If you have visited the Lower Mainland recently, you may have noticed billboards featuring a photo of Premier John Horgan.
You may have noticed the billboards carried a message of gratitude, from the B.C. Liberals to Horgan and the NDP government for their remarkable work in getting gas prices to plummet from record highs only weeks earlier.
You may have seen such a billboard of gratitude while driving through Merritt, where the price at the pump plunged to below a buck a litre last week amid a gas war in the Nicola Valley community.
And, if you are active on social media, you may have come across many tweets from B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and his MLAs, aiming praise at Horgan and his New Democrats for the tremendous job the provincial government has done in making gas prices fall so far so fast.
If you are a regular visitor to the Lower Mainland and/or a social-media addict, you are probably wondering what the hell I am talking about.
You did not see any of the above because none of it exists.
None of it exists because the gas prices fell sharply for reasons wholly unconnected to Horgan’s NDP or any other political party.
Since this is fact, why, then, did we this past spring endure examples of the above-mentioned scenarios, only with the messages of gratitude replaced by the B.C. Liberals blaming Horgan and the NDP for the rising cost of filling up at the pump?
If, as Wilkinson and his MLAs claimed repeatedly, Horgan and the NDP were to blame for the high gas prices, wouldn’t Horgan and the NDP now be credited with the lower prices?
Of course, neither claim is true — and making such accusations only serves to further alienate voters already weary of false partisan attacks, like we see too often south of the border.
Wilkinson and the Liberals know full well the dramatic spike in gas prices a few weeks ago — prices eclipsed $1.70 per litre in Metro Vancouver — had nothing to do with the provincial government.
When prices hit a then-record $1.50 or more per litre under the B.C. Liberal government in 2014, the cost of filling up had nothing to do with that administration.
Taxes contribute to the overall price of gas, of course, but taxes have nothing to do with overnight spikes of 20 cents per litre, which we have seen in Kamloops this year.
If taxes are to blame, then Horgan and the NDP are responsible for two cents of the 17.4 cents in provincial taxes paid at the pump (outside Metro Vancouver, where drivers pay an additional 17-cent per litre Translink tax) — in the form of the one-penny carbon tax hikes on April 1, 2018, and April 1, 2019.
The carbon tax, one will remember, was created by the B.C. Liberals.
The remaining taxes we pay at the pump? Credit the B.C. Liberals from 2001 to 2017 and the various federal governments in Ottawa.
This is not about bashing the B.C. Liberals because the NDP was as guilty of inventing false narratives when it was in Opposition.
This is not about us versus them, whichever side you are on.
It is about calling for all political parties to stop with the false claims, the charade through which most voters can see.
It’s a good time for this reminder as another fuel-filled controversy — the re-approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — takes centre stage.
Remember, as you listen to all sides of this issue, that the project will neither solve our economic woes nor destroy our environment.
Like many issues in the political world, the reality will be found somewhere in the middle of the two solitudes.