Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature called “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley School Board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online Sundays.
Langley MLAs were asked: Should people who don’t own vehicles receive government funds akin to the ICBC rebate?
Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman
A. John Horgan and the NDP’s ICBC rebate doesn’t provide much relief for British Columbians burdened with the rising costs of gas, groceries, and other necessities.
Gas prices in Vancouver have risen by more than 90 cents per litre since the NDP came to power in 2017, and B.C. gas prices remain 50 to 60 cents higher per litre than neighbouring jurisdictions.
When B.C. is paying the highest gas prices in North America, it doesn’t just impact British Columbians at the pumps, but in all areas of their lives.
It has never cost more to run farm equipment, ship goods, or keep our communities moving through public transit. As a result, British Columbians are seeing the cost of groceries, public transit, and all of life’s necessities continue to skyrocket.
John Horgan has framed his one-time ICBC insurance rebate as his promised “gas price relief,” but this was slated to go out to drivers already. The rebate also ignores the fact that everyone — not just commuters — is feeling the impact of sky-high gas prices.
To help address our affordability crisis, communities want real long-term solutions to address skyrocketing gas prices, and there are crucial steps John Horgan and the NDP could take today to provide more immediate and long-lasting relief to British Columbians.
The BC Liberal caucus has called for John Horgan and the NDP to temporarily suspend provincial gas taxes, provide a one-time rebate through the Climate Action Tax Credit, and suspend hidden ‘import’ taxes on gas brought into B.C. from Alberta.
Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong
A. B.C. is in the middle of an affordability crisis. With gas, housing, and groceries more expensive than ever, action is most definitely needed to provide people with relief and to address rising inflation.
However, despite John Horgan and the NDP describing the ICBC rebate as a measure to help people with rising gas prices, it does nothing to actually lower the cost of fuel, and it isn’t targeted at the people who need it the most.
Rather than providing a small one-time rebate that provides little relief in the face of skyrocketing prices, this government needs to take real steps to lower the cost of gas.
This not only benefits those who own vehicles, but all those who depend on our supply chain.
High gas prices make everything more expensive, from groceries, to transportation— even to the cost of construction, which in turn increases the price of housing and other projects.
There are steps the NDP could take to make a difference, and the BC Liberal Caucus has been calling on them to act for months. They could temporarily suspend provincial gas taxes, provide a rebate through the Climate Action Tax Credit that would actually go to those who need it most, and suspend hidden ‘import’ taxes on gas brought into B.C. from Alberta.
These are common-sense steps that would help every person in this province – steps this government would immediately take if they were really serious about making life more affordable for British Columbians.
Langley-East MLA Megan Dykeman
A. We know that people are feeling financial strain at the moment, and that includes the price at the pumps worsened by the war in Ukraine.
This relief rebate is for ICBC policy holders, and it is possible because of higher-than-expected investment income, allowing ICBC to give back this one-time rebate. This is in addition to the changes the BC NDP made to ICBC that have saved drivers on their insurance.
Our government will continue to take steps to make life more affordable for all British Columbians, not just drivers, including unprecedented investments in childcare, making transit free for kids under 12, and tying minimum wage to inflation.
Langley MLA Andrew Mercier
A. ICBC is in a good position right now, thanks to more investments than anticipated and the changes that the BC NDP has made to the company since 2017, and that’s why they are able to offer this rebate to policy holders – to help offset the steep rise in the price of gas.
Our government knows that while this one-time rebate will be a great help to those of us who drive, that affordability is something on everyone’s mind, and we will continue to look for more ways to fight inflation and make life more affordable for British Columbians, as we have done through actions like eliminating MSP premiums and raising disability and income assistance.
Next week, Langley’s MPs are being asked: What is your party doing about the rise in incidents of hate crime in Canadian society?
Watch for the politicians’ answers online Sundays.