Sunday, August 26, 2007

Give us someone who cares about our region

You'll often hear south of the Fraser residents complain that the Vancouver-Burnaby power base simply don't understand what it's like to have to cross the Port Mann every day, or drive all the way to Whalley to get a SkyTrain, or take a bus anywhere. It's a common refrain; we hear it a lot in Surrey and Langley. "I'd like to see Derek Corrigan spend a day in our shoes."

Well, Public Eye Online reports that NDP transportation critic, Esquimalt MLA Maurine Karagianis thinks being away from the Vancouver gridlock is a good thing:
"It's probably better that I - as a critic - am not directly involved politically in the local communities over there. I think it allows me to bring more objectivity to both those issues and to look at them from a much broader perspective and look at them without the local politics and local attachments interfering with my views. So I think it does give me a better opportunity to look at this in a cold-blooded way and to look at it in a practical and political sense without a lot of background in the community affecting my thinking one way or another."

That being said, Ms. Karagianis added she has "great concerns" about Gateway because "it doesn't have any sustainable solutions attached to it." Although she intends to "continue to meet with the communities affected and gather information" in advance of the fall, when she says the party will finally announce its position on the 19-month old highway-expansion program.

First off, the NDP should realize it has already taken a position: its agricultural committee is part of the anti-Gateway group. At least come forward and be honest about it.

That aside, Karagianis's comments are ludicrous. We here at Get Moving BC believe that the closer you are to the people, the better the governance you can provide. We don't believe in seagull leadership--swooping in from out of town, making a lot of noise, dumping on everyone, and swooping out. We want our decision makers to intimately understand what our region is facing. We'll leave the last word to one of Public Eye's commenters:
What the heck is she talking about? Is she slagging Chudnovsky? (very classy) Since when does living in a community/region and caring about it make a politician biased? Is Karagianis seriously saying that she'll be a good critic for Gateway because she really doesn't care about Lower Mainland communities? Isn't "background in the community" (or at least input from the people who actually live in the affected areas) something the NDP should be listening to rather than being "cold-blooded" about?
Karagianis made very little sense as MCFD critic, and she's starting off the same way in Transportation. It's an important area, so I hope she starts putting a little more time into considering her arguments and statements before she makes them...


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