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

Of Nice and Men

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Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun

A longish piece comparing the style of politics now prevalent in Surrey compared to Vancouver, and the extent to which the role of women can explain the differences.

What I looked for was some reference to Doug McCallum, the former Mayor of Surrey. That was missing. He treated politics as a kind of blood sport, but mostly he was an egotist. While he was Chair of Translink, every quote that appeared in the media about the organization had to have his name on it. And that was because how he ran Surrey. I suspect that when he was replaced almost any new leader would have been a welcome relief, especially someone who showed that they were prepared to listen sometimes.

The role of gender may be important, but a lot of women politicians that I have had to deal with climbed the slippery pole by fighting men and being better at it than them. The first generation of female world leaders were a pretty scary bunch – Mrs Thatcher (“the best man we’ve got”) Indira Ghandi and Golda Meir for instance. Hilary seems to be forged from the same metal. Yes, women are usually better at consensus building, but I think that probably reflects more recent socialisation, and possibly the influence of some feminist theorists, who rejected the notion that woman could only succeed if they used classic male techniques. But some places manage to organise themselves differently. Canada’s northern territories for example.

Anyway, well done Frances. A good piece which left me feeling I knew more when I finished it than when I started. It would be nice to see some competent politician in the Mayor’s office in Richmond too, but somehow I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Written by Stephen Rees

March 6, 2008 at 10:39 am

Posted in politics

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