Stephen Rees's blog

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

Gore likes B.C.’s green moves

with 5 comments


This is deeply depressing. I suppose that for the same reason sharks don’t eat lawyers (professional courtesy) Al could not point out that our emperor has no clothes.

Al Gore says he’s impressed with the environmental initiatives being promised by B.C.’s government.

The former U.S. vice-president told a Vancouver audience Saturday night Premier Gordon Campbell is to be praised for his promise last week of legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and his pledge to adopt California’s tough tailpipe emission standards for vehicles.

I do not think anyone should praise politicians for promises. Especially this politician who broken so many: the man who wrote the Livable Region Strategy and now intends to see it dismantled: the man who promised not to sell BC Rail, so he just leased it for 999 years: the man who put a freeway cut through Eagleridge Bluffs: the man who made the promise to reduce emissions but forgot to tell his cabinet colleagues so an entire year will have passed before anything actually happens.

Al Gore was a politician but he also knows first hand what happens to politicians who become dependent on their handlers. Politics may be “the art of the possible” but Gordon Campbell has had plenty of opportunities to change direction. But as far as this region is concerned, he is committed to replacing what has set us apart from other North American cities with what will make us exactly like them. He is part of the massive right wing conspiracy to foist neo-liberal economics on the world – and especially what he persists in calling “the Best Place on Earth”. Which will shortly be seen by the world on their tv screens as the place that could have been, and once was, but is no more. The place where gridlock rules. The place where the salmon and the resident orcas will have gone. Where the Pacific flyway has been intercepted by container storage. Where a shabby deal with big business counts for more than an irreplaceable ecological gem.

I think the real environmentalists were not in the Bayshore. They were in the Unitarian church earlier that afternoon, and shivering in the rain outside the Bayshore later on. An extraordinary cross section of the community who all share one thing in common. A real concern for the place we live in and what the almighty dollar is doing to it.

I think it is really sad that David Suzuki and Al Gore did not point out to Premier Campbell that his actions speak far louder than his words. They could have done it politely. They could have used the the presence of the media to make a point, but they chose not to. If you were waiting for the opportune moment, gentlemen, that was it.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 30, 2007 at 4:45 pm

5 Responses

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  1. I truly believe you are jumping the gun on this one here Stephen. The Premier makes bad moves all the time, but, on the whole, hell is not freezing over. Campbell has shown a lot of leadership for BC and for Canada with his proposed climate change plan – something sorely lacking in the municipalities of this province and this nation. Sure, it is a plan, and plans take time to show results, but do not dismiss it before it has even begun.

    And frankly, I see no reason why not to think a major transit announcement is coming soon. It was in the bloody press release. The question is, will it be large enough to make up for missteps like twinning the Port Mann. In a sense, doing Gateway right. If it isn’t, then is the time to beat him down to a pulp.

    Paul Hillsdon

    September 30, 2007 at 9:49 pm

  2. There is some truth to the comment above, but we must not forget that it’s a tough tightrope Mr. Campbell walks. It’s all about presentation on all the fronts he faces, optimum votes and really short public memories. Past behaviour is often indicative of future. Maybe we should be taking a closer look at

    Who says we, the people, want “growth”. Who says growth is the correct driver for decision making. Shouldn’t we be moving into a circular renewal pattern of sustainable living? Who are these people effecting our lives. What assumptions are these people justifying their moves and arguments on, and lets be clear about what really motivates them each to do so. And since when has it got anything to do with public service or the environment we live in.

    BTW.. notice the oil connection


    September 30, 2007 at 10:15 pm

  3. Stephen, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your fascinating speech at The Spirit of Sustainability on Saturday.

    At first I was stunned by culture shock (not a criticism: just a remark from someone from a different culture and era than most people there). But that soon faded as I discovered the whole thing was very well executed with almost uniformly excellent presentations. Thank you for speaking, and for announcing it in your blog.


    September 30, 2007 at 10:34 pm

  4. I wonder if the Premier told Mr. Gore and Mr. Suzuki about about the part of his plan that details how emissions will be reduced once extra lanes for automobiles are constructed. Because you see, then the automobiles will just whiz along instead of being stuck idling in traffic jams. Because if I’m not mistaken that is a proven strategy.


    October 1, 2007 at 7:56 am

  5. Paul – the transit announcement is thought to be the long overdue Evergreen Line. News1130 was reporting over the weekend Campbell saying they would have to fix the route (it was fixed a long time ago, but never mind that) and a “business case” – which is twaddle becuase of all the lines built and proposed in this region the Evergreen Line is the only one where the process of evaluation was done properly and completely (all credit should go to Clark Lim)

    If Campbell was serious about GHG reduction, he could have implemented the provincial GHG Action Plan I helped to write over ten years ago. That listed 48 things the province could do that either cost nothing, or very little with fast payback time (no more than 2 years), even at the much lower energy prices then prevailing. It was designed as a “no regrets” policy since the oil lobby had pretty well cornered the market on doubting global warming. But you don’t have to be a believer in ecodisaster to want to save taxpayers’ money!

    Ms L B – I thought everyone knew who the Gateway Council were. I do not know of any other pressure group that has managed to get itself so well integrated into the government process. As I remarked on Saturday, many modellers from Translink got seconded to the Gateway project – and I am talking about 5 or 6 years ago, long before any announcements were made.

    Sgt T – I somehow doubt that anyone in the room mentioned the word “Gateway” within earshot of any of them

    Stephen Rees

    October 1, 2007 at 10:11 am

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