There is a referendum coming, and we all need to vote “no.”
Well-informed citizens are privy to TransLink’s proposed infrastructure improvements that would efficiently move traffic and people throughout the city. Our knee jerk reaction is to shout, “great news,” but we need to be wiser this time.
TransLink has introduced a childish idea of increasing taxes to pay for this billion dollar project. Hmm, in a time when all low and middle-income earners are already struggling just to pay for groceries? How about the fact that Canadians have more debt per capita than our American friends? How about the fact that TransLink’s record of capital management seems on a level with Zimbabwe? TransLink, like most Canadian government organizations, continues to lose your money, waste your money, or pay themselves highly inflated salaries.
Government institutions continue to self-endorse their very own vacation and retirement packages, far exceeding the private sector. Then, when these institutions get financially jammed, they simply ask for more. This sounds like the mafia, but without the risk of jail.
A new website has just been launched (noTransLinktax.ca, sponsored by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation) to educate voters as to why their No vote is the most ethical and truly Canadian choice. The website reveals that in 2013, TransLink’s CEO received $275,000 more than our premier, and $140,000 more than the Prime Minister. Specific to industry, TransLink’s CEO earned $150,000 more than the CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission. We paid this man with our tax dollars while Children’s Hospital suffered, while VGH remains underfunded, and while many schools lost their physical education and music programs.
In Canada, we pay some of the highest income taxes on the planet. Consider that Hong Kong has a flat tax of 16 per cent. Yet somehow, with this ethical rate of income tax, Hong Kong has paved roads and social services that are intact. In the Netherlands and Denmark, they pay high income taxes like we do, but they actually get value for their tax dollars with excellent infrastructure, free education and a world-class healthcare system. No, Canada’s healthcare is not free. Yes, the University of British Columbia just increased their tuition, yet again.
Here in Canada, we also pay high property taxes. And note, we were given no break on the percentage of tax paid on our homes while the values skyrocketed during a largely foreign real estate purchasing boom. Next, when we buy a bottle of booze, we pay twice what our friends down south pay, simply because of outrageous taxes. Then, we are flooded with parking meters throughout the city, and when we go to Stanley Park with our kids, we pay even more to meters to park our vehicles. We must also subsidize doctor salaries, and pharmaceutical company margins with MSP, bearing in mind that those medical premiums just went up,yet again. Consider too, that Canada Post recently increased its postage rates by 37 per cent, vastly outpacing inflation.
It continues. Canadian institutions like ICBC and B.C. Hydro were caught in the past to be overstaffing by as much as 30 per cent. That is fraud and theft. Have any of you ever heard of FedEx, Google Inc., or any other multinational company overstaffing by 30 per cent?
B.C. Ferries has also caused declines in real estate prices for our Gulf Island residents because fares keep escalating. Canadians are taxed to the hilt and simply cannot afford to go on vacation. This is sad, and this is not Canadian.
Canada is quickly becoming a nation where elected officials demonstrate financial ignorance as well as disregard for their countrymen. We are $614 billion in debt, and our unions hold us ransom for $300 billion in unfunded liabilities and “benefits.”
When citizens acknowledge the political landscape as well as the attitudes of government organizations in Canada, it comes as no surprise that TransLink is on the prowl for your wallet.
Our upcoming referendum is not about having a train or not having a train. This vote, should you choose to participate, is about ethics, financial prudence and respect for all Canadians. TransLink’s request for increased taxation is not only irresponsible and audacious, it is convincingly immature.
Ryan McCleery is a former investment adviser, venture capitalist, and a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. He is passionate about topics related to ethics, finance and nutrition.