Whoa! I should give up my column space to Mayor Gregor Robertson more often.
His self-admitted cheeky response to my challenge last week to provide some alternatives to societys reliance on oil riled up a tanker full of folks.
Good thing my email inbox is made of sturdy double-hull construction and Twitter can handle such sudden swells threatening to capsize the mighty social media vessel.
Public engagement, overboard!
As regular readers will know, I gave up this coveted space last week to His Worship. My offer was triggered by a recent op-ed he wrote in the Vancouver Sun in which he laid out his opposition to Kinder Morgans plan to increase the amount of crude flowing down the tube from Alberta to its terminal in Burnaby.
It was a predictable rant coming from a leader who wants to have the greenest city in the world by 2020. After I read the piece, I was left asking why Robertson didnt provide any realistic alternatives to oil in this car-crazy city.
Hence, the challenge.
Normally, I would just call him up and ask him about this. But I wanted to try something different and see what the reaction would be from readers.
And, for the record, Ive never taken sides in this debate. Just asking questions, people. Nor did I state anywhere I wanted to be mayor for a day, although Id gladly take the $140K salary.
One more thing: Judging by Robertsons cheeky tone, which seemed out of character for the normally diplomatic politician, I have a sneaky suspicion he had some help writing his response.
Here are some excerpts from readers letters:
I think the office of the mayor got you fare [sic] and square on this one. And, no, you dont get to be mayor for a day.Wong Wing-Siu.
You gotta admit, Mike, Vancouvers mayor makes a good case. Aside from the odd pilot boat captain and a handful of port jobs, there really is no upside for Vancouver when you compare it to the risk borne by everyone between Vancouver and Port Renfrew at the exit of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.Neil Borecky.
Robertson keeps talking about Vancouver taking all these risks and getting no benefits from the oil shipments. Firstly, there are no risksBurrard Inlet is an ice-free, protected harbour, there is no chance of a mishap. Second, Canada benefits and we are Canadian.RJ McCance.
Hook, line, sinker. Brilliant. Thank you.Amy Forest.
Our mayors column has the same tone as a televangelist: Believe in me and youll be saved. He offered no details and no substance.Alan Thurgood.
It would be a better use of time if the mayor repositioned his opposition. Wouldnt an alternative plan like pushing for new refineries help us rally as a team instead of being divided [again] on such an important issue?Rebecca Kovacs.
Im tired of celebrities, sports figures, millionaires and billionaires telling us its OK to pay $10 a litre [for gas] and to drive an electric vehicle. They dont speak for the masses. They can afford whatever expensive alternatives come on the market while the rest of us can take a hike, in more ways than one.Lambert Low.
Check out our letters page for more opinion from readers. Thank you everybody who took the time to write, tweet and leave me phone messages.
Note: Those readers interested in reading about the people who ensure tankers get in and out of local waters without running aground are featured in a story I wrote in July 2010. I also look at tanker mishaps and discipline meted out to the marine pilots. Go to our website, search Averting disaster or if reading online, check the More on this Story link.
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