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For a government that prides itself on holding the line on taxes and cutting red tape, the B.C. Liberals have sure blundered on their new off-road vehicle (ORV) tax and licensing scheme. Late last year, the government began forcing people -- mainly rural British Columbians -- to register their off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, ATVs and dirt bikes.
"There is no such thing as free regulation," John Hutton once said, and the British author was right. Every rule set out by government comes with a price -- both to individual freedom and to taxpayers' wallets. Sometimes, the regulation is worth the loss of freedom or the cost. Few begrudge spending tax dollars or the loss of freedom to have the Auditor General review the province's books. But when government attempts to solve a problem that appears to be overblown, regulation becomes expensive and unnecessary.