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BRIAN JONES: Newfoundlanders are the caplin of mankind

Caplin rolling at Middle Cove.
Caplin

It seems like everyone is feeding on Newfoundlanders: the insurance industry; Nalcor Energy and its dam Muskrat Falls project; the government, with its taxes.

Newfoundlanders just keep rolling with it. Caplin are accustomed to being eaten by everybody, and Newfoundlanders are accustomed to being abused and robbed by everybody.

The feisty Newfoundlander is a myth. The loud talk around kitchen tables turns into obedience at the ballot box.

In France this week, hundreds of thousands of people blockaded roads and oil depots to protest the government’s plan to increase the tax on gasoline. Police were sent to end the blockades. There were arrests, and about 200 people were injured, according to Bloomberg News.

Apparently, the French aren’t willing to just roll with gas tax increases. A representative of the protesters said a higher gas tax would “disproportionately hurt the working class,” Bloomberg News reported.

Compare that response to Newfoundland. Premier Dwight Ball meekly acquiesced to the federal Liberals’ carbon tax plan.

Opposing a carbon tax immediately gets you labelled as a climate-change denier. It does you no good to point out that the very term “carbon tax” is a euphemism and contemptible propaganda.

Do insurance companies make profits? Do humpbacks eat caplin? No, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Call it what it is: a tax on gasoline. In typical manipulative habit, Ball’s government killed its own gas tax and will instead impose the federal Liberals’ carbon tax … on gas.

It is a sin tax on something that is a necessity, but which Liberals have redefined as a destructive luxury.

It seems the French are less gullible.

Going up

It will be a couple of years yet before caplin-ish Newfoundlanders discover exactly how much more each month Nalcor Energy will devour from their bank accounts.

Happily, your insurance company won’t make you wait so long. They will send you annual, or even biannual, notices to let you know how much your auto and house insurance is going up.

If I were religious, I’d suggest there must be a special section in hell set aside for bankers and insurance brokers. Perhaps it would be a makeshift math classroom, where a teacher — on loan from heaven — would endlessly intone, “Now then, let’s add up your profits again, shall we.”

Do insurance companies make profits? Do humpbacks eat caplin? No, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

A bureau representative testified at the Public Utilities Board’s hearings regarding the insurance industry that insurance companies in Newfoundland do not make a profit — proving, yet again, that the best humour in Canada does indeed emanate from Newfoundland.

In a recent report by the Superintendent of Insurance for Newfoundland and Labrador, it was determined that “insurance companies in the province collected about $92 million more in auto insurance premiums in 2017 than was paid out in claims” (“War of words,” The Telegram, Monday’s edition).

Predictably, the Insurance Bureau of Canada pointed out the $92 million did not account for costs — salaries, rent, business expenses, fees for propagandists, etc.

Here’s an idea: how about if the Insurance Bureau of Canada publicly provide a list of the revenue and expenses for each of the insurance companies that operate in the province. That should end the argument.

Of course, the bureau would say that is proprietary information. Such a claim — pardon the pun — is typical of the jargon and evasion that have made the insurance hearings such a disappointment.

Basic shortcomings of the system are being ignored, such as: people are required, by law, to purchase auto insurance, which gives insurance companies built-in advantages, with little or no government oversight. Companies can raise rates whenever they want, by how much they want. If you make a claim, they raise your rates.

Want to file a complaint with the superintendent of insurance? First, you must complain to your company. Such “consumer protection” would be laughable were it not so pathetic.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at brian.jones@thetelegram.com.

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