The York Region Media Group recently published a “Point/Counterpoint” column asking should York Region make the same cuts to policing as the City of Toronto.
We want to clarify the position of the York Region Taxpayers Coalition.
In April, the Coalition leadership met with representatives of the York Regional Police Association (YRPA) which was beginning a work to rule campaign against the municipality’s police services board. We listened and we learned plenty. We agreed at that time that the York Region Taxpayers Coalition would not speak out advocating for either side in this labour dispute. Our Coalition remained neutral at every step along the way until both sides eventually settled their dispute.
Some members of the YRPA may have perceived that the column written by Christine Van Geyn of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is a reversal of our position. The York Region Taxpayers Coalition wants to assure these YRPA members that we have no affiliation with Ms Van Geyn. We are not using the Canadian Taxpayers Federation as surrogates to “attack” the front line police officers of York Region.
To the contrary, the position of the York Region Taxpayers Coalition can only be described as polar opposite to Ms. Van Geyn’s.
Now that the labour dispute between the YRPA and the municipality has ended, the York Region Taxpayers Coalition feels it is important to let the public know that our organization values and supports investments into police services.
It’s a fact that York Region invests heavily in crime prevention. The benefit of this investment is that we live in a municipality that not only has one of the lowest crime rates in all of Canada, we live in one of the safest municipalities in the world.
What makes the low crime rate even more incredible is that we have achieved this community safety while being located within one of the largest urban centres in North America: the GTA. The GTA has over six million people living within its borders, yet due to investments in crime prevention, we see real economic benefits of not suffering the crime waves that even much smaller urban centres in North America deal with.
Much of what we have accomplished in York Region to achieve this level of community safety is a direct result of the proactive hard work and dedication of our front line police officers.
We will continue to challenge the politicians, like Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who attempt to place the current economic woes of our Regional Council at the feet of front line police officers. The predicament that we find ourselves in as a Region has much more to do with decisions that the multi-termed Markham Mayor has championed while on York Council. He should leave the police officers alone and own up to his own issues.
We will also continue to challenge politicians, like Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen, who believe that front-line police officers can be replaced by photo radar or intersection cameras. The economic benefit that a police officer provides in being a visible advocate for community safety far outweighs the “gotcha” revenue that a photo ticket can provide a municipality.
To our own members who may be concerned that the York Region Media Group has published the Canadian Taxpayers Federation instead of a column from the York Region Taxpayers Coalition, we believe the newspaper’s decision probably rests with this article that we published in November 2015: http://www.yorktaxpayer.ca/issues/advisory-to-our-members-on-metroland-media/
As an organization, we challenged York Region Media Group not to show bias in favour of York Region Council. Publishing the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, which parrots Markham Mayor Scarpitti’s viewpoint, shows that the newspaper’s bias is as strong as ever.
It’s our understanding that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has zero members who reside in York Region. None of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation leadership live in York Region either. The fact that the York Region Media Group would ask this organization to advocate for the position of York Region Council against the front line police officers, despite the fact that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has no presence here, is a serious blow to the newspaper’s credibility.
York Region Taxpayers Coalition members are exclusively from York Region and our leadership lives and works here too. We understand the value of the York Region Police and we enthusiastically support their continued success towards making our municipality one of the world’s safest places to live.