Friday, October 31, 2008


Ladner's self-assurance convinces me he's best choice as Vancouver's mayor

David Berner,

The Province
Published: Friday, October 31, 2008

My vote for mayor of Vancouver goes to Peter Ladner.

I have nothing against Gregor Robertson. He is a fine fellow.

Both Ladner and Robertson have been described repeatedly as near-twins. Decent men, with silver-spoon backgrounds, young families, brushes with bohemia and small business, they are equally bright, pleasant and somewhat bland.

Either might make a perfectly good mayor, as I said in this space months ago, in the stamp of Philip Owen. They are well spoken and sufficiently versed in the vagaries of public office to do just enough to let people warm to you without making too many enemies.

No question that Gregor Robertson is right out of central casting. Jack Kennedy, Clinton, Barack Obama. He has "the look," but he doesn't have "the gift."

Of course, it is terribly unfair to compare mere mortals to great, natural orators like Kennedy, Clinton and Obama. Nor is it fair to compare what is at stake in these contests. The American leaders play cards at the Big Table -- world economics, war, the struggle for hearts and minds.

The mayor of Vancouver deals with homelessness, addictions, crime, transit, and small business. These matters are not nothing, for sure. But they don't have the same heft.

As the campaign began here, Robertson was accused, with some justification, of lacking substance and specifics. He spoke often of change and hope (like a mini-Obama), but was decidedly short on the rich details that make a story compelling. Now, as we inch closer to Nov. 15th, the Vision team has given Robertson some real grist for his mill -- affordable housing, the arts, and 56 other promises.

Ladner, as well, began with a few microwaved platitudes and declarations of his record. Thankfully, he and the NPA team have also moved on and given us some talking points -- a cap on property taxes, more police and only 54 other undertakings.

Both men are highlighting their commitments to cleaning the streets of crime and homelessness, although in slightly different ways. Ladner, for example, recognizes the contribution of Insite, but wants to find new treatment beds for addicts. Robertson thinks the safe injection sites are marvellous and wants to see more of them throughout the city.

I'm aghast at that kind of thinking, but that's not my reason for endorsing Ladner. My reason isn't a reason at all; it's a gut feeling, a pure instinct, and I've been running on instinct my whole life.

There's a certain hesitancy about Robertson that worries me. He seems to not be quite sure that he wants to be mayor or will know what to do with the role if he wins it. I may be wrong. He may grow into it. That happens to some leaders.

Ladner, on the other hand, has never seemed more relaxed or self-assured in all the years I've known him. He looks ready to be mayor. In fact, he is acting as if he is already mayor. That's how you win pennants and Super Bowls.

© The Vancouver Province 2008


Anonymous said...

Hi David
I respect you for your strongly held opinions, and appreciate hearing all sides of many issues. Thank you for caring enough to take a stand.

I am profoundly disappointed with this endorsement for Peter Ladner, and the implied consent for Ladner's council decisions - particularly those that left the Canada Line merchants to bleed a slow financial death.

Again - if just one NPA City Councillor had voted with the several motions to assist the families along Cambie, we would not have suffered such
preventable, fatal harm. Peter Ladner had further opportunities to rectify this as a member of the TransLink Board, and did not.

The City regularly compensates citizens and businesses for a variety of 'disruptions', when and where they want to. The level of unmitigated harm caused by Canada Line is unique and unprecedented. A unique solution is required.

Peter Ladner was on Council when the City voted it's conditional approval for the RAV project, with assurances from RAVCo that it would be a bored tunnel under the Cambie Village.
We were all lied to.
These City Council conditions have never been met, and the consequences of this have needlessly devastated our community for the past three years.

A person with integrity and an understanding for fairness would have called for a further review of the project when it became clear that what they had
voted on was not the project being built.

A sound financial plan would have factored in adequate mitigation.

A sound business plan would not invest our tax dollars in the sub-prime mortgage market, then turn to the government for a $53 million dollar bailout, as
Canada Line recently did.
The hard working families that build our tax surplus year after year, are a better investment than sub-prime backed paper.

Our government failed us completely, and now citizens have been forced to seek redress in the courts. Outrageous.

Gregor Robertson has consistently supported compensation of some kind for our losses. How this is achieved has yet to be worked out, but the will is there to try.

Sullivan, Ladner and Campbell had the opportunity to do the right thing and instead, they turned a blind eye, and spent millions on happy spin.
No meaningful consultation. Behind closed doors meetings. Blatant conflicts of interest.

I am aghast at this kind of impaired judgement. Time to take away their keys.

It is unconscionable for elected representatives to ride rough-shod over our rights and our livelihoods, for harm that was clearly outlined and preventable.

This demonstrates a confident arrogance, and a bent moral compass.
Shame on them for allowing this to happen. No wonder there's been such low numbers of people turning up to vote when our politicians treat us with such contempt.

Campbell and Ladner to lead by example? Now that's really scary.

The precedent this negligence sets - that our life's work can be
expropriated without compensation, that our livelihoods may be destroyed with impunity, is
reprehensible and must be changed -along with those who have allowed it to happen.

This is not a partisan position.

It is one formed based on justice and fairness, and should form the
foudation for policy making and conduct from those we elect to serve the people.

And not on how well they deliver their lines.

Susan Heyes

Anonymous said...

Damn how to out populist them with a 3 job dad back ground?

I guess Ladner is the most equal pig, but not by much?

To Liberty!

Gölök Z Buday
"The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace."
-- James Madison (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President