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OMG, Jeff Lee

Who needs Fox News North when we already have the Vancouver Sun and its civic ‘reporter’ Jeff Lee, author of "Robertson continues his quest for a Utopian society". (The headline might read "how to dismiss our innovative, progressive young mayor, make him look naive, and tip you off that we aren't going to really mention his 3 years of  implementing effective, internationally respected policies in the city.)  Anyway, here we go:

“In 2008 he became Vancouver’s 44th mayor, sweeping in a Vision Vancouver council very much with a “build it and they will come” socialist agenda trimmed heavily in green. Now he’s aiming for re-election, wanting to continue Vision’s vision for a utopian society where homelessness is vanquished, everyone can afford a home with a commuter bicycle in the yard, and green businesses supplant carbon-producing ones."

Vision Vancouver a party with a socialist agenda? And socialism is now defined as a political philosophy opposed to homelessness, unaffordable housing and unnecessary greenhouse gases? Let’s all welcome the Liberal Party of Canada into the Fourth International.

Only a charter member of the Tea Party could make a statement like Lee’s. It’s both fanciful and wrong – just like O’Reilly calling Barack Obama a socialist.

Lee may think of this as reporting but that paragraph is pure opinion and a pretty radical right one at that.

Homelessness is a problem in Vancouver. As a sometime pollster I can tell you that Vancouverites generally rank it as one of the most serious problems in Vancouver. And they don’t believe it’s utopian to want to change that. They actually believe it’s eminently doable.

And then there’s housing affordability. Has any Vancouverite ever gone to a party where the topic of housing affordability didn’t come up? I don’t think so. Do Vancouverites want something done to make housing more affordable? Yes, they do. Is that socialist and utopian? Apparently, it is in Lee’s mind.

And then there’s the green agenda. Either Lee is a climate change denier or he believes that trying to do anything about greenhouse gases is a fool’s game. But if that’s where he’s out of touch with most people in the city.

Vancouverites pride themselves on their environment. It’s one of the things that defines the city for them. And they want Vancouver to continue on that path.

Again, not utopian. In fact anyone who’s crossed the Rockies knows that Vancouver is playing catch up to much of the world, both developed and developing.

I’m writing this from a conference in Istanbul. Wandering around the streets yesterday I came across bike lanes and banks of bikes for rent, cheap. One could argue that’s marginally better than Vancouver.

In fact, cities large and small across every continent do housing, homelessness and green better than Vancouver. It’s not utopian. Despite what Lee says the Vision agenda is practical and progressive and eminently doable. It’s Lee that’s the radical, as he channels the Tea Party and its friends to write his profile of Robertson.


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