Wednesday, August 19, 2009


We all agree that we have a housing crisis, especially for the homeless and for low-income families.

We all agree something aught to be done.

And soon.

The first and primary villain in this continuing story is the 30 years of bad Federal Government, regardless of who was in the Big Chair.

Central Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) at one time lived up to its mandate and provided a steady flow of funds for social housing projects across the land.

The day they stopped, you started to see the results on your street corners.

But now, we add to the mix the Triple P (Public Private Partnerships) obsession of Premier Gordon Campbell.

The City of Vancouver and the Province got it into their woolen heads that the Little Mountain Housing site at 33d and Main - which has been accommodating hundreds of families for a great many years - should be torn down and replaced with something "better."

Of course, the Preem's idea of "better" always involves a profit for someone, preferably someone he knows.

God forbid, he should just build something BECAUSE IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

So, in this case, we have a company called Holborn Properties calling the shots.

The city does not control the timeline. The province, through BC Housing, chose Holborn Properties as the developer of the site in May of 2008. The terms of that deal are confidential.


Why should any of us know what our tax dollars are doing?

Holborn, by the way, has its own problems.

Holborn put a $500-million downtown Vancouver Ritz-Carlton project on hold in February, citing poor sales of luxury condos in the hotel-condo project.

Oy Vey. Poor babies.

So a social housing project, tied by the way to almost every other potential social housing project in the province, will probably take years and years to develop and complete.


Because the whole House of Canards depends on the global economy, the fortunes of one development company and a deal that even the City Of Vancouver hasn't been allowed to see.

The Mayor is a huge advocate of solving housing problems. Or so he would have us believe.

But the Mayor, like you and me, is powerless in the face of Backroom Deals, PPP's, and the utterly wrong ideology of a Premier with no real sense of social responsibility.


The news that the B.C. government has taken over Tourism BC - previously an arms-length Crown Corporation - is both good and bad.

The good is that someone should have wrested this agency away from its handlers ages ago. Any supplier who has had contractual dealings with the office will testify that professionalism and street smarts are not singularly evident.

Frankly, the place has been in snooze and comfort mode for a while.

The bad is that the government is behaving like Big Brother.

You just seize an operation and pull it into the bunker without any conversation?

Kevin Krueger, the Tourism Minister and ICBC claims adjuster, has some special skills in this area? He ran a front desk at a Best Western?

What gulag are we living in exactly?

Ah, yes, the Winter of Our Discontented Games.

2010 trumps all policy decisions.

Know it. Face it. Get used to it.


It appears that a mentally disturbed woman has murdered a young boy in Grand Forks, B.C.

This is a tragedy on a hundred different fronts.

The mayor "criticized cutbacks in the province that have led to reduced services for mental health patients over the last decade. “I think what we've lost here is mental health support in the community,” he said. “The community sees [this] as a health problem as much as a crime problem.”"

Governments, like individuals, have priorities, and we and they are consistent in our choices.

Recent provincial and federal governments have shown a distinct lack of interest in something as baffling and time-consuming and labor-intensive as mental health problems.

The results, on a daily basis in all our communities, speak for themselves.