MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: A licence to rant

You know how they have warnings before programs on TV like Family Guy saying the following may not be suitable for young children etc. so that parents know to take action if necessary (not that I do as my kids watch it anyways, although they are teenagers now, heavy sigh). Well consider this a warning that a rant is about to take place so if you’re not into hearing one on what’s supposed to be kind of a dreary, rainy Sunday morning where you lost one hour’s sleep anyway, consider yourself pre-warned. P.S. I’m told by authorities who should know that spring will come one day.

Although seniors have been accused of complaining about the high cost of items 24/7, and I have been offered discounts due to my thinning and greying hair, I’m not quite there yet.

However I’m gaining more and more sympathy about the rising cost of gas and food for people on fixed incomes, and everybody else for that matter, and what really gets my goat (a senior reference if there ever was one) are the extra fees in life that add up to a significant amount of money for us already overtaxed Canadians.

What probably sparked this was a notice in the mail from ICBC that “it’s time to renew your B.C. driver’s licence.”

Fine. It’s only every five years. It makes sense that it has to be done on a semi-regular basis as things change, people get older etc. No big deal, except going to get that dreadful picture taken that you have to live with for half a decade.

However, I always find the people at the Access Centre friendly and helpful, so it’s usually fairly painless.

But then I looked at the price they want to charge me for this formality.

Seventy-five bucks.

Yikes. I swear I remember when it was $15, and could swear it was $25 last time I renewed, maybe $50 but there’s no way it costs them $75 to cut me a licence.

But, of course, this isn’t about the government covering costs or supplying a service to its taxpaying citizens at a reasonable cost, it’s about a calculated money grab that we will tolerate because it’s fairly infrequent and we can’t remember last month let alone five years ago so they’ll get away with it with no accountability whatsoever.

Aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh.

Victoria loves to make announcements like car insurance rates are down slightly this year – yeehaa. I just paid mine and saved, I believe, 12 bucks.

Don’t get me wrong, That’s good, as in something actually went down. But then in the mail the very next day you get your licence renewal and it costs way more than you anticipated, not to mention that you forgot that it was even happening this year, and the fact that it would take six years of 12-buck discounts to make up the licence fee is kind of depressing.

They win, we lose, once again.

It’s not like I can go somewhere else to get my licence renewed. Well, there probably is but it wouldn’t be legal and I do try to be legal and responsible as much as I can.

I suppose you could also not renew it, Again, not legal and very irresponsible.

Unless you give up driving, of course. Then you wouldn’t need insurance or $1.23.9 a litre gas or even a car, let alone hand over the $75 I’m ranting about. Not to mention save the world too.

Hmmmmm. Nahhhh. Might compromise my lifestyle a tad. Although I’ve been meaning to get in better shape. Nah, they got me. I’m going for it. And apparently I can even get an Enhanced Driver’s Licence so I can drive into the U.S. without a passport (although I have a passport which I paid handsomely for and I can only see driving to the States maybe twice in the next five years, if that, soooooo), but it doesn’t say how much that costs.

So I check the ICBC website and apparently it’s $35 extra for a total of $110. I don’t think so but thanks anyway. And that’s when I notice that there’s a special rate for seniors renewing their licences. Actually special might not be a strong enough word. Those over 65 pay 17 bucks, I pay 75 bucks. At least now I know why the seniors aren’t complaining about this specific issue. And the good news? Not this time, or next time, but the time after that when I go to renew my licence, I’m going to save a bundle.

Glenn Mitchell is managing editor of The Morning Star, whose column appears every Sunday.