes upon taxes, which the GST obliges.) If all taxes were a fixed amount per litre, we’d know that every spike in fuel prices was totally going to the oil companies.

    There’s no denying the political gamesmanship going on. Horgan has to do something when Mr. Wilkinson erects billboards “blaming” gas prices on Horgan. As well, Jason Kenny and the Albertans have now thrown $1.6 million into a pro-pipeline ad campaign.

    Here’s a fine primer on BC gas prices (BCUC investigators take note…) by Blair King, the “Chemist in Langley.”

    https://achemistinlangley.net/2019/04/14/a-primer-on-the-bc-refined-fuel-market-lower-mainland-gasoline-prices-and-how-they-can-be-affected-by-a-change-in-mix-in-the-trans-mountain-pipeline/comment-page-1/#comment-18778

    (Response: You’re right … ” Horgan has to do something “. How about lowering the exorbitant OVERTAXATION on gasoline!! Almost SIXTY CENTS A LITRE in government/agencies imposed taxes/fees … OUTRAGEOUS!! Especially when you realize those taxes hurt middle class working people who must commute/travel for their jobs more than the rich, who can more easily afford it …and in many cases, even write off a lot of their vehicle expenses. h.o)

  • 18 G. Barry Stewart // May 31, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    From past experience, I suspect if Horgan cut 20¢ a litre off the tax burden today, the oil execs would say, “Thank you very much!” and jack prices to scoop up at least 50% of the savings.

    ‘Better that we donate to the government’s hands, than the oil companies’.

    (Response: I am no fan of the oil companies and, judging by their profit pictures, suspect we are being overcharged for gasoline … but the problem with your theory is that what you say has not happened in other provinces: as I pointed out look at what other Canadians are paying for gasoline from those same companies, including taxes: Calgary, $1.11.9; Regina $1,17.9; Toronto $124.9; or even the highly taxed Montreal $134.9. If they can pay that…why not us? The NDP provincial government (and previous Liberal government) are part of the gouging of taxpayers taking place here…. and Horgan/NDP ordering the BCUC NOT to look at that adds to the farce. h.o)

  • 19 john // May 31, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    “Heritage Fund …. POOF! ”
    Check your facts BEAN, the fund is still there.

  • 20 Gene The Bean // May 31, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    John #19 – just for clarity, this is from Wikipedia – “Between 1980 and 2014, although non-renewable resource revenues (NRR) in Alberta generated almost $190 billion[7], the value of the Heritage Fund in 2014 was only $17.3 billion.”

    So…. 190 billion to 17.3 billion is a really, really big poof!

    Harvey, thanks for moderating and keeping the comments on track. First post in a long time that hasn’t been sullied by silliness and name calling. Lets hope it continues. Happy Friday!

  • 21 john // May 31, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Hate to disagree Bean, but where did you find the $190 billion figure for the fund actual value. The fund has never been above inflation adjusted value of $25 billion, because Alberta used the fund over the years for legitimate projects.
    If we had invested all the earnings and not used any, then the value may have approached that figure over the 38 years of the fund’s existence. Oh that the BC goverment could have done so well in the last 40 years.

  • 22 nonconfidencevote // Jun 1, 2019 at 7:59 am

    The arguement will be moot in 10-20 years.
    More and more people I speak to are seriously considering going “electric”.
    One wonders what the govt will slap a tax on next when electric car ownership surpasses gas cars in the next 20 years.
    Zone billing comes to mind.
    Or for that matter car ownership….. period.
    A young kid today with a new license will pay exorbitant car insurance , exorbitant gas prices, exorbitant parking fees, all for the “privilege” of driving from ‘A” to “B”.
    Uber, self driving cars, etc. will gut personal car ownership in the generations to come.

    I think I have bought my last gas guzzler 5 years ago and will baby it for the next 20 years.
    Then , pack me off to a retirement home in a self driving, electric , Uber where I can have my meals, booze and diapers delivered to my door by Amazon……
    Ah the blissful future.

    (Response: You’re certainly on to something when you ponder what they government will tax next once gas driven vehicles decline substantially. In fact, I’d bet they’re already looking/salivating: tolls to go into the downtown; bringing back bridge/tunnel tolls; fees based annual odometer readings; increased meter/parking garage taxes/residential permits; higher and, of course, higher insurance rates. I hope they have a FULL INQUIRY into each proposal and its impact on revenues, costs, the people, the environment and even First Nations land claims: of course that would be a TOTAL waste of millions more …but at least it would delay any implementation for a dozen years … when I’ll likely no longer be driving! h.o)

  • 23 nonconfidencevote // Jun 1, 2019 at 8:03 am

    Horgan has to do something “. How about lowering the exorbitant OVERTAXATION on gasoline!! Almost SIXTY CENTS A LITRE in government/agencies imposed taxes/fees … OUTRAGEOUS!! Especially when you realize those taxes hurt middle class working people who must commute/travel for their jobs more than the rich, who can more easily afford it …and in many cases, even write off a lot of their vehicle expenses. h.o)

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The NDP (or any other govt) LOWER taxes?!?!?!?

    It will never happen.
    They have too many favours to repay……

  • 24 G. Barry Stewart // Jun 1, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Doug Ford cut the Ontario gas tax by 10¢ a litre last fall.

    Perhaps by fluke, Ontario’s winter gas rates were the lowest since 2015 (ours equalled 2017’s) — but this spring, the Ontario savings are about 6¢ a litre compared to the same 2018 date before the 10¢ tax cut. Hmm…

    GasBuddy provides a very useful historical gasoline price tool. You can customize it to various regions and time periods.

    https://www.gasbuddy.com/Charts

    (Response: Thanks. GasBuddy is a very good site. h.o)

  • 25 max avelli // Jun 1, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Harvey,

    Maybe you need a fact checker or editor. This is just false:

    “And the carbon tax will INCREASE another 1.5 cents per litre …. up to 18.5 cents per litre … July 1.”

    A few sentences before that you pointed out that the carbon tax on gas is 9.8 cents per litre. It is actually 8.89 cents per litre. See https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/taxes/sales-taxes/publications/mft-ct-005-tax-rates-fuels.pdf

    It went up 1.1 cents per litre on April 1 this year. It will go up another 1.1 cents on each of April 1, 2020 and 2021. Please see the table in Schedule 1 of the Carbon Tax Act at http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/08040_01#Schedule1

    I believe the 18.5 cents you are referring to is the increase in the Translink Tax for Metro Vancouver under the Motor Fuel Tax Act on JUly 1, 2019. It will go up from 17 cents to 18.5 cents per litre. Please see the Notice to Fuel Sellers at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/taxes/sales-taxes/publications/notice-2019-003-fuel-sellers-in-scbcsr-fuel-inventory.pdf

    Just so you know that someone is actually paying attention to the details of your blog posts 🙂

    (Response: You are absolutely correct: it’s the Translink tax, not the carbon tax, that is going up again July 1 … another 1.5 cents a litre. I’ve corrected the blog piece and appreciate your attention to the details. However, the end result is still the same … EVEN HIGHER TAXES on gasoline in the already heavily overtaxed Metro Vancouver area. Too bad the BCUC won’t be allowed to look at ALL the ways taxpayers are being overly targeted to the point of being oppressed! h.o)

  • 26 Marge // Jun 2, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Of course we are overtaxed. But if I remember correctly, you voted for Trudeau. So what did you expect – he would lower taxes just because he is Trudeau? All politicians play the same game. Once a tax is initiated it never is removed if the new party coming in can get away with it (or raise taxes because the previous party overspent). Choose a tax, any tax and they have no problems implementing it at our expense. Responsible government does not exist in this province or country.

    Industry also takes advantage of the fact that BC people are “rich” because of their housing so soak them as much as we can and they won’t even notice, because after all they live in Lotus Land and will pay dearly just to be here.

    My previous post was to show that we can’t do anything about being screwed over by politicians and oil companies. It was to put another viewpoint in place. Your response to it I believe was way over the top. For that reason like a previous commentator, I will stop commenting here and leave the blog. I may return in October to listen to you tell us why we should vote Liberal….

    (Response: Have you already forgotten Harper/Campbell’s HST? One thing EVERYONE knows is that OVERTAXATION in BC is not partisan: EVERY PARTY in power … federally, provincially, municipally for decades now has raised taxes/fees/rates well beyond inflation … to the point almost everyone is now hurting. Too many see taxpayers’ income as a bottomless pit they can keep picking away at … a few pennies at a time … over and over and over. And making it all worse … the WASTE that takes place with too much of the money the governments/agencies squeeze out of us. h.o)

  • 27 e.a.f. // Jun 2, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    over taxation is not partisan, made me laugh.
    if we give up the gas guzzlers, where will they get the taxes from? Electricity. Watch the prices climb as more people drive electric cars. Those “stupid meters” were implemented for a reason. I can just see the “night rates” when people charge their cars, in 8 years from now. Lets hope we’re all still alive to discuss it.

    What we need in Canada is a new personal income tax system and forget the rest of the b.s. on taxes. these user taxes exploit those who can least afford them. They’ve been peddled to us as good because you only get taxed on what you used, but every one needs gas and the well to do can afford it much more than those who work at min. wage. a dam good income tax could level the playing field. No more off shores, etc. Just think of the money we’d save on inquiries every couple of decades.

    (Response: There is indeed something wrong with our taxation system … when people who make millions can brag they pay NO taxes; when places like the Cayman Islands are “home” to SEVERAL Canadian bank subsidiaries (RBC, CIBC, Bank of Nova Scotia etc) where the wealthy can hide … oops, invest … funds … and avoid taxes here. While the rest of us struggle to pay a comparatively high (and constantly rising) share of any income in federal, provincial, municipal taxes and fees. h.o)

  • 28 SG // Jun 3, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Harvey, you missed a gas expense that was mandated in by the previous BC Liberals. BC is the only jurisdiction period that has mandated the use of “low carbon” gas, that adds 8-14 cents per litre to the cost at the pump…

    https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2019/05/23/ghg-act-bc-fuel-prices/

    (Response: Hard to keep up with all the taxes/fees/increases various governments have loaded onto taxpayers and especially motorists in the Lower Mainland in recent years! Outrageous and totally excessive. h.o)

  • 29 SG // Jun 3, 2019 at 8:35 am

    ^^^ Here’s the BC “low carbon gas” regulation.

    https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/electricity-alternative-energy/transportation-energies/renewable-low-carbon-fuels

Leave a Comment

CAPTCHA Code is needed.

If you do not enter the CAPTCHA code then your comment will be deleted when you select Submit.

*