An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IF THERE WAS A PLAN to screw up the B.C. Recovery Benefit, it’s working wonderfully well.
Whatever committee was charged with rolling it out must have been creative. A fly on the wall at their meetings might have heard something like this:
“How can we do the worst possible job on this particular election promise?”
“Well, first of all, we’ll tell everyone that applying for their $1,000, or $500, will be simple. Then, we make it ridiculously complicated.”
“Good idea, but let’s not tell them about the complicated part until it’s time to apply.”
“I’m with you on that. When they do apply, let’s make sure we don’t do anything to ensure they can get online quickly. In fact, how about if the system crashes?”
“I like how you think. When they do get through and make their application, that’s when we hit them with just ‘a few more pieces of information,’ right?”
“More information — you nailed it. We tell them they have to send in all kinds of documentation to prove who they are. I roughed out an example; see what you think of this:
“’To confirm you and your spouse or common-law partner are current B.C. residents, a readable copy of at least two of the following documents. The documents must show you and your spouse or common-law partner’s name and B.C. address, and must include December 18, 2020 in the document date range.’
“Then we list bank statements, utility bill, phone bill, credit card statements and house insurance or renewal.”
“That sounds good so far. That should drive them nuts.”
“That’s just the beginning. I’ve got all sorts of other stuff about income tax assessments and that sort of thing.”
“Well, I think we’re on the right track. If we do this right, they’ll all throw up their hands and give up applying at all.”
Yep, never under-estimate the brilliance of our governments.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, 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.