As we stand and look forward to what 2012 will bring, the word uncertainty comes to mind.
With the national and local economies in a holding pattern at best, the ability to take charge of one’s future seems no closer to the average resident than any time in the past couple of years.
A Bank of Canada promise to keep interest rates low through mid-2013 should help keep the local real estate market plodding along. But niggling things such as the upcoming carbon tax increase and the news that the average Canadian will pay about $300 more for Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums this year continue to eat away at our purchasing power.
While many of us may be personally creeping into the new year with a wait-and-see attitude, there are still some key issues that can be tackled head-on and help the region move forward.
For instance, direct control over transit-designated tax revenue must be placed in the hands of a regional board. And discussions on light-rail rapid transit must move past the consultation stage.
For efficiency purposes, the integration of police services needs to continue to the point where RCMP and municipal police forces are linked in day-to-day operations.
And let’s see the teachers’ strike come to a resolution. With no end in sight, it’s time for the province to appoint an impartial mediator with some chutzpah to sit the two sides down and hammer out an agreement.
With an agreement in place, teachers would be free to once again be full participants in the education system and have their maximum talents be of benefit to students.
Underpinning all of these decisions, however, is the state of the economy. With no certainty on the financial markets in which the province invests, it will argue it can’t fund anything extra until things improve.
For 2012 at least, we hope someone points out that to stand pat on such projects and agreements is to move backward.