If you live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, you no doubt remember the proposed tax presented to the public on behalf of Translink. The tax was presented as the best means to fund public transit expansion and improvement. You no doubt also recall that the public outcry was great, as Translink is an organization known for its foibles and Vancouver consistently ranks among the world’s most expensive cities to live.
Jordan Bateman, BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, led the charge against the proposed tax, resulting in a victory for the no side and Translink licking its wounds and looking for new revenue sources. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is a federally incorporated, not-for-profit citizen’s group dedicated to lower taxes, less waste and accountable government.
Jordan has written a book about the trials and adventures of that David and Goliath saga, and because we applaud work done on behalf of working people I reached out to him to share his story. In his own words, Jordan Bateman presents us with an excerpt of his book below.
Presented by, Anastasia Anthony Zervos
EVERYONE… BUT THE PEOPLE
For The Afro News
By Jordan Bateman, B.C. Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
When everyday people make history by overcoming the elite class of decision makers and defeating an unfair and expensive tax, it’s worth telling the story.
In our new book, Everyone… But The People, Hamish Marshall and I lay out the story of how our small, underfunded No TransLink Tax campaign inspired and equipped voters across the Lower Mainland to fight a plan to give TransLink the nation’s first regional sales tax.
Six months before voting ended, polls showed the pro-tax side ahead by 14 points. But we kept the pressure on TransLink, exposing waste and bringing out our own plan to fund transit in the region. It worked: we forced the YES side into mistake after mistake, the people rallied to our side, and we ended up winning the vote by 24 points.
The following excerpt is from the prologue of our book, Everyone… But The People, available now at www.notranslinktaxbook.com :
On the morning of Feb. 3, 2015, Greater Vancouver mayors, clinging to a four-point lead in the polls, were out selling voters on a 0.5% sales tax to fund TransLink, the unpopular regional transportation authority.
Greg Moore, the mayor of Vancouver suburb Port Coquitlam and influential chairman of Metro Vancouver’s regional government, sat on the familiar red couch in Global BC’s Burnaby TV studio, finished his pitch for the tax, and listened as Morning News hosts Sophie Lui and Steve Darling set up the next segment, an interview with Jordan Bateman, representing the NO side.
“Oh, you found the only guy opposed,” Moore mocked, interrupting the hosts. “Jordan Bateman. He’s the only one opposed.”
Off-camera, just a few feet away, Jordan chuckled at Moore’s arrogance. But Moore should have been confident. After all, his side had all the politicians, the unions, the business groups, the environmental organizations, the student groups and a massive war chest. Moments later, Moore was out the door and Jordan was on the same red couch.
“The mayor just said you’re the only voice, you’re the only one that doesn’t like it,” Darling said.
“Well, this should be a slam dunk for the mayor,” Jordan replied. “Why are they spending five million taxpayer dollars to try and get a YES vote if I’m the only person opposed?”
Five months later, on July 3, Moore and Jordan were back on the Global BC Morning News. The TransLink plebiscite vote results had just been announced: a massive 24-point landslide win for the No TransLink Tax campaign.
“The only guy opposed” had returned, this time with 467,031 other NO voters. Moore and the TransLink mayors blew a 14-point lead, wasted nearly $7 million in taxpayer money, and outspent the NO side 170 to 1, all to lose by an astonishing 24 points. Moore’s own city voted 68% against the tax.
The YES side had everyone … but the people.
This is the story of how the people won.
Everyone… But The People, the story of how everyday taxpayers overcame Vancouver’s elite and defeated the TransLink sales tax, is available exclusively at www.notranslinktaxbook.com .
By Anastasia Anthony Zervos. Anastasia Anthony Zervos is a realtor and freelance writer who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has studied Journalism and Mass Communication as well as Theology. Anastasia is a dual citizen of Canada and her native country, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.