BC Christy, Oh Suzanne, and a Streetcar Named Delusional

I’ve been away from posting for a while, tending to my head and the staph infection I contracted in hospital or as I call it “the city of germs”.   Plus the hospital was in Toronto so I was consumed by Margaret Atwood’s cage fight with the Visigoth named Ford (pictured below).

I’ve missed a lot, but I’m trying to catch up.  Here’s a quick rundown of some of the stories I’ve run across just this last week or so.

Clark’s Job agenda: now you see it, now you don’t

In the ten days or so since Premier Clark announced her jobs agenda with its focus on copper and coal mining, worldwide mineral indices have gone into free fall.  

According to Bloomberg market reports “Copper fell 29 percent to $6,800 this year on the London Metal Exchange, heading for its second-worst year in almost a quarter century. Prices dropped 54 percent in 2008. Futures traded on the Comex exchange in New York slumped 31 percent to $3.085 a pound, the worst performer in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities.”

Copper and coal mining is where Clark expects new BC mine openings to compete with new ventures in Chile, Australia and other suppliers to the Chinese market.  At the same time Chinese demand is expected to slow if not contract.

But who cares about all this nasty, bad, bad news?  Plug your ears.

Because Christy is just…sooooo cute.  Due diligence is such a downer when you’ve got smiles and camera ops.

Premier Christy Clark

A new week, a new focus

First Premier Clark claimed her agenda was to put “Families First”, then it was “Jobs First”, because “BC is where Canada Starts” (if you turn Canada upside down.  It’s kind of cool cause it looks like a dog out walking).

Now the Vancouver Sun is reporting that, according to Clark’s first Throne Speech, Education is her top priority.

A little ADHD.  

Where’d that new party come from?

Could the BC Liberal Party rebranding hold the clue to Clark’s real top priority.

Do ya think?

Could it be that Christy’s top priority might just be Christy?

You didn’t know there was a civic election?

Suzanne Anton and the NPA do and to prove it they recently announced they would go ahead without Translink to build a $200 million plus streetcar project linking the Olympic Village, Stanley Park and the West End.  I expect them to obtain financing from Greece or someplace like that.

The exciting new line would eventually weave around non-existent neighbourhoods, empty docks and the DTES duplicating existing bus and Skytrain routes.  

The NPA expects 4 to 5 million riders a year.  Most of them are tourists who will want to visit the Olympic ghost town and the closed up at night downtown and cruise docks.
Anton says the NPA plans to bring their experience arranging the Olympic Village financing with a bankrupt developer and a teetering New York Hedge fund to the project financing.  

If that doesn’t work, Vancouver taxpayers will, as with the Olympic Village project, be on the hook for the $200 plus million project.

Mayoral candidate Anton, who admitted the NPA didn’t do due diligence on the Millenium/hedge fund Olympic Village deal, told the media the streetcar P3 is a whole new game that the NPA is actually prepared for. “We can do a private sector deal to pay for this,’ Anton said. 

I’ve just been talking to the guys at BC Rail and they tell me they’ve got a deal for Vancouver that you wouldn’t believe…

Anton’s campaign is managed by Norman Stowe of the Pace Group (pictured below), who recently helped bring in the new BC Place roof whose cost ballooned from a promised $365 million to a delivered $577 million. 

And taxpayers are now paying the entire cost of the project contrary to initial promises by the BC government and PavCo that they wouldn’t have to pay a dime.

Norm’s my kind of guy. 

He doesn’t seem to read the fine print but he does seem to go for the bold strokes.  And the streetcar project harkens back to the 1800s when San Franciscan Andrew Smith Hallidie  patented the first street car, ultimately sparing thousands of weary horses the job of carrying people around the city, up and down its steep hills.  

Given Vancouver's transportation infrastructure, the streetcar idea is downright delusional. But soooooo cute.   

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