Tuesday May 15, 2007
Help stop gas-price gouging by Big Oil - sign the petition
By BILL TIELEMAN
What we have in British Columbia today is a phenomenon whereby British Columbians are paying 25 cents a litre more than their fellow Canadians in southern Ontario.
Are you sick of not only paying incredibly high prices for gasoline, but also outraged Toronto drivers are charged 25 cents a litre less than we are?
Or that gas prices in Vancouver are much higher than in Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg or even Charlottetown, P.E.I.?
Here's your chance to actually do something about it.
Below this column is a petition to the B.C. Legislature started by CKNW AM 980 radio station host Jon McComb, who has made fighting rip-off oil prices a personal crusade.
The idea is simple - the petition asks the Legislature to: "Take whatever action is necessary to protect consumers from unfair prices."
McComb says despite interviewing experts on all sides, he doesn't know why a litre of gas costs a Vancouver driver $1.26 a litre and a Toronto driver $1.03 a litre last week.
"I still haven't heard an explanation why when the stuff's taken out of the ground in Alberta and shipped over to B.C. that the price difference is 15 to 16 cents a litre," McComb told me.
But McComb has no doubt skyrocketing big oil company profits are responsible.
"Everybody says 'where's the proof, where's the proof?' - look at the profits! Do you really need a PhD in economics to figure that out?" McComb asks.
Apparently a PhD is actually of no help. Ralph Sultan, the West Vancouver-Capilano B.C. Liberal MLA and former Royal Bank economist - was scathing in response to NDP MLA John Horgan's private member's bill to allow government to regulate gas prices through the B.C. Utilities Commission, which regulates electricity and natural gas rates.
"I believe that the marketplace, not government, will provide the solution to unreasonable and unaffordable gasoline prices," said Sultan.
But McComb says an investigation into oil company profits is needed.
"What's really necessary is a full-on inquiry - subpoena these guys, subpoena their records and find out what's going on," McComb argues.
And don't expect help from B.C. Energy Minister Richard Neufeld. He says that if Horgan thinks his legislation might pass he is "dreaming in technicolour."
So it's up to you to pressure the B.C. government to do something - anything - to lower the outrageously high price of gas here.
Get co-workers, friends and family to sign the petition - and send it to McComb at CKNW so he can present over 10,000 signatures to MLAs in Victoria later this month. And remember - a 52 cent stamp to mail your petition is less than half the cost of just one measly litre of gasoline!
Please send your completed petition, with original signatures to:CKNW c/o The World TodaySuite 2000 - 700 West GeorgiaVancouver, BC, V7Y 1K9