Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Dangerous Precedent?

It's not that there hasn't been anything to blog about in the last few weeks...
it was just time to take a mid-summer hiatus from blogging.

Until I read the following on Bob Spiers' blog:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

City wants share of pot tax

by Wayne Moore - CASTANET Aug 20, 2016 / 5:00 am
The City of Kelowna should receive a portion of tax revenues derived from legal marijuana sales.That's just one of several recommendations city staff have provided in response to questions asked by the federal government in advance of legislation which will legalize marijuana in Canada. Local and provincial governments across the country have been asked to provide feedback to advise the government on the design of new legislation and the regulatory framework that will include a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution.City planner Ryan Smith said staff reviewed the government's discussion paper and provided responses to several questions.  (See Bob's blog for what the responses were...)

But MY bone of contention likely mirrors the same alarm bells of other business owners...
and that is:

Have you EVER...EVER seen a tax that doesn't suddenly 
extend to other businesses?

All in the "interests" of procedural fairness? (*grin*)

Of course not.

This slippery slope of local governments wanting a piece of tax revenues from legal marijuana sales can set a very dangerous precedent.
And likely will.

People hate taxes, whether local, provincial or federal.
Tax, borrow and spend is yet another contagion that is spreading to even the lowest levels of government.

"It's absolutely stooooopid that T2 (prime minister) considers legalizing pot to be of prime importance," says Kia, "in a world full of entirely more important issues."

But what can be expected from a kid raised on a trust fund?

Probably can't even spell economics...
A precedent if ever there was one.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Sham of "Conserving"

All it leads to is an increased unit cost to you, the purchaser.

Whether it's fuelled by outright lies--as is now known to be the case in the B.C. government's "need" for Hydro's Site C--or unbelievable bureaucratic biases whose strategy to have long-sitting politicians save face--who approved the Master Water Plan in the first place--it's become a contagion.

Government lies.
Bureaucratic lies.
Consultants manipulating data.
Arm's-length appointed committees--over whom the electorate has no control--making the rules.  Cases in point:  the B.C. Utilities Commission, to whom Hydro goes for approval of new rates, and the Okanagan Basin Water Board, who now issue provincial grants to municipalities!

Both the BCUC and OBWB have focused on conservation as a tool to conserve (BCUC) electricity and (OBWB) water.

While this blog would never ever promote wasting either water or electricity, get a load of this story in the local Morning Star today...and think of your Greater Vernon water rate increases while reading.

Its title tells it all:  "B.C. Hydro rates rise as demand slows.  (excerpts only, highlighting by blog author)

B.C. Hydro is going ahead with its planned four per cent rate increase this year and deferring more debt to future years as it revises its electricity demand forecast downward. 

The provincially-owned utility has not asked (BCUC!) for an increase in its government-imposed rate plan despite a revised demand forecast with $3.5 billion less revenue over the next 10 years.  Hydro has filed a three-year plan with the BCUC that increases rates 4, 3.5 and 3.0 per cent in the next 3 years.

That's a 10.5 per cent increase over the additional new rates we've been paying for the last four or five years! 

B.C. Hydro is seeing lower revenues (does that sound familiar, GVW water customers????) due to two warm winters and downturns in mining and forest products.

Critic Adrian Dix states Hydro should have added a sixth turbine to the Revelstoke dam (at $450 million) versus forging ahead with the Site C dam ... a $9 billion project!"

Blog readers...for a wayyyyy more accurate--and damaging expose of B.C. Hydro, and how the B.C. Liberals have been draining its coffers dry (now ICBC isn't the sole victim!), you simply must read this Site C article by blogger extraordinaire, Norman Farrell. 

Then go back to his Home Page here to learn the ongoing deceptions of the B.C. Liberals.

"There's no antibiotic that'll rid voters of the lies contagion," says Kia, adding "look at how it's spreading among politicians and the bureaucracy."

Sadly, they're learning from one another.

Lies, Lies, Everywhere Lies...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

When Government "Misleads" the Public

Interesting letter to the editor of the Morning Star today, by Duane A. Mather:

"Public is being ignored on issue:

(Note:  highlighting by blog author because Mr. Mather's letter could just as readily apply to local officials' and bureaucrats' dealings in the GVW master water plan issue!)

While there is always more than one solution to solving a problem and certainly in the problem solving analysis, all options and opinions should be considered.

In the case of the Stickle Road issue, part of the analysis was public consultation (likely a protocol required in our provincial legislation) through the public consultation open house process.

Many people take Abraham Lincoln's words from the Gettysburg address as a definition of democracy; "Government of the people, for the people, by the people."  The open house concept sort of supports the president's decree.

It doesn't seem to apply in this case.

Point in fact, the first solution by the Ministry of Transportation team was solidly rejected by the public attending and all of our community area elected officials.  Back to the drawing board for the ministry, instead of accepting the advice of the majority of the people.

Another open house was again solidly rejected by those attending but suddenly a new position by our mayor and the elected MLA, Eric Foster, citing the need to compromise with the ministry.

I for one do not think we elected these folks to appease Victoria.  We elected them to represent the community's position as presented to them by a majority of the citizens.

At open house round three, there was another attempt to do anything but what the people want, again being solidly rejected by the majority.  In baseball, three strikes and you're out, but not if your(sic) employed in the bureaucracy of the Ministry of Transportation.

The elected officials' job is to provide fiduciary oversight and leadership to the bureaucrats, not to roll over and capitulate to their arrogance.

The ministry must not have any statistical data to substantiate their claim that a light will compromise safety by creating rear end collisions otherwise they would have presented it.

As presented in many letters to this publication, there are many such lights on Highway 97 already in existence in the valley and if there is no data to support that claim, then at best that statement is misleading.

These repeated rounds of open house consultation being totally ignored are another waste of taxpayers' money.

The most economical solution paid for with taxpayers' money, supported by a significant majority of the citizenry, simply is a light.

Unfortunately, we can only deal with elected officials' arrogance during elections and the bureaucrats who are supposedly under their control.

So if they continue to bulldoze their solution through the process, that can only be dealt with in the future.

If I was a business owner along Stickle Road, I'd be looking for other alternatives to persuade the ministry to change their view.  Perhaps a court decreed injunction might provide a more sensible review of the facts.  Recent history of the HST fiasco in this province provides evidence there are ways to deal with issues with government after being misled.

The arrogant governments in Ottawa and our neighbouring province to the east recently got an awakening to voter wrath, something to consider in the future if this stupidity continues."
Duane A. Mather

and from the same publication, same topic, a snippet of the letter from resident, Joyce Penner:

"...This is what (Mayor) Mund told me.  He is on record supporting a traffic light during the first two planning sessions with the Ministry of Transportation.  However, by the third meeting, he realized there would be no traffic light at Stickle Road.  The reason given is it would cause a bottleneck in the traffic flow and, in fact, the ministry is reducing the number of traffic lights on Highway 97.  And the issue could not be put forward for at least 10 years to the provincial government."

Stickle flip/flop with Master Water Plan?

"Yup, elected officials supporting bureaucrats is akin to an evil alliance," offers Kia "with the open house 'input' just paying lip service to the lip-servicing provincial government."

Amen to that, having witnessed the MWP process recently.