|The Premier wanted to talk about new Museum plans in Victoria,|
but the topic of the price of gas quickly became a major talking point Friday
A Friday media availability for Premier John Horgan, originally to highlight plans for a new Royal Museum of British Columbia, has made for a sound-byte for the summer perhaps.
With the Premier questioned about the ever rising cost of gasoline at the pumps of the province and a call from the BC Liberals for some relief for motorists, with the Premier delivering some advice that has raised a few eyebrows and launched more than a fair bit of response.
"Removing taxes that are put in place to build infrastructure for transportation, whether it be transit, roads, bridges is short sighted and the proposal as I understand it, is to borrow money to pay for those things so that we can reduce taxes on what is really a modest amount of the cost of a litre of gas at the moment.
We've seen inflation and runaway costs because of Vladimir Putin's aggression in Europe, in Ukraine and the consequences of that are de-stabilized markets and it's not just British Columbia, or Alberta, or Canada that is affected by this, this is an International phenomenon.
We have taken steps through our public auto insurance company, which is now solvent again and in fact reducing costs for the transportation public.
I'm more concerned quite frankly about the inflationary impacts on other important life altering products like food, as the summer progresses. So we're looking at a range of anti inflationary measures within government and to focus just on gas taxes is in essence saying we should borrow money that we would be collecting at the pump.
The impact at the pump is not about taxes, the impact is of inflation as a result of aggression and destabilizing of a market.
You can't solve that by just taking a penny or two here, you need to solve that by encouraging people to find other ways to move around which they are doing and also putting in place anti-inflationary policies so that we can address those other issues that affect all of us, not just drivers.
The cost of food and other things that are escalating because of the uncertainty internationally"
Towards other options the Premier offered up some more items for review of the public on themes of transportation.
"We've already made it free for people under twelve to use public transit, that reduces cost, we eliminated tolls that the former government put on bridges in the lower mainland ... all of us taking the steps that we can, to reduce the amount we spend and also ensuring that we're working together.
If you're going to the grocery story and you know you've got a Neighbour that needs something, ask if you can pick it up for them and reduce the number of trips that we take.
But Right now, I encourage people to think before you hop in the car, do you need to make that trip?
Is there a way you can do it with a neighbour, or someone who is going by"
The price of gas and inflationary pressures in the province, came as a sidebar of sorts, part of his press conference that was originally called to share word of an 800 million dollar plan to build the new Museum.
John Horgan encouraging people 'to think before you hop in the car' amid record-braking gas prices
BC Premier under fire after urging drivers 'to think before you hop into the car amid gas price surge
Gas Prices continue to soar, with high of 2.34/litre expected in Vancouver
And while British Columbians who for the most part held the line on their travel ambitions for two years owing to COVID probably won't be paying much heed to the Premiers advice as the summer travel season nears, the talking point for the weekend has been a gift to the Liberal party of BC.
Last week they had three suggestions for the Horgan government to consider, all of which were not accepted by the Premier on Friday.
Temporarily suspend provincial gas taxes.
Provide a one-time rebate through the Climate Action Tax Credit.
Suspend hidden ‘import’ taxes on gas brought into B.C. from Alberta.
Among the Liberals to make much political hay out of the Premier's themes of Friday was Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, who used his social media stream to outline his thoughts on the Premier's advice.
As regular readers of the blog will note, Mr. Ross, who is the BC Liberals Energy critic, has often spoken to the theme of the province taking charge of its own energy future through more refineries, pipelines and more effort and political support into the tapping of the provinces own energy resources. A theme he touched on as well in his weekend of social media interaction.
The price of gas has increased to 2.33 per litre at some stations in Vancouver, it's currently ten cents cheaper at most stations in Victoria.
This past weekend Prince Rupert residents were paying 1.99/L for gas at local stations. In Terrace, the Gas Buddy portal is noting a range from 1.96 to 2.04 per litre.
You can follow many of those themes through our Legislature archive page.