Category Archives: Privatization

Sam Sullivan’s Latest Re-Election Schemes, 54 Weeks[!] Before the Election

Today’s fresh new email from Mayor Sam Sullivan [see below] graced my email inbox with an upfront expression of his concern for the recent shootings in Vancouver. After the debacle of his attempt at union-breaking strike management he now wants to assure us he’s out to protect our lives.

Start the email with fear and the calming words of a leader out to protect us all. Boo. Truly scary is during the civic strike he spoke in similarly glowing terms of municipal employees. His walk did not match his talk there. Further, invoking Stockwell Day shows how much Sam is out of touch with the kind of figures who resonate with Vancouverites.

Then Sam moves on to his personal, unscientific, but sure to be quoted for the next 54 weeks of the municipal election campaign [and even longer] survey of citizens on the necessity of extending Skytrain to UBC.

The context of this is important. In order to force the TransLink leadership [democratically elected, pesky as that was] to commit to the Canada Line privateer-megaproject for the Olympics, after failed votes, eventually northeast suburb politicians were bribed with the Evergreen Line to Coquitlam Centre in exchange for voting for the Canada Line.

Democracy is an inconvenient truth in BC. The BC neoLiberal government is currently in the legislature ramming through a bill that will remove all democracy from TransLink and put the board directly in the hands of corporate appointees.

I seem to remember something before our time about the American revolution being about taxation without representation. Now in the 21st century we are embracing it in BC, legislatively so. Shame.

Back to Sam, though. His personal, unscientific, qualitative survey is all about justifying a future bid to supplant the Evergreen Line timeline to get the next Skytrain leg out West Broadway to UBC. Maybe this isn’t his plan, but since it may be a decade before this extension is supposed to occur, after the northeast sector, what is Sam’s rush to meet with West Broadway businesses now and embark on this poll on his personal website?

The pdf on his site on why we should complete the Millenium Line [to UBC] has some sound arguments. As a fan of transit, I think they’re great. But they’re second in line behind the Evergreen Line. The day Sam starts squawking about why the northeast sector should wait–again–is the day I look back to his website survey with complete cynicism.


Message from Mayor Sullivan regarding recent shootings

Like all residents, I am very concerned about the recent shootings that have taken place. We are taking this situation very seriously.

Late this afternoon I held a meeting with Chief Constable Jim Chu to discuss the issue of gang violence in our city. Yesterday I met with federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, and Chief Chu and I will be meeting with the federal Justice Minister tomorrow. In addition, I have written to the provincial government and will be meeting with mayors from Metro Vancouver next week to discuss ways to coordinate our efforts and attack organized crime.

I want to reassure residents that the men and women of the Vancouver Police Department are among the best in the world. They are working with our partners in the region to solve these crimes and bring these criminals to justice.

The solution to addressing these problems requires a coordinated and intelligent response. We will deliver that for our citizens.

– Mayor Sam Sullivan

Mayor’s Millennium Line Survey – Have Your Say

Mayor Sam Sullivan invites residents, businesses and community organizations to provide their views about plans to complete the Millennium Rapid Transit Line from VCC Station to Central Broadway – and ultimately UBC.

Disclaimer: this is a qualitative survey of website visitors. Results are not considered as scientific.

USA vs. Iran and Cubazuela

When w.Caesar should be gracefully entering his presidential lame duck status and thinking about who to pardon [whoops, he already got on that with Scooter Libby], he is instead feeding warm, bleeding horse meat to the dogs of war.

From today’s Washington Post:

In approving far-reaching, new unilateral sanctions against Iran, President Bush signaled yesterday that he intends to pursue a strategy of gradually escalating financial, diplomatic and political pressure on Tehran, aimed not at starting a new war in the Middle East, his advisers said, but at preventing one. …With yesterday’s actions, which included the long-awaited designations of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, Bush made clear that he is willing to seek such leverage even without the support of his European allies.

I seem to remember the rhetoric in late 2002. Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction and that despite all the OCD midnight rifle barrel cleaning, w.Caesar only wanted peace, until the UN Security Council wouldn’t sanction the US invasion plans making him invade with his ethereal Coalition of the Willing instead of Old Europe.

Life is rarely this simple: listen to politicians so that we can believe the opposite of what they say. w.Caesar is good for that.

Moving on to our own hemisphere, w.Caesar can’t stand anti-neoliberal, democratically elected leftist governments in Latin America.

Responding to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said that Hugo Chavez is a “threat to regional stability,” Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez affirmed that Hugo Chavez is indeed a “tremendous threat” to the “empires of the world,” and assured they would continue to be a “greater threat” as time goes on. “Of course he [Chavez] is a threat to the stability of the empires of the world, for those who consider themselves the world police, for those who think they have a right to invade countries and massively murder the population,” replied the Venezuelan vice-president to a recent statement made by Robert Gates during a visit to El Salvador. …

Gates then warned that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was mainly a “threat to the freedom and economic prosperity of the people of Venezuela.” According to Gates, Chavez “has been very generous in offering their resources to people around the world, when perhaps these resources could be better used to alleviate some of the economic problems facing the people of Venezuela.”

Gates should have said the word “rich” when he called Chavez a “threat to the freedom and economic prosperity of the rich people of Venezuela.” Conveniently, Gates ignored all domestic economic and social reform in Venezuela.

I’m not entirely comfortable with Hugo Chavez’s desire to have decree power. When he has such legislative support, I’m not sure it’s necessary. The USA criticizes Venezuela as being dictatorial, despite its electoral unambiguity compared with Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 and hundreds of other jurisdictions with Republican electoral fraud this decade. Add to this a steaming pile of soft fascism in the USA and we get a sense of US hypocrisy: w.Caesar’s signing statements asserting which parts of legislation the executive branch will not obey, and this tasty list of Amnesty International’s worries about the land of the free and the home of the brave that sounds quite a bit like Chile after 9.11.1973:

  • Secret detention
  • Enforced disappearance
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Outrages upon personal dignity, including humiliating treatment
  • Denial and restriction of habeas corpus
  • Indefinite detention without charge or trial
  • Prolonged incommunicado detention
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Unfair trial procedures

So then yesterday when w.Caesar warned the world that there will be a transition coming in Cuba [presumably when Castro dies], but Cubazuela responded assertively:

“He spoke like an imperialist and a colonialist,” said Venezuelan parliamentarian Saul Ortega about Bush’s statements. Ortega assured that the reaction to these threats will be increased unity among the people of Latin America. “In response we have to close ranks in defense of the principles of sovereignty and self-determination,” he said.

Vice-foreign minister Rodolfo Sanz assured that the United States was making a mistake with their statements towards Cuba and maintained that the “times have changed.”

“We aren’t going to sit here with our arms crossed before some diabolic adventure,” he said. Sanz assured that the Cuban people can count on support from nations like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, among others, stating that “Cuba is not alone.”

The boldness of the Latin American political economic agenda in the last decade is a testament to the recovery of economic shock, terror and genocide visited upon them by Milton Friedman and his neoliberal storm troopers over the last 35 years. Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine‘s final chapter talks about how when people or cultures rebuild their communities and name their oppressors when they recover from shock. This is the spirit in which Cubazuela has responded to w.Caesar’s signaling of regime change in Cuba. Let’s be honest. The US corporate interests in Cuba are legion. Cuba will become the next Haiti as Canada and the US have squashed hope into desperation there.

Words like diabolic, imperialist, colonialist, sovereignty, self-determination and the simple phrase–times have changed–indicate that a Grenada-style hemispheric military excursion into Cuba will not easily guarantee the Republicans’ retention of the White House or a recovery of Congress.

Cuba is indeed not alone. The whole hemisphere is tilted against w.Caesar with the exception of business/media elites and the apolitical or ignorant, RRSP-hoarding, gadget-worshipping [dwindling numbers of the] middle class in NAFTAland and Latin American compradors.

And with the record oil profits that w.Caesar has facilitated as he helped oil pass $80 a barrel, he has ended up funding Venezuela’s upgrading of its military.

Back to Naomi Klein, however, to follow her thesis: war is good for corporate profitability and the GDP. Peace impairs economic growth. So it might not even matter to the disaster/conflict capitalists that a war with Iran or Cubazuela is just, desirable or winnable. It’s just another opportunity to bankrupt governments and shift public wealth to global corporations.

Luckily the other Naomi [Wolf] and thousands of others including sitdownfortheconstitution.org have started what will hopefully be a 54 week campaign for Americans to steal back their constitution.

The rest of our hemisphere better get on [not off!] our asses and support them in their attempt to stifle w.Caesar’s soft fascism before it grows horns and starts sending Blackwater mercenaries into US streets. Oh, I forgot. It is already be too
late for that since they’ve been in New Orleans.

Note to TransLink: Your Riders Are Not Customers

I went to the TransLink website just now to search for the word “customer”. I found 376 references.

I also have noticed that in recent days a canned announcement pops onto Skytrains regularly asking “Skytrain customers” to not leave their lame faux-news free daily newspapers [Metro, 24] lying all over the trains cluttering them up and creating a slipping hazard for most everyone.

As part of the large trend to commodify all things public and common, riders are no longer riders, we are customers purchasing a service: mass transit. As customers we are told the class of our existence on what used to be public transit.

Now the new TransLink board is being appointed by a gang of mostly business-folk, a board not accountable to the token Council of Mayors who will be “consulted” on decisions. Public money spent by unaccountable directors appointed by mostly business interests.

If you resent being classed as a “public” transit customer instead of a co-owner of a commonly held public “public” transit system, you had better start paying more attention to the Campbell neoLiberal government’s agenda to sell us [and everything held in common] down the river.

And it would help to read Naomi Klein’s new book to get a primer on the last few decades of rationale behind the premier’s manifestation of neoliberal cancer. And if you don’t have time to read it all, you can get the 6 minute primer here.

And a few facts to make you wonder just what price we pay for a privatized, deregulated world.

The NPA Union-Busters: an Open Letter to Vancouver City Council

If you agree with this posting, I strongly encourage you to email the Vancouver Mayor and City Council with a letter explaining just what you expect of them. Feel free to even copy this letter, sign it and send it to them at mayorandcouncil@city.vancouver.bc.ca which will forward to each of them.

Dear Mayor and Council,

For those of you who have no interest in vindictively punishing your highly valued staff in your 3 unions, I commend you. I encourage you to continue to lobby the others of you, the NPA I assume (correct me if I’m wrong), to bargain fairly.

I don’t know if you NPA union-busters are trying to save enough money from wages to pay off the Wilcox consultants or if you just like watching people suffer, but your refusal to meet your workers for more than 5 hours over THE LAST 6 DAYS is abhorrent and offensive to me.

I am ashamed that I live in this wonderful city when our “leaders” sink to this level of crass disrespect for the workers who support our social fabric, the workers you speak so highly of.

Your behaviour will not go unpunished in November 2008 when citizens wielding ballots all over the city will remember each one of you NPA social pariahs.

“Sam’s Strike” can only exist with 5 NPA councillors continually supporting him.

17% over 5 years for workers in neighbouring municipalities is a fair settlement. As a citizen of Vancouver I would support those kind of numbers. Pay equity for library workers who suffer from gender discrimination IN THE 21ST CENTURY, IN CANADA, is due. We should be ashamed to delay it any longer.

This is the end of the NPA in Vancouver: your obvious desire to corrode our civil society is your undoing.

Your offense is obscene.

It is time to bargain a contract, not rewind our labour culture to the 19th century. Get to the table and do your job!