08 December 2008
Gregor Robertson is on quite a roll these days. The mayor-elect in the city of Vancouver, who takes office today, has parlayed a successful entrepreneurial background into high-profile political stints at the provincial and municipal levels.
Already, some of his biggest fans are touting the photogenic Robertson as a future leader for the provincial NDP.
But while Robertson’s career is firing on all cylinders, he would be wise to back away from the partisan sniping and political points-scoring that was part of last month’s municipal election campaign — no matter how tempting.
Rather, he needs to find a way to work with old adversaries from the B.C. Liberal government on critical issues like the 2010 Olympics, the homelessness crisis, and Vancouver’s transit woes.
Already, Robertson has had productive discussions with B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman on the homelessness front.
But making progress on transit could be more challenging, since there is no love lost between Robertson and B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon.
Last month, Falcon jumped all over Robertson for his admission of getting busted on SkyTrain travelling two zones on a one-zone fare -— lumping him in with “cheaters and freeloaders.”
Mind you, Robertson, as an MLA for Vancouver-Fairview, hounded Falcon about the plight of Cambie Street merchants because of Canada Line construction.
Bottom line: Best-friends-forever these two are not. But they’ll have to learn to play nice.
At stake is everything from enhanced transit security to moving forward with the much-needed SkyTrain line to UBC.
The good news is that Robertson and Falcon are both big proponents of improving public transit and cycling infrastructure. So once they sort out their political differences, they can make some much-needed headway on Vancouver’s commuting crunch.