Not a good day for the Yes side in the Vancouver Sun:

Pete McMartin begins on the front page:

… what a disaster the Yes campaign has been. It has seen its lead in the polls erode. It was late off the mark — one of the disadvantages of working with sluggish government bureaucracy — and has allowed the No side to seize the momentum. …

And this week, the most recent public relations blunder:

Right in the middle of the plebiscite campaign, with the numbers for the Yes campaign going south, news emerges that in December of 2014 TransLink spent $13.9 million to buy back a former BC Transit building which BC Transit had previously sold at a loss.

Irony alert: BC Transit is a provincial agency.  TransLink actually had a good case to make for purchasing the building.

And TransLink has been trying to make that case, without much luck. Global TV for one used the word “boondoggle” in its coverage. The No side has been going to town over the sale.

“We could cure cancer,” said Colleen Brennan, TransLink’s vice-president of communications, “but no matter what TransLink does, we’re going to be a villain.”

Well, no. Villains are villains because they’re malevolent, not because they’re clueless.

Then a few pages over:


Oh, so many points to make, but we can stop at the first sentence:

A consensus exists that we are sufficiently taxed.

And there it is: the beginning and end of the debate – and either the main or tangential purpose of the referendum: to limit local government’s capacity to tax, best done directly by those who might most benefit from the services.

So … if it were true that we are indeed sufficiently taxed, then why this?


$230 million


About the same amount that could be raised by the sales tax increase to provide what business, in particular, argues is necessary infrastructure for the economic vitality of Metro.  That same amount will disappear from the provincial budget so that richest 2 percent will retain another $2-3,000.  (Sounds angry, doesn’t it, and rather impolitic to raise in polite company.  Which is why, I suppose, it isn’t.)

Another Sun columnist, Daphne Braham, has so far provided the best insight into all this in her piece on March 9:

Politicians and business leaders have talked way more about cutting taxes for poor beleaguered taxpayers for the past 30 years than they have about the valuable services tax money provides.

Through good times and bad, the political debates have focused on debt reduction, deficit-fighting, deregulation, privatization, selling off public assets to balance the books and shaming those who rely on public programs to pay the rent or feed their children. …

Why would it be any different? Along with the Fraser Institute, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has been at this a long time with clever campaigns and awards ceremonies where an adult dressed up as a pig helps hand out pig-topped trophies to wasteful public officials.

With the No side support, they’re reaping what they’ve sown.