With a provincial election now less than two weeks away, it’s time for Ontario politicians of all political stripes to stop pandering to car owners and expect them to cover more of the cost of their preferred form of mobility, the Globe and Mail argues in a recent editorial.
“For a nation whose drivers are being gouged at the pump—as parties of the left, right, and centre assure us they are—Canadians sure love burning fuel,” the Globe states. “Four of the five bestselling automobiles in Canada last year were gas-guzzling pickups. Sales of luxury SUVs surged in 2017, too, while sales of fuel-efficient subcompact cars plummeted.”
Car ownership has its costs in traffic congestion, air pollution, climate change, and urban sprawl, and “most drivers of Silverados and Land Rovers are not going off-road or hauling lumber,” the paper notes. Yet “these Canadians are willing to pay more when they gas up in order to feel like the king of the road en route to their kids’ soccer practices.”
Yet the Globe contends that party leaders Doug Ford, Andrea Horwath, and to a lesser extent Kathleen Wynne “have treated the province’s drivers as a kind of abused minority”, with the Conservatives offering to cut fuel taxes by more than 5¢ per litre and New Democrats coming out “four-square against road tolls”. Prior to the campaign, Wynne’s governing Liberal Party “did more than its share, most damagingly when it kiboshed Toronto Mayor John Tory’s attempt to toll some of the city’s highways.”
Responsible political leaders “should be making drivers pay more of those costs, not fewer of them,” the Globe concludes, particularly given the mix of vehicles Canadians are choosing to buy. “Drivers shouldn’t be shamed for using a means of transportation that public policy has encouraged for generations, but nor should they be coddled,” the editorial states. “Auto ownership has costs,” and right now, motorists aren’t fully paying them.