The B.C. government has approved the transit referendum question put forward by the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation, with some tweaks.
While the mayors had proposed a 0.5-percentage-point hike to the provincial sales tax, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said it will be a new Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax that will be voted on by the region.
Stone also confirmed that the vote will be a mail-in ballot plebiscite. Ballot mailing will begin on March 16, 2015, and voting will end on May 29, 2015.
Here's Stone's letter to the mayors' council:
Re: Mayors' Council Recommendations
The embattled Coalition of Progressive Electors has lost its executive director.
Sarah Beuhler resigned today (Decemer 17), taking responsibility for the party's failure to include $12,500 in donations in a November 4 disclosure of campaign contributions.
That money came from Canreal Management Corporation ($3,000) and the commercial real-estate company’s president, Raymond Bergen ($9,500), and its acceptance by the party was roundly criticized as contradicting COPE's policy of not taking donations from developers.
Premier Christy Clark has announced that the B.C. Liberal government has granted approval for the building of the Site C dam on the Peace River.
The potential cost of the dam has climbed from $7.9 billion to $8.775 billion, including a $8.335 billion capital cost estimate and $440 million reserve fund. As well, the construction start date has been pushed back to summer 2015.
Although it's being called the "transit referendum", the upcoming vote on a 0.5-percentage-point PST hike in Metro Vancouver is also about funding for a new Pattullo Bridge and road work.
Insights West has released the first polling results on the ballot question, and they show there's more support than opposition out there—but it's still early.
Here's the question you've been waiting for.
Subject to a decision by the TransLink mayors' council, the upcoming transit referendum will ask voters if they support a 0.5 percentage point hike to the provincial sales tax.
The wording of the ballot question:
Do you support a one half percentage point (0.5%) increase to the Provincial Sales Tax in Metro Vancouver, dedicated to the Mayors' Transportation and Transit Plan, with independent audits and public reporting?
Where would the cash go? Not just transit.
The mayors' council says the proceeds would fund:
A former judge is hoping to emulate Wally Oppal and make the transition into electoral politics.
Carol Baird Ellan, the Provincial Court's former chief judge, is seeking the NDP nomination in Burnaby North–Seymour.
The new riding includes the eastern part of the North Shore, which is traditional Conservative turf, and the northeastern section of Burnaby, which tends to lean NDP.
However with federal polls showing the Liberals ahead nationally, it's conceivable that a Grit could take the riding should the stars align in Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's favour in 2015.
Baird Ellan has highlighted environmental issues on her website. It's timely, given the chorus of opposition to Kinder Morgan's proposed pipeline.
The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation got together for an in-camera meeting today (December 5) to talk about the planned transit referendum slated for the new year.
Since it was a closed meeting, we don't know what the mayors in the room actually said, but they did put out a press release with some info.
Specifically, the mayors confirmed they are looking at asking voters to approve one or a combination of the following funding sources:
The leader of the Green Party of Canada has presented in the House of Commons a petition calling on the Canadian government to undertake a review of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
That doesn't mean that Elizabeth May, the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, is a 9/11 truther, however.
Indeed, the Green party made sure to send out the following statement: