Sunday, January 31, 2010

Death and Taxes

Being born and raised in Canada, one tends to get used to paying a large amount of tax. I can't speak from experience, but I can only assume new Canadians adjust to this as they are surrounded by shoulder shrugs that suggest 'that's the way it is'.

Off your pay, on everything you buy and just about everything you do, the government seems to have their hooks in you. I do realize that something has to pay for the roads I drive on, the doctor I go to see and the public parks that I enjoy so what can I do but shrug my shoulders?

But, as they say, there is always room for improvement. No, I am not politically active and yes, I grumble about what politicians should and could do better. Aside from being an armchair political quarterback, I rarely get fired up about any particular issue.

Once in a blue moon though, I read something about our system that makes me think, ‘damn right, I could do a better job!’ Case in point – in this weekend’s paper, there was an article about a model of the Lusitania that the City of Toronto owns. It was purchased in 1963 and was displayed at various venues until 2001 when it was put in storage.

A request has come from a Maritime Museum in Halifax to borrow the model for five years. Simple enough you would think, we have paying (as a taxpayer I can say the proverbial ‘we’) to store this 15 foot (plus glass case) model for 9 years and no one has laid eyes on it in as long a time.

Rather than say, "sure, off you go then", we have to act like the 3 year old in the playground who wants their toy back now that someone else has shown an interest in it. Given our track record, even if someone gave authorization without going through the proper channels, it would be back in town before anyone even knew it was gone. But now two, that’s correct, two levels of government need to say ‘okay, you can borrow it’.

Toronto’s Economic Development committee, whose “Primary focus is the economy, with a mandate to monitor, and make recommendations to strengthen Toronto's economy and investment climate” has to say ‘yes’. Does that description sound like it has anything to do with model ships? What are we going to say to Halifax? “Yes you can borrow it but you have to open a tuna canning plant here in Toronto.”

And then, it has to go to City Council. “Really?” As Seth and Amy would say, “Are you serious?” Do you not have more important things to focus on? At the very least, potholes or perhaps making our neighbourhoods safer. Unless the decision is to fill the model with medical supplies and sail it to Haiti, shame on you for wasting your time and MY money.


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