A few of my least favourite things

Musings on a number of interesting issues that have piqued me - or poked at me - since the New Year arrived.

Musings on a number of interesting issues that have piqued me – or poked at me – since the New Year arrived.

I think the one that is bugging me most during this cold winter weather is my reaction to my recent Pacific Northern Gas bill, covering from November 22 to January 21.

I know I’m treading on Malcolm Baxter’s sacred grazing territory, but this last one made me fume – mostly because I don’t normally look closely enough at the content of bills, I just tend to believe them and pay them.

This time I looked at it (yes, I have looked before) … but WOW! To say the least, it’s confusing mish-mash.

My bill is a nearly unfathomable 19-line checklist of various commodity and delivery charges, some badly-described credits and the inevitable taxes.

It starts with a basic charge, followed by two tiers of separate delivery charges, at differing cost per gigajoule of gas, followed by what is referred to as a “company use delivery rider.”

The next two lines are two additional RSAM delivery riders, followed by the commodity charge – the real cost for gas actually used.

However, this is immediately followed by an additional commodity charge (the GCGVA commodity rider, whatever that is, that somehow turns out to be a rather-small credit to ensure the confusion remains?)

It doesn’t stop there: then there’s the franchise fee and, hurray, the dreaded HST. HST, which is over $50, is followed by a residential energy credit, which is quickly offset by the carbon tax of just over $23, plus the HST on the carbon tax, (tax on tax, it’s true) of $2.80.

Which, if I have got it right, takes the HST back up to around $54. The last line is something described as Rec-carbon tax, and is a $1.93 credit.

I don’t want to talk about the bottom line which truly is as irrelevant as it is astronomical.

But I do want to comment on a little box at the side which informs that PNG has included, on an interim basis, an increase to these horrendous delivery charges by some 10 per cent while the BCUC gets around to fully reviewing their 2011 rate application.

If the interim increase is rejected, we can expect a rebate on a future bill.

On the back of the bill is an information box telling us how to understand our bill. This box clearly misunderstands our capacity for understanding, because it is missing a great deal of information (fizz, fume … check alternatives…).

What else is happening to bug me?

Christy Clark, as a candidate for leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party and, ergo, premier of the province did get under my skin when she suggested the sale of BC Rail, the Basi, Virk trial and its implications – including the $6 million paid by taxpayers for the guilty defendants’ legal costs – are “ancient history and it’s time to move on.”

When she was well aware of her role as a Liberal minister in the affair. (A conscienceless suggestion…)

Doubtless, with the NDP involved in a parallel leadership race, this issue will not likely be allowed to be swept under the rug – along with various other questions on Liberal policy and legislation – HST, IPPs and BC Hydro, as well as the host of environmental/industrial development issues and non issues that the “concerned” left are filling the internet blogs with.

The newest BC Liberals membership list incudes the players on the Kamloops Blazers hockey club, but none of them knew about it.

Kevin Falcon is dealing with this one, while Christy Clark appears to be cancelling the paid membership of a friend’s family cat.

I was astounded too with the speculative and highly publicized ferry fare threats, suggesting that northern fares could double in three years. Coming from the million dollar man, the highly-overpaid CEO of BC Ferries, David Hahn, talking on Shaw cable, there’s little doubt this was a trial balloon.

In a kind of fireside chat, he speculated on the inevitable increases in fares in general, if the province doesn’t chip in a significantly larger amount of contribution to BC Ferries.

Perhaps it was well-timed to attract the attention of leadership candidates, but also designed to scare a lot of users.

It also re-emphasized the mess the Liberals have made of ferry operations and facilitated some sort of political deja vu after the NDP made its own unholy mess of ferry policies. (Hypocritical on Hahn’s part, and also demonstrative of the dual realities of ferry operations, north and south).

However, it will no doubt resonate with and produce the required reaction for the “independent” ferries commissioner who it appears is required to rule on B.C. Ferries proposals by the end of March.

(The public and ferry users need to make a lot of noise about cost-cutting alternatives and the high overhead of BC Ferries, now and in the past.

On the lighter side, I know I’m in an older age bracket and thus cannot be expected to understand, but entertainment media references to 16-year-old Justin Beiber’s “body of work” don’t so much irritate me as they amuse me.

ahewitson@telus.net

Just Posted

Outside the Kitimat RCMP police station, Diversity Morgan’s family and Kitimat RCMP come together for a pride flag-raising ceremony. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat RCMP host pride flag ceremony in memory of Diversity Morgan

“We’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination”

(Haisla First Nation logo)
Haisla Nation host walk for strength and series of virtual sessions for Indigenous History Month

The purpose of the walk is to bring Haisla Nation members together and show their collective support

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read