Saturday, September 17, 2005

From the ministry of appeals…

The London Free Press reports that the Ontario government is appealing an arbitration panel ruling that allows the private consortium owners of Highway 407 to use the year 2002 as its base year for abiding by rules for raising tolls. If this doesn't make any sense to you, read on and we'll see if we can get anywhere after the quote:

The base year is the threshold for traffic levels, which means the consortium can continue to increase tolls as long as traffic doesn't fall below the levels reached in that year. All rules for raising tolls are set on the base year, the government said.

The government, which promised to roll back tolls on the privately owned highway in the 2003 election, has argued the highway and its on- and off-ramps weren't completed in the base year.
Having lost three times already in bids to keep their promise, the Ontario government is persevering to maintain the appearance of keeping a promise to obstruct private enterprise with mundane technical details that cannot now even achieve the promised results. This perseverance occurs at the same time that significant promises that were within the government's powers to fulfill — for example, balanced budgets, no tax increases — have been abandoned. Those promises, however, do not appear to fit the government's description of public interest — does this one?
"Given that one of three arbitrators supported the government's position, we believe we have a case that is in the public's best interest," Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar said in a release yesterday.
This is not a matter of public interest at all, only of those people who choose to travel the 407 — and not one of them is obliged to do so. In the meantime, Ontario taxpayers are obliged to fund the legal and public relations bills of the Liberal government's grandstanding. If the it has not already been made clear, an unlikely Liberal legal victory in future appeals will certainly broadcast the message that companies doing business in Ontario are subject to arbitrary and politically-motivated obstruction.


Pietr said...

Een my contry, we don' have a legal system that could challenge beeg goverment.
We envy Ontario.

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