Provincial obligations

Editor: Recently, I received a letter from the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako purposing to increase the airport tax.

Editor:

Recently, I received a letter from the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako purposing to increase the airport tax.  This would cost property owners an estimated $41 per $100,000 of improvements each year.

Considering the average person does not own an aircraft, I find it interesting that property owners are being burdened with this tax in the first place.  While I believe that the airport is an important asset to our community, as it facilitates medical patient transport to a higher level of care.   As outlined in the Canadian Health Act, before the Province can receive its medical transfer payment each year from the Federal government, it must meet five criteria; resident accessibility to health care being one such requirement.  As such, should the Province not be financially responsible for maintaining this facility?

As we live in a rural setting, many medical and diagnostic therapies available to most urban residents are simply not present in our community, surrounding communities, nor the referral centres near us.  Therefore, the utilization of medical air transport is really the only way residents in northern rural areas can have equal and fair access to healthcare, especially in emergencies.   I would be willing to pay an additional $20-40 a year to ensure our airport stays open.  However, given that this is a medical accessibility issue, the Provincial government needs to meet their obligations as outlined under the Canadian Health Act.  I feel that our income taxes and MSP premiums should be enough to cover the airport maintenance costs.

Should the RDBN consider other venues aside from increasing taxation for a change?  I will vote no to the purposed tax increase until I am certain the RDBN has made a diligent effort in compelling the province to its fulfil its healthcare obligations.  I suggest other voters do the same.

Sincerely, Kris Shively

Burns Lake, B.C.