[How about some Real Policy?}
The silly season is here. The Canadian federal election is now about 112 days away. Tired of reruns on summer time TV? No problem. The political advertisements are on a station near you.
Snapping at the heels of the present government (the Conservatives) are our two aspirants to national power: Liberal Justin Trudeau and NDP Thomas Mulcair.
Okay Tom and Justin, you have my attention. You are paying big bucks for television advertisements. I have a huge problem with what each of you are saying. Both advertisements talk about “middle class”. I am not convinced that either Mulcair or Trudeau has a clue as to what is/isn’t middle class. So, boys you are starting off with a huge credibility gap.
I am seeing nothing and hearing nothing from either candidate that gives the slightest indication that either Trudeau or Mulcair have any sensitivity to the things that affect the day to day life of middle class Canadians. Perhaps a reality check is in order. Maybe (please) you can instruct the short pants boys in your backroom to tune in to CBC’s Marketplace. Justin and Tommy, in case you are not aware, Marketplace is a weekly CBC investigative program that deals with consumer complaints.
Hint: consumers are the same folks that vote. You apparently have tuned them out.
In California they instituted a very strong consumer protection law. It is called the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and what is popularly known as the “Lemon Law.” Middle class folks work hard for their money and a considerable amount of those earnings is earmarked for housing (mortgages) and transportation (a car or truck).
Automobiles have morphed into computers on wheels. The fixes are astronomical. All of us have had “unpleasant” car repair experiences at one time in our lives. My own experience is far from unique. I purchased a certain brand new Korean made SUV. It had a warranty and I thus thought that I had dodged the bullet on expensive repairs for the next few years.
I took the vehicle in to the dealership for its regularly scheduled maintenance visits and was surprised/shocked one day about two years into the vehicle’s time with me to be met with a service invoice that amounted to roughly 10% of the vehicle’s original price. In my case, it had to do with a major design defect. The manufacturer, in a cost cutting scheme had changed a critically important part of the drive train. Traditional, the valve operation in an internal combustion motor had been regulated by a timing chain. They were durable and highly efficient. The (unnamed) Korean vehicle manufacturer had seen fit to replace the timing chain with a rubber timing belt. Net manufacturing savings amounted to less than $100 (Cdn.) per vehicle.
Most of us employ a bit of due-diligence before writing a cheque amounting to ten-of-thousands of dollars. I did. Unfortunately, since the manufacturing change had only occurred in the model year of my SUV, there were no consumer head’s ups available.
Trust me, Justin and Tommy; that $2500(per year) “fairness” gift you are offering me was chump change compared to that particular car service invoice. The entire engine required removal so that the rubber belt could be replaced. What is worse, I came to learn that the belt will require additional changes as long as I own the vehicle. The car owner is notified (as I was) that failure to replace the timing belt could result in catastrophic engine failure including valves actually crashing through the engine block.
Potential Prime Ministers; if you want my vote do something to protect consumers. This crap (a Korean car) is built offshore but must meet Canadian safety standards. Why not out some teeth into consumer protection laws? The California law (the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and or “Lemon Law” provides the manufacturer with a limited number of attempts to remedy defects. After that, the full purchase price is refunded to the consumer. Not only is the consumer reimbursed the full purchase price but ALSO interest. That type of law would certainly take the smile off the face of the manufacturer who (in my case) increased his profit margin by a hundred dollars. It would also assure that Canadian consumers are not ripped off.
By the way, Tommie and Justin, even though you allege to be regular “middle class” guys, when is the last time you took you car in for that advertised quick, $20 oil changed and walked away with a $200 invoice for services that were (a) not needed and (b) not performed? Thinking about middle class values and issues, have you thought about the plight of parents who place children into the care of unregulated day care outfits or the thousands of other ways in which consumers are abused?
Upon sober second thought, I am inclined to put my trust into an experienced leader who has created jobs and guided this country through a tough recession. Hint for Mr. Mulcair: before asking for my trust, can you please write a cheque to reimburse Canada for that $3.75 million that your caucus misspent? That would be a great beginning.
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2015
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