The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Comments from the Peanut Gallery

It's been only 3 days since the Vancouver election, but the critics of the city's new mayor, Larry Campbell, and the new city council, are already out in force. This time it's not just conservative newspaper columnists like Jon Ferry of The Province or the Vancouver Sun's Pete McMartin, who have been bad-mouthing Campbell since he announced his mayoral candidacy earlier this year, and continued to try to paint him as unsuitable for the mayor's job throughout the campaign.

No, now some federal Members of Parliament are screaming bloody murder over Campbell's plans to implement harm-reduction measures as part of the city's overall drug strategy. And, just like the aformentioned two cranky columinsts, neither of these MP's are from Vancouver. Instead, they are two of the Canadian Alliance's biggest self-promoters, Randy White and James Moore.

Neither Moore nor White's constituencies are near the city of Vancouver: Moore represents the northeastern suburbs, while White's constituency is even further away; it's in the central Fraser Valley. That, of course, has not kept either man from seeing fit to tell Vancouver, and the voters who voted in Larry Campbell, to tell them what's best for them.

Both men are hard-liners on the issue of drugs: they seem to agree that the approach championed by Ronald Reagan in the United States 20 years ago is the model to pursue. Never mind that the so-called war on drugs has been an expensive failure that has, in the United States resulted in little more than a blooming prison population. Of course, to Randy White, a booming prison industry is a sign of progress.

The reaction from White and Moore was predictable. They're both ultra-conservative, and neither man met a microphone that he didn't like. Their objection to Vancouver's drug strategy isn't based on evidence that it would aggravate a bad situation, or that there are alternatives that would mean fewer deaths, or less crime, health costs, or what-have-you. It's all ideological. They are of the school of thought that has informed the last 20-30 years of failed drug policy in North America.

They claim that Vancouver will be stting up "shooting galleries." Wrong. There are plenty of shooting galleries of Vancouver already -- they're nothing new. The conditions of those shooting galleries are awful, unsanitary, and unsafe. Randy White claims that Vancouver will be giving away free heroin under the drug strategy already adopted by Vancouver city council. Nowhere in the document (PDF file) is there any mention of free heroin. However, White has never let the truth get in the way of his talking points. Neither has Moore, who once said that the $24 airport security charge was "going to line the pockets of federal Liberals," as if airline security was some sort of political fundraiser.

Moor says that his constituents are telling him that Vancouver's plans to aggressively implement a safe-injection site in downtown Vancouver and to increase detox and drug treatment facilities are a bad idea. That's interesting. A politician who claims that people are telling him that he's right, and those other guys are wrong. When the hell has any politician ever admitted that his/her constituents disagree with his or her views? Give me a break.

Furthermore, Moore's constituents (or White's) aren't the ones who have to deal directly with Vancouver's problems. The people of Vancouver do, and they've made the choice of who will tackle them. The people of Vancouver are also will have to live with the results, and you can bet that voters considered that before they made that choice.

And if, in three years, Vancouverites aren't satisfied that Larry Campbell and his council have tackled the Downtown Eastside, the drug problem, transit problems or the red tape at city hall, they'll toss them out, just as they tossed the NPA council on Saturday.
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