Thursday, December 13, 2007

Transport minister Jim Bradley: hypocrite on gas prices; fails to deliver GO Transit to his own riding

Here’s what the Sault Ste. Marie Star wrote in “An inquiry into gas prices”, Aug. 23, 1997:

“A veteran Liberal MPP has called for a legislative inquiry into the price of gasoline in Ontario. Jim Bradley, a St. Catharines MPP, charged this week that greedy oil companies are once again gouging Ontario motorists and tourists and the province does nothing about it.

Bradley urged Bill Saunderson, economic and tourism minister and a self-made millionaire, to talk to corporate pals about the high gasoline prices or "are you going to continue to apologize for the big oil bosses."

There does seem to be a basis for an inquiry into Ontario gas prices. That inquiry could examine not only the legitimacy of the steep summer increase in these prices, but also whether there is any collusion in setting prices between the oil companies and whether there is predatory pricing that unfairly penalizes independent gasoline outlets.

Spokespersons for the major oil companies claim that it was the high demand for gasoline this summer and problems with production that drove the price up an average of seven cents a litre across the province. But, even if we accept this as justification for some increase in price, the hike seems excessive.

Rocco Ciancio of Petro Canada points out that, without the federal and provincial sales taxes, the price of a litre of gas is now actually closer to 32 cents a litre. That being the case, even an increase of four cents a litre by the oil companies meant an increase of at least 14 per cent, which is well above the rate of inflation and the level of recent increases in most consumer products.

As far as possible collusion is concerned, motorists can't ignore how the oil companies seem to have been in lockstep in introducing these price increases. Is there some kind of formal or informal agreement not to be competitive in setting gasoline prices? Ontario motorists have the right to know and an inquiry could ascertain just what the situation is.

What also could be the subject of examination is whether the independents are being badly treated by the oil companies, this depriving motorists of access to competitive outlets. MPP Bradley said the province can pass a predatory pricing law that would prohibit major companies from selling at a lower price to their own dealers and higher prices to independents. That sounds like a measure that should be passed and an inquiry could decide whether such law should be introduced.

Of course, when it comes to gasoline prices in the Sault, the concern here is not only that the oil companies should be jacking their prices up like this but that the provincial and federal governments continue to refuse to give this city some tax relief in regard to gas prices. This latter move would allow the Sault to better compete with the Michigan Sault and keep more of our residents from buying gas and shopping across the St. Mary's River."


Ten years ago, a smug “veteran Liberal MPP” we know as good ole Jim Bradley, was saying a lot of things.

[Even the Sault Star was helpfully providing pointless innuendo, editorializing about then tourism minister Bill Saunderson being “a self-made millionaire”. (What was the point of that? Of what flicking relevance is that?) Surely, now with over 30 years in political life, Jim Bradley has also earned a million dollars, and enjoys the special-status of an unlocked pension. Oh, and yes, it was ‘self-made’, in the sense that it came out of our tax pockets. What business has Jim Bradley ever been in?]

So, what is our wealthy Liberal Jim Bradley doing about gas prices today, in 2007?

The price at the pumps went up five cents overnight, from a buck a litre (Dec.12, 2007) to $1.05 (Dec. 13, 2007). Is Jim Bradley talking to his “corporate pals” today?..Is Jim Bradley tabling predatory pricing laws? Setting up inquries? Does Jim Bradley, now the transportation minister, have anything to say about greedy oil companies, and price-fixing and price-gouging and oil-barons, today?

Who’s the apologist for the big oil bosses now, Mr. Bradley?

Bradley once accused then premier Mike Harris: “He has made a lot of noise. He huffs and puffs and he blusters, but he simply does nothing.” (Hamilton Spectator, Oct.15, 1997). Sounds like Jim Bradley was actually describing himself. It was a lot of bluster even then, but it's outright B.S. now.

Speaking further of Bradley bluster: Today, Dec.13, 2007, the Liberals announced grand plans to dump 100 million dollars into GO Transit.

During the recent Oct. 2007 election, bait-and-switch Bradley even said the GO train is coming to Niagara.

So, what does Niagara get, out of a $100,000,000? New service? A new rail line?

Niagara got nada.

Thanks, Jim.

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