Editorial opinion: Recycling dictatorship being formed in B.C.

Business owner responds to plan to use MMBC as main recycler

A few months back, I received a notification which advised me that I had to declare whether Buckerfields was a producer of printed paper or packaging material. If so, we would have to implement an approved stewardship plan to deal with the material.Otherwise we would have to join another stewardship plan and pay fees to that plan holder. I thought it was a scam. But I looked into it further and determined that there was indeed regulatory provisions in effect which stated this very thing and according to the regulations, Buckerfields is now a producer of printed paper and packaging material, with the best example being our Buckerfields feed bags.

I then discussed the alternatives with a Ministry of Environment official and came to realize that we had no choice but to join the only approved stewardship plan in the province, Multi Material BC (MMBC).  We signed the MMBC contract. But we also read it. And it stated that MMBC had to file audited financial statements on its web site. I recently went to the web site and there are no audited financial statements.

Now, several months later, I have discovered the following:

• MMBC is a corporation under the Societies Act comprised of three directors, two of whom live in Ontario. None of the directors have public sector credentials. All of the directors represent large corporate interests.

• MMBC is not accountable to any government agency, appointed official, elected official or any other government body other than the Registrar of Companies under the Societies Act.

• MMBC is not governed by the province’s Financial Administration Act which sets out the rules for the administration of all public monies.

None of the monies collected by MMBC, including the fees Buckerfields is supposed to pay go to the public accounts of the province or any other government organization.

• MMBC is not subject to oversight by the Auditor General of BC.

Under MMBC’s stewardship plan as approved by the provincial government, MMBC has the authority to charge companies like Buckerfields unlimited fees based on whatever MMBC spends, regardless of what the actual costs are to recycle our feed bags and regardless of the fact that we already pay municipal taxes in all eight of our locations.

• MMBC has the authority to come into any municipality in the province and offer financial incentives to the locally elected government to do what MMBC wants in the area of waste collection and recycling; if the locally elected government refuses, MMBC has the authority to do what it wants anyway.

The municipal governments of the province do not know the background of  MMBC and don’t yet realize the fees that MMBC is charging to Buckerfields and all the other companies amounts to double taxation.

The municipal governments are going to have to give up that tax base they have for waste collection and recycling  because the shift to producers paying directly for waste collection and recycling eliminates the need and justification for consumers, i.e. property tax payers, to pay for these services through the municipalities.

The provincial government did not consult with the municipal governments or the public but companies, like Buckerfields, are pointing it out because until it is resolved, we are being taxed twice for the same service and residential taxpayers (including me) are being taxed for something that someone else is actually paying for.

Taxpayers and municipal governments were not consulted as to whether they really want to shift the financing and control of municipal waste and recycling services out of the municipal jurisdiction, that is, the jurisdiction of democratically elected municipal officials into the hands of a corporation under the Societies Act that is accountable to no one and is outside the jurisdiction of the provincial Auditor General

Taxpayers and voters are unaware that the fees being charged by MMBC are so onerous that they will cause newspaper closures and job losses of 300-500 in the newspaper industry in British Columbia, even though recycled newsprint is actually very valuable.

In finding all this out, I lament the fact that none of this was introduced into the legislature for proper debate because it means that instead of spending my days managing the sale of chicks and garden supplies at Buckerfields, I have to spend my time trying to revive  democratic processes in British Columbia,  retroactively. I find it appalling.

My position, as of the time of this writing, is this, we ain’t paying a dime to MMBC and neither should anyone else, not until:

The provincial government reconciles what it is doing with the municipal governments and municipal taxpayers so that taxpayers don’t have to pay twice.

The provincial government takes back the legislation which calls us producers and blames us for the choices made by manufacturers and indeed consumers that are completely outside of our control.

Any monies charged under the auspices of the Recyling Regulation are included in the Public Accounts of the province and subject to the provisions of the Financial Administration Act and the Auditor General Act.

Whatever is going to be done is introduced into the Legislative Assembly in the form of a Bill so that the proper public debate can occur.

Insofar as MMBC has not filed its audited financial statements since inception, and the period of time not reported spans more than two years, and insofar as MMBC is actually a taxing and funding agency, there be an independent public enquiry into the financial operations, sources and uses of funds, contractual procedures and expenditures of MMBC.

No, Buckerfields is not paying a dime until this cash and power grab is unraveled and revealed for what it is.

One final word, 96 per cent of all printed paper and packaging material is already being picked up or deposited into municipally financed facilities.  Despite what MMBC is saying, at least 53 per cent of that is already being recycled and it is very likely that that number was seriously understated to give the government a reason for its MMBC cash and power grab.

In reality, there is no basis for setting up a recycling dictatorship and charging punitive fees to companies like Buckerfields at all. Recycling is a booming business with rapidly increasing prices of marketable commodities. Could that be why the board of MMBC is all big business and outside the jurisdiction of the Auditor General?

We don’t have to change a thing to see recycling take off in B.C., in the hands of our elected municipal officials. We need to send the MMBC regime to the recycle bin.

Kelvin McCulloch

CEO, Buckerfields

 

Just Posted

Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident at Camp Barnard

UPDATE: Firefighters bring Sooke wildfire under control

Firefighters have a wildfire that burned an area about 100x150 feet at… Continue reading

Mix of sun and cloud in Thursday’s forecast

Plus a look ahead at the weekend forecast

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Saanich filmmaker wins award at Indigenous awards in Calgary

Barbara Todd Hager took home the 2019 Inspire Arts Award

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Comox Samaritan tucks bear into blanket, gets a big surprise

Conservation officer says person lucky after animal hit by car in record year for bear encounters

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Sooke’s new library construction a sad tale

Reader says if the public library project was in the private sector, heads would roll

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read