H. L. Mencken, an American commentator and journalist in the early part of the 20th Century, observed that “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule.”
Local governments who quote world issues as the justification for their actions pose a particularly cogent example of this tactic. A recent attempt by some members of the North Cowichan council using the excuse of a self defined “climate emergency” to strip the value from a project that met all its zoning requirements is a classic application of it.
The proponents’ action may seem capricious and ill-conceived, but the maneuver, had it been successful, would have had the effect of transferring control and with it, effective ownership of the property. In addition, it would have created a precedent that would let the municipality use the same excuse to apply the same treatment to anyone’s property.
Municipal elections scheduled for 2022 are a good time to start reversing this trend. Good representatives share community values and aspirations. More importantly, they do not bring in externally developed ambitions, and use community assets to achieve them.
The big challenge is to get enough people out to vote. In too may cases, municipal and school board elections are won on less than a thirty percent voter turnout. That means control is handed over to a well-organized minority.
True democracy means that citizens can delegate the management of their community but never the responsibility for its outcome.
It would be to the taxpayers’ enduring advantage if the North Cowichan council put their time to use reconsidering their recent unconscionable decision to raise municipal taxes. That they have done this during a period when their Federal and Provincial counterparts, under cover of Covid, have burdened us with the largest financial liability in our history, is inexcusable.
The taxpayer – there is only one – must now take responsibility for the repayment of federal debt estimated at more than one trillion dollars. BC’s debt is still an open question because the NDP have yet to show some believable figures.
North Cowichan has an opportunity to show national and international leadership by undertaking two significant initiatives. First would be a cost cutting program that will be sufficient to allow for an immediate ten percent reduction in municipal taxes. The second would be to approve some of the development of market properties which have been sitting before them for some time. This simple action would add value to the properties concerned, increase the municipal tax base, and make up the shortfall in revenue.
As a further example to their profligate colleagues at higher levels, now wallowing in pro-forma pay raises, the councilors should opt to reduce their stipends from all sources to a nominal one dollar for the period to the end of their term. This would be a refreshing example that they recognize their primary objective is the welfare of the community and that, in these Covid afflicted days, they recognize that they and our municipal employees are truly “in this together.”
The “WE” scandal, like a heap of odoriferous cow dung, continues to linger as an acrid smell in Canada. Whatever feat of deception the Trudeau government employs, the stink wafts up and circles back, engulfing them in the smog once again.
There is a reason the Prime Minister flatly refuses to testify, when ordered by the majority to do so, and it is the same reason he demands that the appropriate Ministers also do not comply with the House order. The Prime Minister’s Office does not want to accept guilt and is not operating in good faith. They can claim innocence until proven guilty, thus as long as the office does not engage in the inquiry process of discovery, they can magically claim to have clean hands. It is obvious the Prime Minister does not want to incriminate himself and his family to Canadians – all those pesky hard-working taxpayers who pay his salary.
Like a child hiding behind the couch devouring contraband cookies before supper, thinking no one will see him as long as he keeps his eyes tightly shut, he continues the infantile charade. The blatant obfuscation of the PM borders on the cartoonish, and through their disgust and incredulousness at his behavior, Canadians are also laughing at his buffoonery, strategic though his jiggery-pokery may be.
Ah, but maybe a shiny new budget full of pixie dust, sugar, and sunny ways will finally provide a much-needed distraction for the citizenry to look away from this gross egregiousness.
Recently Elizabeth May, formerly the leader of Canada’s Green Party, suggested that the country lower the voting age to sixteen. It should be obvious that this would be a disaster. Quite apart from the fact that sixteen–year–olds lack a fully developed prefrontal cortex and are therefore at a disadvantage in making rational decisions, the simple fact is that they are children, not adults.
So why would May, and she is not alone in this, (the Liberals have tried to make this suggestion too) want to implement such a dangerous and unwise policy? The likely answer is: Pure unadulterated power. Teenagers are easily influenced, and there is more than a little wisdom in the old adage that “If you’re not a liberal at 20 you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at 40 you have no brain.” Also, as many parents and teachers can attest, almost without exception, children tend lean to the far left. What an opportunity – willing and compliant tools.
May can see a chance when it comes her way. Should she be able to accomplish her goal, Canadians may all have to deal with an irrationality they have never experienced before. This is not an exaggeration. China’s Mao Zedong unleashed the Red Guard, an army of indoctrinated teenagers, on his enemies and as history proves, the result was disastrous. Perhaps one should not leap that far ahead, but the idea that unqualified, immature teenagers could influence politics should cause all Canadians to pause.
What can we expect from Government, and what price do we really pay?
An essential difference between those guided by common sense and those who believe that government, (ever increasing in size) can provide the essentials of life, falls between the definitions of ‘wants’ versus ‘needs.’
In this pandemic governed society, government has allowed itself the opportunity to take on ‘emergency’ powers permitting it to dictate our movements and actions in ways that we would never have considered reasonable before. It has set aside the normal administration of justice by permitting its agents, to direct activities and levy fines and which are, by statute, the responsibility of legislatures and the courts.
We have seen federal and provincial governments use the pandemic as justification to make huge financial disbursements with no effective plan or oversight, the consequences of which will leave our great-grandchildren with the obligation of repayment.
In a democracy, we accept these actions because we accept the judgements of those, we elect to manage our society, to take the necessary action to meet the ‘needs’ of all of us. To be effective as a democracy, we need to regularly revisit the outcomes of their decisions to see whether they simply addressed loosely defined ‘wants’ that had little to do with reasons involved with a pandemic.
In an effective democracy citizens should hold all representatives, found to have overstated the requirement, personally responsible for their actions and assign them some very heavy penalties.