OUR VIEW: Someone needs to tell Metro Vancouver mayors that no means no

The result of the mail-in plebiscite on a proposed tax to fund a $7.5-billion regional transit plan did not signify “maybe next year.”

Not long ago

If not the right pocket, there’s always the left pocket.

Right?

Wrong.

Not long ago, a healthy majority of Metro Vancouver residents who participated in a mail-in plebiscite voted “no” to a proposed tax to fund a $7.5-billion regional transit plan. Of 759,696 ballots cast, 61.7 per cent landed on the no side and 38.4 per cent on the yes.

That was through a referendum, which, as some Metro mayors clearly need to be reminded, is a hallowed feature of democracy.

The result of the referendum did not signify “maybe next year.” The message delivered, but unfortunately not embraced by politicians who don’t know that no means no, was that Metro residents encumbered by expensive housing, expensive groceries, all kinds of fees and fares, and of course steadily creeping taxation – or should that be creepy taxation – have had enough of the highway robbery.

So where are we today, and why this editorial? Metro Vancouver mayors are now proposing to raise property taxes and raise transit fares to fund their $7.5-billion regional transit plan. Just 10 months after voters told them, through referendum, to back off.

Oh sure, a cynic might say that “no” was aimed at a proposed 0.5 per cent sales tax, not property taxes or transit fee hikes.

It’s a hollow argument, considering that whatever tag they want to apply to your money, it all comes from the same place: your wallet.

The plebiscite, or referendum, is a cornerstone of democracy and politicians who don’t respect the will of the voters are no longer representatives, but keepers.

We need politicians who listen, and understand the concept of democracy. Hopefully those who won’t will receive a refresher in both come next election.

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