There is no disagreeing on one thing, gas prices in Metro Vancouver are sky high. But where politicians seem to differ is why things have gotten so expensive at the pumps.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the pump prices on Monday when he was in Vancouver.
Trudeau says the unpredictability of the economy in the United States has led to higher prices and that is part of his argument for why the Trans Mountain pipeline should be twinned.
“Part of the challenge that folks across the Lower Mainland are facing right now is related to that fact we are connected so closely to the U.S. markets and what happens in the United States,” said Trudeau. “It makes sense to diversify our markets to new markets across Asia and that is why getting our oil resources safely to new Asian markets is so important.”
When pressed on whether a national carbon price will have an impact on gas across the country, Trudeau responded by saying the goal is to try and shift consumer behaviour.
“The incentives that come from better choices, choices to become cleaner and greener, is exactly what we want. When you put a price on things you don’t want, which is pollution, you encourage people to make better choices,” said Trudeau. “We know the path forward is one that is greener and cleaner.”
Trudeau indicated that new path includes green vehicles, public transit and relying more heavily on bikes and walking.
B.C. Premier John Horgan had a slightly different take on gas prices and in turn the pipeline. Horgan says there needs to be more refining done in Canada, and exporting raw product to Asia would not deal with the gas price issue.
“We need to refine more raw product so we can meet the demand in our community,” said Horgan. “The problem is a 25-cent increase over a couple of weeks because we are not producing enough finished product.”
British Columbia increased the carbon tax by $5 a ton on April 1. It is a change Horgan says only increased gas prices in Metro Vancouver by a marginal amount.
“We increased the carbon tax in April and that had a one-penny increase. The challenge we have with gas prices is we do not have enough refinery capacity,” said Horgan. “Refine that product here so we can bring the price down for British Columbians. That makes a lot more sense than building a pipeline to send raw product to somewhere else.”
Then there is the argument that refining has nothing to do with this at all. Economist Robyn Allan argues that this has to do with corporate greed and oil companies wanting to make as much money as possible.
“There are no cost reasons for the recent spike. There are no supply constraints. What we do see is refinery and marketing margins are abnormally high and we are being taken advantage of in our marketplace,” said Allan.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.