The Toronto elite—intelligentsia as some would say—are beside themselves with envy over Calgary electing a visible minority, and Muslim to boot, as their mayor. The city’s elite and mainstream media filled a posh ballroom last Wednesday for a Canadian Club of Toronto luncheon at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, in the heart of Toronto’s business district to hear a speech by Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
Apparently, the new mayor is pitching the idea of adding a “penny” (1%) to the GST to help build social infrastructure facilities such as libraries and arts and recreation centres. It’s what the mayor calls the “muscular urban agenda.”
Sounds like the tired old tax-and-spend mantra we’ve been fed for decades. Nenshi admitted that he expects the “penny tax” proposal will be controversial, but he wanted to open the discussion.
Controversial? Is a proposal to gouge another percentage point of GST out of the economy to add libraries and arts and recreation centres controversial? You bet it is! I might have more sympathy for the proposal if the added tax was to be used exclusively for more roads, bridges and sewers—you know, the sort of stuff that’s been decaying and crumbling around us for the past few decades. But more art centres?
Toronto’s media has been drawing comparisons between Nenshi and Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford, usually not favourable to Ford. Here’s a quote from Nenshi:
“Whereas I firmly believe that the city has to justify every penny it spends—I’m a lot like your [Toronto’s] new mayor [Rob Ford] that way—I also believe that I can justify the city spending taxpayers’ money on investments in the social and urban fabric.”
Like I said, tax and spend.
To politicians, infrastructure always seems to mean “libraries and arts and recreation centres,” seldom “roads, bridges and sewers?” The former is easier to sell to the intelligentsia who in turn give their support in media circles.
Please go home Mr. Nenshi, Ontario municipal and provincial politicians don’t need encouragement to increase our taxes from a charismatic and popular Westerner—they’ve been doing a fine job of that for decades.
I’ll stick with Rob Ford’s philosophy: “stop the gravy train” and “end the waste.” Sooner or later we’ve got to say, enough! We already pay enough tax. More money just fattens the pocket books of those who live off the public purse and adds to their perks.