Editorial: we need more buses

Editorial: we need more buses

As licences are taken away from seniors, NDP needs to improve public transportation

After so many years of sitting in the Opposition seats in the legislature, the B.C. NDP and their coalition “partners,” are getting a taste of what it’s like to be sitting in the government seats, and the headaches that go with it.

I put quotation marks around partners because I believe it’s going to be harder and harder to keep the coalition together as one B.C. Green Party idealistic election platform after another is being tromped on by NDP Premier John Horgan.

But, I digress.

For years, the New Democratic Party screamed from the Opposition benches about everyone’s favourite Crown corporation – yes, the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

Readers remember all of the “scandals” the New Democrats gleefully hammered away at the B.C. Liberal government over the years as British Columbia’s public insurance monopoly became more and more expensive as the years went on.

High-ranking executives were making absolutely crazy year-end bonuses, huge buildings were be erected to house this corporation as mild-mannered British Columbians purchased their vehicle insurance from them.

All the time, the provincial government was pulling hundreds of thousands of dollars out of ICBC to prop up the B.C. Liberal government’s general account chest for other “needy” programs.

That’s when insurance premiums started creeping up, not only for operating the corporation’s programs, but also to keep the treasure chest in Victoria over-flowing with available cash.

Then some of ICBC’s investments took a huge hit when other folks were feeling the aches and pains in their financial portfolios. Guess what?

Right: insurance premiums continued rising as ICBC executive struggled to right the ship and toss cash into that chest somewhere in the basement of the B.C. Parliament Buildings.

The TSN moment for ICBC was when the corporation was flooded with claims for soft-tissue injuries suffered in crashes and the claim payouts started climbing though the roof and so did the premiums. Eventually, ICBC decided to take the education highway, accompanied by hefty fines, in an effort to encourage safer driving practices.

Slowly, it’s working, but the insurance premiums continue to climb. So now the NDP government has to look after the money-making machine.

Undoubtedly, insurance premiums will continue to go up, and the New Democrats are continuing on the safer driving practices path.

In March, they will be introducing the Enhanced Road Assessment program for people who are older and others who might have cognitive issues that may affect their medical fitness to drive.

We wonder if ICBC driving examiners will have the medical training to make a proper assessment.

With more seniors or those with medical issues losing licences, will the province invest in better public transportation in B.C.’s rural communities?

Ken Alexander

Quesnel Cariboo Observer