‘Inept political leadership’ tale of Gatineau Hills

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by admin on April 14, 2010

The Editor,

West Quebec citizens are angry as hornets. And getting angrier. With the heaviest taxation record of any province, our Liberal government has doubled its effort to increase taxes and fees. To hell with the people.

If an average new house in Chelsea costs $300,000, with sales taxes and welcome tax added to it and not counting any real estate fee, one must now now pay $48,000 before considering any down payment.

On top of this, taxpayers remain at the mercy of local politicians who continually fail to control expenditures and develop plans with neighbouring municipalities to maximize services and minimize costs. La Peche and Chelsea are plotting expensive new facilities, knowing they don’t have enough funds to deal with huge bills already confronting them.

Rather than work together, adjacent MRCs and municipalities want to duplicate everything – swimming pools, hockey rinks, libraries, septic waste treatment plants, etc.

Chelsea politicians feel that they have a solid agreement with their taxpayers that all future tax increases, not counting school tax increases, will be at least 4.5 per cent. La Peche politicians want to blacken the beauty of their area with businesses. Both parties want to “citify” the area. To hell with the cost: “This is what the people want.”

This type of inept political leadership is encountered almost everywhere. In our northern MRC, consisting of 17 villages, more than half of those elected last November were acclaimed. Almost any inexperienced and unqualified person can become a politician. People would be pleasantly shocked if any MRC ever established a committee to find ways to stop wasteful spending and to reduce costs. Good luck.

In California, there are 480 municipalities for 37 million people; in Ontario 444 for 13 million; and, you guessed it, in Quebec 1,139 municipalities for 7.8 million people. Any where else in North America, the MRC des Collines would be a single municipality with  fewer political posts, meaning more capable representatives, improved planning and reduced spending.

About 800 farms a year are shutting down in Quebec. The forest industry is toast. Forty per cent of “taxpayers” don’t pay income tax. They are either too poor or nimbly survive in the black market which is booming because of unbearable taxes. One angry resident recently told me, “I wish I had started cheating the government 20 years ago.”

The good news for the politicians is that taxpayers, while angry, are not angry enough. They do not show up at municipal elections or at council meetings. They mindlessly vote for the incompetent and endless-spending Liberal government. They pay their municipal taxes with a smile, preferring not to write “UNDER PROTEST” on the invoice.

Steve Connolly

Low, Quebec