The current health pandemic has shone a light on the cracks in many of our public systems, and BC Parks is no exception. They have been chronically underfunded since the early 2000s, with minimal resources to manage nearly 15 per cent of the land in our province.
This lack of funding has caused many issues. Parks rangers are few and far between, leaving areas with no one to monitor for illegal activity such as wildlife poaching and dumping. There are decades’-worth of maintenance and planning to do,.
As B.C. reopens our communities and greenlights local travel, camping and hiking in provincial parks provide one of the most affordable and spectacular ways to explore the province. To keep these places open safely, we must invest in B.C.’s parks.
Investing in parks means investing in community well-being.
[Since] July 6, the federal government [has been] sending out $300, tax-free, to 6.7 million seniors who receive Old Age Security (OAS), to help cover the added financial burden caused by COVID-19.
There are a great many seniors in the country who are financially impacted by several of the constraints placed on them by the pandemic and the measures put in place to cope with it. They will find the $300 to be a real benefit, and for them this grant is entirely appropriate.
However, the financial impact of the pandemic has resulted in many of us spending less money than we would otherwise. We are not travelling, we are not eating out, we are not shopping, and we haven’t had a haircut in four months. So we don’t find ourselves in need of this $300.
The last thing we would like is to be financially rewarded for COVID-19. We should not be taking advantage of taxpayers’ money, especially when so many of our fellow citizens are in greater need of this assistance. What to do?
The first response is to donate the $300 to a charitable group, and in return get a tax credit. But really! That doesn’t seem right for us to still benefit from COVID-19. So then we did the math. If we donate more than the $300, so that the tax credit evens out, we can have a clear conscience.
Here in B.C., any taxpayer who has already made at least a $200 charitable donation can give $532 and receive a tax credit for $232.48. With the $300 from the government, this taxpayer evens out. For a couple, that can be $1,064.
We are calling on all Canada’s elders who find themselves to not be in need of this $300 to accept the Great Canadian Seniors Break-Even Challenge and head to www.seniorsgivingback.org and make your donation. Then tell us how good you feel by emailing email@example.com. Giving should always make you feel good.
Kevin Higgins, Cranbrook, BC
Dave Ferguson, St. John, NB
Don Ferguson, Toronto, ON
John Hamblin, Halifax, NS
Patrick Martin, Westmount, QC