BURNABY, B.C.- Today’s review of TransLink announced by the provincial government will eliminate meaningful public input into taxation and transportation planning in the Lower Mainland, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said today.
“We are very concerned that this review process will lead to taxation without representation,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.
“TransLink directors who currently make decisions about taxes and transportation are elected by their municipalities. This review is designed to change all that.”
“The provincial government’s review is about adopting a new model for TransLink from a December 2004 Progress board report that said that TransLink board members should be appointed by the provincial government, with a minority of elected representatives,” added O’Neill.
“The report also says that the board should be granted clear regional transportation and related land use, taxing and borrowing/spending powers.”
“Let’s face it. BC’s Transportation Minister has been furious ever since TransLink voted twice to stop the RAV Public-private partnership. Even though the project went through on a third vote he is determined that won’t happen again,” said O’Neill.
O’Neill noted that there will be no public meetings. The only public response invited is through a website. He said the guarantee that people would only be taxed by the representatives they had elected was a fundamental aspect of democracy that was at risk with this review.
O’Neill also questioned the make up of the review committee. Dan Doyle was until recently a director of Partnerships BC, the provincial government agency mandated to hand public services over the private sector. Wayne Duzita represents the transportation industry.
O’Neill said the review process was one sided. He said as currently designed it could only result in the province taking over transportation planning in the lower mainland and handing it over to major industries.