Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Abusive Relationship

I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship with our provincial government. They tell me that they care about the environment, want to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel, and build complete communities. When I hear these things, it makes me all warm and fuzzy instead. Just this week in the Sun, Graham Whitmarsh (the head of all things green in the government) talked about how the government is going to slash green house gas emission and pretty much give us world peace. Who couldn’t love a government like that? My faith gets restored in government.

But then there’s the other side of the government; the side that will build the Gateway Program hell or high water, no matter what the local community says. Build an LRT in the Fraser Valley? Heck no! You can have 13 buses in 2013. Tunnel the South Fraser Perimeter road so two historical communities won’t be plowed down? Heck no! Grandma’s house is coming down. What about the Burn's Bog? Do we really need it?

Of course there are other issues. Like why does Richmond get metro rail (well, it’s for the Olympics), and the over-burdened Broadway corridor gets nothing? Did you know that there was suppose to be rail to UBC before I graduated from high school? I have since graduated from college, and have been working for 4 year. Then there is the little promise of the still not built Evergreen line in the northeast tri-cities area.

Then there is the whole matter of Private Public Partnerships, which is how the Canada (RAV) Line and the new Port Mann are to be built. The government in Ontario has a P3 highway, and they are having issues with things such as tolls rates, road maintenance, and customer service. Not that I’m against partnerships, but you really have to make sure that the public interest is actually being serviced.

And then there is poor, under-funded Translink, in the process of being turned from a sort-of locally accountable organization to a completely provincially controlled arms of the Ministry of Highways, oops, Transportation.

When I get down to it, the abuser in this relationship isn’t really the provincial government, it’s the Ministry of Transportation ruler Kevin Falcon. The guy who goes on holiday to Europe and decides we need $100 million dollar turnstiles to fight a $3 million dollar a year problem. And guess what? We are getting turnstiles now. The guys who wanted the Canada Line so bad he threatened to twin the Port Mann if he didn’t get his way, then went ahead and did both. Of course if he had his way, I’m sure he’d get rid of Metro Vancouver (GVRD), just like he is getting rid of Translink. Who needs public oversight? It just gets in the ways of getting (his) things done.

So while the rest of the government is giving me 100% recycled, non-bleach tissues to wipe away my tears; I’m still getting beat by Mr. Falcon.

Why not listen to the locals. We want smart, sustainable, and affordable solutions. We have great ideas. Why not listen? We can get goods moving, business running, and people going too.

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