This weeks column for 24hrs Vancouver: ‘The ‘Yes’ vote not worth saving

Perhaps I’ve been a bit persuasive but this week it appears that Brent’s support for the Yes side is waning…. this is my response to his argument that only Jordan Bateman can save the Yes vote at all.

This week’s topic: Can the ‘Yes’ vote be saved in the transit plebiscite?

Well, knock me down and call me Christy Clark because when I read my Duel partner’s column this week it confirmed to me that the growing feeling of contempt over this transit funding vote is ready to boil over.

When long-time champions of this government find it hard to continue to support what Brent refers to as an expensive opinion poll, it should sound alarm bells for everyone in Metro Vancouver. However, the argument that Jordan Bateman – poster boy for the No campaign – can save the Yes vote is clearly a half-hearted, last-ditch attempt to deflect culpability from the premier to the only convenient target.

Suggesting that Bateman and his campaign should redefine what voting yes would mean to include governance and oversight of TransLink is shortsighted at best in addressing how egregious this entire “congestion tax” vote really is.

It was April 2013 when the BC Liberals promised voters that any new funding for TransLink would be put to a regional referendum. It was a promise that has been criticized by former transportation ministers and transit advocates alike and rightfully so. Leadership is as much about making hard decisions when it comes to government policy as it is about listening to voters and even seasoned politicians will tell you it’s a fine line to walk.

Read Brent Stafford’s columnhere.

However, from the beginning the premier’s promise has been less about good governance than it has been about setting up the mayors of the region as targets she can point her finger to and say: ”Don’t look at me, this was their idea!”…


READ the rest of this weeks Duel, comment and vote at:

25 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24hrs Vancouver: ‘The ‘Yes’ vote not worth saving

  1. Don’t forget the phenomena of growing resistance to everything postulated by Naomi Klein (book: This Changes Everything). She calls it Blockadia. The most livable city in the world has become ‘world class’ and that means unlivable and unaffordable. And congested. World class is what we wished for (why?) and world class is what we got. The phrase sounded good back in the last millennium but that was just PR, business-speak. Translation: “Let’s sell out!” In real life, world class means traffic congestion, expense, pollution and ghettos. Translink may just be the early scapegoat for the wrath of the people conned and swindled by the LIBERALs for the last 14 years. I hope so.


    1. I don’t think it’s coincidence that the Edmonton Oilers aren’t enjoying the same success they did when Gretzky was leading the way.


  2. Scapegoating is perfected by BC Liberals: teachers (and public sector unions in general) are the scapegoat for this government’s failed social program (child-poverty, the worst in Canada for over a decade running, is the poster-child for the actual expansive list in this category); the NDP, out of power for over a dozen years, is still scapegoat for BC Liberal economic charlatanism; world market conditions are scapegoated for snuffing Christy’s LNG pipe-dream, which was never anything more than that in the first place; and now Lower Mainland mayors are scapegoats for transit tempests (the poster-boys-and-girls for another expansive roll that includes all steadily billowing transport boondoggles under the self-proclaimed geniuses of management, a roll that includes bridges, ferries, highways, railways and ski-lifts at Jumbo Peaks, the city of population zero—it does have a mayor, though.)

    …Oh yeah, and those dastardly, ten thousand year-old glaciers guilty of laying down the till that made the Mount Polley tailings pond fail.

    Observers from away are astonished at the pervasiveness of the withering BC Liberal touch: virtually every single public enterprise or government responsibility has been seriously diminished over the past dozen years, which of course was Gordon Campbell’s intent from the start; this micro-managing ideologue undeniably displayed a genius for achieving his neo-right agenda, and was nothing short of a saint in the eyes of ethically blinkered invitees to the lucrative BC Liberals-only trade show. Ironically, those very same acolytes did spot his eventual fall from grace on ethical ground so precipitously steep only a goat could affect his subsequent escape to, and exile in, the land of billies and nannies.

    Christy is Gordo’s intellectual flip-side: heavy on parades and baton-twirling, but light on micro-managing and economics. Her undeniable successes have to be credited to substituting political theory with unabashed boosterism, and pie charts and graphs with preposterous whoppers. Yet while those may compensate for her lack of competent depth, she has introduced a strategy for which she can claim total credit: absurdism—the kind that gushes over LNG tankers while that market is tanking, that beckons the mining industry to dive in while she and her minister ride the tailings wave from the Mount Polley disaster, that quibbles over education funding while squandering tens of millions on futile court contests with teachers, and so on.

    This absurd strategy has to mean every other plausible excuse for BC Liberal charlatanism has become impotently inadequate as disguise. Yet it succeeds, so far, because, as it just so happens, it’s fairly characteristic of Christy and is therefore probably as genuine in fact as it is in appearance. That’s a valuable counter against justifiable charges of disingenuousness made by real, non-absurd politicians in BC today.

    One of absurdism’s strengths is its immunity to lists—or, put another way, listing the BC Liberals’ perfidy strengthens, in a perverse way, the absurdity of their lame excuses and rationales for continuous and unremitting breaches of public trust. Tomorrow will be another example: the finance minister will table a budget and brag that it’s balanced while everybody (except those ethically blinkered by their heroine) knows crippling debt is being stashed in Crown Corps, and the Auditor General will again—in fact, for as long as the BC Liberals have been in power—condemn as unacceptable the creative, self-serving accounting techniques and old BC Liberal family recipes used in the cooking.

    Christy and de Jong will smirk at the galling absurdity of it all.


  3. After 12 years of having a government elected using the funding and power of BIG BUSINESSES chanting the mantra ” whats good for business is good for you” the tax imbalance has reached the point where the increase in sales tax could be the straw that. … Taking Crown Corporations away from ministry’s control has resulted in over paid CEO’s, top heavy management, uncontrolled costs and politicians with no responsibility for the portfolio they hold. We now have elected Civic leaders backed by the same corporate sponsors so why would they look for any other method of financing the “Mall Train” ? Real transit would service the workers who pay the bills with their taxes, not the UBC, SFU students who ride at a minimum rate , or perhaps the Malls who are serviced by the train could pay for the building and up keep of stations attached to them. Oh sorry forgot to chant What’s good for business is good for me. free is good for business but not for me.


  4. As some have pieced together, the high cost of Vancouver real estate has and is driving the working population to the burbs so presto, we have the consequences of a growing number of commuters who now need bridges and highways.
    Not commendable city planning.


  5. I’m afraid Sydney has surpassed Vancouver’s dubious distinction of being the second most expensive housing market in the world. Median house prices here are in the million dollar range according to the media ( which doesn’t appear to have been corrupted to the extent ours has).
    Their transit seems to be under control, for the immediate future, and the weather is a darn site better!


  6. I haven’t heard any complaints. Transit ridership is forecast to exceed capacity within five years but it’s okay right now, Given five years and full ridership I’d hazard a guess they’ll be in better shape than Vancouver, in five years. Unless they elect a Chrispy Clark!..


  7. A new transit sales tax ….just like the transit gas pump tax.
    Unwanted, unpopular, unnecessary.
    Translink , a fiscally unaccountable beaurocracy that appoints obscenely overpaid staff with alarming regularity. One incompetant CEO earning $39,000.00 PER WEEK is pushed aside ( no he hasnt been severanced for the next 1.5 years ….he’s now a “consultant” because no politician in BC has the guts to fire him and pay him a previously negotiated severance package in the event of his dismissal……political suicide) after he has proven his complete lack of ability to get problems like
    a) the electronic passcard system to actually work after $200,000,000.00 and 3(?) years overdue.
    b) Skytrain breakdowns during the summer that left thousands of transit passengers stranded for hours,
    c) A budget so out of reality they need ANOTHER tax to help pay for $7 BILLION dollars in “upgrades and improvements”

    Gee and I thought getting problems like a,b,and c completed was the job he was paid almost $500k per year for……..silly me.

    I assume the “upgrades and improvements” will involve the “new” ( or should I say second CEO) earning $39,000.00 PER WEEK will require him to ride the transit system with a Global news report breathlessly hanging off his every utterance as happen on Wed evenings news.
    Propaganda by any other name. ” Ok people we need “buy in” for this new tax! We gotta show the new CEO is a “common man” willing to get down and mingle with the great unwashed. Lets get him to ride the skytrain and have cameras follow along”
    And Global follows along like the lapdog it is.

    Vote NO for this cash grab.

    This tax is inevitable in one way or another

    Make the politicians tax us…….its THEIR job. not yours


    1. Classic ! Rats jumping ship……….. It brings finger pointing and deflection of blame to a whole new level…….

      Spineless jellyfish have more integrity than the buffoons that dreamt up this latest referend-dumb fiasco.

      Vote NO people. Let the politicians raise the tax. Thats why they wanted the job.


  8. And from Bob’s blog
    Tourism Richmond and the Richmond Chamber of Commerce are both Yes supporters, but their allies at the business-and-transit friendly Richmond city council under Mayor Malcolm Brodie voted unanimously against PMV’s 20-year land use plan. PMV wants 930 hectares around the region for expansion. Said Coun. Carol Day: “They’re the biggest threat to farmland, not just in Richmond, but everywhere else.”

    The strange bedfellows angle only gets stranger.

    While Prime Minster Stephen Harper claims to be sticking to the sidelines during the plebiscite, one of the most important arms of the federal government on the West Coast and a prominent Tory campaign veteran are wading into the fray.

    PMV is seconding its in-house lobbyist Marko Dekovic to work on the Yes campaign. Dekovic is a seasoned backroom get-out-the-vote strategist for the federal Conservatives, BC Liberals and Vancouver Non-Partisan Association. He was once an aide to Federal Trade Minister David Emerson and worked on the unsuccessful BC Liberal leadership campaign for ex-B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon.


  9. Third Sinkhole on the Evergreen Line and not a peep out of the Government run Website. Is it because it involves their last Press release (not dated): The Province and EGRT Construction, a consortium led by SNC-Lavalin, have signed a design, build and finance agreement for the Evergreen Line.

    EGRT Construction includes SNC-Lavalin Inc., Graham Building Services, International Bridge Technologies Inc., Jacobs Associates Canada Corporation, Rizzani de Eccher Inc., S.E.L.I. Canada Inc., SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Pacific) Inc., SNC-Lavalin Constructors (Western) Inc., and MMM Group Ltd.

    Here’s EGRT Link showing where the line is, not where it’s supposed to be. with an interactive map showing TWO STOP signs with no tunnel in between them. Odd that the latest sinkhole is not noted on the interactive map……


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