According to former TransLink transportation planner and blogger Stephen Rees, “Highway 1 and that massive [Port Mann] bridge” will be constant reminders of former B.C. finance minister Kevin Falcon.
“His legacy is the sinking of the South of Fraser into everlasting car dependency, at the moment and at a time in the world when we’ve got less Arctic ice than we’ve ever had before,” Rees told the Straight by phone following Falcon’s announcement that he will not run in the 2013 election. “Absolutely incredible, and his timing is perfect of course, because he thinks that he’s going to get snapped up by the private sector. Though I notice that he didn’t do the obviously very sensible thing of seeing if he could get a job somewhere else before he threw over the reins on this one.”
In his August 29 statement, Falcon noted that he was also quitting his ministerial duties “effective immediately” but continuing as MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, where he was first elected in 2001.
In his statement, Falcon said he can look back on his accomplishments with “humility and pride”.
“Pride in working with colleagues to initiate and oversee some of the largest capital investments in BC history,” he wrote. “Whether it’s the Port Mann bridge, Canada Line, Sea to Sky Highway, or working with my colleagues in Surrey to initiate the largest health investment in BC history (the $800m construction of a new Surrey Memorial Hospital and Jimmy Pattison Outpatient building), I am proud of what we’ve accomplished together.”
Rees said that as a B.C. Liberal, Falcon “did exactly what was expected of him” by party donors. But he said there were positives about Falcon.
“He was reasonably polite when he didn’t win the [B.C. Liberal] leadership,” Rees added. “I think he was obviously bitterly disappointed about that. I think he would have been a better leader than our present B.C. Liberal leader [Premier Christy Clark]. You can’t fault him for not doing his job properly, because he did exactly what the people who paid him expected him to do.”
In Rees’s opinion, Falcon also had little time for David Suzuki’s oft-repeated mantra that the economy should be subordinate to the environment, not vice versa.
“Kevin Falcon would not accept that,” Rees said. “He and the people like him think that the world is there to be exploited, and to be exploited as ruthlessly as possible and as quickly as possible, and damn the consequences.”