An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE B.C. BUDGET released yesterday totally failed in some areas, didn’t go far enough in others. Etc., etc. — that’s always the response from critics of the government.
The general theme of the budget is providing better services and making life more affordable. A lot it’s just blather but there are some encouraging things in it, such as investments in health, education and transportation.
I like the fact the government has followed through in doing away with interest payments on B.C. student loans.
It’s also good news whenever government pledges to spend more money on Internet connectivity, though I wish governments would start paying attention to gaps in cell service as well.
And, speaking of cell service, if governments truly wanted to make life more affordable, they would do something about the ridiculous rates we pay.
Last week’s Throne Speech promised we’ll get the “tools” we need to get the best possible deals on cell service, and that B.C. will “encourage the federal government to deliver more affordable cellphone options for people.”
“Encourage?” It’s common knowledge that we Canadians pay stupidly high cellphone rates. A study commissioned by the federal government two years ago showed we pay more than consumers in the U.S., Australia, U.K., several other European countries and Japan. It’s no wonder Canadian telecom companies are among the most profitable in the world.
Cell service is now regarded as not just a convenience but a necessity for business and for safety. How about when B.C. goes to the next Premiers’ Conference in July, our reps pound on the table with their shoes and demand that the feds make the cell-service market more competitive so those rates come down?
That would be doing something real to make our lives more affordable.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.