Gas-Gouging?

Elections are funny things. They sometimes lead to spectacular stories like this one:
"The Conservative Leader said it appeared to him that oil companies were guilty of price-gouging, an accusation echoed by his Liberal and NDP counterparts, St├ęphane Dion and Jack Layton."
What's this? Businesses in collusion? The Free-market has broken down and only government can interfere!

Rabid lefties everywhere must be eating this up - it came from self professed Libertarian Stephen Harper.

But wait - this doesn't add up. Somehow my cleaverly fine tuned 6th sense of media stupidity or "Damn Radar" seemed to go off.

This is how another source described Harper's comments on gas gouging:
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said in Halifax it appeared retailers were using the shutdown of refineries as a pretext to gouge consumers. Harper said his government could not make policies in response to the daily fluctuations in gas prices, although he hinted that he will have a policy announcement that addresses the price of gasoline later in the campaign.
"We are prepared to take steps," Harper said.
Wow. Not only did he say that consumers were getting gouged, but that they were using the excuse of refineries getting shut down as an excuse. You'd think that a sudden reduction in North American supply would seem like a reasonable excuse to a noted Economist Libertarian from Alberta no less.

So I still wasn't convinced.

Let's see what the Red Star had to say:
Asked point-blank whether he thought soaring costs at the pump were price gouging, Harper responded, "It certainly appears that way to me.
"I've learned not to make policy on a day-to-day basis," he said. "We will be making some announcements on this issue a little later."
Wait. No mention of how he thought the shutdown of refineries was just an excuse. And what's better this actual quoted response seems more vague that we were first led to believe.

It's certainly different for someone to say it "appeared" to be the case that gas companies or gas retailers are gouging consumers rather than saying they "did" gouge consumers.

Is it possible that the Red Star actually got this story right? (Gulp!)

The high quality level of journalism in Canada is staggering.

PS - If supply reduces just what do people expect gas retailers to do? Sell more?

1 comment:

  1. He's only echoing the sentiments of 99% of the populace. Price gouging is happening, and there should be regulatory control of the market if they can raise prices on "fears", but keep them high even as the bottom drops out in wholesale pricing.

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