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Gas prices soar as affordability crisis worsens

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson’s column to the Free Press
Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

It’s deeply frustrating to watch gas prices rise with each passing day. Right now, we are witnessing another massive spike in the cost of fuel, with the price of gas in 100 Mile House reaching $1.80 per litre last week, and the cost in Metro Vancouver exceeding $2 per litre. The last few years have conditioned us to accept wildly high prices as typical, but no one can argue that $1.80, let alone $2, a litre for gas is anything close to normal.

No matter where you live in B.C., the high cost of gas has a profound impact on your finances. Not just because of the cost of filling up the family car with fuel, but also because skyrocketing gas prices drive unaffordability in every sector. Goods and services are brought to our communities by car, truck, and other fuel-dependent sources of transportation, meaning that when gas prices are high, everything from groceries to construction also gets more expensive.

We can see this process happening in front of our eyes every time we go to the grocery store. The cost of goods like meat, eggs, and vegetables is higher than ever before, housing prices have reached unbelievable highs, and the reality of having to choose between filling up the car with gas, or buying groceries has become too common for many British Columbians. Surveys have even shown that more than half of people in B.C. are $200 or less away from insolvency.

With the cost-of-living crisis what it is, it’s hard to believe the current NDP government came to power with a campaign promise to “make life more affordable.” Even if they were sincere in making that promise, I don’t think there’s anyone in B.C. who can say life is more affordable for them now than it was when the NDP took office in 2017.

This broken promise is made worse by the fact that there are steps government could take to make life a little bit easier for people right now. I’ve mentioned before that our BC United Leader Kevin Falcon has been suggesting a temporary suspension of provincial gas taxes for over a year now and we’ve even introduced a bill in the legislature on this issue. Government could suspend these taxes tomorrow and it would immediately make life just a little more affordable for everyone in B.C. Unfortunately, the government has yet to adopt this common sense idea.

Of course, there is no one measure or single easy answer to the affordability crisis in B.C., but there are tangible steps government could be taking to provide people with immediate relief. For the good of all British Columbians, I hope they take action soon.

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About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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