Tag Archives: austerity

Cough cough

8 Jul

Cough cough, much like Vancouver and Western North America, this blog has gotten a bit too dusty and dry from neglect. Forest fires and droughts aside, a few notable political events have passed since I last posted something in cyberspace of meaningful value.

Most recently Greece went bankrupt and may now finally slip out of the Euro. It seems there is barely enough liquidity in Greece’s financial system to continue paying bills through to the end of the month. Even with banks closed, the government has probably run out of Euros and will need to start printing IOU’s or Drachmas in the next couple of days, unless it can convince the dreaded Troika to keep them afloat with less dreaded Deutsche style austerity. The Greeks are probably roasted, but for the rest of us, who knows what the fallout will be.

In national news, our oily neighbours to the east did the impossible, electing a social democratic government, turfing out 45 years of single party right wing rule. It appears Albertans had grown tired of being too oil dependent and having no savings to for it. It shall be most interesting to see what the Notley Crew will do to turn things around there, many are watching them closely, perhaps none more than our federal politicians, who will be going to election this October.

An interesting federal election it will be in October, as for the first time there is a serious possibility that Canadians, tired of 148 years of Liberal/Tory hegemony, may be ready to try a new flavour of ice cream. The chances look good for Notley’s federal NDP cousin, Tom Mulcair: a fatigued Tory government handcuffed by a stalled economy and falling oil prices, and a soft Liberal leader who is only there because of his name – all this adds up to an interesting mix of possibilities. Many would say this election is Tom Mulcair’s to lose.

Greece, oil, and federal politics aside, what has most perked my interest this spring and early summer has been the disastrous plebiscite imposed on all of us in Vancouver by our dear BC Premier Christy Clark. The plebiscite asked us whether we as taxpayers would be willing to cough up an extra 0.5% of PST to pay for metro lines, improved bus service, transit upgrades, and much more. The plebiscite result was a resounding No.

I was not surprised by the result. I mean, who in their right mind would vote to pay more taxes to big government for something they may never use (for the record I rarely use transit and live in the city centre, but I voted Yes)? The whole plebiscite exercise, much like many things done in this province, was poorly planned and executed. At $20 million it was also a waste of taxpayers’ time and money. Quite simply it should never have happened. Instead the premier should have assumed the role she was elected for: to govern and make the big decisions of how to invest taxpayer dollars.

By going the route of a plebiscite on transit investment, our premier abdicated her responsibility as leader and foisted upon us and junior levels of government to do the dirty work for her. Like the Greeks and the Albertans, we now have one big mess and no easy way out. Who knows what the fallout will be.