Where to begin to examine the contradictions contained in the June 17, 2016 Commentary?
The former View Royal mayor describes casino gambling as ”the siphoning of family assets and the feeding of addictions”, and many would agree.
But in the next breath he promotes the continuation of View Royal's monopoly position as the primary beneficiary of this harm, calling casinos a “healthy enterprise” filled with “excitement and enthusiasm”.
He states the majority of people do not see gambling as beneficial to communities, but claims View Royal sidewalks, library and recreation costs could not be funded otherwise. Readers may well question whether View Royal is indeed a viable municipality.
This is the former mayor who adamantly refused to allow View Royal residents to vote on a non-binding question to study the benefits and costs of amalgamation in the last municipal election. In doing so, he slammed the door on the potential to evaluate how local residents might have improved community services without depending on the addictions and misery of others.
But let's put aside opinions on the social costs of gambling for one moment, or whether casinos bestow economic benefits to a community.
This is really just a tug of war between municipalities to host a cash-cow facility, each claiming the revenue pot at the expense of the other. Meanwhile, what has become of the new regional economic development agreement signed by Greater Victoria municipalities barely 6 months ago? It was heralded as a new era of cooperation and collaboration working across municipal boundaries for the good of the region.
Instead, we are reminded that voluntary agreements between municipalities are weak and ineffective attempts to stem the overwhelming tide of public opinion seeking a real study on amalgamation.