"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Voting in favour of $2.4-million tax burden?

My council colleague, Lou Sekora, denies it, but by voting against the RCMP contract at last night's meeting, he was doing more than just protesting against a contract that left him and several other councillors unhappy; in fact, he way saying that his dissatisfaction with the contract was so intense that he was willing not to sign the contract and thus expose Coquitlam to great financial risk. This is because Coquitlam's failure to sign the contract would trigger the immediate loss of the 10% federal subsidy which amounts to about $200,000 a month, or $2.4-million a year.
Sekora chuckled when I suggested the impact of his vote would, if a majority supported his position, be to trigger a huge tax increase, and he said later that he certainly didn't support the extra tax burden.
But, realistically, if four other councillors had voted the same way he did, the plain and unvarnished truth of the matter would be that we'd be facing a huge new budgetary expenditure and, in the absence of widespread program slashing, a tax increase-- at least until we could get our own municipal or regional force up and running. And, even then, costs for a local force were projected, in a city study completed a few years ago, to be at least 10% higher too.
A veteran council member, Sekora undoubtedly had added up the votes beforehand and knew that his No vote would not carry the day, and so it carried little risk while, at the same time, brought him some undoubted publicity (which he is getting even here!).
In the end, council voted 8-1 to sign the new contract -- a move that most likely comes as a great relief to the vast majority of Coquitlam taxpayers, not only because of the budgetary considerations but also because some 92% of  residents told our pollsters earlier this year that they are either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the job the Mounties are doing.
Photo shows me with two Mounties at a recent civic event.

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