Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for June 12th, 2007

“Shooting fish in a barrel”

with 10 comments

I have never tried that, but it is the legendary easiest thing in the world. And today the Vancouver Sun publishes an opinion piece, that is about daftest argument I have ever heard. And it is already widely disproved. So I was not going to waste time on it. Then it occurred to me that I had said that I would let people know about events here that are worth attending. And the author of this piece is actually coming here to speak. It should be cheaper than an evening at Yuk Yuks and probably a lot funnier.


Wrong way to make a region livable


Randal O’Toole, Special to the Sun

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The region will not reduce carbon emissions by forcing people to waste fuel in stop-and-go traffic.

Just who decided that “avoiding sprawl” should be the paramount goal of the region’s planners anyway?
Randal O’Toole ( is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., and author of The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths: How Smart Growth Harms American Cities.
– – –
Randal O’Toole will speak on this topic at the Fraser Institute, 1770 Burrard,at noon on June 20.
For tickets, call 604-714-4578.

The Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute are of course well known right wing “think tanks”. At one time the Right decided that the Left had too many academics on its side and tried to build respectability and intellectual rigour back into knee jerk conservatism. The worshipped at the feet of philosophers like Hayek and at one time posed a serious challenge to policy analysis.

But sadly Randal O’Toole thinks that statements like

In a province such as B.C., which is 99 per cent rural open space, or even a region such as Vancouver, which is more than 70 per cent open space, keeping housing affordable is more important the preserving every last acre of undeveloped land.

actually stand up to examination. If I was running a planning course I would assign this as the end of term paper. The students deserve an easy, open goal after a year of hard work. Or they could just copy a chunk from an email list

Some responses to O-Toole:

And Gordon Price has already handed in his assignment for extra points

Written by Stephen Rees

June 12, 2007 at 10:28 am