Yesterday, Mayor Ford announced that he would be upending the *controversial* 5 cent plastic bag tax that currently *plagues* Toronto, an initiative started by the previous administration nearly two years ago.
I’m not a Rob Ford supporter – I don’t like the way he ran his campaign, I don’t think he has the charisma to effect positive change without creating a lot of animosity, I don’t feel he has a good grasp of what the cities future needs, and his behavior can be downright deplorable.
I do agree and encourage the theme of his mayoral campaign and reign – Stop the Gravytrain. I’m all for culling waste within the system, holding government employees accountable for their actions, restructuring services to reduce costs while improving them, getting rid of unnecessary taxes and privatizing certain services. But I don’t like his methods, and I disagree violently with this proposed action.
Even he said he can see the merits of the program. I think all Torontonians can, if they open there eyes a little. There has been a drastic reduction in wayward plastic bags since this took effect.
I don’t know whom he consulted about this, or where the anti-bag tax movement came from. It’s a relatively easy tax to avoid (Use reusable bags), nor is it that high. On the rare occasion I do forget to bring my reusable bags, I don’t mind paying the fee. It’s a terrific deterrent, which is what the program was designed to do – reduce waste by deterring people from consuming it.
His arguments against it don’t really hold water, either. If his problem is that he doesn’t know where that money is going, changing the tax to a collectable fund for Toronto to redistribute to environmental programs seems like a pretty viable answer to that program – or simply mandating that it go to a specific, Toronto approved green-initiative aimed at cleaning up litter or reducing waste would work as well. It also doesn’t require ‘inspectors’ or ‘regulators as crony Doug Holyday suggested as a sound bite last night on the news. There are already systems in place to ensure that the money can be collected and used approrpiately. Even if it is being done by the retailers, donated or pocketed – the aim of the system is working. It deters use of waste.
That means a savings in garbage collection, garbage transport and landfill costs. The answer here isn’t to get rid of the tax, it’s to extend it to other items that are filling our landfills.