Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for August 16th, 2008

Petition against Gateway

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Celia Brauer has set up an online petition that I hope you will sign – and like I did add your reasons, not just your name.

I will let her take over the rest of the post

Please sign my petition against the Gateway Project. The last few months have been spent gathering the data for the accompanying letter and backgrounder, making associations with people who contributed, and getting the Google site up and running. I now feel that we have a first class letter which you can copy and send that makes a clear statement to our senior governments.

Please take a few minutes to sign your name. Make a comment if you wish. The comments on the petition already show how passionate people are against this project. If you want to be anonymous there is an option for this.

Then, if you have a few more minutes, tell a few friends and family members to sign. Or put it on your group’s list serve.

This petition, letter and backgrounder (the plan is to expand the site as time and resources permit) are a template for possibilities and will only be as successful as the people who contribute. Make no mistake – petitions can make a difference! A large petition against the logging of the boreal forest was the tipping point in Premier McGuinty’s final decision to save this priceless part of Ontario area.

If you are part of a society and want to write your own letter, please do so and we will post it (The Vancouver Unitarian community wrote a strong letter against Gateway which is on the site. Take a look at their effort – it took many revisions!) If your group wants to be a supporter, please let us know and we will list them.

There are many ways to make the government sit up and notice that this project is totally misguided for our common future. Many dedicated and strong spirits have been fighting this cause for many years, in many different ways and we thank them for leading the way and standing firm. Every effort is a resource that we can use to stop this project!

Remember the famous saying by Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can make a difference. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Let’s use this petition to its full advantage – and make it one of our “people power” tools to tip the balance!

Thanks for your support!


Written by Stephen Rees

August 16, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Posted in Gateway

“The governing party has lost much of its enthusiasm for privatization”

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This is not the headline chosen by the subs at the Sun for a Vaughan Palmer opinion piece. But it is his remarkable conclusion after analyzing why BC Ferries have not seen “alternative service delivery” or more competition.

Even the Washington Group’s proposal to use the fast ferries forn a service from Vancouyver to Nanaimo did not start, and of course Harbour Lynx on the same route folded when it found that a ferry service with only one vessel was too vulnerable to happenstance.

I see no evidence outside of BC Ferries to support Palmer’s conclusion. Although it is similar to the experience of ICBC – which was thought to be on the block but has proved too useful. Such a fate did not befall BC Hydro – where the potential profits from exporting power to California are still so mouthwatering to the private sector that the province’s long term policies for electricity supply were simply thrown away. And of course the expected extension of privatisation in the health care sector stalled too.

Given the economic and political fallout so far, I am surprised that they have stuck to their guns, but pig headedness is still considered a virtue by the right wing. And of course still bedevils transport policy. Elsewhere in the world privatisation is slowly being unwound. The French have announced that they will take water supply back into the public sector – and it has been priavte there for 100 years! The British have been taking back bits of their transport system – starting with the national railway track and chunks of the London Underground. And the worldwide banking crisis (or “credit cruch”) is severely limiting what new projects can be financed this way. Although public sector employee pension funds are still looking for safe bets for their money, and “risks” backed up by recourse to taxpayers still look pretty good from their point of view.

When the special office for selling things off (“Partnerships BC” – a wonderful example of newspeak) is shut down, then I will agree with Mr Palmer. But we can be expected to pay for the Liberals enthusiasm for many years to come on the projects now underway – and to come.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 16, 2008 at 10:41 am

Posted in privatisation

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