Best of Vancouver 2015: News & Politics

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      For the Georgia Straight’s 20th annual Best of Vancouver issue, our editorial team provides some insight into the irreverent details that make our city great. Here’s our contributors’ picks for Best of Vancouver 2015.

      Best end run around strata-council dog bylaws

      A pair of button-cute miniature pigs—whose owner takes them for walks frequently in the West 10th Avenue and Pine Street neighbourhood—might represent an oinkingly logical and funny response to strata councils’ discriminatory anti-dog bylaws. Snort!


      Most misspelled politician’s name

      Christy Clark

      All of these misspellings of our premier’s name appeared as real readers’ votes in this year’s Best of Vancouver survey: Chirsty Clark, chrisitie clarke, Christ Clark, Christ clarke, Christi clark, Christie Clark, Christy ? {Leader of provincial Liberals}, Christy C, Christy Clar, Christy clarj, Christy Clarke, Christy you-know-who, Christy’s Clarke, cristie clark, Cristy Clark, Crusty Clark, KIRSTY CLARK, Kristay Clark, Kristie Clark, Kristy Clark.


      Second-most-misspelled local politician’s name

      Gregor Robertson

      Among the ways you can spell the mayor of Vancouver’s name, according to our humble readers: Greg Robertson, greggeor, Greggor Robertson, Gregoire Robertson, Gregor Roberston, gregor Roberts, Gregor Robertsone, Gregor Robinson, Gregory Robertson, Mayor Greggor Robertson, Mayor Gregson, Mayor Robinson, McGregor.


      Best way to burn bridges

      Do yoga on them.


      Best example of mixed messages

      The Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, located a short walk from the top end of the peak’s gondola ride, contains two fat grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, that have been imprisoned in their (admittedly relatively spacious) confines since 2001. The for-profit mountain outfit probably labels them as “endangered” to deflect concerns about their captivity. But the provincial ministry that gave Grouse permission to display the majestic creatures—and that is under fire from many quarters for refusing to halt its grotesque grizzly-bear trophy hunt in 42 of B.C.’s 56 grizzly “population units”—says that there are so many grizzly bears running around here that we should keep allowing rich gun nuts to blow gaping, bloody holes through them.


      Best place to meet a politician

      Chinese New Year Parade

      This is a tossup, actually. Vaisakhi, the Punjabi spring harvest festival, brings out hordes of politicians, who eagerly gobble up free food along the parade route. But in our estimation, even more elected officials show up in Chinatown every February for the walk east along Pender Street and back west down Keefer Street. Why is this? Probably because the Chinatown parade route isn’t nearly as long, so it’s not as gruelling. There are also plenty of politicos at the Pride parade, though this year their numbers were down. That’s because the B.C. Liberals and federal Conservatives were disinvited.


      Best exposé of misplaced police priorities

      Self-described “recovering cop” Lori Shenher has written a gripping tale about her years investigating the Downtown Eastside’s missing women. In her compelling memoir, That Lonely Section of Hell, Shenher reveals not only how the obvious suspect, Robert William Pickton, remained at large for so many years but also why the VPD focused more attention on home invasions than on catching a serial killer. This is more than a crime story; it’s a lesson in how anyone’s life can be torn asunder by unexpected circumstances—and that, in some instances, there truly is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.


      Best reason to revive the Vancouver-to-Chilliwack rail service

      Voters in Metro Vancouver have rejected a proposed tax increase to fund a $7.5-billion transportation plan in the region. Politicians have said there is no Plan B. But according to light-rail advocate Malcolm Johnston, there is an alternative. Johnston has suggested the revival of the Vancouver-to-Chilliwack interurban rail service. It would run on the same path as the tracks used by the B.C. Electric Railway when the company operated the light-rail system until the 1950s.


      Best way to embarrass bad drivers

      Go to YouTube and you’ll find a series of videos entitled “Vancouver’s Worst Drivers”. The 45th episode was posted on September 16, chronicling more horrid dashcam images of crappy roadside manoeuvres. This latest video includes atrocious behaviour at intersections after the recent windstorm, with far too many motorists ignoring the four-way stop protocol. It seems there’s no shortage of idiots in our town with driver’s licences.


      Best purposing of a high-performance vehicle

      A thief burgled the Canna Clinic marijuana dispensary in the 2400 block of East Hastings Street at about 4:30 a.m. on May 30 by ramming a vehicle through the storefront and scooping up armloads of pot before fleeing, scattering bud on the sidewalk and street before making his getaway. (Police arrested a 27-year-old man soon after.) One disbelieving late-night partier stumbling his way home started scooping the green manna into his backpack until detained by responding cops. They soon released him after determining he wasn’t involved in the crime and was probably merely treating his glaucoma.


      Best legislation for working dogs

      Condo residents who rely on dogs in their daily lives no longer have to worry about strata-council no-pet policies. The province passed Bill 17, or the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, exempting working dogs from regulations banning animals in condo buildings. The new law replaces the old Guide Animal Act, updating provisions regarding access to public spaces, transit, and housing by people with disabilities.


      Best news for carless Vancouverites bound for Victoria

      The proposed new passenger ferry from downtown Vancouver to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Oh, please, God.


      Best unforeseen result of the August windstorm

      People in East Vancouver who were without power for a few days and who stripped store shelves of flashlights, lanterns, and candles and who packed into coffee shops with electricity to recharge smartphones and notepads realized how vulnerable they’d be in the face of a real disaster like the sure-to-hit-but-we-just-don’t-know-when Big One, the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Get those emergency kits, water, and sturdy boots stashed in a safe, accessible place!


      Best reason to reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard base

      Had the Kitsilano coast guard station still been open, it would have taken the Canadian Coast Guard only a few minutes rather than several hours to respond to the April oil spill in English Bay, which led to the closure of 16 local beaches. The station was closed by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in February 2013.