To the surprise of no one, Greater Vancouver voters turned down a referendum on a 0.5 per cent sales tax to support the expansion of Transit services in the Lower Mainland.
The Liberals knew the outcome of the transit vote before they called the referendum. That’s why they called for a referendum on transit spending but not on spending for toll bridges, freeways, stadiums, coal ports, and extravagant gifts to Liberal Party supporters, etc.
My gosh, taxpayers at Mount Washington Alpine Resort voted down a modest tax to support having a minimal fire protection service, even when the danger of a single fire spreading from house to house was obvious to all. If it meant a dollar collected to support a common good like saving lives and property-then no; overwhelmingly NO!
It’s amazing to think that residents would rather pay the cost of fires in loss of property, sky-high insurance premiums, and the very real threat to human life than to invest in a community good like fire protection services. To me this is the real tragedy of the commons—in Vancouver, Mount Washington, and industrial society generally—that we have allowed special interest groups like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to convince us that private greed must always consume any sense of common community or even our instinct to survive.
Though the consequences are not as obvious as the absence of a fire truck at an inferno, it is just as amazing that Vancouver voters are willing to pay the cost of cutting meaningful planning for transit in the ever-increasing paving over of valuable urban land to make room for more freeways and parking lots; in massively expensive bridges and tunnels, in lives and limbs lost in accidents, in loss of productive hours spent idling in traffic jams; and the ever increasing pollution of our atmosphere and—most importantly—in the abrogation of our commitment to our children that we will not consume and pollute away their chance to live in health and safety on a planet with a life-supporting atmosphere. I sure get the feeling that something has gone horribly wrong!