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Opinions: John Horgans relief plan is an illusion disguised as so-called gas price relief ‘rebate’

When gas prices started to sky rocket at the ending of February we knew we were in for a

After a long expensive 3 weeks getting hosed at the pump while Horgan ducked and dodged gas price questions, he finally teased British Columbians about the gas price relief plan.

The announcement he gave was to let us all know it will be another week before he releases any type of gas price relief plan. He decided to raid the ICBC profits that belong to the paying customers that prop up ICBC as an illusion for a publicity stunt.

The payouts of $110 for individuals and $165 for commercial customers were somewhat underwhelming, as even Premier John Horgan had to admit.

“We’re in a position to put money back in people’s pockets to help a little with these increased costs,” he acknowledged at the media conference.

Not enough and way too late.

Gas prices in British Columbia have breaking high records since January.

Drivers in B.C. are fed up and they don’t care who is at fault for the higher prices, they just want a fair deal on gasoline for once.

The NDP the so-called “affordability” and “for the working class” party, what took them so long to let the people they are supposed to represent know sooner?

“We acted prudently,” explained Horgan.

“We made sure that we waited until near the end of the fiscal year so that ICBC could have a clearer picture of what their financial situation was. That’s a responsible thing to do.”

Premier Horgan and Solicitor General / deputy premier Mike Farnworth, insisted that the $396 million cost of the rebates was entirely affordable, because of what they call a “robust” state of ICBC finances.

In this year’s provincial budget, the government monopoly on auto insurance first reported a profit of nearly $2 billion after years of hemorrhaging money.

A week before John Horgan told us “everything is on the table“, Jimenez ruled out returning any part of the profit to ICBC customers.

Rather, the funds should be used to replenish the company’s capital reserves, which had been depleted as a result of years of financial losses.

“All of the profits will go to capital which is really important because it creates a backstop in case things go really wrong,” Jimenez told Richard Zussman of Global TV.

“We are slowly on a path to rebuild our capital levels so the system can function like it is supposed to.”

How ever the announcement is tricky, it’s an illusion gas price relief rebate. Since the reported $4 billion in profits and can afford to $400 million so-called “gas price relief rebate” . Shouldn’t ICBC customer be getting money back anyway?

“We’re in a good financial position today to provide some relief to our customers while also strengthening our capital reserves,” said ICBC’s statement.

“Rebuilding our depleted capital levels continues to be a priority for us and with our strong net income figure this fiscal year, we feel confident in our ability to provide this one-time rebate to British Columbians during these challenging times while continuing to rebuild capital.”

After all, that is what the New Democrats said would happen when they legislated against the government scooping up any cash surpluses at ICBC, the way the previous B.C. Liberal government used to do.

“Our intentions are that if there is any extra money left over, that it will go back to drivers in the form of various benefits, including lower rates,” said then minister for ICBC David Eby when introducing the anti-cash-grab legislation back in 2020.

Horgan, for his part, insisted that this week’s government-mandated rebates were nothing like the B.C. Liberal-era cash grabs.

Now here comes the illusion.

“What we’re doing here is giving money back to the policyholders, to people who finance ICBC,” he said.

“It isn’t about too many policy dollars in the pot,” the premier said. “It was about having a positive year-end as a result of investments that the corporation makes on behalf of policyholders.”

In the course of rationalizing, ICBC admitted that the rebate had only a weak link to gasoline prices.

ICBC Corporation also took a moment to plead their case why electric vehicle drivers that have now clue what the price of gas looks like at the pump

“While drivers of electric vehicles aren’t impacted by rising gas prices, there have been other cost pressures in recent months for all British Columbians,” said ICBC.

“Electric vehicle owners have also contributed to our strong financial position through their insurance premiums.

“Our goal with this rebate is to provide financial relief to the largest number of customers as possible.”

And there we have it folks.

If you are celebrating this payment you have been fooled because this so-called “gas price relief” rebate is not about gas prices at all. This is money they are supposed to be giving back ICBC customers anyway.

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Jordan is a casual reporter for BC Rise


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