July 3, 2015

Referendum Reaction: “Utter nonsense”

From Michael Geller:


What utter nonsense.

While I have been a Liberal supporter for my entire life in BC, I am not at all pleased that the “Liberals delivered on their platform promise.”

Quite the contrary.

For you to now send out this message is like rubbing salt into the wounds.

What were you thinking?

I am sure I am not alone in feeling a total level of disgust with this email message.


Dear Michael,

In 2013, we campaigned on giving Metro Vancouver voters a say on any new fees or taxes for transit expansion – and we did exactly that with the 2015 Transit Plebiscite.

Today, Elections BC announced the results of that plebiscite: Metro Vancouver voters rejected the proposal by 62%.

Some will be happy with that result – others disappointed. But as BC Liberal supporters, we should all be pleased that our government delivered on our platform commitment to give voters their say.

So what comes next?

With the Lower Mainland projected to increase by 1 million people over the next 30 years, we know doing nothing is not an option – which is why the provincial government remains committed to paying its share towards expanded transit across the region.

The province has reconfirmed its third. And the federal government has expressed support with their third. So now it’s up to municipal leaders to regroup and determine how they’ll generate their portion of the funding.

The other piece of the puzzle is TransLink. This agency must now focus on restoring the confidence of Lower Mainland voters by delivering reliable service levels, and improving customer relations. They now have an excellent opportunity to take a big step forward in this direction as they recruit a new CEO.

In the coming months, we’ll all have to work together to arrive at a solution that’s fair, affordable, and transparent. And as always, we’ll keep you posted on that.

After all, those are the values we campaigned on when you gave us our mandate in 2013, and we thank you for your support as we keep working to build a stronger, thriving British Columbia for this generation and the next.


Jillian Stead
Communications Officer
Today’s BC Liberals


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  1. You are so right Michael. But then they set it up to fail so I imagine they were feeling fairly jubilant. It goes right in the trash along with the survey I got last week asking if I was satisfied with the level of communication from the party, rather than if I was satisfied with what they were doing.

  2. How long will Metro Vancouver MLAs continue to play the good BC Liberal soldier role, or will we now finally see the start to stick up for our interests?

  3. 1. The BC Liberals have done, and continue to do a shit job on this file.

    2. It’s time to re-group and move on. Although their bad reputation is undeserved, TransLink does need to enhance its image. And the mayors need to find a way to come back and make their plan happen. Stat.

  4. The Liberal letter is bang on. Liberals were elected on a “no tax increases” and “balanced budget” platform and they delivered on it. Unclear why this email is “disgusting” to Michael ??

    Other funding mechanisms have to be found by MetroVan mayors to unlock the 2/3 by the feds and province. New leadership is required too for TransLink.

    There are quite a few funding options at the disposal of the mayors:

    a) increase parking fees, especially on residential roads which are clogged with cars that pay nothing, or next to nothing to park 23-24h/day on a public road. How about $200/month or $50 in rural areas where land is cheaper ? 400,000+ cars times $1000/year = $400M

    b) increase user fees. Is $1.75 for (often wealthy) seniors not too low for a ride from S-Surrey to N-Van ? Is $2.10 for a single daytime ride not too low ?

    c) increase property taxes

    d) increase development levies

    e) moderate wages & benefit increases for the 10’s of thousands of MetroVan and municipal employees as most are extremely well paid, often well above private sector equivalents with less hours worked and better benefits, especially pensions

    f) other efficiencies, such as outsourcing. We honestly need city employees to clean parks or operate a host of services at double the going outsourced rate ?

    g) borrow more money for these investments

    Best would be to work with the province to introduce

    i) road tolls, as only increased car use costs will make people use the car less once alternatives exist, as with e-cars and ever more efficient cars such a hybrids or smaller cars gasoline taxes alone do not adequately cover road use costs in urban areas. As such choke points have to be tolled, such as: airport entry, Granville @ Broadway, any bridge, any major E-W or N-S 4 lane road. That would bring hundreds of millions into the city or provincial coffers to fund RAPID transit that car users will actually use, too ! [ Example: I live at UBC. Usually I drive to the airport to pick up guests, along Marine Drive. If the city tolled me $10 to enter the airport by car and I had a subway option to Cambie from UBC, then Canada Line, I’d use the subway. However, today the road is free, the hybrid I drive is fuel efficient, and the wobbly bus is crowded and takes twice as long. I do what is rational behavior today, but would switch with better options. Ditto with many car users in N-Van, W-Van, Surrey, Langley ..]

    ii) increased car registration fees, tiered by size or engine size

    iii) increased gasoline taxes, earmarked for transit

    Plan B, C, D and E exists .. and a solution can be found.

    1. a) – decreases as Translink becomes successful (same old problem)
      b) – decreases ridership.
      c) – What happens when a crisis hits and a municipality cuts the transit line item from the budget?
      d) – ditto c. Also this could erode into other existing uses for CACs?
      e) – yep let’s make life worse for these people because public sector workers are always a convenient punching bag.
      f) – “efficiencies”
      g) – and the money to repay will come from??
      i) – great idea but the Province seems opposed and we’re years away from a road pricing solution if we started on this now. We should definitely look into this, but it doesn’t seem like a good near term solution.
      ii) – Great, but decreases as Translink becomes successful
      iii) – ok, but still decreases as Translink becomes successful.

    2. Speaking as a transportation planner, none of these are “easy options”. @Tiktaalik has already pointed out some of the basic issues with respect to elasticity.

      On decreasing wages (e): How is it that people can have a conversation about (lack of) affordability in Metro Van in one breath, and then propose that others’ (always others’!) wages be severely reduced in the next? And wages in the public sector aren’t bad, but they’re not as preposterously high as Mr. Beyer would have us think either…

  5. Post
  6. OK, I get it. I failed my communications exam because I managed the whole course incorrectly and even fired my coach just after the lessons began but it’s all the schools’ fault.

    Cool. I always knew I’m smarter and know better than anyone else!

  7. How disingenuous to say that the region now has to come up with its share of the funding. EVERY TIME they’ve come up with their proposal, the province has put a stick in the spokes and said no– or in the latest round, yes only if you put it through an impossible-to-win plebiscite.

    The province either has to lead or get out of the way. Since they won’t get out of the way, they have to take responsibility for leadership. How many times have they yanked the ball away and then said the region should come back for another kick?

    1. It is very difficult to swallow their celebratory abdication of leadership and responsibility. This is just plain ol’ cynical spin.

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