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BEPPLE: How should that tax money be spent?

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
July 03, 2015 - 7:30 AM

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is a not-for-profit group dedicated to ‘lower taxes, less waste and accountable government.’ The federation sends out press releases commenting on federal, provincial and local governments across the country.

They also campaign against taxes. For example, they campaigned heavily on the ‘No’ side of the recently defeated Metro Vancouver transit referendum. They support a debt-free B.C. province. Since they want fewer taxes, that likely means less government spending.

One thing that isn’t clear is how they feel about the government spending both provincially and locally to deal with recent floods in Cache Creek and then Kamloops. I assume that the taxpayers federation thinks this type of spending is okay, and that collecting taxes for it is important to do. But it’s not clear.

The taxpayers federation is okay with spending some taxes. They have on their website that they support repairing the Pattullo Bridge. But that’s the only spending they are promoting right now for B.C.

Every time we see one of the planes with fire retardant take off from Kamloops airport, we can all kiss some of our ‘hard earned’ tax dollars goodbye. I’m not sure if the taxpayers federation supports fire suppression. Certainly, for small towns like Lytton, they might want to argue that it is not worth the payback. But I doubt it. I’m sure they support spending money on fire suppression, but they won’t say.

I agree with the federation that government should be accountable. Elections are one of the best ways to hold governments to account. But there also needs to be accountability for governments to uphold and enforce their own regulations. Surprisingly, there is no comments from the federation on the Mount Polley tailing pond breach, or the role of Transport Canada in the Lac-Mégantic disaster.

Meanwhile, the Federation is campaigning to take away the tax exemption on the 1/3 of salaries of local government elected officials. Possibly something to look at (but only after you consider the increase which would result if local officials claimed their expenses for travel and events.) For myself, if I was prioritizing what government should be accountable for, I’d be putting public safety and the environment near the top of the lists.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation does a good job of holding governments of all levels to account. But they are exceedingly narrow in their criticism. They say they want reduced taxes, but they fail to acknowledge the important services governments at all levels provide.

Do they want the federal government to cut back on aviation safety inspections? Should the government not follow up on bomb threats to domestic airlines?

Does the federation want to reduce federal meat inspections? I know for myself, I’m perfectly happy having the federal government do meat inspections. I can’t imagine having to organize having half a cow carcass inspected myself.

Provincially does the taxpayers federation want to reduce bridge inspections on major highways? Does it want to reduce snow removal on highways in winter?

Here in Kamloops, I wonder whether the taxpayers federation would support shutting down the Aberdeen fire hall, given that it resulted in more high-wage employees (i.e. firefighters) to be hired. If so, I suggest they meet with the residents of Aberdeen, Pineview and Dufferin to explain why their hall should be shutdown.

I am sure that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation actually does want some taxes spent, and that they value the services these taxes provide.

I just hope one day the taxpayers federation sends out press releases saying ‘Good job the federal government is promoting immunization of children,’ or ‘Kudos to the provincial government for funding UBC, one of the 40 best research universities in the world,’ or ‘Good job Kamloops for having the equipment and trained staff on hand to quickly deal with the floods in Westsyde.’

I’m hoping, but I’m not holding my breath.

— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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