An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
GIVING DRIVERS NOTHING to lighten the burden of high gas prices would have been politically smarter than the token rebates offered through ICBC.
Reaction to the $110 rebates ($165 for commercial drivers) has hardly been one of gratitude. Instead, drivers are grousing that it isn’t enough. True, it will barely pay for a tank of gas based on today’s prices at the pump, depending on what kind of gas-guzzler we drive.
And, the cheques won’t be in the mail for several weeks.
On the other side of the argument, non-drivers don’t think drivers should get any help at all. And, why should drivers of electric vehicles get the same gift as those with vehicles powered by fossil fuels?
So, who has Premier John Horgan pleased with this move? Absolutely nobody, it would seem.
The criticisms are accurate in that the rebates won’t make a noticeable difference to anybody’s budgets. We’ll fill up with that one tank of ‘free’ gas, and then we’ll forget about it.
Horgan’s talk of finding a solution to high gas prices certainly hasn’t resulted in anything much. We’re still at the mercy of the oil companies and, now, we have the added pressures caused by the invasion of Ukraine.
But maybe this is a time we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Maybe we should take our $110 or our $165 and accept it for what it is — a small blessing, kind of like finding a shiny quarter on the ground or a prize in a box of popcorn.
The gesture is costing $395 million, which is no small piece of change. How many more millions or billions would have made us happy?
Let’s be real — Horgan won’t satisfy anyone until he finds a way to temper gas prices in the long term, and that isn’t actually going to happen. So, let’s just take our cheques and enjoy one trip to the pumps without complaining about what it’s costing us.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.