Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan criticizes amount of resources devoted to Vancouver

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      Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan has something to say about how things are run in Vancouver and how many resources are devoted to the city.

      “I was born in Vancouver and raised there until age 25,” an agitated Corrigan told the Georgia Straight by phone from Burnaby City Hall. “I have a right to criticize Vancouver. It’s my hometown.”

      Corrigan put a target on his head on April 13 when he requested in writing, on behalf of Burnaby city council, that the B.C. government and its Local Government Elections Task Force not “bring forward rules and regulations which will make it more difficult for persons to participate in the democratic process”. Burnaby council opposes spending and contribution limits in local elections, in contrast to its neighbour’s Vision Vancouver–dominated council, which wants stricter controls on election spending. In the same official submission, Corrigan wrote that “outside of the City of Vancouver, local government elections are not overly costly or controversial.”

      Corrigan, chair of the Metro Vancouver regional planning committee, explained to the Straight that he’s “resentful” of the fact that “in this province, it [Vancouver] is always the tail that wags the dog.” He added that infrastructure targeted at Vancouver, which has 600,000 residents—about one-quarter of Metro Vancouver’s total population—“consistently dwarfs what’s put into the rest of the region”.

      “Yet people are complaining about the rest of the region for not living up to expectations as far as [housing] densities are concerned and as far as lifestyle is concerned,” Corrigan said. “That’s really because, if you keep putting all your assets into the end of the peninsula, then you’re obviously going to have a wasteland in the rest of the municipalities in the areas of recreation, sports, arts, and all those things that are important to people’s lives.”

      Upon being told of Corrigan’s comments, Vision councillor Raymond Louie took a deep breath and muttered, “Wow.”

      “Mayor Corrigan is wrong to call the whole Metro region a wasteland,” Louie told the Straight by phone. “I’ll stop right there.”

      After considering submissions from municipalities and organizations, the elections task force sent its report to the province on May 28, recommending that new campaign-finance rules be imposed in time for the 2011 civic elections. These rules would ban anonymous donations and limit campaign spending.

      In a phone interview with the Straight, Neil Monckton, chair of the urban-affairs group Think City, said Corrigan’s opposition to limits on campaign spending and contributions puts him out of step with the provincial NDP, Vision, the labour movement, and its allies.

      Corrigan’s terse response to Monckton’s comment was, “So that should make me upset?”

      “The one thing that you can depend on with Neil Monckton is that he’ll be in step with whatever is the current wisdom,” Corrigan said. “Certainly, his lack of creativity is legendary, so I am not concerned at all about Neil Monckton’s position, nor am I intimidated by his brilliant success in politics.”

      Monckton was the campaign manager behind COPE’s landslide victory in the 2002 Vancouver civic election. He also managed Ian Waddell’s 2004 federal NDP campaign in Vancouver Kingsway, in which Waddell narrowly lost to then-Liberal David Emerson.

      According to campaign-finance disclosures filed with the Burnaby city clerk’s office, Corrigan’s Burnaby Citizens Association party spent $243,683 in the 2008 election. The BCA swept the mayor’s chair and all eight council slots, shutting out the TEAM Burnaby and Independent Voices slates.

      Former one-term TEAM Burnaby councillor Garth Evans made four separate contributions totalling $21,000 to his breakaway party, Independent Voices, in his failed reelection bid in 2008.

      “Do I disagree with Mayor Corrigan [on campaign-finance reform]? Completely,” Evans told the Straight. “I think there need to be controls. I haven’t thought about the amounts or how to implement them. But there certainly need to be controls.”



      Evil Eye

      Jun 3, 2010 at 6:40am

      In Canada, the one who has the most money wins elections; it's our quaint 18th century way of doing things.

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      Corrigan also criticizes resources going to Surrey/Langley

      Jun 3, 2010 at 9:01am

      Stay classy, Mayor Corrigan!


      "Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, however, warned TransLink's plans are unaffordable and argued scarce funding should be used to sustain service to areas with strong existing ridership rather than areas with low transit use if cuts are required.

      "There are significant subisides going into many of the South of Fraser routes that are questionable in terms of business efficiency,""

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      Jun 3, 2010 at 10:02am

      Increasing housing densities in municipalities to take future population growth and create a more sustainable region are the responsibilities - at least at this time - of the respective municipalities. They cost nothing to enact, save political will. If Mayor Corrigan's fiefdom mentality continues one day - sooner than later - the provincial government will have to step in. Methinks he protesteth too much and too often.

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      Jun 3, 2010 at 1:05pm

      Thanks to Matthew Burrows and the Straight for giving Corrigan a venue. This is a guy that's been right about so much and delivers his ideas with an admirably blunt and terse style at odds with jargon filled blather of the mealy mouthed liberal "left". His description of Neil Monkton as a person "in step with whatever is the current wisdom" and with a "legendary" "lack of creativity" is priceless. Louie's mendacious misreading of Corrigan's point is so Louie, the empty vessel, the uber-functionary within any dead-centre conservative or liberal party he found himself, whether Vision or the NPA.

      So Vancouver the cat is out of the bag, you're a spoiled pampered playground for real estate corporations and developers, the same people who suck up hundreds of millions in municipal, provincial and federal tax dollars to build such wastes as the convention centre, the Canada Line, the Olympic Games (all of which primarily benefit corporations and developers) and then go to city council hat in hand and demand redistribution of property taxes off their own backs and onto overburdened mortgage slaves. And of course, Vision or the NPA (what's the difference) will always go along with that.

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      Embarrassed by Corrigan

      Jun 3, 2010 at 2:06pm

      Who IS Derek Corrigan!?
      The man is an embarrassment, and as a New Democrat and a progressive activist, I am tired of this DINOSAUR embarrassing our movement.
      Sometimes, it just comes time to retire.
      Mayor Corrigan: now is that time.

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      Jun 3, 2010 at 2:28pm

      Reed: you're Derek Corrigan, aren't you?

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      Jun 3, 2010 at 6:58pm

      There are billions of dollars being spent on highways in the burbs so it is really hard to argue that Vancouver is getting more than its fair share of resources. He also conveniently forgot that Burnaby has two SkyTrain lines and likely the largest kms per capita of rapid transit.

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      Jun 5, 2010 at 8:26am

      We should be electing a greater vancouver council, not all these redundant wards with their own mayors. What a waste.

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      Jun 7, 2010 at 5:32am

      I have to agree with asp. 'Me...me...me!" politicians like Corrigan are the poster child for why we need to amalgamate the fiefdoms into a common city with a common purpose.

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      Jun 7, 2010 at 2:36pm

      Between both the article and the comments, there's just so much here, one could go on for hours.

      I'll just make one point. Normally on the big issues around infrastructure, especially transportation infrastructure, Vancouver and Burnaby are pretty much in agreement. The last big break was the RAV line which Corrigan didn't like. But on other matters, like PMH1, Burnaby and Vancouver are on the same page.

      So, I am just wondering if this move by Corrigan is the beginning of some larger breakup, which might see Burnaby aligning itself with Surrey and the rest of the suburban municipalities. If so, as the second poster says, Corrigan will have to pull back some previous denunciations of the Fraser Valley municipalities.

      Rod Smelser

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