No so new shelters
So, you’ve probably heard—the provincial government announced Tuesday it will fund four temporary winter shelters for Vancouver.
Which is good news for homeless people.
But as city hall watchers know, the shelters aren’t really new per se because the government has come up with the cash every winter to open them since Gregor Robertson became mayor in the fall of 2008.
Getting that cash, however, has been a grind for the mayor and his Vision Vancouver team. They’ve routinely made a plea via the media to government to ensure the cash rolled in every winter.
Not this time, though.
Maybe Robertson knew the cheque was in the mail and told his biggest critic of the provincial government—Vision Coun. Kerry Jang—to tone it down this fall.
My interest this time around is this: How the heck did Premier Christy Clark suddenly become Housing Minister Rich Coleman?
When the government issued a release Tuesday morning announcing funding for the shelters, I gave it a quick glance and looked for a quote from Coleman.
Odd, I thought.
In the four years I’ve covered the back-and-forth between Vision and government over shelters, Coleman has always been the guy taking the heat and later delivering the good news—either at a press conference or in a news release.
He’s a regular visitor to the city and I’ve been to countless press conferences where he and Robertson are turning sod for new social housing or cutting a ribbon to open a new building.
I can’t recall Clark ever being present.
So I looked back on some old stories about the shelters, checked with sources close to the housing file and determined that Coleman has never been shut out of a so-called good news story for Vancouver and the provincial government.
Must be an oversight, I thought, as I went to Coleman’s website which is “the best place to keep track of what Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman is doing both at home and in Victoria.”
No mention of the shelter announcement. How about Twitter? Nothing there, either.
But then it all made sense when I tuned into Bill Good’s show on CKNW—just around the same time I received the government release with Clark’s quotes about the shelters and her tweets about the shelters—and there she was, talking…shelters.
Probably just a coincidence, people.
After all, the provincial election isn’t until May 2013.
Coleman, by the way, is seeking re-election and told me recently he still planned to be in government in 2015—the year he and Robertson believed there would be an end to street homelessness in the city.
Wonder where Clark will be in 2015?
Local Lance news
Since this whole Lance Armstrong saga is dominating news coverage, thought I’d add a local angle to the sad story.
What’s the Vancouver connection, you say?
Well, hate to date myself but I was among the spectators at the Gastown Grand Prix in 1991 when some young kid won the road race.
His name was Lance Armstrong.
He beat local Tour de France vet Alex Stieda, who was the first North American to wear the coveted yellow jersey, and U.S. cycling star Davis Phinney.
Was he doping?
Go to the Courier sports section online, find the embedded YouTube video and have a look at the race for yourself.