Friday, November 28, 2008

Open Letter to Senor Monumento

Jillian Skeet

An Open Letter to Premier Campbell

November 28th, 2008

Premier Gordon Campbell

Box 9041, Station Prov. Govt.
Victoria, BC V8W 9E1

Dear Premier Campbell,

I wrote you a letter last February with heart-wrenching details about the destruction of small family-owned businesses along Cambie Street and the terrible human costs as a result of the disastrous way in which the Canada Line project has been undertaken.

My letter was duly forwarded by you to the Minister of Transportation for response. Over half a year later, I received a response from Minister Falcon simply reiterating the same old arguments the government has been using since the outset of this project.

Your government continues to insist that you are simply a funder of the Canada Line and are not responsible for the project. However, it was you who forced municipal authorities to vote three times on this project until it was finally approved. This was not only undemocratic, but it clearly puts your government in the driver’s seat on the project.

The Canada Line is the biggest P3 project ever undertaken in Canada. It is not simply another public works project. It is unprecedented in its scope, duration and impacts. It is a new construction model that exhibits serious problems in both its implementation and in the chain of command.

My neighbourhood at Cambie and Marine Drive was virtually barricaded for more than a year with no safe or reasonable access for residents or for emergency vehicles. Every access route along Cambie - including 59th Avenue on which both an ambulance and fire station are located - was simultaneously closed. Fire trucks and ambulances faced major detours and delays. (A city transportation report dated January 20th, 1998 states: "59th Avenue is a primary access point for many residents east of Cambie, and is the only through east-west street south of 49th and north of Marine Drive.")

For months before I had a car accident, I dealt with both City and Canada Line officials about our access nightmare. The lack of safe traffic management resulted in many car accidents in addition to my own. The Canada Line blamed the City saying that they decided the traffic patterns, while the City told me that they had insisted on a bridge to maintain access to our neighbourhood at 59th. So just who was in charge?

The promises of minimal disruption and two to three months of construction at any given location were broken in every instance. Canada Line contractors were given freedom to do what they wanted, where they wanted, how they wanted, for as long as they wanted, with absolutely no oversight or accountability. This is an unacceptable flaw in the P3 structure and as the award-winning champion of these projects, the buck has to stop with you. Your government now insists that all projects over $20 million must use the P3 model, so the implications are far reaching.

Your government has always stressed that those who have been so inconvenienced by Canada Line construction will benefit in the long-term, but many businesses and residents along the Canada Line will be priced out of the area due to rezoning and redevelopment. The 70 families including 90 children in my townhouse complex at Cambie and Marine Drive were recently faced with reno-viction notices from the new owners who purchased the complex a year and a half ago.

In recent weeks we have learned of government bail-outs of large corporations working on Olympics projects. The City of Vancouver provided a $100 million dollar loan to Millennium Development and your government handed over more than $50 million to cover Canada Line losses as result of investments in the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the U.S. In both instances, the first we learned of these corporations’ difficulties was when the money was handed over. In contrast, we’ve watched small family-owned businesses along the Canada Line dying a slow and painful death for the last three years while your government has repeatedly turned its back on them.

Your government insists that helping the small businesses and families destroyed by your project would set a dangerous precedent and yet, you don’t hesitate to set a costly precedent by bailing out large corporations.

The last two bi-elections and the recent Vancouver election are a clear indictment of your government’s attitude towards, and treatment of, the citizens and small businesses in this province. The Canada Line disaster will remain a blot on your government’s record until it is remedied.

There must be full compensation for the small businesses and promises to all of us that this disaster will never be repeated in the Province of British Columbia.


Jillian Skeet

A23 – 445 SW Marine Drive (at Cambie)

Vancouver, BC V5X 2R9


Tieleman's on the Case - and we say, "Thank you."

I wrote earlier today (Benefits Whom?) about the yet again delaying of the Basi-Virk trial.

But for the real and full story with all the gory details of this ongoing travesty of justice - hell, cover up - you must read Bill Tieleman's great piece posted on his blog yesterday.

Read it here. It's an example of great reporting. Many an observe has rightly aid that this case is perhaps the most important to appear in B.C. in a long, long time.

Keep watching and listening for any soundings as they may emerge from the well-orchestrated fog.

KIndred Spirit, Victor, Signs In

Hi David:

Welcome back from the writer's shed. Hope it went well.

In your absence, there was a moment on the Bill Goo show when I
thought of you. Norm Spector called down Gregor Robertson for having
his campaign financed by American lobbyists, pointing out that
offshore campaign financing is illegal at the provincial and federal
levels. Replied Goo, " I didn't know he got money from Americans."
Spector, by the way, lives in Victoria. and works alone.

Yet here's Goo, his bloated self, smugly ensconced on two networks,
with full staff support, unaware of a smelly political issue under his
porcine nose. You detailed it in full on your blog. Of course you have
a massive research staff.

On another note, my cancellation f the Vancouver Sun has brought
morning bliss into my life. Mildew, Yappy, McMumble, Fatlic, Hume-
orless ,Smeargig and Daffy are morning intruders no more. So long to
the 7 dorks.


Craig's ON, as always...

Retired Justice Wallace CRaig has written another excellent column about the criminal injustice system, poublished today in the North Shore News.

Read it here.


Here's what we're stuck with for the moment at the highest level of political and government leadership in the land.

The Prime Minister has added nothing in the way of economic stimulus to his current plans. America is scrambling and fighting and re-organizing 24 hours a day to deal with the worst economic downturn in half a century. Billions of dollars will be spent to revive the barely breathing patient. But up here in Everything is Beautiful Land, biz as usual.

This is, in my estimation, Harper's biggest foolishness to date. And it's huge.

Add to that his play to end public financing of political parties and you've got The Week from Dumb.

Now, on the other side of the house, just in case you thought things couldn't get worse, you've got the Twin Goof Brothers of Layton and Dion actually threatening another election.

Is there anyone left in the land who knows the first thing about public service or prudent management?

Children, Good Night

British Columbia leads again.

In the child poverty race.

Given the world economy, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Hansen are not likely to open the provincial purse for something as unimportant as kindergarten or day care or more teachers or spaces for children.

Not when that road to Whistler has to be completed, no sir. Not when there are cement and glass monuments to be built.

We, the hapless voters, are trapped between a government that has a cheezy, almost inhuman vision and an opposition that, if elected, would probably create an unholy mess.

Nice choice: Moral bankruptcy vs. financial bankruptcy.

Time to read a good book.

Benefits Whom?

The Basi-Virk trial will be delayed again.

This time on the most obscure grounds. The prosecution is taking all the way to the highest court in the land their argument that they must not reveal the identoty of a key informant.

All of that may be supremely important somewhere, somehow.


This case has now become the poster child for jutice delayed is justice denied.

We can hardly be called lone cynics if many of us now believe there are other forces at work here.

The trial will now most likely not be heard until after the spring provincial election.



Muslim insurgents? Pakistani militants? Al Queda cousins?


Please don't ask me to understand them.

Please don't ask me to understand their complaints and their actions.

The wiser among you will argue that we must understand our enemies.

Deepak Chopra, that colossal snake-oil salesman and multi-millionaire fake, spoke passionately on CNN the other day about our need to "accommodate."

Bless me and pity me. For I am one of the Limited Ones.

I see no reason that can explain the Mumbai attacks.

I see no accomplishment.

Mumbai, like 911, is an act of senseless evil. Stupid, directionless young men were manipulated into using guns and grenades to kill innocent flesh.


Bassekou Kouyate - Ngoni Fola