April Fools’ joke on us

British Columbians' day-to-day spending money continues to shrink

Gentlemen, have you done double take recently – looked at your hands and realized they are not the hands you felt digging for coins in you pants’ pocket?

Ladies, have you looked in the change pouch in your purse recently and noticed your money appears to be mysteriously disappearing?

Well, you are not alone dear readers.

Pretty much every British Columbian is walking around with a little less jingle in their jeans this month, and the pocket change will continue to shrink for years to come.

The reason we having less spending money is our senior levels of government played an April Fools’ Day joke on us at the beginning of the month.

So here is what happened on April 1, 2014:

• BC Hydro fees jumped up nine per cent. It is the first of five planned annual hikes by our family friendly B.C. Liberal government.

• Canada Post was “forced” to raise the price of a regular postage stamp from 63 cents to a $1. It will be tough on businesses that rely on the postal service, and a little harder to write a letter to family and friends, or ship off parcels to folks celebrating special occasions.

• Ferry rates were also increase for the already outrageous fees, and free weekday rides for seniors have been cancelled. However, it’s only going be painful for the folks who need to ride the ferries to conduct business, commute or visit loved ones.

While these may seem like paltry increases, they are compounded by other recent government increases: ICBC ($10/year); EI ($23/year for the average worker); MSP ($60/year for average family); and CPP ($70/year).

B.C. income taxes have also gone up for working couple because of lower basic personal and spousal income thresholds.

Meanwhile, the rich folks, including the bureaucrats and the politicians, won’t feel any pain from the increased rates and fees. Even if the increases do garner some attention from them, they will shrug it off.

However, the ever-shrinking middle-class folks will probably feel it as the monthly bills come in and the take-home pay slowly becomes a little smaller.

The elderly, single parents and folks who live near or below the poverty line are definitely going to feel the pain in their day-to-day existences.

There is going to be a breaking point unless some changes are made.

How many people will be sitting in the dark because they can’t afford electricity?

It won’t be the MLAs who sit in the copper-domed tower of the legislature – unless the lights are turned out on them in the next provincial election.