Odd Thoughts: Transit decision is not our job

The deadline for the transit vote is approaching.

I haven’t sent in my ballot, and I’m not going to.

It has nothing to do with which way I’m leaning on the question. I’ve just realized something I should have realized weeks ago — before the ballots were sent out.

It’s not my job.

The current provincial government prides itself on – got itself elected on – its business-like approach to government.

There’s two things wrong with that: government is not a business, and these people aren’t running it like a business anyway.

On the first point, government is not about managing money to turn a profit — not in the usual sense of the word.

Education, for instance, is seen as a responsibility of government precisely because it is not about making money, but about making better people. In the long run, that will create profit, but not in this fiscal quarter or fiscal year — or fiscal decade, for that matter.

Since the time of the Roman Empire, provision of transportation infrastructure has been a basic function of successful government, for similar reasons: it doesn’t make money directly, but through shared overall improvement of our living situation.

But those who can’t see government in anything but dollars-and-cents terms must realize that the transit vote counters business sense in 

practically every way.

First off, Christy Clark does not own B.C., and her cabinet and caucus are not her board of directors.

The province is an unlimited partnership in which each and every one of us owns an equal share, from the CEO of the biggest corporation in the 

province to the operator of the smallest home-based business, from the guy drinking his coffee at the next table to the homeless person pushing 

her cart past the coffee shop door. Even the baby born just three minutes ago is an equal partner.


As partners, every few years, we contract people to run our “business” for us. We spend about a month or so vetting candidates for the positions available. And then we expect to be able to step back and let them do their job. If they do it well, there’s a good chance that we will renew their 

contract when it expires. We do not expect them to come running to us for advice on every 

nitpicking little problem.

We have our own jobs that require our attention — selling stocks or stocking shelves, growing crops or dishing out fast food, harvesting trees or running a paper mill, digging ore or digging ditches, teaching school or attending classes, whatever.

We don’t have time to do all the research, consider the options, and make the decisions that we hired them to do.

The transit vote is a perfect example of political whinging. Running to us to make their decision for us creates a win-win scenario for them, lose-lose for us.

If we vote Yes, it’s our own fault that we’re paying higher taxes, not theirs.

If we vote No, it our own fault we’re missing out on transit improvements, not theirs.

Tell Rich Coleman and Mary Polak to go back to their boss (not our boss – like Rich and Mary, Christy Clark is our employee) to bloody well do her job: do the research, consider the options, and make the decisions that need to be decided. And take the flak if it’s the wrong one.

So if you haven’t sent in your transit tax ballot yet, don’t.

It’s not your job, it’s theirs.

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