Mr. Premier! It would appear that certain of your Ministers and minions have a remarkable tendency to develop recurring cases of hoof and mouth disease! Dear me, there is Minister Hansen trying to justify why government employees should be paid to “volunteer” at your 2010 Olympic event and then there is the 500% increases that your newly minted Translink board recently voted itself in one of their in-camera, private, no public allowed meetings! Nice timing seeing as how the new increases for public transportation were just announced, making it increasingly unaffordable for those on the edge.
And then there’s the case of the no longer “crown corporation” of BC Ferries dumping the Queen’s picture without so much as a “whaddya think” to the public they purport to serve. As BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall noted BCF is no longer a part of government so we don’t have to have a picture of the Queen on board the ferries.
Ouch!! Even though I’m not a raging monarchist, what part of “British” Columbia did BCF American CEO David Hahn not get? It was truly interesting to see how quickly BC Ferries re-instated Her Majesty’s visage as a result of the response of a “particular segment of the travelling public.” Ms. Marshall noted that BC Ferries did not want to alienate that segment of the population that seemed riled by relegating her Majesty’s picture to the recycling bin.
It would be great if the response to the demand to reduce fares was just as swift. Perhaps we should be writing Her Majesty to see if she could put some pressure on BCF to make the ferries once again financially available and accountable to her loyal subjects. (You have to be aware that your government has overseen more than a 100% increase in ferry fares on our small runs in over four years.) Sigh!
Mr. Premier, your Finance Minister recently delivered a most intriguing budget. I do appreciate the attempt made to focus British Columbians on the role we play in impacting climate change and pollution. I sense however, that once again your government has come up with another urban, “made in the lower mainland” strategy to address challenges that are significantly different in rural parts of the province.
The idea of a carbon tax is interesting. However, indiscriminately applying this “one size fits all” tax to gasoline, natural gas and home heating fuel, and labouring under some antiquarian belief that all British Columbians have the same access to public transportation as an option to driving, just indicates how myopic your government has become.
People in the north have a significantly colder climate to deal with than urbanite Vancouverites. As well, public transportation options throughout the province differ radically, and in many cases are non-existent. Northerners can’t just hop on the Skytrain and get to their destination. And Gord, trying to purchase our compliance with a $100 re-gifting of our own tax money is just, well, tacky.
The other thing that was apparently disregarded, was the domino effect that the carbon tax will have on food costs, transportation costs, taxi fares and, oh yeah, ferry fares. Seems to me that the carbon tax, applied in the way Minister Taylor has determined, will really nail middle class, working families who are already taxed enough. And it increases year after year! Now if the minimum wage could increase this exponentially, you might have a leg to stand on.
Mr. Premier, I appreciate that your intentions may be laudable. However, I tend to look for coherence in public policy and I must admit I find it difficult to reconcile this new found passion to impact climate change with your government’s interest in pressuring the federal government to lift the moratorium on oil and gas exploration and extraction along the BC coast.
I find it a challenge to reconcile the highest level of child poverty in Canada and the increasing numbers of homeless people with all the hoopla and financial focus on 2010.
And I find it problematical to reconcile this new carbon tax with the decision your government has made to allow corporations like Alcan and Tech Cominco to make massive profits by selling the power their facilities produce to BC Hydro and by not allowing BC Hydro to develop and produce its own source of electricity. Your government’s “BC Energy Plan” dictates that BC Hydro can no longer develop its own sources of electricity, but must instead turn to private power providers even when it is uneconomical to do so. This decision ensures that BC Hydro’s rates will continue to increase, thus making one of the cleanest sources of power less accessible to the people of British Columbia. Just doesn’t make sense to me Mr. Campbell. Perhaps I’m missing something. Please feel free to enlighten me!
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