Residents of Metro Vancouver were afforded a rare opportunity earlier this year when we were allowed to actually have a say on a proposed government tax.
The province proposed a 0.5% increase to the sales tax in order to help fund $7.5 billion in regional transportation infrastructure needed over the next 10 years.
Although I thought it was a worthy investment, the majority of Metro residents did not, defeating the plebiscite 61.7% to 38.4%.
When given a choice to pay for something with direct benefits to the economy and reduction of traffic gridlock, voters still decided it was something they couldn't afford.
Fair enough. We know Canadians are grossly overtaxed, and even a modest 0.5% increase was the proverbial straw breaking the taxpayer's back.
Yet now, when faced with an unfunded liability to Metro Vancouver taxpayers with no benefit to the population whatsoever, we're being given no choice at all.
The federal Liberal government has decided Canada's population is to grow by 25,000 Syrians by year's end, with the bulk of B.C.'s 2,700 likely setting in Surrey, the city most likely to surpass Vancouver's population by 2050.
In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, France, bringing in thousands of poorly vetted refugees in a short time span is a poor idea. We know that ISIL is committed to infiltrating Western nations in a method referred to as “jihad by immigration.”
These threats are real and dangerous.
However, in this piece I'm going to talk mainly about the impact to the B.C. taxpayer pocketbook.
To say this will stretch thin an already wafer-like social services network would be something of an understatement.
This will put a tremendous strain on all of Metro Vancouver's resources, including health care, education, and particularly housing.
The rental vacancy rate in Metro Vancouver is nearly zero percent, which means finding housing for thousands of new people isn't just problematic. It's nearly impossible.
Even if we do find transitional housing for these people, the long term prospects for these refugees do not bode well.
This region is infamous for its unaffordable housing, forcing even multi-generational Canadian born citizens to move inland in search of their own piece of Canada.
The median price for a home in the City of Vancouver is over $1 million, with homes in the suburbs well into the $830,00 range. Even an hour outside of the city, home prices are hovering above $600,000.
Then there's the obvious costs to our struggling social security network. In B.C., a family of four earning $30,001 a year (or $10,000 below the province's own stated poverty line) must pay $144 a month ($1,728 a year) in health care premiums.
The refugees will pay nothing. Not only that, they'll receive dental and eye care, a luxury not even available to Canadians.
And what's all this costing us? Setting aside the obvious social costs, the Liberals have committed a minimum of $200 million toward Syrian refugees.
What's worse is that the funding commitment is open-ended, meaning federal immigration minister John McCallum may just up the ante any time he feels like.
Or at least, that appears to be what he's saying to reporters.
The timing literally couldn't be worse. After a brief economic recovery, it would seem the country is once more headed toward a recession.
Canada has been losing the most jobs in its history since the last great recession, thanks in large part to the crumbling oil sands. This writer, in particular, lost his job in March.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Budget Officer says the Liberals are on pace to run fiscal deficits until 2020-21, without taking into account the refugee crisis.
There is no question that Canada has some obligation to help Syria during this difficult war against Islamic extremists.
And we have been, with $810 million in humanitarian, development and security assistance, which includes targeted bombings against ISIL.
But what we cannot afford, particularly at this time, is to begin destroying our own fragile quality of life in the vain hope of making ourselves look better on the international stage.
Trudeau's Liberals MUST halt plans to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees
until they can guarantee the safety of the Canadian people.
SIGN THE PETITION at RefugeePause.ca
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