Mo­bil­ity pric­ing is just a feel-good name for a new tax

The Province - - EDITORIAL -

Don’t let them fool you about mo­bil­ity pric­ing. It’s just the lat­est buzz­word to try to make you feel good about pay­ing more taxes. If user-pay is cor­rect, why do I have to pay taxes to sup­port tran­sit ser­vices, schools, re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties, li­braries, safe-in­jec­tion sites and many, many other things that I don’t use?

Roads are vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture that are crit­i­cal to ev­ery­one. To sug­gest that they’re a lux­ury for rich car own­ers who should have to pay for them is noth­ing more than an ef­fort to cover up the in­com­pe­tence of our po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in build­ing a sus­tain­able re­gion. They failed and now want some­one else to pay for it. What else is new?

Perry Cole­man, Delta

We all ben­e­fit, so we all pay

Let me add to the on­go­ing silly ar­gu­ment of those who say if you’re liv­ing near a new bridge, you should pay tolls. I sup­pose one could thereby de­duce that the re­cent up­grades on High­way 3A should be paid for solely by Prince­ton res­i­dents, or the Sea to Sky High­way be paid for by res­i­dents of Squamish and Pem­ber­ton.

The roads that ben­e­fit us all equally are mainly built for two types of trans­port: peo­ple and goods. Don’t we all ben­e­fit as a province by these im­prove­ments, and there­for we should all pay equally?

Nic Bor, Pen­tic­ton

Ferry work­ers earn their pay

Once again, the crew of B.C. Fer­ries ves­sels came to the aid of boaters in trou­ble and likely saved their lives.

I don’t sup­pose we will hear the stan­dard cry about over­paid union ham­burger-flip­pers. These folks are highly trained in marine pro­ce­dures and res­cue tech­niques, and de­serve the wages and ben­e­fits they re­ceive. Thank you for a job well done.

Gord Larkin, Burn­aby

Not ‘promis­ing the moon’

Province colum­nist Mike Smyth dis­plays a re­mark­ably cyn­i­cal view of pol­i­tics when he ar­gues for­mer pre­mier Christy Clark’s big mis­take was not draw­ing down an ex­pected sur­plus with “vote-at­tract­ing” spend­ing com­mit­ments.

But he is right that Clark and her gov­ern­ment “thor­oughly bun­gled their way out of power.” They did so by turn­ing a blind eye to the press­ing chal­lenges fac­ing our province in their dogged pur­suit of “miserly man­age­ment of the bud­get.”

While Clark was busy boast­ing about B.C.’s econ­omy, more and more Bri­tish Columbians were forced to turn to food banks, in­clud­ing many who had jobs but couldn’t af­ford gro­ceries on their poverty wages.

The mas­sive bud­get sur­plus is a clear sign that Clark’s gov­ern­ment could have — and should have — done more to re­duce poverty, tackle the hous­ing-af­ford­abil­ity cri­sis, in­vest in qual­ity child care and early learn­ing pro­grams, and bet­ter sup­port vul­ner­a­ble Bri­tish Columbians. This is ex­actly what the new gov­ern­ment is propos­ing to do, and Smyth is wrong to dis­miss it as “promis­ing the moon.” Ig­lika Ivanova, Cana­dian Cen­tre for Pol­icy Al­ter­na­tives, Van­cou­ver

Trade deals re­strict ac­tions

Green party Leader An­drew Weaver wants to ban non-res­i­dents from buy­ing B.C. farm­land and gives Saskatchewan’s ban as a model. Saskatchewan, though, was smart enough to ex­empt its agri­cul­tural-land pro­tec­tions from trade agree­ments. Yukon has been even smarter, and re­served its right to in­tro­duce new pro­tec­tions for agri­cul­tural land.

In con­trast, in trade agree­ments like CETA, the one re­cently signed with Europe, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment gave up this right per­ma­nently. So no B.C. gov­ern­ment can ever ban non-res­i­dent pur­chases of agri­cul­tural land with­out risk­ing a trade chal­lenge.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go ahead, but ci­ti­zens and politi­cians should wake up to the fact that trade deals place ever-tighter re­stric­tions on what gov­ern­ments can do.

Ellen Gould, Pow­ell River


The tolled Port Mann Bridge stands out against snow-cov­ered moun­tains in De­cem­ber 2014.


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