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As BC Liberals, we need to broaden our appeal if we are to win the next election.
Recently, I pledged to evaluate policy decisions through the lens of affordability. This means demonstrating how we will make life more affordable and make government work for all British Columbians.
Road pricing, better described as a driving tax, is a good example of a policy that needs an affordability test.
Simply put, how will road pricing affect the overall tax burden?
It is not a new idea. Road pricing has been tried in many places and has been supported by other candidates for BC Liberal leadership.
But, the way that it is currently being discussed—I can’t support road pricing.
There is only one taxpayer. And they face far too many hidden taxes, each supported by a layer of bureaucracy.
Having the lowest income tax rate in Canada is meaningless if families are overwhelmed with tolls, service charges, and user fees.
The starting point for road pricing needs to be an understanding of its real-life impact on taxpayers in terms of the cost of living.
So far, I have seen little interest from road pricing proponents in doing this work.
Until I am confident that road pricing has been considered in terms of affordability, I can’t support it.
Michael Lee is the MLA for Vancouver-Langara. Before entering politics Michael was a prominent business lawyer in Vancouver, where he worked for 20 years with forestry, mining, energy and technology companies across BC. He also has a strong record of community service for over 30 years, including with social service, educational as well as children and youth organizations. A son of immigrants, Michael was born and raised in Vancouver. He and his wife Christina have three young adult children.