Just How Galling is TransLink’s Taxation Without Representation?

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I wince in pain every time I board a Skytrain car and see this sign reminding us to keep our transit system clean. The TransLink board is a 21st century example of 18th century taxation without representation as the draconian BC Liberal government altered TransLink’s existence to ensure an appointed board is not accountable to the civic officials who fund it with billions of dollars.

“It’s your transit system too, help keep it clean.” I like the sentiment, but it hurts to think that while we all pay for the transit system, we do not have authority over it.

Every time I see this sign, I am reminded of what the BC Liberal party has taken away from all of us.

So I’d like to begin a campaign to encourage TransLink to name its new electronic fare card “TWR: taxation without representation”. If you would like to leap on this bandwagon, please cruise by their website and enter that idea for the card. Vote early and vote often. You can enter the contest as many times as you like until November 8, 2010. And you can win an iPad or an electronic fare card with a year’s worth of transit on it. In fact, I’m going to go put in another entry right now. OK, I put in 3 entries.

And for you enterprising students out there looking for a class project, I submit this for your consideration. Let’s see if we can plump the votes up so that all other suggestions get voted off the island. But of course, there is no democracy in TransLink so even if some enterprising person built a little app/script to enter TWR until it gets billions of votes, I’m sure we’ll still get something embarrassing, or at the very least anti-democratic.

And while I’m remarking on how surreal it is to live in a world like before the American Revolution, I’d like to ask you if you have noticed how those expensive TVs on Skytrain platforms are full of adcreep, but they are missing the most essential piece of information in a transit system: the time.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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5 thoughts on “Just How Galling is TransLink’s Taxation Without Representation?”

  1. Unfortunately, until folks can decide they want to bring an end to corporatism, the overarching dilemma of politics operating our government and not just the BC Liberal party, this sort of outrageous vandalism of democracy will continue to paint us all into a corner where our only way out will be through a nasty civil revolution.

    Repeated voting for political party candidates who are servants of the party — itself beholden to corporate backers and forces, keeps us voting away our representation every four years. Good luck getting the public to understand this obvious truth.

  2. Translink as well as all municipal corporations are creations of the BC government. All powers they have or don’t have derive from legislation passed by the BC legislature.In fact the BC legislature is all powerfull in influencing transportation policy as can be seen by its decision to build the Port Mann bridge as well as the new replacement for the Massey tunnel. It also pretty much decides any rapid transit investments as funding from the province is an almost essential component of this kind of development. The elected representatives of Translink are, therefore, the politicians in Victoria. In that sense we have elected representatives and therefore taxation with representation.

    1. The above comment comes with the reservation that the BC government is elected on a first past the post system that cannot and does not represent the will of the residents. The electoral sytem leads effectively to a two party system with periodic party renewals leading to a temporary three party situation. Without proportional representation many votes are not counted and voting remains a simplistic option not able to deal with more subtle policy issues. This lack of subtlety reduces the value of our vote and the abilty of the election to capture the issues of concern to citizens. Proportional representation can deliver this and forces parties in the BC legislature to collect and discuss facts and issues rather than disseminate or sell their personal views and opinions. So in this perspective we still have taxation without representation.

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