Saturday April 19, 2014

question of the week

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.

Manufactured outrage



The level of rhetoric over the cancellation of a once-a-week early Sunday morning ferry run in the winter season seems a bit much.

The load for that trip averages about 14 per cent of capacity, which means they’re burning 2,400 litres of fuel, round trip, to operate a near-empty ferry. The run is indulgent, wasteful and enormously carbon intensive; it adds huge volumes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere for little return.

It’s also financially extravagant. An analysis of the costs associated with Route 3 shows that we are already subsidized by $5 million a year. That’s much more than a similarly situated community accessible by road.

Is it reasonable to demand this level of subsidy and, at the same time, make absolutely no compromise on the schedule, even for one near-empty ferry run per week? Perhaps there are better ways to spend tax dollars. When you consider the environmental implications and the level of inefficiency, it does not seem unreasonable to ask people to adjust their schedules by an hour.

Speaking of indulgences, do we really need to provide free ferry rides for seniors? Today’s senior citizens have the lowest poverty rate of any demographic in the country, according to Statistics Canada. Additionally, the Organisation for Econ-omic Co-operation and Devel-opment tells us that those same seniors are better off than their contemporaries anywhere else in the developed world — that’s a good thing. But is it reasonable, then, to ask hard-pressed young families to subsidize discretionary travel for the relatively well-off elderly? Riding for half price seems generous enough.

The “massive protests” scheduled for later this month, led by the usual suspects, will undoubtedly be lots of fun. Even the “professionally enraged” need a hobby. More seriously, this issue smacks of manufactured outrage and partisan politics rather than a genuine concern for the community.

Keith Maxwell, Sechelt



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