Monday, February 4, 2008

Light Rail Proponents Call for Falcon Resignation


TEL: 604-889-4484
EMAIL: Malcolm Johnston
MAIL: Light Rail Committee, Box 105, Delta, BC V4K 3N5


DELTA, BC February 4 -- The Light Rail Committee has called for the immediate resignation of BC Transportation Minister, Kevin Falcon. This follows what the LRC says were misleading, politically-motivated statements made last Friday, during Falcon's re-announcement of the Evergreen Line.

"The Minister's claims are not supported by modern, global, transportation knowledge," said LRC Chairman, Malcolm Johnston.

"SkyTrain - Falcon's automated, driverless, light-metro transit system - does not carry more people. It is not faster and worse, it actually costs more to operate than modern light-rail transit, not less," Johnston emphasised.

The LRC points out that, in 1993, GVRD reported an annual subsidy for SkyTrain of $157 million. Since the opening of the Millennium Line, the annual subsidy quietly paid to support the proprietary light-metro has risen to over $200-million a year.

"Yet again, we hear an unelected, unaccountable TransLink Board, pulling reasons out of the air to justify its decision, as it announces plans to force a gold-plated metro-transit system on the region - the fourth since 1980," said Johnston.

The LRC opposes outright the decision to force what it says will be another unaffordable SkyTrain line on regional taxpayers. It is being done with little planning, and no real consideration of internationally-popular and cheaper alternatives."

Since SkyTrain was first marketed in the late 1970s, only five such systems have been built. Two, Vancouver and Toronto, were forced on the operating authority. During the same period, over 100 new LRT systems have been built and more are under construction.

At a time when economy in construction, operation and debt-servicing are prime considerations for transit planners, SkyTrain and SkyTrain light-metros have failed to find a market. The LRC says that, in effect, they have been made obsolete by modern LRT.

The following quote from LRC Chair Malcolm Johnston sums up the situation:

"Building light-metro, on transit routes that do not have the ridership to support the mode, guarantees that the portion of property taxes paid to support TransLink will not double; it will not triple - it will quadruple over the next decade.

"The lack of clarity, and auditable fiscal responsibility in our regional transit planning is telling - worse, it is a financial time bomb for taxpayers."

Using figures gleaned from TransLink's own reports, the LRC said that despite the over $5 billion spent on SkyTrain, the percentage of people in the region who use public transit has stagnated at about 12%.

"To pour more money into the SkyTrain 'pit', at best, demonstrates Minister Falcon's total ineptitude. His claims are not supported by the facts. In short, he is unfit for the office."

Kevin Falcon must resign!

Excellent Comment on Yesterday's Column

Couldn't disagree more. The 2006 Canadian Census indicates that here are 1,172,785 First Nations people (including Metis etc) in Canada out of a total population of 31,241,030. They represent .0375% of the population. Yet the 2005 budget (unfortunately the last one I could find any info on) indicates that $750 Million (over 5 years) in addition to an already allotted $700 Million has been budgeted for improvements to their health system, $345 Million (over 5 years) is for early learning and child care as well as special education and child and family services, plus $340 Million (over 5 years) budgeted for First Nations housing. That's a total of $2,135,000,000 and that is on top of the billions that has been thrown at First Nations communities over the last 100 years or so and continue to be thrown at them.

My question is when are they going to start doing something to help themselves? If it was up to me every First Nations person would have to decide which Canada do they want to live in. Do they want to have housing, clean water, schools, electricity and all the other things that most of us take for granted and pay for? If that's the life they want then they need to move into the 21st Century and put their past where it belongs. If that's not what they want then let them revert to their culture of 100 years ago. No subsidised housing, no electricity, no sewer, no vehicles to drive, no running water, no power boats, no guns, no nothing that was developed by the rest of the human race to improve living standards. They cannot have it both ways. If they want life to be the way it was for their forefathers good luck to them, but I do not want to pay another dollar of my income to support this lot of whiners. Canadian taxpayers have paid untold billions in tax dollars to try and placate these people and nothing ever seems to be good enough.

And what has happened to all those billions of dollars that have been paid to these people over the years? Rather than giving them everything, they need to work for it like the rest of the civilized world, and then, perhaps, they would have some respect for what has been given to them. Drive by most reserves and what do you see? A pig sty from one end to the other. And why is that? Because they know they don't have to do one damned thing or lift one finger and the Federal Government will throw money at them to solve whatever their problem is. We can't continue to throw tax dollars in the hope that they will sort out their own problems because history has proven that will not and does not happen. What we do need to do is to pull them, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. It's unfortunate indeed that they will "go back to their communities and struggle with alcohol and drugs, teen suicides and unemployment". The rest of Canadian society struggles with the same things every day.

Years ago, when I was much younger, I worked with a First Nations fellow. He had been raised with the understanding that education and hard work were the ways to improve their lot in life. He and his wife raised their family with those same beliefs. A good guy, lots of fun with a great sense of humour, a beautiful wife and family, but also a guy who knew what had to be done to break the cycle of alcohol, drugs, teens suicides and unemployment. If he can do it so can the rest of them.

Joe Schiller

Getting it All Wrong - Mildew on Track

How does Mildew continue to get so many things so wrong?

The police come wout with a welcome and ground-breaking report on mental illness and our lack of coommunity response.

The report is so strong that the otherwise indifferent BC government is forced to follow immiediatley with a promise for a new treatment facility.

Instead of thanking the VPD and prasing them, Mildew complains that it took the police so long to wake up to what the enlightened have known for ages. He counts among the enlightened ----you're sitting down? ---- Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Don't Siren me When I'm Sleeping Sam Sullivan.

He complains that the VPD never understood Harm Seduction, a strategy increasingly being exposed for the failure it has always been.

And finally, he complans that the VPD wants more cops, not more social workers.

We have news for Mildew. The Vancouver Police Department is in the cop business.