Vaudreuil-Dorion residents question mayor’s support for license plate tax
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Abhishek Chatterjee (left) and Audrey Brown are upset that Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon voted in favour of imposing a $50 license plate registration tax to help pay for public transportation costs within the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC).
Two Vaudreuil-Dorion residents lamented Mayor Guy Pilon’s stance regarding his decision to support a new $50 car license plate registration tax for Vaudreuil-Soulanges residents. The new surcharge was recently introduced to pay for public transportation costs within the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC).
Resident Audrey Brown raised the issue during the first question period at the Monday evening council meeting telling the mayor she was upset for having to subsidize a service she doesn’t use. Brown used to work in Candiac in the South Shore and now works in Rigaud.
Not easily accessible
“It’s very frustrating especially when it’s a service that isn’t easily accessible to everybody,” said Brown. “If you don’t work in Montreal, it’s not accessible to us. We’re already paying extra taxes on gas, paying extra on our insurance for living in this area and now we’re getting another tax. It should be the users who are paying, not car owners.”
Brown’s husband Abhishek Chatterjee also took exception to the additional taxation he has to pay just for being a car owner.
“When I didn’t own a car, I used to take the bus and never had to pay taxes. The only thing I paid was for the bus or train card. Now that I own a car, I have to pay for my car, plus for the people who use the bus and train. It’s not fair to me,” he told The Journal after the meeting.
Voting against it would have changed nothing
Mayor Pilon, who also represents the South Shore as part of the MMC, said he’s opposed to the increase but decided to vote for it to maintain unanimity with the other South Shore mayors and with Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante. “I could have voted against it but it would have changed nothing. I have to deal with the MMC every week,” said Pilon.
“Politically and strategically it was better for me to have voted yes. We will have some sort of compensation. The money we will get from this tax will have to be collected somehow. If it doesn’t come from taxing the license plates, it would have to come from taxing the properties in the city,” Pilon added.
Disappointed with decision
The mayor’s answer didn’t appease Brown or Chatterjee who said they were disappointed that his decision to support the new tax was made seemingly to appease Mayor Plante and the other South Shore mayors.
“What made me most upset was his comment that he voted for it because he wants to maintain public relations with the other mayors. Fine. I understand that. I work in business. I know how business goes,” said Brown.
“But when you say that, it’s basically like spitting in the face of your citizens who elected you who are clearly against it. It doesn’t make sense. And the fact that Mayor Plante wanted a unanimous vote, well what’s the point in voting then? There are differences of opinion. It’s normal,” added Brown.
Public transit access not mandatory
Chatterjee complained that many parts of Vaudreuil-Dorion and Vaudreuil-Soulanges do not have access to public transportation. “It doesn’t make sense why they would pay for something that is not being used. The mayor’s response by saying he has to vote for it because the mayor of Montreal wanted that goes against what the people of Vaudreuil-Soulanges want,” said Chatterjee.
Brown also found the mayor’s comparison to paying school taxes insulting. “We have no kids. I have no problem paying the school tax. Every child in Quebec has access to a school. They have to go to school. It’s mandatory. It’s the law,” she said. “Not everyone has access to public transport. It’s not mandatory. It like comparing apples with oranges and it’s justifying that the mayor voted with everybody else.”