As I gear up for my final week of exams with CNA, I am reminded of a time when I was younger, and final exams meant the beginning of an amazing summer vacation.
Going to high school in Cold Lake, Alberta, that usually meant my family and I were travelling home to Newfoundland because back then, it was far more affordable to travel.
This year, however, the farthest myself and countless others may get to travel to is the grocery store, because the cost of gas has basically ensured that the availability of excess spending money is a fairytale for many people in the province.
Last week, before the most recent 10.5 cent gas increase, I remember going to get a coffee with my boyfriend and saying to him ‘Look, gas is only $186.5,’ because it was the lowest I had seen it in weeks. $186.5! In what world is it okay for someone to look at the price of gas and be excited that it is down to $186.5? That amount is astronomical, and now it’s just gotten even worse.
Am I the only one who remembers those beautiful couple of weeks at the beginning of the pandemic where gas prices shot down all across the province, $0.89 in some areas, and we actually had more than two nickels to rub together after one trip to the gas station?
Topping your gas tank up with $20 isn’t going to cut it anymore. Filling your gas tank with $60 seems like a dream. The last time I filled up my gas tank from a quarter tank, it cost me $88. That’s sickening. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those driving a truck or a larger SUV right now.
Now to justify this most recent hike, they are saying it is because of the switch from winter to summer gas. Excuse me, what? What does that even mean?
To me gas is gas. And since when has this meant a hike of 10.5 cents a litre?
This all just seems like another in a long line of excuses to justify continuing to bleed the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador dry.
We already pay more for groceries than any of the other provinces because of the extra costs associated with shipping food across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and now we have gas prices that’s making hoofing it everywhere a lot more appealing.
The only reprieve I can see right now is the fact that temperatures are increasing, so the astronomical heat and light bills people have been paying over the winter will go down to a manageable level, at least for a few months.
Why are we not getting the same tax breaks like residents of Ontario? Starting on July 1, the gas tax will be reduced by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for a period of six months.
Why are we not seeing similar tax breaks? Why are we being given rebates on switching oil for electric heat, or purchasing an electric car, when the majority of us can’t afford to make the switch because of the insane cost of living?
Unless the plan is to raise the minimum wage to make it feasible for someone to live in this province, I don’t see how people are going to be able to keep food on their tables, gas in their car, and heat in their homes without making major sacrifices.
It’s long past time for the government to look at things from the perspective of a family who doesn’t make six figures a year.
Jaymie L White is a former radio host with a background in journalism and office administration. Born in Stephenville, NL, she spent the majority of her childhood living in Nova Scotia and Alberta because her father was in the military. She moved back to the province in 2008 and has been residing in the Bay St. George area ever since. You can reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.