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Angus, on his website, says the gas ombudsman would "help protect consumers."

For the most part, gas retailers aren't the problem. In fact, so many of them aren't making enough profit on gas alone that they're becoming convenience store operators as well.

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Ugly, yes. Gouging, yes. Supply and demand? Yes.

handy candy for politicians to dish out since the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, but no jurisdiction has been successful at doing anything about it.

Promises to act on rising gas prices have been a Converse Desert Boots Sale

was then the Northern Development and Mines minister, to press Ottawa for Converse White Leather Basketball Shoes

What angers a lot of Canadians now isn't just increasing prices, but the geographic price differences. Northern Ontarians perennially face higher prices than drivers in southern Ontario. Gas prices in the GTA area earlier this week were about $1.35 per litre. In Timmins, prices were just under $1.43 per litre.

a public inquiry into gas prices. But nothing happened.

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The justification is always the same transportation. In a story in the Yukon News in July 2009, the same reason was used to explain why gas prices in Dawson City were 23 cents more than in Whitehorse.

The NDP's promise to establish a gas ombudsman to investigate price increases is a cynical attempt to win votes without actually doing anything.

The NDP has not supplied any answers, just a promise to investigate again. The gas ombudsman is an opportunistic attempt to tap into voters' anger about prices without actually promising to do anything about it.

Greed explains it quite nicely. In 2007, a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found the oil industry artificially inflated prices following the temporary supply shortage following hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005. The study concluded that since consumers, fearing a shortage, were willing to pay more for gas, oil companies jacked up the price.

Other factors contribute to differences in gas prices among cities. Labour and overhead can cost more in one city than another. Lower sales volumes in some cities require higher prices to make a profit, and in some areas there is less competition.

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In fact, gas prices have been on the consumer agenda for almost 40 years. Federal Trade Commission accused the American Gas Association and 11 oil companies of "collusive price rigging."

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It's surprising that a promise to investigate gas prices continues to carry any influence with voters, given public distrust of politicians. But the durability of these kinds of promises shows how desperately voters are looking for a hero.

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That prompted Sudbury Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci, who Converse All Star Ox Leather

How would he or she do that? Would the ombudsman have the power to force suppliers to open their books and explain why they're charging higher prices versus their costs? Would the ombudsman have the power to roll back prices at the pumps? Would the NDP bring in legislation to govern gas prices?

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´╗┐Gas watchdog handy candy for politicians

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland have gas price caps. That had the effect of smoothing out the spike Converse All Star Oxford prices increased more slowly than in traditional spikes and came down more slowly, but gas companies still got their money.

These reasons explain small price differences at the pumps, but do not address industry wide price spikes.

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