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