Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for January 18th, 2009

Vancouver gets OK to borrow to finish Olympic Athletes’ Village

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What this CBC story fails to deal with (and I expect the print media will follow suit tomorrow) is the substance of the “marathon debate”. No I did not stay up all night to watch it (though I did stay up all night for unconnected reasons). But I did watch the early bits of it on Cable 118.

The CBC has a brief quote from Carol James. But says nothing at all about the speeches that were made by the Opposition during the debate. I thought Maureen Karagianis was good – because she went after “Done Deal” Falcon as well as the hopelessly inept Minister of Finance. He, of course, was featured by many speakers including the Honourable Member for Coquitlam Maillardville – who held up the Auditor General’s report on Olympic spending and ridiculed the Finance Minister’s response that it was simply a “what is classified as Olympic Spending”. Of course we all know it was never going to be just $600m. What is fatuous is this government’s continued insistence that that figure still holds true. It never did – and thanks to the first shoe dropping now – never will.

There was, of course, no choice. Since we are stuck with the Olympics and the athletes are coming they have to be accomodated. And maybe the price of condos will recover. Note that no-one now seriously thinks of using the Olympics as a way to get public housing built. Although Whistler is is uing its village to at least make some afffordable housing availabelt ot hose on its waiting list.   The only things I have seen recently here seem to be focussed on short term emergency measures for the homeless – containers, wooden huts – even tents. The only concern has been with money – not housing need. The only risk worth discussing is the prospect that yaxes may increase – not that many human beings are forced to live in third world consitions in “the most livable city in the world”.

Of course the BC government did its level best to ensure that there was as little debate as they could get away with. Holding the debate on a Saturday to ensure that there would be no possibility of anyone actually answering questions (an arcne procedural rule does not permit Question Time on a Saturday).  And behaving with typical discourtesy during the debate – and for some reason concentrating their jibes and heckles at female members.  And none of the – very proper, quite appropriate – concerns raised by the Opposition were or will be answered.

I just hope people remeber this when it comes to them voting in a few months time.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Olympics, politics

Tagged with

Cilmate Change and Peak Oil

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These two topics are not ones where I would normally be recommending pieces in the Vancouver Sun. But even that organ is having to take notice of how the ground is moving underneath its feet.

Climate warming ‘highly unusual’ says new study takes a recent report from the US Geological Survey as evidence that those who argue the climate change is part of a natural cycle are wrong. In fact the report is even more suprising than that.  It seems the USGS is feeling freed from the constraints of the last eight years as its main thesis is that climate change is not gradual at all but is abrupt – and cites evidence from the Arctic to support that.

The age of oil is ending is a substantial and well argued piece which probably covers familiar ground for a lot of my readers but is a distinct change for the Asper stable.

The world is blithely unaware we will soon suffer severe shortages, experts warn, leading to a time of great economic and geopolitical tension

Written by Stephen Rees

January 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Transportation