Sunday, February 26, 2006

Muriel's Thoughts - February 26, 2006

A very happy event took place in my life this week. I was awarded a plaque and a basket of daffodils from the Langley CUPE Union to honour my 26 years of support for the Union.

It was very kind of the executive to honour me. I come from a Union family and fully support our members. I fear that the trade Union movement will come under increasing assault. The Township now hires people on a contract basis, which means that they contract to do a job for a certain time and when the job is finished they no longer are employed. They get no pension and are paid in lieu of benefits. Also, part time staff is being hired which further decreases the power of the union.

I believe that the workers must stand united to provide proper salaries and benefits to the workers. They do their jobs well and without complaint. I feel that unions are necessary for working people to safeguard their rights. Without their solidarity, you could be exploited.

I read in the paper that Councillor Ferguson made a request that the Township amalgamate with the City, but I believe, perhaps it would be better if the City took over the Township. I admire the City Council for keeping within a budget and eliminating expenses to their taxpayers. Perhaps quiet negotiations could solve any outstanding problems. In order to bring amalgamation around, there would probably have to be a referendum, which is expensive. The matter should have been brought up as an election platform so that the people would have had an opportunity to vote on it.

I weep for the homeless in this cold weather. 60% or more of the money goes to 10% of the people and the other 90% fight for the 40% that is left. This is not right in a democratic society. I managed the Christmas Hamper Bureau for many years and personally got to know many people who desperately needed help.

As the price of land and housing increases, more and more people are going to be forced into poverty. The middle class are being financially squeezed out of existence and as I learned in my University studies, woe betides any society where the middle class is wiped out and the rich and the poor face each other. We are seeing it today with increased lawlessness.

Don’t forget that only 19.2% of the eligible people in the Township even bothered to vote. The mayor suggested that this was because the people were satisfied. This is not a mandate. I believe people feel that nobody cares about what they think.

When people get into public office, they do whatever they please for the developers and the Chamber of Commerce. If I may make a suggestion to the Township Council, be very careful about how you increase taxes because people will find a way not to pay them by deferring taxes. After all, what does it matter when you are dead whether your kin receives an inheritance when you have to be poverty stricken while you are alive?

I feel that slowly but surely, the housing market will change from a sellers market to a buyers market. I believe that the housing market has peaked and will decline. The capitalistic system works that way: ‘Boom and Bust’ – may Heaven help us all.

As for salary increases for the Councillors, they should remember that one council cannot make a decision for another. In three years, the next council may decide not to keep any obligations made by this council. No one forces anyone to run for public office. They know the salary when they run. They get lots of perks and should be satisfied because being a Councillor is not a fulltime job.

The Township pays approximately $344,000 a year to advertise the Township page in the 3 papers. Is it worth it? I don’t think so. I doubt very much if many people read it.

The newspapers get most of their revenue from advertisers. Do you think they will print anything derogatory about business and the Chamber of Commerce? I ask you to think on this. All that you have to believe about anything that you read is how it happened, where it happened and when it happened. You don’t have to believe why it happened. You have a right to think what you want on these matters and you should.

If you have concerns that you would like to talk about with me, my contact information is:

Muriel Arnason

Phone: 604-888-6264
Fax: 604-881-1140

Muriel Arnason was Langley Township's longest serving Councillor and in December 2005 decided to take a break from Council. She cares very much about the people and now shares her thoughts in LFP regularily.

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