District motorists were shocked to see prices at the pumps skyrocket about 10 cents a litre practically overnight late last week to hit what’s believed to be the highest price ever for gasoline here.
And the summer season—typically a time when gas costs more anyway due to higher consumer demand—hasn’t even arrived yet.
Funny how a hiccup in the Middle East can cause gasoline prices to spike, yet it takes three years of peace before it begins to ease downward again (or so it seems).
Anyway, the price of gasoline isn’t just leaving drivers nauseated these days. It’s already becoming a big headache (politically) for the new Liberal government ruling the roost at Queen’s Park—thanks to NDP leader and local MPP Howard Hampton.
Mr. Hampton was quick to point out on Monday that when the Liberals were in Opposition, several MPPs, including Rick Bartolucci (now minister of northern development) and Jim Bradley (now tourism minister), all introduced private members’ bills calling on the then Conservative government to control gas prices.
In fact, Mr. Bartolucci’s bill—introduced in 2001—called for a price rollback and a freeze up to 150 days.
But since last October’s election, Mr. Hampton points out, “all have gone silent and refused to reintroduce their bills.” As he put it, the Liberal caucus is “suffering from collective amnesia over the government’s ability to take action to control zooming gas prices.”
Saying one thing in Opposition, and then singing quite a different tune when in government, is nothing new. Bob Rae and the NDP did it (public auto insurance), as did local MP Bob Nault (gun control) and Jean “I will axe the GST” Chrétien.
The provincial Liberals are just the latest to find themselves tangled up in their own web of promises they spouted off—either to embarrass the governing party or get elected.
In a word, they got busted. Too bad it’s the rest of us who always end up paying the price.