Friday, August 1, 2008

Today's Province Column

Friday » August 1 » 2008

Want to be mayor? Take my advice and stick to these three key issues

David Berner The Province

Friday, August 01, 2008

Here's my advice to Peter Ladner and Gregor Robertson. You want to be mayor of Vancouver? Pick three big issues and stick to them.


Jump on the treatment bandwagon now. Ordinary citizens are crying out for treatment facilities for their sons and daughters. Most are bone tired of the free needles, free shooting galleries and free drugs that have resulted in no improvement whatsoever in the urban human landscape.

The Harper government is poised to support real treatment options. And if you want to be mayor, vow to work with the man who holds the purse.

Presenting yourself as a warrior who is not afraid to stand up to senior governments will not be a winning strategy when it comes to addictions. People are looking for action, and action comes at a price. The price is working with senior governments.

And don't be politically correct. There is no need to be hostile in your campaigns about harm-reduction policies. But there is no profit in singing their praises either.

Stay on message -- treatment, more treatment.


My sweetheart waits 10 to 25 minutes every day for buses in the Vancouver area. This is unacceptable.

On a recent visit to Edinburgh, I never waited longer than two minutes night or day for a bus.

In Dublin, the beautiful new LRT shows the next trains arriving at two, six and eight minutes on an electronic display. In one year of operation, the system has paid for itself.

Do not support one more cut-and-cover SkyTrain fiasco. Do not support anything but an LRT to the University of B.C. Do not support anything that will cost mom-and-pop businesses their life's work -- as the Canada Line has so cruelly and efficiently done.

The new mayor of Vancouver must be highly vocal on both the Metro Vancouver board and the mayors' council on transportation.

He should call for safety and security for riders and drivers on all public-transportation systems and create policies that support those goals.


We have reached our limit. Homeowners and businesses can pay no more.

Enhance the real services. But, wherever possible, remove the redundancies that bloat the city budget.

We need police and libraries, especially libraries that are open. And we need streets and roads in good repair.

But how many departments with how many employees do we need in social planning, cultural services and public health?

I'm not suggesting these areas are of no concern. But I urge every reader and every mayoral candidate to spend an hour on the Vancouver city hall website. Ask yourself if this or that particular expenditure is essential to our well-being or even vaguely helpful.

Want to be mayor? Take my advice.

[That is NOT my is s B&B in Sooke.]

Wrap it Up

The Monumental Premier has done it again.

Not satisfied with convention centres, Olympics, bridges and other concrete memorials to Self, Gordon Campbell is now saving us from Autism.

Run for the hills, kids.

Rather than spending money on real help in the form of services and programs and people, Campbell has gotten himself in a lather about spending $20 Million on a building.

Concrete Gord.

He just doesn't get it, does he, poor sap?

His friends own a big hotel and they have an autistic son. They'd like to do something and they have the wherewithal to do it. Fair enough. Admirable.

But somebody get ahold of these good folks and explain to them what is needed and what works and what doesn't.

The academics are already slavering at the bit about the possibility of funding a "new chair" in autism studies. Whoopee. And attracting a "world-class" (BARF!) candidate to fill the famous Seat on the Hill.

But we have countless Chairs of addictions and crime and all other manner of social ills at great public costs all writing research papers and conferencing and interfacing and convening their little tushes off while the suffering down here on earth continue to suffer.

There are those who think in the box.

And then there is the Premier of British Columbia, who sees only BIG BIG boxes made of cement.

Policing Themselves - Cute

Bravo to the BC Civil Liberties Association and Pivot Legal Society for their public condemnation of the solipsistic and unproductive process involving police complaints.

The police may not be happy with citizens examining their behaviour, but that is exactly what must happen in a democracy.

As long as the police continue to investigate and study themselves, we are living in a shadow police state.

All that need happen to remedy this current injustice is an act of the Provincial Legislature.

Where is Premier Campbell on this one? We know where Wally Opaque is - nowhere.

The Future of Decapitation

They've arrested Mr. Greyhound Headchopper and he will be incarcerated one way or another - whether prison or a psychiatric facility.

The day that we all await 5 years from now is the day he is released with the footnote from the academics on the National Parole Board or the local Psychiatric Review Board:

"His management team feels strongly that he presents no undue risk to himself or the community as long as he continues to take his medicine."

Wes Montgomery