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Referendum: Ladner’s 13 reasons ….

July 17, 2013

… why a TransLink funding referendum would be wrong

.

Here.

My favourite:

3. Because a referendum is a costly, overly simplistic, inefficient way to make complex public policy decisions. The HST referendum, although different in being provincewide, cost an estimated $9 million to administer, with $250,000 in public money given to each side, with the government spending another $5 million in pro-HST advocacy, and an estimated $10 million to $20 million spent by private HST supporters.

The same decision would have taken a few hours in the legislature.

Add your own.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Ken Ohrn permalink
    July 17, 2013 8:31 am

    Referenda, or like this refer-n-dumb, disregard minority opinion, minority needs, and emerging ideas. They become a popularity contest on the status quo. Hardly the stuff of leadership.

  2. mezzanine permalink
    July 17, 2013 8:36 am

    IIRC, the HST was approved in a few hours in the legislature. The referrendum was triggered over the next several months by the intense public backlash that was hard to resist, politcally.

    FWIW, i thought the HST was a good idea that was raised more revenue for the govt and that was transparent, means-tested and encouraged people to consume less goods and services (which to me which is good). unfortunately, the anti-HST crowd was more persuasive, ironically helped by many metro politicians.

    http://www.straight.com/article-326436/vancouver/park-board-prepares-reverse-its-position-antihst-petitions-community-centres

    “Vision Vancouver park commissioner Constance Barnes says the anti-HST campaign will soon be visible in public buildings in Vancouver

    “My point is the HST will have an effect on every single body that comes to our community centres,” Barnes said.

    Barnes added that she’s particularly concerned about low-income residents who attend the Strathcona community centre, which she is responsible for as a commissioner.

    She added that the board will examine the existing policy and consult with the legal department because she doesn’t want to allow anyone with any type of petition into community centres. She noted that the anti-HST initiative, as opposed to a right-to-life petition for example, has a direct impact on all facility users.”

    ^which the above makes no sense at all. expansive TL funding initiatives may (and should) affect all people whether you drive, bike or take transit. will the CoV parks board allow anti-tranlink tax petitioners to use facilities?.

  3. mezzanine permalink
    July 17, 2013 8:39 am

    Geoff Plant had also a good commentary:

    “It’s funny, but every time I hear these critics I think: I wonder how many of them also opposed the HST? And in particular, I wonder how many of them opposed the HST by saying, as many HST opponents did, that “the BC Liberals just rammed it down our throats without telling us they were going to do that.”

    Remember that? The problem with the HST was not so much whether it was good or bad tax policy, it was that the BC Liberals “sprung it on us” as a sort of post-election surprise.”

    http://theplantrant.blogspot.ca/2013/07/that-darned-translink-referendum.html

    • Agustin permalink
      July 17, 2013 9:38 am

      I wonder how many of them opposed the HST by saying…”
      Probably mostly the same folks who complained four years ago…”

      That’s a straw man argument.

      “Now, I’m actually not sure why any individual opponent of this referendum thinks they know better than the voters on this issue.”

      So… first he’s made up a straw man to argue against, and now he ignores the very real criticisms people have brought forward.

      Not good commentary at all.

  4. mezzanine permalink
    July 17, 2013 10:05 am

    do you think tax policy like the HST should be left up to referrendum? i don’t think so. I don’t think the gordon campbell administration thought so either (it was passed and brought into law), and what do they say – no good deed goes unpunished…

    …..

    Sorry to put you on the spot, but how did you vote on the HST issue?

    • Agustin permalink
      July 17, 2013 11:31 am

      Is that question directed at me?

      I voted to keep the HST, in large part because I don’t believe that setting complex policy through referenda is a good idea. (I actually put a lot of thought into whether the HST was a better tax mechanism than GST + PST. Both options had their pros and cons, but in the end my deciding factor was trying to discourage making policy decisions through referenda.)

      I was also displeased by how the Liberal party brought in the HST, and that was one of the reasons I didn’t vote for them in the subsequent election.

    • Agustin permalink
      July 17, 2013 11:34 am

      By the way, how is it relevant to the discussion about transit funding how anybody voted on the HST question?

      Both are complex questions, and about the only thing they have in common is, potentially, a referendum. There is a myriad ways in which one could logically have been for or against the HST, and for or against the proposed transit funding.

      • mezzanine permalink
        July 17, 2013 2:34 pm

        IMO they are connected. It would help to explain why both the NDP and BC liberals refused to introduce novel forms of taxation for translink in the form of the vehicle levy.

        I am not sure if you thought the HST was good or bad public policy (surely, you must have an opinion), but you disliked how it was brought in, and voted against the prior governement because of that. Why would you think any different from novel TL funding arrangements? You’re preaching to the converted here, but we have to overcome a segment of the population who are against further funding to translink in general, and novel funding arrangements for TL in particular.

      • Agustin permalink
        July 17, 2013 3:59 pm

        @mezzanine, “Why would you think any different from novel TL funding arrangements?”

        Sorry, I don’t understand this question.

        “we have to overcome a segment of the population”

        That’s the point. The referendum is a losing proposition, and a bad way to set policy.

      • mezzanine permalink
        July 17, 2013 4:37 pm

        [shrugs] i’m not sure how i can explain otherwise that there may be many people very unhappy with novel funding arrangements to translink fees.

        when do you create political capital? when do you spend it?

        “overcoming a segment of the population” includes a number of metro mayors, the very people that should be rallying to support translink.

        …..

        “An attempt by TransLink to charge drivers at park-and-ride lots in Tsawwassen and Ladner has led Mayor Lois Jackson to criticize the transportation authority’s service.

        “We have a bylaw in place and basically I said we’re not going to allow this,” said Jackson in a telephone interview on Thursday (Nov. 22).

        She said the municipality does not have pay parking anywhere, and will not allow TransLink to start now.”

        http://www.southdeltaleader.com/news/180635421.html

      • Agustin permalink
        July 18, 2013 7:40 am

        “[shrugs] i’m not sure how i can explain otherwise that there may be many people very unhappy with novel funding arrangements to translink fees.”

        Sorry, I’m just having trouble interpreting your sentence construction. Maybe it’s just me, but you seem to have an unusual way of using the words “to”, “for”, and “from”….

        (Though now I think I understand what you are saying.)

  5. Bob permalink
    July 18, 2013 9:30 am

    I always love it when elected officials claim the electorate is too stupid to be entrusted with a vote on complex issues.

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