Canadian politicians have by and large proven themselves to be lousy stewards of our money and tone-deaf to public outcry as it strives to correct what often amounts to wilful blindness on the part of our bureaucrats and elected leaders.
Eventually, something has to give, and we don’t mean pitchforking more of our hard-earned money to appease government’s volcanic appetite for waste and related mismanagement.
Surrey’s current council – some of its members alumni from the previous council – took a verbal hammering at Monday’s finance committee public hearing from angry residents who’ve finally dug in their heels and said “enough” after the politicians and bureaucrats presented what would have been an absurd property tax hike.
Entering the meeting, taxpayers were looking at a 17.5 per cent property tax hike on top of a three per cent increase in utility fees. They gave council what-for, beyond weary of inflation, multi-level taxation, government bloat, more expensive groceries and housing costs, more expensive you-name-it, and basically paying more to receive less.
“How can you sleep at night?” one woman demanded to know, “by robbing homeowners? We are not homeowners, we are home slaves and we are puppets.
“Please control your expenses, OK, I beg you,” she said. “What you want me to touch your feet? You think you are above God? You are not.”
Now that’s frustration. And there’s plenty of that to go around.
To be fair, while council took the heat it didn’t start the fire. One councillor noted that when the previous council took Surrey’s reins of power in 2018, the city owed $115 million. A little more than four years later, it’s $358 million.
Anyway, council heroically responded by sending the budget back to staff with the instruction that it returns with a tax hike of less than 12.5 per cent.
In essence, especially in this financial climate, that’s like dishing up a fat lip instead of a black eye.