Your editorial, “Fee increases a sure sign of the new year”, (Jan. 9, 2015), is bang on, exposing BC Liberal government claims that we live in a province with the lowest taxes:
• The Medical Services Premium is never included in their tax tally as they claim it is a Premium – not a tax! The MSP has doubled since the Liberal assumption of power – and it, and its routine Premium increases, have made it the most regressive tax levied by any jurisdiction in Canada: a form of leadership Christy Clark should be ashamed of.
• The 28 per cent increase in BC Hydro rates – directly due to Liberal excessively costly deals with many of their “run-of-river” partners and using Hydro as a milch cow through annual use of hundreds of millions of dollars from Hydro deferral accounts for government general revenue.
• The decade-long increases in BC Ferries fares and cuts to services has, as the Union of BC Municipalities report noted, “driven down ridership on BC Ferries at a cost of $2.3 billion to the provincial GDP.”
• You also observe that basic auto insurance premiums will rise on average $36 this year, and that “The increase comes despite the government funnelling more than $150 million from the Crown corporation into provincial coffers.” Perhaps it is more accurate to state that the premium rise is a direct result of the Liberal government raid on the ICBC revenues.
Your analysis and conclusions should raise questions in all British Columbians about the lack of fairness and openness, and the fiscal mis-management and taxation shell games, this government is annually engaged in.
It also raises questions as to why – on a regular basis – my Oak Bay-Gordon Head Green MLA votes to support the BC Liberal budgets that include the unfair, regressive Medical Services Premiums tax; and the constant BC Ferries fare increases and service reductions; and the annual BC Hydro and ICBC rate increases! About 70 per cent of Oak Bay-Gordon Head voters voted for parties other than the Liberals: if we had wanted a member to support the Liberal budget we would have voted Liberal!
When several hundred of us citizens attended the Oak Bay United Church all-candidates meeting two years ago not once did we hear the Green candidate say he would vote for the unfair Liberal budgets – indeed he joined the NDP candidate in criticizing the Liberal government policies.
Let’s hope our Green MLA, during the vote on the third Liberal budget, represents the will of 70 per cent of voters who did not vote Liberal – and rightly expect him to express their will not his bizarre partisan gamesmanship.
Ron Faris, Saanich
Time to act on US water access
I once wrote a letter to the Saanich News suggesting Tom Fletcher should change the name of his column but after his latest one about the “U.S. ripping us off on water” I almost feel I should retract my words.
This is an issue all of B.C. should have the same view on and an extremely important one at that. It’s not clear if Bill Bennett gave the 10-year notice to exit the agreement but he certainly should have.
I don’t think we could ever actually deny the U.S. access to our water as it would ultimately lead to an invasion. We should however fire the warning shot that we want a fair dollar for the resource.
Having just flown back from Peurto Vallarta I saw nothing but desert out my window for almost the entire trip until we got into Washington state.
Lake Mead created by the Hoover Dam is so low on water that the dam is almost useless and California is screaming for more to feed the crops.
We pay top dollar for the produce from there and yet give them the water for pretty much free. It’s totally crazy and will only get worse.
The time to act is now! Way to go Tom for highlighting this ridiculous situation that I’ve ranted on about for decades to mostly deaf ears.
Matt Taylor, Saanich
Pursuing charges not an individual’s choice
Your article regarding Mayor Atwell and the police intervention states that Mr. Atwell “chose not to pursue charges that night.” As the Chair of the Police Board should he not know that whether charges are laid or not is not his choice or anyone else’s choice?
As I understand our system the police do their investigation. If they believe a crime has been committed and the evidence supports that conclusion, they make a recommendation of charges to Crown Council. Crown then approves or disapproves based on the likelihood of conviction and with what’s in the public’s best interest.
All Mr. Atwell or any other private citizen can do is either provide their support to the police in the investigation or withdraw that support, which may affect the evidence collected.
Mr. Atwell is sure racking up the negative headlines and column inches in the very early days of his term. It’ll be very tough to lead an “open and transparent” municipal council if you’ve lost the trust of the those at the table with you and of those in the community. While he deserves his privacy, public and private life are not mutually exclusive when you seek out and hold office.
Pete Lewis, Airdrie, Alta.
Atwell is paranoid & has completely alienated a strong, veteran council. This is why rookie politicians shouldn’t be mayor.
One month in and the tone is set. Seems like it would be tough to have a productive, working relationship now (for Saanich council, Richard Atwell and city staff).