Conservative Scheme Will Take Months to Roll Out

[WINDSOR, ON] Today NDP M.P. Brian Masse (Windsor West) Vice Chair of the Industry and Science Committee launched a national campaign to protect consumers who continue to get ripped off at the pumps. The Price is Wrong—Fix it Now Campaign will raise awareness around the lack of action from the Conservative Government to protect consumers who continue to pay for undispensed gas.

Thanks to Conservative foot-dragging consumers continue to get hosed at the pumps. Consumers continue to roll the dice every time they fill up at the pumps potentially paying for gas they never receive. Cautious estimates based on Measurement Canada figures investigating this problem shows that Canadians pay up to $20M/yr for phantom gas. Recently the Conservative Government announced that consumers can expect to wait another 8-12 months before new protections will be implemented—over 3 years after the Conservative government promised to address this issue.

Masse expressed concern with the Conservative Government’s lack of urgency on behalf of consumers: “This problem was first brought to light only after the media obtained information through access to information in 2008. The reality is that the Government has known about this problem for much longer and has dawdled for years before acting to protect Canadians from getting hosed at the pumps. Going back to 1999 the oil and gas industry has embezzled roughly $240M from consumers for gasoline they never received. Incredibly the Conservative Government is now telling Canadians they will have to wait another year before they can meaningfully address the problem.”

In March of 2011 the Government passed legislation intended to augment Measurement Canada’s gas pump inspection regime by certifying hundreds of new private inspectors to conduct inspections and meet the 65 000 inspection per year target. Masse is concerned the costs will be directly passed directly onto consumers while the industry self polices its own behaviour.

Additionally Masse is demanding the Minister begin negotiations to recover the missing millions and use the funds to put more inspectors in the field.

Masse is challenging the government to act immediately to protect consumers and is initiating a national campaign/petition drive to send the message to the Conservative Government: “The Price is Wrong—Fix it Now campaign demands that the Conservative Government take immediate action before consumers in Canada are ripped off for another $20 M. The reality is that ordinary Canadians cannot afford to continue to pay for phantom gas. The Oil and Gas Industry and the Government have ripped consumers off for millions of dollars and owe it back to consumers. If they can’t reimburse consumers directly then the least they can do is ensure that they don’t continue this shake down. Asking struggling families to wait another year before this issue is meaningfully dealt with is simply unacceptable.”

The Price Is Wrong—Fix it Now campaign launched today in Windsor will head west to British Columbia this week and will reach destinations across Canada in weeks to come.