Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson

MLA’s CORNER: NDP gas price relief misses the mark

B.C. residents need targeted relief

After weeks of skyrocketing gas prices and unaffordability, last Friday, Premier John Horgan announced his plan for long-awaited “relief” for drivers.

Unfortunately, instead of targeting help to those hit hardest by rising prices, or addressing prices themselves, this government decided to provide a one-time $110 rebate to every B.C. driver — regardless of your income or whether you drive an electric vehicle (EV).

Now, I’m incredibly supportive of incentivizing the purchase of EVs, and I hope that more people can make the choice to buy them in the future.

However, people who already own EVs don’t need relief from rising gas prices. They haven’t been impacted by the pain at the pumps, which in recent weeks has seen people spending more than $200 on a tank of gas.

The idea that a single parent with a minivan is going to get the same $110 rebate as the owner of a Tesla is simply ridiculous. It completely ignores the reality that far too many low- and middle-income people in B.C. are facing. The stress that comes with every trip to the gas station or grocery store. It also fails to address life in rural B.C., where we often travel longer distances, own larger vehicles, and have fewer public transit options.

Making matters worse, the rebate won’t arrive until May. People need immediate relief. Sending them a cheque in the mail two months from now just doesn’t cut it.

For weeks, my BC Liberal colleagues and I have been calling on the NDP to use pre-existing carbon credits, through the BC Climate Action Tax Credit, to provide an enhanced rebate directly to lower and middle-income people. If the government acted swiftly, this could have been issued as early as April 5th.

Instead of providing targeted relief, the NDP chose an option that fails to genuinely help those who need it most. Despite all their promises, it’s clear this government isn’t really working to make life more affordable for everyday people — and it’s disappointing to watch.

READ MORE: B.C. to provide $110 one-time rebate to relieve high gas prices

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