Subscribe to the Halifax Herald for good NB news

You know what’s interesting? If you want the best stories on politics in New Brunswick, read the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. Sure, they’re always set in the context of Nova Scotia issues/thinking but it’s refreshing to get a little more nuance in the writing.

Consider the gas regulation thing. Al Hogan was all but gushing when Lord said last week that he would cancel regulating gas prices if it led to higher prices over time. Al was beside himself with glee as he was not a fan of gas price regulation (although he never mentions the Premier in his dislike only the ‘government’).

Now the Herald has a different take:

Regulation is a bad idea because of the hidden costs of merely shuffling around price increases over time, not because Bernard Lord has shifted his ground again. That only proves he’s a wonky gas gauge that Nova Scotia should have ignored all along.

That, in my opinion, is the point. The Premier flops around like a baby seal with an itch on its back and gets praise from the local paper for thoughtfulness.

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0 Responses to Subscribe to the Halifax Herald for good NB news

  1. Anonymous says:

    Was that an op-ed piece or what? I’m assuming it is, because there is little objectivity to it. That would make them just as bad as your pal Al.

    Since they didn’t bother to mention, those ‘hidden costs’ are as imaginary as Nova Scotia’s standalone stance. It’s simply a question of averages-over a month the number still comes out the same.

    Anybody who thinks that gas prices in PEI and Newfoundland weren’t higher beforehand is simply an idiot. Not to mention there is no link to the ‘study’-which are usually done to provide justification for government’s not doing anything.

    In reality, gas prices are NOT simply set by world market but competition (albeit limited). If they were, then gas prices would be the same all across New Brunswick-they aren’t. If it were a ‘world market’ the prices would be the same in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia-they aren’t. Ontario is actually farther from oil resources, yet is consistently around ten cents cheaper than atlantic canada. In fact, Ontario is usually cheaper than Alberta.

    Notice how they are called ‘hidden costs’ and ‘carrying costs’ instead of any actual mention of exactly what this ‘price’ is. As the author says, the dips are less deep, and the raises less high-THATS the regulation. That’s what its supposed to do. The idea that ‘they will leave the market’ is just retarded and I can’t believe an economic writer would say that. You’ll notice that the gas industry really doesn’t care one way or another whether there is regulation, otherwise we’d be hearing about it every day in the Irving Press.

    What they don’t tell you is that it depends far more on the COMPANY, than the place. For example, Irving gas stations are almost always more expensive, in fact in NB right now Irvings are exactly the same-some even four cents higher, than in Charlottetown.

    I know the issue wasn’t gas regulation per se, but if Lord were any more of a politician he’d walk around with a shovel.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gas prices began to rise when oil companies began buying the service station leases from independants. Now all prices are set by head office to get the most they can. Since they are a business they have every right, but I would rather see the gov’t stipulating that oil producers can’t own the service stations. They need to be idependantly owned. tis would create more competition and take away some control from the producers. That being said, there is still the issue that oil is a commodity and that the market sets the wholesale prices. Regulation will not work.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Regulation WILL ‘work’, some people just don’t understand what its purpose is. By ‘not working’ it doesn’t mean provinces will explode in a mass of flame and fire. PEI and NFLD both have regulated gas industries.

    The question is, does it produce higher prices, and that we don’t know because provinces and even cities have different prices. THe study that is linked in the article simply says Charlottetown and St.Johns have higher prices than other atlantic cities, and that means nothing because they have ALWAYS had higher prices. So there is no ‘control group’ for the study.

    Likewise, Moncton typically has lower prices than Fredericton, but that doesn’t mean regulation will ‘prove’ that you get higher prices.

    So regulation DOES ‘work’, because its design is simply to average out the costs. I agree with the poster above, that its a pretty pathetic way of dealing with the issue, but in this part of the world its not surprising. Bolivia has just recently nationalized its oil and gas industry, and Venezuela has put on hundreds of new restrictions. And these are places where if you stand up and say ‘we should regulate companies’ your family disappears.

    Here in Canada there is no such threat yet there are very few movements to curtail the gas giants. Not letting wholesalers (or refiners, whichever) own the stations is an excellent idea, but you never hear that in the newspapers.

    What I’ve always wondered is why the various ‘Co-ops’, especially the one in Fredericton, doesn’t have cheaper prices. Supposedly they are non profit, but they charge the same as most places and just give you some ‘co op money’. I’d be interested to know what exactly transpired that they couldn’t offer lower prices, I have a feeling Irving simply said they wouldn’t sell to them, but I don’t know.

    Independants have always had lower prices, especially outside the cities. But I wasn’t aware that they were set by a ‘head office’. I’m not sure thats true, because in Fredericton you have a different market than Saint John, I assumed it was a managerial position.

    Just to do some more Irving bashing, it was always an old Irving trick to have stations run by ‘independants’, until they actually made money, when the company would take it over and the owner would become a ‘manager’. And they say that entrepreneurial disincentives only exist in the public sector!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I used to work for an independant that was kicked out, then turned into a corporate store. The reason is that the independant built up the clinet base, turned a profit then the corporate group decided to not renew the lease and turn it into a corporate store. I remained employed and we would reciev calls from “head office” to dictate the price. What kept the prices down and what I suspect is what is keeping some communities down are the # of independants in the area.

    That being said, the producers were threatning the idependants to pull out if they didn’t comply with higher prices, which equates to a monopoly.

    You want lower prices, then built the infrastructure to support transportation alternatives.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good info there, but what does that mean that they would ‘threaten’ them? Like I said, I notice the co-op store in F’ton is no cheaper even though there is no profit motive, you mean that ‘head office’ simply told them that if they didn’t comply they wouldn’t sell them gas?

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe Irving supplies ALL the gas, at least in NB, then gets their gas from Esso in Nova Scotia. Like said above, that’s pretty much a monopoly situation.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “you mean that ‘head office’ simply told them that if they didn’t comply they wouldn’t sell them gas?”

    Answer: Yes

    Try running a service station without gasoline. They would either let you run out and take their sweet time to refill your tanks or make it a condition of your franchisee agreement that you follow pricing.

    Remember, they would rather sell the gas at their corporate stores. Therefore, the more independants you have, the more power the people have to set prices.

    In Atl Canada there were 3 distributors at the time(200l):Ultramar, Esso and Irving. I beleive Co-Op is Irving gasoline.