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LAUTENS: It’s politics as usual for Yes coalition

The bungling boys and girls of the Transit and Transportation Coalition have stooped to truth-suppression. Oh, slap my wrist, be kind: “Selective editing.” Sure, it’s common: He who pays the piper gets to call the piper’s tune.
Trevor Lautens

The bungling boys and girls of the Transit and Transportation Coalition have stooped to truth-suppression. Oh, slap my wrist, be kind: “Selective editing.”

Sure, it’s common: He who pays the piper gets to call the piper’s tune. So far, it’s off-key for the Yes team in the Metro transit plebiscite scrum. Strike up the band to play that old favourite with the lyrics, “You won’t listen to my plea/Won’t say ‘Yes’ in any language to me …”

The richly funded Yessirs are trailing the No side in the polls roughly 2-1. Yet the Nosirs, captained by Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, are way in the back of the budgetary bus with a mere $40,000.

The elite-driven Yessirs are paying Proximis Digital Inc. to gather media and other reaction. The Yessirs understandably want good numbers. And Proximis, also understandably, can’t quote everyone. It does cite CKNW’s Bruce Allen, a plebiscite nay-sayer.

But its long list leaves out Elizabeth James’s excellent fact-filled, and nay-leaning, March 18 column in this paper, which included devastating criticisms by West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith, who scorns the secretive meetings of the Yes-sponsoring Metro Mayors’ Council. My timid little March 13 item is also omitted. I cry myself to sleep.

But here’s the decisive failed test of, what’s that favourite word of the progressives, inclusiveness: Excellent News reporters Jane Seyd and Brent Richter were assigned to compile interviews — not their own opinions — making the case for the Nossirs and Yessirs respectively. Wait for it: Richter’s story appears on the Proximis list. Not Seyd’s.

I shamelessly quote myself: The leadership and many members of the Yessirs overwhelmingly have this in common. They are politicians, downtown business people, high bureaucrats, self-important media types, charity moguls, and the delivery people who supply and sustain them. They write off their driving and parking costs. They don’t take public transit themselves. Never will. They want other people to take it.

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There’s an unspoken gentleperson’s agreement that columnists mustn’t upbraid other columnists. Nonsense. We’re not little Greek gods.

In a Feb. 2 Sun column Yes-sayer Stephen Hume dropped his humorless, sternly reasoned sermons for personal fuming and Huming about Bateman and his taxpayers’ federation — “a minuscule, Prairie-based, fundamentally non-democratic special interest group that operates like some self-appointed secret society.”

A weird tirade that, minus the prairie bit, uncannily describes the Yes-dominated Metro Mayors’ Council.

Weirdest of all was portraying Bateman as a carpet-bagger mucking in on a Vancouver issue. Bateman has a Vancouver office. He was a Langley Township councillor for six years. He’s been a journalist in that area.

In contrast, Hume lived for years on Saturna Island (pop. 250 or so), where the five o’clock rush consists of a truck or two winding down the road to the (delightful) dockside pub. Now he issues his Metro traffic-solving pronunciamentos from his leafy home in Deep Cove, North Saanich, Vancouver Island.

Who’s the carpet-bagger?

Then there’s Peter Ladner — and, truly, notwithstanding these gentle words, I personally like and admire the journalistic craft of both Ladner and Hume, just enjoy letting a little air out of them for their own eternal souls.

In a March 10 column, Ladner, who candidly tells his Business in Vancouver readers he’s a director of the Yessir coalition, unrolled melodrama rivalling the old skit The Drunkard. He implied that a Yes vote would end the plight of “everyday people” such as “the young mom with the stroller standing in the rain as a full bus passes her by.”

Peter, if a Yes vote would guarantee that no full bus would ever pass a mom and her stroller — or, another of his examples, save a young grad lacking dependable transit from spending $10,000 a year on his car (what, a Ferrari?) — I’d beat the Yessir drum.

That Hume has stooped to a grotesque diatribe and Ladner to maudlin scenarios is a measure of  Yessir desperation — and likely as ineffectual in boosting Yes support as canning TransLink’s top honcho. Or enrolling busy billionaire Jimmy Pattison to chair an accountability committee overseeing spending the proposed new tax’s money.

Anyone see the grand irony that the backbone of Pattison’s vast empire is selling the multi-dealership cars (the only business he knows well, Pattison modestly claimed in a recent interview) that the Yessirs want off Metro’s roads? Excepting, of course, the very important people’s.

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WV hidden treasure: Multitudes must have sped past tiny shop Glynda, The Good Witch (you know your Wizard of Oz?) without noticing it.

It’s a card shop in the 1400-block Marine across from Vancity, and it’s a gem: All-occasion cards, created, printed and retailed by Glynda, surname Fitzgerald.

You may never again buy the tiresome “funny” mass-produced cards if you scan the creative, often witty cards at Glynda’s. A genuine local enterprise. Check it out.

Trevor Lautens can be reached via email at:

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