War of words over looming transit funding referendum

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War of words over looming transit funding referendum

Just in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, Metro Vancouver drivers are again being told they’re paying too much tax at the pumps.

“Every level of government has their hands in our pocket.”

Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says at 49.2 cents per litre local drivers pay the second highest gas taxes in North America.

“From Translink at 17 cents to the federal government to the province, they all reach in there and because it’s hidden in the per litre price, we never never think of it.”

Bateman claims Translink collects more than a thousand dollars worth of taxes every year from each household in the Lower Mainland and that number could go up another 600 dollars if more taxes are approved in an upcoming referendum.

While we wait for Metro Vancouver mayors to determine what voters will be asked in an upcoming referendum on transit funding, more concerns are being raised about if the final ballot will include a ‘none of the above option.’

Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says that’s something Premier Christy Clark has indicated she wants.

“Hopefully, the Premier sticks to her promise and we get that promise to come true because, you know there are people out there who want none of the above. The mayors would love nothing better than to put five options on there and they’re all tax increases, but it’s about the Premier and about her promise to make sure that people have the opportunity to opt out.”

Bateman says the results of a survey show the average homeowner could end up paying an extra 600 dollars a year in transit-related taxes, but officials with Angus Reid have not confirmed they’ve been hired to conduct that poll or who may have commissioned it.

Port Coquitlam mayor, and Metro Vancouver chair, Greg Moore released this statement in response to Bateman’s claims.

“I read the Canadian Tax Payers Press Release with amusement. As usual the press release, which is based on assumptions, not on fact. I can tell you that Metro Vancouver is not doing a survey and the Translink Mayors Council Investment Sub-Committee is focused on the development of the 30 Year Vision and 10 Year Implementation Strategy, which includes service levels and funding solutions.

Mr. Bateman’s press release use the terms ‘considering’, ‘potential’, and ‘could’. There is very little in the press release that is factual.

Mr. Bateman should consider using his time more constructively and offer solutions to this region, instead of cheap press releases that do nothing. Everyone agrees that over the next 25 years one million more people will be moving into this reagion and there will be an additional 600,000 jobs, we need to ensure we do the proper planning, complimented with a effective transportation and transit strategy.”

The Mayor of Coquitlam says the BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is missing the boat in his simplistic arguments against the looming transit referendum.

Richard Stewart says while Jordan Bateman plays the ‘you will all pay more taxes’ card he is neglecting to tell people the cost of doing nothing.

“You could opt for none of the above but it will cost you way more. It will cost the sitizens of Metro Vancouver hundreds of millions of dollars more to opt to not build transit and instead widen our roads and buy some extra land to pave more of our Metro Vancouver region in order to accomodate a growing population.”

He says the key is to have a sustainable transit funding model.

The mayors are crafting a ten year transit vision, to be tabled next month, that will lead to the referendum itself and the question on the ballot.


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  1. At the current rate of Trans Link tax increases, how long before folks start giving up on BC? How much longer can the consumer continue to pay before they’re just going to work to pay taxes with little left over for themselves. Not long I fear.

    This province is out of whack. Only for the rich?

  2. when was the last tax hike that went directly to transit where are all these tax hikes according to the voters one year ago we pay the lowest taxes and like it batemen is way off base

  3. All of them ‘little tax increases’ sure add up, don’t they? Elected politicians better start to realize they don’t own us, can dispose more of our salaries and start to live withing our means.

    EVEN if some other places charge higher taxes does it mean OUR taxes also must be increased to that level? Or public debt increased?

    Just who is the boss? And who actually elected people specifically to Transit Board?

  4. Translink is a joke. Should responsible for transit ONLY. 75% of that government corporation could be cut. ALL other responsibilities should fall back into the ministry. If all current gas taxes and property taxes went toward transit, I am sure that this would be enough money to sustain transit expansion. Cut the fat Christy – take responsibility!

    Christy’s cop-out-referendum is a joke. A politician that will NOT take responsibility for her own ideas and promises. She did promise a none-of-the-above option. What is the point of a referendum that people WILL vote down with an “out” clause? Who want’s to pay more taxes? Do you? I know I don’t. She keep raising taxes every chance she gets! Gas Taxes, Medical Premium Taxes, Hydro Taxes, the list keeps going and going. She obviously is NOT connected to the people of the region.

  5. Gee, Jordan Bateman must have hit a raw nerve (thank you again Mr. Bateman). Imagine a politician or bureaucrat telling a taxpayer that he should stop scrutinizing or criticizing them and spend his time doing something else. Could it be that they don’t want those paying the bills to have any input on whether there should even be a bill? They obviously just want to spend the money and make us think of we have an influence on how it’s going to be generated. FYI – My taxpaying wallet is empty and there’s a big hole in it that sucks any other money that gets put back into it. The hole is called government; and I really don’t care if the hole is created by taxes, user fees or whatever. Someone has to address the size and very presence of the hole.

    I have a question for the likes of Moore and Stewart; just where would YOU like to cut government costs in other areas in order to generate the money for these “necessary” programs? Maybe join in with Ms. Clark and look at cutting salaries, benefits and pensions for politicians and bureaucrats. Maybe just slash the size of government; it has become too large to be affordable. Maybe the good mayors join together and see if they can convince the senior government to reign in out of control agencies like Hydro, Ferries, ICBC and TransLink.

    How about you get together with the provincial government and demand that Ottawa stop Quebec and other freeloading provinces from stealing BC’s wealth? Imagine how much we could do with the money that has been taken out of Western Canada through sacrifices to the god of Equalization (a.k.a. provincial welfare).

    See, there are lots of ways you folks could save money instead of just sending us another bill every time you dream up another “necessary” project. I’m not an accountant, but I do believe there are two sides to a ledger; the spending side and the income side. When the income side runs out of money you really have to look at the spending side.

    Enough already! Governments have turned from being the taxpayer’s representative into being representatives for the bureaucracies and political hacks. When are the next elections again? As I have stated before, folks you really have to get off your rear ends and get involved – and not wait until the next election. When we turn into another Greece, it will be too late.

    • Lots of good points. However, don’t push to hard on the Transfer payments. If, by chance, the NDP do form another Government here, there is a real probability we will be a “have not province” again.