Thursday, March 11, 2010

British Columbia - Local Government Elections Task Force may allow corporations to vote |

Local Government Elections Task Force may allow corporations to vote | Vancouver, Canada |

Not long ago, corporations were able to vote in municipal elections in B.C. Since that right was taken away in the 1990s, they’ve been trying to win it back.

Now a provincial task force is reviewing a number of civic electoral reforms to areas including campaign financing, terms in office, and restoration of the corporate vote.

Robin Blencoe, a former minister of municipal affairs, is asking why the practice of allowing business entities to cast a ballot equal to that of a citizen in local elections is even being considered by the B.C. Liberal government.

He pointed out that owners and managers of corporations already have, as individuals, the same voting rights as their fellow citizens.

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1 comment:

  1. Up until 1993, BC’s small businesses could vote in municipal elections. This ability to vote recognised the contributions that small and medium-sized businesses make to the economy and to our communities in general. The decision to rescind the business vote was an historic mistake that must be corrected.

    Like the Boston Tea Party, this is primarily an issue of taxation without representation. BC’s small businesses are being taxed to the breaking point by municipal governments. Over-taxed and under-represented, small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of BC’s economy. If residents in BC were being taxed like businesses are, there would be a tax revolt.

    Small and medium sized businesses account for a majority of all businesses in BC and more than one third of our gross domestic product. A vast majority are small businesses with fewer than five employees, and together they employ over 50 per cent of BC’s private-sector workforce.

    These small “ma & pa” business owners take tremendous personal risks that drive the economy and benefit society in general.

    Historically in Canada, citizens were granted the right to vote based on property and taxation. During the 1970s, the provincial government in BC recognised this same right for businesses based on the principle of “no taxation without representation”. This right was taken away from businesses in 1993.

    Businesses in BC are paying more than four times the property taxes that residents do on the same value property. Yet, they are consuming far less of the services those taxes pay for. - And then they pay for garbage collection on top of that! Is this fair?

    What businesses are essentially asking for through the return of the business vote is fairness in representation.

    You should also explore what businesses do for our communities, how they employ and retain our citizens even during recessions, how they contribute to non-profits and integrate themselves into, and help benefit the communities where we work, live and play.

    Take a look at a local soccer field or baseball diamond. The uniforms the kids are wearing are probably donated by a local business. The coach is likely an employee a local business is paying for but let go early to teach the kids.

    Despite this, we give businesses no tangible, truly meaningful representation in our local governments.

    It is time to restore a single vote for these small businesses that help drive our economy, employ us and give back to our communities. If we did, businesses would get one vote for every ten of ours. This seems fair to me.

    Brian Bonney