Almost every week, politics and public administration in our city and our province provide examples that make Jim Carrey’s movie pale by comparison. The past week was no exception.
On the weekend Projet Montréal held its virtual annual convention. Members voted in favor of a “kilometer tax” on car use. Mayor Plante and others used the old saw to rationalize this nonsense that it would, “promote the emergence of public transit.”
To underscore the mindlessness of party members who supported this, it was admitted that no details of how this tax could be measured or applied had been worked out but no matter. According to the advisor who brought the proposal forward, city councillor Jerôme Normand, the mere passage of the resolution — even without specifics — would “initiate substantive work.”
One would be hard put to conceive of what that work would be. Tax car users today to pay for a massive expansion of our unfinished metro system that wouldn’t be complete for a decade? Mandating meters into every car so that kilometre use can be measured and taxed and assuming drivers would cooperate? The absurdities are inconceivable even by the standards of North America’s highest taxed city.
Responding to the Projet idea, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Benoit Charette, said that he did not want to “take punitive measures”. But punitive is what Montreal and Quebec usually do. The average citizen breaks a couple of laws and regulations a day without even knowing about it because we are so inundated with state control of every aspect of our lives.
Mayor Plante’s dogmatic war on cars has already destroyed downtown commerce even before Covid through the elimination of some 2000 parking places and limiting traffic lanes on main commercial thoroughfares. Since few drivers will cooperate with putting meters in their cars, what is Plante planning? Toll booths upon entering downtown or maybe the whole Ville de Montreal? The Mayor said to the convention that she would “relaunch Montreal in the next 500 days and that starts now.” She may need it. It took her less days to begin the destruction of what remained of Montreal.
And we can’t leave out Quebec in the idiotic ideas derby. Last week small private businesses began to receive the following flyers. They were from the OQLF. It encouraged them to start implementing French as their language of work even though businesses under 50 employees are currently exempt from Bill 101. This is probably an overture to Simon Jolin-Barrette’s promised expansion of Bill 101.
The problem is this is the kind of nonsense and almost criminal waste of money that the OQLF engages in even during a pandemic and economic crisis. And the Legault government recently gave it $100 million more. We lose so much investment dollars every year because of our language policies and at a time when we need economic reconstruction, new jobs and more health care assets we are getting this.
The flyers’ “selling” points are “attracting new clientele and building social solidarity.” Right. We leave it to you to determine who was dumb or dumber last week.