With Alan Garr on vacation, Vancouver writer-activist-gadfly Tom Sanborn is contributing a few op-eds in the Vancouver Courier. This week, Sanborn casts doubt on the much heralded “green” credentials of NPA mayoral hopeful Peter Ladner:
NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner has created the impression he is a new kind of business friendly and environmentally correct politician, likely to arrive at city meetings on his famous bike and to lard his speeches with enviro pieties. His web page even has a green colour scheme. But…
During the last city election, current mayor Sam Sullivan campaigned on a promise to reduce TransLink fares. Ladner joined Sullivan and his NPA colleague Suzanne Anton on the TransLink board in failing, over the three years that followed, to act on that promise–one that would have promoted more environmentally friendly use of our transit system.
Ladner’s support for the traffic-snarl-engendering big box Canadian Tire store in November 2007 has to be considered, too. The store, it has been estimated, will be responsible for adding up to 7,000 tons of greenhouse gases to our city’s air each year, so the colour to invoke here is an unpleasant car exhaust brown, not environmental green.
To be fair, Vision Vancouver also has a dubious record on some of these fronts. COPE also promised to reduce transit fees when they came in in 2002, but that was a promise that the likes of Larry Campbell and Raymond Louie quickly reversed. At the time, now Park Board commissioner Spencer Herbert was steaming mad at the sell-outs:
As we have seen with the recent fare increase, Campbell and Raymond Louie do not support bus riders and have no problem breaking election promises. Voters and party members were lied to. In the last election, Campbell said that he wanted a city where there would be no throwaway people, where no one would be left behind. These statements are pretty ironic now that starting January 1 even more low-income bus riders will not have the option of using public transit, being thrown away and left behind for a public-private-partnership RAV line.
Anyway, back to 2008: All parties are tailoring their campaign message to the green vote. This will come as no solace to former Green councillor Dr. Fred Bass (the greenest elected official Vancouver has ever had, arguably), who basically was unelected in 2005 because of his support for the Burrard Street Bridge trial bike lanes. In Vancouver, some people’s environmentalism is a mile wide and an inch deep. Let’s see what genuine green policies will turn up in the campaign promises of the NPA, Cope and Vision Vancouver. The municipal Green Party, for its part, seems to have essentially folded itself into Vision Vancouver following the council ambitions of former school trustee Andrea Reimer.