How Premier John Horgan will put me out of a job

NDP policies align with Vision Vancouver’s agenda

12th and Cambie

It appears I could soon be out of a job.

When I say soon, I mean in four years when we get to vote again in another provincial election.

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I blame Premier John Horgan.

I blame Mayor Gregor Robertson.

I also find Vision Vancouver and NDP politicians and their respective staffs responsible for my inevitable trip to the employment insurance line.

That's the logical conclusion I've reached after what I've heard (in interviews), read (in campaign platforms, press releases and mandate letters to government ministers) and seen (on social media) from all of the above over the past few months.

If I've got this straight, the issues I've written about for years — particularly homelessness, housing, poverty, child welfare, mental health, drug addiction, transit and election campaign finance reform for local government — will no longer be worth shining a light on come 2021.

That's because the Vision-friendly NDP government, with a little help from the Greens, has promised to tackle these pressing problems and transform Vancouver and the rest of the province into a more affordable, less impoverished, less congested place to live.

Sounds wonderful.

Before I forget, I should include the B.C. Liberals in this four-year journey to Kumbaya land. Remember those promises lifted from the NDP and Greens in the Throne Speech? Remember Christy Clark’s promise to work with all parties in the legislature?

All is soon to be right with this city and province.

Big money will be gone from provincial and local election campaigns, the Broadway subway will almost be built and the overdose crisis will no longer be a crisis.

Our schools and hospitals will be without complaints.

Gone, too, will be those days at city hall of listening to the mayor and his Vision colleagues blast the B.C. Liberals for inaction on this and that and everything between this and that.

If there is an equivalent to the Maytag repairman in the news business, I guess I'll be it. That, or as I said off the top, an unemployed typist by 2021.

Truthfully, I've been in denial about losing my job since the May 9 election. The little matter of the NDP and Greens working out an agreement to topple Clark's Liberals in a confidence vote gave me some time to consider my next move.

Then last week, my anxiety returned with Horgan being sworn in as premier. Added to that bit of history was his naming of six Vision-friendly Vancouver MLAs to cabinet, including former Vision councillor George Chow and David Eby, who once sought a Vision nomination for council.

Throw in former Vision councillor Geoff Meggs as Horgan's chief of staff, add Vision loyalists Mira Oreck as director of stakeholder relations, her partner Stepan Vdovine (temporary six-week leave as Vision’s executive director to help set up new tourism ministry) and Sarah Zaharia (executive director of ministry support who was the mayor’s media handler) and you can understand my need to update the resume.

I happened to catch up with Robertson last week to ask him why he and his Vision-NDP friends were scheming to put me out of a job. He laughed at the question.

“It’s early days,” said the former NDP MLA for Vancouver-Fairview. “There are some very strong platform commitments on transit and affordable housing and a more urban agenda than we’ve seen in decades. But the new government needs to take action and implement their agenda. That’s the true test.”

Vdovine also laughed when I suggested I’d eventually have nothing to write about now that the NDP is in power. Good news, as any cranky reporter will tell you, doesn’t necessarily make for good copy.

His prediction: “I’m sure the government expects not just the city, but the entire province, to be in a better place four years from now.”

Until then, the unfortunate reality of this city’s problems – from homelessness to affordable housing to drug addiction – has provided me with some job security.

Thank you, politicians, thank you very much.

mhowell@vancourier.com

@Howellings

 

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