‘No free lunches’

Dear Editor:

There have been a number of complaints recently about provincial meddling or “interference” with municipal government.

Complainants need to acquaint themselves with the Canadian Constitution and related provincial-municipal legislation. Municipal governments are solely creatures of the province. They exist at the discretion of the province. If the province feels that municipalities are being wasteful and are not controlling costs reasonably it has every right to (unilaterally) make whatever corrections it deems are necessary.

While we never want to operate our municipalities and hospitals “like a business,” we have to ensure that they operate as efficiently as a well-run business (while still providing the requisite social services with which they are entrusted).  Some municipalities have become seriously disconnected from taxpayers.

However, municipalities that aren’t working efficiently and competitively to maintain roads and infrastructure need to keep in mind that they do, nonetheless, have shareholders to whom they must account. Those shareholders aren’t taxpayers; they’re called MPPs.

An alert provincial parliament will hold under-performing municipalities to as high a (performance) standard as a profit-motivated private sector board of directors would an under-performing company. There can be no free lunches in either cafeteria.   

Terence Rothwell,
Wellington North