Transit tax ‘No’ vote misguided

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theQuestion: Is the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s argument to vote no in the transit referendum persuasive?*

There’s an old saying – don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. And that’s exactly what will happen if you believe Jordan Bateman and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Bateman’s campaign to persuade you to vote no in the transit referendum is anything but wise — it’s foolhardy. His argument lacks credibility and should persuade no one. It’s built entirely on the premise that a no vote would force TransLink to cut back on wasteful spending — the no side campaign website is replete with examples—and then the savings could help cover the $250 million per year in funding that’s needed to maintain and expand our transit system.

Bateman doesn’t even believe his own argument. Otherwise, he would have taken the time to have prepared an adequate answer to the most basic of questions, which Jon McComb asked him on CKNW last week.

Question: “Do you have any idea of what the total is [of spending waste]?”

Bateman’s answer: “We are in the middle of a campaign and as much as I would like to give every waste story to you now, I have to mete them out one by one.”

McComb again: “So what’s the total as we speak then?”

Bateman: “Ah, I’m not sure, I never bothered to total it up, to be honest.”

He never bothered to total it up? That’s shocking. McComb retorted, “that’s pretty weak Jordan.” I call it pathetic. The truth is, the total of alleged waste amounts to nickels and dimes.

Bateman’s cavalier attitude towards supporting his prima facie case is troubling. It makes me wonder if this is all just a game to this lone crusader or maybe a massive publicity stunt to drive fundraising for his organization. Either way, it’s entirely irresponsible.

Surely he’s aware a no vote comes with dire consequences for Metro Vancouver — which only gets worse as we absorb another one million people expected to move here over the next 25 years. Which brings me to another point.

The second part of the CTF’s alternate plan to pay for transit is for municipalities to cut back annual growth spending by .05%. However, the same funding pressures affecting transit — increasing population and rising costs — apply to city services as well. It’s impossible to draw the hundreds of millions of dollars needed for transit from municipal budgets without cutting essential services.

You can’t vote no with impunity and just hope someone will fix the transit system.

*First published in 24hrs Vancouver ‘theDuel’

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