If Andrew Scheer intended to draw a policy line between voluntary and involuntary conversion therapy, it would be perfectly defensible.
Opinion: Tory Leader Andrew Scheer says British Columbians deserve cheaper gas prices, but how would he achieve that? Metro Vancouver gas prices have eased back since setting sky-high records last spring, but local prices at the pump continue to gallop ahead of most jurisdictions in North America.One reason for the pain in drivers’ wallets is the lack of local refining capacity, leaving Metro at the mercy of gas shippers from Alberta and the U.S.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has heard the griping and recently said he’s open to the idea of building a new fuel refinery in B.C.“We’re always open to seeing what the private sector proposes, what business cases are out there,” Trudeau said. “We’re going to work with people to find solutions to make sure that people can afford their weekly bills.”All of which left federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer literally laughing out loud when I asked him about the idea.“It’s so hypocritical,” Scheer said. “Higher gas prices is exactly what he wants!”He’s referring there to Trudeau’s national carbon tax, which Scheer has promised to scrap if he wins the election and becomes PM in October.“The price of gas is huge,” said Scheer, who wants to make affordability a central Conservative campaign theme. “Now, on the eve of an election, to see him (Trudeau) making noise, it’s completely phoney. Nobody’s going to buy it.”But what would a Tory government do about B.C. gas prices? Don’t forget Trudeau’s carbon tax doesn’t apply here because B.C. already has a provincial carbon tax, over which Scheer has no control.But Scheer said he’d also scrap Trudeau’s new Clean Fuel Standard, designed to reduce the “carbon intensity” of fossil fuels so they burn cleaner and produce fewer greenhouse gases.“It’s actually a secret gas tax that will add at least another four cents a litre to the price at the pump,” Scheer said.But B.C. is ahead of the game on this one too. Our province has its own provincial clean-fuel standard that already inflates the price of gas here. Would B.C. get an “equivalency exemption” from the federal fuel standard? That’s still unknown, but Scheer said B.C. drivers wouldn’t have to worry because he’ll scrap Trudeau’s fuel standard at the same time that he scraps the federal carbon tax.“The government needs to lower the cost-of-living,” said Scheer, who also promised to eliminate the GST from home-heating bills.As for a new B.C. refinery, Scheer has met with businessman David Black, who wants to build a massive $22-billion refinery on the B.C. Central Coast. But the refinery proposal still leaves many experts skeptical, especially with a North American refining capacity surplus, new supplies of alternative biofuels and the expectation that fuel demand will taper as more people buy electric cars.Then there’s Canada’s costly regulatory maze, high labour costs and fierce opposition from environmentalists and some First Nations.And it’s hard to imagine any federal government — no matter which party is in power — would being willing to put taxpayers at risk through federal loan guarantees or other measures private-sector investors might seek.A new B.C. refinery still seems like a pipe dream, leaving politicians of all stripes under pressure to explain exactly how they would deliver relief to drivers as voting day email@example.com/MikeSmythNews