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Meredith Botta
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Justin, I know where you’re coming from. But your argument is remarkably similar to the anti-tax No side comments posted on a couple of notable local urban blogs that are doing their damnedest to turn a financing plebiscite into a referendum on the entire “horribly inefficient” organization called TransLink. One in particular drew attention to the Fat Cat board salaries and more than once said that TransLink should be modelled on Singapore’s supposedly better-managed private transport companies, and therein exposed his/her motive. Could it be they want to see TransLink, a much manipulated public institution that represents local control over local transport, dissolved as part of a private sector opportunity ploy to grab market share? Well, I located the 2013 annual report by SBS Transport, one of Singapore’s most important transportation companies, online and found the annual salaries of seven of ten board members were between $S250,000-$S800,000*, roughly equivalent in total to TransLink’s. *The Singapore dollar is the equivalent of $0.90 Canadian. But the real difference was in the hundreds of thousands of shares each director owns in the company that employs them, not to mention the multiple of directorships they occupy in other companies, several of which that do direct business with SBS. If a similar model was imposed here in Vancouver, a huge set of conflict of interest issues would arise that would never be tolerated, and certainly exceeds the overall “Fat Cat” remuneration of the TransLink board by orders of magnitude. Many of us would prefer to have an elected regional government and TransLink board ... as well as much better funding participation by the federal government. Moreover, the overtly critical 2012 BC government audit of TransLink found that it was overall quite an efficiently-run company that in 2012 and 2013 garnered a collective surplus of $C48 million. But they did find room for improvement notably in the myriad of benefits … probably including the coffee fund. The Yes side must bring this campaign back to the basic financing question and underline the flaws of the No side views, and point out that their motives are not that honourable when self-interest may be an underlying factor.
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Jan 27, 2015