The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is taking a giant-sized swat at ICBC.
It did so by inflating a balloon taller than King Kong at Courtenay’s Lewis Park on Friday afternoon.
The federation says the 30-foot tall balloon, “highlights how much B.C. drivers are paying for the ICBC monopoly.”
Named Baron Von Fenderbender, the inflatable has a blue top hat and tails, with a cigar in one hand and a stack of burning money in the other.
The federation’s B.C. director Kris Sims noted that drivers in this province are paying the highest auto insurance rates in the country.
She said a big reason for that is because ICBC is “a government-controlled monopoly.”
“We really need to put a stop to that,” she said. “We need to open ICBC up to competition.”
She compares the current model to having just one, government-owned grocery store chain across B.C.
“Can you imagine the hours and the products and the service you would get there?” she asked. “No competition; no coupons; no price-matching. It would be terrible.”
Sims said that the federation would like to see ICBC open to competition.
“So some folks don’t want to get rid of ICBC altogether. Fine. Let’s change it into a co-op, similar to a credit union and that way people who choose ICBC and like it, can stick with it. For the rest of us who want to go shop around, let us go shop around. Let us make our own choices.”
Meanwhile, ICBC says that starting Sept. 1, it is moving to a more driver-based insurance model that is more driver-based.
This means crashes follow the driver, not the vehicle, to help make sure drivers are more accountable for their behaviour on the road.
Sims is skeptical about the new model, saying that in one way, they are moving the goalposts based on who is a good driver and who is not a good driver.
“I’m hearing from people who have crystal-clean driving records, great drivers, and their rates are going up, and it seems to happen year over year. And unfortunately, even though they are doing structural changes to ICBC itself, they’re still dealing with the same thing. They’re still dealing with a government monopoly that was hatched back in the 70s.”
We have reached out to ICBC for comment.