Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bidding for municipal endorsements starts now

In a letter introducing a questionnaire to local candidates in the upcoming federal election (PDF), Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best admits that accomplishing the "health" of at least this one Canadian city is beyond her administration's abilities and requires "collaboration between all three orders of government."

This is a bold demand of federal politicians from an administration that has already presided over municipal budget increases of more than 40 per cent since 2000 and that receives 121 per cent more in grants from other levels of government than the average for Canadian municipalities. After effectively vetoing a sale of London Hydro that could significantly reduce the City's enormous debt financing obligations, it appears that the health for which London's administration is really concerned is the health of its own assets … and that other levels of government should be obliged to tend to any other kind of "health" in order not to jeopardize those assets.

The short version of the City's questionnaire to local candidates reads:

  1. Will your Party give us more money?
  2. Will your Party give us a share in the exercise of federal power without having to take any responsibilities for it?
  3. Will your Party give us more money?
  4. Will your Party pay for leftist schemes for which we'd like to take credit but can't afford ourselves? and
  5. Will your Party give us more money?
Despite the simpering promises that will inevitably be made in response to the questionnaire, the federal government under any Party will always be just as interested in the health of its own assets as well, so it's difficult to foresee how the ordinary health of cities themselves will ever be improved by higher federal taxes.