Time was that riding public transit was a tad déclassé, reserved for kids, little old ladies and people who hadn’t quite arrived, or never would. Songs like The Guess Who’s “Bus Rider” depicted its dreariness and repetitiveness. Nowadays, hopping the LRT or subway is cool, a virtuous act signalling environmental wokeness and “moving on” from the automobile. The riding experience, naturellement, needs to meet the steep expectations of current gens. And that doesn’t come cheap. James R. Coggins outlines the political game played by federal and municipal politicians that’s seeing tens of billions of dollars being shovelled into city coffers for lavish urban transit schemes, while country dwellers pay part of the freight and receive little but neglect and carbon taxes in return.
Promising to upend entire sectors of the economy with no costs or other downsides has become so habitual on the political left that it has almost faded to political background noise. But the costs are real – in few areas more so than “alternative”, “green” or “sustainable” energy. The Green Party’s claim to conjure up millions of jobs by driving down emissions is an instalment in this fantasy genre. James Coggins systematically dissects one aspect of the Green program – its plan to plaster millions of Canadian rooftops with solar panels – and finds it wanting.
Do you ever feel that “progressive” politics is mainly about denying basic realities? Cities are great economic engines, but their dynamism rests on a foundation of natural advantages that, writes James R. Coggins, we would be fools to ignore and self-destructive to deny. Vancouver’s left-leaning political establishment, however, seems hell-bent on constructing a utopia of parallel realities that, Coggins argues, spit in the eye of Vancouver’s economic drivers and, if not confronted, can only lead to a great city’s decline.
Stephen Harper’s new book about the populist uprising against globalization provides pithy insights into contemporary politics. But his lesser-known 2013 work about the early days of professional hockey reveals more about the author and his place in politics. Just as the Central Canadian elites once conspired to keep working-class players out of hockey, so they tried to keep Harper out of power, and failed on both counts. James Coggins detects a hint of gleeful revenge in the hockey-as-social-history writing of Canada’s 22nd prime minister.
A Google search of “Justin Trudeau apology” produces over 600,000 hits. Since we published James Coggins’ story “Who Are Government Apologies Really For?” last fall, the prime minister has issued two more apologies for things other governments did; to the Inuit for Ottawa’s handling of tuberculosis in the mid-20th century; and to Indigenous alumni of residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. That raises his total to six, the most ever by a PM.
The City of Vancouver officially aspires to be “the greenest city in the world”. But if it could see beyond the tip of its upturned nose, it would realize that its transit and land-use policies are dumping its traffic and pollution problems on neighbouring cities and towns in the Fraser Valley. James Coggins, eyewitness to the environmental carnage wreaked by Vancouver’s selfish green virtuousness, reports.