EDITORIAL: B.C.’s leaky roof

Not all of the province's $444 million surplus should be put toward the debt

The analogy is appropriate, but it needs to be taken a step further.

In a year-end interview with Black Press’ Tom Fletcher, Premier Christie Clark tried to compare her government’s finances to that of any household.

Repeating the words she and her finance minister spoke earlier in the week, the premier suggested a family that has rode through tough times using credit cards needs to put money on those cards when the finances improve.

She was speaking of the government’s estimated $444 million surplus and her plan to put that money toward B.C.’s debt.

We agree that is a prudent strategy. It is irresponsible to ignore the debt. It’s almost criminal to burden future governments and future generations with such a financial millstone.

However, we don’t believe the entire $400 million needs to go to paying down the debt.

Let’s continue with the premier’s fictitious family. When times are tough and you are living off credit cards, many things around the house fall into disrepair. The plumbing, the electrical, perhaps the roof.

Yes, you can get by for a while without these things being fixed. They can be put off until finances improve. But when the money situation gets better, it makes sense to not only put some cash down on the credit cards, but fix the roof. A leaky and/or old roof is just going to cause more expensive problems down the road if it’s not upgraded.

The B.C. government has a bunch of leaky roofs. It’s time to take a quarter, a third or even half of that $444 million to fix some of these problems around its house.

There is no shortage of suggestions for what to do with some of this money. Ask the NDP for ideas — they are very good at spending taxpayers’ money.

When times were tougher, maybe it made sense to hike medical premiums and claw back child support payments from social assistance and disability recipients. Perhaps it was prudent to increase ferry rates and cut some of that service. However, we are seeing some of the results of these cuts, especially in regards to the ferry service. Those measures have caused damage to the economy.

Sure, Premier Clark, pay down that credit card debt. But fix the roof first.

— Editorial by John Harding

Just Posted

Parksville Beach Festival Society launches campaign for outdoor stage

Public invited to event May 25 to help with kickoff

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

Crime Report: Oceanside RCMP receive 328 complaints in one-week span

Vandalism and theft of a wheelchair among listed incidents

Controversial cell tower proposal in Coombs clears another hurdle

Committee indicates Rogers satisfactorily completed requirements

Parksville advocate to discuss harm-reduction measures for addicts

Morris, along with a panel of professionals, will be at the PCC on May 21

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Campbell River police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

One year after heartbreaking B.C. search, wife reflects on late husband

First anniversary of Ben Kilmer’s disappearance, and a search that galvanized Vancouver Island

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Most Read