Dan Davies: Time to end ICBC's rate-gouging monopoly

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I can remember my 16th birthday and wanting to get my driver's licence as soon as humanly possible. A lot of things have changed since I hopped behind the wheel for the first time, but lately things have just got a lot harder thanks to the NDP's changes to ICBC rates.

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Parents now have to fork over as much as an additional $140 in the Peace if they want to give their child the opportunity to practice driving the family vehicle. It's even worse in the Lower Mainland where the rate goes as high as $225.

These are part of sweeping changes that will bring higher rates to thousands of drivers in B.C, even for those who may have had a minor accident 15 years ago.

Suddenly, the NDP's election promise of "making life more affordable" became just as distant as their $10-a-day universal daycare commitment that seems to have vanished into thin air.

The same applies to the cost of gas. When prices spiked to as high as a $1.70 a litre last spring in Vancouver, Premier Horgan shrugged off any responsibility for raising the carbon tax on fuel. Instead he launched a study that would only look at industry and point the finger elsewhere.

Then we have the so-called 1% reduction in hydro rates in 2020, but on closer inspection translates into a 6.2% increase over the next five years.

I'm pretty sure most rate payers — and voters — will see through these so-called bragging rights on affordability and recognize that the NDP is trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. Things are not getting better for British Columbians.

What we really need is to look at privatizing auto insurance in our province, encouraging competition, and finally ending ICBC's rate-gouging monopoly.

And if you really want to make life more affordable, how about something called an old fashioned tax break?

Dan Davies is the BC Liberal MLA for Peace River North.

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