Saturday, March 14, 2009

Politicians: Priorities Please!

So much of the Elmwood by-election campaign has focused on the Disraeli Bridge. One candidate campaigns on plans to spend an untenable amount of money to keep the bridge open, and the next one foolishly follows his lead--even making it his campaign slogan. The tired old politician finally wakes up midway through the campaign and issues a statement that mimics all candidates position without really saying anything at all. Why has this been the centrepoint of the debate?

The bridge is but a symptom of the real problem: poor city planning and traffic congestion.

No matter how we deal with this situation, traffic interruption will be the result. If the bridge is partially closed down, traffic will actually be congested for a longer period of time. If we twin the Louise bridge, congestion will undoutedly ensue during that construction. In the meantime we risk a catastrophe like the one witnessed in Minneapolis! Perhaps we should step back and start to examine the root causes.

This is where the Green Party of Manitoba (GPM) comes in! If the bus came by your front door step every two minutes would you consider leaving the car at home? What if you had ample room to read or relax? What if the bus had wireless internet connection? These are not impossible aims, all that is required is the political will.

The province presently gives Winnipeg Transit a mere $24 million per year under its 50/50 cost sharing operating grant. WE CAN DO BETTER! The province is spending $13 million on the Kenaston underpass and $8 building roads to a new IKEA store---meanwhile in Elmwood the streets are riddled with potholes and there is atleast one bridge that is falling down, my fair lady-- perhaps we should quit building new neighborhoods and focus investment on older neighborhoods like Elmwood.

The people of Elmwood know this better than most. They have seen the small independent corner store displaced by the new suburban box stores--all too often with the help of public money. They have seen the increased traffic run through their neighbhorhood as the suburban development has expanded in North Winnipeg.

A politician's job is to provide direction and set priorities. We are quite literally expected to anticipate the future. The other candidates were nearly condoning speeding earlier in the campaign, one even admitted to getting a speeding ticket, and the other thought that speeding tickets were about raising revenue rather than protecting public safety. Shortly, thereafter a car ran into a house just off of Henderson Highway. Are these the people that you want to leave in charge of protecting you? Your children and loved ones?

This campaign is about the political will to move us in the right direction. Is the Disraeli Bridge really our top priority? What about the children in Elmwood who go to bed hungry every night? What about the Elmwood residents who do not feel safe in their own neighborhoods? What about residents that lack adequate health care service? What about the parents that can't find suitable daycare arrangements? What about the state of our lakes and waterways? What about the perilous future of our planet?

James Beddome
Elmwood Candidate &
Leader of the Green Party of Manitoba
Authorized by the official agent


Scott Harrison said...

Awesome article James. Keep up the fight in Elmwood. You brought up the key issues that have to be talked about. Even though the Disraeli is the main issue you have provided other issues that the community is facing.

I hope you can win!! Would be great to have a the First Green Party MLA ever.

Leslie said...

In my opinion the three most important things about the "Disraeli issue" are:

1. It shows definitively that the Doer government tries to get by with slipshod decision-making, without undertaking a research-based planning approach.

2. It shows that the Doer government took Elmwood for granted: no need to consult the Elmwood voters about the possibilities. "Solidly NDP."

3. It shows that the Doer government's political reflexes have very little to do with using such major projects as bridge replacement for Green initiatives--in this case, in construction, transit, and grid planning.

When the Green issues are put out there straight up, rather than as the usual bag of goodies offered in the usual style of "constituency politics," they stand up well, and they say devastating things about what this sort of government's neglect means for the Province.


Regan Wolfrom said...

I have placed my reply to this post here: Green Party of Manitoba Leader James Beddome has forgotten what the Green movement is all about. said...

Maybe Beddome could try living in Elmwood first before running as a candidate.

anthony said...

I appreciate that you're the only candidate not obsessing over the Disraeli closure. It really isn't the end of the world, and perhaps more importantly highlights how utterly dependent we are on our vehicle infrastructure and cars in this part of the city. Good, fast, reliable public transport is the most important issue - thank-you for championing it. The other candidates seem only to be pushing for the status quo: a continuance of happy motoring.

I will be voting for you.