Three articles in today’s newspaper got me thinking about our collective unwillingness to give up any of our current wealth to create positive change for the future.
The first story is about the release of a report from Metro Vancouver’s Mobility Pricing Independent Commission. The report outlines options for introducing mobility pricing in B.C., something that would seem to be a necessary precursor to meeting emission reduction targets in this province. The reporter predicts that, despite being good policy, this report’s recommendations will be rejected by the NDP government which is focussed on “delivering affordability to British Columbians”, to paraphrase the premier.
The second story concerns Point Grey residents protesting a school tax on homes assessed at over $3 million in value. The revenue for this tax is intended to pay for government programs including seismic upgrades of schools. One protester is reported as saying the province should, as an alternative, eliminate private school subsidies or add a surtax to top income earners. Both good ideas that would, no doubt, spawn their own protests.
The third piece assesses B.C.’s progress on reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians. The writer asserts that recent bilateral agreements between the provincial government and First Nations fall short of the previous government’s stated objective of developing a new relationship based on respect, recognition and accommodation of Indigenous title and rights. The reality, he reports, is that Indigenous nations get only tiny amounts of resource revenues from their traditional territories. He questions whether British Columbians are willing to make the structural changes necessary to achieve reconciliation as envisioned in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. Sadly, my answer to that is, no, not if that means one group giving some of its wealth to the other group.
It seems we all want a better future for our community and our children but few of us are willing to pay for it. Remember the furore over the comment that millennials need to give up their avocado toast if they want to buy homes? The problem with this comment, of course, was the stereotyping of young people. But, I think it is time to have some honest conversations about the privileges and wealth we have today and what sacrifices we are willing to make in order to build a stronger future for the next generation. The post-war generation did it and I believe the current generation can, too. We need our leaders to present a compelling vision and talk honestly about what it will take to get there. And we need to recognize the benefits we accrued from past generations and pay it forward.
“Homeowners protest school tax”, Chan, C. Vancouver Sun, May 28, 2018
“Real change requires more than words”, Hudson, M. Vancouver Sun, May 28, 2018
“Horgan wants nothing to do with Metro’s mobility pricing”, Shaw, R. Vancouver Sun, May 28, 2018