Delta-Richmond chapter & allies disrupt groundbreaking ceremony for Massey Bridge

The Council of Canadians Delta-Richmond chapter disrupted the groundbreaking ceremony intended to mark the beginning of the construction of the Massey Bridge.

The $3.5 billion ten-lane bridge is being built to replace the existing four-lane George Massey Tunnel that goes under the south arm of the Fraser River estuary and joins the municipalities of Richmond and Delta about 20 kilometres south of Vancouver city centre.

The Council of Canadians and allies oppose the bridge over the following concerns: the loss of prime agricultural land to build the bridge, the additional greenhouse gas emissions that come with adding more space for cars, the government’s lack of commitment to public transit alternatives, and the bridge’s $3.5 billion price tag. We are also concerned that the proposed removal of the George Massey Tunnel could affect the salinity of the lower Fraser River.

Chapter activist Robert Ages says, “We had a great little protest. Forced the BC Fiberals to hide inside instead of using their nice power-shovel props.”

Global News reports, “Work is scheduled to begin today on the replacement for Massey Tunnel; a new bridge over the Fraser River. But not everyone is happy about it. The first shovels are expected to go in the ground this morning and protesters were on scene to have their say. The protesters gathered around the crew, using megaphones to make their voices heard.”

Tweets within that article then highlight, “Protesters crash the province’s Massey Bridge ‘groundbreaking’… The transportation minister will have to compete w/ protesters when he arrives. And they have megaphones… Cops here. ‘Groundbreaking’ scrapped. Minister will speak to reporters inside old fire hall… protesters chanting outside.”

CTV adds, “A groundbreaking ceremony for the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge was forced indoors Wednesday by a group of protesters holding their own mock event. Dozens of people opposed to the project gathered peacefully outside Delta Fire Hall No. 4, where a podium was set up for B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone to speak. Stone was late to the ceremony, however, and a man wearing a mask of the minister’s face co-opted the space, waving an oversized blank cheque made out to ‘Port Metro Van’.”

News 1130 notes, “People, some holding cardboard masks of BC’s transportation minister, were heard shouting, clapping and chanting ahead of the event. ‘We live here. How many of you live in Ladner and Tsawwassen and Delta? Shame! Shame! Shame!’ exclaimed one woman. Some protesters even held a mock news conference at the podium before politicians entered the scene to make their announcement on the $3.5 billion Massey Bridge project.”

And Surrey Now reports, “The protesters, holding signs saying ‘A (Todd) Stone Age Concept’ and ‘Schools Before Bridges’ arrived several minutes before the announcement was scheduled to start and lined the edges of the announcement area.”

For Global News footage of today, click here. CTV footage is here. News 1130 footage is here. CKNW footage here. And Surrey Now footage here.

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Please Vote on May 9, 2017 – BC Provincial Election

For a BC with more job opportunities, better social programs, higher income equality, and stronger democracy, please VOTE for the candidate who will –

1   Create more BC jobs by investing in ambitious climate action plans; revitalizing the forest industry; building affordable rental housing; hiring more teachers, nurses, childcare workers, and home care workers; and instituting a just transition strategy for retraining workers for jobs in a low-carbon, sustainable economy.

2   Reduce poverty by providing liveable social assistance and disability benefits; introducing $10 per day childcare; increasing minimum wage to $15 per hour; and implementing the recommendations of Grand Chief Ed John’s report to improve conditions for Indigenous children on- and off-reserve

3   Tax fairly to pay for needed programs by ensuring that corporations and wealthy citizens pay their share of the tax burden. Corporations and the wealthy benefit from infrastructure and subsidies, paid for by taxes, to support their businesses; their tax burden should be in line with the profits enjoyed.

4   Increase climate justice by developing sustainable energy initiatives, always in consultation with affected communities and recognizing Indigenous rights; implementing policy to reduce our dependence on oil, lower natural gas emissions, and decrease water pollution; and shrinking our carbon footprint – no new oil and LNG pipelines.

5   Strengthen public health by eliminating MSP premiums; pressing for a national public drug plan; increasing mental health services and home care services for seniors; and creating healthy living conditions for those living on-reserve.

6   Restore BC Ferries by returning it to crown corporation status so that it operates only in the public interest as an integral part of the public transit system and not as a ‘for-profit’ agency.

7   Enhance democracy by banning corporate and union donations to political parties and by passing anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) legislation to prevent corporations from launching frivolous law suits intended to silence and bankrupt activists.

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Forum looks at options to George Massey Tunnel replacement

Council Of Canadians Hosting Ladner Event

The Delta-Richmond Chapter of the Council of Canadians is hosting an alternative open house on the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project in Ladner.

The open house and panel discussion will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27 at the Ladner Community Centre at 7 p.m. Panelists Harold Steves (Richmond councillor and “father of the ALR”), Susan Jones (respected environmental advocate) and Andrew Martin (UBC School of Community and Social Planning) will examine the forces behind the project and the alternatives to the $3.5-billion span. The panel presentations will be followed by an open community discussion on alternatives and actions.

Organizers say we work together to put an end to the 1980’s kind of thinking that views more cars, bigger highways and sprawling development as progress.

They say experience in every metropolis, from Los Angeles to Shanghai, proves this only creates more congestion and air pollution.

The Council of Canadians maintains that in the 21st century, as urban populations grow and the impacts of climate change challenge us, we have to find better ways to move people and products into, out of and across the region south of the Fraser River and throughout the Lower Mainland.

Susan Jones

Susan Jones

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Strong opinions on the future of public health care

To my surprise the Letters to the Editor section of the Saturday, September 24th edition of the Vancouver Sun shared the views of some strong proponents to Canada’s public health care system. The letters are about the B.C. Supreme court case, opened on September 6th, where Dr. Brian Day wants to strike down the law that prohibits extra billing and user fees by doctors which would lead to a two-tier American style system. He claims these rules violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Others disagree.

The following is a letter sent in from Powell River.

I read Ian Mulgrew’s column on the spectre of a two-tier, pay-for-care system and I would advise Canadians not go down that road. 

I am familiar with the two-tier system in Ireland, and it was one of the main reasons to return to Canada for the second time in 1990.

I had private health insurance in Ireland through my work, which I paid part of weekly. 

If one had to go for surgery in Ireland, a person who could afford to pay or had private insurance got surgery in a matter of months, and those who did not had to wait a couple of years. The wait time has now gone up to three to four years for the poor. They have been left behind and the same thing will happen here.

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Colleen Fuller defender of public health care

Colleen Fuller is a health policy consultant, author, and a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office. Much of her work focuses on the impact of privatization on universal access to health services. She was interviewed by the Vancouver Sun on September 6th, the opening day of the Dr. Brian Day vs. B.C. Government court case.

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