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August 21, 2005



Please, call me RP. Even my wife does. ;)

I think the time has come for a national price regulator, much as PEI and Newfoundland now have. It's a finger in the dyke solution, but it might be just what we need to get us through the winter (OK, I'm dreaming if I think it'll be in place for winter... next coupla years maybe).


So getting us through the winter is important, for those who don't use electric heat, but in general I'm opposed to a price regulator for oil, which was the point of my post. Oil is a scarce resource, and we have to keep two goals in mind:

1. We want to provide an incentive to invest in more efficient uses of oil--for those who can afford such investments.

2. We want to make sure that those who are personally vulnerable to price changes (meaning the elderly, welfare recipients, working poor, etc) can still afford to survive.

Price controls temporarily solve #2 at the expense of #1. What we are looking for is an equitable allocation of a scarce resource, not making it generally cheaper for EVERYONE. That means not price controls, but a subsidy.

I'm not dogmatically against price controls. In the case of oil, though, I think it's a bad move.

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