From Southshow.ca, October 31, 2012
Tories task Bridgewater politician with gas price research
by Keith Corcoran
BRIDGEWATER — The Tories have tasked a Bridgewater politician with researching the pros and cons of fuel regulation.
David Mitchell, a town councillor and Progressive Conservative candidate, is gathering information based on what people post in an on-line web log and, from that, will produce a report for the Tory caucus for policy consideration.
Mr. Mitchell’s financial background and standing in the community were factors in him being appointed to the task, party leader Jamie Baillie indicated.
“David is a new part of our team,” the leader said of the ScotiaMcLeod financial adviser and married father of three.
Mr. Mitchell invites people to log on to http://fillupfrustration.blogspot.ca/ on the internet to express their thoughts on gas prices and their impact on family budgets and business bottom lines, and asks for suggestions on what can be done to achieve savings.
Petroleum pricing is one of those pocketbook issues, in the same category of electricity costs, that are important to citizens, Mr. Baillie said. The party’s energy critic, Chuck Porter, has his hands full with the electricity issue, so Mr. Mitchell agreed to the project when Mr. Baillie asked.
Mr. Mitchell said for him it’s a great chance to show what he can do on an important topic.
Although it was a Progressive Conservative (PC) administration that introduced gas regulation in the province, Mr. Baillie suggested the issue needs revisiting.
“I know it was a PC government previously that passed regulations but times have changed since then,” he said.
“I know that we’ve learned that we’ve tried regulation and we’ve tried deregulation. Neither made a cent of difference to the price of gasoline.”
“I think there’s going to be two thoughts along this,” Mr. Mitchell explained.As part of his research, Mr. Mitchell’s examining what other provincial jurisdictions, in regulated or unregulated markets, are doing.
“I think one is going to be that people like regulation in terms of it seems to cushion the volatility of gas prices. I think the other is going to be, out of each litre of gasoline, how much more do we pay for things that other provinces don’t, be it taxes or the cost of regulating the fuel. Things like that.
“We already know we pay the highest taxes and we already know we have tax-on-top-of-tax where some other provinces don’t do that. We’ll see what the conclusions are.”
In terms of revenue generation, the province collects millions in tax-on-tax but Mr. Baillie figures there’s millions in savings that can be found in government bureaucracy that could make up the loss.
Mr. Mitchell said there are plenty of other revenue-generating ideas out there, such as a luxury tax on vehicles over $60,000 or a “gas-guzzler” tax, which are used in the U.S., but he’s not suggesting either one is the answer for Nova Scotia.