B.C. companies unable to explain soaring gas prices
Major companies who operate throughout British Columbia have been unable to explain a 13 cent per litre difference between southern B.C. and the rest of the province. This fall, a governmental commission noted this gap during a province-wide inquiry and gave the companies an opportunity to explain it, according to the CBC.
In a statement published by the commission, the companies have failed to provide any evidence to their explanations. The commission went on to say that their evidence was “inconclusive or conflicting.”
A review of complaints has been ordered by the Federal Court of Appeal for a Department of Environment workplace in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The conditions of the workplace were so bad that a bulletproof vest was being taken to work by a manager because she feared being shot by another employee according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
Justice Mary Gleason wrote, “The Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board did not address the issue of whether the applicant was motivated by a genuine fear. It was precisely its role to consider whether the applicant had a genuine fear for her safety.”
The manager at the office was Angela Walker, and she was fired for the harassment of a male employee at the office in 2015. An appeal by Walker was dismissed by the Employee Board in 2019. Walker said that she “protected the environment and made it safer for everyone” at the office and felt like “nothing” when the dismissal occurred.
The Board wrote, “Every witness who testified spoke to a poisoned atmosphere at the Coastal District team and the Nanaimo office.” One of the office employees mentioned that the behaviour by management was “akin to a form of water torture.”
During the Board hearings, Walker was called “highly emotional.” Walker said that she “carried a map showing the route to the hospital” while wearing her bulletproof vest because one of the employees scared her so much.
According to Walker, the male employee said that she “should be burned at the stake” and would call her names like “the devil,” “Miss Piggy” and a “f—king bitch.” Other employees at the office said that they never heard this language being used by the man.
The Board’s reason for Walker’s firing was an “ongoing pattern of behaviour” towards the man. Some of the things she did to the man included revoking his security pass, making him go to Quebec for a management seminar and keeping an eye on his Access to Information records.
The board described the man, Ken Russell, as “highly credible” and “a very sympathetic witness.” In fact, Russell was so highly thought of by fellow employees that he was given a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award.
The Board wrote, “The harassment allegations for which she was disciplined taken individually are very minor, but taken as a package, their impact on Mr. Russell was in my opinion akin to a form of water torture.”
“Each minor incident ate away at Mr. Russell and further alienated him from his coworkers and his team.”
According to the board, Russell was seen searching through ceiling tiles to see if security cameras had been placed there by his manager.
“This was a case of an ongoing pattern of behaviour demonstrated by a manager against one of her employees,” said the Board.
Police have arrested 33 anti-pipeline activists who have blockaded the Port of Vancouver over the development of a pipeline in Northern British Columbia, according to the CBC.
Protestors blocked Hastings and Clark so that no workers or vehicles could get through.
The police were enforcing an injunction that granted the officers to clear the site. This follows 21 arrests made by the police over the weekend who were blocking workers from accessing the site.
Before the police made these arrests, they made it clear over a loudspeaker that they had an injunction and would arrest protestors who continued to break it.
After this, police began to remove the barriers that the protestors had constructed. The port is now open to workers and vehicles.
Demonstrators blocked two other port entrances in Vancouver. They also blocked the Delta Port, where fourteen protestors were arrested by the police.
The protest remained broadly peaceful, although some bottles were thrown into the crowd. The protestors are allowed to continue, so long that they remain on the sidewalk.
There have been numerous protests across Canada in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en protestors. In Belleville, Ontario, for example, protestors blocked the rail lines forcing all trains and freights between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal to be cancelled.
The police also have an injunction to clear protestors from the tracks in Belleville.
Parliament’s finance watchdog recently conducted an analysis of the effects of the new carbon tax and found that many households will get more back in rebates than they pay out, which has critics calling the assessment shenanigans.
“Under the federal government’s current rebate structure, most households will still receive more than what they pay in fuel charges,” said Yves Giroux, the parliamentary budget officer. “However, once the provincial and federal sales taxes on carbon pricing are accounted for, these amounts will be lower on a new basis when compared with the analysis in our previous report.”
However, Dan McTeague, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy disagrees with the PBO’s findings. McTeague was a member of the Liberal parliament for 18 years and he held the consumer file for the Liberals during some of the years in opposition, during the Harper government. He is now the President of Canadians For Affordable Energy.
“I was a little concerned that the PBO had fallen short of what I’ve always expected them to do and that is to do a thorough review of government programs as they impact the finances as well as the efficacy of these kinds of policies and in the past I think they’ve been very reliable,” said McTeague to The Post Millennial.
“I was surprised that PBO effectively only looked at the rebate itself, and even there, what didn’t get reported was the fact that the amount of revenue to the government was certainly not neutral as many critics had said when this was imposed. It would not be revenue neutral if by virtue of the fact that the tax itself was subject to another tax,” McTeague continued.
“I denounced tax cascading when it came to fuel pricing back in 1998 on behalf of Liberals way back when in committee report I wrote to try to underscore the need for more competition, but also took a shot at our own guys on the ever-increasing windfall for governments when they impose taxes on taxes and that’s the case here. By the way that did give rise to two energy rebates back in 2001 and 2003.
“What concerned me about the PBO is that I thought it did a fairly sloppy job in terms of looking at the entire impact on consumers with respect to this carbon tax. Most specifically, two words, ‘carbon leakage’ comes to mind. There is no way that you could look at the rebate and the imposition of the tax and keep it in one silo and say, ‘Hey, you got your tax rebate and here’s what it’s going to cost you for fuel going forward.’ We know the knock-on effect of carbon taxes throughout the economy is certainly noticed by everybody, especially those of us who have to feed our kids.”
The Post Millennial also reached out to Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who said, “There actually wasn’t much surprising to us in the PBO report. The legislation requires that all of the revenue be returned within the province in which it was collected.”
“What was more interesting were two things: That the benefit appears to be shrinking (i.e. the difference between the rebate and the cost is shrinking) and the amount of GST collected, which is going to be close to $300 million in a couple years. That is not being rebated and nobody seems to be talking about that part.”
“Finally, the scope of the PBO report is only on the fiscal side. The main policy objective of the carbon tax is to reduce emissions. As we have seen in BC, where emissions did not drop, it is not a slam dunk that emissions are dropping. If that persists, why exactly are they even doing this?”
McTeague also sees the carbon tax as hurting Canada’s competitiveness in a global market and Canadians wallets at checkout lines.
“I haven’t even gotten into the issue of whether or not the taxes leading to higher costs for goods in Canada that could lead to more jobs being lost and putting our import competitors at a strategic advantage over Canadian producers.”
“I think Giroux could have done a much more thorough investigation instead of this piece-meal, which I think is now being used by partisan supporters of carbon taxes to advance the notion that this is somehow a net good for Canadians. I believe, fundamentally, it isn’t and I think anybody who’s been in a grocery store would agree.”
Many people are dealing with coronavirus prevention by using a face mask, however some have taken the extra mile for their personal health security. A traveller at Vancouver International Airport was seen wearing a water bottle to cover his entire face. A photo of the man was quickly shared throughout Twitter and other social media.
It may be an acquired look, but this man is not alone. Multiple accounts of the same practice have been reported internationally over the last couple of days according to the Daily Hive.
Health authorities in British Columbia confirmed that they have received their first presumptive case of coronavirus. A man returning from Wuhan last week began to feel an “onset of symptoms” upon his arrival. The man voluntarily isolated himself while awaiting the results from a check-up with health officials. A diagnostic test was administered by Vancouver Coastal Health and came back positive last night.
The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg will test the lab results a second time to confirm however it will take a couple days before the results will be certain. Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, said the risk of spreading the virus within BC “remains low.” in a statement. “All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond, in order to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.”
She adds, “It is not necessary for the general public to take special precautions beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other common respiratory viruses during the winter period.
“Regular hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and avoiding contact with sick people are important ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illness generally.”
The Ontario health authority stated that there are currently 11 additional cases under investigation at the moment.
A total of three people are currently under investigation in Quebec for potential cases. Ontario has two confirmed cases in Toronto. A husband was screened at the airport and shown to have recently travelled to Wuhan, China. He was put into isolation immediately before his diagnosis was confirmed. His wife was also found to have contracted the virus.